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Fulton Armory M-14 Questions

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by DetroitStudent, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. DetroitStudent

    DetroitStudent Well-Known Member

    Hey all,

    I am looking into investing in an M-14 pattern rifle. I have had the opportunity to fire at friend's SOCOM, essentially an M14 pattern rifle made by springfield with a 16 inch barrel. I was very impressed.

    I was considering purchasing the Springfield rifle except after some internet searching I have found that there have been a number of issues with parts not being up to US GI specifications. I then heard about fulton armory, perused their sight, but noticed that their prices are high and I couldnt find a 16 inch model similar to the SOCOM.

    Anyone have any information on this? Id really like a M14 pattern rifle but I dont want to worry about parts breakages, especially as I am paying a premium price anyway. Please let me know your opinions on this
  2. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Well-Known Member

    I think a lot gets overhyped on the internet.

    Truth is, Springfield's casting is very good. I have no complaints with my M1A. If you want, you can get the Springfield and "upgrade" the bolt and op rod to USGI as funds allow in the future. The most common complaint I hear is with extractors going bad. It is SOP for some to at least drop in a USGI extractor. Mine is over 1200 rounds now with no issues.

    If you want the 16 inch gun, Springfield might be the only game in town right now. They shortened the gas system and designed a special compensator to get that thing to work. Shortest barrel length most people find feasible on the M14 without drastic modifications is 18 inches. Springfield offers their Scout/Squad in this configuration, as do most other manufactures of this pattern of rifle, including Fulton.

    M1As are sweet rifles. I wouldn't let the horror stories get to you.
  3. Frankl03

    Frankl03 Well-Known Member

    Springfield stands behind their products (M1As) with a lifetime warranty. Fulton armory is expensive! Check M14 firingline forum:

    Fulton armory as far as I know does not have a lifetime warranty. The forum I listed has lots of information.

    I think you have to determine what you want to spend and go from there.

    Hope that helps!
  4. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Well-Known Member

    If I was going to spend the money to get a non-cast receiver, I'd either go with the forged LRB or Smith Enterprises.
  5. rayman

    rayman Well-Known Member

    You know what, I had that same line of thinking. Wanting a mil-spec thinking it was just cool to have a forged receiver M14. Then I priced an LRB, Smith, & Fulton and saw I was going to pay close to $3000 for a rifle. I paid $1200 for a standard springfield. I love it. It is a shooter & an expensive plinker/paper puncher. I like it a lot better than my Springfield SA48. I rationalized I'd rather have more trigger time. I shoot my AR15 & M1A regulary and have a lot of fun doing it.

    Attached Files:

  6. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    Get a Springfield Armory without hesitation.* The quality is very good to excellent and the lifetime warranty pretty much resolves any lingering concern. Their service is very well renowned.

    * those planning to take the rifle with them to Afghanistan for a year+ might be better looking elsewhere, at a non-M1A rifle.

    As for model, the 18" scout squad is about 100 times more practical than the cut-down 16" SOCOM, and it costs less. The scout will do anything you could possibly want out to 600 yards or more, and no one is going to be clearing rooms with an M1A anyway, whatever the ninja commercials may suggest.
  7. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    You should also keep in mind that while there might be more complaints about SA M1A, they are by far the largest manufacturers of M14 clones. My only complaint with the three M1As I own is that it is hard to get the op rod off. You basically need a lever. This is fairly common and SA have tight fitting op rods by design, since there were early complaints about the rod popping out of the receiver groove when you didn't want them to.

    Note that you can clean the rifle just fine without removing the op rod.

    I have a SOCOM, a Scout and a highly customized 'Loaded' and the scout see far more use that either of the other two. And let me tell you that the SOCOM is obscenely loud when fired indoors. ;)

    If you did opt for the SOCOM, the first thing I'd do is change out the proprietary muzzle brake for a Smith Enterprise Vortex flash hider kit. YMMV.
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    All my M1a's, factory or built from the receiver up, are all GI parts rifles. That is except for the receiver and match barrels.

    I prefer GI parts. They have always worked well and are a known quantity.

    I have buds who have owned Fulton Armory M1a's. These are well built rifles and function flawlessly.
  9. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    If you plan on shooting six thousand rounds a year or more then go with the forged receiver. For 95% of M1A owners the cast receiver is fine. SA was excellent customer service.

    You can swap out your bolt and op-rod for usgi parts if you want. I have two M1A's, one is SA parts and the other is all TRW usgi parts, both are 100% reliable.

    Spend some time here
  10. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    The key is to check the web of the receiver to ensure that the firing pin's tail pivots easily. Some Springfield receivers have a "bump" casted into the web, which will accelerate the wear on the firing pin's tail. If you don't know what to look for, look at the M-1 Garand's receiver and pay attention to its web. The M-14 receiver's web is identical.
  11. jeepguy

    jeepguy Well-Known Member

    i have had two one a scout/squad was terrible and a m1a ss loaded that is good to go. i just bought an older springfield bush rifle that is still being shipped. if you are woried about the parts get an older one made with more usgi parts. i have learned alot from the members on the m 14 firing line forum & their is also a poll about springfield quality. m 14's are great rifles and i would include springfield in that statement too. i believe my scout/squad was an exception not the rule. besides if you get the springfield you will have more money left for ammo and you will need it as they tend to be rather hungry.
  12. henschman

    henschman Well-Known Member

    Springfield's quality is just fine, and they have a lifetime warranty. As others have said, Springfields are totally compatible with GI parts, so you can just buy GI parts piecemeal if you need them. If you're mainly worried about the extractor, just get a GI extractor for $25. A $1,300 rifle plus a $25 extractor is a lot cheaper than buying a whole forged rifle for $2500 plus. Supposedly the investment cast receiver of an M1A is not as strong as a forged receiver, but I have never heard of an actual incident of anyone actually wearing out a Springfield cast receiver. I have heard of plenty of people going through tens of thousands of rounds on one, and wearing out several barrels on one. It will probably be around a lot longer than you will.

    Why are you only interested in the short barreled ones? You do know you lose velocity, and therefore max effective range, with a shorter barrel, right? Also, the sight radius is a little shorter, which doesn't really effect the actual mechanical accuracy, but makes it harder to shoot accurately. Also, they throw a huge fireball when used in low light, which blinds the shooter and gives away your position. They are quite a bit louder, as well.

    An 18" barrel i sort of understand if you are looking for a truck gun or something where it matters to have something short and handy, as long as you realize what you're giving up.

    A Scout is still effective to 600 yards or so (what a Rifleman might call "medium range," hehe), but I like being confident that I can drop anything or anyone I can see out to 800 yards with standard ball ammo. That is a good feeling!

    I don't know that I'd agree with whoever said you won't be clearing a house with an M-14... It's a lot easier than with a poodle shooter if you ask me... just put a couple mags through the walls and check for bodies. ;)
  13. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    This is a really overblown issue on this platform. It's important to note that Springfield's cast receiver is thicker in some critical areas than the original USGI receiver, specifically toward the back where a forged USGI receiver will eventually crack. In this respect it's possible that SAI's cast receiver is actually superior to a GI pattern forged receiver. Like you I really haven't heard of anyone wearing out an SAI cast receiver, and I would expect the lifetime warranty to kick in if you somehow do reach that point.

    I think the 18" barrel is a good compromise, but of course the 22" is fine too, it just depends whether you are planning to do something that will benefit from a little extra velocity. Camp Perry, yes, typical range plinking and deer hunting, no.


    Back to reality, do you want to pie a corner with a 44" rifle with precision peep sights?
  14. a-sheepdog

    a-sheepdog Well-Known Member

    Clint McKee at Fulton Armory turns out a nice product, but over priced in my opinion. I have never had a problem with my 2 Springfield M1A's. If you are wanting a custom rifle, contact Smith Enterprise. Ron makes a great product and is up to mil spec, but you will pay for it. I would purchase a Springfield and never look back.
  15. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Z-Michigan. The issue is not about the receiver cracking. Rather, it's about the web not being mil-spec and the accelerated wear on the firing pin's tail. Of course, one could regularly inspect and replace the firing pin and that would be a solution.
  16. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    Gary, I understand the issue you're describing, and I believe it is separate and unrelated from the cracking issue or the whole cast vs. forged debate. If SAI has its casting off in one dimension like you describe, that's an issue, but people tend to worship forged anything and USGI-spec anything, and in the M14's case it was not a perfect design.
  17. DetroitStudent

    DetroitStudent Well-Known Member

    Hey thanks for the responses! Keep them coming. I like Springfield's warranty, but I would rather have a gun that is fairly perfect from the box. I have seen Fulton Armory's products, but it seems like they have no selection in a 16 inch barrel length and I actually like the lines of Springfield SOCOM.

    I dont have anywhere to shoot at extremely long range, so a rifle that is maneuverable is more important than anything else. What parts besides the extractor should be replaced? Thanks!
  18. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    Most of Springfield's M1As are perfect out of the box.

    If you want better odds of getting something perfect out of the box, I would suggest an AR-15 from the top of the top tier manufacturers, maybe a DSA SA-58 FAL. Maybe. A lot of companies have excellent QC, and even the best have one fall through the cracks now and then.

    Having shot 16" and 14.5" (perm brake) .308 rifles, I just feel compelled to note that a 16" .308 is unpleasant to shoot, and loses enough performance to start calling into question the .308 cartridge choice. But, do what you like.

    If you get an SAI M1A and feel compelled to replace parts, a complete USGI bolt would be the place to start, and probably a good place to stop as well. Maybe the oprod if you really feel like spending money. Replace any more than that and you might as well have bought a $3k M1A from someone else, because that's the cost you're heading toward.

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