Why are M1A's so expensive?


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pwrstrkd
April 26, 2012, 05:53 PM
I understand they are high quality, but does the cost make sense and worth it? Im not asking this in budgeting terms, just asking to see if the product matches the price.

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tk1971
April 26, 2012, 06:44 PM
Have you ever shot one?

oneounceload
April 26, 2012, 06:45 PM
They cost what they cost because people willingly pay the asking price - that is the same with ANY consumer product

Double Vision
April 26, 2012, 07:38 PM
If I needed one rifle to get the job done, I would reach for my M1A. :)

ApacheCoTodd
April 26, 2012, 08:28 PM
M14/Garand based guns are very not cheap to manufacture even with modern techniques - Mini 14s not withstanding - and the rifles share nearly no componentry whatsoever with other firearms for costs to be spread out by parts suppliers and sub contractors.

It's clearly a market that never would have existed had the government not initiated the Garand program. No one would have spun up to manufacture the system to support a sportsman only market.

Prince Yamato
April 26, 2012, 08:31 PM
Labor cost. That's it. New Polytechs go for $399 in Canada.

nbkky71
April 26, 2012, 08:42 PM
Bottom line: the major parts of the rifle are expensive to manufacture. Look at the cost of a bare receiver: anywhere from $500 - $900, depending upon manufacturer.

dubya450
April 26, 2012, 08:43 PM
IMO I think they're just too expensive. I'd buy one if they were about half the price but when I was comparing one to the fnar I bought they just seemed heavy and clunky to me. They just didn't "feel right". Needless to say they are nice rifles and I would like to own one simply for the cool and historical factor but not for $2,000.

jdh
April 26, 2012, 08:49 PM
The Mini-14 does not use a Garand/M14 type operating system. It is closer to the M1 Carbine.

ApacheCoTodd
April 26, 2012, 08:51 PM
The Mini-14 does not use a Garand/M14 type operating system. It is closer to the M1 Carbine.
Not saying it does - just don't want it used as an example of an inexpensive (relatively) version as the Chicom ones are - erroneously.

Caliper_RWVA
April 26, 2012, 08:55 PM
Lots of machining required in the receiver and bolt, just like a 1911. Machine time is expensive and takes a skilled (expensive) person to do it.

Better question: why are AR10's so darned expensive! Much simpler machining there.

allaroundhunter
April 26, 2012, 09:02 PM
Needless to say they are nice rifles and I would like to own one simply for the cool and historical factor but not for $2,000

I find them going for considerably less than $2,000. I have found them at my local gun shops with a sticker price around $1400-$1600.....Now the National Match rifles are upwards of 2 grand.

SlamFire1
April 26, 2012, 09:04 PM
M1a’s are expensive
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/M1a%20and%20Garand%20Receiver%20Pictures/ReducedRightSiderifle1.jpg

Because this rifle was expensive.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/M1a%20and%20Garand%20Receiver%20Pictures/ReducedNMGarandfulllength.jpg

I have a gun designer friend, we have talked about Garands/M1a’s. John Garand’s design requires special tooling and has un needed machining contours. My friend comment “hey, John Garand was a tool and die machinist”.

The Garand was designed in a period where low cost production was hardly addressed. It took WW2 to make leaders realize that designs needed to take into account cheap and rapid production. The Germans went whole hog designing the HK 91 based on the lessons they learned. After losing several German Armies, complete with all equipment, the Germans had a real hard time getting enough rifles to their new recruits. They decided that building an expensive rifle that lasted 100 years did not make military sense when the soldier carrying the thing had a life expectancy of 9 months. What made more sense was producing lots of rifles. I heard some ridiculously low touch labor requirement for HK 91’s. You can look at them, sheet metal receiver, sheet metal magazines, stamped trigger parts, pressed to fit barrel, I don’t think they designed that rifle to be rebuilt. It just makes more military sense to build them faster.

Incidentally, my friend told me the FAL receiver is even more expensive to make than a Garand/M1a. Which explains the $3000 (adjusted for inflation) a FN FAL was going for in the 70’s.

Springfield Armory was a hidebound production engineer dominated organization. Springfield Armory was familiar with Garands, was tooled up for Garands, the powers that lead the organization did not want something different. Soldiers, if you ever worked with Soldiers, are even more resistant to change than production engineers. Soldiers like what they have, want something better but only a little different and totally reject revolutionary change. Given the votes and attitudes at the time, small wonder the M14 was adopted.

I got my Distinguished with the M1a, love the rifle, but I know it is not a cheap thing.

It is still my favorite 308 semi auto.

Still, the cost of American firearms is peanuts compared to Swiss.

I was told, and I believe that K31 bolts are totally interchangeable across all 800,000 rifles and thirty years of production. This is nuts.

Swiss rifles are built like Swiss watches.

And they are not cheap.

Prince Yamato
April 26, 2012, 09:13 PM
All the rifles mentioned are expensive because people are willing to pay high prices and delude themselves into believing that brand A is far superior to brand B. I think the difference between stock weapons is so slight that most shooters wouldn't really notice a difference in a blind test.

Again, another reason why the rifles cost so much is that there are no longer cheaper cost Chinese alternatives. US manufactures don't face much in the way of foreign competition when it comes to semi-autos. Prices can be artificially kept high.

mshootnit
April 26, 2012, 09:31 PM
some parts on the M1a are foreign though its not even totally US made

HankC
April 26, 2012, 09:44 PM
Again, another reason why the rifles cost so much is that there are no longer cheaper cost Chinese alternatives. US manufactures don't face much in the way of foreign competition when it comes to semi-autos. Prices can be artificially kept high.

+1. Developing new tooling is expensive and market is relatively small. 7.62x51 is also more expensive to shoot compares to .223.

Redlg155
April 26, 2012, 09:46 PM
They are expensive, but no more so than a high end AR15.

My Scout in Walnut cost me.$1500 after everyone was paid. I've seen ARs over that.

TexasPatriot.308
April 26, 2012, 10:23 PM
my last M1A was the standard loaded with walnut stock (just like I used as a GI). they are kind of like a woman if you want one, gotta have it, you will pay the price. I want another, scout squad next time. I paid right at $1500 for it.

madcratebuilder
April 27, 2012, 06:47 AM
IMO I think they're just too expensive. I'd buy one if they were about half the price but when I was comparing one to the fnar I bought they just seemed heavy and clunky to me. They just didn't "feel right". Needless to say they are nice rifles and I would like to own one simply for the cool and historical factor but not for $2,000.
You can find a nice M1A for $1200-1400 dollars if you look. I've seen them sell for $950 in a "quick I need money" sale. No more than a good 7.62 AR or a high end AR15.

Look at the prices on usgi mil-surps from war1 and war2, M1A's are a bargain.

conhntr
April 27, 2012, 09:41 PM
Comparing a springfield to a 1500$ ar is not accurate


As far as "mil spec" and buildquality a
1200$ springfield compares to a 699$ bushmaster

To get the same quality as a high end ar15 we would be comparing to a 2500$ lrb m14

madcratebuilder
April 28, 2012, 07:07 AM
Comparing a springfield to a 1500$ ar is not accurate


As far as "mil spec" and buildquality a
1200$ springfield compares to a 699$ bushmaster

To get the same quality as a high end ar15 we would be comparing to a 2500$ lrb m14
You haven't owned many M1A's have you?

Ar180shooter
April 28, 2012, 10:08 AM
Labor cost. That's it. New Polytechs go for $399 in Canada.
QC is also part of it. Certain components are out of spec on the Chinese ones, and they need some work to shoot as well as U.S. made ones. Generally, the Receiver, barrel, op-rod and bolt on the Chinese ones are of relatively good construction, albeit the finish isn't as nice. Some of the smaller components can have quality issues, especially the sights. Mind you, with a little elbow grease and a few hundred dollars in parts, they can be made just as functional as a Springfield.

TexasPatriot.308
April 28, 2012, 10:48 AM
I've gotten mine from Buds gun shop, pay the listed price, for me in Texas, no sales tax, shipping was free, only a few bucks to my FFL for transfer.

conhntr
April 28, 2012, 01:00 PM
//You haven't owned many M1A's have you?//
Wrong i owned 1 sprinfield INC, and currently own a cmp parts kit on a fulton armory.

The cast springfield inc is the bushmaster of m14 clones. The early ones using mostly gi parts are except the action. The new ones with springfield parts are ok except the action and the springfield parts...

Cosmoline
April 28, 2012, 01:44 PM
They're not that bad. I just picked up a used Scout for $1200. It's on par with a good quality AR-15.

As far as the cast receiver thing, I've been relying on cast revolvers for a long time now and know them to be *stronger* than the old milled designs, not weaker. The technology for casting steel has improved enormously since the old days.

DesertFox
April 28, 2012, 01:44 PM
You're right, M1As are expensive. But recently I caught myself slobbering all over a FN SCAR 17 with a $2,999 price tag... Out of my ballpark. Inventory here has a Springfield and a Polytech. Both shoot great and are as accurate as I'd ever expect from the platform out to 500 yards or so - for me at least. M14/M1A has a great "feel" to it, justifying the expense to a certain degree.

Elkins45
April 28, 2012, 05:10 PM
IMO one of the main reasons they are so expensive is because there is only a single supplier. It's the same reason an AR was $700 25 years ago-you had to buy them from Colt.

jolly roger
April 28, 2012, 05:38 PM
Have indeed seen a cast receiver break on a Springfield. They made it good but Kinda freaked my friend out though. I'll stick with a Garand myself and 308 in either bolt or AR platform.

Narwhal
April 28, 2012, 05:57 PM
They're not that expensive all things considered. I had an M1A, sold it. I now own 3 "M14's", 2 forged (LRB) and 1 billet machined from Smith Enterprise (Full auto).

An LRB will cost almost double what an M1A from Springfield runs. What you get is a receiver that's usually closer to USGI specifications, will often work more reliably with USGI parts, and have a longer service life. I have to say usually because I feel there is a lot of variance in the M1A's springfield puts out; some are better than others. To me, the extra features offered by the smaller M14 manufacturers are worth the extra cash, to many I can see how they would not be, especially if they have a "good" M1A. Unfortunately the M1A I used to own simply was not reliable and repeated trips back to springfield would not correct the failures to feed I was experiencing with that rifle.

Ky Larry
April 28, 2012, 07:53 PM
Just curious. Does the M1A lend itself well to CNC machining technics? Does it require a lot of hand fitting?

mberoose
April 28, 2012, 08:43 PM
This question cracks me up considering the hilarious amount of money some people choose to spend on AR-15s, the legos, or Honda Civic of the gun world.

Jason_G
April 28, 2012, 08:47 PM
This question cracks me up considering the hilarious amount of money some people choose to spend on AR-15s, the legos, or Honda Civic of the gun world.

ROFL! You done done it now... Y'all get y'all's popcorn ready!

:p
Jason

mberoose
April 28, 2012, 08:50 PM
Just sayin bud. :D

Gtimothy
April 29, 2012, 08:43 AM
I'll be first then...:D

I had to decide on whether I wanted an M1A or an AR. :what: I know, tough decision. I posted on THR for comments and, as expected, I got both pros and cons for both guns. When the dust settled, I bought another AR and paid over $1700 for it (including optics). I could have bought a loaded M1A for that price but that would have been it. I had to weigh the cost of accessories and ammo into the equation as well. I reload both the .223 and .308 so that wasn't the issue, it was the cost of supplies and the fact that I would have to buy magazines, scope mount, scope, etc for the M1A. I already had plenty of ammo and magazines for the AR. Simple economics.

I'll eventually get an M1A but for right now, I'm happy with my decision!

WALKERs210
April 29, 2012, 09:00 PM
This is like a question about why a divorce cost so much- It's worth it". Nice thing about getting old is you don't have to squeeze pennies to put cloths and food for kids. Now if I see it and like it price don't really enter the picture.

Welding Rod
April 30, 2012, 01:20 AM
I was shooting my Loaded today. I traded a gun dealer for it. It was used and built in "07. It looked like new. I put it in a GI fiberglass stock. The trigger is great and the rifle is plenty accurate. Real fun to shoot and perfect function.

Phaethon
April 30, 2012, 01:53 PM
Swiss rifles are built like Swiss watches.

And they are not cheap.

At $250, K31's are an absolute bargain. Why pay so many times that amount for a similar level of quality machining?

jerkface11
April 30, 2012, 02:13 PM
At $250, K31's are an absolute bargain. Why pay so many times that amount for a similar level of quality machining?

They also are not NEW.

Phaethon
April 30, 2012, 11:10 PM
They also are not NEW.

It doesn't change the underlying point that they're cheap. I'm not the one who brought up Swiss rifles.

Ultimately it seems that most people are spot on in that they're worth what people are willing to pay for them. I find that most American-manufactured weapons are expensive, I imagine that almost all modern freshly built civilian weapons are. In wartime at least there's a sudden massive demand for guns, and then shortly afterwards they're shed off, generally in favor of a new weapon's system, enabling the older rifles to enter the civilian market en masse. In this case the law of supply and demand is probably keeping production figures low, and the cost of machining and labor is raising prices even higher.

I personally would never buy any rifle for more than a thousand dollars. I just don't see the need to when there are a lot of great other beater guns that can achieve the same basic fire rate or comparable accuracy. It just comes down to exactly how much someone else wants the M1A rifle, for its looks, ergonomics, performance, cartridge, or lineage, or how it just fits their general idea of what they're looking for.

rizbunk77
April 30, 2012, 11:36 PM
given how complicated it was to forge the receivers, and mill them out to proper specs I don't think modern makers would have the expertise, guidance or experience to do it right. I personally would not put any more faith in a modern forged receiver than a new cast receiver from Springfield inc. Now if John Garand were overseeing the process then I would change my mind. And also I don't think the new stock makers are doing any justice to the M1's and M1a either. The old workers at Springfield armory (the real armory) knew how to inlet these stocks for proper fitment and perfect function. Everything was quality controlled. The stocks were finished right Now you buy a set of wood and it comes with unmatching grain that needs work even if it's "drop in". To me these companies are cranking product out the door as fast as possible to get it sold, whether its good to go or not. Do the modern makers have all the QC gauges to ensure each receiver is milled to spec? Do they even know what to look for? Could they ensure parts interchangeability between LRB, fulton armory, smith etc? I doubt it, but thats exactly the standard adhered to among all M1 manufacturers during WWII.

greyling22
May 1, 2012, 07:49 PM
Prince yamato or somebody, tell me more about this $400 polytech in canada and how can I get one in the states?

carbine85
May 2, 2012, 03:43 PM
Prince yamato or somebody, tell me more about this $400 polytech in canada and how can I get one in the states?
You can't get one, It's from China and they can't be imported.

greyling22
May 2, 2012, 09:28 PM
Bummer. I was hoping there was a way to buy one in canada and import it to the us, they way you can do with some cars not sold in america.

medalguy
May 2, 2012, 11:43 PM
Go to Canada, buy one, stick it in your pants, and limp back. :neener::neener::neener:

Gordon
May 3, 2012, 12:03 AM
Bought new in 1983 as a "National Match" and sent to Smiths in the early 90s to be built to National Match Specs cost $600 over the initial $600 1983 cost. It is just loosening up now to be very reliable and still puts Federal Gold Match into 3" at 200 yards with a NightForce instead of my IDF "souped up" ANPVS-2 that gives me flash backs of what I was doing in 1968-1970 ..... Priceless!!
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i203/gordonhulme/056.jpg
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i203/gordonhulme/055.jpg

GunTech
May 3, 2012, 02:10 AM
Volume makes for cheaper pricing too. TRW's bid for M14s in 1961 was $72.84, adjusted for inflation that is something like $550 today. But that's building rifles in a plant specifically designed to do that, and the plant cost around $6 million in 1960 dollars. Not too many companies can afford to spend around $44 million today to set up a plant to build one gun unless they are going to sell a LOT of guns.

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