anybody regret getting an M1A


May 5, 2014, 09:03 PM
Been thinking of getting a 308 and there's a Springfield M1a loaded with a stainless barrel that is catching my eye. Anybody buy an M1a and regret it?

A bolt action would be easier to clean and might be more accurate but would necessitate a scope purchase at the same time. shooting with iron sights sounds fun but not sure how well I'd do with my glasses.

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May 5, 2014, 09:06 PM
look at the colt le901 308/223

May 5, 2014, 09:11 PM
Anybody buy an M1a and regret it?

I bought one in the 80's. It was a decent gun, but heavy and bulky for carrying around in the hills. I think I shot it maybe 2 or 3 times, and sold it after about 3 weeks.

May 5, 2014, 09:20 PM
Not so much that I regretted it, as much as, I realized it would become a serious project to make it what I wanted it to be.

With the elevated scope mount, I had to lean way over into it to shoot it, I got dinged over my eye. To match my eye to it, would have required a stock replacement, and probably a serious trigger replacement, to start with. Also, with the scope mount, it cut down into the sight picture for the open sights, making it equally unusable that way. I would have had to do one or the other.

May 5, 2014, 09:22 PM
I have owned FAL's and HK 91's and sold them after a while. I have owned an M1-A since 1980 and will never sell it! Very accurate and just feels right.

May 5, 2014, 09:30 PM
The M1A is a great fighting rifle, but much to the dismay of many buyers, a basic/stock rifle is not much more accurate than a decent AK. I have personally been looking into the .308 semi "game" and after owning a Fal, M1A basic, M1A Scout (best of the M1A's in my opinion) and an FNAR, I think I have decided to grab a PTR91. For about $400-$600 cheaper than a M1A, its a very good deal, especially when one considers the $5 magazines, easy purpose built optics mounting and the general 1.5-2moa accuracy.

May 5, 2014, 09:40 PM
I regret not having the money to get an M1A :).

Just my .02,

May 5, 2014, 10:04 PM
Anybody buy an M1a and regret it?

*raises hand*

It was the first rifle I ever bought, luckily the 2nd rifle I bought was a CMMG 22LR upper on a RRA lower. 22LR is about the only reason I'm still into guns at all. I quickly realized how God awful expensive 7.62x51/.308 was to shoot often.

To add to the regret factor of the purchase I made the newbie mistake of buying it off post, which means I paid a 9.3% markup on a $2,000 M1A National Match. The NM is the other dumb part of the purchase, I'm not a NM shooter and didn't know the difference between a standard M1A and a NM at the time, I had just wanted a M1A.

Don't get me wrong I still think it's a nice rifle, it's far more accurate than I am or probably ever will be, it's nice looking, and I'm into old school guns (which is mostly why I wanted a M1A in the first place). But if I had it to do over again I definitely wouldn't have bought a M1A at all, just the M1 Garand I picked up later.

May 5, 2014, 10:42 PM
The factory original stock is great for the iron sights. But, if you plan to mount some form of optic, you will need/benefit from an adjustable stock. I have both the Loaded model, and a SOCOM. Great rifles.


May 5, 2014, 10:50 PM
I have an m1a std, and can compare it against multiple 308 semis I have been around. I dont know how you could regret it. I like the std. because its lighter. Its a go-to gun for sure.

Welding Rod
May 5, 2014, 10:51 PM
I bought two that I regretted and two that I liked for the most part.

I think the platform is fantastic. However I think SAI QC is crap. If you get a gun that happens to be a good specimen, they are pretty awesome. And in the case of my two better ones, quite accurate.

I have owned a SOCOM 16, Standard, Loaded, and Super Match. My favorite variant by far is the Standard, with the Loaded coming up second. The SOCOM was grossly inaccurate, the SM was just a sloppy POS.

My Standard came out of the box with major runs in the stock finish and a bent front sight ear, but it is a shooter... Great trigger and accurate. Great ergo sand balance. Ruins brass though through pretty serious stretching. May be an oversized chamber as the other three M1As didn't do this.

Understand though, at least IMO, these are iron sight guns and are not suitable for optics.

May 5, 2014, 11:38 PM
Hmmm... more pondering to do...regarding quality control the gun I was looking at had steel filings in the cuts milled into the barrel where the sight and flash suppressors attach. It's got me thinking what the rifling cuts would look Iike.

May 5, 2014, 11:51 PM
I regret not having the money to get an M1A .

Ditto. M1A has been on my wish list for a long time, but has yet to make it to the top of the list. I love the platform and think they look awesome, but I dont reload and cant afford to shoot very much at $1/round.

up 2 snuff
May 6, 2014, 12:04 AM
A good 308 bolt action with a properly set up scope is a wonderful thing. An M1A is a really nice weapon. I wished I had your problem. It is a good one to have.

If I didn't have either one of these rifles I would go with the bolt gun first. I enjoy shooting accuracy and like to hunt so it works for me.

You can't make a bad decision. Get both if you can.

Comrade Mike
May 6, 2014, 12:14 AM
I'd buy one but not from SAI. Too bad LBR's are 2500+ :(

May 6, 2014, 04:53 AM
Because of the expense, I waited a lot of years to buy an M1A and finally ended up getting a Loaded model. Have I regretted it? Never, not even for a second. The rifle was designed to be used with iron sights and comes with some of the best iron sights out there. It'll hit targets accurately out to several hundred yards just as it is. If you want to put a scope on it and make it a target rifle then be prepared to spend a lot of money and time, or just buy a nice .308 bolt rifle with a good scope and be done with it.

May 6, 2014, 07:44 AM
I have a preban and a Polytech. Both are shooters and alot of fun. IMO the M1A is the last of the great wood and steel age of battle rifles. I have a LWRC REPR and have had an Armalite AR10 both reliable and acurate but the M1A is a rifle man,s rifle and a classic.;)

May 6, 2014, 09:37 AM
My neighbor bought a SOCOM. I shot it a few rounds. Very heavy for what it is. Kinda reminds me of classic cars. There's a reason that buyers went to something newer/better..

When I can load the exact same ammo into a precision bolt rifle and shoot groups 1/10th the size, I've lost interest. But hey, it's your dime. Do what makes you happy, not a bunch of strangers on the interweb

If I were fighting hoards of Germans at Normandy my views would be diffferent

May 6, 2014, 10:04 AM
A friend of mine bought one two summers ago. It was the basic model. I was with him the first time he shot it at the range. It jammed constantly. Some of those jams were severe. But as the week end progressed it slowly showed some improvement. I suggested he load up several magazines and run some rapid fire shooting to loosen it up. That worked. Since then, to my knowledge' it has worked flawlessly. I think it was tight tolerances that caused the jamming and it took some time for it to break in.


May 6, 2014, 10:12 AM
I bought one of the very first M1A's (serial number under 1,000, made in Devine, Texas) new in the early 1970's. To say that I don't regret buying it would be an understatement. (It has a National Match stock, National Match sights, Brookfield Precision scope mount, etc. Value-wise, it must be up in the thousands. But I don't plan to sell it.)

May 6, 2014, 10:16 AM
I'd want any rifle I'd own to be more accurate than me. I thought the loaded was capable of sub moa even without the bedding.. I like the feel of the rifle with iron sights and it seems a good gun to learn to use a sling properly. I guess ill keep thinking about it for now.

May 6, 2014, 10:45 AM
I've had my M1A since the early 90s and will likely never regret it. However, the fact that I like mine or other members like or dislike theirs means very little. I also have my AR 10 and a bolt gun in 308. Would be nice to get your hands on one and try the rifle out to see if an M1A is for you. Ultimately it would be your gun.

I'd want any rifle I'd own to be more accurate than me. I thought the loaded was capable of sub moa even without the bedding.. I like the feel of the rifle with iron sights and it seems a good gun to learn to use a sling properly. I guess ill keep thinking about it for now.

My M1A is a NM and does sub MOA and does shoot better than I do anymore. :)


May 6, 2014, 11:17 AM
Nope, Mine is quieter suppressed than my 7.62 AR. Also easy to totally close the gas port.


May 6, 2014, 11:55 AM
Anybody buy an M1a and regret it?


But then I'm invested in M1 Garands as well.

May 6, 2014, 03:33 PM
Two very early M1A rifles gave me my first experience with the type. They were bought in 1980, and both were sold when I was offered "too much money" for them.

My current M1A is a "loaded" model , bought new in 2005. It has now fired more than SEVEN THOUSAND ROUNDS and performs flawlessly. No problem of any kind has ever occurred with this rifle. I have a spare extractor in the butt trap, but it appears unlikely that I'll need it. My M1A has never seen a factory-loaded cartridge.

7,000 rounds.... about eight hundred of that that number were jacketed bullets, mostly Sierra 168 Matchkings. The rifle has delivered those Matchkings into groups as small as one inch for five rounds at 100 yards....with the issue iron sights and 65-year-old eyes.

The remainder of the 7,000 rounds were cast bullets.....over six thousand of them. Not only does the rifle function normally with correct cast loads, but accuracy results are also excellent. The smallest group I fired at 50 yards, iron sights, was 0.60" for TEN rounds. Also, it delivered five consecutive hits(with witnesses) on a 16"x 24" steel plate at 417 yards, iron sights, sitting position with no sling.... with cast bullets.

Incidentally, cast-bullet loads create far less bore wear that jacketed bullets, as they operate at lower pressure, temperature and velocity. To be sure, one can certainly get the barrel far too hot to touch, but it takes more shooting to do so than with the jacketed loads.

This M1A rifle is the subject of the 13-page thread at Cast Boolits, stickied in the "CB Loads/Military Rifles" forum. There have been over 70,000 "views" of that thread to date, and many folks have duplicated my excellent results with their own rifles .

The rifle works perfectly with cast bullets, with NO lead fouling in bore or gas system. Couple this fact with its performance with Matchkings, and.... regret it? HAH!

It would likely be the LAST rifle I'll ever part with, and that covers a very wide field....

May 6, 2014, 05:11 PM
I love mine but they are definitely not for everyone. If you like optics then I will admit you should choose an AR or FNAR or the like. My Scout Squad is a day in/day out 2MOA shooter with irons. Slightly better with my buddy shooting it!:banghead: It crapped an extractor on the second box of ammo it shot. I have since replaced it with a GI one and no probs.

I like service rifles so it's my thing. I love shooting tiny holes with bolt guns too, but fun to me is going prone with a battle rifle. I like the way the older wood and steel rifles fit me.

If you like iron sights, or are willing to put in the work to shoot them accurately, then there is no better choice to me than an M1/M1A.

Oh yeah, No regrets!

May 6, 2014, 05:37 PM

Thanks for the FYI regarding cast bullets! I'll have to try them! My M1A "Loaded" and my SOCOM both shoot very well with 46 grains of Varget under Sierra, 165 grain HP Game Kings. Feel free to message me some of your M1A's pet loads.

Thanks to all the others who are posting here. This thread is a great read!


May 6, 2014, 06:40 PM
Geno, g'day sir.

Every load i tried in the M1A is posted on that thread at Cast Boolits.

The website is at:

and by scrolling down on the home page you will find the "CB Loads/Military Rifles" forum. The M1A/.308 sticky is close to the top.

Much easier for you to go there and have the whole thing available,rather than my trying to sort out "good" loads. After all, what worked in MY rifle may not do as well in YOUR rifle..... it's all personal experimentation.

I sure do treasure my M1A. Hope yours does equally well!

May 6, 2014, 06:45 PM

Thank-you much! Yeah, I really like my M1As. I had to go with adjustable stocks due to my neck being fused. While I like the look of the walnut stock, the McMillan A4 stock saves me neck pain. Thanks for the link info.


May 6, 2014, 06:58 PM
A faux BM59 by Shuff would be an interesting, if similar alternative


May 6, 2014, 07:22 PM
I think they're cool looking, but they don't scope well, the 2 I have tried were in the sks/ak/mini14 accuracy department (3" groups with a scope with different shooters and a wide variety of ammo) and the whole "rock a mag into position" isn't great. And they're heavy and expensive. If I could lay hands on one of those norinco they sell in canada for 450 or so I would be all over it, but at 1450 for a springfield I'd pass. I'd get a garand and a good used bolt action 308 or 30-06 with scope instead for the same money. AND have cash left over for pizza!

May 6, 2014, 07:24 PM
Much of it has to do with what your intended use is

I keep looking at them, but being a hunter, I always go back to my Bison Armory AR15 in 6.8

Holding a M1A in my arms for only a few minutes, it seems like a much heavier rifle

Also, after doing sub MOA with the AR, its tough for me to go back in accuracy
(unless I want to spend another $400 on a $1600 rifle

Lastly, my 50 year old eyes arent as sharp so I do need a scope

the M1A is a bit of a challenge (and pricey) to put a traditional scope on it and stay solid

May 6, 2014, 07:44 PM
No regrets at all. Mine has 20k + thru it and still ticking. 2 Firing pins and several recoil springs and one bolt stop. :D Shot last weekend at a steel shoot out to 600 yds. did OK. Needs a barrel. Still on the original. Standard M1A made in 1984. :D

May 7, 2014, 05:53 PM
Not even a second.
The mild regrets. First, not buying german surplus battle packs 308 ammo when were cheaper.
Secondly, not having the money and buying others firearms that I end up not shooting so much, (but is life.)

May 7, 2014, 06:01 PM
Got mine years ago I might trade it but can not think of a thing I would want more then what I have .

May 7, 2014, 07:00 PM
As many have said before,I regret not being able to afford one. I have never had one in my hands but it's older brother the M14 is a real fine weapon and the only difference being was the removal of the selector switch capability puts it right at the top IMHO.I am not an AR loving person so that doesn't come into play.It is a direct descendant of the greatest battle implement ever devised the M1 Garand so that clinches it for me. BUY IT.:)

May 8, 2014, 04:47 AM
BruceB, I have been reading your thread on your cast bullet load at Cast Boolits and the amount of work (labor of love) you put in was phenomenal. Just wanted to say "thank you". I am carefully reading this tomb of information, of what you found worked and didnt work.

To anyone following this thread, I will say this if you are thinking of buying one of these rifles ... purchase one. If per chance you dont care for it, it is easily resold. Lovers of these rifles are legion in numbers. Much like its forerunner the Mighty M1, it is a easy to hit with, user friendly, with great power and accuracy.:D

On An Island
May 8, 2014, 08:50 AM
A Loaded is the top item on my want-list and has been for a while. I envy those of you that have already had the pleasure of owning an M1A. I've held them, shot them, and they just feel "right".

This is a good thread.

Willie Sutton
May 8, 2014, 09:07 AM
With just about one of "everything" in my armory, including a 1980's era M1A National Match with a Leatherwood ART-II stuck on it:

When I go into the armory to pick a .30 caliber semiauto to shoot on a Sunday, the M1A always seems to be about the last one I pick out. It just doesn't call to me. It was last shot 15 years ago, with fair but not perfect reliability, and fair but not stellar accuracy with the ART-II. With open sights it is better but still... <sigh>... it's not up to the standards my (original) M1 Garand NM rifle.

I'm glad to posess one as a filler in my US Military martial arms collection, which is complete from Civil War to current generation (save for substituting M1A for M-14 and AR's for M-16 and M-4's), but it's not my go-to rifle in .30 caliber. I'd prefer a Garand any day of the week. "In Wood", I actually prefer the FN-49 in .30-06 but that's just me.

To me, the M1A (M-14) is a mule, a horse designed by a comittee. It's a typical US Military object, overbuilt, reliable, "heavy iron" in concept, very conservative in technical design, and with unneeded engineering ties to an older design (M1 Garand) which was driven by our absolutely excellent success with the Garand. It was chosen over it's competitors by overly conservative decision makers when it was adopted, and by people who didn't want to abandon all of the work that had been done at Springfield to redesign the Garand into a box magazine fed select fire rifle (which would have been admitting that all of that money and time had been wasted.) It's very similar to the political and engineering decisions that caused us to adopt the Trapdoor, with the Trapdoor Springfield deriving explicitly from a civil war era muzzle loading musket: It's an attempt to use existing design parameters and production machinery to build something that is very similar and oly slightly evolved to it's preceeding design, when a clean sheet design would probably have saved money in the long terms and produced a better rifle. We probably should have adopted the FAL, but that's another story. Your choice as a one-rifle or limited collection shooter should be based on your own desires, and use. If collecting US Martial arms, it's a must. If you really want to compete in DCM with a .30 caliber rifle, have at it (I'll use a Garand). If you want to bang gongs at 600 yards I'd prefer another platform but again that's just me. For hunting? Don't make me laugh.

It's a must-study rifle for the serious student of small arms design, but not a must-own for a one rifle owner or shooter. I enjoy having one in any case, but I am a serious collector and mainly add arms to my collection based on their historical place in the evolution of arms, not always choosing them on the basis of their utility or shootability.



May 8, 2014, 09:20 AM
Great thread! Tagged.

May 8, 2014, 10:02 AM
In the early 1990s, I bought an NFA M1A1, made by Springfield Armory. It had all TRW parts, save the receiver, and the selector switch was functional. As a member of a DoD club, we used the range at Ft. Meade, Md. Out to 600 yards, it was an amazingly accurate gun with iron sights. Even with my aging eye-sight. It was also as reliable as a rock. I sold it this past February, as a divorce caused by an "up and left" wife also left me in dire financial straits. Bought it for $2000, sold it for $10,000 to Mendiola in Miami.

I have a second M1A, a loaded, that I bought in 2005. Unlike some, I actually spent some time BEFORE I bought it, examining it for fit, finish, and function. WHY people accept guns that come out of the box in bad shape escapes me. EVERY type of gun that I own gets a total examination PRIOR to purchase.

There are several of us who shoot the M1A at the club locally. You won't find us at 25 yards, "sighting in", or having failure after failure with the platform.

FYI, the trigger weights on the M1A are set for competition at Camp Perry Service Rifle. The existing trigger-pull may be safely lowered.

I'll also have to call BS on the stock issue. I have any number of bolt-action rifles, and they rarely come with stocks that are set up for high-magnification scopes, or even low mag scopes with 50mm bells. Most people setting up a precision rifle either spend $3000+ for a dedicated platform, or add a different stock, trigger, and blueprint the receiver and bolt on a $1000 gun.

I'm old enough to have used the M14 in combat, prior to the adoption of the M16. It worked fine then, and, for me, it still works just as well.

It's kind of funny. Virtually all of these rifles will be used to punch paper off of a bench. The weight of such a gun is insignificant in it's use. It's not like any of these people have articulated a need to carry a 10 pound rifle in the field. Then again, the existing M4 platform in Afghanistan usually weighs in around 12 pounds. Yet, THAT'S not too heavy? Hmmm.......

Choose whatever you want. Avoid the pitfalls stated by inspecting the rifle prior to purchase, and motor on. Happy.

May 8, 2014, 02:38 PM
JR47 said:

I'll also have to call BS on the stock issue. I have any number of bolt-action rifles, and they rarely come with stocks that are set up for high-magnification scopes, or even low mag scopes with 50mm bells. Most people setting up a precision rifle either spend $3000+ for a dedicated platform, or add a different stock, trigger, and blueprint the receiver and bolt on a $1000 gun.

Excellent point!


May 8, 2014, 03:39 PM
Back to the beginning:

anybody regret getting an M1A
Been thinking of getting a 308 and there's a Springfield M1a loaded with a stainless barrel that is catching my eye. Anybody buy an M1a and regret it?

A bolt action would be easier to clean and might be more accurate but would necessitate a scope purchase at the same time. shooting with iron sights sounds fun but not sure how well I'd do with my glasses.

I am 64 years old and began wearing glasses in my mid 50s. With a decent size collection of rifles my early 90s M1A NM is one I enjoy shooting to this day. The glasses are not an issue. I have a few hunting rifles that are scoped but mt military rifles aren't.

This brings us to hunting rifles. Sorry but I do not see an M14 type rifle as a hunting rifle anymore than I see any AR10 or AR15 type rifle as a hunting rifle. That is not to say either flavor will not work as a hunting rifle, that is only to say if you want to go hunting there are much better suited rifles for hunting. A good shot from the lowly 223 from an AR15 will easily drop a hog or deer. I just see countless better choices in hunting rifles.

I see rifles like the AR15, AR10, M1A and M1 Garand as well as a host of others as go to the range and punch paper rifles. That includes 200, 300 and 600 meter shooting. I trained with the M14 and came to love the damn thing once the Marine Corps killed off my bad shooting habits and learned how to shoot the damn thing. Like the M1 Garand it is an incredible rifle.

You buy a rifle based on what YOU want or expect from the rifle. The M1A is a hell of a great rifle if that is what you are looking for in a rifle. It does what it was designed to do and while it will take deer and ugly hogs the rifle was never designed to do that. Sans a great war to play soldier in the M1A is a target rifle and that is as good as it gets.


May 8, 2014, 03:45 PM
I regreted buying the first one so much that I bought three more.

Peter M. Eick
May 8, 2014, 04:35 PM
No I never regretted my Super Match or my National Match.

They are accurate, reliable and fun to shoot. What could there be to regret?

May 8, 2014, 04:35 PM
The only thing I regret about my M1A Scout Squad is that I sold it a few years back!

One of many guns I wish I still had:(

May 8, 2014, 06:36 PM
:D I love this thread. Keep posting everybody.

May 8, 2014, 10:38 PM
I purchased a SAI standard a few months ago. Dropped it into a well used walnut USGI stock. It is an absolute hoot to shoot. I love the sound that big steel op rod and the bolt make when they cycle.

Even though I am in my 60's and I wear tri-foc's I am still an iron sight guy, and the M1A/M14 sights are some of the best ever developed. So no optics are planned.

I do plan to hunt mule deer with it, in heavy cover. I know, I know, 12-14 lbs. of rifle to lug about. Well, back when I was unable to afford a nice modern hunting rifle I would carry my old repo 1863 Remington muzzle loader during the general buck hunt. It weighs in at about 14 lbs loaded and I never seemed to mind. Also, it would sure as hell knock a deer down. Besides, I normally carry a 20-25 lb pack on my back so total load is around 40 lbs. I do not consider that a lot of weight to carry in the woods.

But, the real reason I bought the M1A is because I enjoy military history and really enjoy recreational shooting with military platforms (M1 Carbine, M1 Garand, M-15/AR, and now M1A/M14).

The M1A has exceeded my expectations, so no regrets whatsoever. If I could only have one rifle, that would be the one.

May 9, 2014, 01:49 AM
DMZ, where are you getting your weight figures for those rifles?

The Remington M1863 ("Zouave") has a "book" weight of eight pounds, and an M14 with loaded twenty-round magazine tallies 10.7 pounds..... both are a long way from 14 pounds.

I've owned both, and still have an M1A, and I believe the figures I've quoted are accurate.

May 9, 2014, 09:36 PM
I bought mine somewhere around 1990 and I love it as much now as the day I bought it.

Peter M. Eick
May 10, 2014, 08:02 AM
Actually, thinking about it I do have a regret.

I regret I don't shoot it as much as I should. It was always fun to get my Super out on the bench and pound away magazine after magazine into little holes.

May 10, 2014, 08:22 AM
As with most things "Springfield", it was the later guns I regretted buying. The early guns were pretty good overall.

The last M1A I bought was a SOCOM. It, like the last half dozen or so 1911's of theirs I bought about the same time, were trouble, and their QC wasnt very good. That was about 8-10 years ago, so maybe thats been corrected, but I havent seen it personally.

My 80's and 90's era M1A's were good guns and good shooters. Fit, finish, and quality, seems to have declined as time moved forward.

Ive owned all three size versions, and if I were to buy another, it would be a standard version.

The smaller versions are slightly handier, but losing a few inches in barrel length really does nothing to reduce weight, and really all youre looking at, is "looks".

May 10, 2014, 11:00 AM
Adding to my earlier post. I personally prefer to buy the ones built in the late eighties to the early nineties. These tend to be mostly GI parts with commercial receivers and stocks. While there are those that don't like the M1A rifle, most find them to be accurate and comfortable to shoot. I only regret selling a couple of mine in the past. I now have two and neither of mine are going anywhere.

May 11, 2014, 11:57 PM
only regret about buying my m1a and m14 in the 1980's is never firing them

May 13, 2014, 12:03 PM
I think that if you buy one expecting it to deliver bolt-action accuracy, then you might be disappointed. These guns simply are not as mythically accurate as the internet has made them out to be. Lots of folks claim sub-MOA guns, then you find out they're measuring 3-shot groups. The 5-shot and 10-shot groups almost always show them to 1.5 to 2MOA.

Never understood why people keep saying that they are difficult to scope. They are not. You buy a quality mount (not from Springfield Armory) and you follow the instructions. Simple. They are more expensive to scope compared to other modern designs, as you now need to factor in the cost of a quality mount and (most likely) a cheek riser of some sort.

Embracing the gun for what it is, a semi-auto rifle delivering honest accuracy somewhere between 1 and 2 MOA, you will have an enjoyable ownership experience. On the other hand, if you go crazy customizing this and that, you'll end up tossing $3k or above to achieve the same results that other rifles can deliver right out of the box.

If I had a definite need for a 7.62 NATO semi-auto rifle that would be called upon for preservation of life, then I would choose the SCAR-H, LaRue OBR, LMT MWS, or the HK MR762. I love my M1A, but there are better choices these days.

Peter M. Eick
May 13, 2014, 07:17 PM

50 shots, 100 yrds, off the bench. Stock SuperMatch.

50 shots, 100 yrds, off the bench Stock NationalMatch.

My usual bench setup.

I agree if I were expecting bolt action accuracy I would be disappointed. The key to shooting an M1A well is lots of time behind it and very careful shooting approach. I figure for 50 shot groups it is not too shabby.

Some day I will get back on the range and see if I can tighten up those NM groups. I think it was mostly an eye issue of bad eyesight.

May 13, 2014, 07:31 PM
Springfield Armory M1a is my grail gun.

May 18, 2014, 11:54 AM
I decided to get the gun and went to the range for a half baked barrel break in for the first 6 rounds (one shot one clean) and 2 three round cycles and clean after which I just decided to shoot it and sight it in further.

It was the loaded that I got and looking at Peter's groups with the unscoped national match and after shooting 50 rounds through mine I am very impressed with his groups even more. shooting 100 yards with a similar target it's hard to see the target clearly with iron sights.

potential regret maybe... as a rifle to be used with iron sights for me the standard may be a better deal as I may not be able to reap the benefits of increased precision from the loaded model(assuming it is there) since my eyesight is the limiting factor. even for just banging gongs at 225 yards I realized it wasn't as easy when the target was less wide or just as wide as your front sight.

May 18, 2014, 12:26 PM
Regret is a strong word. I wouldn't say I regret buying it, but I don't shoot it very often. Maybe I need to work up some cast bullet loads that will cycle it so I can get some trigger time.

I think I'm just a bolt action sort of guy.

June 11, 2014, 02:47 AM
Re: "Lastly, my 50 year old eyes arent as sharp so I do need a scope...the M1A is a bit of a challenge (and pricey) to put a traditional scope on it and stay solid"

Love the M1A, but it is a beast to use with a scope or optic. After a couple of false starts, found success with a Bassett M1A/M14 mount and either a Leupold Mk. LR/T 3.5-10x40 with IR or a Zeiss Conquest 6.5-20x40 AO with Rapid Z-1000. Also have used an ACOG on it, which - while strange looking - worked great.

The trick for getting all of this to work was using a cheek riser/cheek rest, since by the time you add the mount, the scope is fairly high off of the receiver.

The iron sights on it are superb, but like you, my eyes aren't those of a twenty-year old any longer. My solution was to get prescription shooting glasses for when I want to use iron sights. Seems to work fine...

The Bassett mount is both very stable (if you remember to check it periodically, as you would with any scope mounting system) and easy to attach/detach. The folks at Bassett include an ingenious torque wrench for tightening the mounting screw to the correct torque.

Using custom-made hand-loads, I have shot my M1A accurately out to 1000-yards. It likes BTHPs from 168-175 grains, and also FMJs at 147-150 grains. Can't speak for others, but my SA M1A has been a great rifle - accurate, robust and reliable. My only gripe is with maintenance. Springfield Armory's so-called "owner's manual" was a joke - had to track down all of the info on maintenance and disassembly/assembly from outside sources. You will need a few special tools to do routine maintenance; many guys like the bolt tool offered by Fulton Armory. Strictly speaking, it isn't essential, but it makes doing bolt service a lot easier. One other point: M1As should be liberally greased - in particular the op-rod, op-rod spring, and OR spring guide, as well as the bolt. Gun oil isn't enough.

Some folks like to shoot these off of a bipod, but if you plan to do that, consider investing in a sling stud adapter, from Smith Enterprise or similar. I also have a Match-grade op rod in mine, and it definitely helps with accuracy and smoothness of function - along with the NM barrel and trigger.

Like the M1 Garand, the M1A is sensitive to gas port pressure - and tends to prefer mid-range loads and slugs. Some kinds of commercially-available .308 loads are loaded to excessive pressure (for the M1A, that is) and can stress the op-rod and other components. Be advised. Authorities at SA and Fulton have recommended against using hand-loads in the M1A, but if you know what you are doing, it works fine. M1As and Garands tend to prefer IMR-4064 or 4895, and slugs in the range of 147-175 grains. Since the M1A is a gas gun, it is very tough on brass - even mil-spec 7.62x51mm NATO brass. You're doing well to get 3 uses out of your brass in this system. If you can figure out the nuances of hand-loading for this rifle, you can get very good results - 1.5 moa to below 1.0 moa (depending on your specific setup) - which isn't bad for a semi-auto gas gun. Factory loaded Federal 168-grain SMK BTHPs also work well, as do PPU .308 Match 168-grain BTHPs - though both are slightly higher in pressure than is probably optimal for the M1A. Using factory mil-surplus 147- or 150-grain ball, mine tends to group around 2 moa, which isn't bad considering the wide variation in the quality of 7.62x51mm NATO surplus around these days. Bottom line - feed your M1A well, and she'll take care of you.

June 11, 2014, 07:13 AM
I tried to scope my first one - didn't work. Got another one a few weeks ago and its iron sights only. Its a little picky with my reloads but that's to be expected. Fires milsurp and factory ammo flawlessly. I have a AR clone (DPMS LR 308) scoped and a Win. Mod 70 in .308 for long range.

ten shots - 100 yds

And I wonder why I seem to be reloading .308 a lot

June 11, 2014, 08:23 AM
I have a SA M1a which is about 5-6 years old. It has no QC problems and is very accurate.

June 11, 2014, 12:33 PM
Nope, never regretted it one bit. My M1As come from back in the early 90s with USGI parts (can't speak about the current crop) and have been 100% reliable, and VERY accurate. I stocked up on my cheap 7.62 NATO ammo back in the day when it was cheap as dirt so I don't have the problem of high priced ammo to blast.
As far as scoping issues are concerned, yes, if you go with the crappy Springfield mounts, you're going to have problems. I went with the BPT mount (Smith makes a clone of it these days) and it was super simple to install and is rock solid. No, it's not as simple as slapping a scope and a set of rings on my AR-10 but if you're not mechanically retarded, scoping an M1A isn't as hard as people make it out to be.
In regards to weight, well, can't really help you there other than to tell you to go to the gym and get stronger. I have a Bush length with a BM-59 style folding stock on it that is short and light as far as battle rifles go and my DMR clone that is somewhere along the lines of 14-15 pounds. Just gotta suck it up and deal with it.

June 11, 2014, 06:44 PM
I don't care for their awkwardness with optics, but you can't argue with their reliability. I have a couple .308 ARs (a DPMS custom build with Criterion barrel and a S&W M&P 10), and neither one has been reliable. The 14s I had never missed a beat. I like the SCAR 17 in a lot of ways, but I refuse to go with a 16" barreled .308.

short barrel
June 11, 2014, 06:57 PM
I bought mine in the 80's before the ban. Never did want to make it all awkward with a scope. The irons suit me fine. Best rifle I've ever owned.

June 12, 2014, 01:34 AM
Love my Garands the best.

Think the M1A1 is a great looking and reliable rifle.

Have the NM and the Squad Scout. Like the more carbine of the two better but not as accurate as the big brother.

Never a regret.

When in the service I qualified with the M16. Later @ a different duty station someone decided we were all going to requalify. They handed me an M14. Took me a while to master the manual of arms but got to fire a whole ammo can that day and have loved the platform ever since.

Last of the wood and steel battle rifles.

Treasure mine indeed.

June 12, 2014, 03:01 AM
I've owned a couple of Norinco M14s rifles. They were good, I tinkered with them a little too, but ended up selling both of them. They're not for everyone.

June 13, 2014, 11:19 AM
I have what I think is the perfect M1A; a Scout Squad.
I carried an M14 in Nam (yeh, I was one of the lucky ones
that could actually count on his rifle to perform) and I know
what the 7.62X51 will do in combat. If I had to go to war
today, this is the gun I would want to carry. Yeh, it's
heavier than the M4 and blah blah blah. Well, you can
easily guess how I feel about the M16. I know all the
arguments and they don't mean squat as far as I'm
The 18" Squad Scout is the best blend of the 16" SOCOM
and the Standard M1A with the longer barrels IMO. I have
at least 1500 rounds thru mine, probably more, and it's
never hiccuped just like my M14 in Nam.
You know the old saying, "you dance with the one that
brung you"? Well, when and if I ever have to dance again,
it'll be with my M1A. I even have it stipulated in my will
that it's never to be leave the family.
Dano (

June 14, 2014, 05:56 PM
I sure as hell regret getting RID of mine! I sold it the get up the money to buy a Broomhandle Mauser, which I still have, but I sure miss that M1A. It was made by the Geneseo bunch in the early nineties, when they were still using a ton of GI surplus parts. I worked at the Armory those years, before going with Les Baer. I had Butch load it up with all TRW parts. Anybody that knows anything about M-14s knows that Thompson-Ramo-Woolridge made the best parts. (Hope I spelled that right) When they weren't making M-14s they were making Jet engine turbine blades and other parts that required extreme precision.

It shot like a dream and held a couple inches at a hundred yards. A better shot than myself could have done better.

That gun was (IS) number 1 om my list of guns I wish I still had!

June 15, 2014, 04:18 AM
I purchased an M1A National Match about 1 year ago.
The rifle has been performing flawlessly so far.
I also own a Norinco M14 clone (M305) which cost 1/4 the price of the Springfield. It needed a lot of fine tuning including replacing the crappy rear sight with a GI unit to get it perfect but it will do for someone on a budget.
Would I buy another Springfield, YES.

June 15, 2014, 08:19 PM
Bought my 1st earlier this week. Model MA9229 NM, but have yet to fire the first round.

High Plains Drifter
June 22, 2014, 03:04 PM
The M1A aka civilianized M14 is miles ahead of an AK47 in every aspect that counts. Who ever said that it wasn't much more accurate that a 47 hasn't spent time with the

The M1A is much more accurate than an AK47 or many AR15s. The 7.62X51 round has a specific role to play in modern combat, on shot one kill! As with any combat rifle one needs to get to know the weapon to fully use and appreciate the weapon.

Having said that not everyone will do well with a combat .308. The rifle is not particularly a hunting rifle, and a good bolt .308 with a good scope will do a better job in this category. So remember that each gun was designed for a particular purpose that it will excel at, and will fit the bill in other roles, but perhaps not as well.

You will never regret buying an M1A, unless you do not understand what you are buying. The rifle's legacy bought it a place the top ten combat rifle list, is a piece of USMC history and served well in Vietnam. The M1A/M14 will go toe to toe with any AK47, even in the mud.

June 23, 2014, 01:23 AM
Ive had a couple m1a's, had a slew of ak's and a couple ar's and can say definitively that while our civilian m1's are a more accurate rifle than the ak, hands down bar none, NO they will not run as well dirty or muddy.

June 24, 2014, 11:46 AM
Seems to me that the question of whether you will regret buying an M1A depend largely on what you want it to do.

Compete in accuracy matches? You'll regret it - buy an AR.
Hunt with it? You'll regret it - buy a bolt action.
Use it in practical run-n-gun matches? You'll regret it - buy an AR or AK.
Use it for lots of practice shooting to improve you skills? You'll regret it - buy something in 5.56 or .22LR.
Shoot for accuracy at long range? You'll regret it - buy a bolt gun.

Get a ticket to the "I have the best rifle ever made" club (ignoring the facts that it spent more time in development than in primary service, and that it utterly failed at its intended role of replacing the both the M1 Garand, and BAR)? Yes, you will need an M1A for that.

Shoot off the bench a 100 yards to prove its quality as a military rifle? Yep, also a good role for the M1A.

That's unfairly harsh, I realize, but I think the M1A/M14 has been hyped way beyond its reality. Give me the choice to use (in any sort of practical scenario) an M1A or MAS 49/56, and I'll take the MAS.

June 25, 2014, 11:58 AM
I've already bought a springfield loaded with a ss barrel with the walnut stock last month. I've put a military sling on it and am trying to learn to shoot it with the sling. still haven't shot it prone since I just ordered a shooting mat. I like the purchase as a rifle for learning to shoot as a rifleman whether iI'll get there is something else. I even call her Charlene.:) I do think she was pricey but I got her for $1650 with a free $45 50 round magtech 308 box thrown in.

Already had a very accurate 223 bolt action, 22 bolt action and an ar carbine.

Only negative so far is the cost of ammo but I knew that but I'm just collecting enough brass from my factory ammo before trying to reload.

June 25, 2014, 12:12 PM
You know that you don't actually need a special mat to shoot prone, right? You can use an old blanket, or even just lie on the ground (like a rifleman would)...

June 26, 2014, 12:32 AM
Lying down on sandy concrete between the shooting tables is not my cup of tea. That's where you could shoot prone in our city range. I did shoot sitting while on an old car floor mat. So yes you dont need one but I prefer one.

Welding Rod
June 26, 2014, 09:05 AM
I wiped out the elbows of several nice sweaters and my favorite Pendleton wool coat shooting prone without a mat.

Got a nice mat from Creedmoore Sports. Now just my right elbow gets a little burnt and bloody, but no more holes in clothes.

June 26, 2014, 09:26 AM
To the OP, I have a Springfield M1A Scout and no, I don't regret it. But you have to know what you are getting into with M14-style rifles. The basic design is 60 years old and inconvenient to accessorize or modernize. Every change you make to the rifle seems to cost like 2-3x more than it should. Actually, so does the rifle itself.

I got the M1A not because it was the most cost-efficient or effective choice, but because of the old-school coolness and classic looks of the design. When judged on those criteria, it's the best rifle in the world. When judged on reliability, accuracy, and all-around practical value, it's still a good choice, just not the best as many would claim.

June 26, 2014, 11:59 AM
OP, I know you already got yours. But the question of regrets -- not for me. My first was a Chinese PolyTech clone, it was OK and was fine until I was able to upgrade. I picked up a SOCOM 1. I don't like the feel of the type 2. I sold off the Polytech once I moved up to a National Match.
The NM came with the mount, Leatherwood ART scope and a couple of other goodies. Those 2 are on my top list.
Now I have to go reload more 308.

monk d
June 26, 2014, 12:38 PM
for the OP, I have had mine about 12 years, fell in love 20 years ago when I shot one for the second time (first time was in the service), saved my coin and it took several years to get there...and no I do not regret it at all. Mine is a SAI Loaded model and it shoots like a dream with anything I put in it. I have not been able to get lower than 1.25 MOA from a bench at 100yds no matter what I try (I do not reload yet), but that is just fine

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