I recently had the chance to test out the the Springfield M1A. It’s a great platform and as most of you probably know, it’s the civilian variant of the United States military’s M14.
The M14 is a proven weapon system that holds up to the harshest of environments and is a rifle I’m very fond of. I fell in love with the sniper variant I used in the SEAL teams and the M14 made a mockery out of the SR-25 that ultimately replaced it. It was specifically superior to the SR-25 in the reliability and durability categories. So, before I even opened the box, I’ll openly admit that I was already biased towards platform.
In the SEALs we have an advanced sniper training cell and after returning from Afghanistan in 2002 I was assigned to the cell as an instructor. My primary role was helicopter and urban sniper training. The cell also ran a great trip twice a year that took place at Bull Hill Ranch in Washington State. Bull Hill is high in the mountains up along the Canadian border, during hunting season we would take these trips as an opportunity to hunt big white tail deer and give the guys a live moving target to stalk.
Quite a few of us, including my good friend John, would always take our M14’s up to Bull Hill to hunt with. We trusted the system and it was a straight out killer out to 800 yards with proper optics.
The wooded terrain high up in the mountains was gorgeous and held some great high angles that we used for training. Gravity works differently on the ballistic curve if you’re outside the normal horizontal plane and this was a great training environment to teach high angle shooting. The surrounding area, high angles and open space allowed us to take deer at great distances. The last buck I shot before transferring was taken at 460 yards but guys had taken deer out to 800.
My overall impression is that Springfield continues to deliver a solid rifle that lives up to the legacy of their brand. Other than the heavy rail system (an easy fix) and my recommendation of a standard off-the-shelf adjustable rear stock, this rifle is good to go right out of the box and an excellent value for the MSRP. Whether you’re a hunter or collector, the M1A is a fine platform that will make a solid addition to any collection.
– Brandon Out
Kit Up! contributor Brandon Webb is a former SEAL, sniper instructor and author of 21st Century Sniper: A Complete Practical Guide.