Rifle selection – choosing an AR-10

Rifle selection – choosing between AR-10 or M1A, and more details on them:

Anyway, I’m down to choosing between one of two rifles, the Springfield M1A Super Match or the ArmaLite AR-10(T). Any and all input, public or private, would be greatly appreciated!

Ft. Meade, MD USA – Wednesday, November 04, 1998 at 17:52:10 (EST)

Jim: Super Match, vs Armalite 10(t). My suggestion to you , Jim before you buy one or both is to try them both out, if you can. Remeber that you will be plunking down a pile of greenbacks for either or or both, so make sure YOU are happy with your purchase. But for what it is worth, I have a 10(t) mounted with a MKIV 10X and it is damn accuracte, but still not like my knob turning 308 with the B/L. Have you considered a bolt action?

Well, gotta go now!

al o.
Proud to be Gooch’s Neighbor in the Highly Taxed Empire of , Ohio USA – Thursday, November 05, 1998 at 06:37:55 (EST)

Jim. Ah Jim, you raise one of my favorite slamfest topics! One I KNOW will get good arguments going! Given a choice of the M21 or AR-10T – Get the AR-10T! I will not go into my standard rant here as most of the guys probably have heard it all before. Lets just say that I feel it is crazy to spent $2000 on an M-1 Garand with a 20 round mag. This ain’t 1948. The M14 has lots of character, but it ain’t the high point of modern technology! All I’ll say is think “bedding”. Ok folks, let the broadsides begin! 😉

USA – Thursday, November 05, 1998 at 09:52:33 (EST)

My feeling in the AR vs. M1A debate for High Power is based on how well the AR rifle shoots and maintains zero. For the effort, which is minimal, the AR is superbly accurate when compared to it’s older sibling, which needs much TLC to maintain over the long haul. My worst slap together AR shot better than a tuned M1A. That surprised me and made me a believer. Given a good barrel, there seem to be little else needed to create a good shooting AR. You can certainly improve it, but the basic design is sound. With the M1A, a complete remake seems in order for peak performance. Which is good for specialty shops and gunsmiths, but not so good for po’ shooters like me!

USA – Monday, November 09, 1998 at 11:08:44 (EST)

As far as the M1A goes, it is a fine rifle. I think it is still the best rifle for service rifle competition because of what it can do at 600 yards. AS far as the bedding goes, depending on how much you shoot the thing you might have to reglass the receiver once or twice during the life of the barrel. No big deal. IF the bedding bothers you that much, double lug the receiver front and back, it will give you more surface area than a bolt action rifle. IF you so desire you can even have the barrel free floated if you go the double lug route.

S.C.D.H., Ohio USA – Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 12:49:15 (EST)

Either go with the Brookfield Precision Tool mount or the A.R.M.S. #18 mount for your M1A. Granted, these mounts don’t come cheap, but you said that you wanted the best.
Two others that maybe you should check out is the McCann mount by Fulton, and the mount by G.G.& G. Springfield also makes a 3rd generation mount, but if you really want the best, knock this one off of your list.
D. West
Orland Park, IL. USA – Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 17:22:04 (EST)
On the M21/25 and M1A/M14 scope mount question.

We (Marine Corps Security Force, Pac) had good luck years back with the Brookfield mounts when we were developing a version of the DM rifle. The Navy was using the same mounts on thier version and they were tack welding the bolts to hold the mounts on.

The only problem we had was with the recievers we were using not the scope mounts. It seems that many of the H&R receivers that we had were not manufactured to spec as far as the dimensions pertaining to the area where the scope mount mounts on the left side of the reciever. This gave us a ton of excessive windage when the scopes were mounted. We never had a problem with Winchester recievers. Be aware of this as you put the sucker together.

USA – Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 18:31:52 (EST)

Let me make something clear about the Springfield third generation scope mount before I get bashed. I’m not saying that this mount is garbage. Matt, you said that you wanted the best, so I listed the best and their runner-ups. The Springfield mount is not intended to hold a zero when removed and re-installed. Just not happening. Another thing that bothers me about the mount is that it WILL shift on you if you’re not careful. The attachment knobs need to be replaced. They’re just begging for someone to “PLEASE REMOVE ME!!!”

D. West
USA – Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 18:32:08 (EST)

On the Scope Mount issue for the M1A/M21 sniper weapon systems. I’d stay away from the ARMS mount unless Dick Swan has changed it dramatically. We had major problems with the mount some years back. This included the scopes falling (read flying) off the weapon during recoil. The Brookfield mount is excellent and I would heartily recommend that scope mount. When mounting the base, use a one piece cleaning rod to mechanically align the base with the receiver and barrel. Place the end of the rod into the rear sight on the weapon and rest it across the front sight. You can now align the base with the cleaning rod and get very near a windage free mount. Once this is done tighten the mount down and recheck alignment. One thing is to make sure that the rear sight is set at a no wind zero for windage.

Fayetteville, NC USA – Monday, November 16, 1998 at 00:38:13 (EST)

Semper Fi to all,

Some quick questions about working on a Springfield M1A SM.
I’ve already picked up a Brookfield mount and Leupold 3.5×10 Tactical scope,(I hate the fact that you can’t attach a traditional sunshade with that scope!).

What about the over-sized SM wood stock that the rifle comes with. I really like the feel and weight of the wood but I’ve been considering a McMillan M1A stock for it’s strength and weather-resistance. I’m also thinking about a laminated wood stock for Faejen. I’d like to know if any one has used any or all of these stocks and how they stack up. I’d also like to know the best methods for bedding a synthetic stock.

Any help on a good stock and bedding methods would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Brian M.
Tustin, CA USA – Monday, November 16, 1998 at 06:24:58 (EST)

Bolt: I am probably the wrong guy to ask about an M1A. My feelings are well known and they are not at all complimentary. Keep that in mind when you read the following: buy a Bolt gun or, if you insist on a semi, buy the AR-10/SR-25. I actually like the M1A. Interesting history. Kind of interesting rifle. But no amount of talk will convince me that it is anything other than an M1 Garand on steroids. This being the end of the 1990s, I’d rather look forward than back for my precision semi-automatic rifle needs. As far as High Power competition goes (200 to 600 yards), I would wager there is NOT a single M1A on the planet that can compete with a properly built and mastered AR15. I am talking over all accuracy AND longevity. If you do not have a ton of discretionary cash, the M1A is not the way to go. You can upgrade an AR or the price for the barrel. To do the same with the M1A, you need to hire a pro to do the job right. And for all of this, a bolt gun is generally even more accurate. I am not saying the AR is better for long ragne sniping. I am saying it is totally Superior to the M1A for high Power. So there, nyah! 😉

USA – Monday, November 16, 1998 at 13:38:17 (EST)

Time for opinions! I read, I listen, I learn.
Have a new, unfired M1A NM. Was considering setting it up before I started reading SC. Now am considering selling it and buying a Rem. 700 VS 308.
Am concerned that under Storm Mountain/tactical conditions, there could be alot more to go wrong with a semi than a bolt gun. If that’s not a concern, would an AR10 be a better choice? I really enjoy my bolt-guns, but since I have never shot the M1A I haven’t developed a bias toward either.
Price is also a consideration. I checked the price for a Brookfield mount and Badger rings for the M1A and I’m looking at $400. Badger mount and rings for the 700 are about $300. You can see why I don’t want to invest the cash until I get some opinions.

USA – Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 14:37:56 (EST)
bolt- Think about this. Not only does a gas gun have more moving parts it also:

1. Throws brass all over the place. I’ll find you a blank firing adapter for Storm Mountain so you’ll have to deal with the brass flying.
2. Could have a bigger muzzle blast due to a flash suppressor.
3. Has a magazine that will mis-feed someday.
4. M1A has to be cleaned from the muzzle.
5. Has an iffy scope mounting system which could shoot loose eventually.

But other than that they are okay.

An idea. Keep the M1A as is and use it as a training aid to shoot NRA Highpower. You will learn a lot from this experience if you already don’t shoot “NRA” style.

The Gooch
USA – Saturday, December 12, 1998 at 17:51:23 (EST)
Ron N, Pablito,
Ok, doubling. It’s firing two rounds off. I’ve checked the primers of ammo that it does this on and the firing pin is hitting.
Changing the primers of my match ammo now gives me two different loads to use between my M1A and my Rem. 700/ M24
This may not be a big deal to some, but to me it just doesn’t cut it.
Anything like this ever happen with the AR-10?
Is there anything that can be done other than changing primers to stop this with my M1A?

The M1A is not going to be my primary rifle, that’s the Rem. 700
but what I would like to have is a good, reliable “battle” rifle that is accurate enough to use as a spotter weapon, or a rapid medieum range “sniper” system.

One thing that I’ve tossed around some is the idea of dumping the M1A and picking up the AR-10. My M-14 mags could be configured to work it with the AR-10, but I haven’t heard too much about how the AR-10 is compared to the old, M14-M21-M25-DMR rifle. Big key-word here is RELIABILITY. Accurate shooting out to 600 yards, but when the S##t hits the fan too close to home, it’ll be able to throw some lead.

I know that some of you out there has got tons of knowledge about this very subject.
REMEMBER, if everyone here pitched in their two cents worth on the matter, we’d have a lot of………..BEER MONEY!!! or something like that;-)

D. West
Oh, so cold here in, IL., USA – Thursday, January 21, 1999 at 05:16:22 (ZULU)
A quick question: Which factory ammo would perform better in my Springfield M1A – L.C. M118 or Federal 175 M? How about Hirtenberger 190 M? I appreciate the responses.
USA – Wednesday, January 27, 1999 at 22:57:18 (ZULU) Marc
The Fed 175 ‘s shoot best in my M1A. The 168’s are good too. The 175’s make little bitty groups in my bolt guns.

Pat II
Pat II
still shoveling snow, in UT, USA – Thursday, January 28, 1999 at 03:59:07 (ZULU)
Hello: I was wondering if someone could provide a little feedback on a rifle I recently purchased. I bought a Springfield M1A macth rifle for service rifle type shooting with open sights. For my bolt action 308s I use Federal GM cases and 210m primers and after the case has been fire formed I normally only resize the necks. Is there an issue with this in a semi-auto or should the case always be full sized? Do heavier or nickle plated cases feed better? Should primers specifically for semi-autos be used instead of the 210s? I’ve read on the roster here where sierra 175s seem to work well so I’ll probably give them a try. If anyone has some pet loads for this rifle i’d like to hear them. If I were to use a scope, is springfields detachable rail base any good or are their others out there that are better? I would use rings and a scope other than Springfield, probably a fixed 10x tactical (one of the better ones). I like the idea of the detachable base if it holds zero. I’ve used leuopold and warne detachable rings on hunting rifles and they’ve worked very well. Also is it legal to take this type of rifle into Canada? Thanks… Tony Y.
Tony Y
Iselin, NJ, USA – Thursday, January 28, 1999 at 16:22:15 (ZULU) Tony Y.,

I don’t reload for the M1A, but a friend does and so I have looked for and noticed a lot of info on that subject because of that. I bow to the superior knowledge that might come from someone actually experienced in this, but there are a couple of general things to keep in mind when reloading for an M1A:

As an autoloader, feeding is critical. You do not want to neck size only, as this will probably cause feeding problems. Indeed, some rounds that were prvious neck sized only, may not even FIT in your chamber. Neck sizing is only for bolt guns.

As a gasgun, proper functioning is dependant upon the timing of everything. The gas tube is located in a particular place in the barrel and requires that the bullet pass it (thus starting the piston action) at a certain timing/pressure level. Obviously it is not an electron microscope, but it is still important not to deviate too much from certain norms. Too much pressure and you will hurt the rifle (and maybe yourself if the circumstances are right), too little and you will not operate the action properly. In any case, the gas tube expects something in particular, so you should give it to it.

Randolph Constantine (I hope I have his name correct) in his Modern Highpower Competition book published by Precision Shooting, recommends duplicating the service loads as much as possible and specifically advises that the M-14 was designed for a powder with the burning characteristics of IMR 4895. He suggests that one could also use 4064 (I assume that’s IMR) or Varget (which is Hogdon). Anything slower than 4064 should not be used. This might be advice worth taking.

Regarding primers: The M1A has a reputation for slam fires cased by the free floating firing pin striking the primer when the bolt slams shut. I’m not sure that I agree with this or not (I have my own theory), but it is recommended that you seek out CCI’s new Mil Spec primers, which are supposedly less susceptable to this problem.

If you are interested in Highpower competition, you may want to aquire the above book (PS has a website for contacting them), or others which might give the best advice on reloading for the service rifles.

Hope this helps,

Andre Peterson
Minneapolis , MN, USA – Thursday, January 28, 1999 at 18:15:17 (ZULU)
Can anyone tell me what the difference is between a springfield M1A/M21 and an M-25? I own the Springfield M1A/M21 tactical (topped with a leupold 3×9 vari-XII). My like for this type of rifle has compelled me to purchase a springfield rear lugged receiver so that I may have a custom rifle built. I hear the McMillan synthetic synthetic stock is the way to go. Any ideas?
USA – Wednesday, February 03, 1999 at 07:14:11 (ZULU) RTorres: The big diference is that the M1A/M21 is after market. The real M21, (one of which I’m a proud owner), is the military sniper rifle that the Army issued. It includes the ART II scope and is very modified. The M25 is the latest and greatest Army issue and has unit modifications and has a different scope, (the units choice usually), but is usually a Leupold Tactical but can change. You do have a fine rifle and I would keep it! It’s a shooter.

Out here
USA – Wednesday, February 03, 1999 at 14:40:10 (ZULU)
As for the continuing debate with the M1A v.M25 ….Having worked with the “old” M-21 system for many years there is one problem and that is having to “tilt and push” the magazine into the weapon. The Stoner straight in magazine is a “NO BRAINER”
“Back to Reality”, AL, USA – Thursday, February 04, 1999 at 05:34:38 (ZULU) M14/M305: I looked at my personal “slam fire” and here is what happend. I have a NM TRW bolt in a Norinco M305, I shot realoads that were made for and previously shot out of my G-3, the local hunting clubs range I shoot at does not allow magazines, or slings,(go figure) to be used.
My conclusion: headspace is really on the tight side after lapping the bolt in, the realoads even though full sized still had the H&K flutes on them and may not have seated all the way in the chamber, I used thin CCI Bench rest primers in tight PMC brass pockets that were seated real flat, and I had to load the round into the chamber and then close the bolt onto it which causes a higher bolt speed forward that if it would feed a round out of the mag. BAM, Slammfire ! Clearly not the Guns fault, but operator failure. The only damage that I found so far is a small deformation in the OP rod cam were the bolts giudewheel runs. I´ll take her to the range again and fire some factory FMJ out of a Magazine to see if the little deburring I did solved the problem.

The straight wall, no neck .308 case is in a special glass case I reserved for little reminders. This case also includes a 1″ truck wheel nut and bolt that I stripped. It was stamped L for left hand thread, but in the heat of battle, what do I know.

Germany – Thursday, February 11, 1999 at 08:50:34 (ZULU)

You already may know this, but others may not. Inside the receiver there is a bridge with a narrow slot cut in it. The purpose of this bridge is to slow down most of the forward velocity of the firing pin and to ensure that it would not protrude beyond the bolt-face until the locking lugs are fully engaged. In many receivers the slot is too wide and out of spec. Something to think about. I haven’t shot my M1A for about 10 years, so I’m not up on the all the latest dope; just telling you what I read.

Springfield Armory and the early Smith Enterprises are receivers who most closely follow the original military specs as to metallurgy and tolerancing.

These rifles will lightly dimple the primers, and that is normal. Why don’t you try to recreate the event by chambering primed cases (perhaps a 100 or so.)? Do all that you can to encourage a primer to fire. Use light oil, increase operating rod velocity, etc. At least it will restore some confidence that it will not happen again soon. I would not lightly explain away the event by combining several reasons as to the cause (i.e. thin primers and tight headspace and…… etc.) This combination of circumstances “could” have combined to cause a real slam-fire, but I wouldn’t bet money on it. High primers come to mind as a likely suspect since your locking lugs were not even partially locked. The bolt-face may have been your firing pin if you know what I mean.

I normally put the cartridges in their boxes bullet end down. This way I can visually and manually test for primer depth uniformity. Oh yes,… is another reason, and one not easy to forget. At a high power 600 yd. match many years ago a cartridge failed to ignite. Upon extracting (my reload) it I saw that it was without a primer. At that moment I felt small enough to crawl down a mouse hole. A most humbling experience. Vowed to always stand cartridges primer up when going to a match.
Ron N.

Ron N.
USA – Thursday, February 11, 1999 at 12:28:25 (ZULU)
Re: M1A bridge slot dimension

Since I was the one to bring up the topic, I should follow through with more info rather than just let it hang. Just measured the slot width of my early Springfield Armory M1A (mid to late 1970s 4 digit) and it measures .185″ or 4.69 mm wide. This should be correct. Somewhere in this house is a M14/M1A receiver blueprint, but I can’t lay my hands on it now. That’s normal.
Ron N.
USA – Friday, February 12, 1999 at 03:20:06 (ZULU)

Sniper Country Team
Written by Sniper Country Team

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