View Full Version : Inspecting Springfield M1a's

July 4, 2009, 02:21 PM
I sold my std M1a last year & used the money to get a loaded model that I'm really happy with. A new shooting buddy bought one recently on gunbroker and is really happy w/ his too.
Last night we had a 'pre 4th, shooting buddy bbq' and we all brought our favorite 308 rifle -- man between the FALs, the ARs, bolt guns, & M1a's, it was quite a showing!
Anyway, comparing my gun to buddy's gun, we could not see much difference and he is swearing up, down and sideways he bought a Super Match. So my question is this -- visually (and if you've got pics to help -- THANKS!), how can you tell the difference between a loaded & a Super Match?

July 4, 2009, 02:53 PM
According to Springfield Armory's website, the sights are very different, with the hooded rear sight and the narrower post front sight, the stock is "oversize" and the receiver has a rear lug. The sights should be obvious. The profile of the barrel under the handguard should be quite large, and the gas system unitized. The receiver is glass bedded.

Perhaps someone with actual hands on experience can chime in here.


July 4, 2009, 03:04 PM
I read that on their site. My follow up question is -- does this apply to their older M1a's? This rifle appears to be of older lineage...also of note, the stock appears to have a cut out for a selector switch :scrutiny:
The barrel does not appear to be much thicker than the one of my loaded which got me to question the 'super match' designation buddy put on rifle -- that & that he got it online really has me wondering

July 4, 2009, 08:57 PM
The difference is the hooded sight, the bedded action, the unitized gas system and maybe a heavier barrel on the Supermatch. You should be able to see the hooded aperture and the bedding pretty readily. There have been many Loaded M1A's sold as Match and Supermatch models he should call SAI to see what it left the factory as.

July 4, 2009, 09:42 PM
...and the receiver has a rear lug

I believe that some of the early SM rifles did not have the rear lug, so that may not be a reliable method of ID'ing a rifle.

As lipadj46 recommended, give SA, Inc. a call with the serial number. Calling SA, Inc. is the most definitive way to tell.

I'll give you an example: My M1A has all the traits of a SM rifle: NM sights, heavy barrel, McMillan stock, bedded action, etc. However, it did NOT leave the factory as such. Mine was a "loaded" model that has been rebuilt by a retired USMC 2112 armorer.


July 5, 2009, 02:04 AM
The super match has a heavier barrel, and heavier stock. The sights are the same as the match sights. If you compair the two side by side you can easily see the differance with the extra wood (stock) near the gas port and at the rear of the reciever. The Heavy barrel isnt apparent unless you pull the action out of the stock.

Heary is the Heavy or Super Match M1A


Maj Bach
July 9, 2009, 09:06 PM
Kraig - Is that a Glenn Nelson M1A?

July 11, 2009, 11:16 AM
Kraig - Is that a Glenn Nelson M1A?

No Sir, I bought it as a Standard M1A in 1977. Then using NG parts, Gene Barnett (Barnnett Barrels) converted it into a super match. He was an armor for the NG MTU at the time. The Guard got barrels from him.

July 11, 2009, 03:03 PM
Now that's a 'working' gun. Lots of stickum in the right places. I bought a Glen Nelson gun back in '81?. After several rebarrels with Barnett tubes it's still my best girl. It took me 15 years to find another stock of the same dimensions so I could have a mirror backup gun.
To the OP's question with the exception of the stock design the differences between the loaded and super can be difficult to see without fondling the suspect. FWIW either model can be made to sing with a little TLC from a good armorer.