I recently purchased a SA Loaded M1A. I love this rifle! I am in my 30's and have never been hunting (family never hunted and I never had friends who hunted) but I want to learn now. Deer are everywhere up here and I want the experience of hunting my own deer, harvesting it, gutting it and putting it on my families table.
I have a 5 round magazine. What other items should I equip my M1A with for a successful hunt? Scope mount, rings & scope recomendations would be appreciated. I live in Maine, so it will be forrest terrain.
Should I spring for a synthetic stock also?
Any recomendations on how to get started?
Thanks for the help. I want to teach my 3 year old son how to hunt one day (I better start learning now). I think every american male should at least have the knowledge on how to hunt game.
Killed 2 deer with M1A, used Fed Premium 165grn. hunting rounds.
Suggest ya check out the ARMS #18 here: www.armsmounts.com/list.html for your mount.
ARMS can also fix ya up w/ rings or Badger makes first class ones too.
As to processing, we always clean/gut the deer within 30 minutes. At the farm, ever how long it takes to go get the Kubota front-end loader and haul deer to cleaning area by old barn. At the lease I generally gut the deer on the ground where it lays, (it's realtively easy once ya get the technique down), then throw on back of 4 wheeler.
The quicker ya get the deer quartered and on ice the better for the meat. We normally leave the quartered deer in the ice chest for day or two, then process ourselves. Meat grinder is necessary and with different inserts it will make chili meat to sausage. Backstrap and loin are the choices parts and we like to size the portions and freeze whole, thaw then slice into 1/2" thk. sections, bread-batter then chicken-fry in the skillet, mmmm good.
Processing a med-sized deer from quartering to freezer is generally a 4-5 hour process unless there's lots of help, and don't forget the seasoning and pork necessary for creation of spicy (the way we like it) pan sausage.
Stock options are personal preference, but not necessary for hunting, recommend ya contact the Maine Fish & Wildlife dept. as they will have all the info ya need to get started, as well as covering all the local laws and lotteries for prime hunting sites. (guess they have those up there??)
While I shot my first deer at 8, your getting a late start, but what's the old saying, "better late than never", just remember, hunting is a serious responsibility and just because ya got a 5 or 20 round mag there, don't mean ya need to use it.
A good hunter makes clean kills w/ "one-shot", and this gets easier the more ya've hunted, as the first time that monster buck (or any deer which ya intend on takin for that matter) steps into the opening, "buck-fever" will have ya shaking in your boots.
Always shoot from a rested position if possible and don't forget to "breathe" and "squeeze".
Good luck and hunt responsibly,
First off, the M1A and M14 clones are fine for hunting. A lot of guys use them. As you know, it's a little heavy to carry around especially when there are lighter rifles designed for hunting. But if it's all you have or what you want to use, it will do the job.
Good scope mounts for M14's run in the $200.00 range. Smith Enterprises sells a clone of the Brookfield mount which is said to be the best( good luck finding a genuine Brookfield). Since you are hunting wooded terrain, consider using the iron sights. Most of your shooting will be within 100 yards anyway. A synthetic stock is a good idea. The G.I. stocks will work fine and are inexpensive. Don't buy a synthetic stock from S.A. Inc. They use G.I. stocks, paint them (badly) and sell them at an astronomical mark up. Buy a used surplus synthetic stock and paint it yourself. It doesn't have to be pretty to work. They sell for as little as $20.00 if you look hard enough. Some places probably have them for less.
Also, never use high pressure ammo such as Hornady's Light Magnum's in a gas gun.
The above posters have the M1A pretty well covered. I'll offer a little advice on another aspect of deer hunting. Scent control. The deer's number one defense is its nose. Wind direction is critical. I wash my hunting cloths in scent free detergent and store them seperately. I wear boots dedicated to deer hunting. I don't wear them to the gas station. I also shower with scent free soaps before hunting. Scent control is especially critical in bow hunting, as you have to have the deer up close and personal before arrowing them.
Some guys wear aftershave, gas up on the way to the woods, eat spicey, smelly food, fart, and smoke like chimneys. Some of them still kill deer. They are either A) lucky as all get out, or B) hunt the wind.
Deer hunting is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I look forward to taking my little boy out as soon as he is able. At ~11 months old, I'll be waiting a while I congratulate you on your decision. Enjoy, and safe hunting!
I agree with all THE ABOVE. I've used a M1A for the last 20 years when deer hunting.I also use iron sights most of the time because I hunt thick stuff where bucks roam.Here's a couple more thimgs to consider.
A ladder stand (12 foot,15 is better)is safer than a climbing stand because you set it up then you climb on up to the seat.They're a little heavier to take in the woods but I equipped mine with wheels to carry the deer and other gear in and out.
Also more comfortable for first timers.Also use a safety belt (I know guys who have fallin asleep in the stand).
If you use a scope,get one with variable power settings to use at different ranges (3x9x40,2x8x32,etc.When you go to the shooting range try to shoot in different positions as you don't always get the perfect shot.Never climb into a tree stand with a loaded rifle.
Scent away soap works great on clothes and in the shower.
I had 3 deer run right under my stand last year (one was a nice buck) and didn't shoot any of them.sometimes it's nice to watch or take pictures.
Before deer hunting season comes around you need to practice,practice,practice at the shooting range.
If you need an ARMS mount,I have 8 of them coming in about 1-1/2 weeks as this was posted in the Armory.I beleive 6 of them are spoken for.
Have a nice hunt.Oh yeah,you'll always remember your first deer hunt so take pictures and be safe so you can pass the memories to your children.