History of the Springfield M1A Rifle

February 14, 2009 by  
Filed under M1A Rifles, Springfield M1A Rifle


Click To Enlarge M1A Rifle

In the world or weapons, guns and rifles, certain variants remain among the favorites among civilians as well as armed forces. Such is the case of the Springfield M1A. Many people mistake the M1A for the M14 rifles. The M1A is actually the civilian approved version to the United States military version- the M14. Its design and manufacturing comes from Springfield Armory way back in 1974 and some of the M1A versions design and appearance resemble the M21 Sniper Weapon System. The M1A’s are semi-automatic rifles with no chances of being modified to a fully automatic or selective firing machine.

The M1A is also called the Springfield M1A, having been manufactured in Springfield Armory in Genesco, Illinois. Elmer C. Balance gave the title of M1A to the Springfield M1A rifle who is the man behind the privately owned armory in Devine, Texas. In the early days of the Springfield M1A rifle, the guns were built of surplus G.I parts until the Springfield Armory plant began manufacturing their own, which is what we see in today’s M1A rifles. The receiver of these rifles is made from AiSI 8620 alloy steel. Since its introduction to the weaponry world, the Springfield M1A rifle changed hands from its founder- Balance to be sold to Bob Reese in 1974 and Springfield M1A has remained under the Reese family till today.

To most people, the Springfield Armory is the source of the widest variety and of some of the worlds’ most accurate and reliable m14 pattern rifles. In a nutshell, the Springfield M1A is the preferred version or the perfect substitute as some may call it, for the military’s M14 that was used in the early years of the Vietnamese War. The Springfield M1A has remained popular till today because of this as well as its G.I parts and specifications.

The M1A is a favorite among shooters as it has a gas-operated, rotating bolt; semi-automatic magazine fed firing mechanism with 7.62x51mm ammunition. Its military linage comes in its configuration of G.I chrome-lined barrel and standard peep application with front sight blade. To top that off, the Springfield M1A two-stage military trigger and costs around $1000, that is if it is purchased at an online auction site such as Gunbroker. In most states, such as in New Jersey, the M1A is classified as an assault weapon if it comes equipped with a pistol grip or flash suppressor. If you are in any of these states, then you would have to purchase a legal muzzle brake. In any case, always practice caution, safety and security when purchasing firearms and always check with you local laws before proceeding.

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25 Responses to “History of the Springfield M1A Rifle”
  1. tongyun says:

    This rifle brings back fond memories for me from the days when I was in high school and part of the junior ROTC program. In my junior year, I was in the rifle drill team and we used the M14 rifles. In my senior year, the M1 was brought in to replace the M14. For whatever reason, maybe it was the wooden stock, I really like the rifle and the way it felt. It had great balance for drills, too. My father-in-law has an M1 and I’ve had the opportunity to fire his several times. It’s a great rifle.

  2. ceprateek says:

    A great masterpiece that still continues to dominate the choice of rifles in this section. Being a NCC cadet, I’ve had the opportunity to use it several times. Its a must recommend for everyone who likes the manly strength of this great weapon. Given a choice an elderly person would always prefer this over a new weapon. The only reason is the brand-loyalty and quality of this great weapon that has kept so many glued to its admirable strength and power.

  3. Blazin says:

    I purchased a M1A (loaded) a month ago. They are getting very hard to find these days and I was lucky enough to come across a new one. I’m very impressed and very happy to own a true battle field rifle. It’s super accurate and it’s hard hitting fire power is a plus. The M1A has become my favorite gun in my collection. Get one while you still can!

  4. attagirl says:

    Interesting reading here. I was not even aware that they made a civilian version. But think that it is a good thing. Why are they so hard to find now days? How many did they produce and why in all honesty? Anyone know the answers? I would like more information.

  5. tongyun says:

    The reason these are so hard to find now is that they can no longer be produced for the civilian market. Even though the rifle is a semi-automatic, it can still be converted to be an automatic with a few changes in parts. Because it can be converted into an automatic, it breaks a couple of laws in the United States. Politicians! Sheesh!

  6. Fardreamer says:

    Oh, drat. I thought (when I saw the term M1A) that this was the M-1 Rifle from World War II. I now stand corrected and see that this is a civilian version of the M-14, which was used, I believe, as the Garand M-1s replacement from the 1950s until the advent of the M-16 rifle in 1963.

    How does it handle, I wonder? I hear (or read) that the M-14 was a potent rifle in its own right but was too heavy to be used in such places as Vietnam.

    I also understand that the Navy still used M-14s aboard ships to arm boarding parties. Am I right?

  7. Fardreamer says:

    Actually, as much as I like guns, I don’t see why it would be necessary for a civilian (even with a legal license) to want to own a fully automatic rifle. Politicians have nothing to do with this…public safety does.

  8. tongyun says:

    I’d have to agree with you on why someone needs to own an automatic rifle but I’m sure gun enthusiasts will argue that it’s their right to do so if they desire. If an automatic rifle is in the hands of a law abiding citizen, I don’t have a problem. Just figure out a way to keep it out of the hands of the bad guys. How about another law? Probably not.

  9. Wondering says:

    If the Springfield M1A is so great, why couldn’t they even spend a couple of extra bucks in the manufacturing process and put a bayonet lug on the thing? IT IS LEGAL. Otherwise I would probably buy one.

  10. admin says:

    They originally did come with a bayonet lug but no longer manufacture them with the lug for civilian purchase. Why would you need a bayonet lug? Do you plan on putting the knife on the M1A? If so, why? You can shoot a lot more accurate without the bayonet.

  11. Wondering says:

    It’s not that I NEED a bayonet lug, it’s that I WANT one. I went through Army basic training with an M-14 in 1969. I would like to have the rifle as militarly correct as possible (what’s wrong with that?), just for the heck of it. Also I like the idea of having one, just to tick off the gun haters who say “no, you shouldn’t have even that”. Screw ’em.

  12. admin says:

    There is nothing wrong with wanting the bayonet lug. I was just looking at it from a CQB tactical perspective. I thought it was wanted for close quarters but if you want it like your old GI issue rifle, then that’s fine IMO. A lot of people may not agree with me but I think it’s just fine. I know I would love to have my M4 carbine and set it up like I had it in Iraq but, “Assault Rifles” are not “California Friendly”.

    Good luck and I hope you do find one.

  13. Aries Wren says:

    My great-granda had one of these, but I don’t know where it got to after he died 7 years ago. It was probably confiscated since a lot of firearms are illegal in Scotland, which was were he lived, or he was buried with it.

    He was a good man, and he loved his guns. Though, I kinda doubt that he shot 8 nazi’s with a revolver and no spare ammo, he’s a real bugger when it comes to lying.

  14. jody says:

    Try MidwayUSA for a Bayonet lug /suppressor

  15. Threepoint14 says:

    As a Marine grunt (’88-’92), I loved my M-16 A2. I thought it was pretty cool to hit black from the 500 line with a 5.56mm round. I never had a gun of my own until last year when I got into AR-15’s. Then a couple of months ago I started wanting a long range AR rifle, and was checking out Rock River and DPMS 308’s. One day I was surfing the web and came across a picture of the M1A. I knew I had to have one.

    I started researching dealers and discovered there were none in stock anywhere. But that all changed when I found them on Gun Broker. I won an auction and should have take delivery next week! Which brings me to this quote from the original article:

    “…the Springfield M1A two-stage military trigger and costs around $1000, that is if it is purchased at an online auction site such as Gunbroker.”

    For anyone looking to get their own M1A, you can indeed find just about any version of this great weapon by Springfield Armory at Gun Broker. However, if you get one for less than $1500, consider yourself EXTREMELY lucky.

  16. Michael says:

    Great discussion. I just picked up a Springfield M1A (Loaded version) from my local FFL. I have always wanted one. I can’t wait to get out to the range c it. A local gun shop had a very nice National Match version but the 2250.00 price tag was more than I had to spend. I have a pretty good Leupold scope to put on it eventually but I am very interested to see if I can hit anything c the iron sights. By the way, I agree c Threepoint14, I looked at many gun sites, there were a few offering good deals on this rifle. However, they NEVER had it in stock. I paid right around 1500.00. This is the first gun I have purchased over the internet. The transaction was very smooth.
    Best to all,

  17. m1arifles says:

    Shooting with iron sights on the m1a scout is AWESOME and super accurate. I’m sure you’ll have a blast! 😉

  18. Ron says:

    I just got a M1A standard and I am a handloader. What is a good accurate load for this rifle? I’ve had good results in the past with my other 308 calibers using IMR 4064 powered, so I will probably stick with it. It also works well in my M1 Garand. I’m assuming about a 150 grain bullet will work best in this rifle, as it does in my Garand. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  19. Don says:

    I believe the 168 grain match would give you the best results if you want extreme accuracy. I haven’t tried them yet. Last month my local gun shop owner (and friend) sold me a National Match M1A new in the box with a few extra twenty round magazines for $1650.00. I feel like I got a great buy. Found me a Springfield Arms 6x14x50 3rd generation scope and put on it. Haven’t reloaded for it yet but that’s coming.
    I used this rifle in USMC boot camp and until I was in Nam did we change over to the M-16. Nothing wrong with the 5.56 but the M14 is fun to shoot open sights. Qualified easily with open sites at 500 yards and less. It’s a great rifle.

  20. paul says:

    I used an AR 14 in Vietnam in 1965-66, 3 20 round magazines taped together, it was a great weapon, lot of heavy fire, you can count on it, then came the M-16, a death trap at the begaining, would jam up when needed and no way to get the casing out, the M-14 is the best rifle then ever made…………………….

  21. Daryl A. says:

    I don’t know what state you live in, but all three of my M1A’z have bayonet lugz on them, in fact I also have a bayonet that I bought out of ‘Shotgun News’ and cheek padz. You poor prickz on the left coast Commiez got short changed… ha ha HA!!

  22. Daryl A. says:

    You got that right. My first M1A cost me $1,800. in 1999 a pre-ban pistol grip scout barrel with folding stock, my second one is a stainless steel barrelled National Match it cost me $2400. the rifle iz a dream to shoot, then therez my slave rifle, NM black barrelled fiberglass stock much lighter than the NM-SS, i burn throught about 500 roundz of surplus ammo a month, just love the rifle.. 🙂

  23. Daryl A. says:

    Wrong..wrong..wrong, go to Fulton Armory and you can still buy flash suppressor/bayonet lug for an M1A, I beleive you can also go to Texas Thunder Rifles and order a FS/Bayonet lug, they also have some of the most BEAUTIFUL Custom made M1A’z you have ever seen.

  24. Allen says:

    Goes back to “we all clean our guns too much”.In these days of jacketed bltuels and non-corrosive primers, it’s okay to just let it be.But we all (for the most part) religiously clean our guns after every session…

  25. Ranull Dunne says:

    Back in ’84 or ’85 I wanted an high-powered American rifle. There were several candidates in the battle rifle choices, with the Springfield Armory fielding a true American rifle. I believe I paid $550 or so for a bone stock M1A. This stock rifle came with many parts stamped “TRW”, “NM” marked sights and good M14 wood, beech I think. Got an original sling and was in business. Later I sanded and linseeded the stock, it came out jaw-droppingly beautiful! Good grain and flowing patterns in the wood. I applied linseed until it was a coating unto itself- shiney and deep, like a mountain lake… This rifle could take 600 yard shots with good ball ammo altho with irons that is a stretch for me now (age kills). I have a 2X7 Leupold on it now.
    The scope mount I have is flaming bomb marked and “Springfield”. I believe it is original and havent seen any others like it. The mount has a large nut which screws into a threaded hole in the receiver and lugs which fit into recesses in the reciever. It locks up tight and is easily removeable.
    Since that time I have added many military-style rifles to my stable.. most of them available for possible trade or sale except my M1A…my American Woman is mine until death…

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