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Old 04-15-2012, 10:47   #26
Zombie Steve
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I've owned a SA loaded for about 8 years. At that time, there was a mix and match of USGI and SAI parts. I have shot the living snot out of it over the years and it's never done me wrong. Expect to replace the extractor after a thousand rounds or so - upgrade to a USGI one.

I've always shot irons, but have recently put a sadlak mount on it and a scope I had sitting in the garage (will upgrade this soon). I also put on a unitized gas system (took a few shims) from Fulton and a Smith spring guide. Really amazing what a difference it makes. It's always been a 1.5-2moa rifle with handloads. I'm looking forward to load development (only shot it once since the upgrades to zero the scope).

All said and done, I like the SA, but if I could do it over, I'd buy a LRB or a Fulton from the get-go and not worry about upgrading later.

In case you don't know up front - it really is a bad idea to shoot commercial .308 loads through your M1A. The powders they use are too slow burning for the gas system, and they will eventually beat the hell out of your op rod.

Lots of good reading on port pressure here (page 10):

If you don't reload, just stick with milsurp 7.62mm.

The M14 is my favorite military rifle. I've seen them do some pretty amazing things. Good luck.
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Old 04-15-2012, 17:39   #27
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I had an older one (all USGI parts minus the receiver) that was made just before the '94 ban.

It was a good rifle. It was a bit on the large size for my taste. The accuracy was adequate (about 3 MOA). It was certainly reliable.

As someone else mentioned, accuracy costs money with an M1A. They're more difficult to get and keep match grade accuracy with than say an AR-10 type rifle.

I sold mine to fund a SCAR 17S. I really have no regrets on that end.
"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."

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Old 04-15-2012, 17:45   #28
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I purchased mine pre-owned but unfired by the owner.

Mine is just the standard GI version but I added a trigger job and a national match front and rear sight.

I love this gun and wouldn't sell it for anything!

It's one of the most accurate rifles that I own. I haven't had one malfunction with it with the thousands of rounds I have put through it over the years.

I would by a second one in a heartbeat!

Diesel pickup, lift kit, 10mm, loud exhaust, big dog.... You didn't get enough attention as kid did you?
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:53   #29
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:46   #30
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Sold mine after I got a AR-308...Never looked back...
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Old 04-16-2012, 13:29   #31
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It depends what you're looking for. If you are looking for the most "value" in a SA- .308, in terms of accuracy-per-dollar, if you will- The most cost-effective way to get within 1-2 inches MOA, I'm not sure its an M1A.

They take some tweaking to get optimal accuracy (stock it should shoot about 3 MOA) and if you want to scope it, it'll set you back a couple hundred bucks just for decent mounts alone... A M1A can be made to shoot 1 MOA, but it'll cost you a few thousand bucks worth of aftermarket work. These days a decent AR-10 variant has more "inherent accuracy" and is easier to customize.

I've heard it said that if it weren't for the nostalgia we'd all get AR-10's, and there may be an element of truth to that.

So, all that having been said: I *love* my M1's, and wouldn't think of getting rid of them. With the composite stock they aren't heavy, and even with wood stocks they balance very nicely. I'd stay away from the ones with rails all over the place- That just F's up the balance, which is a strong point of the rifle to begin with. That huge rail-cage makes it too muzzle-heavy.

Personally, I think the scout-squad is about the best-balanced "do it all" rifle you can find. The M1 family do have the advantage of about the most reliable operating system out there, with the right ammo. Add an aftermarket gas plug, and it'll handle anything you throw at it. You could argue the FAL is as reliable, if not more so depending who you believe, but the FAL's I've handled have seemed comparatively cumbersome and were not sufficiently accurate. (More like 6 MOA off a bench, which is starting to get a bit... Bad.) And, I guess I do have a bit of nostalgia for the old M1's as well...

I do have a SOCOM16 as well, which handles *beautifully* but has a bear of a muzzle blast for anyone around you. From behind the rifle, though, it's light, quick, has a crisp trigger, and will put double-taps on a plate out to 100 yards, even for a non-expert rifleman like me. The sheer fun factor is off the hook, probably only to be bettered by a class 3 AR or bump-fire stock, maybe. (Dunno, don't have the class 3 stuff yet.)

So, if you're o.k. with 3 MOA, especially if you plan on just shooting iron sights, and want top-notch reliability and style, get yourself the M1A and don't look back.

If you plan on scoping it and want to shoot 1 MOA, go with an AR-10 platform.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:03   #32
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I bought a "loaded" SA M1A back in 2000. Had problems with every magazine with FTF on 1 or 2 rounds even when using different brands of ammo. Took it back to the dealer and they polished the feed ramp which helped some but did not solve the problem. A friend of mine gave me some of his reloads which he thought might help. According to him they were loaded a little higher than factory loads but not above the safe maximum. I shot the first box OK but on the 2nd round out of the second box the gun blew up stretching the receiver and splitting the stock into 3 pieces. All of the gases and remaining rounds blew down through the magazine mushrooming the magazine. This of course is how it is supposed to work so all I got was a red cheek from the stock splitting. Took it back to the dealer who sent it to Springfield which destroyed it due to damage. Even though I had used reloads and admitted I had, Springfield offered me a new standard model for $450.00 which I immediately accepted. Great company. Since I do not reload I always use factory ammo in all my guns now.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:05   #33
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Old 04-18-2012, 13:40   #34
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Originally Posted by FriscoTx View Post
...the gun blew up stretching the receiver and splitting the stock into 3 pieces.
If that reloaded ammo KB! was powerful enough to stretch a receiver, you're luck to be alive. Either that or you had an improperly heat-treated receiver and it was a lemon from the factory.
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Old 04-18-2012, 13:50   #35
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I had put 401 rounds through it before it blew up on round 402. Springfield said it was a stretched receiver so it had to be destroyed.
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