Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 25

upper handguard, heaver spring guide, tuned
4½-pound trigger and special front and rear
sights. These semi-automatic rifles shot great
and had to keep 10 rounds in 4½-inch groups at
300 yards using Lake City Match ammunition
and open sights. Some were scoped and used
as sniper rifles in Vietnam, and even today the
military uses them with scoped-up designated
marksman rifles. During Vietnam, M14 National
Match rifles proved very deadly when fitted
with a Leatherwood sniper scope.
The match M14 was generally used with
M118 Lake City National Match ammunition
which used high-quality boxer primed cases,
Dupont 4895 powder and a non-crimped
172-grain boattail match-grade bullet held in
the case by neck fit friction and a tar seal. This
no-crimp design allowed the bullet to pull from
the case more uniformly and more accurately
than if crimped like the 147-grain combat
bullet. Tar also provided an effective moisture
barrier for combat operations, and like combat
ammunition the primer was lacquer-sealed.
Early on, the .308 Win. quickly found
popularity with bolt-gun competitors in several
sports over the .30-'06 due to reduced recoil,
lower recoil recovery time, improved accuracy,
and in some sports its shorter, faster bolt throw
which also made it a natural for hunting. Then
came the civilian version of the M14, when the
Springfield Armory M14 clone (M1A) arrived in
the 1970s. For the next 20-plus years the semiautomatic rifle civilian, competitive shooting
and hunting markets were dominated by the
.308 Win. round. It's still an excellent caliber.
From 1978 to 1981, I would shoot the National
Match Course. At times, some M118 National
match (and sniper) ammo could be located
in the civilian market. Those of us using the
M1A were after all the Lake City M118 match

ammunition we could get our greedy little
hands on-this stuff shot really well.
We would take M118 match rounds and seat
the bullet a tiny fraction of an inch deeper-just
enough to crack the dry tar seal and release
tension (you can hear it pop). This made the
bullet neck pull tension more uniform from
round to round, improving the accuracy 15 to
20 percent. Going a step further was to simply
pull the 172-grain NM bullet and replace it with
a Sierra 168-grain MatchKing. This resulted
in a 30 percent improvement in accuracy
over original issue M118 ammo. This proved
correct out to 1,000 yards with Service Rifle
competitors. The generic slang name for these
converted M118 rounds was "Mexican Match"
and it was legit in matches (except DCM leg
ones). Mexican Match ammo is no doubt the
father of the current 7.62x51mm NATO sniper
ammunition and other variants. Also worth
considering is that at 500 yards, a .308 Win.
round hits with the same velocity and energy
as a .44 Mag. round does at one inch.
The .300 Win. Mag. with anything from the
"light" 180-grain bullet up to a 220-grain match
bullet proved superior at 1,000-yard matches
(a 250-grain match bullet came along later).
The .300 Win. Mag.'s higher-velocity bullet shot
flatter, deflected wind better and had a superior
BC compared to .308 Win. and .30-'06. The
effectiveness of the .300 Win. Mag. in 1,000yard matches in the late 1970s prompted the
military to seriously examine the data gained
at Camp Perry and implement the .300 Win.
Mag. as a sniper rifle. For hunting anything in
North America it's incredibly effective; though
for many the cost, noise, longer bolt throw and
"fun recoil" may be a drawback.
In the 1980s, I was the editor-in-chief of a
magazine and received many opportunities to

SSUSA.ORG | MARCH 2020

25


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Shooting Sports USA - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - March 2020

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 15
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Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 21
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Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 25
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Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 41
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Shooting Sports USA - March 2020 - 50
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