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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It seems like it’s in great shape, the bedding is a little “pitty”. Can’t wait to shoot her on Sunday.

Russ

Edit: Take Down pictures in the comments.
 

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Very nice! I wouldn’t be able to sleep without a field strip, clean and lube. But, listen to the real pros on that rifle, not me. Congrats! Post some range pics too.
 

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You have to assume that every one else has been afraid to take it apart and that it has 33 years of dried grease and carbon in it. RNGR2
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It’s going down... can’t find any initials or marks though

Taking her down. I can’t find any initials or marks other than the usual manufacturer stamps and the number 8 in the stock forend.

Any info you can share by seeing the pictures would be awesome. Thx!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Some more pictures

I can’t find any barrel markings on it...
 

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What is the insert in the rear sight?
Looks like Bob Jones diopter lens has been put into the rear sight and that insert is nothing but some rubber tubing used to keep the lens in place. My rifle has that too.
 

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Looks good, remember to clean the inside of the recesses in the gas piston and gas cylinder plug. Vintage Supermatch rifles from the 1980s-90s have unmarked barrels that are thought to be Douglas barrels.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I see the remnants of a big old number 8 on the trigger housing, directly under the safety stud.
Wow. It’s definitely an 8 on the trigger. I didn’t notice it. That’s cool.

Russ
 

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I see the remnants of a big old number 8 on the trigger housing, directly under the safety stud.
Good eyeball !! GI3
 
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1987 Glen Nelson SM? w/ takedown pics,

I have an early GN and have no marks on my trigger housing (mine is a few years earlier than yours - 1979). My assumption is it was cleaned off at some point. My stock is marked the same way in the same spot, and I have what appears to be the same compound (a bit “bubbly” as well).


I called SAI and got verification at no cost. Totally worth the call! They will email a letter of authenticity.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Can you Pm me any contact info? I emailed and Angie P confirmed it was a “Nelson Rifle” but didn’t say much more than that. I hate to bother them too much but I’d love to have something to go with the rifle... I also wish Springfield would do something to recognize Nelson’s contributions to their performance line...

That’s a beautiful rifle by the way!
Russ

I have an early GN and have no marks on my trigger housing (mine is a few years earlier than yours - 1979). My assumption is it was cleaned off at some point. My stock is marked the same way in the same spot, and I have what appears to be the same compound (a bit “bubbly” as well).


I called SAI and got verification at no cost. Totally worth the call! They will email a letter of authenticity.
 

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Can you Pm me any contact info? I emailed and Angie P confirmed it was a “Nelson Rifle” but didn’t say much more than that. I hate to bother them too much but I’d love to have something to go with the rifle... I also wish Springfield would do something to recognize Nelson’s contributions to their performance line...

That’s a beautiful rifle by the way!
Russ


Many thanks!

Here is the person who I coordinated with. It was just luck of the draw - I emailed their general customer service (with no immediate response), then called a week later.

This is a direct email, so hopefully she can at least steer you in the right direction.

[email protected]

To be clear there was nothing special about the letter - but at least it was a word doc and printable. The text they gave me was the following:


Letter of Authenticity
M1A RIFLE


This letter certifies that M1A serial number 011539 was manufactured as a M1A National Match rifle. This rifle has been handcrafted with pride by Nelson Custom Guns and has been professionally inspected to assure a lifetime of reliability and peak performance prior to its sale in November of 1979.


M1A National Match​​November 27, 1979
Model/Description​​​​Date of Sale


___________________
Cindy Griffin
V.P. of Operations & Manufacturing
 

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For anyone interested, Lee Emerson's book on the M14 provides the history Glen Nelson era M1A match rifles.

When Bob Reese bought the rights and machinery for M1A rifles in 1974, he immediately hired Glen Nelson to build match rifles. Nelson retired from the Army AMU shop in 1975. He originally built the SAI NM and Supermatch rifles from his home, but opened a shop in GA as business grew. When he retired from SAI in 2004, his FFL log book listed 41,200 entries(!). He passed away in 2007 from cancer. (That's a very high-level summary in Emerson's book)

So, based on that record, the Glen Nelson match rifles probably began in the 3XXX serial range circa 1975:

003719 - 09/75 - sold as a match rifle

Fast forward to when he retired and serial numbers where in the 160,000 range by 2004.

I don't know when SAI first hired gunsmiths in IL to build NM rifles, but it is assumed to be the early 2000s. So contrary to what some folks believe, every original SAI National match and Supermatch rifle shipped b/t 1975 and the very early 2000s was made in GA, was initially made by Glen Nelson and shortly thereafter by his team of gunsmiths who he recruited from the US Army AMU shop. (SAI also sold plenty of bare receivers only during this period, and some were likely built by the Nelson team, but SAI will only have a record noting shipped as a ‘receiver only.’)

There is a bit of nostalgia for those tens of thousands of SAI NM & Supermatch M1A rifles made over a 25-plus year period, as the quality of work is high, and the demand is healthy in particular for the ones made from the mid-1980 to early 1990s which had a lot of USGI parts (bolts, trigger groups, op rods and flash hiders, etc), but I just wanted to clarify that if SAI customer service says it was shipped as a NM or Supermatch rifle made b/t 1975 roughly the year 2000, you can be about 100% sure it falls into the "Glen Nelson era."
 

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Here's the best evidence of a 1980s-1990s era Glen Nelson shop NM or Supermatch build: A 1 or 2 digit code written in the barrel channel perpendicular to the stock, just in front of magazine inlet.

Top: May 1989 National Match stock - sent back to SAI for re-bedding in 2014 and that's when they added the full serial number, but the '92' was done by the Nelson team back in 1989. The rifle still has '92' on back of the receiver heel, and the trigger group number too, but it more or less been rubbed off at this point.
Middle: August 1998 Supermatch stock - the '18’ was also found the trigger group but the receiver lacked the number, as often that gets rubbed away over time. The only way to get rid of the '18’ in the stock channel would be sanding that area.
Bottom: December 2007 M21 'Long Range Match' rifle - not built in the Glen Nelson era, and after SAI took over match builds, they wrote the whole s/n in the stock channel.

The color of the bedding changed over time, but it does not appear that the marking in the stock channel changed from the 5 or 6 stocks that I have inspected that range from 1980/81 to 1998.



Trigger group for top stock:


Receiver for top stock (the '92' is staring to look like '72', as this area often gets rubbed down)


Bottomline: An original Glen Nelson era Match rifle will typically exhibit 1 or 2 digits inside the stock channel, which I presume was their way of keeping the 3 components together during the 2-day bedding process (ie, the receiver, trigger group, and stock). Often only the number in the stock channel remains. Just an fyi.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Random Guy, great info as always and much appreciated! Is the 92 on the trigger group scribed or wax pen?

Russ
 
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