Is an M1A OK for service rifle matches?

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Is an M1A OK for service rifle matches?

Postby charlesb » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:32 pm

That may be a silly question to some, but I truly do not know.

I really don't have a clue about service matches, except that the service match guys get PO'd if you show up at the range on Saturday morning, and I've only seen them shooting AR15's.

Will I embarrass myself again if I show up on Saturday with an M1A?

I tried for an AR15, but none of the guys at the gun show with AR's wanted to trade with me ( I was short on cash, but had guns ) but the fellow with the M1A scout rifle was most cooperative and gave me a good deal on the trade.

This is the gun I have:

http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=37

It's Springfield Armory "Scout Rifle" that has an 18" barrel and a section of picatinny in the hand-guard area for a scout scope. The hand-guard is dark brownish fiberglass, it looks like.

The stock is black composite with a squishy recoil pad, but I bought a Boyds wooden stock and original butt-plate so that I could convert it over to oil-finished walnut, when I get around to it.

It's OK to make fun of me in the answer, as long as I get good advice too.

I know absolutely nothing about the M1A, or about service matches.

I like the feel of the gun, and intend to start off with the open sights that it has.

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Postby Bullseye » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:23 pm

You would be good to go with the standard M-1A but the scout rifle is not a true service rifle. The definition of a service rifle is one that has the same external dimensions as a rifle fielded by the US military. The M-1A is a civilian copy of the M-14 service rifle. I went Distinguished with the M-14 but you don't see them as much on the line anymore. The bigger recoil of the 7.62mm round has deterred folks from using them. The AR came into the competition when the CMP made changes to the service rifle rules to make them competitive against a match tuned M-14.

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Postby charlesb » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:46 pm

Thank you, Bullseye.

I'll go down there next Saturday and see what reaction I get. - I am not sure if the Saturday activity is a formal match or just some guys with service rifles shooting together.

One Saturday morning I was down there at the crack of dawn with my BLR and some of the fellows told me cease and desist. I was about finished as they were showing up so it wasn't really an inconvenience to me. They seemed irritated to find me there, maybe somebody was rude to them in the past, or something.

One good thing about the M1A is that if it's not suitable, I can easily trade it and 500+ rounds of ammo for a decent AR.

The M1A Scout looks like it would be a fun gun though, and a bore-scope inspection showed what looks to be a good barrel.

I can't say the same thing about a Moison-Nagant that I got at the same gun show. Boy was that barrel a nightmare! - It looked like a sewer pipe or something, I was tempted to use Drano on it.

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Postby Bullseye » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:13 am

For what it's worth, I still enjoy shooting the M-1A and the M-1 Garand in service rifle competition. Although I must admit I use the AR more these days in favor of the lighter recoil which translates to more "sight on-target" time in the sustained stages. Weaker recoil means faster recovery between the shots in a string. With an added bonus of a slighter "Butt kiss" on my shoulder from the AR. As I age, those purple marks take a little longer to subside.

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Postby charlesb » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:25 pm

I was kind of 'saved by the bell' when I went to the gun club to fire a few rounds through the M1A scout... The lock on the gate had been changed, and my key was no good. - Time to re-up on the gun club membership, I forgot that it comes around on September first.

So the M1A is still unfired and I have decided to leave it that way, sell it, and use the money to put together a different rifle project that I have had in mind for a while.

I have the NIB M1A scout with a synthetic stock, a NIB Boyd's Walnut stock with a used steel buttplate for it, two 20rd magazines in addition to the ten round mag that comes with the gun, and 560 rounds of ball ammo.

I'll be trying to translate that into a Browning A-bolt stainless stalker with the BOSS barrel tuner in either 30-06 or .270 caliber, with an upper-crust Nikon or Leupold scope and Conetrol 'custum' stainless mounts and rings - along with dies and reloading supplies for a year or so.

First I'll try a swap with the local gun shop and failing that, I'll have to sell and buy.

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Postby charlesb » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:04 pm

It looks like a barrel -swap would make my scout M1A legal for service rifle shooting. As far as I can tell, the barrel is the only component that I would have to swap.

My only fear is that position shooting may be required, I'm not up to that any more.

I was practicing shooting while standing up with my BLR, and got good at that, but getting up and down to shoot prone or sitting is more than I can handle, I discovered.

73 DE Charles, N5PVL

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Postby Bullseye » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:26 am

There are exceptions for folks with difficulties like being able to get into position and remain there while others rise and drop. Also, can you shoot from a kneeling position? It is an acceptable substitute for the sitting position, although a less stable holding stance for that stage.

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Postby charlesb » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:40 am

My knees are shot, kneeling is painful and I avoid it if possible.

I looked over the rules and discovered that the Scout Squad is not legal due to the short barrel, and also because it has a muzzle brake. - So a barrel swap would make it legal if I put a regular flash hider on the new barrel.

I think it's the 22" match barrels that I would need to look at, to legalize the gun.

Apparently the DCM's days are now numbered due to import restrictions "decreed" by the president that will dry up the source of Garands.

I think I'll step aside and let some younger shooter have a go at the remaining supply. My father carried a Thompson in WWII so the Garand has no special appeal for me. - For other folks though, it would really mean something special to obtain one.

Now I just have to decide if I'd rather shoot the Scout Squad for fun - or sell it to finance a high desert hunting rifle.

I'm going to leave it unfired while I think it over, but that won't keep me from admiring it, it's a nice-looking rifle and has great handling qualities.

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Postby Bullseye » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:34 pm

Just because you may not get to shoot it in service rifle categories doesn't mean you have to sell the Scout rifle. Many folks run an unlimited category where you can enjoy shooting it across the course. You'd just be competing against folks with match (bolt) rifles. No big deal if you are just wanting to get in some trigger time with it. You should inquire with the match officials in your area as they may have some other ways to allow you to compete without folding yourself into a pretzel.

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Postby charlesb » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:56 pm

Tomorrow morning ( Saturday ) is when they have the service rifle matches. I'm planning to go down there and watch, and I'll drag the M1A scout with me and get an opinion from them about it.

I am unclear as to just how official they are, it may be an informal group that would not care about the short barrel and muzzle brake. - And there's only one way to find out.

There is one guy in the club who has a heavy duty tarp-like thing that he lays on to shoot his Garand - but I don't remember seeing him at the service rifle match. I usually run across him and his buddy who acts as a spotter in the middle of the week. He has special clothing and I can tell that they are trying to follow a definite regimen there. Nice folks to share the range with.

Anyway, I'll see what's what tomorrow morning I guess.

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Postby Bullseye » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:01 am

Using a heavy padded shooting mat for the prone and sitting positions is very common for a Service rifle match. You will also see folks wearing heavy shooting coats with non-friction pads attached to the elbows and shoulder area. Spotting scopes are a must for scoring and estimating wind conditions at the different ranges. Environmental conditions play a significant role toward success in playing the high power service rifle game.

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Postby charlesb » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:59 am

Well, it turned out that I was misinformed. - They do the service rifle matches on the third Saturday, not on every Saturday as I thought.

In fact, I didn't see anybody at all on the range last Saturday, and did some relaxed plinking with my "new" mosin-nagant.

I scrubbed the nagant's barrel for several days and got out the majority of the copper and carbon. - The inside of the barrel still looks nightmarish, but not as bad as when I first got it. - Lots of pitting and corrosion in there.

I had two kinds of ammo, some that came in stripper clips and some that came in paper packets.

There must be some trick to loading the rifle with the stripper-clip. I've used stripper clips on other guns with great success, but on the nagant, I never got it to work right.

In any case, the stripper-clip ammo would split down the side when fired, making a rubber hammer mandatory for extraction. I fired two rounds of it and called it quits, grateful that I had only purchased three stripper clips full of it.

The paper-package stuff worked just fine though, giving me three inch groups at 50 yards. - I was greatly relieved about this because in addition to buying two paper packs of this ammo, I had also bought a big SPAM can full of it along with a heavy-duty church-key to open the thing up.

We have man-sized silhouettes of 1/2" steel on the range at 100 yards. - I found that I could stand up with the nagant and hit that target every time, so if nothing else, the gun is a good plinker.

As for the M1A, I'm keeping it NIB in hopes that it can be parleyed into a new Browning A-bolt "Stainless Stalker" with BOSS in 270 or 30-06, along with a Nikon Monarch 4-16x42 side-focus BDC. - Browning ceased production of the Stainless Stalkers this year, so now is the last chance to get a new one.

I had a Stainless Stalker in the past, in .300 Win Mag - and that gun would put the first three rounds out of a cold, clean barrel into 1/2", every time using Federal premium 180 grain loads. - So I'd like to have another one in a lesser round that won't hurt my bony old shoulders or maybe detach a retina.

If the deal on the Browning falls through, I'll probably keep the M1A and put a high-end optical sight on the handguard-mounted picatinny rail. - I have heard that the relatively light Scout Squad model makes a fair medium range deer/pig rifle, and would replace the BLR that I traded off ( with supplemental cash ) for the M1A.

All of the deer hunting here in the high desert involves long shots at hefty mule deer, after hauling your rifle around for hours on uneven ground littered with prickly plants and critters.

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Postby charlesb » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:06 pm

Today I had an idea on how to make a M1A Scout Squad legal for the service rifle matches - I think.

The two areas where the Scout Squad are not kosher are the over-all length is 2" shy on account of the 18" barrel, and the muzzle brake is also a no-no.

My idea is to have a 2" piece of steel tubing with female threads on one end and male threads on the other, in conjunction with a regular M1A flash-hider.

I would remove the SS muzzle-brake, screw on the piece of tubing, screw the flash-hider onto that - and in theory I would then possess a gun legal for service rifle matches. - I think.

Does this sound plausible?

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Postby Bullseye » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:22 am

I cannot answer this question adequately. Some will depend on how strict your local league adheres to the CMP rulebook. If they're running CMP sanctioned matches, then no. The CMP has some very tight restrictions on what is or isn't a legal service rifle. In some cases the dimensions of the stock can disqualify a weapon. The best source of information on what is possible to make your rifle service rifle legal is to inquire with the CMP's rules division.

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