When Guns.com asked me to review an M1A rifle, I thought, “Oh boy, one of my ‘bucket list’ dream rifles!” Nothing against AR-15-type rifles, but if I want to reach out to 600 yards and beyond, the .308 Winchester cartridge is my choice. 

Not your run-of-the-mill M1A, this SOCOM 16 from Springfield Armory is meant to fill any need from competition to home defense, law enforcement, and hunting.
 

Table of Contents

Video Review
History
My Impressions
The Stock
Specifications
Range Time
Pros & Cons
Conclusion

VIDEO REVIEW

 

 

HISTORY

 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
Springfield Armory's SOCOM 16 QCB in .308 Winchester is an impressive range-time companion. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


In 2004, Springfield Armory decided to modernize the original M1A rifle. The full-size M1A battle rifle had successfully replaced the M1 Garand rifle in the 1950s. However, in the civilian market, it did not keep pace with the changing demand for a more versatile rifle design. 

The first major upgraded version was called the SOCOM II. It sported a shortened 16-inch barrel, custom muzzle brake, and Picatinny rails to allow many accessories. 

In 2017, the new Archangel stock was added, transforming the gun into a lean, mean, shooting machine! This model, called the SOCOM 16 CQB, it is the subject of my review.
 

Related: M1 Garand Rifle Review – How Does This Old War Horse Hold Up Today?
 

MY IMPRESSIONS

 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
The SOCOM 16 rifle has an assortment of old and new features, from the M1-Garand-style rear sight to the M1A 20-round box magazine ... (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


When I opened the custom Springfield Armory soft gun case and saw the SOCOM 16, I thought, “What a strange-looking beast of a gun!” Hefting it, I notice that it is heavy – over 9 pounds despite the synthetic polymer stock. 

What a strange combination of old and new. Looking closely, I see an M1-Garand-style rear sight, trigger group, safety, and operating handle. Yet, there is the familiar M1A 20-round box magazine and stripper clip top-loading attachment.
 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
... and stripper clip top-loading attachment. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)
Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
The SOCOM 16 is a different breed of rifle. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

The Archangel stock turns this rifle into a hybrid. This is a new breed of rifle. I can imagine shooting a 3-Gun action match with it. Shooting iron sights or attaching a long-eye-relief scope to the top Pic rail would make this rifle unstoppable. 
 

What a great truck rifle it would make! The adjustable stock and short barrel allow it to fit in a small space. Home defense gun? You bet! This gun will stop anything at home or at my campsite in the desert.
 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
A forearm grip provides extra control for a variety of shooting positions. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


I love the solid feel of this rifle – it begs to be fired. The stock’s pistol grip gives me control and point-ability lacking in earlier rifle versions. It feels like the Kalashnikov and M16 series of rifles. 

Although the powerful .308 round will reach out when aimed, I am tempted to fire this beast from the hip. What fun that would be! The adjustable stock allows me to shoot from prone, sitting, or standing offhand with a simple click. I like versatility in a rifle.  
 

Related: Happy .308 Day – Why The Mighty .308 Round Is Still Relevant
 

THE STOCK

 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
The adjustable Archangel stock means this rifle is versatile for any application. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


The biggest improvement to the old rifle is the Archangel stock. Made of tough polymer, it incorporates many new features. The AR-15-style pistol grip has a hollow small parts compartment. The forearm has M-LOK slots cut on three sides to allow many accessories of your choice. 

Most important is the adjustable buttstock. This feature not only makes the gun storable in collapsed configuration but allows the rifle to fit nearly anyone. The length of pull (LOP) is very important to good long-range accuracy. 
 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
Length of pull is adjustable up to 14.5 inches. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


The SOCOM 16 Archangel allows me to set LOP at exactly my desired 14 inches. Someone with longer arms will appreciate the max LOP of 14.5 inches, not often seen on other rifles. Also, I see that the stock is built to take a hard hit. No wood here to crack or break. It is a nice design. 
 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
The Archangel stock is easily swapped out with the included M1A-style synthetic stock. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Included with the rifle is the older M1A-style synthetic stock. It is 33 inches long with a fixed LOP of 13 inches. It is a nice change for those wanting a conventional stock for target shooting or hunting and is easily interchangeable with the Archangel stock. 
 

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Overall length: Adjustable from 35.5 to 38.5 inches      
  • Barrel length: 16.25 inches, 6-grove steel
  • Length of pull: 14.5 inches max (stock extended)                
  • Trigger: Two-stage, 5.9 pounds
  • Rear sight: Garand-style adjustable windage and elevation         
  • Front sight: Tritium XS Post           
  • Caliber: .308 Winchester     
  • Action: Gas-operated
  • Magazine: 10 or 20-round detachable steel box 
  • Weight: 9 pounds, 2 ounces      
  • MSRP: $2,250 
     

RANGE TIME

 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
Robust at 9 pounds, the SOCOM 16 QCB is still maneuverable. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Driving up the mountain road to Area 51 near Tucson never seemed to take so long. I want to shoot this rifle! The targets of opportunity are here: steel plates, paper targets, and plenty of 2-liter soda bottles have been left by the aliens in Area 51. My work is cut out for me.

To load the M1A rifle, I must first draw back the operating handle all the way and lock it using the catch on the left side of the receiver. The safety is pulled back to engage it. Next, take a 20-round box magazine and insert it into the lower receiver at a 45-degree angle. 

Then pull it back to the vertical position to hear a reassuring “click.” It must be pushed in hard to engage properly. Failure to do so will result in the magazine falling out. I release the operating handle and slide the safety forward, and the rifle is ready to fire.
 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
The M1-Garand-style rear sight ... (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)
Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
... matches well with the front and is easy to aim. Note the custom muzzle brake. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Aiming with the Garand-style rear sight is easy and natural. The front sight stands out and is easily acquired. I shoot a few rounds on paper to check my zero. Four clicks up on elevation is about right for close-range shooting. 

Although the trigger of 5.9 pounds sounds heavy, it is a very smooth two-stage break. Hitting the two steel plates is easy, but the sound of a 150-grain bullet hitting at close range is impressive. This is no mouse gun! 

Despite its power, the gas-operated action protects my shoulder. The custom muzzle brake directs the escaping gasses upward only, making this a controllable, soft-shooting rifle. I encounter no jams. This rifle is reliable. 
 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle
All smiles after shooting this .308. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


Now it is time to blast a few 2-liter bottles. The first one hit explodes, surprising me with the power of impact, and sprays soda everywhere. My lesser-caliber rifles do not burst soda bottles like this. Oops – I hit the left one too low, and it lifts off like a rocket 20 feet in the air. 

That is very cool! One hit to the steel plate sends lead fragments to burst a soda bottle. Unintended, but it shows the power of the .308 SOCOM.  
 

PROS & CONS

Pros:

  • High quality    
  • Accurate             
  • Adjustable, interchangeable stock     
  • Versatile accessory mounts    
  • Standard Garand-style tough battle sights
  • Custom muzzle brake is effective
  • Gas-operated system reduces kick     
  • Powerful .308 cartridge 

Cons:

  • Pricey: you get what you pay for!     
  • .308 ammo costs more  
     

CONCLUSION

 

Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 QCB .308 Winchester Rifle Picatinny rail
The top Pic rail is ready for your favorite optic. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)


If you are a rifleman like me, you will love this gun. It is versatile, reliable, accurate, and powerful. 

Place a long-eye-relief scope on the top Picatinny rail and it is a Scout rifle. Shorten the stock, and it is a close-quarters gun. Extend the stock, and it will shoot mid-range targets with ease. 

I feel it would make a decent hunting rifle for medium-sized game, too. Springfield Armory has improved an old design and brought it into the space age with class. Pick one up and you will see what I mean.

Read More On:
revolver barrel loading graphic

Loading