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View Full Version : Opinions Please: M1A


Vanguard
05-22-2009, 3:05 PM
What are your guy's opinions on this rifle?

Accuracy, ergonomics, price, etc.

Not looking to start a FAL or AR-10 vs M1A thread but if you want to throw your opinion in about other systems, have at it. All opinions welcome.

The reason I ask is that I'll be buying a .308 soon and I'm favoring the M1A right now. Just wanted some opinions and info.

TonyM
05-22-2009, 3:06 PM
Which model are you looking at? This can make a difference in opinion.

Black Majik
05-22-2009, 3:06 PM
Best CA least-neutered battle rifle available.

Vanguard
05-22-2009, 3:08 PM
Which model are you looking at? This can make a difference in opinion.

Either a Scout or a Loaded with a stainless barrel. Not a SOCOM.

I'm leaning more toward the Loaded for the full length barrel.

GTKrockeTT
05-22-2009, 3:09 PM
get the scout if you can find one.

Untamed1972
05-22-2009, 3:11 PM
I have taken a couple rifle courses lately and there have been a couple of guys with M1As. The most common complaint I've heard is at the end of the day....and it usually is something like "Damn that thing gets heavy after awhile!"

Other then that, haven't head any other complaints. At the last class one guy had a Scout and during a firing drill his front sight cracked and fell off. Was a farily new rifle too. Another guy in the class stated having the same thing happen to his Scout as well.

zrock
05-22-2009, 3:17 PM
Love the full size. Even used it in 3gun matchs . like it

Sicarius
05-22-2009, 3:31 PM
The M1a is a great gun. Springfield lifetime warranty just tops it off.
Kevin

randy
05-22-2009, 3:34 PM
It's a great rifle you couldn't go wrong.

csorin
05-22-2009, 3:35 PM
It's not a .308, but its forbear, the .30-06: M1 Garand from the CMP (http://www.thecmp.org/m1garand.htm). Spend the 1000 saved on ammo, range time, learning how to shoot, reloading equipment, and so on. Also, loading enblocs and hearing 'em PING out on the last shot is pretty damn satisfying.

Your Garand's receiver along with its other parts will be built to higher tolerances than almost any commercially made M14 variant. I've seen more than a couple guys have elevation problems with their M1A's. I also saw a guy break his firing pin in the middle of a match. The last match I was at, the guy I was paired with was having all sorts of problems with his from seating rounds in the chamber to the elevation not holding. He was impressed that I was holding black at 600 yards with a service grade M1 and surplus ammo. Keep in mind I'm also a new shooter.

Anyways, the choice is yours. I used to drool over M14's, but have learned to really appreciate the unique lines of the M1 Garand. And history man! It's badass to own a true surplus rifle. They come already dinged, so no worries tossing it around. You get to disassemble it, clean off all the cosmoline, maybe refinish the wood, and voila, you've taken part in bringing back an old war baby.

Give the Service Grades a look. The barrel will have plenty of life left in it, and the metal will look almost new. I got lucky and got a decent USGI stock with a tight fit to the trigger guard. If you're in the San Diego area, both Don Gussler or Don McCoy can give it a looksy when you get it in. PM me if you have any questions about the CMP program.

tenring
05-22-2009, 3:37 PM
Scout :28:

brando
05-22-2009, 3:39 PM
I'll be the first to say I wish I'd never bought my M1A Scout. It's been a perpetual let down and required far more maintenance than I would have hoped. That said, it's still quite fun to shoot. Accuracy of M1As leaves much to be desired and it requires a lot of work to get 1MOA. They are very reliable however, though a pain to clean. As CA gun owners we don't have a lot of options, so I won't discount an M1A, but personally I'd say look elsewhere.

X-NewYawker
05-22-2009, 3:42 PM
Garand- best completely legal in Ca under 10 rounds rifle

M1-A BEST completely legal removable magazine .308 rifle in CA.
AR-10 still has to be BB/maglocked and that is something I will not live with.

elenius
05-22-2009, 3:49 PM
I had one, shot it quite a bit, and sold it.

You asked about accuracy, ergonomics, and price.

Accuracy - not very good. You have to get a "match" model if you want it accurate, and if you want it scoped, you need to spend additional money on scope mounts (plus it will look ugly, and you will need to do something about the stock, because the gun was not made with scoping in mind). Even if you do get a match model, it will require periodic maintenance to stay accurate.

Ergonomics - Good and bad. Good: Great iron sights and trigger, and sights are very close to barrel, which is nice. Bad: The gun is very front heavy and therefore difficult to shoot off hand or on the move.

Price - Not good. Very expensive for what you get.


The one really good thing: Reliability. Mine was flawless in that regard.

Cardinal Sin
05-22-2009, 3:54 PM
Loved the gun when it was issued to me. Reliable battle rifle. As accurate as the shooter. Pricey in the civilian sector. I would go with an LRB build and specify accuracy or combat reliability. You can blend the two but too tight and problems with dirt will occur. Too loose and you dang near have something like an AK as far as tolerances go. Do your homework first.

cmace22
05-22-2009, 4:10 PM
Like the Idea of the M1A, but not too happy after I purchased one. I had several FTE's that was traced back to a kinked extractor spring.

Ergonomics are ok. But adding a scope can be a PITA compaired to other systems.

Accuracy was ok also but for a 1.8-2k gun not so good!

Id buy a Saiga 308 and maybe get better reliability, the same accuracy for 1/4 of the cost.

odysseus
05-22-2009, 4:24 PM
M1A/M14 clone is a great rifle, but yes pricey. Springy is a good company to begin with, with an excellent warranty should you ever need it.

I think some people expect a lot from them more than they were engineered for from its design, but they are a solid platform. I have plenty of pre-2000 20 rnd magazines, I will tell you I have the most fun shooting a Scout with irons at milk jugs and 2 liters with 7.62 unloading the whole mag in a string. That puts a big smile on my face, despite the ammo cost. Yet also a NM setup with a NM SS barrel with a 4x scope with great eye relief, shooting at targets at 200 yards is fun too.

To the OP - have you shot one? If not, find someone who might let you plink theirs. If you did you will make your determination fairly easy one way or the other.

M1A Rifleman
05-22-2009, 4:24 PM
Best battle rifle next the M1 Garand. Get a full size and you should be happy with.

swerv512
05-22-2009, 4:25 PM
my first rifle was a M1A loaded with the stainless. best semi auto rifle i ever owned. it may not be the most accurate or tacti"cool" rifle out there but it was definitely the one i miss the most. it's beauty and function all in one. i always wanted a scout, but i never regretted getting the full length barrel. you WILL love either one. i miss mine....

mls343
05-22-2009, 4:41 PM
Personally, I love mine. Never had a malfunction, easy to maintain, and accurate enough for any real general purpose including SHTF.

It is heavy, but it is a main battle rifle (MBR), so with this in mind, it is probably the best built weapon in this catagory. Period.

Cannot go wrong in my opinion.

626Tony
05-22-2009, 4:43 PM
great rifle but a lil heavy

Jonathan Doe
05-22-2009, 4:44 PM
I shoot an M-1A for NM service rifle match. At the last month's match, I kept shooting the spotter off at 200 yards hitting 10's and X's. Once accurized, like mine which has a rear lug also, M-1A's are hard to beat. My rifle has been shooting off spotter at 600 yards also, capable of 1 minute group if I do my part. By the way, it is with the iron sights.

Joe
05-22-2009, 4:44 PM
I want one, but they're overpriced.

aplinker
05-22-2009, 4:52 PM
This is a good summary.

The M1A isn't a good target rifle without serious work, expensive mounts and maintenance. As a battle rifle it's heavy and a bit awkward. I'd argue it's beaten handedly in the latter by the FAL.

If you want something that shoots .308, the Saiga is an excellent alternative. Its only shortcoming are the crappy AK sights. Otherwise it equals the M1A in every way, except it's 1/3 the price.

If you want to shoot with near bolt-action accuracy, get an AR-308, like the AR-10T. Sub-moa out of the box.

I had one, shot it quite a bit, and sold it.

You asked about accuracy, ergonomics, and price.

Accuracy - not very good. You have to get a "match" model if you want it accurate, and if you want it scoped, you need to spend additional money on scope mounts (plus it will look ugly, and you will need to do something about the stock, because the gun was not made with scoping in mind). Even if you do get a match model, it will require periodic maintenance to stay accurate.

Ergonomics - Good and bad. Good: Great iron sights and trigger, and sights are very close to barrel, which is nice. Bad: The gun is very front heavy and therefore difficult to shoot off hand or on the move.

Price - Not good. Very expensive for what you get.


The one really good thing: Reliability. Mine was flawless in that regard.

B Strong
05-22-2009, 5:37 PM
Best CA least-neutered battle rifle available.

100% correct.

A properly configured M1A is the best rifle going for Californians, with the Garand a close second.

old-trapper
05-22-2009, 6:05 PM
yep..these guys are right...i have a few m1a's and garands. Take the time build a class act M1a and dont look back. I have had, shot or sold almost everything else but a AR10 and still love the m14. If a class act m14 cant do it it dont need to be done...

Vanguard
05-22-2009, 6:11 PM
It's not a .308, but its forbear, the .30-06: M1 Garand from the CMP (http://www.thecmp.org/m1garand.htm). Spend the 1000 saved on ammo, range time, learning how to shoot, reloading equipment, and so on. Also, loading enblocs and hearing 'em PING out on the last shot is pretty damn satisfying.

Your Garand's receiver along with its other parts will be built to higher tolerances than almost any commercially made M14 variant. I've seen more than a couple guys have elevation problems with their M1A's. I also saw a guy break his firing pin in the middle of a match. The last match I was at, the guy I was paired with was having all sorts of problems with his from seating rounds in the chamber to the elevation not holding. He was impressed that I was holding black at 600 yards with a service grade M1 and surplus ammo. Keep in mind I'm also a new shooter.

Anyways, the choice is yours. I used to drool over M14's, but have learned to really appreciate the unique lines of the M1 Garand. And history man! It's badass to own a true surplus rifle. They come already dinged, so no worries tossing it around. You get to disassemble it, clean off all the cosmoline, maybe refinish the wood, and voila, you've taken part in bringing back an old war baby.

Give the Service Grades a look. The barrel will have plenty of life left in it, and the metal will look almost new. I got lucky and got a decent USGI stock with a tight fit to the trigger guard. If you're in the San Diego area, both Don Gussler or Don McCoy can give it a looksy when you get it in. PM me if you have any questions about the CMP program.


You don't have to convince me about the Garand. I love those rifles and must own one. It's a given for me. I plan on getting one as soon as I can.

angryasian
05-22-2009, 10:01 PM
I have a hard time keeping quiet on this one. What ranges are you going to be shooting at? The m1a is a accurate rifle. a little trigger work and a bedding job is all you need. Its not a bolt gun, its an autoloading "PROVEN" battle rifle.

alpalwal
05-22-2009, 10:25 PM
I've only shot one once but I fell in love. It fits great, excellent sight picture, and just a sweet weapon overall. Still a bit pricey but you've got to pay to play

Jonathan Doe
05-23-2009, 7:13 AM
Service Rifle class rifles that I shoot for the match. I shoot primarily M-1A's.

http://i454.photobucket.com/albums/qq263/5topgun/MatchRifles2Small-1.jpg

glockman19
05-23-2009, 7:27 AM
Best CA least-neutered battle rifle available.

I second that sentiment.

The loaded model, IMHO is the best value.

1919A4
05-23-2009, 11:53 AM
M1A's are bad ***. I have the scout. They arent that heavy. Someone was being a girly. Its the best option to have a detachable mag. And its a 308. And the sites are awesome. Hits at 500 yards on a man size target are pretty easy with open sites. never had a issue with mine. Its bone stock.minus the H&K style front site and vortex brake.

Crazed_SS
05-23-2009, 12:12 PM
lol @ whoever said the M1A is hard to clean. The rifle is 3x easier to clean than an AR that blows gunk and carbon all over everywhere. For routine cleaning, I dont even take my M1As apart.

EDIT: I have a Garand too and it's awesome, but ammo is a problem. Since it cant shoot commercial .30-06, with the Garand you have to plan ahead and stock up from CMP. I dont know anywhere that I can jsut walk in and pick up surplus .30-06 around here :(

Cato
05-23-2009, 12:40 PM
Best CA least-neutered battle rifle available.

My thoughts exactly. If I lived in a free state, I'd get an AR-10.

slo5oh
05-23-2009, 1:04 PM
Great rifle! Can't go wrong. I miss mine, had to sell it when $ got tight... still have loads of mags ready for the day I buy another. With the .308, when you shoot and it goes BOOM instead of POP I'd get a nice warm feeling knowing that zombies aren't safe even if they're hiding behind cinder blocks... :)

vf111
05-23-2009, 1:21 PM
If you have the scratch, look into an LRB. The LRB receivers are the most USGI-spec of all the M14 clones and they still use mostly USGI parts on their builds. LRB can also build a rifle for you from a parts kit you provide on one of their receivers. If you know nothing about M14's, then a Loaded, Standard or Scout M1A are good bets to start off with. Be warned, M14's have a tendency to mutliply....;)

Finally, I don't find my M14's heavy at all compared to my DSA (FAL) and PTR91 (G3) - they're all heavy but that helps mitigate the recoil of the 7.62NATO round.

vf111
05-23-2009, 1:26 PM
lol @ whoever said the M1A is hard to clean. The rifle is 3x easier to clean than an AR that blows gunk and carbon all over everywhere. For routine cleaning, I dont even take my M1As apart.


+1000 - the M14 gas system is way cleaner than the AR's poop where it lives DI system.

Suvorov
05-23-2009, 1:44 PM
I have an M1A National Match as well as a SOCOM. Obviously, I am a big fan of the M14 platform and would recommend them. I think that many here are being too hard on the rifles, but they do point out some of the deficiencies as well.

Accuracy - My National Match gun is able to consistantly print sub moa 3 shot groups and 5 shot groups are typically right around 1 to 1.5 moa. A lot of that is me as I will typically shoot 1 moa 5 shot groups with my Remington PSS which I have no doubt is a sub minute gun. For what it is, the National Match is more than accurate enough and more accurate than I am. My SOCOM 16 is obviously less accurate shooting 3-4 MOA groups with cheap ammo. That said, it is able to group well with match grade ammo the few times I have tried it, coming in at about 2-2.5 MOA.

Ergonomics - The ergonomics of the M14 series rifle is good. It is old school compared to the AR15, but still very shootable. Magazine changes seem harder than with an AR but are still easier than using enblock clips on a M1 and are about the same as mag changes on a AK or HK rifle. I like the safety and the trigger is far beyond the stock trigger on AR rifles. As mentioned by others, weight is somewhat of an issue, but then again it helps with the heavier recoil of the 7.62 round and it seems the WWII GIs didn't cry much about their Garands so maybe I shouldn't ***** much, especially since I don't have to hump mine for months at a time. One problem with putting optics on the rifle that has been mentioned is finding a good scope mount. With a good mount, the scope will sit too high for a good cheek weld and thus require you to fashion or purchase some sort stock modification.

Reliability - Reliability has been very good. The only malfunctions I have experienced have been to a bad magazine which is now in my parts bin. I have witnessed issues with scope mounts causing malfunctions on others rifles so that is something to think about. If you are thinking of it being a SHTF rifle, the catridge makes "stopping/knockdown/hitting power" or whatever you want to call it a moot point plus the rifle can easily fill in as a medium/big game rifle - my SOCOM is my pig gun.

Cost - This is the big downside of the M1A, but given the prices for AR pattern rifles these days, you are going to be spending around $1500 either way. Ammo cost is higher, but then again, 5.56 is no longer a cheap alternative either.

If you want a PRK legal battle rifle, I would say the M14 type rifle is the best way to go. The M1 is less expensive but IMHO is less capable due to the enblock clip. I don't know much about the .308 Saigas, but they seem like a decent option, especially if you are wanting to spend under a $1000.

chickenfried
05-23-2009, 1:52 PM
While the thought of lugging it around the hills hunting did give me pause, usually weight isn't an issue. Have realistic accuracy expectations and you won't be disappointed. Mine is a standard grade with a TRW barrel, with $85 of work by hook boutin. Shoots ~2" (somtimes more sometimes less)five shot groups, reliable, 20 rounds of .308, and it's semi-auto what's not to like? If you mount a scope and need a little height just add a cheekpiece ~$25. Harder to clean, not really. Yup the price is a little hard to swallow. But my m1a is one of the few firearms purchases I've never second guessed. Had a DSA CA-legal FAL sold it got rid of my match AR too.

vf111
05-23-2009, 2:15 PM
To the OP, anther poster recommended a CMP Garand and that's also a good option. If it must be in 308, buy a new 308 barrel and get a smith to install it for you. You might be able to sell off the barrel if its not shot out and is from a desirable manu. All this will probably run you not much more than a 308 Saiga and I find a Garand much more appealing!

Astig Boy
05-23-2009, 3:56 PM
If anyone contemplates getting a M14/M1A, you must understand, it is old school. When deciding, it is much like buying an old school classic car...is that what your looking for?..or do you want the latest and greatest Vette? You dont compare the two! It is something you want to get in to. As with all things considered classics, it is not perfect... you do it to own a piece of history, its nostalgic feel and character. This is why I like the M14/M1A and the Garand platform....nothing like the smell and feel of wood and the "weight" of steel...and when you pull the trigger, it has balls to go along with it.

wilshire1412
05-23-2009, 4:18 PM
I have two M1A rifles, one is an older standard rifle with mostly GI parts including the 22" barrel and the birch stock. I replaced the sights with GI N.M. and I had the gas system unitized and the trigger tuned to a very nice 4.5lb break. My other M1A is a scout I purchased a couple of years ago, it is in a GI fiberglass stock and has the unitized gas system along with a gas lock front sight and a Smith Ent. muzzle break. I prefer the standard rifle for shooting but the shorter rifle is more handy simply because it is shorter, they both weigh about the same. At a minimum you should replace the op rod spring guide with a Sadlak match spring guide, I have one on both of mine and this part makes it easier to insert a magazine into the rifle. Be aware that many who try to scope these find disappointment after spending a lot of money in doing so, usually a scope makes them awkward in handling and they really don't shoot any better with optics most of the time.