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My dream is to own an M1a, but...

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by cbn620, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. cbn620

    cbn620 Well-Known Member

    ...There's no way in heck I will be able to afford a brand spankin' new one from, say, Springfield Armory. I am a student and won't be able to afford one for some time. I would still like one to train with, though.

    I'd like to know what my alternative--read: cheaper-- options are.

    My first thought is to buy a used one. How much should a used M1A go for?

    I have also heard of other brands and copies from other countries. What are my best options here? What prices would I look for on these, both used and new?

    Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
  2. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    M1As hold their value pretty well, so the aftermarket probably won't help you much.

    Norincos are much less spendy, if and when you can find them.

    If you want a militarily credible .308 on a student budget and can't find a Norinco M-14, consider Saiga .308s, and some of the PTR-91s. They're not m-14 type rifles, but they are solid values and occupy the same ecological niche.
  3. Bazooka Joe71

    Bazooka Joe71 Well-Known Member

    How about a rack grade M1 garand?

    Or are you looking for something that doesn't weigh 150 lbs?:)
  4. zinj

    zinj Well-Known Member

    Try a CMP M1 Garand. After all, it is the ancestor of the M1A at less than half the cost, plus there is still reasonably cheap surplus ammo for it too.

    EDIT: Bazooka joe beat me to it. Although a loaded Garand weighs less than a loaded M1A.
  5. Oohrah

    Oohrah Well-Known Member

    A plus for the Garand is when you are better able to afford upgrades,
    a 308 (7.62x51) barrel can be installed without alterations:D
  6. asknight

    asknight Well-Known Member

    Would a Mini-14 qualify as a M-14 or M1A trainer?
  7. Winger Ed.

    Winger Ed. Well-Known Member

    Keep saving your change...... you'll get there.

    In the Summer of 1973, I was in almost the last Platoon going through
    basic training at MCRD Parris Island with M14s.

    I REALLY, REALLY got attached to that rifle.

    After I got in the Fleet Marine Force- at several different Duty Stations--
    they'd all switched over to the 'Rat Guns'.
    (Just like all the Recruit Platoons who got to Parris Island a couple of weeks after I did).

    That was June of 1973.........

    As times change,,,,,,,,, and fortunes improve:
    The closest I ever got to getting (at least a replica of) my old Boot Camp issue M14 was a Springfield M1A.

    Its in the gun safe, even as we speak.
    I saved my Nickels & dimes, etc., etc.,
    and finally got it in the Spring of 1990.

    To answer your next question,
    "yeah. It was worth the wait".

    Hang in there buddy, and never settle for '2nd best'.

  8. Winger Ed.

    Winger Ed. Well-Known Member


    The mini-14 to a M1A:
    is like putting a .22LR "conversion kit" in your 1911 Colt .45ACP.
  9. wayne in boca

    wayne in boca Well-Known Member

    Can you afford a dollar? Sure you can.Stick it in a box.Want a Coke? Drink water.Stick another dollar in the box.Sooner than you think you will have an
    M1A.That's how I did it.
  10. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    Save your money and buy the best Norinco or Polytech M14 you can find.
    Post a "WTB" ad on a few M14 related forums and search for an unaltered,
    all original rifle with a low round count.
    You will also want to shop for CMI or Norinco or Polytech mags and some
    surplus ammo.

    It will take a little work and effort, but you will be able to live your dream.

    I prefer the Chinese M14 over all others, they are great out of the box and
    excellent to build on.

    SEI offers the Cali legal M14 Muzzle US Coast Guard Muzzle Brake that will fit a Chinese barrel.

    HTH ~
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  11. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    There are a couple of used M1As here in town, one for $899 and the other for $999. You can typically find a used standard model for around $1000.
  12. funfaler

    funfaler Well-Known Member

    I too would suggest that you consider the M1 Garand. It is more CA friendly, 30.06 is much cheaper to shoot and the initial rifle investment is much less.

    The M1 will hold it's value as well, so you can still save your pennys for the M1A and then sell your M1, if you have to, to make up the difference.

    Don't know enough about the Polys and Norincos to say yea/nay on them, but getting a used Springfield is even a better deal than new. The new ones don't have the USGI parts that they older ones have. You can quite often fine used ones for @$1000 or even less. A used Standard M1a is nothing to be afraid of buying, they are seldom shot much, if the owner shot it a bunch, they would not be selling :neener: Match M1As are different, they may be shot out, so you will want to gauge them and inspect them before buying, beware of the $1200 Match M1A.

    Since you are in CA, the FAL is not a good option, but if you ever move to a less commie state, you might consider it as well, a very fine 308 platform.

    As to the Mini-14 being a good "trainer". I would suggest a Ruger 10/22 with Tech-Sights, extended mag release and perhaps some trigger work first. Cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, and works great as a trainer.

    Get to one of the 3 California Appleseed Shoots in the early part of 2008, gain some valuable marksmanship skills, and get to see some different rifles in action http://www.appleseedinfo.org

    Good luck
  13. ocabj

    ocabj Well-Known Member

    THR is a great forum, but being a Californian, you're asking this question on the wrong forum.

    Go here: http://www.calguns.net

    The participating members are more in tune with current California laws and issues relating to firearms.

    Information there will help you make a better decision on what rifle to get. Or you may be able to score an M14 clone for a decent price there.
  14. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Well-Known Member

    I remember when I was in school in the late 80's I wanted a Taurus PT99 in the worst way.

    I had a 30 hour a week job and did odd jobs on the side including plowing snow with my old International truck. It took a year and a half but was able to pay for it with cash.

    Years later I ended up trading the Taurus for a Gold Cup. :)
  15. Darthbauer

    Darthbauer Well-Known Member

    I get Springfield for 22% off of dealer cost and my wife still wont let me buy the scout that I want.

    Damn wife!
  16. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member


    How much prior shooting experience do you have?

    How much money do you have to spend now, a year from now or two years from now?

    Got a place to shoot High Power at?

    I liked the suggestion to just use your soda and cracker money by not using either and dropping the money in a piggy bank. Though a $1000 seems a lot of sodas. Until you consider giving up two sodas a day for a year $730 and that is getting close to a used M1A right there. Eat out less, buy less crap, organize a gun rag sharing group with your buddies if you are addicted to gun rags ( you know "we are all students and end up buy ing off the racks so I'll buy G&A, Fred will buy GW, Mark will buy ST, Don will buy Handgunner etc and we will swap them around. Yeah no library of thirty years worth of magazines in thirty years to fill up half a closet the tops of every book case in the house and a fifth of the shop...you should thank me for that alone)

    If you feel you can wait then save those nickles and dimes (see how old I am? WHo uses Nickles ad dimes these days?)

    Personally I like the idea of buying a CMP Garand today if you can. and then start saving again all you do not spend on Garand stuff.

    The Garand has basically the same trigger as an M-1A, the same safety, close to the same bolt manipulation (m-1A has an external bolt release so you do not risk a thumb any time you wish to clse a bolt on an empty rifle).

    It also has the same feel as the stock is more like the M-1A than any of the non M-14 type rifle listed. Most importantly it has pretty much the same sights as the M-1A.

    You may very well need to add the price of a new stock (or if not competing in Garand or some other CMP matches glass bed the action) and or a new crown on the barrel to get even 3 inch groups from your CMP Garand, and it won't likely be pretty. But you will have an M-1 in your hands. If you have dreams of opening the CMP cardboard box and finding a like new Garand with lovely un marred Walnut and capable of hitting a silver dollar sized mark everytime at 100 meters you will be dissapointed. But you will have a semi auto .30-06 caliber rifle that goes bang and feels like your dream gun in real life. It can be made pretty and more accurate as those dimes and nickles continue to pile up. Unfortunatly you might get that actual historical US Service rifle shooting well enough and looking sharp enough that you forget to keep saving for a fake M-14.

    -Bob Hollingsworth
  17. ScottsGT

    ScottsGT Well-Known Member

    If your a college student, you cannot even affor the ammo with the prices they are at these days!! Go for the Garand. My M1A stays at home and the Garands get to go play all the time.
  18. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Well-Known Member

    The Garand's ammo prices are nearly as bad, these days.
  19. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Well-Known Member

    I'd beg to differ. A California FAL is a piece of cake to put together. There are bucket loads of them here.
  20. goon

    goon Well-Known Member

    I don't own either but I have bought and sold more guns in the last 6 years than many people will ever own.
    Some of them were bought as guns that "settled for" instead of putting the money toward what I really wanted.
    I would suggest that you start saving money toward an M1A and keep going to gunstores to handle them. Try to find a way to try one out to make sure that's what you want.
    Then if that is still what you want, buy one.
    Whatever you do, don't "settle" for a Garand or a Saiga or a FAL or anything else. Get what you really want.

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