If it were me, I'd have it plated. You might consider Mahovsky's Metalife. I sent them my blued Single Six, and it came back with their proprietary SS Chromium M finish, looking for all the world like stainless steel. For a fine rifle such as your M1A, I'd give them a try.
Seen on a bumper sticker: "Exercise. Eat right. Take vitamins. Die anyway."