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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    918

    Question M14/M1A Gas System Maintenance Question

    I know there are many M14/M1A fans here so I ask...

    How often should I take the piston out and clean the gas tube? My manual doesn't suggest a frequency. I read somewhere on the internet that after approximately 500 rounds its a good idea to clean the gas system. I'm not a fan of disassembly of anything unless its necessary - the less likely I am to damage threads or decrease tolerances, the happier I am.

    Any information is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    965

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurz View Post
    I know there are many M14/M1A fans here so I ask...

    How often should I take the piston out and clean the gas tube? My manual doesn't suggest a frequency. I read somewhere on the internet that after approximately 500 rounds its a good idea to clean the gas system. I'm not a fan of disassembly of anything unless its necessary - the less likely I am to damage threads or decrease tolerances, the happier I am.

    Any information is appreciated.
    Kurz, is this a new rifle, or used rifle? It could also depend on the brand of ammo you are shooting in the rifle. Tearing down gas-op rifles tends to wear/loosen things up some, so I personally wouldn't over do things myself. If it's a used rifle, I'd for sure tear it all down, inspect, clean, and lube everything(of course you don't lube the gas system). That's just how I'd do it, probably 1,000 to 1,500 rnds after the initial cleaning, if a used rifle. Most members will have their own maintained schedule, I'm a little anal on the cleaning thing. Even non-corrosive powder/primers can, and will draw moister that can/will cause pitting/corrosion on surfaces under damp/humid conditions. JMO.

    Michael

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    918

    Default

    Michael,

    Thanks for the information. My M1A is new - I just put the first 20 rounds through it. I'm a bit anal on cleaning, too, but I certainly don't want to overdo the maintenance/cleaning. I'm just paranoid of any crud that might be sitting there in the gas system.

    The ammo shot through it was American Eagle OTM 168 gr. which I imagine should be pretty clean stuff, right?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NW Orygun
    Posts
    779

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    You should go well over a thousand rounds before disassembling the gas cylinder for cleaning. Do the tilt test and as long as the piston moves under it's own weight your fine. You well need two drill bits for cleaning the gas cylinder, a #15 (.180 dia) & Letter ‘P’ (.323 dia.). Sadlak.com makes some great M1A tools, plus a nice coated gas piston.

    I put a drop or two of #9 in the gas cylinder at the start of any range session.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    965

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurz View Post
    Michael,

    Thanks for the information. My M1A is new - I just put the first 20 rounds through it. I'm a bit anal on cleaning, too, but I certainly don't want to overdo the maintenance/cleaning. I'm just paranoid of any crud that might be sitting there in the gas system.

    The ammo shot through it was American Eagle OTM 168 gr. which I imagine should be pretty clean stuff, right?
    Kurz, AE should be fairly clean, unlike Wolf, or other similar brands. As Mad said, you'll need some drill bits to clean the gas ports out, but be very careful not to jam the bit into the bore, and damage it. I use standard drill bits that I have on hand that fit into the gas port holes, and turn them by hand ever so gently. I've yet to encounter a bad build up of carbon in any of the gas system areas on my rifle, then again I don't shoot crap ammo in it either. You probably are already aware of this but I'll point it out anyway. Turn the rifle upside down when cleaning the bore, as you don't want any cleaning solvents in the gas system, at all. I was trying to deal for a nice M1A Super Match today at the show, but we just couldn't come together, as he basically wanted me to give him my V93, plus $1300, for a built gun. It was a sweet rifle, but NOT that sweet. I was born one day, but not yesterday.

    Michael

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    BumbFK
    Posts
    1,721

    Default

    The M14 was designed with the soldier cleaning it every time it is fired in mind, hence the wrench in the cleaning kit. It isn't hard to unscrew the cap, drop the piston out, swab the cylinder and piston, and reverse. Mark the cap and cylinder to realign the same as it was. It is commonly done during the course of a day at Camp Perry. Nor is it hard to remove the stock and dismount the oprod and bolt. People who have worries about damaging glass bedding don't usually remove the stock. And then those Highpower competitors do it once for a thorough cleaning/go over after each season. The run of the mill M1a isn't going to be affected. All the M14s would have been ruined long before they were chopped and surplused if that were the case.
    How many psi in a CUP?

  7. #7

    Default

    Here in Arizona where it's not very humid i still disassemble the gas system every two or three times. It's surprisingly dirty for using American made match ammo too. I really need the drill bit system from sadlak. Q tips and hopes just don't cut it. DO NOT use a 3 in 1 cleaner in the gas system, only hopes. Hopes evaporates and leaves no liquid or oil behind. 3 in one cleaners will leave an oil/lubricant behind causing the gas system to collect MORE dirt. Want to know how dirty your gas system is? press your finger against that little hole on the gas selector. If alot of grim is on your finger its dirty. Also put a little tetra greas on the inside of the plug so it tightens and comes off easier next time. Try not to over torque ths plug. Be consistant, use a witness mark. Nailpolish works great.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    BumbFK
    Posts
    1,721

    Default

    Porcelain appliance touch-up paint works well too. Also good if you want to fill in the numbers on sight knobs or incriptions on the reciever. But it's pretty hard to get off if you don't want it permanent.
    How many psi in a CUP?

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