View Full Version : Who's had/seen problems with Springfield M1A's???

December 14, 2010, 03:24 PM
Hey guy,

I'm planning to purchase a Springfield M1A Loaded rifle next year. I've read mixed reviews online so I want to be absolutely sure before a spend $1600. Here are the questions:

Has anyone had or seen a malfunction on an M1A? (something breaking, jams, etc.)
Would you consider an M1A to be extremely reliable/durable?

Many Thanks,


December 14, 2010, 03:27 PM
They're extremely spendy for what you get in relation to performance and features but they are fairly reliable. No more or less reliable than the other quality autoloaders on the market.

Added - What's always concerned me and in my personal and admittedly limited experience with the type is that how exposed the action is relative to many other autoloaders can make the weapon dirtier, faster than other autoloaders - especially AR-10s if they have a dust cover.

December 14, 2010, 03:34 PM
Reliable under normal conditions? Ive noticed the "openness" of the action and parts with my buddies mini 14 and would assume the m1a is similar, although have no experience with one. I was planning on buying one in the near future though, maybe this thread will talk me in or out of it.

December 14, 2010, 03:58 PM
I've seen them jam up just fine. Don't let much of anything more viscous than oil to get into the action in decent quantities. Also, at first you can get some problems with stiff springs or lighter loads which will either require manual cycling of the action or clearing a stovepipe. They are by no means a high-tolerance action.

They are fairly reliable rifles as said above but our military switched to something a little more grunt-friendly because the M1A design really couldn't be helped anymore. If you're just going to be sitting under a covered bench at a shooting range there's not many guns that will fail just shooting in optimum conditions.

IMO for the high price of Springfields I would rather get a DSA made FAL, a PTR-91, or save a little more for a QUALITY AR-10 platform (Not a piece of **** DPMS) like this:

There's really no point in buying an M1A-type rifle over any of the modern designed rifles unless you're interested in the nostalgic factor. Same can be said about the 1911 platform (unless you're made of money and really really like the ergonomics).

December 14, 2010, 03:58 PM
I have had a few malfunctions, but they were all the result of either handloaded ammunition(before I started using small base sizer die) or the ARMS scope mount that did not provide enough clearance for brass ejection. With factory or correctly loaded ammunition it has been flawless.

December 14, 2010, 04:02 PM
I've seen 3 or 4 out at the range. All of them had some kind of problem ranging from small parts breakage (like the front sight or some part of the sights) to just plain not cycling with any reliability.

Springfield is a marketing company that sells junk with a legendary name on it. I wouldn't buy anything from those jokers.

December 14, 2010, 04:13 PM
Maybe its when the gun was made. I got my M1A in 1977, I've shot the hell out of it. I have shot it quite heavily in HP and practicing for high power.

I haven't broken any parts. I have shot out a few barrels and stretched out a few slings but other then that I've had no problems.

The only problem (as far as malfunctions) I've had have been traced to ammo, reloaded ammo that didn't have the shoulder set back properly.

New brass, factory or "properly reloaded" hand loads have worked flawlessly.

I would discribe the M1A as highly relialble.

Tim R
December 14, 2010, 04:43 PM
They are fairly reliable rifles as said above but our military switched to something a little more grunt-friendly because the M1A design really couldn't be helped anymore.

The M1A is a simi auto version of the M-14. The M1A never saw combat. I was happy to see the M-14 brought back out for Iraq and seems to do well. One rifle just like tools can't do everything.

I shot a M-14 for the Navy team back in the late 80's and early 90's. I wore a couple of rifles out. I had a problem once when I pitched an extractor on a high mileage rifle.

A M1A is on my list of things to get, even though my AR's do fine on the firing line.

December 14, 2010, 06:47 PM
Buy Boston's gun bible. It would be a very good investment before you buy. It compares the M1A to everything else out there and the M1A came in first.
Read the book and figure out what is most important to you in a rifle. The FN FAL could be a better choice for some people depending on their needs.

The M1A has fewer parts than all of the other rifles including the Ak47.

I have had zero issues with mine.

December 14, 2010, 06:56 PM
Bought mine used in '91 and have sent north of 5K rounds downrange and could not be more pleased goes bang every time I pull the trigger.. Sent it back to springie for a checkup and it's still good to go. Shot it off the bench and it still will put milspec ball ammo in the black. There just a classic old rifle, and fun to shoot. You can spend lotsa $ on the custom made ones or just shoot the rack grade model.

December 14, 2010, 07:30 PM
ive had mine for almost a year. had a few double fires, tracked it down to a mis-shapen trigger. it since been replaced, and shes a beauty of a rifle now.

since i got her in feb of this year, i have put about 1000 rounds thru her. including 500 rounds of wolf steel case at and appleseed in April. in 1000+ round i can only remember maybe less than 5 FTE/FTF. I mostly shoot mil-surp so im chalking those up to the ammo more than the rifle.

IMHO, buy one ASAP!!

December 14, 2010, 08:11 PM
SA Inc has by far the worst quality control of any maker of high dollar rifles.

That does not mean they don't make quality rifles. It means they produce both 100% perfect rifles and rifles that look like they were made in a tent in Pakistan on the same day. I have seen plenty of examples of them both many times.

I know this is going to really PO some folks but it is FACT.

Now about reliability. If you get a good one and use GI mags and good ammo they are close to be as reliable as an AK.

December 14, 2010, 09:16 PM
Their earlier guns, both rifles and pistols, were actually pretty good, and I never had a problem with any of those, its the later guns that I had problems with, and it took me awhile and a number of guns to learn the lesson. Now I wont waste anymore money on them, unless its an older gun and I can shoot it first.

December 14, 2010, 10:49 PM
I've put several thousand rounds through my early 90's era M1A. Mostly reloads. No issues whatsoever.

December 14, 2010, 11:11 PM
Mine is a 'loaded' model made in '96 and I have never had any FTE/FTF problems with it in 1500K+ rounds (pretty much shoot nothing but Black Hills match and Georgia Arms reloads). I have owned at some point in the recent past a DSA FAL, PTR 91, and an AR 10 type rifle so I can speak from experience when I say that the M1A is the most natural pointing and accurate battle rifle I have ever shouldered. Would I say it's the most reliable... I'd never make that claim. Would it be the first rifle I grab in an emergency... probably not. Would I ever consider selling or trading it... not a chance!!

December 15, 2010, 03:16 AM
So it seems as though the newer M1A's from Springfield are experiencing some trouble. Although the reviews of the rifle are a mix of good and bad, I will not be spending over $1000 for a rifle that I cannot trust 100%.

Thanks everyone for your input. Looks like no M1A for me.

December 15, 2010, 06:20 AM
Get an FNAR and you won't be disappointed.

December 15, 2010, 06:41 AM
Looks like no M1A for me.

My first worked and shot so well I got a second. Pure luck again I suppose...cause I'm thinking about a third.
But on the whole I agree, it's probobly best you don't get one.

December 15, 2010, 08:06 AM
So it seems as though the newer M1A's from Springfield are experiencing some trouble. Although the reviews of the rifle are a mix of good and bad, I will not be spending over $1000 for a rifle that I cannot trust 100%.

You requested opinions from those who have seen/had problems with an M1A. That's exactly what you got. There are many lesser rifles out there in the world. Best of luck in finding one that suits your needs. Also, no rifle is going to be 100%, no matter what others may say.

December 15, 2010, 08:06 AM
The SA extractor is problematic, it should be replaced with a usgi extractor.

Some early SA rifles had a bolt recall, if you buy one and it needs a bolt contact SA and they well send you a pre-paid shipping box and take care of you.

I keep a spare set of gi bolt parts on hand, never had to use them to date. I've replaced the recoil springs on both mine with Tubbs CS springs.

December 15, 2010, 09:08 AM
My early guns had GI parts and seem to be built to proper specs, the later guns were not.

My SOCOM was so tight, it needed a small screwdriver to get the the gun apart for cleaning, where it should come apart easily without tools.

The stock was a badly done over GI stock with selector notch filled in (they didnt fill in the notch for the linkagae though), the molded in checkering ground off fore and aft, making the stock very narrow through the grip. It was obvious when you looked closely at it, and it was confirmed when I started shooting it, as the ejected brass was knocking the paint off where it hit the stock revealing the original finish underneath.

The barrel mounted scout rail was not mil spec, as they claimed, Weaver maybe, but not picatinny/mil spec. None of my ARMS mounts would stay tight on it, and my LaRue lever mount would not even go on it, as the spacing of the rail was wrong. Weaver rings do work OK. Another issue with the rail was, its made of steel and gets very hot very fast, and retains the heat. While my Aimpoints and Leupold scope did seem to be OK with it, it was a little disconcerting, and I dont know how it would have affected things down the road. Probably not a big issue if you dont shoot it a lot.

I called Springfields CS department asking about the above, and was told the stock was definitely not done over GI and the rail most certainly was mil spec. When I asked why my mil spec mounts and rings worked perfectly well on all my other "mil spec" rails, they blew me off. Same when I pointed out the things on the stock. That was the last time I called Springfield, and the SOCOM was, and most likely will be, my last Springfield product.

December 15, 2010, 09:37 AM
Jerry, my problematic Scout was purchased brand new in 2001 and required four (4) warranty repairs before I was able to get 500 rounds through it.
It jammed and locked-up after the 2nd or 3rd shot and the problems continued after that. The silver lining to my M1A saga was that Springfield
replaced the original reproduction parts that failed with TRW USGI parts. My scout required another repair before I had fired 800 rounds, but this
time I followed the advice given to me by Lee Emerson (Different) and sent the rifle to Smith Enterprise.

Ron Smith made it better, but I decided to part it out and have SEI custom build a MK14 SEI for me. I quickly fired 2000+ rounds from that rifle without
a single problem. That awesome experience convinced me to never buy another Springfield M1A and deal exclusively with SEI. To date, Ron and the guys at SEI have built a total of 5 outstanding M14s for me and a 6th M14 is being built right now.

December 15, 2010, 10:51 AM
I believe any rifle of any manufacture has had problems with some buyers. It can be "the luck of the draw" when getting any NIB gun.

I started buying the M1-A in 1987 when Springfield was using TRW and Winchester parts from the 60s. I've continued buying the M1-A for a total of 5 of them. My latest and last is the SOCOM 16 I got a couple years ago or perhaps a few months less.

I've not had any problems with any of them except to remind you that if you use standard hunting ammunition with exposed jacketed lead points the action will scrape up the lead tip a bit--but not affecting accuracy at 100 yards as far as I could tell.

If you plan or desire later to add optics you better think before you buy the M1-A. The standard version can be adapted for a scope but it is too high up for the cheek weld. The Scout and SOCOM 16 have addressed this problem nicely!

I have 19 rifles right now. The SOCOM 16 is in many ways my most favorite and trusted rifle all in a very tidy package. It is easily the most durable of all my rifles as well.

44 AMP
December 15, 2010, 10:16 PM
I can't speak for any of the newer made rifles, except that the asking price is well beyond what I think they are worth (but then, thats true of nearly everything these days;)).

I got mine back in the mid 80s, and all the parts except the receiver are GI. Mine still has the hole in the stock for the FA parts! No problems of any kind, ever.

As to the open receiver being a problem, well, it is, and it isn't. Yes, its easy for stuff to get in there, but its also easy to get the stuff out. The M14 is a refinement of the M1 action, and for some reason, lots of WWII vets (and others) think highly of that rifle.

That being said, EVERYTHING JAMS!!!! Even AKs! Take care of your rifle, and it will take care of you.

our military switched to something a little more grunt-friendly...

I don't recall the M16/M16A1 being more "grunt friendly" than the M14 (or the M1). Rather the opposite, in fact.

Unfortunately, like the 1911A1 pistol, the more modern makers tweak and "improve" the M14 (M1A), the further it seems to go from the rugged and reliable weapon it is in stock GI trim.

The M1A is a very good rifle (or at least they were when first made), but its not the be all, end all of rifles, NO rifle is. I really love mine, and have kept it, while H&Ks and FALs have come and gone. I just shoot it better than the others.

If you get a match gun, don't expect it to be happy in the trenches. IF you get one that is field suitable, don't expect match accuracy. There's no free lunch. And this is true for a lot more guns than the M1A.

December 16, 2010, 12:50 AM
i have a m1a scout. mounted sadlak scope mount. awesome rifle.

i suggest looking at the FNAR & FAL by DSA.

December 16, 2010, 09:16 AM
All you could possibly want to know about the M1A.


December 16, 2010, 10:38 AM
All you could possibly want to know about the M14 without the over-moderation found on other forums.

Rifle-Company (http://www.rifle-company.com/phpbb3/)

Different's Forum on EBRsopmods

The largest internet forum dedicated to the Modernized M14 EBR (http://m14hdw.proboards.com/index.cgi)


B. Lahey
December 16, 2010, 11:28 AM
Don't let much of anything more viscous than oil to get into the action in decent quantities.

Worst advice possible for keeping an M14ish rifle running.

They need grease.

December 16, 2010, 11:43 AM

Don't let much of anything more viscous than oil to get into the action in decent quantities.


B. Lahey

Worst advice possible for keeping an M14ish rifle running.

They need grease. CORRECT!


They are fairly reliable rifles as said above but our military switched to something
a little more grunt-friendly because the M1A design really couldn't be helped anymore.

1. The 'M1A design' is the civilian copy of the military M14 battle rifle.
2. The M14 has been helped a great deal and is currently serving in AFG plus other places.

Volucris, Google TACOM M14EBR-RI and M21A5 Crazy Horse... learn something instead of spreading disinformation.


December 16, 2010, 01:02 PM
Mine has never given me a problem with many brands of ammo. Got mine for $1,200 used and love it. Someday I would like to get a SOCOM model.

December 16, 2010, 08:26 PM
Got 2. A STD. and a Scout. Run like a scalded dogs!! Never had any problems!!:D

December 16, 2010, 08:58 PM
I've had my Scout for several years and maybe close to 1000 rounds. Had a few feeding failures that were traced back to a bad magazine, but otherwise it's been flawless. I haven't replaced any machanical parts, just added a Vltor stock and Trijicon scope.

A buddy has had his Standard M1A for as long as I can remember (10+ yrs) He loves it, but did replace his extractor after a claimed 5000+ rounds.

Thats all the personal experience I can add to the conversation. I won't spread any rumors

December 17, 2010, 01:00 AM
I bought mine used - the rear sight would shoot loose - lose its zero - in about 1 box of ammo - may have reflected the care - or lack of - by previous owner. I replaced sights with the XS sights made for the M1A - rear sight aperture is twice that on the stock to give ghost ring effect -


The dealer had done good with cleaning it up - now it's just great with no other problems !!!

December 17, 2010, 09:28 AM
My '99 Loaded has worked well with a variety of ammo. It digests just about everything but you have to make sure to zero for different ammo. It has no problem keeping everything in the black.
I like my AR-10T but keep that for Black Hills moly only.
The M1A is a lot of fun to shoot.
I suggest you invest in both designs and others (FAL, etc.) when your budget allows.

December 17, 2010, 03:12 PM
I had an M1A for several years. After I had it about 3 years ( maybe 2000 rounds fired) it developed a problem where the bolt would jam back in the retracted position after cycling a round and could not be released. Then after a couple of hours when I got home, the bolt would release normally.

I sent it back to SA and they replaced the gas tube and the entire receiver. They paid shipping both ways, but I never felt as confident in the rifle's quality after that. The problem did not happen again before I ended up selling the rifle since I had become interested in getting a high quality bolt action .308.


December 17, 2010, 03:21 PM
I've seen a guy at the range with an M1A with all sorts of reliability issues. He got a little angry and blamed the cheap Wolf ammo. Maybe that's what it was.

But then every .308 I've ever fired (granted that's only three different rifles) seemed to handle Wolf without issues, even the Century Arms CETME with it's questionable-at-best build quality digested Wolf without complaint.

December 18, 2010, 07:53 PM
Although I'm very happy with my Century FAL (I got lucky and it is very reliable and accurate), I've always been a fan of the M14.

Reading this thread has made it apparent that there is no reason to dump my accurate and reliable FAL for a SA M1A. So my question (and I'm sure the OP would appreciate an answer) for those posters that are knowlegable about the M14/M1A platform is:

Which manufacturer makes a quality M14 patern rifle for a reasonable price?

December 19, 2010, 12:39 AM
My problem I posted about the rear sight above may be misleading - mine was bought used and the previous owner may have been responsible for the sight problem.

I think the replacement with XS Ghost Ring set is something I would have done anyway - the white stripe on the front one is tritium - if you can think of a reason for a night sight -

Other than that, it has been completely reliable, accurate, otherwise trouble free, and a total ball to shoot - digesting all factory ammo I've shot in it - for nearly 13 years now. I really like the composite stock - makes it "bullet-proof - so to speak. I can toss it in my Pilot and have it with me any time I want to shoot and not worry about dinging the wood.


It's top of the list of my favorites - which says a lot.

December 19, 2010, 08:21 AM
My SOCOM came with the XS set up. While they do work for close range shooting, they suck for anything past 75-100 yards for any type of "precision" shooting. If you expect to shoot at these distances or beyond, youre better off with the standard M14 sights.

oneshot onekill
December 19, 2010, 07:32 PM
After reading this thread I see an interesting trend. It seems nearly all who actually own an M1A have experienced little or no problems with them. Personally, I'm on my second Supermatch M1A and I find them as reliable as ANY Semi-auto .308 Battle rifle and far more accurate. Keep in mind I said ".308 Battle rifle". I'd put either of my M1A's up against anything HK or FN ever produced. If you want one, get one. You will not have any more problems with it than any other rifle.

December 19, 2010, 07:38 PM
I'd put either of my M1A's up against anything HK or FN ever produced. If you want one, get one. You will not have any more problems with it than any other rifle.

Right. After all the M1-As I've owned. I wish I kept them all, including the expensive Match model over $2,900 I got in Ft. Huachuca.

Now all I have is this little thing in the M1-A:


It's easily the choice for "the one rifle" man under all circumstances as far as I am concerned.

December 19, 2010, 08:00 PM
I'd put either of my M1A's up against anything HK or FN ever produced.
Ive owned multiples of all three.

For a "target" gun, hands down, a decent M14. They do make a good target rifle. Other than that, meh.

For an all around general combat rifle, the HK G3/91, without hesitation. Its boringly reliable and as accurate as an equivalent M14/M1A. Its got one the best combat iron sight systems going, and also has the ability to have a remove and replace, zero repeatable optic, without the need to modify the gun. It also has one of the best/usable/realistic sling set ups.

The "real" FN's/FAL's are OK, but thats about it. They are reliable, but I never found them anything more than mediocre as far as accuracy goes.

December 19, 2010, 08:22 PM
M14 for an all around, do everything well general purpose combat rifle.

December 19, 2010, 08:32 PM
If you ask for people who have had problems, all you are going to get for replies are people with problems.

The only real problematic issue with the M1a seems to occasionally be the extractor.

My personal gun eats whatever i want, and is accurate as well. Now, i only personally know 5 people + myself with an m1a, so its a pretty small data sample, but NONE of us have problems, and have never had problems.

As for m14's, SAI is surely the bottom of the barrel, but that doesnt make them bad. SAI also has awesome CS and a good warrantee as well. If you want an m14 from another manufacturer, get your wallet ready.

If you do have a problem, the guys on the m14 forum will clear it up quick.

December 19, 2010, 10:06 PM
The "real" FN's/FAL's are OK, but thats about it. They are reliable, but I never found them anything more than mediocre as far as accuracy goes
Agreed on the FAL but an average SCAR-H will outpace an M1A in every respect - weight, modular features accuracy, ergonomics, etc. If you want an M1A that will perform at the level of a SCAR you're looking at spending at least 4,500 dollars for the rifle before optics.

December 19, 2010, 11:57 PM
So we are back to the occasional lemon rifle found in any company.
Go Springfield which is obviously beyond the means of the perps saying SA is less than the rest and be happy!

December 20, 2010, 09:14 AM
Some company's are in the lemon business. ;)

I believe Springfield is one of the above, or else they wouldnt have a marketing division pushing lemon "aid" so hard. The few other companies just sell rifles.

Springfield isnt beyond my means either. I just wouldnt waste my money on another, or at least until they go retro, and make things like they used to.

December 20, 2010, 09:22 AM
I just wouldnt waste my money on another, or at least until they go retro, and make things like they used to.