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Is my M1A adequate?


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#1 Spartan24

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 11:36 PM

I'm looking for a rifle to fill the role of a ranch style gun. Something that could do everything from deer hunting, to fun range time, to home defense, to whatever. I have a couple M1As, a standard that has been redone with a Criterion chrome barrel and a SOCOM 16. The SOCOM 16 has had an M14.ca SHG handguard installed with a Trijicon MRO. I believe these two guns that I currently own, fill the ranch style role well enough, especially the SOCOM in its current setup. I know the system M1A system and am comfortable with it. I also have gotten a lot of parts and extras for these rifles. However, I always have this nagging thought that perhaps I should get something more modern with all the benefits a modern rifle has, such as ergonomics, weight, and ease of maintenece. Other rifles I've considered are the FN SCAR 17, Ruger SR762, S&W M&P 10, etc. Do these other modern rifles have an actual advantage or is it just a matter of training and familiarization?

Edited by Spartan24, 09 June 2016 - 11:38 PM.

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#2 pira114

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 01:49 AM

They're all fine weapons. Your M1A is adequate as a ranch rifle except maybe weight.

I noticed you're apparently a 7.62 fan. Any reason not to go with a 5.56 AR for a ranch rifle? Much lighter, faster reloads (compared to M1A), and better ergonomics.

A quality M1A can be fast in the right hands. But all things being equal, it'll never be as fast as an AR (or the other modern weapons you mentioned). Recoil impulse will be better on the 5.56, easily.

For a ranch rifle, I'm assuming fast, unexpected, shots on yotes and such. AR wins there. Durability and reliability, AR wins again.

Also, with 5.56, you get the same number of rounds with less weight, or same weight with more rounds.

Just my opinion

Edited by pira114, 10 June 2016 - 01:53 AM.


#3 Spartan24

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 02:55 AM

You are right that I am a fan of the .308. I do have a couple ARs in 5.56/.223. I am a minimalist at heart and I do like the jack of all trades approach. I recognize that one gun can not do it all, but one gun can do many different things. Thus, my idea of a "ranch rifle." I set up some criteria and found that the .308 was best suited to what I wanted. I like 5.56/.223 but I think .308 is better suited for what I ask. My M1As have replaced a lot of my guns including my deer rifles. I have a 5 round mag for hunting that I use in my M1As. It sits flush and meets many states requirements of capacity. I believe that deer could be taken quite handily with an appropriate .223 load. However, .308 just does it so much better.
I think in the end I look at pictures of SCARs and AR10s and wonder if they are that much better than what I use now. I think I've mostly ruled out the SCAR due to the fact the gun on paper is an overall superior platform compared to my M1As, but it isn't $2000 better. However the Ruger SR762 is just about the same price point as my SOCOM 16.

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#4 pira114

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 03:29 AM

I hear ya.

I'm not a fan of piston ARs, so I'd probably pick the AR-10 from your list. You get the better ergonomics and faster reloads in the same caliber.

But really, if I'm correct in guessing the exact needs of your ranch rifle idea, then your M1A is probably sufficient. I'm guessing you're not looking for super fast reloads and don't plan on it being a fighting rifle. If so, keep it.

#5 jvandivere

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 07:31 AM

I had an M1A Scout and decided to sell it for a Ruger SR556E..(which I don't like piston now because heat issues and weight, even though I got a good deal).  If I was in your shoes, honestly I would go with what you're comfortable with. If you grew up with standard stock rifle types (M1A) then stick in that field if it works for you. If you have training and experience in the AR realm and are better with that, possibly consider that route.  I'm surprised I hadn't seen someone mention .300 BLK.  While I don't have any experience with it, I hear good results from friends. I would say for a ranch gun, you could get a decent .556 rifle and swap out uppers for .300 blk when needed. That gives you the best of both worlds, but may be costly.  Another option is the AR-10 like what was mentioned, but it all depends on how you want to use it. like others said, if fast reloads are your thing and weight is your thing, an AR style maybe better BUT M1's have sex appeal and get the job done, so if it works for you then I'd say do it! 

 

You could always check out the DS Arms FAL OSW :)


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#6 Spartan24

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 08:38 AM

The FAL is another alternative. My buddy has a DSA Para FAL that is quite the weapon. Very versatile, lots of punch, small package.
Someone mentioned heat build up or something like that in piston ARs. I thought the piston system helped keep them cooler?

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#7 Psybain

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 10:16 AM

If you go with a .308 AR, just remember that those things are the wild west and there are multiple specs floating around, and you have to be careful everything will be compatible with what you choose.

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#8 Spartan24

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 11:31 AM

If you go with a .308 AR, just remember that those things are the wild west and there are multiple specs floating around, and you have to be careful everything will be compatible with what you choose.



Believe me, I'm aware. That's why I originally went with the M1A. It was a proven platform that had spare parts availability.

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#9 jvandivere

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 12:32 PM

The FAL is another alternative. My buddy has a DSA Para FAL that is quite the weapon. Very versatile, lots of punch, small package.
Someone mentioned heat build up or something like that in piston ARs. I thought the piston system helped keep them cooler?

piston system can keep them cooler I guess, but from my understanding it is designed to promote less wear and tear and carbon fouling on the bolt carrier group (thus stoppages).  I know the SR556E heats up quickly when shooting a lot, which is why I want a DI gun (heat and weight, I'll stick with cleaning the gun). FAL is awesome, but also expensive.  I do like ruger a lot, and honestly the mini-14 or 30 is a good rifle too (newer ones).  If I was in your boat, I'd go with either a .300BLK upper for versatility or keep your M1's but lighten them with composite stocks.  I also have a GSR which I bought because .308 was too expensive to go blasting the way I was. I like it so far.


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#10 pira114

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 10:37 PM

DIs don't really need cleaning much. It's lubricant they need. I don't like piston ARs because they're all over the place as well when it comes to parts and gas port dimensions
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#11 jvandivere

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 07:56 AM

DIs don't really need cleaning much. It's lubricant they need. I don't like piston ARs because they're all over the place as well when it comes to parts and gas port dimensions

Heh- I was sorta joking about it. I got it 1. cus a decent deal and 2. because I didn't understand all about pistons yet and thought they were supposed to be the next best thing since sliced bread (running crap ammo, so on). It's a decent gun and shoots well, just heavy and gets hot. Doesn't help ruger's front gas block  is integrated into the forearm (can't replace the forearm)...so I'd have to run metal sights, no magpuls.  It's a nice gun but I am thinking of getting something free floated or the like (I don't like A2 sights) we shall see.


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#12 B3dlam

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 09:06 PM

I've run both (ran M14 EBRs for a while at work and have personally run AR-10s) I would say the AR-10 is usually easier to milk accuracy out of but the M1A is definitely a great rifle between the two I would lean more to the socon 16 as its going to be a bit lighter with the shorter barrel.  Honestly, for what you want I would mount a good 1-4, 1-6, or 2-10 scope and call it a day.  There is no practical reason to replace that rifle for that role.  If there is something significantly lacking with your rifle then consider a rifle to replace those short comings but honestly I don't think you'll be unhappy keeping it as a ranch gun.


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#13 Spartan24

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 11:50 AM

It's been a couple months, I have gotten my M1As to the range and to a few shoots. I really like them, but a seed planted a while ago is starting to grow in my brain. I am really considering the .300 BLK. 


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#14 B3dlam

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 05:39 PM

Don't do it .300 blackout is overhyped.  It is a great caliber if you're going to do a suppressed SBR.  If you aren't going to do that it is inferior to other options in pretty much any application. If you're not going to do a suppressed SBR what are you looking for and I would happily let you know what options are out there.


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#15 pira114

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 07:09 PM

Also not a fan of 300blk. Not suppressed, I think a 30-30 lever gun matches it everywhere except capacity and reload speed. And you don't seem concerned with that.

#16 pira114

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 07:17 PM

Stolen from someone else's reaearch:

Sometimes the newest, greatest, is not really much better (if any) than the tried and true cartridges that are 100+ years old.

Using a Ballistics Calculator on the interwebs, and some published data from various manufacturers I came up with this comparison that may be of interest to some folks.

Its amazing how well the 100+ year old 30-30 Winchester stacks up against a variety of new cartridges. While at modest ranged the big 50 Beowulf dominates the energy category, the 30-30 is also bested by the 6.5 Grendel but not that not by much. The old 30-30 clearly beats the standard loads for the 6.8 SPC and the 300 AAC Blackout and is roughly the equal of the high pressure Tactical 6.8 loads at the 100 yard mark, which is a pretty reasonable hunting range here in Indiana.

Add a couple inches to each barrel, or add another 100 yards to the range and go out to 200 yards and the 6.5 Grendel starts to show clear superiority to all the choices. The biggest downside to the old Winchester 30-30 is that won't cycle through a modern AR15 rifle. Assuming an ethical hunting minimum energy of 1000 ft lbs puts the 300 AAC Blackout with an absolute maximum ethical range of 100 yards.


30-30 WINCHESTER 150grain: 2390 fps / 1902 ft lbs energy
At 100 yards . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2018 fps / 1356 ft lbs energy


MODERN CARTRIDGES OUT OF A 16" BARREL: AT THE MUZZLE
6.5 Grendel 123grain: . . . . . 2480 fps / 1680 ft lbs energy
6.8 SPC 115grain: . . . . . . . . 2500 fps / 1590 ft lbs energy
6.8 SPCII Tactical 115grain. . 2575 fps / 1694 ft lbs energy
300 AAC Blackout 123 grain: 2315 fps / 1462 ft lbs energy
7.62.39 123grain: . . . . . . . . 2350 fps / 1508 ft lbs energy ***
50 BEOWULF 325grain. . . . . 1950 fps / 2745 ft lbs energy


MODERN CARTRIDGES AT 100 yards:
6.5 Grendel 123grain: . . . . . 2325 fps / 1476 ft lbs energy
6.8 SPC 115grain. . . . . . . . . 2253 fps / 1297 ft lbs energy
6.8 SPCII Tactical 115grain: . 2323 fps / 1378 ft lbs energy
300 AAC Blackout 123 grain: 1907 fps / 993 ft lbs energy
7.62x39 123 grain: . . . . . . . 2040 fps / 1136 ft lbs energy ***
50 BEOWULF 325 grain:. . . . 1490 fps / 1603 ft lbs energy

*Muzzle velocity and energy figures all from manufacturers stated published data from Winchester, Alexander Arms, Silver State Armory and Advanced Armament.

**100 yard figures for both 6.8 rounds and the 300 AAC Blackout were calculated using this Ballistics Calculator

***20" barrel was used for the 7.62x39, data from Hornady

#17 pira114

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 07:20 PM

What I'd do, is clearly define what I want my rifle to do. Speed, capacity, weight, size (yes, size matters), all play a part.

After that, I'd pick the cartridge that performs best in the platform that meets my needs. If the total package falls short on paper, go back and redefine needs and priorities. The answer will be there
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#18 B3dlam

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 07:41 PM

I have posted these before but here's a comparison of cartridges I did a while back.
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09F0FB77-4545-4422-A420-BA30B4000DDF_zps

Edited by B3dlam, 15 August 2016 - 07:53 PM.

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#19 Spartan24

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 09:13 PM

After reading your posts, I'm definitely pumping the brakes on my thoughts. Defining what I need and want is something that I really do need to do. Seems so obvious, yet maybe I am not even sure.

I want something modern. Easily maintained, ergonomic, and lighter weight.

I want something with power. I want to be able to deer hunt with it. 

I want something that takes a commonly found high capacity magazine. 

Does my M1A and SOCOM16 fir that bill, yes, for the most part. I started as an AR guy and still want something that is reminiscent of that.


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#20 B3dlam

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 09:31 PM

An AR15 rifle in 5.56/.223 meets all of your requirements:

Its modern, easy to maintain, ergonomic with all the customization you can do, and far lighter than your m1a/socom16

It has sufficient power Minnesota DNR regulations require a caliber of at least .220 and it must be centerfire for big game and with properly selected bullets it should take a deer. 

It accepts readily available magazines with capacities of 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, and 100 rounds


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