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Old September 2, 2013, 09:58 PM   #1
Polinese
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M1A Reliability/Durability

So I have a M1A Loaded on layaway, was planning to scope it. Now I mostly shoot m80 ball so I don't need the thing to shoot 1/2 moa groups. But I've been reading a few tid bits and anecdotes that the rifle (compared to a AR platform) is more fragile and maintenance heavy in order to maintain accuracy and reliability.

The accuracy, bedding, choice of stocks and scope mounts were oft mentioned (was planning on a sadlak mount)

As for reliability I ran into stories or parts breaking specifically the newly made non GI stuff.

Any truth to all this? Would I be better served with a Armalite AR10 as my dedicated 308 auto loader?
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Old September 2, 2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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My M1A is approaching 1000 rounds and it's been rock solid reliable and accurate enough with many flavors of ammo, from steel case ball to Hornady SST hunting ammo. I say stay the course, get your M1A, and if it doesn't do it for you then they hold their resale very well and you should be able to sell it for little to no loss.

FWIW I love my scout and couldn't be happier with it.

I have heard of the extractors going bad but haven't experienced it myself, not a single FTE out of my rifle. If it happens then SA has top notch customer service. The plastic hand guard on my scout cracked and they had me a new one Im the mail and delivered in about 3 days.
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Old September 2, 2013, 11:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Polinese But I've been reading a few tid bits and anecdotes that the rifle (compared to a AR platform) is more fragile and maintenance heavy in order to maintain accuracy and reliability.
Quite the opposite.
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Old September 3, 2013, 12:31 AM   #4
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I think the myths of being " more fragile and maintenance heavy in order to maintain accuracy and reliability" is a load of poop passed out by people who never used a M1A much.

I've had mine since 1977, it came as a standard but a couple years later the Armors at the NGMTU converted it to a Super Match (it was Gene Barnett, Barnett Barrels himself who was an armor for the NGMTU at the time).

I've never had any problems excluding some shot out barrels and stretched out slings. I shot the crap out of it, thousands upon thousands of rounds while I was shooting for the NG.

It still shoots to this day. DON'T TAKE IT OUT OF THE STOCK. There is no need unless you are replacing a barrel. If you take it out of the stock it will take about 100 rounds to get it seated back in the glass. There is nothing that needs cleaned or lubed on a M1A that can't be cleaned while its in the stock.

The rifle still shoots today, and still shoots like a match rifle, like I said, I've have zero problems.

I have several target rifles but my best 1000 yard score was fired using my M1A. I confess I don't use scopes on it though.

In my Guard shooting days other members of my team had M1As, they had the same experience with their rifle as I did. The same is said for the NM M14s my team had.

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Old September 3, 2013, 12:57 AM   #5
Polinese
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Kraigwy I almost just pm'ed you with my question but figured I'd let other folk chime in as well. I was looking to drop it into one of those new archangel stocks.

Do you think the newly made parts are inferior enough to the genuine GI stuff to be of any concern?
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Old September 4, 2013, 02:24 PM   #6
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I have heard that some of the M1A's of newer manufacture (which have a greater number of non-GI, third party parts) are more prone to malfunctions than older rifles, but I think you're still going to get an extremely high quality rifle that will exceed your own capabilities.

Whether you would be better served by an AR-10 pattern rifle is a question only you can answer, and may well depend on your desire to accessorize the rifle.
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Old September 4, 2013, 02:42 PM   #7
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You can accessorize the M14/M1A rifle, it may cost a bit
more than accessorizing the AR-10, but it is easily doable.
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Old September 4, 2013, 08:22 PM   #8
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The only thing I plan to add to either rifle is a scope. If it matters the AR-10T is the model I'm looking at.
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Old September 5, 2013, 04:33 AM   #9
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My Loaded M1A is one of the "transition" models with a healthy mix of GI and commercial parts. It has been perfectly reliable and quite accurate with iron sights. One of these days I may have to mount a scope and see what kind of groups it can come up with, but I've always enjoyed using the irons on the M1A's and M1 Garands.
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Old September 5, 2013, 09:19 AM   #10
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My multi-year experience with modernized M14s and modern chassis stock systems gives me a different perspective than most.

If you want to scope your M14/M1A and shoot with optics most, if not all of the time, you are needlessly handicapping yourself if you do not utilize one of the proven modern chassis stock systems.

On the other hand, if you desire to do most if not all of your shooting with the awesome iron sights on the M14/M1A you are needlessly handicapping yourself if you utilize a non-traditional stock.

I have found one variant of a modern chassis stock system that does not handicap the iron shooter or the optic shooter, and that is the SAGE EBR with the Magpul PRS2 butt stock.

Hope that helps.
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Old September 5, 2013, 10:03 AM   #11
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Military M14's were regularly tested in endurance tests. The scoring rules were undoubtedly redefined at times, to pass specimens (Critical versus non critical failures), but M14’s regularly shot 6000 round tests without part breakage or failures.

Military parts are the best and most reliable parts for M14’s/M1a’s. Those who have “all military parts” in their M1a’s have the least part breakages.

This commercial bolt broke after firing less than 100 rounds of LC match ammunition. It was replaced at no cost by Springfield Armory.

Military bolts also broke and there were investigations which found that inadequate attention to heat treat was the primary cause. A secondary cause was the 8620 steel was not forgiving in heat treat and should have been replaced with a different steel, but given that no material change was going to occur, manufacturer's were made to pay more attention to process control.

Given that this commerical bolt broke, that tells me that subcontractor oversight is lacking.








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Old September 5, 2013, 10:13 AM   #12
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There is a higher quality option:
http://www.smithenterprise.com/products02.html

Not a cheaper option though.
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Old September 5, 2013, 10:28 AM   #13
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The use of sub-standard reproduction parts in any mechanical device can result in premature failure, or worse.
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Old September 6, 2013, 10:19 PM   #14
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I have owned several M1A's over the years. They have been 100% reliable with the exception of a loaded w/stainless barrel that would not chamber a round, even though there was a tag on it that stated the headspace. Needless to say I was disappointed but SAI did fix it on their dime including shipping both ways.

That was the only one I have owned that had all commercial parts rather than GI. Of the two I now have one is all GI except for the barrel (which is a Wilson and accurate as all get-out) and the other one has a commercial trigger group. Both are very accurate and have never fail to go bang when I pull the trigger.

I would stay away from Smith Enterprises rifles. While they do make a decent rifle, their customer relations leave a lot to be desired. If you don't believe me, check out the "I need a Lawyer" thread on the M14 forum.
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Old September 7, 2013, 07:55 AM   #15
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I have one of the "older" service grade m1A's and I mounted a Hawke 30 tactical using a sadlak mount. I get the best of both worlds. I use the iron sites to zero the scope at 100 or 200 yds and I can switch to the scope. I'm not the best shot in the world but I generally get 2~3" at 400yds with the scope and about 4~5" with the irons

I also shoot an AR10B (sudan version) that I shoot with the iron sights only. It's not as accurate as the m1a, probably because of the shorter barrel. I'm satisfied with both.

Both rifles use the same varget load, 39.9gns and 168gn BTHP bullets.
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Old September 7, 2013, 08:15 AM   #16
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The only one that I ever had problems with was a Scout M1A built with reproduction parts. Four warranty repairs later it still wasn't right, but Smith Enterprise was able to make it reliable. I ended up parting out the Scout.

I replaced the Scout with a 18" rifle custom built by Smith Enterprise. Awesome rifle, and outstanding customer service. Over the years I had Smith Enterprise custom build four additional M14s for me, all of these rifles are outstanding and SEI's customer service has been consistently excellent. This is my 1st hand experience, not some dog-pile thread on some other forum.
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Old September 7, 2013, 08:53 PM   #17
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Right now, Smith Enterprise is involved in a real stinker of a lawsuit. You may want to look at all your options if choosing anything other than a lifetime warrantied Springfield Armory. My experiences with LRB, Fulton Armory and Springfield have all been great.

Overall, it's hard to beat the value an M1A has even when a $20 extractor breaks. In my opinion, that is one of those consumable parts that wears and gets replaced as you go. When it does go, replace with USGI or PB and rock on! While you are in the bolt, swap out your ejector too if u like but at least clean and grease.

My years in the M1A/M14 platform has proven them very reliable and most likely will last a lifetime for the average shooter.
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Old September 7, 2013, 09:48 PM   #18
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No need to pass up using Smith Enterprise if that was your plan & desire... the dog-pile drama occurring now will sort itself out in due time.
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Old September 8, 2013, 06:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR420
No need to pass up using Smith Enterprise if that was your plan & desire... the dog-pile drama occurring now will sort itself out in due time.
Agreed on the SEI product quality. I have personally owned several examples of muzzle brakes, flash hiders and extended bolt catches. All have had superb quality. Can't take that away from them, fer sure. Always wanted to test out their receiver but the waiting list was just too long for me. That alone speaks volumes of Smith's work.

Right on with "Dog-Pile".... what a zoo! Should have never escalated that far.
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