The Springfield M1A SOCOM II is a semi-automatic carbine chambered in 7.62 NATO or .308 Win. The M1A is the civilian version of the famous M14, which was once a standard issue US military rifle. It was also known to be very accurate and reliable. Springfield offers eight models different models of the M1A.
What makes the SOCOM II different from the SOCOM 16 is its cluster rail system, where there are Picatinny rails on the top, bottom and sides of the carbine for easy mounting of optics or accessories. There is also an extended top rail version available (add about $100).
The SOCOM II is gas-operated, so propellant gases are captured by a tube near the muzzle, which directs the gas into a valve on the bolt, and the gas pushes the bolt back so it can eject a spent casing and chamber a fresh round.
Features of the SOCOM II include a two-stage military trigger that sets off the action with a 5- to 6-pound pull. It has military sights that are adjustable for windage and elevation. It has a tritium dot front sight, so shooters can see it at night. And it has a synthetic stock.
Springfield recommends the SOCOM II for military or law enforcement, but also hunting varmints.
|Sights:||Adjustable ghost ring rear sight and XS tritium dot front sight post|
|Features:||California approved model available|
Extended top rail model available
Gas-operated; two-stage trigger with 4 to 5 pound pull; and muzzle break
|Twist:||1 in 11"|
Please do not confuse the M1A with the M1 Garand. The M1A, which is
manufactured by Springfield Armory, is the civilian version of the M14,
a semi-retired battle rifle. The M1 Garand, a true war horse, was of
the .30-06 caliber while all of the M14/M1A variants are the .308
Now that that’s clear, the M1A is successfully used every year at the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. They have been so successful in the tournament that Springfield Armory has named a very high-end match grade version the “National Match” and the “Super Match.” It’s not a trinket or a toy of the local gun shop, rather a monument to precision shooting. The National Match M1A rifles can deliver pinpoint accuracy at ranges up to 1,000 yards.
In my collection, I have owned a National Match variant and it was like having a child born—you can’t help but fall in love with it. As stated in the Rifleman’s Creed, “This is my rifle, there are many like it but this one is mine…” All you can do when you fire this thing is grin a think “yeah baby, that’s the ticket!”
Knowing that their geneses are virtually one in the same, I see the M14/M1A as brothers rather than cousins. The M1A was originally assembled using surplus M14 parts, but Springfield Armory eventually began manufacturing components specifically for the M1A when public demand increased.
The differences in the two are the M14 is a select fire big brother, beefier, slightly heavier and a bit better made than the little brother, the M1A. Several older M1As use the stock of the M14 and still have the carve-out behind the receiver for the selector switch. There were several M1As that were converted to fully automatic and registered as NFA Class III rifles.
Springfield has made several variants of the M1A that are very popular. The first is the M21 tactical rifle, the SOCOM II with the 16” barrel and the M25 “White Feather” in honor of legendary Marine Sniper Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock.
But M1As have received harsh criticism over the years through several attempts at banning and restricting at the hands of anti-gun lobbies. In response Springfield sacrificed the bayonet lugs (who would use a bayonet these days anyway?) and replaced it with a muzzle brake (which allows for the attachment of a bayonet for those who want it).
Mounts for optics are available for the M1A, but please understand that these rifles have made competitive history without the use of optics. They are designed to rely primarily on the open, iron sights that are attached to the rifle.
One of the major concerns the US military had with the M14 was the wooden stock because troops fighting in the jungles of Vietnam frequently complained about it swelling in the wet and humid conditions. I could also say I had that same criticism because I removed the walnut stock from my National Match, and replaced it with a synthetic stock to prevent inclement weather conditions from playing havoc with my zero—that and I wanted to preserve the quality of the wood as I am rarely gentle unless properly scolded.
I would encourage anyone who has the ability financially to purchase one of these rifles when possible, provided they aren’t looking for a compact, lightweight firearm. They are heavy, and are not appropriate for close in work such as with law enforcement, but are fantastic big game rifles. They are even more impressive target rifles with superior accuracy, balance and recoil management.