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M1a - am I missing something?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by General Disarray, Feb 7, 2011.

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  1. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    I searched for a M1a, and particularly a Bush rifle for ages, and now that I have it I'm just not getting what all the fuss about M1a's is about. I have a few .308 MBR's: a Springfield 18" M1a Bush rifle, an FN FAL, a DPMS LR308. The M1a cost twice as much as the FAL, literally ($1500 v. $750); because of this and it's reputation, I had high expectations for the M1a.

    Basically, every time I shoot one and then the other I can't help but find myself annoyed at the clickity-clacking of the M1a's action, versus the smooth cycling of the FAL's bolt. My M1a had 50 rounds fired thru it when I got it, and it's bolt, op-rod, and trigger are USGI (from TRW); so it's pretty much as good as it gets. I just find that when I'm firing it the action isn't anywhere near as smooth at the FAL. The recoil isn't bad, per se, on the M1a, but the FAL is adjustable and so much less. Am I crazy for wanting to just bail on the M1a?
     
  2. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    Guys that like M14 clones really like them. The rest of us really don't get it.

    Nothing wrong with not being a fan -- if it works for you, good, if it doesn't you can sink a mountain of additional money into it trying to basically build a FAL with worse ergonomics or you can sell it on down the line and get something you like more. Someone will probably be along to tell you that you're a lunatic for not loving the M14, but no gun suits everyone on the planet.
     
  3. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    OP - you're not crazy. I have both M1A and FAL and I largely agree with your comments. I find M1A recoil snappier and a bit stronger than FAL recoil (both of which are snappier than .308 AR recoil).

    Basically, the M1A/M14 is a pretty good gun that has a large cult-like following. If you like it, great, if you don't, that's fine too. I agree with HorseSoldier as well.
     
  4. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    That point about the price is really valid. It was $1500 just for the rifle; then to get the ergonomics of the pistol grip, etc, its another $200 for a choate or E2. Or, you can really go mental and put a SAGE EBR on there for $600+. I had one on mine at one point, but it made the front end so heavy it was ridiculous.
     
  5. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    If you want a pistol grip or telestock, you shouldn't spend any time thinking about the M1A. Other platforms are ridiculously superior for using those features, not to mention less costly and usually lighter.

    When I shoulder my M1A, I feel like I'm shouldering a Pennsylvania Rifle. That can be good or bad depending on your plans. The FAL doesn't exactly place in high-power competition, but I don't think you see many people running M1As in 3-gun either.
     
  6. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    Well, I don't know about high powered competitions, but I know I hit 18" steel plates at 600m with both using iron sites. Side by side they're both equal for me; I don't use either with a scope, and I'm not trying to make 1" groups, ya know? Again, is there something I'm missing?
     
  7. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member

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    Glad to hear I'm not the only one that thinks the M1A is overhyped and overpriced.
     
  8. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    Are the DSA FALs nice? Id like to get one. Or ptr91s? Where do i start?
     
  9. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    PTR-91's and DSA FALs both can be as expensive as M1a's, but heck yeah both are amazing. The PTR-91's are American made clones of HK91's, and are $1200+; the DSA FALs are a separate animal altogether. My understanding of DSA's deal is that they take parts kits that had their receivers cut off and give them a new US made receiver and barrel. They also re-parkerize the parts from the kit, and put US made furniture on them. They're the brand-new-second-hand rifles is the best you can say about them; and they start at around $1100 for their basic models. My FAL is a G1 parts kit on an Imbel receiver and cost me $750 :)
     
  10. ElToro

    ElToro Member

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    i cant have a fal in prk.... without it being emasculated so i have m1a .. if the laws change or i move to free america i will buy a fal
     
  11. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    DSA does 100% American rifles (their SA-58 series) and also does 922(r) compliant builds using foreign kits (their StG-58s and Imbel rifle series).
     
  12. The Wiry Irishman

    The Wiry Irishman Member

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    That's not quite the whole story. They do make rifles using their receivers and Steyr parts kits, those are their STG-58 series of rifles. They've started making a rifle using IMBEL parts kits as well. Their SA-58 series are 100% brand new US made.
     
  13. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    Ahhh....thanks; I've always been confused about that. I first thought they were like JLD making a US made clones, but then I saw their Austrian's were on Austrian kits w/ DSA receiver/barrels. Now I get it.

    So with my OP I was really trying to find a reason to like my M1a and justify how much money I shelled out so that I could find out I liked my FAL more. Again, is there something I'm missing?
     
  14. NWCP

    NWCP Member

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    Why try justifying a rifle that you've already convinced us was a waste of your money? I own a M1A Supermatch and really enjoy it. It's not a hunting rifle and it's not for 3 gun, it's M1A. I trained on M14s while in the service and I suppose the nostalgia is a big part of the pleasure I get from the rifle. I don't happen to like the FAL, but I really enjoy my HK91. When it comes to hunting I grab my CZ550FS .308. Different strokes for different folks. Just remember, the M1A isn't a FAL. Apples and oranges. If you really don't like it sell it and move on.
     
  15. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    Sounds like you really wanted an AR10.


    NO, sell it and invest the money in the FAL.
     
  16. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Having owned examples of all four major .308 platforms (M1A, FAL, PTR-91, LR-308) I am increasingly convinced that some form of .308 AR is the future, in terms of the combination of reliability, accuracy, ergonomics, and ease of service and upgrading. At the moment either the LMT or the Armalite. There are some pending additional .308 ARs that may be worth looking at too.
     
  17. LemmyCaution

    LemmyCaution Member

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    I bought an M1a scout/squad because it suited my needs. I don't feel I got ripped off.

    If others have no use for the M1a, it neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg. It's not a matter of religious faith. It's a rifle. A tool. Nothing more.

    That said, I'd sure like to have an AR pattern in 7.62x51 with an 18" barrel, as well. And a FAL.

    Why not?
     
  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If this is a comparison between the FAL and the M1a, well flip a coin. Both are battle proven rifles with decades of service. Each has strengths that are not found in the other.

    I am still shooting the M1a in Highpower Competition. I got my Distinguished with the thing. The last “malfunction” I had was 1996 or 1997, and I have shot out three barrels since then. My malfunction was totally reload related, not a fault of the rifle. January I won a “vintage” rifle match with the thing, the club duplicated a 1961ish Service rifle course, shooting on the 5V target at 200 yards. It was a blast.

    40-7V Prone Slow Fire

    200ydsSlowFireProne40-7X.jpg


    I have never been able to get as fine a trigger pull with a FAL as I have been able to get on M1a’s. Once you learn to tune a Garand/M1a trigger it is easy to do the trigger job yourself. I spent hours parts swapping on my FALS just to get an acceptable trigger. The best trigger pull I was able to get parts swapping unfortunately doubled. Repeatably. That combination of parts did not last long.

    FALs are rear lockers and stretch cases something awful. M1a’s are front lockers. I took one set of LC brass 22 to 24 reloads in a M1a without any case head separations. I only pushed the shoulders back .003” when full length small based sizing, but the real life extender was leaving the case lube on, or rubbing Johnson Paste wax on clean cases. Case heads were not stretched in the chamber or during unlock. Gentlemen who have tried to use FAL actions as the basis for competition rifles find that their cases stretch so much, they get 3 to 4 reloads before case head separations.

    I really like the adjustable gas system on the FAL but that does not mean you can use inappropriate loads or powders. All gas guns are limited by the operating characteristics of the action.

    I have not found a set of rear sights for the FAL that provide the same level of precision adjustment as a tight set of M1a sights. My FALs have these ramps, elevation tuning has to be done with the front sight as the ramp adjustments are course. Plus the sight wobbles on the ramp. Acceptable for a battle rifle. Not the best arrangement for precision shooting.

    Fn-FAL520aperature.jpg

    FAL’s have excellent ergonomics, really easy to take down and clean.

    After reviewing what you think is most important, it turns out that your criteria is totally different from what I think is important. If action “clickety -clacking” and “smoothness” are your most important criteria, go join those critics who also think that these are the most important characteristic of a rifle design, and go buy something else.

    The M1a is not for you. It will never be for you.

    And don't buy a Garand. You won't like it either. It also pings when the gun is empty. You will probably find that annoying.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  19. Rshooter

    Rshooter Member

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    Different strokes I say, personally I prefer the M1A over the FAL. The rifle just feels right but then I also love the Garand. The really nice thing about the M1A is that you should get a good price if you sell it to somebody else. :D
     
  20. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    I have reached the conclusion that price is the least important consideration of the purchase. A firearm is something that will last you the rest of your life and your children's life with some care along the way. For almost all firearms, its just a matter of how long you want to save for it. Is brand "x" worth/better than brand "y" is a classic question for which there is no true answer. I understand what you are asking by this question, but in many respects its like asking why did you marry that specific person over others. Unlike marriage, at least we can own mulitple firearms.
     
  21. General Disarray

    General Disarray Member

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    I really appreciate all the insight here. I'm not just contemplating the virtues of one over the other so I can make a decision; I stepped up and shelled out what's basically a mortgage payment for me, ya know? After shooting it a bunch I'm at best in-like with it. I'm searching for what others love about there's; maybe there's something I'm missing, right?

    I can see what Slamfire1 is saying about the superior sighting of the M1a, and the abuse that rounds take being ejected from a FAL is a bit excessive.

    I'm curious why the Army is moving away from the M14 in favor of the S.A.S.S. to fill the role of semi-auto .308 for some of it's teams?
     
  22. henschman

    henschman Member

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    I didn't know what the big deal was about M-14s either, until I actually learned proper rifle marksmanship and started shooting at ranges over 100 yards, requiring elevation come-ups and compensating for wind. The M-14's sights are head and shoulders above those on any other battle rifle. Nice easy 1 MOA clicks for both windage and elevation right there at the rear sight. And the long sight radius aperture sights really go a long way toward helping you be as accurate as the rifle. They have great triggers from the factory and can be tuned up even more with a little work.

    I am one of those wierdos who cares more about things like the sights and trigger on a rifle than I do about how it's action sounds, but maybe that's just me. ;)

    Of course all my experience with M-14s is with full 22" length barreled models, which have the proper sight radius that those sights were designed for, so I guess your mileage may vary some in that regard with the 18" scout.
     
  23. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    I tend to like rifles that are American and have an M designation. M1A is one of the best all around rifles IMHO. Price is not the biggest selling point. You can get other rifles to work better for a more specialized task. I depends on your interests as well.
     
  24. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    My NM M1A hasn't been out of the safe in 2 years...lol. I always reach for my FAL when I need a .308 MBR for competition. I just prefer the rgonomics on the FAL and it has provided me with more than adequate accuracy.
     
  25. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    Henchman,
    I hear you. Any rifle that allows me to compete in a match is a selling point. Good sights that are adjustable are a selling point.
    Noise of action, tend not to notice

    Slamfire,
    When I saw the 5V I thought "Oh, so that is why it is a black & white photo."


    (to those of you who don't get that, the target is in black & white in a color photo)
     
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