I just bought a new SA Socom 16, even though I tried to do a prudent amount of research on the functional reliability of this rifle before buying, and came up with few answers. It was a true impulse buy, which usually I regret. Not in this case.
While I have earned a reputation for being a tough customer who pulls no punches when I have been sold substandard goods, I will also give credit when due. And in the case of this SOCOM, I am well pleased in almost every single respect.
What I did since purchase:
headspaced and lapped a new TRW bolt, replacing the SA repro bolt
shimmed the gas cylinder
painted the stock earth brown
installed a Badger Ord op rod spring guide
removed the scout rail, replaced handguard (THIS is a rifle born to have irons. No glass, no batteries)
Here are my observations after a few days of ownership and a few hundred (completely trouble-free) rounds:
The guys I bought it from are very cool, so they let me look under the hood and pull the stock before deciding. Based upon the discovery of a 100% mint TRW trigger group and an excellent/mint USGI 1960's production SA op rod (very tastefully etched "SOCOM 16") I bought it.
A pricey piece, at $1530 out the door. Ouch.
Sights - very nice, even with the super-fat front tritium post, it is nearly like an H&K sight picture, which I like. My first shot out of the box was 10 ring, dead point of aim....it was actually zeroed! (Though the overall accuracy was not exceptional by any means, it possesses acceptable practical accuracy and power.)
Handling - amazing. Extremely fast, secure, compact. Beautifully balanced. Just sweet.
Functioning - 100% trouble free. Consistent feeding, firing, ejection. (NOTE: I did not even fire a single round with the original bolt, so I can not comment on ejection or roller related issues on this rifle.)
Recoil - soft as a 147 grain feather, but faster than standard
Noise - the standard M1A goes "boooooom", and the SOCOM goes "BANG!!!"
Practicality - after zeroing off the bench at 100 yards (which was easy for a change), I shot this rifle almost exclusively from the standing position, quickly engaging multiple targets from 15-50 yards. BIG grin.
I will guess that most SOCOM owners will actually carry this rifle in the field, and shoot from field or "tactical" positions much more so than with any of the standard length rifles.
handling, handling, handling!
apparently more quality control than anything else I have from SA
a valid concept after all (high-powered, maneuverable, [email protected]
serious fun factor
no chromed bore! Too bad...could have been a great all-weather, long barrel life rifle
the GI elevation knob is a tired repark, but not a major flaw
Buy one. You will grin like a lighter-in-the-wallet but satisfied real rifle shootin' fool.