Springfield M1A: any issues?


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arthury
April 26, 2012, 12:05 PM
As some of you may already know, I am in the market for a semi-auto 308win and I noticed that besides the usual suspects for AR platform, there is also Springfield Armory (SA) M1A platform.

Are there any issues or pains with the current M1A platform compared to the AR (or AR-10) platform? Is the current offering from SA a reliable and accurate rifle (I'm considering the National Match version)?

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303tom
April 26, 2012, 01:07 PM
http://world.guns.ru/assault/be/fn-fal-e.html

jason41987
April 26, 2012, 02:05 PM
hmm, you have the AR-10, FN FAL, HK91, M1A, SAIGA, SCAR-H, and a collection of other rifles to choose from...it all depends on what feels most comfortable to shoot, they all have their tradeoffs

taliv
April 26, 2012, 02:08 PM
guys, it sounds like he's asking for known issues with the M1A, not a list of alternatives




my experience is that they are reasonably reliable and the NM version can be quite accurate. however, it's an ergonomic nightmare, especially if you try to put a scope on it. i like the look of them a lot, but don't care to shoot them at all

arthury
April 26, 2012, 05:00 PM
Thanks, I have changed the title, so I hope it helps to narrow down what I was asking.

dprice3844444
April 26, 2012, 05:09 PM
great rifle,if you want to spend big money and not get moa unless you spend more.ar10's are moa out of the box,and don't need alot of maintanance to keep it there.

boricua9mm
April 26, 2012, 05:14 PM
Springfield Armory Inc. extractors tend to be garbage. Replacing them with a USGI extractor is highly recommended and typically solves any extraction issues.

Big Bad Bob
April 26, 2012, 05:33 PM
Art,

I was once in your shoes, Im a big fan of the M14, having used the M14 EBR for a time in the Army, and was in the market for one at one time. What I discovered is that you have to be willing to drop some serious coin to get a Springfield M1A as accurate as the M14s and still not be satisfied. For me to spend 1500-1700 for the base model Springfield M1A and get a 2 to 3 MOA rifle was to much money for that kind of results. But if you want to spend, Crazy Horse/Smith Enterprise rifles as well as Fulton Armory have excellent reputations for M-14s that still utilize USGI parts. Still there are inherent issues scoping the rifle and maintaining zero without adding a modified rail or stock. Magazines as well are not cheap.

I spoke with a few NRA High Power shooters i know who told me how much they invested in trying to accurize M1A's and M14s only to eventually go to the AR-15 and get better results for a fraction of the costs.

The AR .308 pattern rifles were cheaper and more accurate and fit my needs accordingly for what I was looking for. I was looking for a long range precise semi auto MBR, i got that and more with what i bought and with scope spent less than what it costs for an M1A scout.

Hope this helps, the M14 pattern rifle is alot of fun and a very unique design. It just doesnt meet my needs for the money it costs.

arthury
April 26, 2012, 05:39 PM
Thanks for your opinions, BigBadBob. I appreciate it.

However, one has to note that a decent AR-10 (or any 308win AR style) rifle is not cheap either. They seem to be in the range of $2,500 - $5,000 (or more); mostly around $3,000 for the ones with a good track record.

rehorne
April 26, 2012, 06:11 PM
Arthury,
I have been shooting a M1A for many years> I have had to replace extractors a couple of times, thats to be expected.
I shoot in the local Hi-Power matches and the CMP Matches close by. I do pretty well considering I'm in my 60's. Not a High Master by any means. LOL

I have found that routine maintaince is the key to accuracy and a few tweaks to the stock to action fit.

Most of these tips can be found on M14.com.

Also using the right ammo is a big factor. I am and have been a BIG FAN of the M14-M1A platform.

Robert

bergmen
April 26, 2012, 06:55 PM
IMO the M1A from Springfield is a superb rifle. I am not as experienced as many of the expert posters here but I can tell you that my Walnut Scout Squad I bought NIB a couple of years ago is an absolute joy to shoot. I cannot tell you what the MOA accuracy is, only that I can hit anything I want, where I want in off-hand shooting out to 400 yards or so (I know that is not much help but it meets my acceptance criteria).

The sights are excellent and it comes to the shoulder as naturally as any rifle I've ever owned or shot.

It had a few growing pains in that it would not go completely into battery after about one in ten shots for the first fifty rounds or so. After break-in, complete reliability. I have only shot Winchester White Box (Q3130) so far and can only highly recommend this rifle. It is a bit spendy as others have mentioned but I certainly consider it worth every penny.

http://inlinethumb50.webshots.com/41265/2720938730053667879S600x600Q85.jpg

Dan

tk1971
April 26, 2012, 07:00 PM
I bought a Standard back in 2004-6 (can't remember exactly when). New SA receiver (cast), 22" new (not chrome lined) barrel, NM front sight blade, muzzle brake (no flash suppressor in CA) and a USGI fiberglass stock painted with a black crinkle textured paint.

I love my SA M1A. It's more accurate than I am. Having said that:

Right out of the box, the rear sight bottomed out and I was still shooting 5 feet high at 100 and 200 yards.

Called SA and they were helping me diagnose the issue. They suggest I go out and shoot it again and report back. 2nd time out, the elevation knob broke off (looks like a cast part from un-even-ness of the break). Still shot high before the rear sight broke.

Called SA and they immediately sent me a new rear sight assembly. They were very apologetic and genuinely interested in resolving my issue.

In the meantime, I pull the rear sight off my CMP Greek M1 Garand and shot with it (still on the M1A to this day). Didn't even need to adjust the sight. Left the zero settings from the Garand... I'm right on target. Nice. Very accurate, easy to aim, low recoil, easy to carry (for a shrimp like me @ 5'7" tall). The new SA rear sight came in the mail a few days later and I tossed it in the safe (never to be used).

Then the obsession started. I found m14forum and immediately started replacing parts with new surplus USGI parts: TRW bolt, op rod (GI SA), H&R trigger group, and a genuine M14 walnut stock from Fred's. The only aftermarket (non USGI) part was the Sadlak National Match spring guide. I think I dropped at least $500-$600 for these parts (maybe more, since this is the amount I admitted to my wife). USGI parts were hard to get, even 5-6 years ago.

I also bought cases of South African surplus ammo (remember those days?) and shot almost every weekend for about a year. It's the most accurate rifle I own. It never disappoints me and there's always someone asking about it at the range (say... is that a Fulton M1A?).

Back in the day, SA M1A's would occasionally come out of the box with one or more USGI parts on it, but those days are long gone. Now that USGI parts are even harder to get at reasonable prices (if not impossible).

If I had to do it all over again, I'd spend the extra money on a Fulton, LRB, etc, so I wouldn't have to deal with things like a rear sight that fell apart, etc. Lifetime warranty gets old when problems actually occur. Plus, as I recall, the LRB and Fulton receivers are forged and chrome lined barrels are available.

I feel like I can't mention it enough, but I absolutely love my SA M1A in it's current configuration.

It's just getting more and more expensive to shoot 308 and I don't reload.

As far as the AR platform vs the M1A platform: My 20" barreled AR (223) is also very accurate, but I think my M1A has the edge. But to be fair, I only shoot cheap (really cheap) stuff through my AR.

I've never competed, nor have I ever bought expensive match ammo for any of my rifles. But from what I've been told by guys who re-load, cheap surplus ammo (or anything made by Wolf) is not what you want to use to gauge the accuracy of one's firearms.

Good luck and have fun choosing.

Big Bad Bob
April 26, 2012, 09:03 PM
That is really good point to mention that the M1A has probably one of the best factory iron sights out there. I will give it that for sure. But what happens when and if you want to put a scope on it? The ergos are a nightmare unless you have an extra long neck.


My DPMS LR308 with a 24inch stainless bull barrel i bought on sale for $998 a year ago, I put a 3x9 40 Nikon Pro Staff Target. Its sub moa with the right ammo.

Im not knocking the M1As for what they are, like I said I used an M14, I think for what they are, they are great rifles. I think they cost more than they should be priced but it all comes down to what you are using it for.

tk1971
April 26, 2012, 09:28 PM
Bob has a point there. Technology and designs improve and nostalgia only takes you so far.

It got my M1A during the semi-auto rifle "dark days" in California (before the bullet button was invented and became widely accepted as legal). Having missed my deadline for registering my evil assault weapon by one day, I had to cut up my lower receiver. I replaced it with the closed mag-well Fab-10 lower, which is not at all fun to shoot, since it requires breaking open the AR upper like a shotgun in order to load it up. In short, I hated it. I was pretty much done with anything 223.

I've always thought the SA M1A's were expensive for what you get and a little antiquated looking, but I figured at the rate California was going, I'll end up regretting not getting one when I had the chance. So I did. I have to admit that I wasn't very happy the first few times out with what was THE most expensive firearm I've ever bought. I was even less than overjoyed to have the elevation knob break off during adjustment.

But at the end of it all, I'm glad I bought it. It's a great rifle (now). But you know... the only problem I've ever had was that crap rear sight. I've never had a jam, misfire, or any kind of functional failure.

7mmsavage
April 26, 2012, 09:32 PM
I've had no issues with my SA M1A standard. It never seemed to really need any breaking in. The match version may be a little tighter and might need it, but I don't have one so I don't know. I went thought the same desicion process when I got mine, but it was a rifle I'd wanted pretty much since I first laid eyes on one. Once I'd saved up enough money I really started to look at all the other .308 options out there. I ended up sticking with the M1A and don't regret it. The only thing I'd do differently is buy a used one. I could have saved a few bucks or at least gotten one that came with a few extra mags or ammo or whatever.

Jason_G
April 26, 2012, 09:36 PM
The most common complaint is the extractors. I've never had an issue with mine. Great rifle.

Jason

Redlg155
April 26, 2012, 09:36 PM
After shooting ARs and M16s over the years it's hard to get really excited about another AR platform, even if it is a larger caliber.

There is just something about the M14 platform. I have yet to go to the range and not have someone with questions or want to shoot. As for accuracy, my current M1a scout is plenty accurate.

Sub moa. 308 ARs are fairly common, but only with the combination of tbe right shooter and ammo. There are a lot of folks and rifles that average over moa.

I'd venture to say that the a SA loaded and DPMS .308 would be about equally accurate with South African Suplus.

ApacheCoTodd
April 26, 2012, 09:48 PM
Any issues? Absolutely possible and to list potential issues would get long and dull as at any given time one thing or another has poppod up and some remain - as noted with the extractors - but if you can afford it, anything that might come up is already a known and resolvable issue.

They're fun to shoot, have a quasi-historical background, swallow most anything and are damn good looking.

But to hit on a couple of constant issues - though others will site example of these not being a concern - I would cite;

Scoping can be problematic and relatively expensive for quality.

Magazine quality and availability is not always guaranteed and the mags one rifle likes may be loathed an rejected by another.

Ultimate accurizing in the form of bedding is expensive (for a pro to do), heavy and commits the platform to the bedded configuration.

The fallback resort for true GI backup parts is scarcer literally every day.

These are just some regular issues but that said, I would still sell either of mine - A Smith and an Armsorp (Baltimore) - only as a last resort and though either is a significantly better rifle than a current SA offering, I would go SA as a replacement.

Jason_G
April 26, 2012, 10:24 PM
Magazine quality and availability is not always guaranteed and the mags one rifle likes may be loathed an rejected by another.

Never heard of anyone having issues with the CMI mags.

Jason

ApacheCoTodd
April 26, 2012, 10:35 PM
Never heard of anyone having issues with the CMI mags.

Jason
Then you're lucky to have never run across the fake in-the-wrapper ones. I haven't seen a single military M-14 mag - original contracts or CMI - that hasn't been faked. I'm just sayin' if you're going CMI and it's not directly from CMI... caveat emptor! There was a major online/mail order player (that I feel, knowingly) passed them off as they did fake ACOGs a few years back.

We found out because we sent them back to CMI after trying them for AR-10 platforms and later in our own M-14/M1As. We were politely, quietly and quit clearly shown that they were in fact knock-offs.

Jason_G
April 26, 2012, 10:41 PM
Then you're lucky to have never run across the fake in-the-wrapper ones. I haven't seen a single military M-14 mag - original contracts or CMI - that hasn't been faked. I'm just sayin' if you're going CMI and it's not directly from CMI... caveat emptor! There was a major online/mail order player (that I feel, knowingly) passed them off as they did fake ACOGs a few years back.

We found out because we sent them back to CMI after trying them for AR-10 platforms and later in our own M-14/M1As. We were politely, quietly and quit clearly shown that they were in fact knock-offs.

pm inbound.

Jason

riomedinamike
April 26, 2012, 11:23 PM
I was lucky or God looks after me, but I bought lots of bolts, guide rods, pistons, trigger assemblies, sights, and spare stocks when CMP had them available years ago.

I love my old M1A's, but have not bought a new Springfield in the last ten years. I bought all the books, videos, etc, and learned how to make them very accurate, but they are like a beautiful woman, as in high maintenance.

I have FAL's, HK's, AR 308's, but I keep coming back to the M1A.

I don't have a SCAR, nor a SIG 308, but if I had to sell everything and start over, I might consider the SIG, mainly because you can get magpul mags relatively cheaply and scope it more readily.

The M1A is not easy to scope because of the cheekweld as some have previously mentioned, but there are stocks out there with adjustable cheek pieces.

I have a lot invested in M1 A's so far, and for me, it is the best iron sighted main battle rifle out there. Others will give you their two cents.

Averageman
April 26, 2012, 11:23 PM
I buy my magazines direct from CMI, they often have sales and when they do I buy 5 at a time.
I haven't had an issue with my Scout Squad, it is accurate enough for me to keep it all in the black if I do my part.
I cant think of anything I would rather shoot at 200 to 400 yards with.
I went ahead and got a "Big Red" stock from freds and camo'ed this one. Here is a pic about half way through the job.
I made the "Potatoe" and sat it in with pillars, slips in and out for irons or glass.
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r263/Averageman1/002.jpg

madcratebuilder
April 27, 2012, 07:41 AM
Springfield Armory Inc. extractors tend to be garbage. Replacing them with a USGI extractor is highly recommended and typically solves any extraction issues.

Factory extractors is about the only common issue with the M1A. Changing to a USGI well fix that. Both my M1A's are over twenty years old and one still has the oem extractor.
There are several quality scope mounts on the market, like Sadlak. Here is a new idea (http://www.m14.ca/M14_M1A_CASM_Scope_Mount.html) on mounts for the M1A. Getting a good cheek rest is a problem for some.

With the right ammo and good maintenance my two have been 100% reliable. One is all usgi TRW and the other is all SAI parts, the Wilson med weight NM barrel does shoot better than the GI barrel.

The same minute of man accuracy as the military issued ones I used as a teenager. A typical "loaded" model can be a moa shooter with a few minor mods and good ammo.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/2M1As.jpg

Squeaky Wheel
April 27, 2012, 10:39 AM
They tend to beat up the brass a lot -- no big deal if you don't reload. Ammo is unfortunately kinda expensive. This is why I sold mine -- too expensive to feed.

However, it's a fantastic rifle. It has excellent iron sights, great balance, and just feels great in your hands. Oh, and they're a lot of fun to shoot. If I ever become filthy rich, I'll buy another one.

Edarnold
April 27, 2012, 08:54 PM
When you are talking about a gun that your life doesn't depend on, and that is going to cost you around $2000 when all is said and done, the most important feature is how it feels in your hands. Does the shape please the eye, does it come to your shoulder like it belongs there, does squeezing a shot off feel right? When you work the action, does it feel like the manufacturer cared about their product?

I was lucky enough to get the back-up M1A Supermatch from a Distinguished Marksman who was moving to the AR with his team. For $1800, the gun was new, 1994 manufacture. I shot it in matches until my eyesight deteriorated enough to put iron sights off my menu. I've handled a lot of AR-platform rifles, and shot a few. To me, they just don't feel right. The M1A will be with me until, to steal the phrase:"They pry it from my cold dead fingers"

Matthew Courtney
April 27, 2012, 10:08 PM
My Springfield M1A is a great gun. Shoots 2 MOA with ammo it likes and not over 3.25 MOA with everything I've put through it. Since It's not designed to be scoped, 2 MOA is plenty accurate given that I am about a 4 moa shooter with standard irons.

If I need to shoot dimes at 600 meters, I'll break out one of my scoped LR-308's.

arthury
April 28, 2012, 10:49 AM
[...]Since It's not designed to be scoped, 2 MOA is plenty accurate given that I am about a 4 moa shooter with standard irons.
[...]


Could you or someone else throw more light on this, please?

Matthew Courtney
April 28, 2012, 11:08 AM
MIA's are not designed to be scoped. They are designed to be shot with the excellent open sights that they come with. While they can be scoped, it is difficult to do in a really solid way and even then the rifles great ergonomic features are compromised quite a bit for most shooters.

While AR-10's were not designed to be scoped originally either, removable carry handles combine with modularity to allow for easy, solid scope mounting in ways that maintain the ergonomic handling features of the rifle.

I love my M1A. It is my "bump in the night" home defense rifle. My vehicle rifles are AR-10 style flat tops with 1.5-5 Leupold scopes on them because of the chance of longer engagements.

Matthew Courtney
April 28, 2012, 11:13 AM
When you are talking about a gun that your life doesn't depend on, and that is going to cost you around $2000 when all is said and done, the most important feature is how it feels in your hands. Does the shape please the eye, does it come to your shoulder like it belongs there, does squeezing a shot off feel right? When you work the action, does it feel like the manufacturer cared about their product?

I was lucky enough to get the back-up M1A Supermatch from a Distinguished Marksman who was moving to the AR with his team. For $1800, the gun was new, 1994 manufacture. I shot it in matches until my eyesight deteriorated enough to put iron sights off my menu. I've handled a lot of AR-platform rifles, and shot a few. To me, they just don't feel right. The M1A will be with me until, to steal the phrase:"They pry it from my cold dead fingers"
"From my cold dead hands" is a phrase normally used to communicate that one is going to use the referenced firearm to fight to the death in defence of liberty itself. If one truly values liberty more than life, why would that person trust liberty to a rifle that they would not defend their life with?

Is the mental image of yourself so important that you would die with a particular rifle in your hands simply because that rifle was more pleasing to the eye? Is "feeling right" so much more important than preserving liberty for posterity that you would choose a less effective battle implement?

If you want to argue that an M1A would be a most effective rifle in your hands because you are more comfortable with it, for God's sake man, make that argument! But please choose to live as long as possible fighting the good fight to secure the blessings of liberty, rather than choosing to perish prematurely for the sake of nostalgia.

Sheepdog1968
April 28, 2012, 01:14 PM
I've known many folks who've had them and they all have worked very well. In one instance the receiver was too tight where you insert the magazine and Springfield fixed it. IMO Springfield has top notch customer and will absolutely take care of you if there's an issue. Go for it. You will live it.

Peter M. Eick
April 28, 2012, 01:20 PM
http://eickpm.com/picts/nm_target.jpg

My National at 100 yrds off the bench. 50 shots.

I find my National is harder to shoot well then my Super. My Super has a thick stock and it is easier to grasp and hold. The National has a mid weight barrel and normal stock and is a bit more whippy when you are sitting or kneeling. Obviously from standing it is harder to control than the Super.

No regrets, no real problems. I had to send the National back to SM when I got it because the rear sight was loose. It must have gotten bumped in shipping but I figured why should I fix it when it was brand new?

Great gun. No regrets, lots of fun to go prone with. What more can I say?

asia331
April 29, 2012, 06:03 PM
Swapped out a broken firing pin once in 37 years of regular shooting and some slight lateral play in a rear site; that's all. Great weapon. Very happy.

Edarnold
April 29, 2012, 06:07 PM
"From my cold dead hands" is a phrase normally used to communicate that one is going to use the referenced firearm to fight to the death in defence of liberty itself. If one truly values liberty more than life, why would that person trust liberty to a rifle that they would not defend their life with?

Is the mental image of yourself so important that you would die with a particular rifle in your hands simply because that rifle was more pleasing to the eye? Is "feeling right" so much more important than preserving liberty for posterity that you would choose a less effective battle implement?

If you want to argue that an M1A would be a most effective rifle in your hands because you are more comfortable with it, for God's sake man, make that argument! But please choose to live as long as possible fighting the good fight to secure the blessings of liberty, rather than choosing to perish prematurely for the sake of nostalgia.
I'm not sure where all this passion is coming from. My point was that although I have several guns that I would consider selling or trading, the M1A is not one of them.

As for: "Is "feeling right" so much more important than preserving liberty for posterity that you would choose a less effective battle implement?", I would direct your attention to the Mk 14 EBR and the M39 EBR, currently in service with the United States Marine Corps. Perhaps they chose to deploy these weapons out of nostalgia; personally, I think not. Thanks to rough men who stand guard defending us from those who would enslave us, you have the right to express your own opinion.

jason41987
April 29, 2012, 06:15 PM
best thing about the M1A... you can keep its standard wooden stock on and not look like another tacticool idiot with a decked out AR-15... and for the same barrel length, standard hardware, weighs about the same as an AR-10 (there just isnt much metal to a garand/M14 receiver, so most the rifle is just wood)

Cosmoline
April 29, 2012, 06:22 PM
Are there any issues or pains with the current M1A platform compared to the AR (or AR-10) platform?

Last year I got a Colt LE Carbine and this year I got an M1A squad scout. Surprisingly the Colt was virtually trouble-free. But so far I'm having some teething issues with the M1A. The gas vent wasn't adjusted properly, so I got short stroking. After an additional turn of the locking ring that was fixed. Now after about 100 rounds some surplus 7.62 is sticking in the chamber, about every other round. And on examination the chamber is extremely rough with visible grooves. I'm not sure if that's on purpose but it most certainly has a clinging effect on brass.

Another problem--component and replacement costs can be VERY HIGH. Sometimes shockingly so. And there's a very aggressive market for them. I've been outbid on three stocks so far on GB, each one a tiger strip and going for over $200. Simple replacement parts which on a Mosin would go for a few bucks cost hundreds with the M1A. Old M14 parts seem to be highly prized and subject to auction wars. Everything seems to be high priced, perhaps because the users are older men with more money. And maybe also because there's less competition among suppliers than for AR's. I haven't done a side-by-side breakdown of extra costs on the AR vs. the M1A, but I know I spent less on the AR. Retro front hand guards, new rear hand grip. Winter trigger guard. A few odds and ends. That's about it. I've already spent a few hundred on various stocks for the M1A and I haven't even started revamping it in earnest.

On the positive side, I'm finding the M1A in its proper M14 stock with proper steel buttplate to be much more comfortable to shoot in the stances than the wobbly barrel-light AR carbine. I'm getting the best 100 year off-hand groups of my life with that rifle, using only a hasty sling.

But I do expect to have more issues as I work out the bugs. I expect to be doing a bit of chamber polishing, retrofitting it with some mil spec M14 parts, shimming and upgrading the gas system, and glass bedding a surplus stock.

In short, the M1A doesn't seem to be the best choice for those who like everything to roll without trouble from the first shot. It's a firearm for tweaking.

I also agree that the M1A shines with its fantastic irons--evolved from the Garand. They're probably the best irons on any rifle I've shot. Scopes can be used on them, but if you want high mag you're better off with a flat top AR pattern .308. Scoping the M1A, you lose some of the magic of it IMHO. I tried out my scout scope mount, didn't like it and won't be using it again.

Another nice point is that if one stock doesn't work for you, swapping out is real fast and simple. There may be some point of impact change of course, but for example if you find that one stock is too thin in the wrist you can get a "big red" birch stock and fix that issue. Bedding makes it a bit more tricky, of course. I'm going to do my first bedding job on a beater, because the task is rather more complex than it is for a simple bolt action.
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