SAI’s M1A Standard: A Rifleman’s Dream; His Wallet’s Hiccup

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Admittedly, I am a Milsurp fanatic. If it’s seen battle or has historical significance and is C&R Eligible, odds are I want it.  The Springfield M1A is neither C&R  nor battle weathered since they’re no longer using USGI parts, but for all intents and purposes it is the civilian application of the legendary US Rifle 7.62 MM, the M-14.

Since I love history, a little must be written in this review. The Army first decided it could use a magazine fed, fully automatic M1 Garand around the same time they started converting carbines to select fire towards the end of the Second World War. John Garand first had an M14 prototype, or at least something that resembles the rifle we know, by the end of 1944.

The end of the war however shelved the need for the rifle, so it remained on the back burner into the end of the decade. To spare the telling of an even longer story, the M14 finally entered service in the late 50’s and into the 60’s as the nations main battle rifle after winning out against a license produced FAL variant in field trials. The M-14’s rightful glory as the primary rifle would unfortunately go short lived as the M16 would unfortunately take precedence in the middle of the worst possible war for the jam-o-matic’s introduction–Viet Nam. One can only wonder how many American lives could’ve been saved had the M-16 not been so quickly introduced.

Meanwhile, back in 2015: The M1A carries on the tradition of its military predecessor, just without the happy switch. Each trigger pull is clean and quick to break, just in the Garand fashion.  My Standard model was procured at Lock N Load Guns here in Las Vegas after months of staring at them in anticipation and envy, and it should go without saying that the wait was worth it.

Accuracy was spot on out of the box, with further field testing to occur over the next few months worth of days off, .308 budget permitting. The windage and elevation adjustments don’t require an understanding of nuclear physics, and it’s safe to say even the most casual of shooters could quickly learn to make 300-400 yard shots with the now standard issue National Match grade sights.

The only planned modification I have for this rifle is swapping out the flash suppressor with one featuring a bayonet lug, to bring the rifle closer to its rightful battle rifle configuration. I’ll also eventually add the M6 bayonet to my collection to complete the package.

Everything about this hobby is expensive. The M1A Standard model can be had for under $1500, gradually increasing in price from there. The Standard is exactly what it sounds like out of the series, but don’t be fooled. Its price may be “entry level,” its workmanship is flawless like a Swiss watch. Standard merely means its closest to the military model in specification and appearance. A $50 flash suppressor switch turns it from M1A into a semi automatic M14 in appearance.

Magazines range from $12.99 on extremely luck of the draw basis to as much as $50. Ammunition, and some guns have been known to be picky, can range from $.37 a round to over a dollar. Needless to say the M1A isn’t priced for everyone, and other M14 type offerings from James River Armory, LRB, and more start at well over double the price of a SAI Standard. However, for those who find room for this rifle in their budget, it most assuredly will not disappoint.