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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first exposure to M1A's was a close friend who had a SA NM that I thought was the "coolest thing ever"; I have very fond memories of the gun and enjoyed shooting it. Eventually he sold it off, claiming it never shot as good as he had hoped- I remember him stating it would throw the occasional flyer. He was quite an accomplished rifle shooter but as with all things I took it with a grain of salt.

Now, several years later, I have a local gun shop who has a Springfield Armory M1A NM in stock with the blued barrel. They have had it for quite some time and are having a tough time selling it; they have offered it to me for about 60% of what I see NM's normally listed for.

My question to the group here is as follows-

1. What can I expect for accuracy? I am talking 5-shot groups at 100 yards.
2. Are there any parts that will help improve accuracy? In my brief amount of researching it appears that items such as the Sadlak piston may help.
3. Are SA M1A's considered quality products? Or are they frowned upon by the owners of USGI M1A's?

A bit of my background- I shoot both long range rifles and handguns in F-Class and Bullseye respectively. I am an avid reloader of both and would expect to reload for the M1A. I am perfectly happy to go through load development to find a charge weight/bullet that it likes; I would want to give the gun every opportunity to meet my expectations.

My concerns are that the gun may let me down. I shoot bolt action rifles quite a bit and admit I am looking for a lot out of a rifle. My expectations are as follows-

1. 1.5 MOA or better rifle.
2. Consistent Point-of-Impact.

Are these realistic? Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Any insight you can provide is genuinely appreciated. A part of me really wants to go pickup the M1A but I do not want to rush into the purchase if I'll regret it later.

Don't feel the need to sugarcoat it; if it sounds like I need a custom M1A built by a reputable gunsmith I would rather know that up front. I would use a Sadlak scope mount (borrowed from my aforementioned friend) throughout load development and, assuming I found a load the gun liked, would transition back to iron sights.

Thank you all in advance! I look forward to eventually owning an M1A in one form or another.
 

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I have a SA Loaded model that I bought in 1998. It has the NM barrel, sights and trigger group but the stock is not bedded.

My particular rifle will easily meet your requirements. With a scope and good ammo, 1.5" for 5 shots is my expected grouping. My Son with the younger reflexes keeps it right at an inch. The zero is always spot on on subsequent trips to the range.

Now if you shoot an aimed 20 shot string, the whole gun heats up and we find the groups go to 2.5-3.5 inches, but they stay concentric to the zero or aim point. How much is due to heating of the rifle and how much is caused by shooter fatigue well lets us guess at 50-50.

I was getting scope zero change but that was caused by the SA Scope mount. I replaced it with a CASM mount and that resolved the wandering zero.

This rifle out of the box for me, could tell the difference between target bullets and ball ammo. So make sure to do your accuracy testing with good ammo.

The only thing changed on my rifle is the op rod. The tab on the factory one got real thin and I replaced it with a forged one. No other issues.

For 60% of listed I would jump on it with both feet.

Hank
 

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There really is no way to guarantee an off the shelf new or used rifle will shoot to any MOA-without going through it, looking at the barrel, and possibly shooting it.

Several match conditioned m14 types with parts in good condition shoot at the level you are speaking about.

Sadlak makes excellent products, but on the list of things to replace, the Piston is wayyy down there unless your going to shoot 175+ bullets.
 

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1. All SAI National Match models are built to shoot 1.5 moa (the size of an X ring) when they leave the factory, assuming you are using FGMM or equivalent.

2. Don't fix anything that isn't broken. The NM will already come with match quality upgrades. That said, the Sadlak grooved piston is a great addition if you are shooting full power 175's.

3. SAI has a lifetime warranty. If your rifle does not shoot to National Match expectations, discuss it with them and they will be more than happy to work with you. Great customer service.

3.a. There are no USGI M1A's. M1A is a trademark of SAI, and any rifle marked as such on the heel came from them. There are very few real M14's in civilian hands, as they are classified as machineguns by the BATF. As for commercial vs USGI parts, it is the tolerances of the parts that make it accurate, not the name on them. SAI used government surplus parts when they were cheap and plentiful. Nowadays M14 parts are made by different commercial manufacturers, using modern CNC milling. The quality of most parts is equal to or better than the originals.
 

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The average NM will meet your requirements in the accuracy department, but until shooting it you will not know for sure. If the gun is in good condition, they are offering it for 60% of the value of the gun, and a NM gun was what I was wanting then I would buy it.
 
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Evilgrin I had to after that intro, although it's true, they are really sweet rifles, Most of them will outshoot their shooters.
 

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1) 1.5MOA from a bagged rest with match ammo and a good shooter
2) For the NM nothing really. It already has a good stock, decent barrel, bedded receiver and unitized gas system. As long as all of those items are in good shape that is about as far as you can take the platform unless you want to spend a lot of money for very little if any improvement beyond that 1.5MOA.
3) They're fine. Also very few people own USGI M14s those are class III items and very expensive

60% of retail I'm guessing like 1500? that is fair for a used NM in good shape. The bedding might need to be redone (it lasts about 1000 rounds) and sometimes the welded unitized gas systems come apart but that is rare.

And no they aren't super consistent shooters if you compare them to heavy barreled ARs, bolt rifles etc. You'll get fliers, groups will wander/grow a bit as it warms up. But still fun.
 

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Welcome to the forum from Mississippi!
I own a loaded and it is more accurate than I am. Even in a VLTOR mod stock. Sometimes I can group just under 1", sometimes larger. My point being it will impact where aimed, good or bad. Every day for me can be a little different depending on me. I would also jump on this one.
 

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"I have a local gun shop who has a Springfield Armory M1A NM in stock with the blued barrel"

I'm not particularly current with SAI offerings, but I thought all SAI barrels were either stainless steel or parkerized chrome moly steel. If the barrel on this one is blued, I wonder who made it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All- Thank you for the great advice!

Obviously I fumbled some of the terminology; thank you for being courteous about it. As you can tell I am very new to the M1A world.

To clarify this a brand new gun from SAI with the parkerized barrel, I misspoke when I sad blued. The price they are offering it to me for is $1200.

It sounds like the gun "should" hold 1.5 MOA and that no immediate upgrades are warranted, that is great news to me. I traded my token AR-15 during the panic earlier this year and really do need some sort of semi-auto so perhaps this M1A can fill that role. If it is an accurate rifle that would convince me to hold onto it long term.

After thinking it over I may have to go take a close look at the gun again; is there anything specific I should check for?
 

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Evilgrin I had to after that intro, although it's true, they are really sweet rifles, Most of them will outshoot their shooters.
No worries, that was damn funny! Glad I wasn't drinking coffee when I read it. BGRIN1
 
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Could be a loaded model too they look the same at first glance. Either way I'd grab it.

If you shoot F class don't expect near the same accuracy or consistency. I brought mine down to a 600 yard match and got like a 158/200 lol. But if you want a good reliable gas gun to fill a hole between say a 223 carbine and your 6.5MM bolt gun then there you go.
 

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71firebird400, Have you ever heard the expression "Like a duck on a june bug" at that price for a new NM or loaded, absolutely. That's a deal.
 
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Could be a loaded model too they look the same at first glance. Either way I'd grab it.
When I got my Loaded, the salesman told me it was a NM. I knew it wasn't but I just played dumb. The price was right so there was nothing to argue about. I don't think the guy really knew anything about M1As.

$1200 is a good deal for a new Loaded, btw.
 
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