New AR or M1A...help me decide


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GreenTN
August 2, 2009, 09:21 AM
Local gun shop has SOCOM M1As.
Plenty of ARs available as you know.

For some reason I feel like I need a 308...is it a "must have" to you owners like the 223 is? Which one do you like to shoot?

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sjohn26
August 2, 2009, 09:29 AM
Same quandry here - except I'm torn 'tween the Scout Squad and an AR-----------I'm watchin this one close

SC_1911Shooter
August 2, 2009, 09:39 AM
Same dilemma here. Torn between a SOCOM II and an AR-10 of some flavor like a DPMS LR.

Anyone own both that can give a contrast/comparison?

General Geoff
August 2, 2009, 09:40 AM
why choose? If you like AR ergonomics, but prefer .308 over .223, get an AR-10.


I personally like the ergonomics and operation of the M1A/M14 better than that of an AR style rifle, so that's what I have. Mine is the standard model with a 22" barrel, however. I personally think the Socom II and other short barreled M1As look dumb... *shrug*

GreenTN
August 2, 2009, 09:42 AM
I really like the SOCOM 16"....
pros for M1A
bigger caliber
more power
longer range
enjoyment of having a M1A

jackdanson
August 2, 2009, 10:33 AM
I HAD an m1a. I now HAVE multiple AR's. Get it?

The m1a is a good rifle. I just like the way the AR's point/feel better. I'm not a huge guy and my m1a was full size, it just felt a little big/heavy. Hold them both, see what you like better, there really isn't a standard answer for this, it's all opinions. Either way you are getting a good rifle. I also had a saiga in .308 and actually preferred it to the m1a. Of course the fit and finish wasn't as good and the sights were wretched, but for all practical purposes it was almost as accurate at 1/3 the cost.

personally think the Socom II and other short barreled M1As look dumb... *shrug*

Same here.

Jason_G
August 2, 2009, 10:39 AM
I enjoy shooting the M1A more so than the AR, but that's just personal preference. I have never shot the SOCOM before. I handled one at a gun show, and it did not balance well for me. The full length barrel M1As felt better in my hands.

Jason

GreenTN
August 2, 2009, 11:03 AM
I think its decided...M1A SOCOM 16"...I would like another AR but really, how many does one person need?

longdayjake
August 2, 2009, 12:15 PM
Okay, I would make some suggestions before you go out and buy a socom. The Socom is very limited. It cannot shoot or cycle 175 grain bullets. That automatically reduces its accuracy potential at long range. The Socom is a short range weapon and it is less accurate than an AR with even worse sight picture. This is helped by adding a scope but then you turn it into a sniper rifle rather than a CQB rifle which negates the whole purpose of the short profile. If you are wanting an accurate AR that shoots larger than .223 buy an AR in 6.8 or 6.5 grendel (my choice). The .308 will give you more range, but it will not be more accurate than an AR in .223 at 500 to 600 yards (depending on the AR). And the .223 can do just about anything the .308 can do at close range anyway. To get the full potential of the .308 round you should go with the full length barrel like a m1a Standard, Loaded, or National Match. The only thing that I think a SOCOM does better than an ar in 223 is penetrate barriers.

I have a m1a Loaded. My shooting buddy HAD a SOCOM. I liked them both but we found that the Loaded simply out performed the SOCOM in everything that we wanted it for. My buddy sold his SOCOM and bought an AR because the price of .308 was not justified when he could get the same or better results from an AR. The Loaded however was amazing at any range we shot it at with light and heavy bullets.

If you want your rifle as a close combat rifle as you're running from room to room in your house shooting zombies then the SOCOM is a GREAT rifle, but if you want it for more practical reasons then go with the Standard, Loaded, or NM.

The power and advantage of the .308 is wasted in a platform like the SOCOM. If you want a short barrelled .308 I would go with the AR10. This is just my experience and I am sure that there are a hundred SOCOM owners out there that would disagree with me, but one thing they have to agree on is that their rifles won't shoot m118 rounds.

Retro
August 2, 2009, 12:37 PM
For the OP, if you want a M1A platform, get the M1A Scout with 18 inch barrel. The scout is known as the most accurate M1A variant (I have tested three stock versions of M1A in my hand, namely stock full length, stock Scout, and stock SOCOM, and Scout is subMOA consistently, the full length is a 1.5 MOA rifle, and the SOCOM was a 2.5 MOA rifle). SOCOM was designed for CQB in a cement-barricaded urban scenerio.

If you pick the AR 308 platform, get the 18 or 20 inch barrel (DPMS makes only 18 inch). There was an article written about barrel length and accuracy. The writer started with a 24 inch barrel with 168 grain Federal BHTP, and gradually cut the barrel down by 1 inch decrement. He found that the highest velocity was achieved in a 20 inch barrel, whereas the 18 inch barrel resulted in only a 32 fps loss of velocity in comparison to the 20 inch, whereas the 24 inch was 100 fps lower than the 20 inch barrel, and the 16 inch was around 250 fps lower than the 20 inch barrel. The reason he gave was a rational one that bullet has to offset friction while achieving maximal velocity, and it seems that at 24 inch, the maximal velocity was already achieved and the friction is slowing the bullet.

In terms of accuracy, the writer found the 18 inch to be most accurate due to a stiffer barrel as a result of a shorter barrel. Hence M110 SASS was designed with 20 inch barrel.

DMK
August 2, 2009, 12:43 PM
For some reason I feel like I need a 308...is it a "must have" to you owners like the 223 is? Which one do you like to shoot?
I don't have an M14/M1A, but I have two FALs and a Garand converted to 7.62/308. I have plenty of surplus ammo stocked up so the ammo prices and shortage don't affect me. Yet, I prefer shooting 5.56/223 and shoot it much more. I like the ergonomics of the AR15, it's a lightweight gun (at least mine are, I don't go bolt-on crazy), low recoil and inherently accurate. I generally shoot the ARs every other time I go to the range. Yet the big bore guns only get shot once or twice a year.

lipadj46
August 2, 2009, 12:50 PM
For the OP, if you want a M1A platform, get the M1A Scout with 18 inch barrel. The scout is known as the most accurate M1A variant (I have tested three versions of M1A in my hand, namely full length, Scout, and SOCOM, and Scout is subMOA consistently, the full length is a 1.5 MOA rifle, and the SOCOM was a 2.5 MOA rifle).

The scout is a nice rifle but that's the first I've heard it being the most accurate M1A variant. The most accurate M1A's are ones that have been accurized. Unaccurized M1A's are not sub MOA rifles. Will they shoot sub MOA groups once and a while? Sure. But to get consistent sub MOA performance from an M1A takes some work. Most of the accurized M1A's have 22" barrels. I'm not sure anyone has done any real tests to compare an accurized 22" to an 18" or 16".

Retro
August 2, 2009, 12:54 PM
Correction: I tested three factory stock unbedded versions of M1A. Stock scout shoots subMOA with federal gold 175 grain ammo.

amprecon
August 2, 2009, 01:49 PM
I personally think you'd get more use from the .308 than from the .223. I use my rifles primarily for hunting and you are much more limited in .223 than .308. As a matter of fact I think the .308 would suffice for most large game in North America whereas the .223 has limited applications. I prefer the ergos and streamlined design of the M1/M14 style rifles over the AR style rifles, but that's my personal preference.
As far as which M1A, I own an M1A standard but would also consider the Scout Squad for a good intermediary rifle, short enough for close quick snap shooting, yet retaining enough barrel length to work reliably at distance.
I would not even consider a barrel length under 18" in .308.

cameron.personal
August 2, 2009, 03:08 PM
Which can you afford to feed right now?

Cameron

Shung
August 2, 2009, 03:21 PM
go M1A !

SC_1911Shooter
August 2, 2009, 04:25 PM
Awesome info in this thread. Thanks!

taliv
August 2, 2009, 05:43 PM
what cameron said.

if you want something to SHOOT, AR15 hands-down. why? cause good 308 ammo is about $1.50 /rnd.

GreenTN
August 2, 2009, 06:28 PM
thanks for the knowledge...this will be a major purchase and all the knowledge is very, very helpful...

the ammo cost are a big concern to me because I dont have a 308...223 factory is $10 a box ($0.50 per round) and have lots...308 looks much more expensive...maybe $1.00 per round...
thanks for the insight on the SOCOM...guess I never thought about the limitations on the short barrel...I really like the scout 18" barrel...seems to be the best option of manageable plus accuracy...
another excellent point brought up was the 6.5 or 6.8 chambered AR...better range, flat shooter and more power...what about cost or availability, magazines, spare parts, etc...
price on the M1A is at least $1600 plus the cost of mags, ammo and optics...(5 mags at $50, 500 rnds, EOtech/aimpoint)...could cost a total of $2800 with all the goods plus rifle...considerable amount of cash....
..all really good information, learning much
thanks

LoneStarWings
August 2, 2009, 06:38 PM
I say both....but if I could only have 1 it'd be the M1A. It's more useful for things like hunting and .308 has an advantage at 500+ yards if you ever do any of that sort of shooting.

What I'd really like is a select fire AR, but alas those will run you $15k+ to legally obtain. If limited to semi-auto only, the M1A is more useful in just about all aspects except close quarters/home defense.

My stock scout will do 1.5 MOA all day long with match ammo, weighs only about 7 lbs empty, and balances well. It does have an impressively loud report when fired, however. Surplus 7.62x51mm can be had for about .60 cents per round, while 5.56x45mm will run you about 2/3rds-3/4ths that.

I went with a scout personally, although the socom 1 is nice too. If going the AR route I'd probably look at a S&W M&P15 MOE.

Mine:

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c55/LoneStarWings/M1A.jpg

GreenTN
August 2, 2009, 06:40 PM
thats a great looking gun...do you use open sights?...no aimpoint/ EOtech?

THE DARK KNIGHT
August 2, 2009, 06:53 PM
M1A it's a beautiful gun, a lot less common than an AR. There are also pistol-grip versions too where legally able to.

Dr_2_B
August 2, 2009, 07:00 PM
yeah, the 223 will let you shoot a little.

longdayjake
August 2, 2009, 07:52 PM
I really like the scout 18" barrel...seems to be the best option of manageable plus accuracy...
another excellent point brought up was the 6.5 or 6.8 chambered AR...better range, flat shooter and more power...what about cost or availability, magazines, spare parts, etc...


I have not had any experience with the scout so I cant say one way or the other, I will say however that the trigger, sights, and balance on the loaded are what sold me on it. If the Scout can compare to those three things then go for it.

As for the 6.5 vs the 6.8, there are some huge flame wars on which one to go with. The 6.5 filled my needs perfectly. The 6.5 grendel can potentially out shoot the .308 at 1000 yards (with expensive uppers) because of the higher ballistic coefficient bullets. It also had a feature that I just could not pass up. You can easily make your own brass for it from 7.62x39 casings. I strictly handload 100% of the rifle ammo that I shoot so the availability of factory ammo was not an issue for me. Brass on the other hand was. 6.8 brass must come already made 6.8 which is expensive (more than 7.62x39) and is harder to get as well and as much or more than .308 brass. The 6.5 offers several more options than does the 6.8 in the way of bullet type and weights. The mags are cheap for either one from Cproducts. Though in the past Cproducts has been known to produce crappy mags, I just got 4 of them at $13 apiece and they all work perfectly. My 6.5 grendel cost me $715. I bought a 20" rifle kit from J&T distributing for $615 and I had a DPMS lower from before the craziness that was $100. I have since put a RRA NM trigger on it, but the base rifle itself was only as much as any other AR. There are much more expensive 6.5's out there though if you are into spending more money for more long range capability. They are available, but there is a waiting time of about 1-3 months from any manufacturer. I hear the same is true with the 6.8 right now as well, but I could be wrong. Here are some pictures of the 6.5 and my M1A.

The bullet on the left is a 6.5x39 sized down from 7.62x39. The middle and right are 6.5 grendel after firing the 6.5x39 in my grendel.
http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee232/longdayjake/CIMG3411.jpg

Here is a picture of me and my Grendel.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee232/longdayjake/6360_1193907208571_1255148157_30557.jpg


Here is me loading 1 bullet at a time to try out some homemade m118 rounds. (forgot to bring a mag. I was excited.)
http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee232/longdayjake/CIMG2182.jpg

Here is a pricture of the groups I got at 200 yards that same day.
http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee232/longdayjake/CIMG2185.jpg
http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee232/longdayjake/CIMG2186.jpg

Here is a closer picture of the rifle itself. I put a wooden heat guard on it because thats how they came originally and I like the look.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee232/longdayjake/CIMG2154.jpg

ShakyJ
August 2, 2009, 08:17 PM
I had an M1A Socom with an Ultimak rail, but traded it for another Colt LE 6920. The M1A is a well built rifle, but expensive to shoot and ,personally, I did not care for the ergonomics (especially when compared to the AR platform).

H2O MAN
August 2, 2009, 08:20 PM
Scout, Bush or MK14 :evil:

http://www.athenswater.com/images/EBRs020407%20004.jpg








.

happygeek
August 2, 2009, 08:26 PM
LoneStarWings wrote: "Surplus 7.62x51mm can be had for about .60 cents per round, while 5.56x45mm will run you about 2/3rds-3/4ths that."

So far all my 7.62 has come in boxes of 250 rounds plus from South Africa or Portugal or God knows where, as long as it's cheap. I'm not accurate enough yet to need factory ammo, maybe if I get a scope some day and catch up to that rifle in accuracy I'll buy some.

Was the price of 7.62 affected by the run on the gun store? I'm getting it for 60 cents a round now, just wondering if the price will drop in the coming months. I'm sure 5.56 was affected considerably by the recent demand. Last I saw, it was 40 cents per round. I plan on getting a 5.56 eventually, so I hope that price goes down.

DarkswordDX
August 2, 2009, 08:42 PM
I own one of each.

SOCOM II is my second favorite rifle after my M1A National Match. The AR is somewhere down near the bottom.

Thr raw power of the SOCOM is in a whole different league. It's at least as accurate as a 16" barrel AR. The muzzle break is one of the most effective I've handled on any platform, and recoil is very pleasant.

If I had to pick my gripes with it, it's on the heavy side and the report is loud as hell. But I wouldn't trade mine for 5 AR-15s.

LoneStarWings
August 2, 2009, 10:33 PM
thats a great looking gun...do you use open sights?...no aimpoint/ EOtech?

I occasionally use a Burris 2-7x 32mm Pistol scope w/ Electro-Dot Reticle on the scout mount with QRW rings. I mostly just use that for bench rest shooting when I want to test the accuracy of a load, and use the iron sights for everything else.

GreenTN
August 2, 2009, 10:35 PM
I'm a huge fan of the 7.62x 39 over the .223...in the form of chewing up a cinder blocks and such... so the 6.5 grendel is about the same round as the infamous 7.62x39?
Thats the best news I've heard yet!

Frankl03
August 2, 2009, 11:04 PM
I have an M1A Loaded with just a few rounds through it but I'm thinking of going with a M1A Scout. I handled one today at Cabelas and really liked it. I may sell the Loaded and go for the Scout.

H2O MAN
August 2, 2009, 11:14 PM
Frankl03, my suggestion for you:
Have your loaded re barreled with a nice 18.0" Crazy Horse barrel
from SEI and sell the original barrel to recoup some of your money.

The Crazy Horse barrel is a medium heavy profile, SEI can turn it down to
a standard profile for weight savings. Cryo and M80HT are recommended.

longdayjake
August 3, 2009, 12:02 AM
I'm a huge fan of the 7.62x 39 over the .223...in the form of chewing up a cinder blocks and such... so the 6.5 grendel is about the same round as the infamous 7.62x39?
Thats the best news I've heard yet!

Not really the same round. The grendel shoots a smaller caliber bullet, but it can shoot the same grain bullet at a higher velocity. It has a little more case capacity. The difference between the 7.62x39 and the 6.5 grendel is that the 7.62x39 has a tapered case whereas the 6.5 grendel is a straight walled case. This gives it a grain or two more case capacity which gives it a little more velocity. Its sectional density leads to greater penetration than the 6.8 and it should be pretty close to the 7.62x39 in penetration with bullets of similar or same grain. Not only that but there are many more 6.5 bullets for reloading than .311 for the 7.62x39. Another good thing about the 6.5 is that when you make brass from 7.62x39 you don't have to trim the necks at all. You just size, charge, then seat the bullet and shoot. Nothing better for a reloader. The one down side is that they are extremely addictive to shoot and you will find yourself shooting more and more of it as you go.

Gunfighter123
August 3, 2009, 02:12 AM
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b199/Jailbird123/DSC00871.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b199/Jailbird123/DSC00869.jpg


I have both ARs and M1As ---- for longer range { 400yards+} I like my full size M1A -- but for under 400yds -- I will take my SOCOM 1 everytime !!! I have/had about every
.308 battle rifle made --- the Socom 1 has the least amount of recoil then any of the others.

PandaBearBG
August 4, 2009, 12:32 AM
+1 for the AR 10, best of both worlds.

Expertowgunner
August 4, 2009, 12:57 PM
shot the white feather m1a and a ar-10 that was customised to be like the sass. my favorite?? the ar-10 seemed to be a better choice for me as it was lighter, less felt recoil, and better ergonomics. if you want to know which was more accurate they were about the same for me as in hitting 8 inch gongs at 600 yards was good enough for anything id ever want.

DSAPT9
August 4, 2009, 02:25 PM
So far you have been given a lot of info and it is all-good! Like every thing else we all have our reason for liking something and some times it just has to do with the COOL factor. Like most things there are pros and cons with both.

First I am a .308 fan and feel it is the ultimate survival/hunting cartridge ever produced for the area I live in (just my opinion). I hunted with an M1A for over 6 years and carried the same rifle while doing my scouting before hunting season started. They are heavy, the loaded mags are heavy and after a day of packing you know you did something. Bullet choices are from 147 to 220 in factory but as mentioned before the SOCOM does not really like the heavier bullets. If you re-load there are even more bullets to chose from.
I have had the opportunity to play with all three sizes and I also agree the scout with the 18-barrel is a better choice but a lot harder to come by. The SOCOM is also noisy with the short muzzle break very loud in the woods but much faster to maneuver through heavy brush. They are fun at the range and have a high COOL factor. It would be a better choice for hunting over the AR and the short barrel will be a good general-purpose gun out to 250 to 300 yards (just my opinion).

The AR-15 platform is just hard to beat for all around fun. They are light, no recoil and ammo is still cheaper than .308. Loaded thirty round mag of 5.56 weighs a little less than a twenty round mag of .308 so you can carry more rounds for the same weight and almost same space. Magazines are cheaper and more readily available for the AR all though that is slowly changing as more M1As are being sold. It is not a good hunting round for big game. I have taken several DEER over the years with my AR but I do not feel it is a good ELK rifle. Yes shot placement is the key factor with any hunting situation but the round is lacking power for my taste. There are more optional toys and do-dads for the AR than anything else except for maybe the 10/22.

So I guess what it comes down to is what you want to use it for and what options you want to add to it down the road. I like the control layout of the AR so well a few years back I sold my M1A and ordered 2 DSA-SA58 (fal) rifles both with 16.25 barrels one folding stock and one with standard stock. I do not like the AR-10 plat form it is not as comfortable as the FAL design. The standard stock is now my Hunting rifle. I have a Leupold 3x9x40 on it, a full tactical rail and forward grip. It is sited in with federal 180-gr. soft points. I have been able to get 1.25 to 1.5 in groups at 100 so it is a great hunting rifle out to 300 yards. They are not tac drivers and have never been known to be but they do have that COOL factor.

Just enjoy what ever you get!

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm166/DSAPT9/DSASA58Crail.jpg

J&J
August 4, 2009, 09:43 PM
GreenTN,

I have a M1A scout. I purchased it as my "one" rifle... you know, the one that could do it all, etc... the one I would go to if tshtf... the one I would wring out enough accuracy out of to show I knew what I was doing...

The scout meets all of these requirements...

Yet, I still find myself interested in an AR platform... Why you ask?

It is what I learned on (thank you USMC) so AR's feel so natural... that's it, really... it just feels right.

I think you should do whatever you can to fire both and then decide. You can get whatever you want out of each platform... but you'll probably like th feel of one or the other better. What you like, you will undoubtedly shoot better...

Best of luck to you.

John

Loggerlee
August 4, 2009, 11:39 PM
Vote M1a

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