View Full Version : Have an M1A Rifle, Want to Compete in Matches. Please Help!

March 6, 2010, 04:43 AM
Well I have decided to finally go ahead and get back into iron sighted shooting. I have been away from it for some time now and I only shoot irons on my pistols. I really want to compete in as many matches as possible this spring and summer before going back on active duty in the fall. I just picked up a gorgeous M1A Loaded that came in on consignment at the shop where I work, Its all stock except for a counter weighted buttstock and it has a standard green mil-spec web sling. They guy selling it has 4 M1A's and is an avid competitor, he built this rifle for competition. Plus, I got it for $1300, awesome condition too. Keyword: BARGAIN!!

I can't wait to get this rifle to the range.

This is what I have listed as things I need to buy and questions I have in order to have all I need to shoot and compete (the right way) in service rifle and other associated classes:

1. Rifle
2. Handloads
- Any recommendations on what works good for you? I just got done testing new loads for my Rem 700 .308, so many recipes are fresh in my head
3. Sling
- Standard GI web sling? leather? who makes a good one? I am used to qualifying in the Marines with the web sling.
4. Shooting Glove
- Recommendations?
5. Shooting Mat
- Already have one on order, but is it needed?
6. Shooting Jacket?

Is there anything I am forgetting?? Please give me any and all advice that you can as I am very very anxious to begin iron sight competition. F class shooting is a blast and I love it, but there's somethin' about those old irons that gets me goin!!

March 6, 2010, 07:28 AM
39.5 grains of 4895 with a 168 grain matchking is a old standby.But get yourself a reloading manual and work up a safe load that works with your rifle at the range that you'll be shooting.Also a spotting scope,whatever you feel comfortable with spending.You can find decent ones on e-bay(Picked up an old B&L for a ridiculous price,with optics that are still sweet)But you get what you pay for.Then you'll need a scope stand for prone and standing,cartridge tray or box for loading one round at a time during slow fire,two magazines for rapid fire.Mats are good after laying on the ground through two relays,or first on the line with the dew still on the ground.And then you'll have to buy a chair,various storage boxes,rifle cases,sight guards,sight black,target pasters,until it takes you longer to set up then it did to move into your first apartment.Shooting sports are a vicious circle.

March 6, 2010, 08:37 PM
Probably one of the best things to do is gather your rifle, mat, spotting scope and some safe ammo and head to a match. There is where you'll see what's new in the sport. Shooters are a friendly lot. They should be easy to approach with questions. Ask to look through their scope. Try jackets for size and see what other equipment they prefer.
1] Your new M1-A is a good starter. It will teach you position as no other can.
2] 41gr 4895 or 2520 w/168 HPBT
3] There is nothing wrong with the web sling. National Champions use them.
4] Try some at the match. Both for size and style. I like the full finger type.
5] I used a piece of carpet for my first few matches. One with good nonslip rubber for the elbows. You may need spray glue for the M1A.
6] This is where being with other shooters and seeing what they have will help you choose what you like. I still like all leather.
Go, shoot, enjoy.

March 6, 2010, 09:54 PM
Go to the CMP Website and spend $6.95 Service Rifle Guide Put out by The Army Marksmanship Unit. Then start going to matches, the older shooters are more then willing to help you get started.

Go the leather sling. 41.5 grns 4895, 168 gr SMSs. The SR Guide will have an equipment guide and how to use it.


March 6, 2010, 10:50 PM
thanks a lot for the info thus far.

I have a bunch of IMR4895 as that is what I am using in my .308 bolt gun right now. We have a bunch of 168gr's from lapua, hornady, sierra. I should be able to work up a good test pack to go out next weekend with.

Citizen Carrier
March 7, 2010, 06:10 AM

Check out that page on reloading for match accuracy in the M14/M1A.

I don't reload for it myself, as I came into about 1300 rounds of older Remington International Match 168 grain BTHP in a great deal. I only shoot my M14 at the M1A Match during NRA week at Camp Perry, so this should hold me over for the foreseeable future...

There's a lot to be said for a $12 USGI web sling. A heck of a lot. I've bought quite a few expensive leather slings over the years before discovering at the CMP Games events that I just prefer the cheaper web sling. They are faster to loop up into, easier and faster to adjust...and cost anywhere from 50% less or even more than a leather sling, depending on the maker.

As for the shooting mat, yeah, you need one. I just use the blue one you can buy from CMP that says "CMP Games" on it. And a glove. I have no recommendations there. I just went into venders row at Camp Perry and bought a glove. Mine is full fingered. Others like their fingers exposed.

I Also just use the CMP cloth shooting jacket. Frankly, I wear this because I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to hot weather. I just cannot abide a tight leather shooting jacket on a 96 degree day. Too many summers spent wearing a flak vest in the field at Fort Riley cured me of the desire to subject myself to that sort of thing again. When our old brigade commander left and the new one announced AT the change of command ceremony we were all to put our flak vests away, permanently, we cheered the man as if he was George Washington.