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Posted: 4/14/2002 4:45:13 AM EDT
Gentleman, I would like to call upon your collective knowledge and experience to help answer a few questions I have pertaining to the M14/M1A.

I want to get into a high end M1A and would like to know what is the best road to travel; I.E. Who will give me the best rifle for my money - Springfield Armory or Fulton Armory??

As far as cost, both the Springfield Supermatch and Fulton's equivalent grade model is going to run around the same price. Both easily over two large $2000. With such a steep price I definitly want to make the best decision and get the most for my money.

Seems to me that a little more personal care might go into the Fulton but, I wanted to get some real world experience perhaps on which is the better choice. The Springfield or Fulton??

A few more questions if I may.

If I do decide to go with Fulton I believe I have to provide my own reciever for them to build the rifle.

I have heard that the Springfield double lugged recievers are the best however, Fulton seems to put a lot of faith in the Chinese/Polytech recievers.

What are your suggestions as to what is the best reciever to build the M1A on??

What is the ballpark price of a good reciever these days??

Where is the best place to purchase one??


Thanks for the help, 03 out!!
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 4:57:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 5:01:39 AM EDT by Noname]
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:04:51 AM EDT
First, Springfield M1A receivers are cast. You should know that in case you care. Obviously they sell lots of them and they don't regularly blow up.

Second, Polytech M14 receivers are forged. From what I read it's usually the only good part on one. A buddy owned one so I have some second hand hearsay horror stories that I'll spare you.

Have Fulton Armory build you a gun. You'll get the added attention to detail that you're talking about. If you get the Springfield Custom Shop to build one it should be a good one too but if I were in your shoes I think I'd go the Fulton Armory route.

Before gunandknife.com disappeared, the recent Armscorp M14 receivers (also cast) were taking a beating on the M1A/M14 forum.

You could also wait forever for an MK Specialties forged M14-A2 (I think I got the nomenclature right)

www.m-kspecialties.com
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 6:19:36 AM EDT
J_E_D fill me in on the Armscorp reciever's ,, I had been to the gunand knife M-14 forum a few times in the past... I have a complete Armscorp, that came with all New H&R GI parts, I got it in 89,, I have probably fired 600 rounds through it without a hitch,,, accuracy is great for a "rack" grade rifle,, with a 9X scope and FED. premimum ammo it will shoot groups averaging about 1", seems I get 1 flyer about 3out of 5 that will spread it out sometimes...it DOES NOT like Lake City match though,,, will shoot Win or Rem surplus ball, and some Belgimum I have better than LC match,, really loves the Fed.. What kind of problems were they having?? At the time I got it , it would shoot better than Springfields, "entry level" match gun...
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 6:53:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MoparLou:
J_E_D fill me in on the Armscorp reciever's ,, I had been to the gunand knife M-14 forum a few times in the past... I have a complete Armscorp, that came with all New H&R GI parts, I got it in 89,, I have probably fired 600 rounds through it without a hitch,,, accuracy is great for a "rack" grade rifle,, with a 9X scope and FED. premimum ammo it will shoot groups averaging about 1", seems I get 1 flyer about 3out of 5 that will spread it out sometimes...it DOES NOT like Lake City match though,,, will shoot Win or Rem surplus ball, and some Belgimum I have better than LC match,, really loves the Fed.. What kind of problems were they having?? At the time I got it , it would shoot better than Springfields, "entry level" match gun...



They were carrying on about them being out of spec. Barrels not indexing right. Headspace way too tight or way too loose. Firing pin bridge mislocated. Stuff like that. It was general QC stuff.

I look at it like this: Every manufacturer has crappy runs. Good manufacturers don't let it happen often and fix it when it does happen.

In my my time on gunandknife.com I saw plenty of posts about good Armscorp guns. What turned me off about them was availability. I didn't want to buy a receiver from GPC because those were mostly what everyone was complaining about. I wanted a complete rack-grade gun. I almost went for an MKS reweld. Thank God I didn't. I didn't want a NIB Springfield since there were pretty persistant and credible rumors about them having CAST op rods. All in all it seemed like WAY too much of a pain in the ass to get into a correct rack-grade M14 clone. I understand that Armscorp is like any other gun maker in that there are problems with manufacturing and parts availability. That's fine. I just chose to not wait and wait and wait on them. I wanted a factory gun that I could return if there were problems, not a gun show special. Sometimes Armscorp comes down the the Richmond shows that C&E puts on at The Showplace and I regularly see tables full of beat up parts at premium prices. A very nice (Korean?) lady is behind those tables and usually doesn't say a whole lot or answer any questions. Right or wrong, that has influenced my opinion of them.

Now I've got an M16. I'm probably done buying military rifles, especiall full auto ones. If someone I know had a SA M1A, Armscorp, or even a rebuilt Polytech for sale and I knew that they had shot it regularly and it was all GI except for the receiver, I'd probably go for that. I'm not interested in the chance that I'd have to troubleshoot a new gun. I'm also not interested in paying $7000+ for a real one and as much as another $1000 to have it restored to new condition. One of my friends has a converted Springfield Armory M1A. It's a beast on full auto, but it's all GI, runs great and shoots great. Every time I get the M14 itch I ask him to drag that out. Now if he could just do a good R. Lee Emory impression and yell at me while I'm shooting it.......

Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:14:16 AM EDT
I'd definetly have a qualified gunsmith make sure that your reciever is in spec (re;wall thickness) even if you buy a factory Springfield. Check it out before you go upgrading parts or shooting it.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:14:37 AM EDT
I've got to say one more thing about this.

AR-15's are great guns. I like them, I own them, I shoot the hell out of them. They are cool. They are great to work on. They are also very common.

The M14 clones, on the other hand, seem to me like a much more serious gun. That's my opinion and I don't care to argue it. My mind won't be changed.

It makes me want to cry when I hear about some poor schmuck who shells out for one and then has incessant trouble with it. There aren't that many gunsmiths that work on M14 clones. There's only one good book on how to work on them. The tools are expensive. Real GI parts are getting harder by the day to find. Non-GI parts (barrels excluded) seem to be mostly junk. Despite all that I think they are a more desireable rifle than an AR-15. There is definately a certain love of them involved in building your own. In a perfect world companies like Armscorp, Entreprise, MK-Specialties and Springfield Armory would all make in-spec receivers and you could get a kit and have a gunsmith put it together in a few days and live happily ever after. Magazines wouldn't cost so damned much either, but that's a different rant.

I applaud those who buy M14 clones instead of an FAL or G3. All three can be great or crappy rifles depending on who made them, but the M14 is at least and American design.

For a rifle designed by committee, it came out pretty well.

Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:24:28 AM EDT
Fulton can build you a better M14 than Springfield but you have to specify the parts.

Fulton has been sort of a surplus dealer and custom smith for years but is skilled at M1s and M14s. He's making some AR clones now but they aren't anything special.

Springfields use a cast receiver but it's strong. The problem is that they do the same thing the FAL builders to: build their rifle with used parts and cheaper new parts. That Op rod is the biggest problem.

You can find a great M1A if you make sure it's one build of all GI parts as long as you understand that they're used.

The Polytech rifles are better than they sound if you get one of the phosphated ones. There were some blued ones imported that are pretty bad. The Polytechs were copied from M14s picked up in Viet Nam. They were made for sale to various liberation movements but didn't move. So they made semiauto receivers and sold them cheap. They're better than you'd believe after hearing some of the slams Springfield put out when they threatened the M1A. I've got one that I put US sights and some other stuff on and it'll match an M1A any day.

The biggest problem is that all of these rifles are made with used parts. Whatever you buy has to be checked out real good.

Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:27:57 AM EDT
Thanks for all the input so far guys, I appreciate it.

If im going to do this, I want to do it right. Time and money are of no concern at this point. Im willing to wait for something worth owning.

It seems from the responses thus far that puting up with the wait purchasing the MK reciever and having Fulton Armory build on that reciever is the way to go. The reciever is the heart of the weapon. Sure I would probably have no problems with a cast SA reciever but why go that route when I can get a true forged reciever per the original Gov't specs for the rifle.

I did see that MK offers complete M1A rifles. If they make sutch a great reciever would it be fair to say that their complete rifles would be comparable if not better than what Fulton Armory builds?? Please advise

03 out!!
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 8:09:37 AM EDT
This is third-hand information at this point but MK-S does do great work on their rifles. You could get a rack-grade rifle from them. I've seen several of their complete rifles built on the illegally confiscated rewelds and all their work was first rate. Every owner that I've seen post or hear talk about their MK-S built rifle raved about it.

My opinion is that it would be worth the wait if you are so inclined.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:16:04 PM EDT
Well, change 1 to change 2.

Fulton Armory recommends Springfield Inc's M1A recievers exclusively on their website. I thought that it was odd that they didn't recommend the Enterprise or MK-S recievers since a forged reciever is supposed to be stronger, of higher quality and held to tighter specs than a cast reciever. So I e-mailed FA and inquired about the MK-S recievers. I asked if they had heard of them and what they thought of them.

Well they returned my e-mail and said that they had previewed the MK-S M1A prototype reciever at Camp Perry last year. They stated that the prototype M1A reciever they saw was un-sat.

Now MK-S has supposedly told FA that they have worked out all the bugs that were evident on their prototype shown at Perry "before" they went into production. Fulton did state that they have not yet recieved their production M1A reciever (that is still back ordered) from MK-S to fully and officially evaluate it for the record. So to be fair to MK-S, Fulton has yet to fully evaluate the "blessed" production model MK-S M1A reciever.

Well that sounds promising however, Fulton then stated that a customer who just recieved his production reciever from MK-S (and is a competant M1A Smith) told them he was unsatisfied with the production model MK-S M1A reciever he just recieved. The customer is supposedly in the process of sending it to them for their evaluation. "Stay tuned"

To make a long story short, Fulton says cut and dry, that until they recieve A production MK-S reciever to fully evaluate, Springfield Inc's recievers are the only game in town they recommend.

The only exception to that statement is if you want to buy a complete Norinco/Polytech M1A, trash the rifle components and keep the reciever which suprisingly, according to FA, has a squared away reciever they will gladly build a rifle on.

Im not taking sides on this debate, im just trying to get schooled up before I slap down my dinero.

Fulton Armory's reputation preceeds them so I have to respect their take on this. After all, what the Fuck do they care what reciever you buy? They are making their money doing the build on the reciever provided by the customer. In short they have nothing to gain by telling us to go with the Springfield or Norinco product.

What do you guys think about this?? Any MK-S owners or M1A smiths out there?? Any real world experience with the above mentioned products??

What about Armscorp or Enterprise recievers. Good or bad??

Any and all input is greatly appreciated.

Semper-Fidelis, 03 out!!
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:43:09 PM EDT
J_E_D thanks for the info.. I noticed Gun Parts sold Armscorp receivers,, I bet Armscorp sells them the ones that don't pass their standards instead of trashing them,,, But, if they are substandard and get bad reviews,it looks like it would hurt them in the long run,, I say this since you said most of the complaints you heard were about recievers purchased from Numrich, Gun Parts... when I ordered mine, for an extra fee, (I don't remember how much now) you could specify all matching parts, ie. all win, H&R TRW, they said they would be new GI or used excellent.. I didn't have the extra to request it, but when it came it was as far as I and a guy who is pretty good on them,,(I actually knew nothing) could tell it was all H&R and all new , unused parts,, I was very happy, and it shoots great.. Haven't heard much about them lately,, and it was all assembled by them, like was mentioned, that gives you some recourse if something is wrong,, I have heard that in the last 6-8 years, as GI parts are drying up that Springfield is using some cast, and substandard parts. Wonder if the Govt. still has stashes of new parts, that can be released, or if they have all been torched????? Also heard at one time some of the chinese guns appeared to have original U.S. receivers that had been made semi-and restamped,, any truth to that???
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:51:50 PM EDT
Oh yeah J_E_D, I agree with you 100% I like the U.S. type rifles, whether AR or M-14 clone, and yes the M-14 seems like a more serious rifle. If I was in Afganastan, and not in house to house type situation,, except for the weight difference,, I would rather be issued a M-14, and these weapons have suprisingly light recoil, I think, especially fired offhand, Kind of like the pre-64 Win,,, it seems like a Rifleman's rifle. caliber and all....But I love my A2 govt carbine too and its got its place... just most of that wide open ridge top to ridge top that I see on CNN, especially if I was dug in, I would rather have the M-14
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:47:40 PM EDT
This debate always shows up on this board. The M-14 type rifles are expensive and I understand the receiver debate. I have a lot of miles on this type of weapon. I have an opinion that the Springfield receiver is the best. A good casting is better than a bad forging any day. People get hung up on the forged issue. I don't like Chinese steel no matter how it was processed. They are not as good as the Europeans, the Japanese, or the United States in metal. A too hard receiver is just as bad as a too soft one. Impurities in the metal can be bad for for long term durability. They do a fair job on their com bloc types, but these are low pressure rounds. Sorry, I can't be convinced. I owned 3 of the Chinese M-14's and numerous com bloc types. I don't anymore.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:12:32 PM EDT
I can't speak to which high-end M14/M1A is best, but I agree with J_E_D and MoparLou in liking the M1A better than an AR. I got a Colt Competition HBAR a while back, and have enjoyed developing an accurate load for it (Varget and Sierra 69 gr HPBT). It's fun to shoot, but a real pain to clean. On Friday, I bought a low-end Springfield M1A and some surplus .308 ammo. Not a one-holer by any means, but there's something potent about it... makes the AR feel like a varmint gun. It's plenty accurate for anything but really long-range sniping. And... no gas residue to clean off the bolt. Now I understand why Fred raves so about the M14.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:26:22 PM EDT
Well, I've owned two Springfield-built M1A's and one Fulton Armory M1A built on a Springfield receiver. The first Springfield rifle I got was a NM gun in the early '90's. It had a cast trigger assembly that went tango uniform after about a thousand rounds, had to get a new one from Fulton. Other than that, it was a decent rifle. The other SA rifle I had was a 'reload package' rifle from the late '90's, seems better built than the NM. Still have some problems with the trigger group.

The Fulton Armory gun is a rack-grade rifle built on a Springfield receiver. It is hands down the best built, tightest, and highest quality of the three. The better quality parts and careful hand-fitting by someone who knows what they are doing is very obvious. That rifle is a work of art. If I were in your position, I'd buy a Springfield receiver and send it to Fulton. If you want a really accurate competition gun, get a rear-lugged receiver. Buying a rifle from Springfield is kind of a crap shoot. They make good stuff, but they use an unpredictable mix of GI and cast aftermarket parts. Fulton uses top-quality stuff, and builds their rifles much better, in my experience.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 10:51:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MoparLou:
Oh yeah J_E_D, I agree with you 100% I like the U.S. type rifles, whether AR or M-14 clone, and yes the M-14 seems like a more serious rifle. If I was in Afganastan, and not in house to house type situation,, except for the weight difference,, I would rather be issued a M-14, and these weapons have suprisingly light recoil, I think, especially fired offhand, Kind of like the pre-64 Win,,, it seems like a Rifleman's rifle. caliber and all....But I love my A2 govt carbine too and its got its place... just most of that wide open ridge top to ridge top that I see on CNN, especially if I was dug in, I would rather have the M-14



The marines did up some DMR M14's and Krieger did a custom run of barrels for these; med weight and chambered.
They ran off a few extra if you want one.

My MK reciever was supposed to ship friday. If there is someone in the SF north bay area that wants to check it out next month I'd be happy to let you.
Link Posted: 4/15/2002 12:46:22 AM EDT
I had an M1A and liked it so well that I bought a receiver and had Fulton Armory build a service-grade. I like that so well that I sold the M1A.
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