M1A Accuracy Issues: The Handguard

M1A Accuracy Issues: The Handguard

Gus Norcross, originally trained on National Match rifles and pistols by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit specializes in Garands, M14s and 1911s at his small shop on the coast of Maine. His website is www.angusarms.com. He will be offering gunsmithing tips and tricks on Fridays.

When we think about tuning M14-type rifles to improve accuracy, factors such as bedding, barrels and triggers usually come to mind. Most never consider the fit of the handguard to be a problem, but eliminating contact between it and the stock can vastly improve accuracy. Keep in mind a prime directive of M14 accurizing: nothing forward of the receiver should contact the stock except the bottom lip of the front band.

GI handguards were made from fiberglass, with the underside painted silver. Current commercial offerings are plastic and less prone to cracking than the originals. The only function of this piece of plastic is to keep your hand away from the hot barrel.

Accuracy problems occur when the guard is too long, causing pressure between the front band and the receiver, or when the bottom edges are making hard contact against the stock.


If the guard is too long, shorten the receiver end with a belt sander. Relieve the edges of handguards that are touching the stock by laying a piece of coarse sandpaper on a flat surface and sanding as necessary. Test fit frequently and keep the edges straight. A 1/8" to 3/16" gap between the stock and guard is fine. Removal or replacement of the handguard clip can be tricky without the right tool. Badger Ordnance manufactures a set of handguard clip pliers available through Brownells as part number 093-200-050.


Plastic handguard

This commercial plastic handguard exhibits hard contact with the stock. No good can come of this, and more likely, it will prove to hurt accuracy.

Remove plastic

Just place the edges of the guard against coarse sandpaper on a flat surface to remove a little bit of plastic to provide proper clearance.

Clearance

Make sure there is clearance between the rear of the guard and the receiver. If there's not, use a belt sander to shorten the handguard.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

David Fortier had the chance to fire the Lahti L-39 while filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV while on location at DriveTanks.com.

SCCY CPX-4 in .380 ACP

SCCY CPX-4 in .380 ACP

New for 2019 is the SCCY CPX-4, a .380 ACP semi-automatic pistol that extends beyond the existing SCCY CPX-3 line of pistols.

Transcoded: FANIssue11-SpringfieldEdgeEVAC

Transcoded: FANIssue11-SpringfieldEdgeEVAC

Patrick Sweeney of Firearms News shows off the Springfield Edge AR pistol with a folding arm brace.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News. 2nd Amendment

Firearms News Investigates the NRA: Part 1

Nedd Scott - July 18, 2019

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News.

Want the “Holy Grail” of AR-15 rifles? Brownells has made that possible with their BRN-Proto retro rifle. Rifles

Brownells BRN-Proto Retro Rifle

Patrick Sweeney - July 02, 2019

Want the “Holy Grail” of AR-15 rifles? Brownells has made that possible with their BRN-Proto...

Rhode Islanders are setting brushfires for freedom once again as they advance a Second Amendment Sanctuary Town movement. 2nd Amendment

SPECIAL REPORT: BIG 2A HISTORY BEING MADE IN LITTLE RHODE ISLAND

John Peterson - May 22, 2019

Rhode Islanders are setting brushfires for freedom once again as they advance a Second...

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice would be ridiculous. 2nd Amendment

Is Red Dawn Really Just Ridiculous? If Not, Who Would Citizen Disarmament Help?

David Codrea - May 29, 2019

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Michael Anschuetz, our Staff Photography, gives a behind the scenes look at photographing an American Tactical Galeo rifle for the cover of Firearms News magazine! How-To

Behind the Scenes with the American Tactical Galeo Rifle

David Fortier - January 10, 2020

Michael Anschuetz, our Staff Photography, gives a behind the scenes look at photographing an...

The M1907 loop sling can be a very useful shooting aid, but only if you know how to properly use it. Here we show you step-by-step. How-To

How To Use A M1907 Shooting Sling

David M. Fortier - June 16, 2020

The M1907 loop sling can be a very useful shooting aid, but only if you know how to properly...

With record gun sales continuing in May after a banner March and April, recent figures indicate that about 40 percent of the gun purchases made during the COVID-19 pandemic have been made by first-time gun owners. Rifles

Three Ways New AR Owners Can Make Their Guns More Accurate

Mark Chestnut - June 04, 2020

With record gun sales continuing in May after a banner March and April, recent figures...

This article is condensed from the Introduction of the author's book How-To

How to Buy Military Surplus Guns

Paul Scarlata - January 30, 2016

This article is condensed from the Introduction of the author's book "Collecting Classic...

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now