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Thanks to the crypto currency Solana’s meteoric rise earlier this year, I could afford my own copy of the “great gun” Guns Save Life selected for our Great Guns 2024 drawing.  For those who missed it, the Illinois gun rights group GSL likes to give away a really nice firearm every year in a multi-month drawing. Springfield’s M1A Scout Squad got the nod this year thanks in part to the state’s sloppily-written gun and magazine ban.

And because GSL loves poking fun and ridiculing political hacks that think they’re better and smarter than the little people like us.

Why would I buy something with wooden furniture? Admittedly that’s outside of my usual lane. However, after Land o’ Lincoln’s Governor signed a bill banning America’s favorite rifle and many like it last year, that limited my defensive choices in my dysfunctional state.

Enter the Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad. It’s barely legal thanks to shipping with a muzzle brake instead of a flash suppressor.

But don’t look at it as a neutered doggie. It fires a very potent 7.62×51 NATO round in a tried and true rifle design that’s put down a lot of commies and bad actors over its 50+ years of service.

I expected good things based upon my limited experience shooting more traditional M1As over the years.

I got more than I expected.

Fellow instructor (and Best Man x2) John Naese fires some rounds from the Scout Squad. He put his seal of approval on it too. John Boch Photo

First Shots & First Impressions

At the DeWitt County Sportsman’s Club, I set up targets and stuffed some magazines. My M1A now has a proper rifleman’s sling, one that can be fashioned into a loop sling for precision long-range work or use as a hasty sling for, well, hasty use.

The trigger proved very good for a factory product, breaking cleanly. The long sight radius helped provide precision in aiming. Then, when you do your part with a nice trigger squeeze, that’s when the magic happens and the M1A puts rounds on target.

The biggest surprise? That muzzle brake works better than I expected, taming the recoil down to something similar to an AR-15. Even better, it did so without the addition of a ton of obnoxious noise like AR- muzzle brakes I’ve worked around in my time as a rifle instructor.

The only negative experience involved the mechanical safety. In previous M1As I’ve handled, the safety worked as if lubricated with butter. This one required real work to put the safety on—and required pushing firmly with the thumb to get the safety off. I’m told that this difficulty will disappear with use. However, I think I’d rather go have another colonoscopy than sit around for a few hours working that safety on and off a few thousand times.

Four rounds of 150-grain Winchester soft-point defensive rounds including two in the lower left hole. I quit while I was ahead after adding two clicks to the right. John Boch Photo

Accuracy, even with nonmatch ammo proved excellent. Reliability was perfect. Fit and finish, outside of the safety actuation, was great. Springfield’s machines also crafted a great piece of lumber for the stock—probably walnut, but I’m not an arborist.

With a street price of about $2,000 with tax and 7.62/.308 ammo going for about a buck a round, this isn’t a rifle for those on a budget. Unless of course you hold the winning ticket at the Great Guns 2024 drawing, of course. (With odds a whole lot better than the lottery.)

Remember how gun control is racist, classist and sexist? Welcome to the “classist” aspect of that trifecta.

Since taking it out and putting it through its paces, it my M1A has become my go-to tool for commies and criminals who might want to visit harm to me, my family or my community.

Yes, you can thank Gov. Jelly Bean for prodding me to replace my weaker .223 dispenser with a .308 for two-legged pest control, especially for swarms. Consider it the unintended consequence of gun control…driving people to (far) more powerful defensive tools.

Given our state’s onerous new gun ban, perhaps the best part of owning this particular boomstick where I live is not needing to look over one’s shoulder when taking it out for some range therapy.

 

Need Ammo? Check out Ammo To Go, the ammunition retail sponsor of TTAG gun reviews and simply a cool online place to fulfill all your ammo needs.

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45 COMMENTS

  1. Well I’m likely getting a 308 Savage bolt gat that will suffice until we move east. It also shoots that 7.62×51 NATO stuff which is generally cheaper. I have no plans shooting a traitor brand gat like you Boch. I’ll forgive them when we move to Indiana🙄…where my AR & verboten magazines are.

    • Springfield Armory operates under new leadership. But even under old leadership, they learned a VERY valuable lesson the hard way. They’ve been nothing but helpful in lobbying the General Assembly (properly) and in supporting efforts to roll back the gun ban.

      None of us walks on water, including yourself. We picked the rifle as a nod to Springfield for their unwavering and significant support in the legal fight against Pritzker’s gun and magazine ban. I’m glad they’re here.

      I was the one who broke the story of their work with a sketchy lobbyist to pull a self-serving fast one. That was what, something like six or seven years ago?

      If that whole scenario came to pass again today, I’m sure they would can the lobbyist before they engaged in chicanery again.

      What’s more, you’ll never guess who that lobbyist is working for today. (Hint: It ain’t Springfield or Rock River… or ISRA) And you’ll never guess the rumors about his involvement with the gun ban legislation in an effort to retain access to top Dems in the IL Dem legislative leadership for his non-gun-related clients.

      John

      • That’s swell. Happy your so forgiving Boch. With a billionaire bribing ILLannoy supreme court gals you are tilting at windmills. And with several states openly defying SCOTUS my mind isn’t changed. Part of living here for 70 years🙄 ME

      • Sounds very nice, but I’ll bet you a cup of coffee that if Prickster offered them a carve-out to his ban they’d shut right up.

      • This is good to hear. Especially since I violated my conscience and got a new SA carry last year. I wanted the grip safety and there aren’t a ton of choices.

  2. As I explained to my boys when we all bought M1As,
    “This is not an assault rifle. This is a battle rifle. Battle rifles are for well trained soldiers and warriors who prefer an effective weapon. Assault rifles are for slack jawed faqqets who can’t handle the recoil from a real rifle.”

    • How do you handle all that testosterone? Do you keep the excess in a towed trailer? Or do you get in-flight refueling like a F-16?

  3. Load that with 150 grain hollowpoints and you have a reliable “one shot stopper” out to 400 yards minimum–assuming center mass hits on a human attacker. (And those single-shot stoppers will be immediate stoppers.)

    Another bonus: you don’t have to worry about wearing our your barrel since it is chambered in .308 Winchester. (Smaller high-velocity calibers such as .223 Remington / 5.56x45mm NATO and .243 Winchester wear out barrels within something like 6,000 to 14,000 rounds.)

    • Thought the 5.56 and particularly .223 were a low enough pressure to volume that they didn’t particularly wear the barrel too quickly. Obviously would be faster than 7.62×39 or 308 but should be substantially slower than anything in a .223 – .270/6.5 range of full sized cartridges (but not long action).

      • Someone (maybe the ammunition distributor LuckyGunner?) performed a .223 Remington / 5.56x45mm NATO barrel longevity test. And I want to say that they even tested more than one kind of barrel and ammunition.

        Their barrels showed an obvious reduction in the rifling as early as something like 7,000 rounds and I want to say that the barrels had very little rifling left around 15,000 round count.

        The minimal amount of research that I encountered suggested that virtually any chambering with muzzle velocities of 3,000 feet-per-second or greater wore out barrels WAY faster than chamberings with muzzle velocities of 2,850 feet-per-second or less.

        All of the above is from memory though so my numbers could be off slightly. What I am absolutely confident in is that .308 Winchester barrels will last a LOT longer than barrels chambered in the smaller and faster calibers.

        • Neat will have to look into that later on and see how it links up with other weird stuff I have been reading.

    • “(Smaller high-velocity calibers such as .223 Remington / 5.56x45mm NATO and .243 Winchester wear out barrels within something like 6,000 to 14,000 rounds.)”

      The price of fitting a new barrel is a small pittance compared to the price of buying 10,000 rounds of .223-5.56…

      • Oh I know, 5.56 especially is low end of worry for parts replacement or ammo cost comparatively and it is more building out the maintenance schedule and cost over stupid levels of round counts I am working on and then making it an easy to adjust excel file to remind myself that new calibers get expensive if actually used.

  4. I would seriously consider buying something like that M1A rifle if its price was closer to $600, maybe $800. That $2000 price tag is no-bueno.

    • Yep. Wishing I’d have bought one when they were $800-900, but then again $800 was a lot of money.
      Let’s see, $2,000. That’s about 6 trips to the grocery store as long as you limit your purchase to a 1lb bag Good Value Pinto beans.
      Those big Night Crawlers are a good source of protein, slice them down the middle, clean them up, throw them in some batter and a hot kettle of grease. Oh, shucks. I forgot I can’t afford the grease or salt, or batter. Okay, just drape’m over a stick and a fire if you have to have them cooked.
      Easy recipe.

      • Not so fast Rat Fink…Way back long ago You said you were saving for a M1A and being as I built Match MIAs I offered my costly hard learned advice…Recently I asked you about having a M1A yet and your azzhole remark was maybe or maybe not…Ring a bell? Needless to say azzhole I wouldn’t give you the time of day much less M1A anything. I took up for you when someone complained about your gumns lingo and that won’t happen again…and to add insult to injury your slacker attitude to relect POTUS DJT…that straw broke the camel’s back.

        • Maybe I don’t want to admit to what gunms I got DebbieW, remember all the alphabet agencies are reading these gunm blogs.
          I got that, I got this, I bought that I sold this. Not to smart when the BATFE is murdering people for selling a Glock.
          Leaky boats and deep rivers.

          • Rat Fink, that’s a tattletale/snitch, and nope definitely not that.
            Azzhole maybe, maybe not.
            DebbieW thd very few firearmns I do purchase need “tweaking”. They have all preformed as expected. Besides your just adding after market parts what is this tweaking that you speak. Lapping bolts? Piller or glass bedding stocks? Cutting a barrel back incrementally until you find the harmonic sweet spot?
            It really doesn’t take all that much to add after market products or polish a feed ramp.
            Tell me what you do to bring your 2MOA Springfield down to sub minute of angle.
            BTW, I’ve still not given up on getting an M14, it’s just that for right now $$$$ is hard to save. I’ve got other priorities besides another gunm.

          • “Rat Fink, that’s a tattletale/snitch, and nope definitely not that.”

            Typical deborah, nasty to nice critters like our Possum.

            Take your hate and go somewhere else, like the DNC, you bitter old bat… 🙁

  5. I have one with a polymer stock in desert camo. Bought it last year. It’s lighter than the wood stock. Three hundred yard shots with the stock sights are very possible. I put a Vortex 2-7X32 scout scope on it for accuracy at even longer ranges. Magazines are over twice the cost for an AR-15, but they are stamped out of steel. IMHO the muzzle brake is very loud. I think the rifle’s a little too much for home defense if you have other options, but it’s heck of a lot of fun for the range.

  6. I wish mine was as accurate as that one. Even with Match ammo I cannot get groups like that. I did notice some QG issues, like the operating rod striking the scout scope mount base. i ended up with several national match parts (spring guide and gas cylinder) on in an effort to get it to shoot better, and its still not shooting like that target shown. I still enjoy shooting it though.

  7. What about ranch versions of mini 14/30? They have a similar set up, although they’re also more than $900, triple the price they were a few years ago.

    • When you say “a few years ago”, I think you mean 25+ years ago. 😉
      I remember seeing Ruger Mini Ranch rifles in the $329 range at Bi-Mart back in the 1990s. At that time you could also get $99 SKS, and $69 Mosins. Sadly, I was young and poor at the time. That was a while ago. The older I get, the faster time seems to fly by.

      • Time flys by.
        It did but after theBiden was elected? time seems to have stopped. This is the longest 4 years I can remember.,,,,,, ,oh gawd and unless he dies we’ve got another 8.

      • “When you say “a few years ago”, I think you mean 25+ years ago.”

        More like $1,100 these days.

        Last Mini-14 I bought new was $425 in 1998…

  8. I have yet to see anywhere online or in print where Springfield Armory has publicly taken a position on the current unconstitutional Illinois guns laws.

    I’ll pass on anything SA. They’re even importing Turkish crap now. Turkey supports Hamass by the way.

    • I have a difficult time thinking Muslims support Ham ass.
      , maybe that’s the butt secx Chris is always talking about?

  9. I got my Scout Squad with the desert sand composite stock for about $1300 new, but that was years ago. Got the SOCOM from a friend for a $1000. It was a great deal. Both have Leupold scout scopes. Fantastic rifles for hunting. They just work. Also picked up a new Ruger mini 14 in 6.8 SPC. Kind of rare, I bought it years ago because the caliber was legal in my state for deer, when 5.56 was not. Still looking for a Ruger Deerfield 44. mag.

    • ” Ruger Deerfield”
      Yes please! Set ’em up w/ detachable box mags this time.
      Maybe after the Marlin lever gun production levels off?

      Meanwhile: Win. Trapper, M1 Carbine, Mini 30 etc. will have to do…

  10. I live 10 minutes from that club.

    Ironically we have a hard time finding long range shooting opportunities in such a flat place.

  11. If you don’t like the wood furniture, they also offer it in black composite with an MSRP that is $142 less than the wood version. Not as pretty though.

  12. Barrel wear answers: It’s pressure and heat…not caliber. Gunpowder at atmospheric pressure 3100-3200F, at 55000PSI it’s 4200-4300F…Steel melts under 2800F and Chrome under 3400F. Every shot removes molecules and heat stresses and anneals the surface of the bore, progressive wear from chamber end is result. Mil-Std accuracy with 855 lost at @10000 rounds…Unknown but higher heat at 85000PSI like Fury yields @3000 round accuracy loss. -Multiple subject matter expert for ARL with over a million rounds fired in firearm testing…not called Brother Grimm for nothing.

    Quit repeating wives tales and think: precision rifle 1500 round accuracy, 3000 fps, 24″ barrel equals 1/1500 second barrel time…barrel life? One second…

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