I'm thinking very hard about buying the loaded model with the stainless barrell and composite stock. I'm curious to know if this model is appreciably better than the standard. Just as I sold several pistols to get a real nice 1911, I'm thinking about selling a few rifles to get this. I've come to realize I have too many non-collectable firearms to be really proficient with them all. Kind of a less is more kinda thing. Just as my 1911 has become my primary pistol, I'm planning on my M1A becomming my primary rifle for hunting, trainig, and general rifle proficiency. I will put a nice scope on it, but will train with Irons as well.
Soooo, Here's my rationale: I like nice triggers and the loaded has the NM trigger. It also has the medium weight barrel which I hope will be a little more accurate than the standard. I'd like the rifle to be capable of about 1.5 MOA. The stainless finish will also stand up to the elements a little better. I'll probably shoot a variety of ammo through it, including match, surplus, and 180 grain nosler partitions for hunting. I'm leaning away from the match and super match because this is going to get a lot of use and I have concerns about the bedding holding up, plus they are probably more than I need.
Comments? Suggestions? (Ridicule?) Would this make and model be a good choice?
bigshooter, the loaded m1a is a nice choice ,i have a standard model that meets your requirements for accuracy,and is a chrome lined barrel.whatever you decide the m1a is a very nice rifle.
I'll tell you what a USMC armorer told me -
Along with your "Less is more" theme -
You can pay a little more, or you can get the Springfield M1A loaded and get alot less.
And especially if you ever plan on using the rifle for copmpetition, consider this re :the loaded package:
1. The barrels are sub-par. The stainless is better than the standard, but they BOTH are junk compared to a Krieger, or even a Douglas.
2. The trigger group is in a cast housing. Which means the housing is subject to flex and distortion, which is NOT good for accuracy.
3. The receiver is single lugged. All compoetition M1A's are double lugged receivers.
4. The gas cylinder is not match quality.
5. There's only so much tuning you can do with the trigger itself in the Springfield loaded package. You indicated you like nice triggers. This is NOT such a trigger.
6. You WILL end up replacing the walnut stock, for either a palm swell match walnut, or a fiberglass Macmillan or equivalent.
Keep in mind, if you are just looking for an occasional shooter, the above prolly won't matter to you.
But I made the mistake of getting the loaded package, thinking I'd never compete with it.
Guess what? I use it in competitions now.
Always plan for the future, not just for today.
My advice? Get you a double lugged receiver, and a Krieger or Douglas barrel, and build up from there, based on your needs.
A lot depends on when the M1A was made. I've got an earlier one that's OK. It's from the generation that used all surplus parts. They're using some remake parts now that aren't as good. A lot of the load they're talking about isn't really any more expensive for them to make than the regular parts and really doesn't do much for the rifle.
If you want a really good shooter stick with an AR. You can get them in .308 too. They outshoot the M1A these days. Talk to anybody who shoots at Perry.
They're fun to shoot though.
Get the M-1A, they're fun.
You might want to get a copy of Scott Duff's book on the M-14/M-1A. It will outline all the things that can be done to accurize the M-1A.
I'm not a fan of some of the factory "composite" stocks, they're injection molded using glass-filled nylon and flexible as he11. They cannot be bedded either as bedding compounds won't stick to flexible stocks.
Other things you'll want/need to get are:
stock that can be bedded (Mcmillan fiberglass, laminate or walnut)
match iron sights
Brookfield or Arms 18 scope mount
unitized gas cylinder
gas cylinder shims
match reamed flash hider
replacement trigger and hammer (cast ones are junk)
Magazines from Cole's
Well.... I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but if you're looking for something to use as your all-around primary rifle I'd NOT go with the M1A. I've had one for several years, and while I do like to shoot the rifle on occasion I think it has some shortcomings.
For scoped use, the M1A really needs a stock with a higher comb (like on the Super Match M1A... [edited - should be M21 and not Super Match!]) or at least a fairly tall cheek piece. The scope is mounted pretty high above the bore-line and it is almost impossible to get a good cheek weld with the "regular" stock. Also, the brass tends to hit the scope mount or the windage adjustment turret on the scope during ejection. The bottom of my scope mount has a lot of little dings from the brass hitting it!
I used to take my M1A when I'd go deer hunting. Found that it got pretty heavy after a couple of days of trudging through the woods - especially if it was really hilly country. Would have been easier carrying a bolt-action .308 with a "standard" lightweight barrel.
The accuracy of the standard M1A rifles isn't anywhere near what you'd get out of a true match grade M1A. They're decent, but most any bolt-action scoped .308 will beat it.
I wound up taking the scope off of my M1A and LEAVING it off! It shoots good with the factory iron sights and is much more comfortable. Bought a Savage 10FP in .308 Win for target shooting from the bench. Works for me!!
When I was doing my research before buying my first M1a, I found out that no one was really recommending the "loaded M1a's" from Springfield. These experts explained that you will be dissapointed with performance. They described the loaded rifle as one "with match components flying in close formation." What they meant to say is that Springfield throws together the match components with little regard to hand tuning. What separates the supermatch from the loaded M1a is mainly a lugged receiver and more workmanship in handfitting the components. M1a's are not like AR's in that you can simply slap parts together and produce a superb rifle. The M1a is the last vestige of the "rifleman's rifle" and requires more work to get things just right. The experts advice to me was:
1. Buy the standard springfield M1a and practice. eventually upgrade.
2. Save up your money and buy the Fulton armory or higher end Springfield.
I ended up getting a springfield m21 and have been very satisfied.
As DnPRK said get scott duffs book. Pay attention to the chapter on choosing a rifle. He gives detailed info on id'ing cast VS forged GI parts. In a nutshell he states all cast parts should be replaced with GI. I dont know when the cutoff was when SA started using their own cast stuff, but I can tell you that mine made in 95 S#89xxx is all H&R and TRW. Paid a paltry $850 earlier this year.
It has an excellent trigger, better than either of my AR's Bushy, Colt. Shoots 2 MOA with surplus Port ammo if I do my part.(iron sights) Not bad for an old GI barrel.
Get an older wood stocked one if you want the real deal. Might save your self a few bucks in the process.
My Advice: look at getting an AR10 or FAL instead.
I bought a standard M1A with a synthetic stock about a year and a half ago. I have been disappointed with it ever since.
The first problem with it was that the finish on the stock chipped off at the slightest bump. It started to look beat up fairly quickly from normal use.
Next, I wanted to put a scope on it, so I bought the ARMS mount, which is one of the best. Due to rough machining, the mount was a pain in the neck to get on. I literally had to bang on it as hard as I could with a hammer and a brass punch.
After getting the scope on it, I decided to get a nice camouflage stock from FredsM14stocks.com. The way the M1A kicks the spent brass out of the gun, it dings up the new stock.
The next disappointment came when trying some accurate shooing off of a bench. It wouldn’t shoot any better than 3.5 MOA. I was hoping for more than that, so I decided to make some upgrades. I installed a NM op-rod spring guide, a welded NM gas cylinder, shimmed the gas system, and polished the front stock ferrule.
Now it shoots 1.5 MOA with Federal Gold Metal Match ammo. This is pretty good, but if I want to increase it, I’ll have to bed the stock and/or get a new heavy barrel.
If you get a standard synthetic stock you can’t bed it. Wood stocks you can bed. You can also bed the McMillan synthetic stock, but the stock is going to cost you $300 if I remember correctly.
Just recently, my trigger group (made of cast reproduction parts) has started to ware down or otherwise malfunction. (I have not changed it since it left the factory.) The rifle started to double more and more often. The last time I shot it, it quadrupled! I’m not shooting it again until I replace the trigger group with a USGI trigger group.
In summary: Springfield is putting low quality of manufacture into new M1As. They are using low quality reproduction parts. You will have to rebuild any new rifle you buy from them. For a $1000 + gun this is simply unacceptable.
If you have a hard on for an M1A, buy a used one that was made a few years back. Back when they were making them good with plenty of USGI forged (not cast) parts.
If you don’t have a hard on for the M1A, start looking at the AR10. I am! It is an excellent optics platform. The ergonomics are better. The gas system has no moving parts that require cleaning or maintenance. The lack of a moving parts gas system makes the AR platform more accurate as well. There is no bedding to worry about on the AR10. I hear no quality complaints about Armalite. Sure an AR10 costs a couple of hundred dollars more, but in the end it is less expensive due to the modifications you will have to make to the M1A.
In a word - don't. Don't get me wrong. There are some nice aspects to the M1A. But as many have pointed out, it is a poor platform for scoping (scope too high for cheekweld), and inherent accuracy is not up to modern standards in equivelent rifles.
Just bite the bullet and buy the AR10. Get one in a flattop, and you are good to go. Better accuracy (no bedding), better ergonomics, and the flattops are a natural for adding scopes.
I have the AR10T with a scope and it flat out shoots. Decent factory trigger, excellent quality. I get sub MOA with Federal Match ammo (if I do my part).
I also have an M1A. I gave up using a magnified scope on it, and recently installed an Aimpoint 2x reddot. This is a pretty cool combo, but of course you will not achieve the same level of accuracy as a scoped AR10.
But I do enjoy the M1A. Just a different sort of gun.
Overall, I would suggest a different course.
1) Buy the AR10 if you plan to scope the rifle or compete.
2) or get the M21 or NM M1As,
3) or find an old Chinese M14 reciever and send it to Fulton Armory for rebuild.
Thanks again for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it. Looks as though I will have to due some more homework...
Well Bigshooter, I love my loaded M1A. It shoots 3 MOA with surplus ammo and 1 MOA with match ammo. I know that may not be the greatest, but it is as good as I'll ever do. I understand the above mentioned complaints, but I still love the rifle even for all it's shortcomings. I wish I had went with a chromed lined medium weight barrel rather than the stainless, mostly because of looks. I think if you choose to get the M1A that it will be a good decision.
Gotta say My M1A puts a smile on my face when I shoot it. I don't bench rest it.......... I like to shoot Clay pigeons sitting on the side of a hill at 100 yards off hand. The rifle is lots more accurate than me.
Get the best M1A (M14) rifle you can afford. They are by far the best semi-auto platform you can find for a service rifle. (A 308 AR doesn't qualify as service rifle) I have been to matches where I have watched masters put 19 in the X prone at 600 yards using Lake City National Match Ammo.
you posted for advice but I'm betting you'll make your own decision.
At least take a look at the ArmaLite AR-10A4 and AR-10(T).
I believe you'll like what you see when you do the research. (This is not one of those points that's huge but a flattop rifle allows so much more choice in scopes and mounts.)
When you take a look at the AR10,take a look at the price of AR10 Mags. There is No finer Battle rifle than the M14/M1A. Gene
"When you take a look at the AR10,take a look at the price of AR10 Mags. There is No finer Battle rifle than the M14/M1A."
Then when you take a look at the M14/M1A, take a look at the price of those mags. There is no finer BATTLE rifle than the FNFAL.