Gun of the week #8: Springfield Armory M1A


Every Wednesday, I feature one gun from my collection. This week it is a Springfield Armory M1A

This gun was owned by my father-in-law. He was an ex-Navy Officer and retired police officer. He had literally 100’s of guns at his house.


Rear of Gun

One closet was full of Single Action Army Revolvers, he had two rooms full of rifles. Like every rifle you could imagine, and he probably had 3 of them. If he really liked a gun, he had more.  For example, he had 14 Colt 1911s.  My son and I were given a few fire arms over the years, and I bought a AK-47 from him. But the gun, I always admired was his M1A.


Well Christmas of 2012, After all the giving of the presents was over last year, my son pulls out a package.   It is rifle shaped.  I open it and it is my father-in-law’s M1A. . It a SpringField Armory National Match and is one of the early ones, It has a 4 digital serial number 52xx.  My son had bought it from his grandfather for $100 and was giving it to me for Christmas. (His grandfather was getting rid of his guns.He is now unfortunately in a full time care facility and can no longer shoot or even possess his guns)


My 16 year old took it upon himself to convince his grandfather to sell him the gun, paid him $100 of his own money, and then hid the rifle in the trunk of my borrowed car, and drove it home. (Luckily he was not stopped, that could have been a bad incident)


Supposedly the original ammo that came with the gun


front part of the gun. It does say NM on the barrel

Words failed me. I was so amazed at getting this gun from my son.  It is my favorite rifle.

I am not quite sure of when it was made, because I have seen conflicting information on the serial number sites that track M1a guns.

It looks like the rifle stock had the select fire cut out originally and the stock was patched at same point which is not typical for this serial number. It has NM on the barrel. Some people tell me the serial number 52xx means late 1970’s.  The supposedly original box of National Ammo that came with the gun says 1963. My father inlaw has Alzheimers and cannot tell me when or where he got the gun

It says the following on the gun:

us rifle
7.62-mm m1a
Springfield Armory T(trademark)

History of MA1

The M1A is a civilian version of the M14 rifle designed and manufactured by Springfield Armory, Inc. in 1974. The term “M1A” is a proprietary title for Springfield Armory’s M14 pattern rifle. Early M1A rifles were built with surplus G.I. parts until Springfield Armory, Inc. began manufacturing their own.

The M14 was developed to take the place of four different weapons systems—the M1 rifle, the M1 Carbine, the M3 “Grease Gun” and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). It was thought that in this manner the M14 could simplify the logistical requirements of the troops by limiting the types of ammunition and parts needed to be supplied. [1] It proved to be an impossible task to replace all four as the cartridge was too powerful for the submachine gun role and the weapon was too light to serve as a light machine gun replacement for the BAR. (The M60 machine gun better served this specific task.)

The Springfield Armory M1A is, for the most part, identical to the M14. There are, however, a few important differences:

Early M1A receivers were made from surplus M14 receiver blanks, current M1A receivers are made from precision investment cast AISI 8620 alloy steel. The military M14 receivers were manufactured using the drop forge process, which is more complicated and more expensive. Until around the late 1990s, the M1A produced by Springfield Armory retained the cutout in the rear right of the stock for the selector switch found on the M14. Springfield Armory has also omitted the “7.62-MM” caliber designator on the M1A receiver since 1991.

Once the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was passed, prohibiting the manufacture of firearms with bayonet lugs (among other features), the M1A no longer shipped with a bayonet lug. Although the 1994 law expired in September 2004, making bayonet lugs on newly manufactured firearms legal again (in most states), Springfield Armory has not restored that feature. Since the bayonet lug is attached to the flash suppressor, “post ban” rifles can easily be fitted with a bayonet lug by fitting a pre-ban flash suppressor.

The California Assault Weapons Ban, which went into effect January 1, 2000, prohibited flash suppressors on all semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine. As a result, Springfield Armory designed a muzzle brake, which they installed in place of the standard flash suppressor on all models that were sold in California. The muzzle brake reduces climb of the barrel, allowing the operator to aim more quickly for another shot.

Most of the M1A rifles manufactured since 1971 were made for the commercial market and thus were only capable of semi-automatic fire. However, it is estimated that less than 50 select fire M14 type rifles were manufactured and registered for civilian ownership prior to the passage of the Firearm Owners Protection Act on May 19, 1986. Springfield Armory, Inc. and Smith Enterprise Inc. were the two companies that produced select fire M14 type rifles for civilian ownership. Up until May 1986, Springfield Armory, Inc. had a Full Auto Department at their factory in Illinois. A few M1A rifles were converted to full-auto fire and registered with the ATF by Class II manufacturers like Neal Smith and Rock Island Armory. The receivers of these select fire rifles have the selector lug and operating rod rail cuts for the connector assembly.

2 thoughts on “Gun of the week #8: Springfield Armory M1A

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