[Review] Springfield M1A: SOCOM 16 & National Match

Is the steel and wood Springfield Armory M1A still a viable battle rifle?

Stick around, because we put a ton of .308 through a National Match M1A and a SOCOM 16, and had a profoundly weird experience.

They sure are purdy, though.

First things first: Historical firearms are cool as hell, and there’s nothing quite like owning, holding, or shooting a wood-clad gat that’s got a story to tell, if only it could speak. 

The M1A, obviously a civilian variant of the iconic M14, fits squarely in that niche – you can check our full video over on our YouTube Channel!

Table of Contents

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A Bit Of Background

Now, obviously the M1A is merely the civilian variant of the iconic M14, and the M14 itself is essentially only a slightly modified M1 Garand that was developed after WW2 to fill the niche for a fully automatic battle rifle.

While the countries in the newly formed North Atlantic Treaty Organization quickly agreed on a need to standardize small arms cartridges, a debate ensued over which exact cartridge that should be. 

While the British focused on a smaller .280 cartridge out of concern for controllability in full auto, the US refused to adopt anything smaller than .30 caliber, citing concerns over diminished stopping power. 

Assorted 7.62x51mm (MEN 147gr, PPU 165gr, PPU 180gr, Gold Medal 168gr
Assorted 7.62x51mm (MEN 147gr, PPU 165gr, PPU 180gr, Gold Medal 168gr

Fast forward a bit past a lot of bureaucracy and a point where the US almost adopted the FN FAL, and finally we have NATO’s adoption of the 7.62x51mm cartridge as its official battle rifle round – and with it, the US adopted the M14 in the late 50s.

The M14, in theory, would simplify the makeup of the weapons fielded by the standard American infantry squad. 

The leading brilliant minds of the time legitimately saw a future in which the M14 would replace the M3 grease gun and Thompson submachine guns, the BAR as a squad automatic weapon, the Springfield 1903 as a marksman rifle, and the M1 Garand and M1 carbine – a total overhaul of the ammunition and parts needed to keep a squad well supplied and operational.

Pictured: Very good ideas.

The gun was first fielded in Vietnam, and although 7.62 NATO proved great at punching through thick vegetation, the gun’s overall length was poorly suited for jungle warfare, it was basically uncontrollable in full auto, it’s wood stocks were subject to swelling from jungle humidity, which affected zero, and a DOD report found that the rifle overall was inferior to both the M1 Garand it descended from, and the soon to be introduced M16.

*Creedence plays softly in the distance*

What About Today?

So where’s that leave us? 

Why, with an ensuing internet argument, of course! 

We’ll just say this: The M14 and M1A have incredibly vocal supporters and detractors both – and if you have the misfortune of wading into Mekong Delta of that online shit-flinging fest, it’s probably going to be quite hard to discern how these guns actually perform in real life. 

Springfield Armory was kind enough to send us both a National Match M1A and a SOCOM16 to try out for ourselves – and we hoped that by the end, we’d have enough insight to give you a reasonable everyman opinion.

Considering that you have folks claiming that these are sub MOA guns at 1,000 yards with irons on one side of the debate, and uhhhhh some nerd that won’t shutup about how the US should have adopted the FAL over the M14 on the other. 

Silence, nerds.

The Two Models

The National Match M1A is, according to Springfield, hand-built to win competitions.

2250
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The gun’s action is glass bedded into the walnut stock, which overcomes the traditional issue M14s face with poor fitment apparently affecting accuracy.

The gun’s also got a 5lb two-stage trigger, which might feel sort of heavy, but it’s really obvious when it’s going to break and there’s very minimal creep on the takeup. 

Naturally taking the beautiful wood finish on the National Match and resting it on jagged rocks 🤷‍♂️

The SOC16 is obviously a bit more compact and includes a 16” barrel in a black polymer stock with the iconic SOC16 muzzle brake upfront.

The gun also has a scout style picatinny mount just forward of the action, allowing for the addition of red dots or scout scopes if that’s your jam. 

Tattooine vibe check.

Ergonomics

First things first – in all honesty, these rifles are quite dated in terms of design ergonomics – as again, they’re civilian M14s, and the M14 was dated design-wise at the time even compared to the AK and FAL. 

Considering you’ll be rocking the ergonomics of an 80 some odd-year-old rifle design, you can expect to feel out of place if you’re the type of dude that’s used to adjustable length of pull and a c-clamp style grip. 

The rifles are heavy and quite cumbersome – weighing in at 8lbs for the SOC16 and 10lbs for the National Match, both unloaded. 

Because of the op-rod placement, you’re likely going to have to jump your support hand out way further than what feels natural if you’re used to firing modern carbines – otherwise, you’ll be in for quite a shitty surprise when the gun bites you.

The weird ‘teacup’ fingers you’ve gotta do to keep your hand out of the way.

However, the sling mount kinda gets in the way of what, for me, feels like a natural hand placement – and you’ve got to keep your fingers away from the op-rod all the same. 

The M1A’s safety is located within the trigger guard itself, and is essentially a metal tab that you press forward to disengage.

Again, a bit of antiquated design here – I don’t particularly care for a safety mechanism that I have to get my finger near the trigger to operate, and the lever itself is quite stiff.

Kinda sketchy, and I prefer to use my left thumb to flick it forward. 

Eeep.

The swell of the rifle’s stock also creates a fulcrum point around your hand itself.

Whereas an AR platform is going to recoil directly back into the buffer tube, the M1A essentially uses your dominant hand as an anchor point for the muzzle when it climbs upwards.

The gun’s got a tendency to rotate around my right hand here

I also find that for me personally, the combination of hand and head placement when shooting from a rest position always winds up grabbing a bit of facial hair that the rifle takes with it when it fires, so make of that what you will. 

Mustache Pain Imminent

Additionally, the magazines are a bit wonky to insert at first.

You’ve got to rock them into the receiver sort of like an AK, but because the guns ship with short 10 rounders, you’ve really got to drive the front notch of the mag deep into the mag well, rock the rear of the mag back towards the trigger, and simultaneously push up to get the magazine seated correctly.

It’s not the end of the world, and it does get easier over time as the mags get broken in.

Like so

So, yes – the design of the rifles isn’t super comfortable and feels antiquated, well, because it is.

But how do they shoot? 

Shooting!

We took these guns out to the desert to ring some 200-yard steel, and in all honesty…the results were not fantastic

Blastin’ with the SOC16.

It seemed like no matter what type of .308 ammunition we used, from shitty PRVI to decent PM to federal gold medal match, we’d hit 1or 2 shots every 3-4 rounds using consistent holds on our steel target. 

Various rounds we shot on Day 1

Admittedly, we are not marksmen, and while we all have a good amount of long-range shooting experience, our inability to hit relatively close targets with these guns seemed pretty damn wild.

The M1A’s worst critics online will tell you that the gun’s design itself literally prevents them from being accurized, due to the mechanics of how the rifle’s receiver fits into the stock itself.

There’s also an infamous study on the M14 that essentially says the same thing, noting that the US Army tried for a few decades and concluded, a couple million dollars later, that the M24 was a better weapon system than the marksman-tier M14 they tried to create. 

The M14 EBR in use with American SOF Personnel

Could it really be us? Do we not understand the point of aim with M14 irons? Are they that different from the ARs and AKs we’re much more familiar with? Are we posers? Comment below if you think we’re posers.

We weren’t sure, but we did find that both the National Match M1A and the SOCOM 16 performed about the same in this department – with the SOC16’s ironsights being a bit worse considering they’re thicker and obscure most of the target at 200 yards. (You know, because it’s a CQB gun)

Iron Sight Comparison

After a few mags, we decided to setup a shooting mat and rest to take some prone shots with an optic mounted to the SOC16’s scout mount to see if the irons themselves were just inexplicably way off.

Not a huge fan of scout optics, personally.

Unfortunately, we still weren’t getting great results, and the forward-mounted Picatinny rail on the SOC16 means that you’re essentially relegated to scout scopes with good eye relief.

Again – we totally accept that we are by no means amazing shooters, but this shouldn’t be that hard. So what’s going on here?

Considering the fact that it was 100+ degrees on our shoot day and firing a shitton of .308 on guns with meat tenderizers on their buttplates isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, we resigned ourselves to chill on the M1As and take them to a local range to shoot groups and get them dialed in.

Range Day #2

Fast forward to our next shoot day! This time, we shot 100 yard groups with irons from the bench, and… the results were still pretty bizarre. 

As you can see… the shot placement was all over the place. 

No, this isn’t a 12ga.

One of the weirdest parts of the entire experience was the tendency for both guns to pull off consecutive rounds either through the same hole or touching one another, only for the next round to be a complete flier somewhere else on the paper. 

Pictured: WAT


Again, we’re not so arrogant as to think that this isn’t our fault – but if so, why / how were we putting 2 rounds through the same hole only to completely fuck up the next round by several inches? At 100 yards from bench?

That seems pretty unlikely. 

Troubleshooting

Not wanting to publish a pretty damning review on 8 MOA guns, we wondered if there might be something wrong with the rifles themselves. We therefore reached out to Springfield to see if they had any idea what the case might be.

While they were alarmed at our results, they offered to bring the guns back and test them at their facilities to ensure we didn’t get flawed rifles for whatever reason.

Springfield’s techs looked the guns over and purportedly found zero issues with any aspect of them. 

literally how

Springfield then mounted optics to the rifles using a 4th Gen Steel Receiver mount and tested them thusly.

260
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The National Match came in at 1.25 MOA with a Vortex 4-16x optic, and the SOC16 shot 2MOA with a Vortex 1-6 both at 100 yards. 

Again, obviously much better than the results that we were getting in the two different times we shot the guns previously.

At this point, we were pretty blown away.

Is it really us? Do we really just suck that hard? 

Springfield offered to send the guns back to us for another round of testing, and we accepted. They even included the optics and mounts to ensure we’d be able to repeat their results.

Fast forward to range trip number 3, and close to 900 rounds of .308 later aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we were finally able to get some usable numbers out of these guns! 

Sweeet Jesus thank you!

Range Trip #3

With the Vortex optics mounted we were now shooting about 1.5MOA out of the National Match, and ~2 MOA out of the SOC 16 using 168gr Gold Medal Match ammo.

PRVI 145 and 180 grain out of the SOC16 both still felt subpar however, and PMC Bronze was decent but did have a flier in the group you see on screen.

The National Match didn’t much like PRVI 145, but did okay with with PRVI 180, because literally nothing about any of this makes sense.

PMC was okay and Match was, of course, the best.  

We should note though that you’ll likely want to invest in a cheek riser if you wind up using an optic on these rifles, as they tend to sit quite high above the bore. 

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

For all of the weird issues we had with the M1As, reliability in terms of operation wasn’t one of them. We did experience one light primer strike on some of the poorer PRVI ammo, but are good to go outside of that.

Ergonomics: 3/5

This feels a little bit odd to grade with a number value, as the rifle’s design is quite dated. It was par for the course during the 40s, but is it fair to judge an antiquated set up by modern standards? The gun will work just fine if you adapt your shooting style to it, but it is not the most comfortable experience in the world.

Accuracy: ?/5

We’re genuinely super confused about what happened with the accuracy tests of the guns, and don’t feel particularly comfortable assigning this area a grade while the results were inconclusive.

Customization: 5/5

There are a ton of aftermarket accessories available for the M1A, such as radically different chassis that update its design ergonomics to something that feels much more modern if you can’t stand the old-school vibe.

Value: 3/5

The M1A is a little bit pricey depending on model, but if you’re in the market for a .308 American service rifle, it’s essentially your only option.

Overall: 3/5

Parting Shots

Again…highly recommend you check out the video so you can see everything in motion.

So the guns did okay and shot pretty close to what Springfield reported with the addition of optics.

However, that makes the entire ordeal feel that much stranger?

We still aren’t quite sure what to make of this entire experience, in all honesty.

We really hope we don’t accidentally end up summoning the M14 defense squad by even suggesting that these guns are not the absurdly accurate sniper platforms it feels like a segment of pop culture has made them out to be, and for the umpteenth time we’re readily willing to accept that the problem may very well have been us. 

What sticks out as extremely odd for me personally though, is that we’ve never experienced issues quite like this with any of our other .308 guns, and the issues occurred across multiple reasonably experienced shooters.

It also seems unlikely that we’d be able to get two rounds to touch back to back if we weren’t decent shots to begin with, only to have a subsequent round end up nowhere near the previous two.

M1A-Open-Bolt

Springfield’s lead tech also managed to shoot a 1.25” group with the national match using irons, so blaming the iron sights doesn’t seem quite right either – although I think it’s fair to assume a tech at springfield is likely a goddamn pro with the M1A.

2250
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Truthfully, we have no idea, and we actually deliberated for a while on what approach we wanted to take with this review – because at the end of the day, it’s still sort of inconclusive.

It’d be easy to pretend like the entire gaff just never happened, but that’s super disingenuous, and we try to be as real with y’all as possible.

We will say that Springfield’s responsiveness in helping us sort out what was going on was fantastic, and worth letting all of you know about.

If for whatever reason you do have issues with your guns, it’s nice to know that the manufacturer is going to look into the issue and treat your concerns as valid. 

That being said, it’s certainly frustrating to present a gun review where the results are sort of inconclusive.

Are we just miserable with iron sights? Did the guns get banged up in shipping? Are the guns haunted? Was mercury in retrograde? We may never know.

As for the rifles themselves – they certainly have their niche. Guns that are a nod to the past are definitely a blast to own and shoot, and if you’re considering purchasing an M1A, we’d imagine it’s likely because you have some sort of sentimental or historical interest in the rifle – not because you’re looking for something that’s going to outperform an AR-10.

Additionally, most models of the M1A are naturally featureless if that’s a concern for you, although it certainly would have been fun to play with some of the wilder EBR style chassis. 

That being said, the M1A is still a blast if you want a big, chunky battle rifle with ties back to the iconic M14 – though we’d certainly still recommend finding a way to try one out before you buy it just to make sure you know what exactly you’re getting yourself into.

Let us know what you think of the M1A and how it went all wonky for us. And check out the Best .308 Ammo, Best AR-10s, and Best 7.62×51 Battle Rifles.

37 Leave a Reply

  • Ivsan Koonm

    I have a very old....springfield M1A with a TRW chrome GI barrel... I have had no problem with iron sights.. using surplus ammo hitting … consistently a two foot gong at 600... yes 600 yrds. This summer I had about 3 witnesses who after I walked away from the line... could not believe I could strike the gong consistently at that distance with only military iron sights.. NOT bragging... but this was with iron std sights and surplus ammo that was at least 40 yrs old. I do not waste my time going for groups with 40+ year old Spanish surplus ammo. It never was match grade when manufactured. And my Springfield M1A was their field grade... Not match anything with a chrome lined barrel.. Also I am an old timer too. So eye sight picture is challenging. Sorry to break the bad news to you... but it is not the rifle. My opinion is that it is a difficult toy to achieve its maximum accuracy. Not sure why. I lived in Illinois and I met jerk who owned the company and purchased this m1A from him... when he operated a retail shop in Illinois....he does hire craftsmen who can and do build an excellent toy... BUT... it takes skill to achieve results using iron sights. I prefer to challenge myself using iron sights.. The boys on the range who all use huge scopes on bolt guns could not believe my consistency...with an old not match chrome lined barreled M1A. If someone is looking for an M1A as an easy rifle to master.... although I do not have negative impressions... they should look else ware … or ask someone on the range if they could have a go at it with a borrowed model. Also, as designed by the military... the gas system was only designed to handle 147 grain projectile with fast burning powders.. Yes you can pump anything through it... but the gas system was not designed to handle slow burning powders with long heavy projectiles. Very interesting YouTube but it was painful to watch you not extract the accuracy expected and achievable... The problem I believe with these new M1A's is the price...Some makers want up to $6,500 bucks for one. I hope the buyers of those toys realize... that is a high price to pay for implied accuracy. Enjoyed the video.

    1 second ago
  • Observer

    Honestly I couldn't read all of this, but what I did seems like a lot of operator error. Frankly it gets a little annoying people talking poorly of this rifle or any other when 99% of the time, it is a bad shooter and or bad expectations. An M1a has an acceptable precision of 3moa and accuracy of 1.5moa. Yes there is a difference. Snipers in ww2 had even lower standards. This is what it comes down to with a m1a, shooter, then rounds, then trigger, then making sure all mounts are secure if if scoped. I have shot quite a few m1a rifles and all with decent ammo would shout 1.5moa precision with .75moa accuracy. That is plenty accurate to be an urban or close range sniper. No, a sniper does not need a precision rifle. They need a consistent, repeatable and fairly accurate one. If you can shoot this rifle, don't tell me you are getting .5moa with your 700 because you are not.

    4 weeks ago
  • Cunty McShitterman

    FAL all day

    1 month ago
  • Don

    Straight up no BS. The M14 I shot in service compared to the m1a I purchased are two totally different dogs but they both like 162 and 168 grain bullets. And I have found shooting 150 and 180 grain that they send spoilers down range. But military surplus ammo and you will have better luck or at lest I did.

    1 month ago
  • Ken

    I’m not going to recite everything Duckford said but, the dude is on the mark He references head position. This is crucial to shooting consistent groups. The how too is, engage the stock with the same amount of facial surface area and the same pressure every time. Be sure to stay in there, head down on the gun, vision through the sights under recoil. I’m not saying you don’t know how to shoot, I am saying AR’s are the most forgiving platform, having been designed by an aero space engineer and all, they have great ergonomics and manage more recoil themselves than any other system to date. The one other thing I don’t see addressed in the comments below is dealing with the comment that, “ the gun wants to twist in my hand.” Every rifle must recoil the same every shot in order to shoot good groups. Preferably, almost necessarily straight back. To achieve this it is best to start by getting acquainted with a shooting sling and building a rock solid prone position. Then branch out to shooting over other objects. You still need something between the gun and the rock or you can develop both recoil direction issues as well as barrel harmonic issues. If the experience with the M1A’s is really in your head. Spend a few months of Saturday’s going to high power rifle matches. The knowledge base there has been handed down since the late 1800’s in America and Britain, and built on for generations since. These are the people that teach our nations sniper instructors. It’s not 3 gun fun, but you’ll notice the successful 3 gunners incorporate key element from high power. Lastly your article seems to discount the M1A as an almost unuseful relic, taking shots at every tiny thing. To the readers it sounds like excuses. As students of the gun we have to be competent with anything we pick up off the ground. No excuses. Hang in there, you’ll get it. You just found a new world to explore and it’s a little unnerving.

    1 month ago
  • CaveDiver

    USMC 1967 -- M14 final qualification day -- good grouping from offhand, kneeling, and sitting -- excellent grouping, from prone @ 500 yards with iron sights -- M14 was a very reliable weapon (not on automatic, of course) -- resisted mud and dust well -- however, recoil was not favorably received if wearing tank top (!), but tank tops were not standard issue in RVN

    1 month ago
  • Bob Reed

    Been shooting these little guys for three decades & have found some quirks that need addressing before they shoot well. First of all, the 1.25 MOA that was finally obtained is acceptable even for 400m antelope shots but the one single issue that seems to affect this rifle the most is ammo. The 1-12 twist used in milspec and civilian barrels for many years was designed to stabilize the 147gr. ball projectile. The one you tested was a 1-11.25 twist however, few of these do a good job of stabilizing bullets much heavier than 165gr. Sierra has their 175gr. Matchking bullet for the M1 Garand & M1-A but not all rifles shoot them well. At Aberdeen, the army figured a max effective range of 656 yards for these guns because that was the range at which bullets began to wobble a bit due to lack of stability. That said, there has also been quite a bit of chamber variation over the years which necessitates handloading brass which has been fire formed to a specific chamber and carefully checked for case stretching to obtain top accuracy. This is a pain for most shooters who want to buy ammo & just go shoot. Many match shooters do this BUT Springfield warns very strongly against it for safety reasons. ( It even voids the factory warranty). They are great rifles with 300m kill shots being natural but their limitations need to be observed or buyer's remorse may set in.

    1 month ago
  • Duckford

    The only thing I agree is backwards about the rifle is the exposed rod which can catch on things and cause malfunctions, and forces you to be careful where you hold the weapon. Otherwise, I don't agree with much else here written. Some of us prefer straight stocks, and done right the straight stock helps control and absorb recoil better than a lot of pistol grip set ups. (I have never have understood the popularity of pistol grips on shotguns with full power loads). The pistol grip only became "ergonomically superior" when the assault rifle concept came into play, where the grip is superior for moving assault cover fire. Outside of that, rifle to rifle, is the old grip inferior? NO. With ergonomics, the Garand and M14 family are sleek and well balanced rifles compared to others. The magazine insertion issue is easily resolved by standard 20 round magazines, with the extra length offering superior advantage and grip to rock the magazine in. Other well proven 1st rate designs like the FAL, G3, AKM are rockers. One can argue about value of a safety that is separate from the selector switch, one can leave a weapon on full automatic without having to fumble through, you can get your weapon on safety without having to push through two selections. A lot of safeties are rough on new rifles, guess what they break in with repeated regular use. The M14 is no different. Once worked in, the safety is quick and easy to disengage by simply pushing your trigger finger forward without losing your grip on the rifle, then have your finger ready for firing. The rifle may be different, but to act as if it is some sort of antique is laughable. As for accuracy, it is probably due to inexperience. Even if someone is a decent shot, it takes time to adapt to a different weapon both individually and model wise. If you shoot nothing but pistol grips, you might find the old stock hard to handle. Worse, if you hang your head way back on the stock instead of behind the sight directly when shooting on the bench at paper, don't be surprised when you aren't getting the best from the best iron sight system ever developed. Inconsistent cheek weld and sight picture is the usual problem with the kind of shot groups you were showing. More than likely shifting of head, where you sat your cheek, how you looked through the ring. ESPECIALLY considering your two shots hitting the same mark with the rest scattered, indicating the gun is on but the shooter's picture is probably off. The scope shooting helped to prove this, and that the National Match can shoot very well indeed. Combine that with shooting something new, I think the conclusions draw themselves. My GI M1a has done 2 inches off the bags even with cheap steel case at 100 yards. Same or better than my SA58 FAL or PTR91 with the same ammunition. And, when I do have problems with groups, I call my shots and realize that I, too, am making problems with how I'm sitting and how my sight picture isn't right. With good discipline they are the best irons ever put on a combat rifle, but sloppy cheek welds and head placement turn them into a nightmare. The G3 and FAL better battle rifles? I won't argue against that assertion. But I think the gun gets a bad rap it doesn't deserve. Old and outdated? The vaunted mid 20th century designed AR15 is over 60 years old, and only 25 years younger than the "antique" Garand design. It ain't the best rifle, but it sure isn't outdated or the worst.

    1 month ago
    • Chris

      One thing I really like about the safety on the m14/M1A is that if you forget that the safety is on and put your finger on the trigger (which of course should only be done if you’re about to fire) your knuckle will hit the safety inside the trigger guard as an instant reminder that the gun is in fact NOT ready to fire. As someone who shoots a lot of handguns and thinks handguns should not have manual safeties (all long guns should of course, but with a handgun a good holster is your safety) i worry about forgetting the safety is switched on, this solves that problem. The fact it’s ambi is a plus too. For the record I also prefer a traditional stock over a pistol grip. Another thing- for me the ability to reload straight into an empty gun with stripper clips is a huge plus. Stripper clips are a great way to organize a bunch of ammo while having it “ready to go” (so to speak). All you need is 2 magazines (a ten rounder to get low and keep the rifle light and sleek (relatively speaking of course) for carrying and the 20 rounder for capacity and better grip) and the rest of your ammo on stripper clips. Less weight than a bunch of magazines and less magazines to maintain and worry about the springs wearing out or whatever. For the record I own the 18” scout model

      1 month ago
      • Chris

        One more important thing about the m1a in my experience that does seem to get glazed over a bit in the review (which was great by the way, appreciate the honesty) is that the gun goes bang every time, which, again, is pretty cool. Cheers

        1 month ago
  • Dugger Sr. Richard

    John, I have both M1A Scout (nothing fancy) and a S/W AR-10 both are fed Hornandy 164 gr bt Amax. Only thing added is scopes and shoot the same of 1.125-1.50” @ 100yds and only the M1A 2 tapped a hole numerous times. I’m not a great shooter so I can’t blame the gun when holes seem to migrate.

    1 month ago
  • Cpl. Don

    I found I was able to hit whatever I wanted with the M-14's that I used in the USMC. How M-1A's equate to the real thing I have no idea. Perhaps you are expecting too much from a battle rifle. And blaming the rifles for the flyers sounds pretty sketchy to me.

    1 month ago
  • Christopher Duhamel

    I bought an M-14 from Springfield in the late 1980's. Handloaded it shot groups from .50 to .75 all day long. The action and barrel are geared for 168 gn bullets travelling at 2750- 2850fps. Any more or less and the accuracy becomes squirrely. I happened to try 168gn German machine gun ammo which was real hot. It blew the op-rod away from the bolt. No more of that! The gun liked a lot of sling pressure and shot better in prone than off the bench. A good Tam sling worked well in this aspect. Like everything else made today I suspect the fit and finish of the action is not up to par to the production from the 80's. Just my take

    1 month ago
  • Kenneth

    I have found that the M1A likes you to be vary consistent. If you aren't it will bitch and complain at you all day. This is from some one who owns a super for long range shooting. We have a 1000yd range here. Certain days it's every round on Target and the recoil feels right and the same. Other days you hold the rifle wrong and the recoil will throw it out of position. I had one day where the recoil impulse on my third shot made me think I had a squib round. Round went nowhere near the target. I believe now that my shirt bunched up and the rifle may have slid while prone. My point is, this platform takes a lot to get use to and to get consistent. It will amplify any inconsistency. Hell there are days where it's 10 rounds through .75 moa and other like you saw.

    1 month ago
  • joe

    This review is not catching the heat I expected. This is the sad reality, for the price the rifles are very subpar on the iron sights front compared to other battle rifles and even the forebearer (Garand)

    1 month ago
  • Bryan

    Definitely was you. But ammo choices didn't help the national match should have had 175g. I run custom load serria match kings but xm118lr would have ran beautifully I used them in mine before I had my custom loads going for it much more stable in the heat than the 168g. I have a vortex viper hst 6-24 mounted on mine and consistently hit 1000 yards (10 inch plate) I can easily put 4 rounds in under an inch at 100 yards and I am by no means an expert shot. When I got the m1a I was really amazed at how easy it was to shoot and once zeroed everyone who shot it hits dead on out to at least 300 I could understand having trouble with the irons most people do but not with an optic. I will say if you didn't loctite the mount for the optics they do have a tendency to work loose. But over all it's one of the friendliest and most accurate out of the box guns I've ever had.

    1 month ago
  • ava8harrierusmc1

    I own two of the Springfield's M1A. One is a the first SOCOM that came out with the 1913 rails it was just to heavy to shoot with the rails on the front end. The other is the standard which i bought a year after the SOCOM. I love these rifles they are true battle rifles don't get me wrong i own two AR'15's one in .223 and the other in 6.8 which if going into combat the 6.8 is the shit by a long shoot, for it's recoil and it's stopping power (80% stopping power of a .308 round in such a small package). Anyway the standard I'm giving to my son who is getting out the Marine Corps soon (every Marine needs a M14 :-). But the SOCOM I can hit what i shoot at with iron sights, now I have a trick I do. l fill a gallon milk and shoot not letting it touch the ground and see how many rounds i can shoot through it at 100 yards the most is three rounds so far. I have people who have seen this trick but no one wants to try it. I myself feel the M1A is a great rifle. There are some things that need to be improved like replacing the spring guide $35-$40.00) and the guide spring ($35.00) both from (Sadlak Inc.) acquire at the same time this will improve your groups somewhat. Next you can put a tactical 1913 rail made by Troy it is the length of the hand guard too the rear sights ($200.00). Next you can upgrade your stock and that choice can be made from a wide range of stocks. There is so much more you can do at a total cost of about another $ 500.00 to get a better rifle or you can just keep what you have and go for it. Enjoy : Ava8harrierusmc1 Semper Fi

    1 month ago
  • Mattm

    I have the Scout Squad, which is a hybrid of the socom and standard. With a 2-7 ler scope, on a good day I am 100% on 4" steel (yeah, the plate's kind of beat, hence the 4" chuncks on the chain) at 200 yards. In the plastic stock, shooting 150 imi, this gun was disappointing, but switching to a boyds thicker than GI walnut and bedding it made a huge difference, as well az tuning the gas block which seems to come severely overtightened from the factory. Got a sadlak guide rod and piston in it, and of my 18 guns, this one's my baby. If I want sub moa, the RPR comes out, if I want lightweight, the AR sbr comes out, but all in all, the m1a scout gets the most comments and provides the best day. Shooting nato surplus lately, malaysian mainly, some austrian in the que.

    1 month ago
    • ava8harrierusmc1

      I heard that!

      1 month ago
  • bob

    This was the last original Springfield design. Apparently inferior to the Garand in every metric, accuracy, recoil, reliability... and then they shuttered the original armory.

    1 month ago
  • Queso

    Seems like the supporters of this gun are supporters of the m14 not SA M-1A. I had a socom 16 and didn't shoot worth a damn. For the 2k I was into even tried gas system upgrade, the 2.5 moa I got was horrible. Had same issues as your video. That being said seems like Springfield armory is the issue. Also had a 1911 from them where the front sight fell right off as I was shooting and the finish so thin it rusted in my leather holster. Also found a screw in my grip back out on it's own. Not a big deal but shows lack of attention to detail and quality control. I know their Croatian made guns are phenomenal however like the XD series.

    1 month ago
    • John

      Certainly seems to be the case - though some folks still swear they're getting crazy good groupings with the M1A. The answer is most likely in the middle - there are both poor and fantastic performing M1As in circulation for various reasons - perhaps quality control.

      1 month ago
  • Jon G.

    I have owned the National Match, Standard and Socom versions of the M1A, I had all the same issues, they are extremely finnicky with optics and mounts. I found Basset to be the most stable mount. I have some time on long range shooting, I’m accomplished at about a half mile, but even the national match failed me at what I would expect at 100 yards, for $2,500+ it should shoot sub moa, I couldn’t get below 2 moa. I also had a lot of FTE’s using Federal Match ammo. That being said, I really wish it lived up to it’s name as the rifle feels really good in hand. This was just my personal experience and 2 cents.

    1 month ago
  • Iron Mike

    I bought a used but as new M1A national match. The guy I bought it from simply said he "couldn't get with it" and he was going back to his schmidt-rubin to shoot steel. I had the same problems with the thing and could not keep rounds on paper. One day I happened to notice that the rear sight assembly was loose somehow. After some internet research I determine that the rear sight spring was not fitted properly. I bought a new rear sight cover from Franklin and assembled and the thing shoots like a monster now. I'm a little surprised with Springfield's quality control that such a defect made it through the process on a $2,000 gun. That's disappointing. But now at least I have a rifle that shoots.

    1 month ago
  • Scott C.

    I love the aesthetics of the M1 and M14 rifles but they are from a bygone era and it shows. I'd love to own either but I have better stuff to spend 12-1500 bucks on unless I can find someone else to pay my rent for me (any volunteers?)

    1 month ago
  • Steve M

    Back off one turn on the gas cylinder lock.

    1 month ago
    • Matt Mitchell

      Steve, All right, you have my attention! Why back off one turn on gas cylinder lock?

      1 month ago
      • MattM

        From the factory, they're way too tight. Iirc, they should be torqued to 14-18 "lbs. Best to use the sadlak gas block wrench, and first time around, I had to use an extension on it.

        1 month ago
  • Anthony

    So much to say... so little time... As a (albeit also somewhat clunky and antiquated) Marine who clambered up, down and side-wise on the hills of the Central Highlands during what you so eloquently described as that "online shit-flinging fest" (I liked that!) carrying an M-14, I could write an article in response to yours... I won't do that. And while I appreciate your detractions, what I will do is cut straight to the chase. And here it is: It's ALL about what you've trained with! I shot 243 on qual day... 49 from the 500 Meter line. And for slinging shit, I would not have traded my "smoke pole" for a dozen M16s (which due to that damned recoil spring in the stock, I always thought it should have had "Mattel" stamped on the receiver.

    1 month ago
    • John

      Thanks for sharing, Anthony! We don't doubt it at all - it seems the general consensus is that the M14 was, on average, a much better performing rifle than the M1A - though some folks still swear by their M1As as well. Still totally willing to accept a lack of training on my part, though!

      1 month ago
  • Jar-Head

    This was a great review. Absolutely spot on in my experience. I've been shooting M1A's since the early 90's. After the Marines, I sold my 'Super Match' equivalent that was hand built by a former USMC Armorer back in California (like in 1990). This was the rifle that I went to the National Matches (hence the small sights on the "National Match" line) at Camp Perry in '92 with. It was an amazing piece of machinery. It never failed me, shot 1/2 M.O.A. groups (yes, seriously) and I was able to accomplish some pretty cool scores in the Junior Division those thousands of years ago. The civilian market in High-Power competition only saw M1A's on the firing line, standard or highly accurized, through the late 1990's. Then AR-15's started taking over with free-floating handguards, and Extremely Low Drag bullets being pushed downrange at the 600 yard line. Lot less recoil, easier to maintain, and a lot cheaper. Fast forward to 2007ish and I bought a Brand New Springfield Armory Super Match at a local Gunshop. Nothing but problems; all encompassing what you guys experienced, and then the bolt froze into place, and I had to send it to them. Like you guys, excellent customer service, and once back in my hands, no problems (the bolt roller cam pin or something or other had broken after ~200-400 rounds), and I was able to get my full confidence back with the weapon, with ~3/4" M.O.A. with the right ammo. The M1A/M-14 platform is a ornery, grumpy, and non-linear rifle. Meaning no two are alike. Each has it's own characteristics and preferences. They are most definitely not like the AR-15's of today. You can't swap any parts between two different rifles. Once the rifle starts the build process, unless you are really lucky, and/or really, really know what you are doing, that rifle's parts are staying with that weapon, period. From all of my reading and talking to various folks over the years, one of the primary requirements for the M-16 platform back in the early 60's was the ability to swap out parts between rifles. As far as I know, the only guys that really used M-14's after Vietnam on the regular where Navy SE.A.L.'s and Army S.F. & Delta. The issues you guys had with the stock was/is a huge problem (hence the pistol grips of the AR-15's), and thus the Sage Platforms for the weapon's furniture. Totally different way of handling the M-14/M1A platform (DuckDuckGo / G*^%&e Sage Stocks and you will see what I mean). Both Army and Navy latched onto those platforms big time, although you can still see pictures in the aughts of super high-speed dudes over in O.I.F. and O.E.F. with the 'traditional' profile stocks, as in this review. From additional reading and talking to folks, the M-14 works quite well when wet (like emerging from the sea, weapons at the ready). Also, as the immediate need for longer-range S.D.M.'s emerged in Afghanistan in the early/mid aughts, a whole lot of M-14's were pulled from storage, accurized/updated by independent civilian contractors, and sent along with units so that they could engage targets ~600-800 yards out (with new scopes and cheek pieces). From my understanding, the 'lucky' S.D.M.'s that were issued these rifles had to do some pretty serious range time to get familiar with the platform (coming from using the M-16/M-4's from Basic onward). So the M-14/M1A platform saw a pretty serious re-emergence starting around 2004. Then the AR-10 platform got going at flank speed, and those accurized M-14's (as far as know) went back into storage. Again, this was an excellent, spot on review, mirroring the same issues I had, and then some.

    1 month ago
    • Silver Fox

      Wow. I shot the m-14 briefly in the Marines. Loved it, then had to switch to the m-16. What a disappointment. Still I qualified good with it. I looked at buying a M1A. Sad to hear that they suffer from lack of quality product now days. Guess I will have to stick with my Swiss 7.5mm 1911. I wonder if the rebuilt Italian version of the m-14 is better?

      1 month ago
  • BushWhacker

    I own M1a Loaded and shoot at 100 yds with 168 gr Match gold Fed i usually achieve a 1 moa 200 and 300 yds iron sight vary with 2.5 the riffle is tricky and you need to know how it shoot. This is not a AR 10 ( I own a Sig 716 Patrol 1st Gen)

    1 month ago
  • Alan Lashway

    I wonder if the difference was that you were using .308 instead of the 7.62 NATO round that the rifle was made to use....I wouldn't use .223 in my AR 15 that is chambered to use 5.56 just because

    1 month ago
    • John

      We thought that as well, but the M1A barrels themselves have ".308" stamped into them... ‍♂️

      1 month ago
  • Bill

    As someone who shot the M14 both in training and in combat ( "nam 1966), I had complete faith in and grew to love it. Old and heavy? Sure. Antiqued design? You bet. But, would punch threw anything, had great range and did incredible damage when it hit. Accuracy? The USMC shot 500 yd targets with iron sights. Make me chose between the M14 or any of the AR's. I'll take the M14, thanks.

    1 month ago
  • Patriot

    I'm not really into shilling for Springfield, recent research into the AR platform had me seriously eyeing their Saint Edge, but after reading about some of the local politics Springfield Armory has engaged in, I believe I'll spend my money with a company that cares about the 2nd Amendment for ALL Americans.

    1 month ago
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