Thinking about which is the best M1A scope mount for your needs may very possibly be quite low down on your list of priorities. That is completely understandable, as there are plenty of other things that can easily push such considerations to the back of your mind.
However, selecting the right scope mount in the first instance could save you time, effort, and possibly even money down the line. It is a subject that is, therefore, worth spending a little time over. Consequently, I have put together a few basic pointers and suggestions to narrow down your options.
So, let’s get started.
The M1A is a great choice of weapon, but it does not come without its issues. One of these is that when you wish to attach a scope, for an unseasoned gun owner, it is not always immediately obvious where and how it should be attached.
Unlike something like an AR-15, the process of mounting a scope on an M1A is usually going to be more complicated. Added to this, since an M1A is a more expensive firearm, you also need to be especially careful when fixing your scope.
The best scope mount for M1A will depend on how you intend to use your gun. Plus, you will need to take into account additional factors that are unique to the M1A. One of these is recoil, as the M1A has a bigger kick than a rifle like the AR-15, which uses smaller caliber ammo. Since the M1A uses .308 ammo, it naturally produces a bigger kick which in turn makes it even more essential that your scope mount is strong and stable.
There are, of course, other considerations to keep in mind when looking for your ideal M1A scope mount. These include; material, rail system, stability, and price, which I will cover a little later, but first, let’s take a closer look at the installation process.
As I have already briefly touched upon, installation is a little trickier than on some other rifles.
The first thing is that although most of the scope mounts I have selected require only a basic amount of preparation for installation, this is not always the case. In some instances, you may have to do a small amount of adapting to your M1A, which will involve things like making a hole with a punch or possibly even doing a small amount of filling.
If you are not the most practical or confident person, when it comes to using your hands, don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone. Read the instructions carefully, and if you feel that they are beyond your capabilities, either get a seasoned gun user to help you or take a trip down to your local friendly gun shop or gunsmith for some professional assistance.
In any event, prepare for the fact that you might need a few simple tools like punches and a set of files. Additionally, in all cases, you should make sure that you have some Loctite at hand, as it will help keep your fixings nice and tightly in place.
The basic installation process involves removing the stripper clip guide and introducing the new one with the scope mount. All being well, in most circumstances, the fit should not require any filing, but there are occasions when it might.
The scope mount will need to be aligned with the receiver grooves. Then, the whole piece needs to be snugly positioned in place using a soft mallet. You need to be gentle and patient with this for the best results. Then tighten up all the screws, and hopefully, that should be it, and you will be good to go.
Be aware, though, that there may be other procedural steps, depending on the scope mount you choose, so as ever, follow those instructions carefully and to the letter. If you get stuck, you should also consider reaching out to the manufacturer, as many have excellent online chat facilities.
The main materials used are either steel or aluminum.
If you put more emphasis on strength and durability, you should choose steel. There is no doubt that a steel scope mount is less liable to damage and will prove more durable in the long run. However, there is both a weight and a cost penalty. You can expect to pay around 50% extra or even more. Plus, expect the scope mount to be around two to three times heavier.
For those of you that are regularly carrying your gun over long distances, the weight might become an important consideration. Let’s face it, when you already have to carry a lot of equipment, spare magazines, and ammunition, every ounce you can save is more than welcome.
In these circumstances, an aluminum mount weighing around five ounces would be the right choice.
There are a few different choices of rail systems which include Key Mod, Dovetail, and M-Lok rails. However, in most circumstances, the common choices are between Picatinny and Weaver rail systems.
Out of these, I prefer the Picatinny rail system. That is because it is compatible with Weaver scopes, whilst this is not the case the other way around. What’s more, since there is such a wide choice of both Picatinny and Weaver accessories, choosing a Picatinny rail system for an M1A makes a lot of sense.
This is all important and can make the difference between a great or a poor day’s shooting. If your scope mount is not properly fixed and stable, you could end up spending more time than you would like having to continually zero your scope.
Broadly speaking, the better the fixing points and the better quality of the mount then, the more chance you have of improving stability. A quality battle-ready scope mount will give you all of this, but it will come at a price.
In any event, it is important to remember that part of stability is also tied to getting the installation right.
With scope mounts, like most things in life, you do get what you pay for.
However, is it worth getting the best quality scope mount in all situations?
If you are a casual user and you predominantly use the factory iron sight, then you might want to consider going for a less expensive and less durable option. On the other hand, if you are going to regularly use your scope and give it a hard time, a more quality solution could make perfect sense.
Happily, though, regardless of your intended use, even at the budget end of the price scale, there are still some very good choices to be had. So, don’t be too concerned if you are not ready or able to splash the cash just yet.
The Best M1A Scope Mount
Now it is time to look at some of the scope mounts currently available.
1 Springfield M1A 4th Generation Aluminum Scope – Best Scope Mount Specifically Made for the M1A
This seems the obvious scope to kick things off with. Since Springfield makes the M1A and has a history dating back to 1777, it is fair to presume that they know a thing or two about making and supplying accessories for their guns.
The mount is made from high-quality aluminum and is manufactured here in America. It is also lightweight, considering its reassuringly solid build quality. There is no doubt that this is a study piece of kit that is rugged and dependable which makes it a great option for the hunters around you.
If you need something even more durable, happily, there is the option of having the same scope mount made from steel. However, you can expect to more than double up on weight. That is fine when walking from the car to the shooting range but not so great on a long day’s hunt.
The scope mount uses three contact points which do a great job of keeping your scope securely in place. The good news is that even when you are hiking and moving through thick or difficult terrain, your mount and your scope will stay put.
The M1A 4th generation scope mount uses a Picatinny rail system which keeps a great hold on your scope regardless of recoil. This means that the need for having to zero your mount between shots is greatly reduced. And let’s face it, that’s something none of us enjoy.
The cost falls toward the higher range of the price spectrum, and if you opt for the steel version, you will definitely be at the upper end of the range. If you are looking for a cheap option, trust me when I tell you that this isn’t it.
One final word is that the installation can be a little tricky too. Frankly, not something I would have expected from the same manufacturer as the gun, but there it is, nevertheless.
- Well made.
- Compatible with both Picatinny and Weaver scopes.
- Seldom a requirement for zeroing.
- Potentially tricky installation process.
2 UTG New Gen 4-Point Locking Deluxe M14/M1A Scope Mount – Best Affordable M1A Scope Mount
This is a highly affordable scope mount option from UTG. Despite the very low price, the product is made domestically in Michigan. Further, the company has been in business since 1991 and is a well-respected and reputable US manufacturer. A very reassuring fact I am sure you will agree.
The scope mount is made from one piece of high-grade aircraft-quality aluminum. It weighs just 5.7 oz, so it is light but durable. A very good combination, especially when you need to carry your gun over long distances.
So, how does it perform?
The Picatinny style rail is just six inches long and compatible with Picatinny and Weaver scopes. In most cases, a six-inch rail should be sufficient, but it does mean that you lose some flexibility in mounting your scope exactly where you want. In most circumstances, you will be fine, but be aware that you will not get the same level of flexibility as from mounts with longer rails.
The UTG benefits from four mounting points and provides a solid base for your scope. One of the big pluses is that it is easy to fix and easy to remove. You don’t need to get busy with a punch, files, or any special tools. However, you should still take your time and follow the instructions or watch some of the great instructional videos on YouTube to get the best possible result.
Finally, it does hold zero pretty well, though unsurprisingly not as well as some of the much more expensive premium options I tested. A tip to help with this, as previously mentioned, is to make sure you use Loctite during the installation process. It will genuinely help to keep everything nice and tight and improve the likelihood of it holding zero.
- Very Inexpensive.
- Quick and Easy Installation.
- Well made.
- Compatible with Picatinny and Weaver scopes.
- Short rail.
3 Sadlak M1A Scope Mount – Best Military Used M1A Scope Mount
This comes in a choice of either aluminum or steel. Regardless of which you choose, you can be guaranteed quality because Sadlak has built its business and reputation for making excellent products to the highest standards and tolerances.
If you decide on the aluminum option, you will save yourself a good chunk of change. Additionally, you will also save a decent amount of weight. The aluminum version weighs just 4.3 oz, whereas the steel mounts weigh 9.0 oz. In most cases, the aluminum mount should be more than adequate. However, if you intend to push your gun and equipment to their limits, you might want to get the steel mounts and swallow the cost and weight.
Approved for military use…
Sadlak M1A scope mounts have three contact points, and they are all very well-machined and tested. Even better, they also have the seal of approval from the 10th US Army special forces unit. Quite frankly, if it’s good enough and strong enough for them, it’s good enough for me, and no doubt will be good enough for you too!
It uses a Picatinny rail which I believe is a good choice since it gives you the greatest flexibility for mounting just about any scope. It is also relatively straightforward to attach, and happily, it comes with all the hardware you’ll need for installation. However, as ever, you will need to adhere carefully to the instructions to get it properly mounted.
Stays in place…
Once fixed in place, and most importantly, it is incredibly stable. The chance of there being any unnecessary movement of the scope is minimal. That leaves you free to concentrate on shooting rather than having to worry about setting things back to zero after every shot or couple of hours of walking.
- High quality.
- Made in America.
- Military tested.
- Selection of different materials available.
4 GG&G M1A Scout Scope Mount – Best M1A Scout Scope Mount
Next, on my rundown of the Best M1A Scope Mounts, I have a good value medium priced M1A scope mount made from CNC machined 5051-6T aluminum. I am pleased to tell you that GG&G are loud and proud US company, and even better, all their products are made here in the US.
With 25 years of experience in the industry, they make excellent and well-made products at a fair price. Their M1A Scout Scope is no exception to this though there is one thing you need to be aware of before going ahead with the purchase.
As you may have already worked out, this is primarily made for use with an M1A Scout. However, you can also use it with an M1A SOCOM 16.
So, is it any good?
The simple answer to this is.. yes, it is. You get a low-profile scope mount that looks perfectly in place and well-integrated once attached. What’s more, it secures with eight fixing points on the barrel, which keep it firmly in place. Plus, it is very easy to install, which is a big positive in my book.
It uses a 7” Picatinny style rail which I prefer due to its compatibility with a wider range of scopes. I also like the clear center channel, which makes it easy to use the factory iron sight on the occasions you don’t want to use your scope. Another positive is that it weighs 6.5 oz which, when you consider the 3.3 oz subsequently saved once the factory mount is removed, means a net increase in weight of a mere 3.5 oz.
Finally, if all of this is not enough, you also get a lifetime warranty.
Not bad at all!
- Picatinny style rail.
- Easy to install.
- Secure fixing.
- Good value.
- Only suitable for Scout and SOCOM 16 rifles.
5 AIM Sports Inc M-14/M1A Scope Mount – Best Budget Lightweight M1A Scope Mount
This is an inexpensive cope mount that is a good option for the beginner or more occasional gun user. It is the shortest scope mount on my list, at just 4.5” long, which also means that it is one of the lightest too.
May be hard to install…
It is made from high-grade anodized aluminum and has a low profile. However, less positively, although most gun owners find it easy to install, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, there are some reports of users needing to get busy with a file to make the mount properly fit, so be warned.
This suggests some quality control issues though it must be emphasized that these sorts of problems are rare. There are also occasional complaints of finding it hard to zero, but again this is not common. I would suggest that if you run into this kind of problem, send it straight back and get a replacement.
Practical and stable…
The AIM scope mount provides a solid platform, and the Picatinny rail, of course, means that you will pretty much be able to pair it with any scope of your choice. The need to zero should also be minimal, presuming that you have no fitment issues.
It is a good choice and, I believe, the best budget M1A scope mount for those of you looking to keep as much of your money in your wallet as possible.
- Picatinny Rail.
- Low profile.
- Sturdy and inexpensive.
- Rare quality control issues.
6 M1SURPLUS Scope Mount Rail – Best Value for Money M1A Scope Mount
This is another good value product and falls at the higher end of the lower price point for scope mounts.
So, what do you get for your money?
You get a scope made from the same high-quality aluminum, with an anodized finish for durability, as many of the others that I tested. You also get a low-profile mount that provides a clear channel so you can use the factory iron sights when appropriate.
It fits all M1A rifles, but if you own an M1A SOCOM II, it will take a lot more modification and fitting. That is because the rear of the top rail will interfere with the front mount. In these circumstances, if you are unsure, you may need to take a trip down to your friendly local gun shop for some help. On other M1A guns, it fits fine and is relatively easy to fix. However, it should be noted that, unlike a lot of other M1A scopes, this will not fit on an M14.
Once in place, it is solid, and the need for zeroing is minimal. Plenty of people have used the M1Surplus scope mount and report having fired hundreds of rounds without the need to zero.
That is what it’s all about; I’m sure you will agree…
One bonus is that the rail comes with the scope rings included. That just adds to the value proposition and may be enough to seal the deal.
- Good Value.
- Scope rings included.
- Difficult to fix on an M1A SOCOM II
Still Unsure on Which Scope Mount to Buy for Your M1A?
Then take a look at our comprehensive comparison of the Bassett vs Sadlak M1A Scope Mount.
Or, for more quality accessories and upgrades, check out our thoughts on the Best M1A Bipods, the Best M1A Magazines, the Best Cheek Rest for the M1A, the Best Ammunition for M1A Rifle, the Best M1A Cleaning Kit, or the Best M1A Stocks you can buy in 2023.
Or, how about the Best M1A Sling, the Best Scout Scope for M1A, the Best M1A Magazine Pouch, the Best M1A Flash Hider, the Best M1A Muzzle Breaks, or our Archangel Springfield Armory M1A Precision Stock Review?
Or, if you’re about to buy another M1A to add to the gun safe, take a look at our comparison of the Best Springfield Armory M1A Models, as well as our reviews of the Springfield Armory M1A Tanker, the Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad Rifle, the Springfield M1A Socom 16 CQB Rifle, or the fantastic the Springfield Armory M1A Super Match.
Which Best M1A Scope Mount Should You Buy?
I hope that this has all helped to give you a better idea of the best scope mount for an M1A for your type of shooting. I also hope that the installation process doesn’t prove too troublesome and you get exactly what you are looking for.
As to my personal favorite ad recommendation, I would go for the…
Even though it is expensive, I think the extra cost is worth it and still provides excellent value for money, considering what you get. The high quality, made in America construction is unbeatable, plus the superb stability it offers and the choice of different materials depending on your intended use. And the icing on the cake is that if it’s good enough for the US military, it’s good enough for anyone.
Regardless of your choice, one good rule of thumb for most things connected to guns is to select the item that will fill the majority of your needs. This is often referred to as the 80/20 rule and generally works pretty well.
As always, stay safe and happy shooting.