The M1A Super Match is a more advanced iteration of the National Match. It includes enhanced features that distinguish it from the National Match, making it ideal for serious competitive shooters.
Springfield Armory boasts that every feature of this elite M1A is designed to dominate the opposition. In my in-depth Springfield Armory M1A Super Match review, we’ll be putting that to the test, so let’s find out what I think of it, starting with the…
SA M1A Super Match Specs
|Caliber:||7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester.)|
|Length of Pull:||13.25”|
|Sights:||MG Adjustable Hooded Aperture Rear; NM Blade Front|
Springfield Armory: A Brief History of the M1A
You’ve probably heard that the M1A is to the M14 what the AR-15 is to the M16…
But what does that actually mean?
The M1A is essentially the civilian version of the M14, which Springfield designed for the US military. It was the standard issue rifle for the US military from 1959-1964, replacing the M1 Garand.
Like many military-related products, an M14 variant was soon introduced to the civilian market, with Springfield announcing the M1A in 1974. While it never achieved the same popularity level as the AR-15, the M1A still enjoys a sizable and devoted following. And that’s despite the M14’s less-than-spectacular reputation garnered during its service in Vietnam.
Admittedly, the average American gun owner won’t be fighting in the jungle. And that’s why the M1A has a few tricks up its sleeve…
What Makes the M1A Unique?
The M1A shares similarities with both the M1 Garand and the M14. That’s not surprising since the M14 is a direct descendant of the M1 Garand. Antique firearm lovers and former military who carried either of these two rifles will appreciate the familiarity.
Original M1As were initially made using surplus M14 parts, but Springfield now manufactures the parts themselves. Furthermore, the M1A is manufactured in .308 Winchester caliber (7.62x51mm NATO), which is an extremely popular caliber for long-range shooting and hunting in the U.S.
Accurate and reliable…
Apart from its great round selection, the M1A is known for being an extremely reliable, accurate rifle. It’s very popular with National Match, 3-Gun, and other competitive shooters. It’s certainly one of my favorite .308 rifles, and I highly recommend it for 3-Gun heavy metal competitions.
Lastly, the M1A is a stunning, classic-looking rifle. Let’s be honest: it’s hard to top a classic. Therefore it’s really no surprise that the M1A has been in continuous production for more than four decades. And it’s still going strong!
However, it is important to remember that not all M1As are the same; in fact, there are eight different models available. Each is intended for a certain purpose and has distinct advantages.
For this review, I’ve decided to take a closer look at the Springfield Armory M1A Super Match, so let’s fire away!
Springfield Armory M1A Super Match Features
The M1A Super Match doesn’t seem to have many visible features that set it apart from the rest of the M1A series. However, the differences do exist; they’re just not very apparent.
M1A Super Match features National Match Blade front sights. The rear has Match Grade Adjustable Hooded sights. They have a hooded aperture of 0.595 rather than the standard aperture. They’re also graduated in half-minute angle clicks instead of the conventional one-minute angle clicks.
The M1A Super Match’s ergonomic design is, admittedly, quite outdated. It’s essentially a civilian M14, which was old even at the time, especially when compared to the FAL and AK. Basically, you’ll be getting the ergonomics of an 80-something-year-old gun. So, if you’re used to c-clamp style grips and adjustable LOP, you might feel a little out of place.
The Super Match is quite heavy and cumbersome, weighing about 11.2 lbs. Because of the oversized op-rod placement, you’ll likely have to extend your support hand much further than feels normal. Otherwise, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise when the rifle bites you.
The M1A Super Match features a Garand safety that’s built into the trigger guard. To disengage the safety, you just press forward on a metal tab. This design is also a bit outdated, and not really that great. You have to put your finger very close to the trigger to operate the safety, which doesn’t feel very safe to most shooters.
The lever itself is also quite stiff. It’s a bit sketchy, but it works okay if you use your thumb to push it forward.
Action and Trigger
The M1A Super Match action is bedded into the Walnut stock. It also features Springfield’s proprietary rear-lugged receiver for extra support – a new feature you won’t find on the National Match. This keeps the action nice and secure in the stock and keeps it from moving around as the gun fires. It also addresses the traditional issue that M14s have with poor fitting, reducing accuracy.
Standard M1A triggers have a single-stage pull that’s adjusted between about 5-7 lbs. The Super Match trigger is one of the bigger improvements over the National Match.
The M1A Super Match features a two-stage trigger that’s set between 4.5-5 lbs with a very nice let-off. It feels a bit heavy, but the break is obvious, and there’s very little creep on the take-up.
The M1A Super Match features a heavyweight, 22” Douglas air-gauged national match barrel, which contributes to the rifle’s overall weight. Standard M1As weigh around 9 lbs compared to the Super Match’s hefty 11.2 lbs. There’s no doubt that the ultra-heavy barrel makes the Super Match a beast that packs quite a punch.
The M1A Super Match has a timelessly attractive aesthetic that is sure to draw in vintage gun lovers. The American Walnut stock just gives it that classic look that many people love. If you prefer a more modern look, you can also get the Super Match with a McMillan fiberglass stock.
Springfield Armory M1A Super Match Accuracy Test
For my range test, I shot the Super Match at 300 yards to get a good measure of its accuracy. I shot from a prone position and only used a sling as support, no benches or sandbags. I shot with 118 match ammunition and vintage 1966 Lake City match ammunition.
The first few shots from 300 yards were quite far off, with about 1 MOA between shots, using iron sights. After making some adjustments, I took a few more shots with the vintage Lake City ammo.
The accuracy was better after the adjustments. However, during shooting, the rear sight adjustment drum became loose. The sight essentially lowered itself during recoil. After fixing that, I tested out the 168-grain Black Hills match ammo.
A much happier M1A…
It’s safe to say that this rifle likes the Black Hills ammo more than the vintage Lake City. Accuracy-wise, the results were much better. Shots were grouped nicely, also about 1 MOA apart, but much neater than with the Lake City ammo.
Overall, I have to say; the results were pretty impressive from 300 yards. Adding an optic will no doubt give even better results.
I had a real blast shooting the Super Match, with no other malfunctions besides the loose rear sight adjustment drum. The magazines did feel a bit wonky to insert, but beyond that, everything else worked great.
Springfield Armory M1A Super Match Pros & Cons
- Timeless vintage aesthetics.
- Improved heavyweight barrel.
- Rear-lugged receiver.
- Not very comfortable.
Interested in other M1As or Some Quality Accessories?
Then check out our thoughts on the Best Springfield Armory M1A Models as well as our in-depth reviews of the Springfield M1A SOCOM 16 CQB Rifle, the Springfield Armory M1A Tanker, or the Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad Rifle.
Or, if you need high-quality accessories for your rifle, then take a look at our reviews of the Best Scout Scope for M1A, the Best M1A Stocks, the Best M1A Cleaning Kit, the Best M1A Magazines, the Best M1A Bipods, or our informative Archangel Springfield Armory M1A Precision Stock Review.
Plus, if you’re not sure of what scope mount to get for your M1A, our Bassett vs Sadlak M1A Scope Mount comparison is well worth looking at. Or get the lowdown on the tips and tricks of Hog Hunting with Your M1A Rifle as well as some interesting Facts About M1A Rifles to really impress your gun buddies with in 2023.
The Super Match is a heavy hitter with a lot of great improvements over the National Match. If you’re a vintage gun collector or just love that classic look, this is a good investment.
The Super Match is great if you want a heavy, chunky battle rifle that’s directly related to the iconic M14. The ergonomics and outdated design might not appeal to everyone, though. So, if you can test one out at the range before buying, go for it!
As always, stay safe and happy hunting!