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Which m1a?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by triggernick, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. triggernick

    triggernick Member

    Ok, I've done quite a bit of reading and have decided to purchase a m1a. The problem is that there are too many flavors! ok variety is good, but i'm not sure where to go now.

    nation match
    super match


    I know that budget is a big factor in determining where to put your money, but I just don't know the differences between all of these. The literature on springfield's website is a little vauge for me in describing the differences. I'm worried about the whole dimminishing returns thing...example IF the super match is incrimentally (like .02 moa) better than the national match but costs an extra $700, then it wouldnt seem like a good value, even though it is "better." I have no problem with ponying up the cash, I just dont want to be wasting it on very little increase in performance.

    My direction seems to be heading in the direction of an LRB build with m25 receiver (incase i decided to put optics on it, but i'm not planning on it). medium to heavy kreiger barrel with national match sights. I also like the idea of the JAE stock and eliminating the need for bedding.

    could some of you m1a pro's help a nubie out?
  2. jhallrv4

    jhallrv4 Well-Known Member

    As with any rifle, (or handgun for that matter), it depends on what you plan to do with it. A national match rifle, if you never use it for matches, is of no use except to get tighter groups while everyday target shooting or plinking. Now if you're planning to shoot competitively, it's worth the extra cash. If you aren't willing to put the time and ammo into getting really good with it, your groups will be all over the place anyway, so get something basic and save the bucks for ammo. I have to add though, national match rifle, 600yds w/iron sights, and repeatedly hitting the X ring is a thrill you won't soon forget. I did it with my NM AR15, but would really like to do it with the M1A too.

    I'm in the same place as you, I haven't yet added the M1A to my collection, and it's killing me! My wife really needs to get a second job...

  3. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    Here's one thing I can advise you. If you are going to scope it, you will need either a raised cheekpiece or a high-comb stock. If you don't, you will have to lean too far forward into the scope, because it is very restricted for eye relief and height. And it will hit you in the eye when you shoot it, and you will have blood dripping into your eyebrow. Ask me how I know. :)

    Also, the mount I had, (I think it was a gen II,) sat to low, I tried to dial in the iron sights, and they got cut off.

    I decided it was more of a project than I was willing to tear into, I sold it and broke even, and now I'm working on an AR-10.
  4. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    Of the Springfield armory guns, the best bang for your buck is probably the 'loaded'. It has the upgrades most people want in the basic rifle at a very good price.

    As far as best, it's arguable between the LRB and Fulton. Fulton has been building really first class M14 clones for a while, but LRB can claim to having the only true US made forged receiver. I haven't had any experience with LRB rifles, but their receivers are quite nice. The Fulton made rifles are much nicer the the SA guns, but I am not sure that most people would consider the difference worth the price.

    A few thoughts: If you are looking for a precision rifles, the AR-10 type rifles can be made to shoot better at less cost. If you want a 'different' service rifle, the loaded and match rifles are quite a bit heavier than the standard rifle and you notice it if you pack these rifles around for any length of time.

    When I started hunting with my M1A, I switched from my match gun to my scout rifle. The latter still has reasonable accuracy and is several pounds lighter, which really makes a difference in the field. For people who are more used to modern assault rifle, rather than full power battle rifles, the SOCOM and Scout rifles are closer to what they are used to in terms of size and weight - which is probably why these rifles are so popular.

    If you are a traditionalist, there's no substitute for the standard rifle.
  5. triggernick

    triggernick Member

    I would like to shoot competitivly...eventually. I hate buying things twice, like a standard m1a now, to get good at it, then the NM later. I would rather get used to the one that I will be competing with. I went to an apple seed shoot at osage beach MO, and had a blast, and learned a ton. Im looking for my patch, to put it as easily as possible. By best score was 185ish if I recall, decent, but not good (shot with an AR and flip up battle sights). I love the sight picture of the m1a, and plan to go that direction for my iron sight shooting.
  6. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    If you are serious about competition, you might want to talk to one of the custom builders like Hook Bowden or Ted Brown. There are a number of M14/M1A forums that have great information. I haven't been keeping up as the M14/M1A has virtually disappeared from service match but the Firing Line and War Rifles used to have very active and informative forums.

    Both Fulton and SA have match ready rifles. The SA National Match and Supermatch are outstanding guns out of the box. With Fulton, you can spec out your rifle.

    Years ago I competed with a SA supermatch, and any failing were on my part and not the rifle's. You pay an extra $1000 over a National Match and I doubt most people can wring out the difference in accuracy. The NM is a very nice rifle and I've seen them for around $2k if you shop carefully.
  7. triggernick

    triggernick Member

    Thanks guys. Looking at the NM and Super match, it looks like there is about a $400 difference, and looking at the specs, the only physical difference i see is a rear lugged receiver...is that worth the $$? or are there more differences?

    also there is the m21 at $3k!...is the stock the only thing different from the super match. where is the $$ difference coming from?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  8. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    The rear lugged receiver aids in bedding, but if you are looking at a JAE, I don't think there is any reason to worry about a rear lugged gun. The M21 does have the adjustable stock which aids in scope mounting. The original M21s were selected M14s mounted with the Leatherwood ART scope and sometimes a Sionics suppressor for use as precision rifles. This was in Vietnam and before the advent of the term DMR. Adelbert Waldon racked up the highest number of confirmed kills in Vietnam, primarily using the M21 IIRC.

    Since you are thinking in terms of shooting with iron, there's not much reason for the M21. The supermatch with the McMillan stock probably represents the ultimate over-the-counter M14 type match rifle gun for service rifle. It's based on the guns used by the USMC before they traded in their M14s. You can of course have Fulton make you a rifle to these spec, but lead times can be longer

    The 'Loaded' rifles, properly bedded, are almost up there with the NM and for the occasional competitor can be made to shoot very well. You don't get the unitized gas system, which is useful if you are slinging up and don't want the shift in impact.

    These days, if you are serious about winning service rifle matches, the M14 type rifle is not the best choice. If you are an occasional competitor or just want to shoot irons, I'd pick the loaded or NM depending on your budget. Just understand that if you are looking for a sub MOA rifle, the M14 clones are not the best choice. If you want a 1-2 MOA hard hitting, reliable rifle with superior iron sights, it's hard to beat the M14 clones.

    One last comment. There are two issues with Springfield Armory rifles that may or may not be important. 1. The op rod on SA rifles is hard to get off. This is by design since it also makes it unlikely that it will come off when you don't want it to - a problem with very early SA guns. It means that complete field stripping is something of a pain. However, the reality is that you don't need to remove the op rod for cleaning since you have to clean from the muzzle anyway. Second, the M1A used a machined casting for the receiver and the scope mounting interface is sometimes slightly out of spec. This can be a problem with some scope mounts not fitting properly. The profusion of Brookfield type scope mounts is a fairly recent phenomenon and since M1A shooters were formerly mostly iron sight types, SA hasn't really addressed this. I currently have 3 SA rifles, and have put Sadlak mounts on each of them without any trouble, but I've seen complaints online. If your SA receiver is really out of spec, Sadlak will be happy to make you a custom mount. I think the problem is fairly uncommon.
  9. triggernick

    triggernick Member

    very detailed, thanks!
  10. triggernick

    triggernick Member

    So is it correct that the only difference between the NM and the Super Match is a rear Lug in the Super Match??

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