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

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

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  1. Groucho_

    Groucho_ Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    ...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

    Jan 1, 2003
    SouthEast PA
    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 Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Southern Indiana
    How about a rack grade M1 garand?

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

    zinj Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    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 Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    So. Coast Oregon
    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 Member

    Dec 29, 2005
    Would a Mini-14 qualify as a M-14 or M1A trainer?
  7. Winger Ed.

    Winger Ed. Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    North Cent. Texas
    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. Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    North Cent. Texas

    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 Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    south Florida
    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

    Dec 16, 2007
    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 Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Helena MT
    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 Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    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 Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    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 Member

    Nov 7, 2005
    Utah, USA
    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 Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    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 Member

    Jun 11, 2006
    North Central Florida

    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 Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Columbia, SC
    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 Member

    May 12, 2006
    The Garand's ammo prices are nearly as bad, these days.
  19. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Lost Angeles
    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 Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    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.
  21. I LIKE IT!

    I LIKE IT! Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Hey buddy,

    Do you have a job?

    College or not, I don't see why you can't afford an M1A.

    Took me 2 years to pay off an MP5, patience is key if your making 23K a year
    bracket like me.

    College? I hope your learning something that pays, then perhaps 1600-2000.00 will seem like a joke.

    Good Luke;)
  22. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I do own both the M1A and Garands. I don't know how I would choose between them for a variety of reasons. The advice on getting up and running with a Garand is good and that is what I would do. You really can't lose and I guarantee you will enjoy the experience as you go down the road--and learn a LOT.

    You probably have something that many of us don't, and that no amount of money can buy: young (and if necessary, correctible) eyesight, and time. That's a winning hand!

    There is a LOT of good info available over at the Culver Shooting Pages (www.jouster.com) otherwise known as "Garand Central Station". Check out the CMP at www.odcmp.com, and see if you can find a CMP-affiliated club that runs service rifle clinics anywhere near you. Great way to get started and squared away.

    I got started in high power rifle very late. Great hobby. You can spend a lot of money--but you don't have to.

    Good luck.

    I think I envy you.
  23. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    It took me many years to save up the $900 (sounds funny doesn't it) for my M1A. Was it worth it, yes! I did go through a few Garands and a BM59 in the process. I like the Garand but I love my M1A, it will get handed down through the generations. Only problem I see currently is that ammo is expensive, not so with the 30-06 and don't forget magazines. A Garand for half the price of the M1A with a good supply of ammo will bring a big smile to any gun guys face and admiration at the range. If you have the funds now get the Garand and save for the M1A. Shoot in the mean time and enjoy yourself, learn good marksmanship.
  24. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    Since you live in CA and cannot take advantage of the M1A's only advantage over a Garand (capacity), I'd go for a Garand. They can be had as low as $600 in most areas.

    8 rounds .30-06 vs. 10 rounds .308 is pretty negligeable, especially when that extra 2 rounds will cost you $500-$1000 extra dollars.
  25. lamazza

    lamazza Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Save for a Springfield M1a and don't settle for second best or Chinese clones.
    norincos and Polytechs are nice shooters, but in the end you will have reciever troubles with Chinese clones.
    Save 10% of your earnings until you get there and don't lose sight of your goal.
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