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National Match Garand vs. NM M1A

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ventana, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. ventana

    ventana Member


    I have managed to scrape some funds togehter and am debating purchasing either a National Match Garand or a corresponding M1A.

    I intend to use the rifle for occasional target shooting ( 400 yards or less typical distance).

    I do not have the funds to buy both and would rather buy one high quality rifle rather than two moderate quality rifles. I would also like this rifle to be an investment which would most likely be passed on to future kin.

    Any suggestions as to which one you would pick. I realize that the manufacturer also has an impact upon rifle quality as well.

    Ath this point I am just starting the research and would appreciate opinions and input as well as suitable manufacturers.

    Thanks for your attention.
  2. AK103K

    AK103K Well-Known Member

    Pick the one you like the best. I'm sure you'll be happy with either.

    I once read that the Navy did a study and found the M1 to be about 10% or so more accurate than the M14, and the 308 to be about 10% more accurate than the 30-06. That was their reasoning in picking the M1 chambered in 308 for their match rifles.

    I have one of each, a Nartional match Springfield M1A, and a Match M1 converted to .308. Both are great shooters, but for me, for a target rifle, the M1 is just a tad sweeter. :)
  3. 30Cal

    30Cal Well-Known Member

    I'd lean towards the M1A, although if "both" were an option, then it's much easier. The match conditioned M1 is a little on the delicate side--the upper handguard being glued/screwed onto the upper band. You should never pick one up by the handguards and if it falls over, that handguard is likely to pop loose. Still, it worked well enough for a long long time.
  4. dirtyjim

    dirtyjim Well-Known Member

    neither one will be cheap but if your also looking at it as an investment the nm garand is the way to go. just make sure its papered & not a built up rifle being touted as a nm.
  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Having built Match grade M1's and still shooting Super Match M1a's, I prefer the M1a's.

    It used to be that the only real beefy heavy stocks were to be found for M1a's. Garands, you could only find GI stocks, or GI contour stocks.

    I don't know if McMillian makes a fiberglass Garand stock, but the McMillian fiberglass M1a stocks are extremely stiff and quite heavy.

    A big beefy stock reduces the felt recoil, is less bothered by the pulling and twisting of a sling, gives a better grip position, and overall, is a better stock for accurate shooting.

    It is my opinion that the recoil on a M1a is softer than that of a Garand.

    The trigger guard latch lugs on a Garand are soft, and will deform. This changes the tension by which the action is held in the stock.

    Both guns will knock the gas systems loose. However, the Garand gas system holds the front sight. I was shooting at 500 yards with my Garand, the rifle would just barely hold the ten ring, found that the gas system had developed a little play. Repeened the splines and glued the gas cylinder to the rifle barrel.

    A "in tune" Garand will shoot with the best of them. However, Garands loose their tune faster, and take longer to rebuild.

    The middle 1990’s were the fading years of the 308 target service rifle. During the phase out, which I witnessed, you seldom saw any Garands on the firing lines. If anyone was shooting a Garand, it was an expert class or marksman. ( I forget the year, 97, 98, maybe, but next to me at Perry was a WWII vet shooting a Garand. He had put a match barrel on his rifle and was shooting it in the National Matches. Since he was in his 70's, we all looked after him in that hot weather. And he did well. I picked up one of his 30-06 cases, and he had marked the base with a felt tip, so no one would be confused whose case it was. I handed him that case and told him that since he was the only 30-06 shooter on the line, he did not need to worry :D ) The top shooters were shooting M1a’s. The M1a proved to be more durable and was easier to shoot than a Garand.

    And the match AR, was even easier to shoot than a M1a. From about 1995, when greater than 50% of the service rifles on the line were M1a’s, to 1999, which less than one in twenty, (guesstimates) were on the firing line, the phase out went fast. I suspect the Garand faded out as quickly in the 70’s, when affordable match M1a’s came on the market.
  6. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    My Garand was more accurate than my M1a. I still have my Garand.

  7. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    Nothing against the best M1 Garand, but Smith Enterprise, Inc. builds a super reliable, reduced
    maintenance, 1000 yard sub-MOA M14 battle rifle for our troops and SEI can build one for you.

    I'll soon be scoping mine :evil:

  8. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    At only 8 times the cost of the Garand. What a bargain.

  9. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    What is it with you and the finer things in life? Get a second job and loosen up your wallet :neener:
  10. xx7grant7x

    xx7grant7x Well-Known Member

    yeah! ya gotta pay to play :)
  11. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    But for a guy who cannot afford both an M14 and a Garand...

    Me, I have finer things, and things that may seem silly to you. That's the way the world revolves. That my curassier's sword was carried at Waterloo by a member of Napoleon's heavy cavalry, and that my British 1796 pattern heavy cavalry sabre may have been on the opposing side, that my 1760-era Scottish basket-hilted broadsword could have seen action in the Revolution or at Waterloo or any number of other interesting places, or that the 1790 cutlass could have been at Trafalgar or the Battle of the Nile (but with certainty served on a British Royal Navy sailing vessel until at least 1850), as well as a sea-service shortened Pattern 1796 officers small sword of the same era, or US 1810 mounted artillery sabre, or Belgian-made 69 caliber flintlock used in colonial militia service, my indentures from Kings Charles I and II, James I and II, Elizabeth I, Cromwell, George I, II, or III, and William & Mary, or any number of other things hold my interest may seem of little importance to you, who likes modified Chinese M14's is perfectly fine by me.

    But my M1 Garand was a more accurate rifle at a third the cost of my M1a. I sold the M1a and bought said French heavy cavalry sword. Now I get history, accuracy, and history. Happy me.

  12. natescout

    natescout Well-Known Member

  13. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    That's the most important thing... go with what makes you happy.
  14. GarandOwner

    GarandOwner Well-Known Member

    I'd go with the M1 Garand, I love my Garand. She is the most comfortable rifle I have ever shot......Her name is Kate :D
  15. Swampy

    Swampy Well-Known Member


    I own both M1-A and numerous Garands. I definitely prefer the M1 as a shooting platform..... see my tagline ;) :D.

    The rifle I currently shoot Across the Course and at 600 yard belly matches is a Dec. '44 SA with a .308 Wilson tube on it. Matched it out myself. Trigger job, front end unitization, Wenig wood, full "five pillar" bedding ala Kuhnhausen, NM sights, etc..... It currently has just over 4700 logged rounds out the end.

    My last three 600 yard belly matches with this rifle have all score at 774 or above with between 24 and 30 "X's".

    Me happy. ;)

    Re investment: Unless you intend to purchase an original, papered, GI built NM Garand.... which because of collector value you wouldn't want to shoot much, and probably because of age won't be the best of shooters anyway.... at least when compared to a newly assembled NM type... collector value is not really a concern.

    A newly assembled rifle (Such as the one I have.) will be much tighter and have a better barrel than the GI barrel used on an original NM rifle. It's a great shooter, but collector interest is not and never will be there. It's worth what any other newly made NM type is worth on the market and no more.

    This also holds true for the M14 types... but then original GI built M14 types are all Class III weapons and not really available anyway. Anything you buy of this type will be of commercial manufacture and not really have any collector value over it's basic market value as a newly made commercial rifle.

    Just my 2 bits,

    Garands forever
  16. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

    The Garand is a fine rifle, so is the m1-a. Tough choice.
  17. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    The M1 Garand is the easier rifle to Match accurize and maintain as such.
    M14 rifles are more finicky and do require a lot more fiddling with to keep the accuracy standards.

    I have a standard service type M1 in .30/06 that shoots as well as my match rifles.
    They just get better with some fine tuning.
  18. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

    I don't know about NM Garands, but I do know the M14 is not finicky and it does not require a lot more fiddling to retain accuracy.
    As a matter of fact, modernized M14 are super reliable, super accurate and require less maintenance than ever before.
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    :D:D Good shooting Swampy! :D:D
  20. Swampy

    Swampy Well-Known Member


    I have been the High Service Rifle shooter in all three of the events I mentioned. Really took some AR and M14 shooters by surprise.... ;)


    Garands forever

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