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OK, I just purchased a rifle that some of you may have seen on GB. Maybe a good move, maybe not? Here is my dillema.

It is supposedly an early model SA Bush Rifle. I am talking folding Reese stock and short barrel (18") 70s to 80s model. This was SA's M1A version of the BM-59 Alpine. What they called M1A A1.

Of course, leaping before looking, I had bid on it before I called SA and was told that the serial number (029xxx) left the factory as a "standard" rifle. I ended up winning the rifle. Now I am wondering about if this was a true Springfield build?

I am still happy with the purchase, but in hindsight, wondering what I ended up with!? Could SA have been wrong in their reply of "standard" rifle. Previous owner claims he owned it for 25 years or more and had purchased as "new" from a gunshop some 25+ years back.

The serial seems to reflect an early date, but unpon inspection, I discovered the barrel has absolutely NO identifying marks or codes!? It appears very well made, has all the right military cuts and threads (as far as I know) but is NOT chrome lined. The finish on the outside appears similar in color and wear to the receiver. It looks correct as far as not appearing brand new on a pre-ban receiver. I just figured that ALL SA rifles from the early days were fitted with military contract barrels. That being said, I also understand the our government did not build 18" M-14s. Did SA cut and rethread GI barrels to 18"? I don't think this is a GI barrel though?

The only other odd thing is two dimples in the top of the barrel, in front of the chamber, and behind the op rod guide. What would those be from? Not one of the scout mounts would it?
 

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SAI is very good about telling folks about how there new too them toy was originaly built. I suspect that the original owner wasn't the original owner and the way it is now may have been the way he bought it............
 

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Thanks Phil. I do have an inquiry in to SA. Just thought somebody hear might be good with the historical aspect of SA builds......will see what SA comes back with.

From what I am reading, it is not an easy or a doable task to cut chambers on chrome lined barrels, so I take it that this would apply to muzzle ends as well? Guessing the chrome breaks and flakes when cutting? I am no machinist or gunsmith.

So maybe SA has had non-GI barrels from the early days as well for all their Bush Rifles? Not something I was aware of.

Looking forward to getting it to a range to see how it does, because in the end, I won't be terribly disappointed if it is a post SA build up. I will find an honest one some day. In the meantime, I love the envelope this rifle came in. Short, light and handy!

GI5
 

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A lot of the early SAI's had commercially made parts , the era from roughly around 1986' to around 1996' was when SAI's rifles were predominately USGI. And no, all barrels weren't USGI as you have found out. Yours is an 84' by the way. You have a rifle many of us would be proud to own.
 

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While the "Bush" model was produced in that serial number range, It's quite possible that it could have been a standard rifle rebarreled and had the folding stock added. The stocks were available from SA for $129 at the time (1884). At any rate, it is a good buy if you got it for a reasonable price. The stocks often sell for upwards of $700 alone. It would bring a good premium over the value of a standard model, even if not original.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Ray55, that is useful to know. Since this serial is 029xxx, meaning before my predominantly GI (with GI barrel) 058xxx (right before the ban went into effect), I just figured it should be GI as well.

Ted, don't I wish I would have bought one of these stocks back in the 80's! There is one on GB right now, looks brand spanking new, for $1,200.00!! it hasn't sold, but I keep watching. Once they dry up, as they have long ago, prices get crazy.

Like paying between $250 and $300 for a slim line HK93 hand guard! Really!? it's a piece of plastic with a little aluminum??

Some things hurt more than others.
 

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Pre-ban rifles ended around #085000 in September of 1994 Your other rifle #058xxx would be a mid 1990' model, that's right in the middle of the sweet spot. I own an 88' and a 91' . Imho those era rifles were the best SAI ever built. predominately USGI , and fitted not just assembled. As I said before there are many of us here would love to own your new 84' model rifle, I'm included in that group. I really like it. IMHO you have 2 very fine examples. Your right about real Hk parts being expensive ,but everything from soup to nuts is expensive nowadays, and getting higher.
 

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I am also finding the gas chamber and spindle to be different than others I have viewed. The cylinder seems to be of a smooth curved edges. If you see the pic it shows the Bush front end next to my Sage stocked Bush rifle of much later serial 290xxx. The gas spindle is like a round head too, compared to the more prominent type on the Sage/Bush.
 

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Its a nice looking rifle. I'm pretty sure you will find SA's information about it leaving as a Standard to be correct. Its amazing how many gun owners are the "original" owners when they go to sell something. If you are TRULY NOT happy with it make a stink to the seller. Like Ted said the stocks are expensive and it looks like a good rifle. The stock you see on GB that's 1200.00. Well its STILL there. IS THE GC on the new rifle even USGI?
 

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It's a nice looking rifle and the stocks sell for a lot as others have said, but the price was very high for a converted standard rifle plus stock in my opinion.

The auction said "This is a used limited production M1A Bush rifle in 308 bought in the 80's.". If SAI confirms what they initially told you, then his statement in the auction is not correct.

Cass
 
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