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Old 01-30-2011, 10:32   #1
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M1A - 7.62 NATO vs .308 Win

There are so many conflicting posts & replies here regarding which ammunition is correct for the Springfield M1A. Some people say either round is ok, some insist there is a significant difference between the two. What's worse is that the rifle is often listed at places like Buds Guns or Gun Broker as '308 Win' when the Springfield manual says to ONLY use military 7.62 NATO (quote below). However, the marketing on the Springfield web site says "7.62 NATO (308 Win)".

1. So for any owners (only past or present owners please ) of the Springfield M1A, could you please indicate which type of ammo you've used and whether you had any issues with it?

2. Please indicate if you have ever had a slam fire incident with either round (since Springfield indicates civilian 308 Win has a more sensitive primer and is more prone to slam fire).

3. Could you also indicate what your receiver is stamped with in regards to ammo?

Thanks!


Originally Posted by Springfield M1A Manual
AMMUNITION

3. The M1A is designed and built to specifications to shoot standard factory military 7.62 NATO ammunition. The specifications for standard military ammunition include harder primers to withstand the slight indentation from the firing pin when the bolt chambers a cartridge. This slight indentation is normal. The use of civilian ammunition with more sensitive primers or handloads with commercial primers and/or improperly seated primers increase the risk of primer detonation when the bolt slams forward. This unexpected "slam fire" can occur even if the trigger is not being pulled and if the safety is on. Use of military specification ammunition will help avoid this. Every shooter should use extreme caution when loading this or any other firearm. See page 15 for instructions on proper loading to help avoid a "slam fire". Also see enclosed article on "Slam Fire" written by Wayne Faatz.

4. Use only recently made high quality, original military or factory-manufactured ammunition of 7.62 caliber. Old ammunition may deteriorate from age causing it to be dangerous. Do not use cartridges that are dirty, wet, corroded, bent or damaged. Do not oil cartridges. Do not spray aerosol-type lubricants, preservatives or cleaners directly onto cartridges or where excess spray may flow into contact with cartridges. Defective ammunition is the primary cause of mishaps and can cause injury or death to you and bystanders.

Lubricant or other foreign matter on cartridges can cause potentially dangerous ammunition malfunctions. Store ammunition in a cool dry place to prevent contamination and deterioration of the primer and powder. Use only ammunition of the caliber for which your firearm is chambered. The proper caliber is permanently engraved on your firearm; never attempt to use ammunition of any other caliber. Defective ammunition can create excessive pressures resulting in an explosion and cause injury or death to you and/or those nearby. You must assume responsibility for using proper and safe ammunition.

Keep ammunition separated by caliber at home and on the range. This can be done by keeping it in the original box. Throw ammunition away that has been dented or deformed, shows signs of wear such as split or cracked necks, cratered or flattened primers, or punctured cases. If you have any reason to question the safety of any cartridge do not use it and safely discard it immediately.

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE OLD OR RELOADED AMMUNITION PURCHASED AT GUN SHOWS, ESTATE SALES OR AUCTIONS.

5. The use of reloaded, "remanufactured", hand-loaded, or other non-standard ammunition voids all warranties. Reloading is a science and improperly loaded ammunition can be extremely dangerous. Severe damage to the firearm and serious injury to the shooter or to others may result. Reloaded ammunition that may function in a bolt or slide action firearm may not properly function and may even explode in a semi-automatic. The risk of a mishap is reduced by using current clean military ammunition or ammunition that complies with the industry performance standards established by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute, Inc. of the United States, (SAAMI).

Last edited by Brickman; 01-30-2011 at 10:57. Reason: Spelling
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:22   #2
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My rifle is a newer, M1A standard loaded, with a SS med. wt NM bbl.

1. I've only shot commercial .308 Win. No issues.
2. I've never had a slam fire.
3. The receiver is NOT stamped with a caliber, but the bbl is: 308. The spec sheet from Springfield indicates it can fire both: "Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO (.308WIN)"

I hope this helps.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:29   #3
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Thanks for your input bizarrocolin! Personally, I've always thought either round was ok, but it's also unnecessarily confusing that the web site, the spec sheet and the manual say different things. I was a little surprised how emphatic the manual is about avoiding civilian ammo. Maybe it's just a liability thing like how Springfield also advises against using reloads?
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Old 01-30-2011, 17:54   #4
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Originally Posted by Brickman View Post
There are so many conflicting posts & replies here regarding which ammunition is correct for the Springfield M1A. Some people say either round is ok, some insist there is a significant difference between the two. What's worse is that the rifle is often listed at places like Buds Guns or Gun Broker as '308 Win' when the Springfield manual says to ONLY use military 7.62 NATO (quote below). However, the marketing on the Springfield web site says "7.62 NATO (308 Win)".

1. So for any owners (only past or present owners please ) of the Springfield M1A, could you please indicate which type of ammo you've used and whether you had any issues with it?

2. Please indicate if you have ever had a slam fire incident with either round (since Springfield indicates civilian 308 Win has a more sensitive primer and is more prone to slam fire).

3. Could you also indicate what your receiver is stamped with in regards to ammo?

Thanks!
I've called Springfield Armory and they have told me that they made the M1A with a .308 SAAMI chamber. (Its safe to shoot commercial .308 Win). They said not to go above 168grn bullets.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:13   #5
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Military brass is "usually" heavier and has less capacity, but there can be a big differance between military mfg's. I have sorted all mine out, I use the commercial Win brass and IMI match. You just need to use common sense here and not try to throttle up the M1A to much.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:12   #6
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The manual for my M1A Scout reads just like Brickman's post above. There are no caliber markings on the receiver or barrel, yes I did yank the handguards for curiosity. I have exclusively shot .308 win ammo from Federal, Remington, Hornady, Fiocchi, Winchester, and Monarch, with absolutely no problems/slam fires.
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Old 02-10-2011, 18:49   #7
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Thanks again everyone for your replies. I'm going to use both and just stay south of the 168 gr bullet line. That's suit me fine. I appreciate the info.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:23   #8
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Originally Posted by cqbinkalifornia View Post
It says not to go above 168gr bullets. This is most likely inreference to using 180gr or 200gr bullets.

The 168gr match round is as good as the round gets, and theres absolutely no reason that you cant shoot it.
Thanks for the clarification cqbinkalifornia!
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:17   #9
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I've been around M1A's for years and owned one a few years back. I've shot commercial as well as NATO rounds and never had any issues. I have herd of some slam fires but never witnessed one. I would suspect something was up with the rifle or the ammo, like a reload with a high primer.
I'm with cqbinkalifornia, stay away from the Indian crap ammo and the 168gr match round is as good as the round gets.
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Old 04-07-2011, 18:27   #10
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I lugged an XM-21 sniper rifle in Nam and have owned 2 M-1A rifles. I've used both types of rounds in my rifles and have never had one single problem with any of them. But I did always use the high quality ammo in my rifles. Standard ammo was never good enough for my rifles. I stuck to match grade ammo all the way.
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Old 04-09-2011, 13:30   #11
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I went through the same thing when I broke my old M1A out this year and started shooting and reloading for it. Some on the threads claimed M1As were stamped on the barrel with .308. Not mine. I called Springfield three different times and got a little more info each time. I bought this in 1986, new. On the first call I was told my stock was refurbished. By the third call I learned that since my reciever is marked 7.62 right under the serial number that meant other variations than what comes from Springfield today. The tech I was transfered to told me that back in the mid-80s they came out of Springfield with chrome lined USGI barrels and USGI bolts, reciever and trigger group. Along with what I've read on the threads I'm taking that to mean the barrels, etc, that came out later were those stampted .308s and some parts were no longer considered USGI, even if made to the same specs. I don't know if there is more to learn from those facts but I believe they refer to a database of serial numbers from which they grab the bare-essentials about your weapon to share when you call.
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Old 04-10-2011, 15:41   #12
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Originally Posted by SgtDog0311 View Post
I went through the same thing when I broke my old M1A out this year and started shooting and reloading for it. Some on the threads claimed M1As were stamped on the barrel with .308. Not mine. I called Springfield three different times and got a little more info each time. I bought this in 1986, new. On the first call I was told my stock was refurbished. By the third call I learned that since my reciever is marked 7.62 right under the serial number that meant other variations than what comes from Springfield today. The tech I was transfered to told me that back in the mid-80s they came out of Springfield with chrome lined USGI barrels and USGI bolts, reciever and trigger group. Along with what I've read on the threads I'm taking that to mean the barrels, etc, that came out later were those stampted .308s and some parts were no longer considered USGI, even if made to the same specs. I don't know if there is more to learn from those facts but I believe they refer to a database of serial numbers from which they grab the bare-essentials about your weapon to share when you call.
The tech you spoke with was incorrect if he told you that M1A rifles were coming out of the factory with USGI receivers.

11B
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Old 04-10-2011, 17:24   #13
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My M1a has a USGI chromelined barrel but SAI forged bolt. I've mostly shot mil-surp out of it( it loved Aussie surplus but alas that's all gone). For hunting I use Remington Corelok 150 gr. with no problems at all. I've also shot the FMJ 146-150 gr. civie ammo from Federal, Winchester and PMC with no problems.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:40   #14
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Fragout... you are right about that. I tossed the reciever in there and shouldn't have. USGI parts being available did not include the reciever. From the look of my stock I'm not even sure I believe them on that one. I'd have expected to see one or two deeper nicks or signs of wear.

For Brickman or anyone else who is interested, I found this thread I'd captured from one of the forums, probably the Highroad or the M14 forum, back when I first got this old girl out again and was wondering about some of the same questions Brickman had:

"This comes directly from 6mmBR.com, and I assure you, these gentlemen know their cartridges backwards and forwards. Here's the original link .308 Winchester Cartridge Guide and here's the part you were looking for.

308 Win vs. 7.62x51--The Straight Scoop
Before we go much further, we want to address the oft-posed question "Are the .308 Winchester and 7.62x51 NATO one and the same?" The simple answer is no. There are differences in chamber specs and maximum pressures. The SAMMI/CIP maximum pressure for the .308 Win cartridge is 62,000 psi, while the 7.62x51 max is 50,000 psi. Also, the headspace is slightly different. The .308 Win "Go Gauge" is 1.630" vs. 1.635" for the 7.62x51. The .308's "No-Go" dimension is 1.634" vs. 1.6405" for a 7.62x51 "No Go" gauge. That said, it is normally fine to shoot quality 7.62x51 NATO ammo in a gun chambered for the .308 Winchester (though not all NATO ammo is identical). Clint McKee of Fulton Armory notes: "[N]obody makes 7.62mm (NATO) ammo that isn't to the .308 'headspace' dimension spec. So 7.62mm ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule." You CAN encounter problems going the other way, however. A commercial .308 Win round can exceed the max rated pressure for the 7.62x51. So, you should avoid putting full-power .308 Win rounds into military surplus rifles that have been designed for 50,000 psi max. For more information on this interesting topic, read the following articles: Gun Zone's 30 Caliber FAQ; Cruffler.com Technical Trivia, June 2001; and last, but not least, Steve Redgwell's .308 vs 7.62x51 Analysis, which really provides a definitive explanation. Reloaders should also note that military ammo often is made with a thicker web. Consequently the case capacity of 7.62x51 brass is usually less than that of commercial .308 brass. You may need to reduce recommended .308 Winchester loads by as much as 2 full grains, if you reload with military 7.62x51 brass, such as Lake City or IMI."
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Old 04-12-2011, 20:41   #15
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Originally Posted by bizarrocolin View Post
My rifle is a newer, M1A standard loaded, with a SS med. wt NM bbl.

1. I've only shot commercial .308 Win. No issues.
2. I've never had a slam fire.
3. The receiver is NOT stamped with a caliber, but the bbl is: 308. The spec sheet from Springfield indicates it can fire both: "Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO (.308WIN)"

I hope this helps.
Truth spoekn here. I've shot both with 0 issues from 147 grain FMJ to 180 grain hunting rounds. I seem to do the best with 168 OTM rounds marketed as "7.62 M1A Match" by American Eagle.

Just stick to commercial stuff and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:13   #16
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The real issue between 7.62x51mm and .308 Win is in the Mil spec and what the .308 Win spec does not say.

There is no leeway in the 7.62x51mm mil spec. A certain projectile weight(s), at a certain muzzle velocity, using a powder with a certain burn rate, at a specified chamber pressure and all the mil spec loads meet the same specified ballistics curve and standardized impact points. The ballistics curve means the iron sights are on regardless which mil spec load is being fired.

The .308 Win spec ignoring the brass and OAL, only lists max pressure. No restrictions on the powder specification, burn rate, and gas velocity, none on the projectile weights, muzzle velocity, and other that a max NTE across the board no projectile/pressure restrictions. Ballistics curve and impact points standard between loads are not a consideration.

One more thing, A ".308" stamped on the barrel may or may not be indicative of the cartridge the firearm is chambered for. The plain numbers usually indicate bore diameter not cartridge. A 7.62 or 7,62 stamped on the barrel is the same as a .308 on the barrel. Now add the rest of a designation and there is no question. A 7.62x51mm stamped ID or a .308 Winchester stamped ID and all is fully answered. Never assume on a firearm what is not spelled out

An example is a barrel stamped .45, other that bore diameter there is not enough information to really say anything.

Last edited by BM59_Fan; 04-13-2011 at 09:30.
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Old 04-16-2011, 19:08   #17
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Originally Posted by SgtDog0311 View Post
Fragout... you are right about that. I tossed the reciever in there and shouldn't have. USGI parts being available did not include the reciever. From the look of my stock I'm not even sure I believe them on that one. I'd have expected to see one or two deeper nicks or signs of wear.

For Brickman or anyone else who is interested, I found this thread I'd captured from one of the forums, probably the Highroad or the M14 forum, back when I first got this old girl out again and was wondering about some of the same questions Brickman had:

"This comes directly from 6mmBR.com, and I assure you, these gentlemen know their cartridges backwards and forwards. Here's the original link .308 Winchester Cartridge Guide and here's the part you were looking for.

308 Win vs. 7.62x51--The Straight Scoop
Before we go much further, we want to address the oft-posed question "Are the .308 Winchester and 7.62x51 NATO one and the same?" The simple answer is no. There are differences in chamber specs and maximum pressures. The SAMMI/CIP maximum pressure for the .308 Win cartridge is 62,000 psi, while the 7.62x51 max is 50,000 psi. Also, the headspace is slightly different. The .308 Win "Go Gauge" is 1.630" vs. 1.635" for the 7.62x51. The .308's "No-Go" dimension is 1.634" vs. 1.6405" for a 7.62x51 "No Go" gauge. That said, it is normally fine to shoot quality 7.62x51 NATO ammo in a gun chambered for the .308 Winchester (though not all NATO ammo is identical). Clint McKee of Fulton Armory notes: "[N]obody makes 7.62mm (NATO) ammo that isn't to the .308 'headspace' dimension spec. So 7.62mm ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule." You CAN encounter problems going the other way, however. A commercial .308 Win round can exceed the max rated pressure for the 7.62x51. So, you should avoid putting full-power .308 Win rounds into military surplus rifles that have been designed for 50,000 psi max. For more information on this interesting topic, read the following articles: Gun Zone's 30 Caliber FAQ; Cruffler.com Technical Trivia, June 2001; and last, but not least, Steve Redgwell's .308 vs 7.62x51 Analysis, which really provides a definitive explanation. Reloaders should also note that military ammo often is made with a thicker web. Consequently the case capacity of 7.62x51 brass is usually less than that of commercial .308 brass. You may need to reduce recommended .308 Winchester loads by as much as 2 full grains, if you reload with military 7.62x51 brass, such as Lake City or IMI."
If you look at the way they measure pressure on a 7.62x51 vs the .308 Win via a chart, its apples and oranges. That is, they are not measured in the same manner. SAAMI is measured at the neck and NATO is measured in the wide part of the chamber. This alone can account for a very significant difference, several tens of thousands of pounds, between the two. Measured similarly, the pressure of a 7.62 NATO round is almost identical to that of a .308 Win. round.
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Old 04-20-2011, 15:19   #18
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Originally Posted by Dacotua View Post
If you look at the way they measure pressure on a 7.62x51 vs the .308 Win via a chart, its apples and oranges. That is, they are not measured in the same manner. SAAMI is measured at the neck and NATO is measured in the wide part of the chamber. This alone can account for a very significant difference, several tens of thousands of pounds, between the two. Measured similarly, the pressure of a 7.62 NATO round is almost identical to that of a .308 Win. round.
Another apples and oranges issue is that there is a big difference between the .308 Winchesters SAAMI spec stating an NTE Chamber pressure and the 7.62x51mm Mil Spec stating what the chamber pressure SHALL be. As I stated in my above post the real issue is what is NOT present in the .308 Win SAAMI Spec.
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:12   #19
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There is some great info here but I thought this might help as I know the question comes up a lot among new shooters. Our team just put together a graphic that highlights the differences of .308 and 7.62x51.
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