Must have versions of an M1A?


Lucky Strike
October 24, 2008, 08:59 PM
So i'm thinking about plunking down the cash on a M1A. Right now i'm thinking just the standard version which it seems you can get in the $1300 range. Just wondering if any of the other models that SA sells are worth the extra money for what they offer.

I want something i can get 4 MOA groups with iron sights...i won't be adding any sort of foregrip, lights, etc to it. I may end up putting a scope but that would be about it.

The Scout model is intriguing.....I want something I can hit targets at that doable with this model?

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October 24, 2008, 09:29 PM
It would depend on what you intend to use it for and how much you intend to shoot it. If you are going to be using it for general plinking and take it out every couple of weekends or months I do not think you will see much difference in the models. If you are going to use it for a dedicated competition gun and shoot it everyweekend, get one of the national match models and prepared to drop some cash to keep it running, there is a reason all the service teams now shoot the AR. As far as 4 moa gun, most of them should do that out of the box if the shooter does their part. It also depends on the ammo you are going to run on it. I get pretty good groups using south african surplus out of my standard. 500 yard targets are doable with the scout model, so really, the choice between the scout and the standard, IMO is cosmetic. I was originally looking at a scout model but chose the standard because it fits the bill for the service rifle matches.

Lucky Strike
October 24, 2008, 09:35 PM
I don't plan on doing any competitions with it. Purely target shooting and as a defensive gun to protect my property if it ever came to that.

You say the national match models need a lot of care to keep them running that also true with the standard/scout models? I'm wanting something very reliable so if those two need constant care maybe i'm looking at the wrong platform

October 24, 2008, 09:38 PM
Scout Squad or an old Bush rifle.

October 24, 2008, 09:47 PM
Try to handle some before you buy. A lot of folks like the shorter barreled rifles, but to me the standard balances much better than the scout, bush, and SOCOM models. When you shoulder the standard, the sights are *right there* and everything is very natural. The Loaded is slightly front heavy, but still balances better than the shortys for me. I haven't been lucky enough to try out a Supermatch, M21, or Whitefeather yet, so I can't comment on those.


October 24, 2008, 09:52 PM
I have the standard M1a and a scout/bush. I like the scout rifle a little better than my standard, just because its a little easier to get around .

October 24, 2008, 09:59 PM
I have a NM that is approaching 30 years old. Only thing I do to keep it running is clean it now and then. Still shoots one inch groups.

October 24, 2008, 10:05 PM
My Loaded is an amazing rifle and shoots better than I can. And I can shoot really well. (internet bragging).

October 24, 2008, 11:15 PM
Scout Squad!!!!!!!

October 25, 2008, 12:32 AM
Scout. Resale is better also if you should be so inclined one day.

October 25, 2008, 01:35 AM
get one of the national match models and be prepared to drop some cash to keep it running

What does that mean? I've heard statements to that effect multiple times in reference to the M1A/M14.

October 25, 2008, 02:29 AM
I went with a "loaded"? standard ten years ago; pretty much a stock GI rifle with medium hvy. barrel. Eventually had it glass bedded and with NM mods. Did some match shooting with it but most of my shooting has been 3-500 yard work on silhouettes in open country. With some 2K rounds through it the only "work" required has been replacement of the op rod spring, bolt springs, extractor and ejector. Those are pretty prosaic "fixes" and if I had not been getting slightly strange ejection out from under a new Smith mount I doubt I would have even done that much.

Maybe a master class competitor would be putting more into a 10 year old M1A to stay right up there, but for what I do it's perfectly adequate.

I much prefer the standard rifle for steadiness and balance.

October 25, 2008, 02:42 AM
With the Scout or SOCOM , both should be able to hit a man/deer sized target at 500 yards with no problem.
At 200 yards , I get "head-shot" size groups with my iron sited SOCOM -- 5 rds. , rapid fire , off sandbags.

October 25, 2008, 02:46 AM
IMHO, The Loaded is the best value for the money.
I have a loaded and will be getting a Scout shortly.

Al Thompson
October 25, 2008, 04:00 AM
Ditto natescout. We have the same set-up and reached the same conclusion. :)

Lucky Strike
October 25, 2008, 12:32 PM
thanks for all the suggestions....i'll probably be sticking to the standard or scout..just have to find some to handle so i can decide on which.

my budding is trying to get me to go the AR15 route because of all the stuff you can get for them (especially with $1300) but there's something about the M1A and .308 that is appealing to me

October 25, 2008, 01:52 PM
If I had to buy just one, I'd get a standard grade full size rifle.

I've owned all three "lengths", and still have a full size NM.

There is really little difference between them except barrel length. They weigh basically the same. The shorter models, while a little handier, really dont offer much, if anything more.

If you want a forward mounted scope or red dot, your better off with an Ultimak rail than the Springfield rail. Springfield swears the rail is mil spec (more like Weaver), mine wasnt, and any of the mil spec mounts I tried, three ARMS lever mounts, a set of ARMS rings, and a Larue lever mount would not fit properly, if at all. The LaRue lever mount has a double recoil block spaced to fit mil spec rails, and would not go on my SOCOM's rail. The Springfield rail is also made of steel and gets and stays hot.

Some of the Springfield stocks, especially the synthetics, are a little shaky too. My SOCOM came with a poorly done over GI glass stock. Springfield swore (they swear a lot :) ) it wasnt, but you could see it wasnt as the paint quickly started chipping off from the ejected brass hitting it, the filled in selector notch, and where they ground off the checkering, which made the grip and forearm to narrow. On the other hand, do have some nice walnut stocks without the cut outs, and they also offer some nice walnut handguards to match, if you dont like the fiberglass.

October 25, 2008, 02:04 PM
The comment about spending money to keep them running usually refers to re-bedding the rifles periodically. This only applies to match rifles. I have an M1A1 that was produced in 1985, as a Class 3 weapon. It has shot well over 10K, with only the replacement of the recoil spring. I also own a 2004 Loaded that is into the 3K range without trouble.

The rifles are rugged, accurate, and durable. The 7.62x51 loads are also known for turning cover into concealment.

October 25, 2008, 10:24 PM
I recommend going with the Loaded model. Good value for what you get.

October 25, 2008, 10:37 PM
AK103K, yeah, my SOCOM rail wouldn't take ARMS scope mount either, it has too much play after installation. I had to use epoxy to fill in the gap and stop the play... but I have not shot it yet, not sure what barrel heat will do to the epoxy.

October 25, 2008, 10:52 PM
I really like my SA Inc. Standard Loaded. The NM trigger makes it a lot easier to hit with. With Fed. GM match my sight in groups are less than 2 MOA out to 500 meters. Not bad for an out of the box iron sighted rifle.

October 26, 2008, 12:57 PM
This is a 100 yard group I shot with my S.A. Standard M1A off a bench with the stock sights using 30 some year old surplus foreign ammo on a little windy day. I'm pretty happy with it.

October 26, 2008, 02:08 PM
I think the 18 inch barreled Scout version is probably the best balance of compactness and range available, and probably offers the most utility of any rifle available on the civilian market. Any version of the M1A should be easily capable of 4 MOA with just about anything you feed it. Even out of practice, my Loaded model will do about half of that with cheap 147 gr ball. With the 18 inch barrel, you only lose maybe 100 fps or so over the full length rifle, which is hardly noticeable at all but the most long range engagements. But the additional handiness is far more readily apparent to most. I love my full-size Loaded. The NM components I think are worth it and add to the shooting experience, but the rifle is a beast. Outdoors, this is of little consequence, but sometimes I wish I had gotten the Scout model. If I am able to afford another M1A before they are banned, it will be an 18 inch barreled rifle.

Regardless of what you choose, I am sure you won't be disappointed. The M1A is a sweet shooting rifle that is about as durable, reliable, and maintenance free as is possible to be.

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