In his recent review, Pat Cascio accurately addressed the main objections to the SOCOM Rifle, muzzle blast and that much too fat tritium front sight. An Alternative within Springfield’s own product line up is the Squad Scout Rifle. The Squad Scout come with an 18″ barrel and a less blistering version of there muzzle brake and a National Match .062″ Front sight, and the appropriate rear sight (not National Match aperture diameter, but not that awful ghost ring) This is a nearly MOA rifle out of box.
The first one I bought had a beautiful gray green laminate stock, and rue the day I sold it. The current one has an also beautiful walnut stock,and $100 upgrade over black or green polymer too beautiful to ding up, so after much research I bought the Archangel stock.
One could spend over $1,000 on a upgrade chassis to the M1A Stock, but the tight fitting Archangel stock has been reviewed here.
as able to upgrade the rifle to 1/2 MOA, for under $300, and provide a stronger carbon fiber reinforced polymer option to the standard M1A stock.
One more acclamation for why to choose the M1A as a MBR for the survivalist rifleman. While an infantryman and later and infantry officer, I never trained with the M14.
However twice I was advised by the man behind the gun counter that above all other rifles on the rack that M1A Scout was the item to purchase. The first time was from the owner of Tabor Shooting Supply in South San Francisco, a salty old former Marine of the Viet Nam era who still competes in three-gun events with a Scout. He spoke praises of the M14 in Viet Nam, for its reliability and firepower, especially in comparison the the early M16 and said the only thing he did to the Scout was make sure he bough the walnut stock, because the polymer version gets “flexy” when hot from firing and looses some accuracy, and add the Smith Enterprise “Good Iron” muzzle brake (there is an impressive video of the item taming full auto M14 mag dump here.)
The second gun store guy to recommend the M1A Scout was behind the counter at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Medford, Oregon, this brawny young former Marine (coincidence?) was showing another store client the FN SCAR 7.62 rifle, a $3,800 item. I asked if that would be an upgrade from my Scout, and he replied that after two tours in Afghanistan as an Marine Infantry Designated Rifle Marksman, carrying a modified M14, he would trade everything in his gun safe to have one, and it never failed him in combat, and that the Scout version was “just the right size”.
I find these two sources as highly credible because of their time in actual combat, but separated by 30 plus years, and jungles versus the arid mountains but came the same conclusion regarding the M14 /M1A .
Just to wrap this up, if anyone has doubts about the M1A SOCOM or Scout in close quarters, please watch how Miculek handles the grandfather of the M1A, the much larger full size M1 Garand on close targets. See the 35 second clip or the full video.)
Cheers, – DC
JWR Replies: As someone who has owned a half dozen M1As over the years–I bought my first in 1978–I must agree that they are great rifles. Their only drawback at present is their relatively high price, the price of spare parts, and the price of extra magazines. For the same cash outlay needed to buy one M1A with a good assortment of spare parts (including a spare complete bolt and op rod) and 25 spare magazines, I could now buy TWO examples of the PTR91 rifle (a HK 91 clone), along with a nearly complete spare G3 parts set, and more than 150 extra magazines! So anyone who is on a budget is advised to instead buy an HK clone.