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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
Here ya go Chris17404
I did see that. And I was intrigued. While I am new M14's, I wasn't quite sure about all the details in that barreled action. I was also a bit confused about the seller's original post and this one. Both posts appear to be selling the same barreled action, but the pictures from the original post where the stock is also listed appears to show a different receiver (one that has a full-length picatinny rail rather than the abbreviated one in the new post). Perhaps it was just a sample picture to show the stock and not the actual barreled action for sale. Here's the original post:

 

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I was in the same boat as you, I spent the last few of years figuring out what to buy for my next M14.
This is my recent past experiences....
(I'm no expert like many on here with the M14, but enjoy the M14 and Garands. Been around the Garands for about 18 years.)

LRB is top notch, so is cost and lead time. I looked at several different solutions via LRB (I live close to them), but just couldn't pull the trigger based on price.

BULA, heard nothing but great things about them. A few years ago when I started to look for what to do with my last CMP kit, I kept coming up with it was less expensive to buy done / complete and warrantied. But couldn't find BULA to buy from. Seems they were busy with mil spares. They are back making for the public and prices are right in the middle. I received my basic GI profile build a few months ago, only problem I had was the rear sight was loose as a goose, not much but to re-baseline it , tighten it up and off to the range after inspection/cleaning/lub. Shoots great. No buyers remorse.
The wood stock looks great, and is a slender style GI profile not a bloated fat commercial profile (like my Fulton laminate stock is).

Fulton, I bought a NM custom build from them about 10 years ago, when my local shop that does a lot of Garand and M14 builds and repairs recommended them. Not so much over LRB for quality, but best bang for the buck. It shoots great.

But this local shop is now down on Fulton and SAI in the past few years or so. Lots of soft parts, china parts, problems. Even LRBs for re-parking/finishing. Not that the LRB finishes are bad, but they say they are multi-color rifles on the metals. Some folks hate having such an expensive rifle look like a parts bin mix master build. So in the past years, they were recommending BULA past on word of mouth or LRB, or older USGI parts builds from SAI or Fulton. They watched for me, none of the worthy M14's that came through them where going up for sale.

Of course any builder can have a problem. But a shop that sees lots of repairs and builds come through, is going to start to see trends of the "bad ones", and stories from people shooting them a lot.
I'm sure there are good ones too. Otherwise this board would be filled with posts one after the other of bad stories.
But it's not like Garands, USGI M14 parts are hard to come buy now. TGs have shot up in price. My TG in my still in used CMP kit is probably worth 50% of what I paid for the kit now. Guess it'll now be my spares kit, unless I find a great deal on a barreled receiver w/ a bolt already setup.

So for me, when I bought my BULA over the summer, it was either going to be the new BULA (almost bought a great used one, but after a call to BULA I found that the life time warranty from BULA is only for the OG buyer, doesn't transfer), or out of the PX here for an older SAI build with GI parts, or a great buy on an LRB well loved used. But I just couldn't bank roll a new LRB.

Shop the PX, look for a long time member to buy from. Just don't buy someone else's unfinish project or parts gun or barreled action. You could find a setup or left over combo of parts that won't headspace correctly and turn into a nightmare. This is what drove me to a complete build. (or an LRB barraled action w/ bolt, but an entire GI BULA was the same price) Back in the day, when bolts were plenty, you had a lot to work with and tweak and fit and trade. Now prices are insane. I can't afford a bucket of expensive parts to work from for trial and error.
If you go with a base GI profile SAI model for pre-pandemic price, $1,200 (worth the price for a now and again fun gun), and it gives you problems, SAI has always had good Customer Service.
Find a good shop that can check out and knows the M14, pay for an inspection and head spacing at a min. Get it home,, clean it, grease/lub it (or have the shop do it durng the inspection), and go have fun.
Get some SAI or CMI mags, don't screw around with the no-name gun show china crap.

Just my experience, and IMHO, and your mileage will vary.
 

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I'm sure I'll get alot of jeers for this post but, here goes. It's like comparing corvairs to corvettes & thinking the corvair is better. You sound like me 30+ years ago & I wanted an M14 type rifle more than anything. My collection was growing & the older surplus rifles(WW1 & 2) were going for cheap. At the time SAI's were going for about 1,200 to 1,400 $$ which was a little over my budget, I knew about guns but am no way an x-pert. I found a Federal Ord M14a for under a grand( at the time I hadn't heard all the horror stories)later in life I had many questions about it that was cleared up on this forum. My first year with it I won our clubs high power match with many X's. It was an early one 48XX with a TRW barrel & mostly Winchester parts, I thought it had a commercial fiberglass stock till I purchased a known USGI stock then compared them, I always had a GI stock that someone did an excellent job filling the cut out. It's no bula,lrb,Fulton armory or SAI, nor is it a bench rest rifle but, with these old eyes I can still hit a target with it & it eats everything I feed it & it hasn't let me down yet I love it & other than the receiver it's all G.I.
 

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I am very satisfied with my SAI Loaded and Bassett low mount. I don’t recall the serial number but it was purchased new in 2017. I’ve had no function issues and it is as capable or more so than I am when it comes to accuracy. That can be a subjective statement but my background is USN with an Expert Rifle qualification. I know that that and $3.75 will get me a small coffee but I know no better way to quantify my experience level. Good luck in your search for your rifle.
 

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Hi, all.

I have read many of the posts on M14's/M1A's on this forum since I first joined and have watched several instructional videos online researching and understanding the M14 rifle. I am now looking to purchase my first, and likely only, 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.

Some specifics:
  • 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.

Chris
Hi, all.

I have read many of the posts on M14's/M1A's on this forum since I first joined and have watched several instructional videos online researching and understanding the M14 rifle. I am now looking to purchase my first, and likely only, 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.

Some specifics:
  • 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.

Chris
If you buy a SAI check the gap at the bolt stop pocket on the receiver. Some are really wide and could slam the stop ears and cause them to break.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Hi, all.

Thanks again for all of the replies filled with hard-earned wisdom. I appreciate it.

I was able to stop by a local gun store today that had 2 different M1A's in stock. Both were the standard model. One had a walnut stock, and the other had the black plastic stock. Yes, the walnut stock looks great, but it's rather heavy and bulky, especially in the grip area behind the receiver. The black plastic stock on the other hand, while ugly and cheap, felt lighter and more svelte and felt more nimble to me. I really liked the overall feel of it, it was well-balanced. Are there any companies making walnut stocks that are lighter and more svelte like the M1A plastic stock? Are the USGI fiberglass stocks closer to the plastic stock's dimensions?

I also happened to run across another early M1A for sale. This one has an early 119XXX serial number, 4-liner (see, I'm learning the lingo already) and appeared to be a standard model with walnut stock and was in excellent condition. It was used and there's no way to know the round count of the barrel or how many USGI parts may be inside it, But any general comments on the potential desirability of this one? Anything else I should ask check?

Thanks!
 

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Minelli makes beautiful walnut stocks that are very close in profile to USGI. Check with LRB for availability.
The 119xxx should have some USGI parts. You would need to look at the markings.

Here are some pics of a Minelli stock...

Brown Table Wood Wood stain Flooring
Brown Wood Flooring Wood stain Floor
Brown Wood Wood stain Table Hardwood
Shelf Table Product Wood Rectangle
 

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There are "fatter" profiles, and more slender GI profiles on the wooden stocks. I also like slender profile. The laminated stock on my fulton NM is thick.. my BULA is not bloated, it's thinner just like the stocks I had gotten from the cmp.
 

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One thing to consider when looking at SAI. They have built over 400,000 rifles, way, way more then any other commercial manufacturer, so when you hear complaints about SAI, keep that in mind. Most other manufacturers have not built half that many rifles so a bad SAI rifle will show up more than the other guys mistakes.

My SAI was built in '95 as a standard. Winchester parts and SAK C/L barrel. Bought it in '96, I sold it to a sailor in Florida earlier this year who, also like you, is just getting into M14/M1a's. I like to think I left him with a good rifle to learn on.

Right now I own 2 GWLA forged recievered rifles. One is a H.R. build that came from all NIW parts or in the case of the trigger group, in excellent condition that came from a member who is very particular with what parts he buys and if they are NIW. In this case he had taken it out of wrap and decided to sell it. It was listed as in Excellent condition, and it is. The barrel is a J. Wolfe Standard Profile 5R-20. The whole action is set in an AG Composite stock. The other is a TRW build where the parts are mostly excellent. Barrel is a Criterion copy of the SAK N.M. standard profile, stock is a GI modified fiberglass with the barrel channel reinforced, then painted by our own forum member, M1Army.

One last thing about building a rifle from New-In-Wrap parts. They are getting hard to find!!! The H.R. build took me almost 2 - 2-1/2 years to find the parts then sent it off to Tony-Ben to build it. The TRW build sort of fell in my lap. I bought it from a forum member, as a barreled receiver with a Criterion barrel and a TRW bolt, headspaced by Sean at LRB. This was during the first covid lockdown. Like a lot of people, I had plenty of time to look for parts. As it turned out, between my stash of parts, and what some of the other forum members had for sale, I was able to complete it in about 3 months. However taking it out and shooting it was another matter. No ranges were until late last year!!! In the end, I have found that most of the parts I have needed during a build, almost all came from the guys selling here on the forum in the PX. Hope this helps.
Lloyd 🍻
 

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The Springfield "Loaded" (which is what I have) has a "medium" weight heavy barrel (to coin a phrase). What that means is that the barrel stays fat -- the size of the chamber area -- all the way out to the op rod guide. The GI contour gets thin just forward of the chamber. You can see it if you peek into the slot in the upper hand guard with the op rod retracted. On the Loaded model, from the op rod guide to the gas port it's still a bit heavier than GI contour, and basically from the gas port out to the muzzle it's normal.

There are super-heavy barrels on super match models but that's getting crazy. you'll have to weigh for yourself whether the package is worthwhile on the loaded versus the normal base configuration.

Loaded has a narrower front post and different adjustments on the rear sights (but the Loaded still doesn't have the full-on national match rear sight it does not have the hood or the ability to turn it an additional 1/2 moa). You could still change the aperture for that upgrade though.

I would (and probably most do) get some aftermarket parts upgrades from Sadlak - starting with a national match op rod spring guide to replace the stamped flat part that the rifle comes with. And maybe a TiNi coated piston (not necessary but food for thought). Really inexpensive confidence boosters.

I had the aluminum SA branded scope mount and found that the front and back halves of the rail were not coplanar and it kept losing zero. It's meant to be hammered into the receiver until enough aluminum deforms itself to fit properly (no kidding those are the instructions they tell you where to whack it). Not something that I'm pleased with. On the other hand, replacing the mount with a steel Sadlak mount made me very happy (not the skeletonized one and certainly not the unobtanium/titanium one, just the steel mount).

With a scope you need a cheek riser. Mine is home made from Holstex (another brand like Kydex material) but you have plenty of options. You need a way to remove the cheek riser in order to use the iron sights (still possible but not fun with the scope mounted, depending on the mount).

As far as the factory "national match" trigger on the loaded model, I'm not sure that's worthwhile if (like I did) you 're going to go to a gunsmith for a trigger job on it anyway. Mine is 4-1/2 lbs but very crisp. It was 5 or 5-1/2 out of the box if I recall.

The Loaded model does come with a very nice Boyd walnut stock with a fairly fat grip area. You really need to decide if for nostalgia you want a GI fiberglass stock, in which case you wouldn't start out paying extra for the walnut. And the base model comes with a black upper hand guard which goes nicely with the fiberglass stock if you swap. The loaded walnut stock model comes with a brown upper hand guard.

A unitized gas cylinder would also be appropriate in the accuracy chase. Available from LRB Arms. But without it you're certainly going to be 1-1/2 to 2 minutes of angle or better.

Oh and a replacement rubber butt plate will give you some extra length of pull (although you can no longer get to the trap door storage compartment).

Romance would command that you get a Brownells competition leather sling in black, but the Magpul Rifleman's sling works on the same loop/cuff principle and is a fraction of the price and you don't need to find a way to break in the leather like you do with the expensive slings.

I have never found a workable solution to mounting a bipod on the M1A, all the gadgets cause problems with clearance for the gas cylinder.

Match ammo is your friend here. Mortgage the house and shoot Black Hills, or just save up for Federal Gold Medal Match when you can (otherwise I've enjoyed PPU "Match" which shoots nicely and the brass holds up well for reloading). Don't expect to be terribly accurate with Federal "white box" ball ammo (although the Lake City brass is a great starting point if you do reload). I say all of this of course as if you had a choice right now of what ammo you're buying!
 
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