While I also echo the sentiments about the M1A, my shooting buddy has one, an american made, synthetic stock, scout squad, and my VEPR with a 16 inch barrel is noticeably more accurate at 50+ yards, which is the exact opposite of what I expected when we first took the two out together.
So, +1 for M1A, if you keep it nice and greased (not oil, white lithium grease is the best), nasty looking, it will run with anything.
And +1 for VEPR, this thing has exceeded every expectation that I placed on it. The only category in which the M1A completely blew it out of the water, was rapid follow up shots, but this is mostly due to the muzzle brake, albeit somewhat due to the reversed and more efficient gas system on the M1A as well. I'd expect that advantage would disappear once I put an FSC30 on the VEPR, and ventilate the gas system. In terms of hot barrel, shot to shot accuracy, it beat the M1A every time. No metrics to go off of really, just shooting cigarette packs and ammo boxes on a 100 yd berm.
So either get a VEPR for 900 dollars (in 308, of course) and spend an extra 400 on an FSC30, and a few 20 rd mags from CSS specs, or get an M1A for the 13 or 1400 up front and go with that. Both pretty much equal guns in my opinion.