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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I need your help to finalize my M14/M1A decision. I'm a beginner firearms owner.. It took me several years to persuade my wife to buy a gun (we have two kids and she kept saying whe was afraid to have guns in our house...) I got handgun for starters (SIG P226 Navy) and now she agreed to buy one rifle for hunting/target shooting with our friend in a desert. Basically, I will use it for general fun target shooting with our friends (maybe some friendly competition shooting... nothing serius as to participate in any official competitions...), also want to take it hunting for deer/boar in California and Utah (with my father-in-law)... After spending the last couple of weeks reading all the different forums I finally decided on M14/M1A rifle instead of a bolt action... I think I will have more fun shooting semi-auto.. plus it seems soon CA will ban the last of semi-auto rifles that still allowed... So, here comes the main part (sorry for long post.. I want to make sure u know what my needs are and my background).. Here are my thoughts on the rifle selection: Initially I was thinking of getting Springfield M1A Loaded or NM... then I read that Fulton makes better rifles (forged receiver vs cast on SAs..).. then all the horror stories about SA quality issues as of late... which moved me more towards FA rifle.. At first I was thinking of getting Competition grade... then I read somewhere that all the NM parts based rifles are more accurate, but not as "durable" (or not last as long) as standard grade ones ... So, I finally decided that if thats the case, I will do fine with Service grade M14 from FA with chrome bore and NM trigger added... So, what do you guys think? Should I go for Competition M14? The extra $300 is not an object.. I just want the best rifle I can get but at the same time which last longer. Am I right about NM M14 being not as "sturdy" as regular ones? Or should I just get SA M1A loaded or NM? I'm 90% decided on FA simply because all the quality issues and "inferior" and non-USGI parts used.. I need your help pointing out mistakes in my assumptions and suggestions on which one I should get.. Again, money is not really an option .. well, as long as it's not more than $2500... later, I will install Leupold scope.. but for now, I'm not worried about that... I need to start with the right rifle first. Also, what about SA M21? I saw them going for around $2400.. are they worth it? how is their quality (parts quality and accuracy)?
Help!

Tony
 

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For $2500 you can do pretty well for yourself
I'd say get a barreled action from LRB, A stock from Six, Parts from hither & yon and a good gunsmith to put it all together and you'll have a rifle for the rest of your life

Or just buy the Springfield or Fulton if you don't want to do all that chasing around.
I got really lucky with my Loaded M1A. I recommend that model as a good start as you can tweak it up from there.Then and get a Smith Enterprise mount and your
leupold scope and a case of Portuguese ammo and you're in business
Or get a basic M1A and get it tuned up by someone like Smith Enterprise. I did that with Smith's Bush modification.
Now I'm gettting an LRB receiver and Smith Crazy Horse barrel and chasing parts down.
As you can see --tons of fun when M14's/M1A's sink the hook into you
Oh yeah...
Get some extra 10 round mags off of e-bay or elsewhere and you will have spent your $2500 on a rock and roll setup

You really can't go wrong with any of the above suggestions
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was trying to avoid building the rifle from parts.. I wanted to go the easiest route and buy rifle already built... But, I may consider going "parts" route if it's not too dificult and time consuming

I know what LRB Arms is.. I saw people say their receivers are one of the best (are they better than FAs/Armcorps?).. Barreled action you mean the receiver with barrel LRB sells for $1169? Is there any place to buy it cheaper?
Also, stock from Six... hmm... I've never seen Six mentionned before...what/who is it? Parts from hither & yon? Do you have a link or where to look them up? If I call them and tell them I only have barreled action and stock, they will know which parts I need (because I don't)? Now, for the smith... Anyone know a good quality smith to put it all together? Preferably in SoCal area, but not necessarily...
 

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You asked some good questions and even gave your price range. If I was to only have one rifle it would be a M14 type rifle. Good for hunting and SHTF use. Perfect all around calibre and super fun to shoot. Most folks like USGI parts because they were made with very high standards for hardness as well as dimensional specs. N.M. rifles are great for target, match or tactical applications, but you shouldn't try crawling through rice paddys with them. The tolerances on a service grade rifle are not as tight as a N.M rifle in case you get a bunch of sand and mud in them. They are made to go bang every time, all the time. That does not mean they are not accurate, some are very accurate and all have to meet DoD accuracy specs before leaving the plant. So a fine rifle can be built with surplus parts. Most aftermarket parts are held to good hardness a dimensional specs as well. You hear some horror stories about some manufactures, but the ones that will build a good rifle are still in business. If they can not build a rifle that people will buy, they are history. Buy one built, have one built or buy a used one. For 2500 bucks I would talk to Warbird and Ted Brown. Both will shoot you strait and build you a rifle that your grandchildren will grow old with. Have fun!
 

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Your price range is way too high, indicating you think quality and price are directly related -- they're not. Ultra accurate rifles require ultra accurate ammunition -- and shooters. You (and I) ain't one.

Since you're in the market for a general purpose rifle the basic USGI-type is most suitable. It'll shoot better than you can. "Match M14" has been an oxymoron for a decade, you don't see them on the podium at Camp Perry.

A slightly used, chrome bore M1A should be no more than $1100 and there are still a few new in box for maybe $1200. Start there. Learn to shoot it. If you decide you need optical sights start shopping only after you can hit mansized targets at 300 meters with the bare rifle.

-- Chuck
 

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The custom rifles are superb firearms, and you wouldn't go wrong buying one. However, there are a lot of variables as pointed out, e.g. what barrel, what sights, NM or not. I second the recommendations to start with a good used M14/M1A or a new Springfield and learn to shoot it well. And shoot it a lot.

You will find that your learning curve is steep and quick. You will learn the major parts in a few days and a lot of detail soon after. Then you will be able to determine what if any changes or upgrades you want to make.

I bought a little used early M1A, all-USGI for $1100 (with an Armscorp scope mount). I'm enjoying shooting with the iron sights even with my age and bad eyes. I don't think I'll need anything better other than some upgrades.
 

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Agree with the posters that your starting point s/b a used Springfield (older -- is it pre-2001 when the GI parts started to fade out? More expert folks let me know) or two, if you really need to spend $2500 on the hardware. Check out the PX here daily and also the marketplace at Battlerifles:

http://www.battlerifles.com/viewforum.php?f=34

Next step: go to aimsurplus.com and buy at least two cases of Port NATO while it's around ($150/1000 rounds):

http://aimsurplus.com/acatalog/Portuguese_NATO__308.html

Next step: go to Fred's and get his target combo special or his Rifleman package special (includes the jacket that you will want for sling shooting -- I did mention you will need slings -- cheap web ones -- for your rifles?):

http://www.fredsm14stocks.com/latest.asp

Next step: read the Rifleman guide, and again, then get out and start shooting at 25m from Standing, Sitting, and Prone per the guide (including using the sling).

Next step: Keep practicing at 25m until half of the first case of Port is gone, then use the other half at distances beyond 25m -- as far out as the ranges near you will allow. Keep reading the Guide -- it will mean more as you continue to practice.

Iron sights only until you can reliably hit 20" targets from all positions --repeatedly -- at all ranges out to 500m. YOU CAN DO IT, IF YOU PRACTICE -- PROMISE!!!!

Then you can think about getting glass for your rifles.

Before I get flamed, the above is what I did to go from being able only to spell M14 to approaching the standard I said above. There are many paths -- the above worked for me.

PS: Want to make it more fun? Get a rifle and jacket for your wife and have her learn with you. Bet she winds up outshooting you...women are like that!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for your suggestions guys. btw, i'm not really new to shooting :) I was born in Russia and back there we had to shoot .22 at competitions between high schools (at 9th and 10th grade class). I always took first places with 100/100 at 80 yards... Yeah, I know, it's only .22, but still... Then in 87 I was drafted in Soviet Army where I had to shoot AKs quite a bit. Again, I was pretty much always at the top within our brigade. I have 20-15 eyesight, so I'm pretty confident I can be a good shooter with such a fine rifle as M14.
Now, to the M14 itself...I know that building a rifle from parts would be a good way to go (I would select the parts I want, make sure they are GIs etc..).. I thought about it, looked at some auction sites... but it may not work for me simply because of time constraints. I live in a big city, and very liberal city at that... not many gunsmiths around... plus I have full time job and three daughters.. youngest one was born on 9/11 she's only 1 months old... so, you can imagine how busy my wife and I are... That's why I was looking to buy a ready made rifle, like SA or Fulton. I basically decided on FA because of the superior parts they are using. I don't mind they are more expensive... you get what you pay for. at this point I'm trying to decide between Competition grade or Service grade with chrome bore and NM trigger. I would get the Comp grade, but I think someone mentioned somewhere that NM barrel and some other NM parts are not as durable... or won't last as long. I don't want my rifle to be 1" more accurate, but sacrifice some in "durability" for that...Now, if that's not the case I may just go for Comp grade. What do you guys think about these NM barrels and such?
 

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t0lik...tx so much for sharing about you and your family. I have tears in my eyes thinking about this: I am talking to a new acquaintance, who was trained as a soldier by the Soviets, about the merits of one M14 type vs. another in one of the very few countries on the planet where citizens can own such things.

What a country!

My two cents: get the standard model, learn about it, then tweak it -- if and only if - you want to do so.
 

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I think you will have a darn reliable rifle whether you go with a standard barrel or service grade. My service grade barrel is pretty long in the throat. It is still plenty accurate, especially since I make hand loads tailored for my rifle. BTW, I have some surplus that will shoot 1 1/2" groups @ 100yrds, some groups are close to MOA, but average is an inch and a half at 100. The chrome lined barrel will probably give you a couple thousand more rounds before the barrel wears out. Still a medium or heavy barrel will last a good 5000 rounds before accuracy loss becomes a big issue. You are not in the military any more and probably don't have any desire to belly crawl through the mud, so you don't need a long throated barrel. Look in the Steals and Deals section of this board or some of the auction sites in the links above for a good deal on a good rifle already built. Also consider the various commercial builders and just buy the one you have the most trust in, or contact Fulton, Warbird and Ted Brown and see what they have or can build for you. All are very good builders and stand behind their work. You may also ask about turn around time. These guys are busy because they do quality work. What ever you get, you won't be disappointed. All will be more accurate than your AK rifles you used to shoot, most will be right up there on the reliability scale too. Plus you will fall in love with the feel, look and range these great rifles have.
 

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yes

cabinboy95 said:
t0lik...tx so much for sharing about you and your family. I have tears in my eyes thinking about this: I am talking to a new acquaintance, who was trained as a soldier by the Soviets, about the merits of one M14 type vs. another in one of the very few countries on the planet where citizens can own such things.

What a country!

My two cents: get the standard model, learn about it, then tweak it -- if and only if - you want to do so.

I am moved also.

___

Until today i didn't know that Springfield had competition, Fulton Armory.

I am shoping for S A Scout or S A Socom, but now I will look into a Fulton. I my case, I do have a limited budget...$1500. If the Socom was offered with wood stock...that's what I'd buy.
 
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