M1A or AR-15?


February 7, 2012, 09:04 PM
Ok, I know the title is like comparing Apples to Oranges but I am in a quandary and need some help in my decision. I have actually stumbled into a situation in which my wife has given me the go ahead to purchase whatever gun I want (within reason) and my choices have come down to these two...
I already have an AR in the cabinet, BUT, my wife thinks that its HER gun! We shoot it, I clean it, that makes it hers! (Female logic :rolleyes:) Any way... I really like the AR for its accuracy, inexpensive ammo and limitless options. BUT I also really like the M1A! It's the rifle I shot to earn my Expert Marksmanship medals in the Navy, so I kind of have a soft spot for it and this is the first time I've been in a financial position to buy one. Besides, it is a really cool looking weapon and has a satisfying recoil (actually punishing with military stock)
I guess what it comes down to is this..I can put together a really nice AR with glass or an M1A with a couple of extra magazines...
Pros - Cons? HELP! (BTW, she said I couldn't have both - I tried!;) )

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February 7, 2012, 09:22 PM
I am in the process of having an AR. I do, however have an M1a. There is a reason I owned an M1a before I owned an AR. (personal preference) If I could only ever have one, it would be the m1a. Good thing this is America (:
Since you already have an AR, why get another? Why wouldn't you buy something you don't have (m1a)?
Based on your current circumstances, this (to me) is a no brainer.
As far as I'm concerned, let your wife think she owns an AR. When she says that, simply respond by saying "I own an M1a" (:

February 7, 2012, 09:31 PM
At least for me I stuck with the ar for a few reasons.(cost being the primary reason) First I already had one and the parts and mags to support a few more, and the ammo is much cheaper. I don't really do anything shooting related that a AR can't do cheaper than the M1A. Having said that if money was not an option I would love a m1A!

February 7, 2012, 09:36 PM
For most people I'd say AR, but since you're already familiar with and like the M14, I'd get the M1A. I would consider the 18.5" scout model though.

If you get an AR, get a nice one!

Double Vision
February 7, 2012, 09:39 PM
M1A all the way. Solid, reliable, powerful and just plain fun to own & shoot.

You can find surplus ammo for the M1A that won't cramp your budget - at least not too much.

Whatever you decide, good luck!

February 7, 2012, 09:39 PM
AR's come... AR's go... But M1A's are forever... ;)


February 7, 2012, 09:43 PM
Definitely get the M1A.

And when you go shooting, continue to shoot the AR as well. It will bug her and she'll make you go get another AR so you stop shooting "hers".


February 7, 2012, 09:45 PM
My next service rifle will be either a M1A or a IHC M-1 Garand. The IHC would finish my M-1 collection. An AR is out of the question as I have not only one but 2 White Oak Precision uppers on RRA lowers. My vote would be at least a loaded M1A. Mine would be preferably a Super Match.

February 7, 2012, 11:10 PM
Thank you all for helping me with this! I was leaning towards another AR only because I already have tons of ammo and plenty of magazines for it. However, I have to admit, I have wanted a M1A for over 30 years! I need to think of this as my reward for being patient and not be so concerned about having to outfit another gun! BTW, Why the 18.5" barrel Scout? (Z-Michigan)

February 7, 2012, 11:30 PM
BTW, Why the 18.5" barrel Scout? (Z-Michigan)

I have a 22" loaded M1A, and previously had two. I feel as if I'm carrying some sort of Revolutionary War era Pennsylvania Rifle with the thing. It's very, very long, and just sticks way out there with lots of weight out front. The 18.5" Scout reduces that feeling and balance issue with no real compromises - same sight radius, same stock, nearly the same ballistics (.308 gains a little from 18.5" to 22", but not much). I consider 18" about ideal for a tactical/practical .308 rifle. More barrel gets a little more velocity but the returns are diminishing. Less barrel than 18" gets very loud very quickly, but I don't find 18" particularly loud.

To top it all off, many anecdotal reviews suggest that SA's Scout model is more accurate than the GI and Loaded 22" models (and the 16" Scout Squad model).

February 8, 2012, 12:51 AM
Have you considered the AR-10? An AR in .308 gets you that battle rifle recoil in that platform that you admittingly like.

If you don't like that idea, I'd go with the M1A, you can always borrow "her" gun!

February 8, 2012, 12:58 AM
20 inch barrel would have been the best compromise. M1a should have a long barrel for long range shooting.

Squeaky Wheel
February 8, 2012, 01:06 AM
The M1A had been my dream rifle for many, many years and then I finally bought one. I took it to the range to shoot for the first time about a week ago. Everything was fantastic except for one little detail that I had never given much thought about -- inserting the magazine. What? I know what you're probably thinking -- what's the big deal? Well, that slant/angle that needed to insert the magazine doesn't sit well with me. This is the first rifle I've ever handled that requires the slanted position for inserting the magazine. I absolutely HATE this. Perhaps I don't have good technique, or maybe it's because the firearm is still too new and being broken in. I practiced inserting and removing the magazine again the other day at home and it still irks me a lot.

Shooting it is pure joy and I love the feel of the rifle. I like the weight and it has great balance. But inserting and removing the magazine is ruining the whole thing for me. Has anyone else experienced these magazine problems? Is it something that will get smoother and easier over time? I'm tempted to sell it due to magazine frustration. I have both a 5 round mag and a 20 round mag and it's the same situation with both.

I would recommend handling the magazine of the rifle before you buy it so that you don't get the same sad surprise that I got.

My second choice would be an M1 Garand (yikes -- then i'll get 'M1 Thumb'!).

February 8, 2012, 01:09 AM
Same way to insert an ak mag. You just need yo get familiar with it. If you think something is wrong with it, contact SA. this is no reason to give up on (Imo) the best semi auto gun available

February 8, 2012, 01:23 AM
I vote M1A as well. But I admit the decision should be made on what kind of shooting you will be doing. The cost of .308 is clearly higher. But that M1 looks so good. Great photos from natescout.

February 8, 2012, 01:30 AM
I'd pick depending on what kind of shooting I was planning on doing. Long range or hunting I'd go with the M1A. Paper punching, plinking, and training? AR15.

5.56 runs roughly 1/2 the price of 7.62. If you do a rifle course that runs 4 days and 800-1000 rounds your shoulder and wallet will appriciate the lower recoil and price.

Besides, you already have a AR15 so mags and spare parts can be shared.


February 8, 2012, 04:16 AM
My vote goes to an AR15. It seems you want to go in that direction initially, but you are convincing yourself to get the M1A.

BTW you can build/buy AR's in 7.62. There is a new cartridge now called 300AAC Blackout that has been all the hype with AR's.

its basically a 7.62 caliber that fits a standard AR15 platform without any modification except the Barrel. this is a huge plus IMO. Even better is that it great for adding suppressors for subsonic cartridges.

I don't have any experience with M1A's, so I cannot comment on that platform.

chris in va
February 8, 2012, 04:35 AM

I have a Garand, very satisfying to shoot. My AR gets the most use, but only because recoil is less and reloading for it is cheaper.

February 8, 2012, 08:16 AM
I would never give up either of my M1A's I'm going to recommend you check out the new ArmaLite AR-10A. This is a new model of the AR-10 that uses SR-25 mags. SR-25 mags are pretty much the defacto standard for the .308 AR platform rifle.

The AR-10A is the same price range as the M1A. You can expect to see the same or even better accuracy. The 16" Carbine version is the same weight as the M1A. It can use many of the AR15 accessories on the market.

AR-10A (http://www.armalite.com/ItemForm.aspx?item=A10A4CBF&ReturnUrl=Categories.aspx?Category=f4bd4a13-55d1-41aa-aea0-49488ec48776)


Double Vision
February 8, 2012, 09:09 AM
The M1A had been my dream rifle for many, many years and then I finally bought one. I took it to the range to shoot for the first time about a week ago. Everything was fantastic except for one little detail that I had never given much thought about -- inserting the magazine.

At first my magazine was so hard to insert I was sure something was wrong with it or the rifle. It has gotten easier the more I use it.

February 8, 2012, 09:12 AM
Ditto the M1A. Sweet rifle!

February 8, 2012, 10:19 AM
I bought my M1A before I ever bought an AR-15 pattern Rifle. I wouldn't give it, or any of my other .308s up for anything. Will likely be selling the AR today after work... the AR world just didn't light my fire at all.


No room for an AR in the frame, maybe that's why ... lol :D

February 8, 2012, 10:33 AM
M1a is cool to have. It a classic, id go for it. I have a Garand and love it. It really depends on what you like. Spend the money and get it.

MAJ Mike
February 8, 2012, 10:35 AM
Traded my M1A for an HK91 in 1985. Never regretted it. Also have two AR15's. I embrace diversity, but limit my ammunition choices to readily available military calibers.

February 8, 2012, 10:40 AM
I got a sTG 58 in 1997 . It enjoyed shooting it but after ten years sold it. It was too dang heavy with a loaded mag plus weight of the gun. I replaced it with the Garand and never looked back.

February 8, 2012, 11:07 AM
You do not have to rock the m14 magazine in. Try pushing it straight up and see for yourself.

February 8, 2012, 11:15 AM
well,i have 2 m1a's,1 full e2 and a standard,both smiths.i also have 7 ar's.after reading all the probs getting an m1a to shoot moa,and probs keeping it at moa,i'd try something like an armalite 308 monolithic rail free float upper,match grade gisselle ssa trigger this time.it's now hard to justify an m1a at 2-3 k,that shoots 2-3 moa or more at 100 yards.

colt now has a 308/223 conversion setup

Owen Sparks
February 8, 2012, 11:18 AM
You can get an AR in .308.

February 8, 2012, 05:41 PM
I'd say the AR is the way to go, but I had a bad experience with an M1A in my early years (something about left-handed and ejection and a really bad burn from hot brass that was caught up my sleeve). It's a heavy, somewhat finicky weapons system in my experience. My AR's have treated me better than my friends' M1A's.

But that's one person's opinion, YMMV.

February 8, 2012, 06:04 PM
My .02

I have both. My M1A Scout will be the last rifle I part with.

February 8, 2012, 06:19 PM
I'd go for the M1A. You already own an AR so why not try something new. Even if you didn't own and AR, I'd reccomend the M1A. I like the Garand style action more.

February 8, 2012, 06:31 PM
M1A since you have the AR.

February 8, 2012, 06:33 PM
I own both and would take an AR in .308 over a M1A1 hands down.

Easy to scope, less quirky, better value IMO.

February 8, 2012, 07:20 PM
If an AR15 were not already in the stable, I would recommend that first. Since you already have one, go for the M1A. Try to buy one in person and look for one with some USGI parts.

I have a Springfield Standard from '07 with an H&R trigger group. The only accuracy mods have been a Sadlak NM spring guide and a Sadlak TiNi non-grooved gas piston. Scoped, that rifle at 100 yards regularly returns 1.5" 10-shot groups with Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr or reloaded equivalents. A 1MOA M1A might be a pain in the neck to achieve and maintain, but I am more than happy with a 1.5" rifle with no bedding to worry about.

I prefer it over the ARs in .308 b/c there's still no standard for them, although the Knights pattern mag has more of a foothold than anything else. they are all-around easier and cheaper to work with, but they don't have the same soul.


February 8, 2012, 08:09 PM
Tough call, if you like shooting the M1a you may have it all to yourself. The AR may be for fun to shoot due to less weight and recoil. Hard to go wrong with either one.

February 8, 2012, 08:28 PM
I started with a 20'' A-2 flat top and then broke into the M1A world. Love them both.. If a blazing fire (heaven forbid) ever got started in my home after family was safe my 1st priority would be my national match m1a!!!!

February 8, 2012, 09:39 PM
Get one of those new Colt convertable rifles? http://www.coltsmfg.com/Catalog/ColtRifles/SP901.aspx

That way you have both!

Tough choice to have to make. AR's have gone down in price, M1a's have NOT. They remain good looking robust rifles but you have to really want one to justify the price of ammo vs. a 5.56 (if you're going to shoot matches and such).

February 8, 2012, 11:03 PM
M1A, AR15, two different animals, no comparison, each has it use, but agin no compare.

February 9, 2012, 02:47 AM
I've had the M1A and found that the .308 needs to be scoped to get the most out of the cartridge.

The M1A is more difficult to scope than say a bolt action and adding a mount and scope adds weight and makes it balance differently.

I went the .308 AR route and found that when it was also scoped it made for a heavier rifle than I wanted.

Were I to do it all over again I would've just stayed with an AR in 6.8 and had the best of both worlds.

February 11, 2012, 11:29 AM
Update: First of all I want to thank everyone for the input, it was greatly appreciated and I enjoyed hearing everyone's opinion. I sat down and discussed my choices with my wife last night. I always use her as a "sounding board" before I do things because she usually keeps me from doing stupid things. Because I only intend to poke holes in paper at this point and am already set up with magazines and ammunition, I decided to buy another AR-15. She assured me that this was not a "zero sum gain" and that I would be able to get the M1A in the future if I still wanted one. I guess in the end it came down to how bad I really wanted to have my OWN AR-15 over buying an M1A!

February 11, 2012, 11:41 AM
I guess in the end it came down to how bad I really wanted to have my OWN AR-15
So now the question is, which AR15 should you get? ;)

February 11, 2012, 12:51 PM
This is the gun I'm putting together:

Adams Arms Gas piston (carbine) upper, Palmetto State Armory lower w/Magpul furniture, Troy Industries folding battle sights (front and rear), Leupold Mark AR 3X9x-40mm Duplex Glass on an American Defense AD-RECON Quick Detatch Scope Mount!

I think I'll have a good time with this set up. I'll have to put a quad rail on it eventually to accomodate a bipod. Just have to do a little research first!

February 11, 2012, 12:54 PM
Especially configured as this, the M-14 rules. Takes away all the bedding issues, length issues, etc. Puts it on par with the AR IMOHO.

February 11, 2012, 01:45 PM
Especially configured as this, the M-14 rules. Takes away all the bedding issues, length issues, etc. Puts it on par with the AR IMOHO.
Looks "NASTY"! How is the recoil?

February 11, 2012, 01:48 PM
G Timothy, I put some more thought into your question. I donít think you would go wrong with a M1A. The value seemingly continues to climb. Iíve put off getting a Match M-1A long enough it will be hard to justify the $ lay out. And they will only go up and up. My $ .02.

February 11, 2012, 01:53 PM
Looks "NASTY"! How is the recoil?

What recoil?

February 11, 2012, 01:56 PM
I like that stock Fox.... Just canot imaging myself spending $800 for one

February 11, 2012, 02:01 PM
What recoil?
I have no experience with the "Bullpup" configuration so was curious as to "felt" recoil. I do remember how the M-14 left my shoulder after shooting for quals. Military stock with metal buttplate = bruises!

February 11, 2012, 03:10 PM
Gotcha. Well, I'd say it feels a bit lighter (recoil-wise) than when I have the action in a wood GI stock w/ metal buttplate. Maybe it is only perceived...

February 11, 2012, 03:21 PM
Gotcha. Well, I'd say it feels a bit lighter (recoil-wise) than when I have the action in a wood GI stock w/ metal buttplate. Maybe it is only perceived...
I figured it was a "gotcha" but was curious. I know that when you place the action more "inline" with the stock, the recoil is perceived to be not as bad and was wondering how a trimmed down M1A kicked.

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