I have read many posts on M14's/M1A's on this forum for several years and watched several of instructional videos including those by our own Tony Ben. I am looking to purchase my first M14-style rifle and was hoping to get some guidance.
I am a hobbyist shooter, and an armed citizen. I won’t be shooting thousands of rounds through this rifle every year. I'm not a precision shooter, and I likely wouldn't use this rifle for self-defense. I'm basically looking for a rifle that I'm passionate about that has nostalgia and soul that I can enjoy shooting at my range regularly. I am also more of a shooter than a tinkerer. Because of that, I typically plan out my purchase and make it happen, rather than building things up one part at a time.
I do not require MOA accuracy. So translating this into the M14 world, perhaps something in the 1.5-2 MOA range would be perfect. I should emphasize that the majority of the shooting this rifle will see will be 100 yards or less, but the ability to reach further out to 200-500 yards would be nice. I hope that makes sense and characterizes my goal with this rifle.
- Reliable and made with quality parts that will last a lifetime, yet does not have to be period-correct or all USGI parts. The emphasis is on quality and reliability.
- Traditional 22” barrel, medium weight
- .308 caliber
- Cast receiver is fine, forged is fine, whichever
- Solid, tight-fitting stock, but no need to bed it. I want to be able to take the stock off for maintenance and not worry about damaging the bedding.
- 2-stage trigger, the SAI Loaded-style trigger is perfectly fine to me, 4.5-5 lbs. with a clean break is fine
- A lightweight, traditional/military-looking stock, open to wood or perhaps USGI fiberglass with full-auto cutout filled in, and finished in subdued camo (think in honor of Randy Shughart)
- Traditional solid USGI handguard
- Some common-sense reliability and accuracy upgrades
- Standard iron sights, as I plan to shoot the irons as well as use a scope
- Solid and reliable scope mounting solution, as I do plan to mount a scope down the road (e.g. 1-6x/1-8x LPVO or 2-10x range)
- Perhaps a few spare parts I'll need over the years.
- A rifle that is built right with care and respect.
I think that's about everything I can think of, but I'm sure you all know of several other things to consider so I wanted to get your feedback and recommendations. I know you'll likely want to ask me a budget. I'm honestly not exactly sure. For the criteria I listed, what are my realistic options?
I’ve examined various manufacturers online (e.g., Springfield, LRB, Fulton, Bula, etc.). I have heard that new Springfield M1A's can be decent, but also a crap shoot quality-wise and they use parts that are not the best quality. That's why I was also considering working with a builder directly on a rifle that will be a reliable, great shooter but again nothing fancy. I’m also open to purchasing a used rifle, or a turn-key barreled action that’s ready to go and install it into a finished stock of my choice. I’m definitely open to going the used route since I know the .308 has a relatively-long barrel life. I just would like to be sure I’m not inheriting someone else’s mistake or poor maintenance.
Thanks for your time. I look forward to your replies.
ChrisThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Chris17404,
A Springfield Armory M1a seems like it will fill the bill regarding your 3 MOA requirement.
I have one in the fiberglass stock that I painted and it meets the criteria. Plain Jane M1A. I did get the Springfield scope adapter and will put it on when or if I need a scope to see.
Plan on spending at a minimum $1500
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I've had both Springfield and custom built M-14's/M1A's. I do not recommend the current SA product as quality of parts has dropped, IMHO. An older SA rifle with GI parts would solve that issue. Look, they are out there.
Bula is another option for a forged receiver. Price approx $2,200.00 from Atlantic Firearms.
Custom build would solve all issues. I heartily recommend LRB arms as a source for your forged receiver and as a builder. They do very nice work. Plan on spending + or - $3K.
All my rifles are this type and are beyond reproach. Tony Ben is my builder. It doesn't get any better.
|Hop head |
or cough up a tad bit more cash and get a loaded model,
SA has a great warranty, and build a nice rifle
Many years ago now I had a SA M1A and loved it. I still sometimes kick myself for selling it. I don't know how the new ones compare, but I'm sure there are still some older ones out there now and then. As for recoil (.308 vs. 6.5CM), don't worry about it. I have both in bolt guns and yes, the 6.5 is a little milder to shoot. But between the weight of an M1A and the gas system absorbing some of the recoil energy, it's a pussycat to shoot.
I've got 2 Springfield Armory M1As, an older full size one that is mostly GI TRW parts, and an 18" Scout that is about 8-10 years old. Both are reliable and accurate. I have not had any issues with either. I do know he knowledgeable guys prefer the older ones with GI parts. I prefer the full size for shooting - it's got a heavier wood stock vs the polymer stock on the Scout rifle and is quieter at the range. Maybe slightly more accurate too.
I'd like to suggest some alternatives to you, which may be acceptable options if you are looking for a more affordable alternative.
First - a CMP M1 Garand. It's not that hard to qualify for a CMP purchase and you can get a rack grade M1 Garand for about $700 delivered. I use to travel to Ohio, so I purchased a couple in person at the North Store. Garands are awesome rifles, fun, accurate and a piece of history. .30-06 Garand ammo is about the same in cost and performance to 7.62x51/.308 used in the M1A. If you are close enough to the North or South Store - pick out your own in person.
Another Option - If you don't have one already, get an AR-15. Relatively inexpensive in normal times (I think the last one I put together was about $400). You can probably find something for about $750. 5.56x45mm/.223 ammo is usually much less expensive than the .30 cal guns. I might suggest a 20" rifle version, maybe even an HBAR if you are looking at plinking from a bench. One of my ARs is a 20" HBAR and it's a great shooter.
There is also the AR-10 option, but I don't know much about them. I do know they are supposed to be accurate, but there are different versions and parts are not necessarily interchangeable.
As far as I can tell from the website, Garands from CMP are available only by auction, at least online.
“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”--Thomas Sowell
The CMP site is showing Field Grade M1 Garands available:
RM1FIELD M1 Garand, Luck of the draw for Springfield or Harrington & Richardson manufacturer. Orders will be filled with next available field grade rifle. See above for Field Grade description. Rifle shipped in CMP hard rifle case.
$650 Free S/H
14-16 Week Delivery
Confirmation of order could take up to 8-12 weeks
Or if you are close enough, call the North Store or South Store and pick one out in person. Make sure you call first though...
|Yeah, that M14 video guy...|
Sounds like you want a M1A loaded 6.5. I would buy the precision model, or any loaded that comes in 6.5 and scrap the stock it comes with.
Purchase a new Minelli Italian Walnut stock from LRB and throw on a Sadlak steel Airborne mount with a Bradley brown cheek rest. Last addition would be a Shooting Sight adjustable trigger.
While I'd love to build your dream M14, I think you should test the waters with a M1A loaded. When you know you want something more, let me know.
I agree with this.
Rom 13:4 If you do evil, be afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
Time has passed by the m14 . I have a Garand and a early Springfield M1a and love both. SA has had to make/contract the parts as the M14 has been out of production since the mid 1960's. This has forced them to source parts that my not be mil/ spec and it shows recently from what I have heard. Bula and other good companies offer great parts but are expensive. You are better off buying a quality AR10 type like a LMT Mws or Scar 20 .By the time you get the M1a to shoot really well, you will have the same of amount of money into it. Also , the M14 match grade accuracy degrades fast. Stocks need to be rebedded often and many other bugaboos. Love the M14 but time has passed it by.
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Non rail P229
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I appreciate it. It does sound like an M1A Loaded is the easy button for a first rifle of this type, for several reasons. I wonder, though... looking at the cost of a Sadlak mount which I'd add anyway, would it be wise to step right up to the Bula M21 DMR rifle with the forged receiver and integrated scope mount. Looking at the prices of new M1A's that doesn't seem too far off price-wise. Is the Bula (any Bula) worth it given that I plan to scope the rifle immediately? I guess the question is... how much I value the traditional look. Given that this is primarily for range fun, I do.
You have already gotten some great advice from very knowledgeable members, and I agree that a Springfield Loaded M1A would meet your needs.
I don't have hands on experience with Bula so I will leave that advice to others. I don't know if you have considered LRB Arms, but I built a rifle up last year on an LRB M25 receiver and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. It provides a very solid mount for a scope, while allowing the use of irons and looking pretty similar to the standard issue rifle. I had them barrel a receiver with a Wolfe Match Barrel and then assembled the rest of the rifle with a USGI (TRW) parts kit I found on one of the major auction sites.
Mags are expensive, and pretty hard to find. You want the check mate mags. They make the mags for Springfield anyway and they are cheaper from checkmate.
Nothing is cheap or easy for these rifles. But they are damn fun to own and shoot. I got my loaded on a trade and I love it but if I wanted a semi .308 to fight with it wouldn’t be an M1a
|Yeah, that M14 video guy...|
M1A's hold their value quite well and if you want the custom build, you can sell the rifle and recover most of the cost.
If you want a Bula M21 DMR, I suggest having me build one for you. If you want a LRB, call them and tell them what you want. You can custom order an LRB but not a Bula. If you want a custom Bula, you'll need a custom builder and I am the only external gunsmith that Bula will sell receivers and other parts to.
As a price point, I just built a Bula XM21 with a Bula bolt, Winchester trigger housing, Bula hammer, Shooting Sight trigger, Criterion 6.5 barrel, SAGE ALCS chassis, Winchester op-rod, GI gas system, 4 CMI mags and other Bula small parts for ~$3,500. No glass included.
I enjoy the rifles you have build for me. What is it four now? Ceilia Phayte remains my favorite, but my super stocker is a hard runner up...
Gents, If you are considering having a rifle built I recommend Tony to do the work. His work and work ethic are beyond reproach. I also count him as a close friend and shooting buddy.
A Tony Ben rifle is a thing of beauty...call it a highly accurate and functional piece of art. It just doesn't get any better, IMHO...
|Yeah, that M14 video guy...|
Thanks for the kind words, Wes!
I believe the count is up to 5 now. Celia Phayte, the standard weight LRB/5R that you gifted to someone, the EBR, the rear-lugged match rifle and most recently the M25 double-lugger.
Always a pleasure building rifles for you.
Thank you for the additional info, Tony. I will email you directly now that I have decided what I want.
Just wanted to check in and see if you received the emails I sent regarding a custom rifle build. Just let me know if you got them and what form of communication you prefer. Thanks!
|Yeah, that M14 video guy...|
Yes, I got them. Just been swamped. I'll review them this weekend.
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