Springfield Armory M1A
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|Springfield Armory M1A|
Springfield M1A rifle
|Place of origin||United States|
|Designer||Elmer C. Ballance|
|Manufacturer||Springfield Armory, Inc.|
|Unit cost||$2,000 (Standard model)|
|Variants||Standard, Loaded, National Match, Super Match, M21, M25, SOCOM 16, Scout Squad, SOCOM II|
|Weight||7.8–11.6 pounds (empty magazine)|
|Length||37.25–44.33 inches (946–1126 mm)|
|Barrel length||16–22 inches (406–559 mm)|
|Cartridge||7.62×51mm NATO (.308 Winchester)|
|Action||Gas-operated, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||Semi-automatic|
|Feed system||5-, 10- or 20-round double column, detachable box magazine|
|Sights||National Match front blade, match-grade hooded aperture with one-half minute adj. for windage and elevation.|
The Springfield Armory M1A is a civilian version of the M14 rifle designed and manufactured by Springfield Armory, Inc. in 1974. The term "M1A" is a proprietary title for Springfield Armory's M14-pattern rifle. Early M1A rifles were built with surplus G.I. parts until Springfield Armory, Inc. began manufacturing their own.
The M14 was developed to take the place of four different weapons systems—the M1 rifle, the M1 Carbine, the M3 "Grease Gun" and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). It was thought that in this manner the M14 could simplify the logistical requirements of the troops by limiting the types of ammunition and parts needed to be supplied. It proved to be an impossible task to replace all four as the cartridge was too powerful for the submachine gun role and the weapon was too light to serve as a light machine gun replacement for the BAR. (The M60 machine gun better served this specific task.)
Differences between the M1A and M14
The Springfield Armory M1A is, for the most part, identical to the M14. There are, however, a few important differences:
Early M1A receivers were made from surplus M14 receiver blanks, current M1A receivers are made from precision investment cast AISI 8620 alloy steel. The military M14 receivers were manufactured using the drop forge process, which is more complicated and more expensive. Until around the late 1990s, the M1A produced by Springfield Armory retained the cutout in the rear right of the stock for the selector switch found on the M14. Springfield Armory has also omitted the "7.62-MM" caliber designator on the M1A receiver since 1991.
Once the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was passed, prohibiting the manufacture of firearms with bayonet lugs (among other features), the M1A no longer shipped with a bayonet lug. Although the 1994 law expired in September 2004, making bayonet lugs on newly manufactured firearms legal again (in most states), Springfield Armory has not restored that feature. Since the bayonet lug is attached to the flash suppressor, "post ban" rifles can easily be fitted with a bayonet lug by fitting a pre-ban flash suppressor.
The California Assault Weapons Ban, which went into effect January 1, 2000, prohibited flash suppressors on all semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine. As a result, Springfield Armory designed a muzzle brake, which they installed in place of the standard flash suppressor on all models that were sold in California. The muzzle brake reduces climb of the barrel, allowing the operator to aim more quickly for another shot.
M1A/M14 select fire rifles
Most of the M1A rifles manufactured since 1971 were made for the commercial market and thus were only capable of semi-automatic fire. However, it is estimated that less than 50 select fire M14 type rifles were manufactured and registered for civilian ownership prior to the passage of the Firearm Owners Protection Act on May 19, 1986. Springfield Armory, Inc. and Smith Enterprise Inc. were the two companies that produced select fire M14 type rifles for civilian ownership. Up until May 1986, Springfield Armory, Inc. had a Full Auto Department at their factory in Illinois. A few M1A rifles were converted to full-auto fire and registered with the ATF by Class II manufacturers like Neal Smith and Rock Island Armory. The receivers of these select fire rifles have the selector lug and operating rod rail cuts for the connector assembly.
The Loaded variants are available with either a walnut or synthetic stock, and one model comes with an Extended Cluster Rail Fiberglass Stock. All Loaded models include the following features:
- Barrel: air-gauged medium weight National Match (available in stainless steel or parkerized chrome moly steel), 22" inches in length with a 1:11 right hand twist.
- Front Sight: National Match .062” Military Post
- Rear Sight: GI Match Grade Non-hooded Rear Sight: Aperture .0520, Adjustable, One-half Minute for Windage and One Minute for Elevation
- 2 Stage Military Trigger, Match Tuned, 4.5-5 lbs
The Loaded models do not have the action glass bedded into the stock as do the National Match models. While the National Match features included lend considerably to the Loaded models' accuracy, they are not a true National Match rifle.
Two M1As are advertised as match rifles, the National Match M1A and the Super Match M1A. The National Match is a more basic model, while the Super Match is more customizable has additional features on some models such as a McMillan stock and a Douglas stainless steel barrel.
The Scout Squad is an M1A marketed toward law enforcement users. It has an 18-inch barrel, a forward mounted optical sight base, and a proprietary muzzle stabilizer. It is advertised as being optimal for Aimpoint optics, however, most mounts attached to the factory rail will still require a cheekrest in order to get the proper weld. It is available in both wood stocked and synthetic furniture options with different colours of wood and synthetic stocks.
The SOCOM II and SOCOM 16 are modern variants of the M14 manufactured with lighter materials. This rifle is the shortest barrel length (16 inches) for a rifle permissible without taxing and registration under the National Firearms Act in the United States. The gas system was reworked to ensure proper operation with the shortened barrel, and a new compensator was added to help soften recoil. The SOCOM II features a "Cluster Rail System", while the SOCOM 16 has a single short scope base. Another, more rare variant called the SOCOM II Extended Cluster Rail features a longer top rail that extends over the ejection port to the stripper clip guide, allowing the operator to mount optics farther to the rear.
- M14 Rifle History and Development (by Lee Emerson)
- Springfield Armory USA (2006 Catalog)
- Duff, Scott A, Miller, John M and contributing editor Clark, David C. The M14 Owner's Guide and Match Conditioning Instructions. Scott A. Duff Publications, 1996. ISBN 1-888722-07-X
- U. S. March 1989 foreign small arms import ban Semi-automatic rifles banned from importation in 1989
- Emerson, Lee and contributing editors Different's M1A/M14 Information Archive
- U. S. Department of State Dispatch Bureau of Public Affairs: May 30, 1994
- Iannamico, Frank. The Last Steel Warrior U.S. M14 Rifle. Moose Lake Publishing, LLC: Henderson, NV, '05.
- ARMAMENT SERVICES INTERNATIONAL, INC. (http://www.autoweapons.com) (images)