M1A Information Request


August 4, 2007, 11:48 PM
So, I'm interested in the SA M1A, Iv'e seen the different models including the standard, and national match rifles. What can I expect for pricing on these models new and used? Is their an advantage to the synthetic or wood stock or is it just preference? What type MOA could I expect from these models? And finally, how much would I be spending on a mount and decent or top of the line scope? Thanks for the info folks, I appreciate it! -Danny

If you enjoyed reading about "M1A Information Request" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
August 5, 2007, 01:52 AM
The is a huge price range in these rifles, and what they sell for as well. There's also the question of buying a complete rifle, or going for a custom built one. SA is not the only maker.

LRB is the only company making M14/M1A receivers from forgings, the same way the original M14s were made. Many consider this the only way to make M14/M1A receivers.


Fulton Armory rifles are highly regarded. Their 'peerless' is a super rifle, and even their standard grade are outstanding. They cost more too.

Springfield uses cast and machined receivers. There's nothing wrong with them, and SA offers an outstanding gurantee. As the supply of GI parts has dried up, they have started making more and more of the parts themselves, or though subcontractors. M14 snobs will tell you the best parst are USGI and made by TRW. They are pretty much right, but the new parts are generally more than adequate, and in some cases superior.

IMO, one fo the best 'bangs for you buck' is the SA 'Loaded' rifle. This is basically a standard rifle upgraded with NM sights, a match barrel and a target trigger for a few hundred buch more. Well worth the money.

Wood or Fiberglass? That's a preference. However, fiberglass is stronger, slimmer and usually fits tighter. I don't bother with wood because I am interested in performance, not looks.

The base loaded rifle can be had for about $1700 NIB if you shop around. As sold, this rifle should produce 1 MOA with good ammunition -- and not much better. I hate to say it, but unless you go full custom, 1 MOA is about the best you can expect with good ammo and it cost a lot of money to get anything better. Service grade rifles will shoot typically 2-3 MOA. Surprise, surprise but this is about the same as most hunting rifles.

For scope mounting, there are really only two choices. Avoid anything aluminum as it is generally no good - or won't hold up with use. Smith Enterprises and Sadlak make the best scope mounts for the M14/M1a. The Smith is steel, the Sadlak can be had in steel, aluminum and titanium. Steel is hard to get, because those are going to the sandbox. The titanium model costs like lobster - $360 retail. The Smith is a mere $325.

Rings will depend on what you like, QD or fixed. If you are going to spend $300+ on a base, don't skimp on rings. Buy Badger, Seekins or TPS. Get steel.

As far as scopes, there's decent, and there's top of the line. I shoot at a lot of precision rifle (i.e. sniper) matchs. These folks consider Leupold MkIV's as 'entry level' optics.

If you can live with fixed power, one of the best values in a decent, low priced scope is a SWFA SuperSniper starting at $300. Top of the Line starts with Leupold MkIV and goes up from there - Nikon tactical is good - better optics than leupold, but terrible customer service. Night Force and US Optics are simply outsanding. Many consider Schmitt and Bender to be the top of the heap. I hope so, when a basic scope can easily run $2500. The 'cheap' Leupolds and Nikon are around $1000. The USO starts at around $900, and goes up from their, pretty much built to your specifications.

I realize that's not particularly helpful, but it really depends on what you want and can afford.

Here's the details on my current rifle, and M1A 'loaded' that's been customized a bit. It is a reliable 1 MOA stooter with my match ammo or Federal GMM. By that I mean it wil put a full magazine into 1 inch at 100 yards - not 3 shot groups or excluding 'flyers'

SA M1A 'Loaded' with stainless Match barrel $1700
Sadlak Titanium Scope Mount $360 (I actually paind dealer price)
TPS 30mm steel rings $75
Nikon Tactical 2.5-10x $999
Unitized Gase system ~$100
Sadlak guide rod $40
Sadlak match TiN coated piston $40
Rooster 33 bolt stop $50
Karsten Cheek Piece $55
Rader Trigger $200 (IIRC)

I'm not going to total it up because I'll cry. This was assembled over about a year. You can always start simple and spread the pain by buying a part at a time.

August 5, 2007, 02:25 AM
10 yards, eh?

Mike ;)

August 5, 2007, 07:19 AM
I think that's why he'll cry if he'd total it up. :)

Nice write-up. I"ve lusted after an M1A for a very long time and there's lots of good stuff in there. (Thanks)

August 5, 2007, 09:56 AM
Perhaps someone can comment on the Loaded Standard's milsurp abilities? I understand that NM and SM's are more finicky about ammo, but wonder if Loaded's gobble up milsurp or are they chambered for match ammo?

China also makes forged receivers - so LRB is not alone. I understand Chinese receivers can be excellent, (Polytech and Norinco). Personally - no flames please - I cannot conceive of buying an M-14 from China, but that's just me. My house is full of unavoidable goods from China, I guess in my own personal view, the M-14 will not be one of them. Still, the bang for the buck is there, so a Polytech M-14 is something to look at if you're budget minded.

My Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM has been 100% reliable and accurate through over 7,000 rounds. The only hitch early on was magazines and that problem has been solved by CheckMate. Beautiful USGI issue mags can be had for about 20-bucks. No more cheap knock-off's or hit and miss T-57's.

If the Loaded Standard is indeed mil-surp friendly, I would not hesitate to jump on one. The examples I have seen have been beautifully built rifles with great fit and finish. Springfield Armory does what no one else will do - stand behind their rifles for life. Though I'd love to have a custom built rifle by Smith Enterprises, LRB, Warbird, Ted Brown, Fulton Armory, WTA, etc - buying a Springfield Armory rifle for 1/3 the price makes more sense to my budget and you're not giving up anything.

Buy a basic rifle, get used to the irons and the gun "as is", then start adding gadgets piecemeal - it will be softer on the wallet and give you something to build up upon.

Good luck!

August 5, 2007, 10:03 AM
The Chinese (Norinco) receivers have had problems with stretching and headspace. They also aren't GI spec. There used to be an industry devoted to fixing Norincos, but as they aren't imported any longer, I'd pass.

I have yet to have problems with finicky NM rifles. Most are have chambers cut for 7.62x51mm and commercial 308 won't be a problem. I've only owned SA personally, but have shot Fulton and few others, all with nary a problem. I use Winchester brass and full length resize. LC brass is pretty inconsistent for target work, and has to be sorted by weight.

August 5, 2007, 10:10 AM
Moral: Don't post late a night when tired. I made a few corrections to the above.


August 5, 2007, 02:24 PM
GunTech, Great post.

IMO, one fo the best 'bangs for you buck' is the SA 'Loaded' rifle. This is basically a standard rifle upgraded with NM sights, a match barrel and a target trigger for a few hundred buch more. Well worth the money.

I too bought the SA Loaded model. Great value for the money. Synthetic sotock & carbon barrel in my case. I'd like to add a Wood stock & Stainless barrel jsut to have another. Synthetic weigh's a little less and won't warp.

Everything else you state is very accurate.

Everyone should have at least one M1A. IMHO

dscottw88, Get one and you won't be disappointed.

August 5, 2007, 08:13 PM
This is my next project now. I was concerned what type of 308 rifle I'd be interested in buying but I am simply and purely interested in buying an M1A. I really appreciate the info folks!

August 5, 2007, 08:14 PM
When it's time to accesorize, PM me. I get dealer prices from Brownells. I can save you a bunch of money.

August 5, 2007, 08:15 PM
What would an "entry level" M1A cost?

I'm already thinking about what next rifle I am going to buy sometime next year, and I think I'm down between a Mini 14 Target and an M1A.

August 5, 2007, 08:42 PM
If you shop around, you can get a basic M1A for between $1200-1300. A 'loaded' will run around $1700. You can often find these used for a lot less, and unless they have been seriously abused, are fine guns.

That's the bad news. M1As are on the high end when it comes to semi-auto military style rifles. Surplus parts are pretty much non-existant, so thety have to be built complete, unlike othe rifles like the HK copies and FAL, which can still be made with a high proportion of very cheap, surplus parts.

August 5, 2007, 11:36 PM

yeah, I figured you meant 100. I was just having a little chuckle at your expense. ;)


August 6, 2007, 12:19 AM
No problem. I'm a notriously bad typist and don't take anything personally. And THR is great because I've never seen anyone give it 'personally'.

August 6, 2007, 02:37 AM
...you don't come here often, do you? ;) :D


August 8, 2007, 09:13 PM
I really apreciate the info on this site!!! I am really considering a M14, and it looks like the loaded M1A from Springfield is this one....maybe the scout with the rail.

August 9, 2007, 01:48 AM
+1 on getting the rifle and working with the irons. I have the Smith mount and the awful truth is that by the time you get that much steel and a scope on the rifle it has metamorphosed into something heavier and clumsier than you started with. I can still get along with iron sights and would rather have a 10.5 pound rifle with moderate weight and decent balance than a 13 pounder.

It might be just me, but I also prefer the standard barrel length. Unless you're going to be in and out of vehicles and houses constantly, it pays its way.

Mine started out as a standard wood stocked rifle with medium-heavy barrel; later had it given the NM mods and still love it. I have guns I like just as much but none more.

August 9, 2007, 05:23 AM
If you do go with a scope mount on your M1A I recommend the ARMS mount. If you can find one of the older split rail type ARMS mounts that's even better. I could not so I had my newer ARMS mount modified to the split rail design. The ARMS mount is considerably lighter than the Smith or other mounts that are out there, and the ARMS mount also mounts the lowest of anything available.

August 9, 2007, 09:03 AM
The ARMS mount has been difficult to get for the last 6 months or so. While lighter than the SEI mount, I'm not sure if it is lighter than the Sadlak titanium. The ARMS has also had issues with fitting SA receivers, which are sometimes slightly out of spec.

August 9, 2007, 10:58 AM
I must have lucked out with my ARMS mount. Got it last year, maybe before they were in such demand, and it fits my M1A Loaded perfectly. I put an SWFA SuperSniper 10x42 on mine with Burris Extreme Tactical rings. So far, so good. :D

August 30, 2007, 02:25 AM
To resurrect this thread: I've got a SA Loaded in synthetic; I've shot dozens of hipower matches with surplus South African and Portuguese 150 grain, with nary a problem. They aren't going to shoot like 168 SMKs, but I've been holding well under 2 MOA, often 1.5, and thats with strong variation in lot numbers.

I don't think you should have any problems shooting surplus out of the M1a Loaded (avoid the crap stuff though: Indian, Pakistani, etc.)


If you enjoyed reading about "M1A Information Request" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!