What are the real differences in the M1A lineup?


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NorCalAl
November 6, 2007, 12:56 PM
I see that Springfield has a number of models and I've read the specs on all of them. That isn't my question. How much more accurate are the match grade than the standards? Do they use 'better' parts - in terms of service life or fit/finish? There's a wide divergence in price, I see that. But if you go for the Match Grade vs the Standard, what will it mean in the end?
On GB, there's a guy from Calif who sells a lot of them. One of his Standard ads says the base model will work with most any ammo, but the Match grades are much more picky. I understand the basics of 'why', what I'm wondering is, 'how much'?
In other words, other than restating what parts will be different, what do you get for the extra money?

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jamesb
November 6, 2007, 01:10 PM
Unless you are shooting competition with it there is not much differece. You will see groups get tighter with each upgrade but unless you can outshoot the standard model you won't see it. The loaded model is the best value. The national and super match offer a higher grade fit, they are glass bedded, but they require alot more work to keep them running in competion shape. I have shot the super match and the standard and they seem the same to me. IMO the match grade and super match are not worth the extra money to the average shooter. My standard eats anything I put in it and I still can hit targets out to 600 m with open sights.

NorCalAl
November 6, 2007, 03:48 PM
Now that's what I thought. I've had a number of expensive hobbies in my life and after a certain point, the law of diminishing returns is enforced. Small increments of improvement for vast sums of money. Cameras and lenses are prime examples. I'm thinking many guns might be the same thing.

Mark whiz
November 6, 2007, 04:15 PM
I went with the Loaded Standard myself too - a good compromise. The one upgrade from a standard I would recommend is to get the match front & rear sights. The front is a direct bolt-in, but the rears take a little bit of file or dremel tool work on the sight ramp in order to make it work. This change drops your sight adjustments from 1 moa per click to 1/2 moa - really nice for target shooting.

Good maintenance (including gas system cleaning) goes a long way to keeping any of the models shooting well.

OH - and a flasher supressor with the bayonet lug and matching bayonet are a Must - cause once the Liberals all get into office next Nov, those will be going away again.............probably permanently.

Kingcreek
November 6, 2007, 05:37 PM
My M1A SuperMatch is a wonderful shooter. 5/8" 5-shot groups at 100 yards and I used to shoot >90% 10 ring or better at 600 with irons when my eyes were younger. When shooting prone it will eject all my empties into an area the size of my hat at a 2 Oclock position.
My M1A Bush rifle will shoot groups a bit over 1" all day at 100 yards. Dang good rifle and loads of fun too.
Yes, the law of diminishing returns applies here. If you want +/or need the extra little bit of edge and don't mind what it costs, go for it.

30Cal
November 7, 2007, 12:02 PM
The standard and loaded models will shoot 2-4MoA depending on ammo and how lucky you get as far as the stock fit. The Loaded has a couple of misc. "match" parts, but none of the actual labor required to see the advantage of its match barrel. You might get very lucky and find one of these that shoots better than that. The standard grade that I owned would do 2.5MoA at best with match handloads.

The NM and Supermatch models will shoot ~1MoA (perhaps a tad better, but don't count on it) with match ammo. They're built for accuracy--bedded, fitted, glued and screwed together.

The barrel on the loaded and NM rifle adds an extra pound to the rifle. The Supermatch barrel adds 2lbs (which are all out front and IMO, it takes an additional 1-2lbs of lead in the buttstock to get it to balance right).

The match rifles are not anymore finnicky about ammo, but IMHO, it's a waste to shoot fodder surplus ammo through a good match barrel.

NM sights are great for full daylight target shooting. They are poor in less than full daylight.

jerkface11
November 7, 2007, 12:17 PM
Springfield is the way to go if you like non-milspec rifles with cast receivers. If not there are other vendors.

glockman19
November 7, 2007, 12:25 PM
I have a Springfield Loaded M1A. I decided on that one because the difference between the Matchgrade & Standard. The loaded has enough Match grade parts to make a difference over the Standard but the price difference was not enough to get me to pay extra for the Matchgrade National Match.

The Loaded includes NM Trigger, Sights & Barrel. The difference is in the Glass Bedding. I'd make the same decision and get the Loaded model and when you can shoot it to it's potential then send it back for a factory bedding job.

ShunZu
November 7, 2007, 01:20 PM
Some of you may have seen my rants about my National Match not shooting worth a hoot. It's been back to the factory, twice, and each time returned with targets they shot and a polite letter saying it's "within specs". But 2 inch groups (THEIR targets) at 100 yards, IMHO for a rifle that cost what it did, is unacceptable. I have a basic, cheap AR that shoots much better than my my NM does. Add to that the fact they've taken the NM off the serial number (my version, anyway), and I could never justify spending the money on one again.

Now it's just a safe queen. Nice to look at. But with the $ spent on factory bipod and magazines, over $2K in her and what a shame....

GunTech
November 7, 2007, 01:34 PM
I also opted for the 'Loaded', but ended up doing a bit of tweaking anyway. It is a solid 1 MOA shooter and not much better than that. I've owned just about every version of the M1A and it is pretty much, as mentioned, the law of diminishing returns. Once you start looking at the Supermatch, it's time to consider an AR-10T or similar rifle. The AR-10 match variants will outshoot the M1A match guns, sad to say.

RobMoore
November 7, 2007, 01:37 PM
Another vote for the Loaded model. It really is the best value.

I couldn't justify the upgrade cost from loaded to NM with so little difference compared to the upgrade cost from standard for alot of difference.

BruceB
November 7, 2007, 03:28 PM
Not only does my Loaded Standard M1A shoot Matchking handloads extremely well, but it also functions VERY well with cast bullets. NO, it doesn't "lead" the piston, or cylinder, or bore. I've fired in excess of six hundred consecutive cast loads over a period of weeks without cleaning of any kind, and it still functioned perfectly....and by this, I mean it works in semi-auto mode.

The rifle is now at about 4000 rounds, of which maybe 500-600 were Matchkings and the rest home-cast. Accuracy with cast loads varies a lot more than with jacketed ammo, but that's the nature of the beast. With cast-bullet loads it likes, the M1A fires groups plenty tight enough for reduced-range matches and wonderful plinking at very low cost.

My rifle has been perfect from Day One. I consider it to be a heck of a bargain, and it has become one of my favorites, out of a couple dozen other rifles.

30Cal
November 7, 2007, 06:15 PM
Some of you may have seen my rants about my National Match not shooting worth a hoot. It's been back to the factory, twice, and each time returned with targets they shot and a polite letter saying it's "within specs". But 2 inch groups (THEIR targets) at 100 yards, IMHO for a rifle that cost what it did, is unacceptable...

It's important to base you expectations on the specifications. If you throw the specs to the wind and buy things based solely on the pricetag, you're going to be dissappointed every time you open your wallet.

Guitargod1985
November 7, 2007, 06:25 PM
I, too, have been looking into getting an M1A rifle in a few months. Excuse my ignorance, but what is glass bedding?

ArmedBear
November 7, 2007, 06:26 PM
Heavy, Heavier, Heaviest
Expensive, Expensiver, Expensivest

Kingcreek
November 7, 2007, 06:31 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but what is glass bedding?
an epoxy filler is used to mate the stock and action. generally speaking, less movement= better accuracy.

30Cal
November 7, 2007, 06:48 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but what is glass bedding?

an epoxy filler is used to mate the stock and action. generally speaking, less movement= better accuracy.

On most rifles, you can't see the bedding. On an M1/M14, the epoxy will be plainly visible in the magazine well and around the footprint of the receiver.

TIMC
November 7, 2007, 06:55 PM
I agree with most of the others the loaded version is the best value and will serve you well. I you want to go to a higher grade M1A then go for it.
I went all out and bought the M-21 sniper version and love it. Did I need it? No Could I have been happy with a standard model? Probably but I could afford the M-21 and it was what I wanted.

GunTech
November 7, 2007, 07:25 PM
Here's another vote for getting what you want!

I did have my M1A 'Loaded' in a JAE-100 stock for a while, but it was too heavy. Given what I use it for, I probably would have been happy with the standard model as I don't use the iron sights and I installed a Rader trigger. After packing it around deer hunting this year, lighter is definitely looking better and better.

http://guntech.com/m14/jae-100.jpg

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