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Advice on what kind of M1A/M14?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by spalit, Aug 5, 2005.

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  1. spalit

    spalit Member

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    I'm in the process of saving up to get my first "battle rifle", and have settled on either a m1 garand or an m1A. The primary purpose is to get into competition. The local outdoor range I'm a member of holds regular high-power competitions and I've been dying to start :D ... butbutbut, I have no weapon to compete with.. :banghead:

    I already handload for my tikka t3 in .308, am a fair shot :p and i like the calibre. Also, I don't care much for the AR aesthetics, so it's wood & blue in a 30 cal for now.. Quality is important to me, and I'm willing to save for a few months to get something that would last a few lifetimes.

    My question is: assuming a serious shooter looking to practice lots and get into competition, would you recommend the garand, or one of the SA M1A options? I'm personally leaning towards the M1A, but am not sure if the higher grade national and super match is worth the extra cost. Do the SA M1A's need a lot of aftermarket gunsmithing to get them up to potential? Are there other manufacturers I should take a look at?

    Thanks for all the help...
     
  2. AZ Jeff

    AZ Jeff Member

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    All the serious high power competitors have ditched the M1 and M1A/M14 for the little black rifle, the AR-15/M16. When prepared per the current Service Rifle rules, the AR is MUCH easier to shoot well, and will CONTINUE to shoot well for many thousands of rounds without any special attention.

    That, unfortunately, cannot be said for the M1A/M14.

    When the M1A/M14 was THE rifle to shoot in high power, no one bought their rifle prepared from SA. It's not that the rifle from SA was no good, it's just that, for the money that Springfield charges, one can buy a "service grade" M1A, (or whatever they call it now), and send it to someone who is experienced in preparing Match-grade "Service Rifles", and wind up with an as-good or better product for the same money.

    Now if you are dead set on staying with a .30 caliber rifle, and money is tight, I would suggest an M1 Garand, and have it worked as budget allows by an experienced high power armorer. The Garand will cost less initially, an the cost to make it "match grade" will be about the same as an M1A.
     
  3. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    The AR platform pretty much dominates service rifle competition.

    The .223 caliber is not only formidable in the service rifle environment, it is very good to practice with, too, since it is cheap to buy factory or reload, and is a light caliber that any person can shoot all day long.

    While I would probably go M14 over the M1, the M1 and M14 are pretty even if you throw the money into either one. M1 Garands in service rifle competition are a lot different than M1 Garands in JC Garand competition. JCG comps require "as issued" rifles, whereas National Match service rifle comp regulations allow Garands with national match parts and a lot of custom gunsmithing (heavy barrel, glass bedding, epoxy bedding, etc). If you decide to go with a Garand, expect to invest in a ground up rebuild of an M1 receiver with such items as a Kreiger heavy barrel and glass bedded stock.

    If I were going to choose between the M1 and M14 for NM service rifle competition, I go with the M14. Probably a Fulton Armory or LRB.
     
  4. Harry Paget Flashman

    Harry Paget Flashman Member

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    I've got about a half a dozen milsurp rifles, including an AK clone and a Carbon 15 M4. All are better shooters than I am. I've always wanted a .308 'battle rifle'. Something like a CETME, G3, HK91 or FAL. But I was always put off by the price and stories of them being assembled from spare parts and having reliability issues to work out.

    Well, today I was browsing at one of better stocked gun stores that I don't buy much from because they are pricey IMO. I prefer to do business just down the road from a friendly FFL who just got back from National Guard duty in Iraq at age 56. Anyway, they had a NIB M14/M1A Springfield. I bought it. I'm 57 with 20/400 vision and will never master what this gun is capable of, but I hope to tear up the range at 100yds.

    The irony is that when showing it to my regular FFL guy on the way home, he called around and found a dealer in Phoenix who had one he could have had to me out-the-door for $50 cheaper. That's the way it goes when you just got to have some right now.
     
  5. 1911_Mitch

    1911_Mitch Member

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    Take a look at m-14forums.com

    Take a look at LRBarms.com

    Take a look at Fulton-Armory.com

    Take a look at WarbirdsCustomGuns.com (custom gunsmith m14/M1, Warbird)
    This website may not be up yet, but see m-14forums for a link.

    Take a look at ShootersDen (custom gunsmith Ted Brown)


    If you do not want to go with the AR platform, I would go with the M14SA from LRB (buy the receiver and build upa NM barreled rifle) and/or as time and money permits have NM mods done by either Warbird or Ted Brown.
     
  6. SnakeEater

    SnakeEater Member

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    +1. I couldn't be happier. Who cares that the AR is better in the game, the M14 will always be better in THE REAL GAME.
     
  7. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    The soul of battle rifle is to be the clonk the bad guy over the head with the butt, drag it through the mud, rinse it with the canteen, reload and resume firing reliable, with reasonable accuracy.

    The things you must do to a battle rifle to make it an accuracy match winner tends to detract from the above features, and nudges it pretty severely towards "pampered prima donna".

    But hey, whatever you want from your rifle is what you're going to get, and there's nothing wrong with either.
     
  8. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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    There are plenty of folks shooting quite well with the M1A. There are some basic modifications to do to get them up to their full potential, but most will not break the bank (besides the barrel).

    I'd recommend what I did, which is get an SA M1A Loaded. This gets you the match barrel, match trigger, match flash suppressor, match front sight, and non-hooded match rear sight. Mods to make it a National Match after that are bedding the action in the stock (approx $120, and not necessary if you have the synthetic stock), a match oprod spring guide ($30), and unitizing the gas cylinder ($55). However, the factory price difference between a Loaded and a factory National Match will run hundreds of $$.

    Fulton Armory makes excellent rifles, but at several hundred dollars over the SA. LRB makes great and accurate rifles, but they aren't match rifles, and they are over $2000.

    Do what many satisfied folks do: Keep your eyes open for a good deal on a Loaded for $1100 to $1200 and do the basic mods I listed above. Mine now shoots 1.5MOA with surplus ammo -- and that's with open sights in the prone. No telling what it would do sandbagged firing match ammo.

    Remember: If you're looking for a rugged battle rifle that is capable of being very accurate, get the M1A. If you want a semi-auto target rifle, get the AR15.
     
  9. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I was out with my M1A SuperMatch today and it does about 1" 20 round group with a called flyer. The M1A National Match has open sights on it, but it was still doing about 2" 20 round groups.

    Either gun would be a reasonable starter to get into competition. My big comment would be you are heading down the wrong path. As a former (when I was a kid) M1A competitor, I sneered at the black rifles and you never used to see them on the competitive range. It is obvious to me that they have taken over the competition. Thus, I now just shoot the M1A's for "fun" not "sport". They are not practically competitive in my opinion.
     
  10. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    I like it when a forum member asks about one thing...

    And folks wade in with something way out in left field as an appropriate answer. I'll leave them nameless here, but our thread's author stated plainly he was looking for a battle rifle - either M1 Garand or M14/M1A, he was well versed in handloading and shooting the .308 already, and even stated he didn't care much for the AR.

    So ***? Somebody comes in and tells him to get an AR. :scrutiny:


    Since I have several of all of the above, I'll guess I'll add my two bits. Get a 9mm Hi-Point carbine, it's so far off from what you asked, it's the only way to be sure. :rolleyes:

    ((I'll take an M14NM over an AR-15 any day, btw. When you're not punching paper, you still have something useful...)

    m14nmbench.gif
     
  11. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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    OUCH!!! but true.
     
  12. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I would also say get an AR (even though this is an M14 thread). If you are only looking for a competition piece that you can learn quickly on, the AR is the one, all the way to 600 yards.

    If you really want an M14, get one BUILT by a real HP smith, and that means that you'll avoid Springfield and Fool'em Armory. Get something built by a guy who shoots the sport.
     
  13. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

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    The AR is cheaper, cheaper to feed and easier to shoot. A master class shooter will get a couple more X's with it during the rapid stages.

    If you get an M1A, get the standard or loaded model (although even the loaded will need a couple hundred bucks to get it up to match condition). If I was buying one today, I'd pick up a used match grade rifle--if you look around you can find them for $1300'ish. It'll cost you almost twice that to have a new one built & tuned.

    Match conditioning has zero affect on function and reliability. It's basically taking all the parts that aren't supposed to move and taking out any slop that you typically get when you put together a rifle using random parts out of a bin.

    Ty
     
  14. thereisnospoon

    thereisnospoon Member

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    Ummmmmmmmmmm............

    I have a second hand Polytech M14S ($650.00-with four mags). It outshoots me ALL day long. There's one for sale here on THR...see the link here

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=145860

    For $700.00 (or less if you haggle) you get the rifle with four mags and sling...enought o get you started and to "test the water". If you decide its not exactly what you want for competition, you can always keep it as a defense weapon (as they do not have to be MOA) and buy a poodle shooter :neener: for Hi-power.

    I own and have owned many AR variants, including .308 versions. Buy the M14. If you want to take the plunge for the "whole enchilada" I'll +1 the LRB Arms post.

    Enjoy
     
  15. spalit

    spalit Member

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    Gewehr98, thanks for the support :D I love the way threads go around here too.. but that's how we all learn, don't we..

    Just to give some more background on why i'm more drawn towards the m1 or an M14 variant.. After years of navigating the worthy institution called the INS, my citizenship trials will hopefully be over in a few months. (I should just have jumped the border, you know.. :cuss: :cuss: ) To celebrate the event as a newly minted US citizen, I quite naturally, want a US made battle-rifle with some history. It should also have aesthetics that I would approve of. My current rifles are a tikka t3 .308, a Marlin 1894c as well as a Henry 22 & 10/22 rimfire for trigger practice. Also two MLs strictly for hunting.

    I'm interested in competition only because it's an excuse to shoot - as it's unlikely i'll take a $2000 rifle into the woods :p .. that's what the tikka is for. hence the quest for a "rifle with soul" for what will be a fairly important life event, if you will.. So it's a garand or an M14 for me. I'll be looking into the other manufacturers mentioned by other posters and will be asking around the range for good gunsmiths experienced in setting up rifles for HP.

    BTW, if I really, really have to have something in .223 it will probably be a tikka or sako heavy-barreled varmint model with the laminated stock - not an AR :neener: But I'm not ready for an useless rifle in my collection, not just yet :neener: :neener:
     
  16. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    As an M1A fan, I can agree with your decisions. Sometimes it is not about winning, it is about the experience.

    [​IMG]

    Here is two good shooters.

    [​IMG]

    Here is what the SuperMatch can do at 100 yards. 50 shots per target. You have to love a gun that can just pound the rounds in off the bench like that all day long!
     
  17. kemosabi45

    kemosabi45 Member

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    I have a friend that shoots competition and I asked him why everyone uses the AR15 and he tells me that it's because of the high speed part of the competition. The m14 is better at the long range shooting (it's better in the wind) though the AR15 is good also but the AR15 wins the competition at the fast shoot with it's low recoil. So if you want to compete and have fun, then shoot which one that makes you proud of your performance. I think most of us compete against our selves more than to win a trophy. Don't get me wrong i like to win but i know that there are others willing to invest more money and more time that i am for my hobbie. I want my hobbie to be fun and relaxing. Sorry for the rant but i hope that helps.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Spalit, if you want some builder recommendations, please let me know where you live.

    For the others, the AR has dominated the M14 for accuracy at 600 yards for about 10 years, but can now even win at 1000 and has at the Nationals for a few years.
     
  19. spalit

    spalit Member

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    Steve, I live in the NW Chicago metro area, close to southern WI - in fact the outdoor range and club i shoot at is CCKC @ Bristol WI which is about 40 mins from my house. I'll travel 2-3 hrs for good gunsmith.. :D
     
  20. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    The speed/recoil aspect came up in a recent thread on my blog. Someone pointed out that in many competitions, the 5.56 and 7.62 are considered as separate classes because the time element "wasn't fair to the 7.62 guys".

    I replied that if the matches honored reality, they would require 3-5 hits of 5.56 for each hit of 7.62, and then we'd see about fair. :neener:
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Spalit, I will see what I can find out. You might wind up sending parts off...nothing wrong with that at all. Mine was built by Clint Fowler, and I've never even seen him.
     
  22. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I have never heard anything good or bad about Entreprise M14s.
     
  24. bosshoff

    bosshoff Member

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    Spalit

    As your first battle rifle, you can not go wrong with getting a M1 Garand from the CMP.
     
  25. Onslaught

    Onslaught Member

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    You know, I was with you 100% until...

    RIGHT THERE!!! You missed it entirely!

    You should have told him to get an SKS! :D He can buy one for 12x less than the M1A and spend the REST purchasing tens of thousands of rounds of practice ammo :evil:

    Get the M1A... I had one, I sold it, I regret it.
     
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