U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Springfield Armory National Match M1A has been the gold standard of accurate autoloading rifles for quite some time before the .308 ARs stole the crown and beat the M1A into submission with said crown.
Guess what though, there are a whole bunch of old guys that have been shooting them for some time that could put most shooters to shame. Don't dismiss the M1A National Match, it might just be the wood and steel, throwback rifle that you are looking for.
Inside the box:
I was surprised when I opened the cardboard box to find a useful nylon rifle case inside, instead of just a rifle. It seems all too often that manufacturer will forgo something of actual value in an effort to cut costs. When a rifle is shipped out with an appreciated extra, like a case, I take notice.
The rifle comes with a single, 10 round magazine sadly. I would have preferred to see more than one or even a single 20 round mag but I imagine that Springfield Armory only included the reduced capacity magazine to ensure that the rifle was legal in states like California.
Beyond the usual things like user manuals and a lock, there wasn't anything else of note in the box when the rifle arrived.
Features, Controls & Operation:
The National Match M1A has some slight enhancements made to it, like a National Match two stage trigger group, upgraded sights, and a glass bedded stock, to eek out as much accuracy as possible from the aging platform. The trigger is identical in function to the standard M1A trigger pack, with the exception of a slightly better trigger. The safety is also identical to the standard M1A, a simple push forward and the rifle is ready to make loud noises.
Some of the other selling points of the M1A National Match are the upgraded National Match sights, that feature a .0595″ rear aperture, a .062″ front sight blade, and1/2 MOA adjustments that allow you to dial in the perfect zero. The rifle is also glass bedded at the factory in an effort to give the shooter the most consistent rifle possible.
Springfield also fits the National Match M1A with a match-tuned gas cylinder (whatever that might mean) and a National Match recoil spring guide.
Even though it has been forever since I have spent some time trying to get an iron sighted rifle to shoot tiny groups, the M1A did an alright job with match grade ammo. I loaded up several mags of Silver State Armory 168 grain match ammo, and got to blasting, but sadly the best group that I could muster was just over a minute and a half at a hundred yards. That means larger than 1.5″ at 100 yards for ye knuckle draggers.
Recoil was manageable and the trigger wasn't half bad. While I have been long spoiled by Geissele triggers on AR platform rifles and tuned, two-stage triggers on my bolt guns, the National Match trigger still allowed me to shoot reasonably well. The overall feel of the rifle was quite nice. There is just something about shooting a gun with irons and a nice wood stock.
The pros for the rifle are kinda short. While the rifle is more accurate than a standard M1A, it isn't that much more accurate based on my experience. The overall feel of the rifle did put a smile on my face, but really the gun just isn't up to modern standards.
Springfield did add some nice features that make the rifle feel like it is worth closer to the hefty asking price of $2,359 but not close enough for me to seriously consider buying the rifle.
I really did quite like the stock and the fact that it had been glass bedded without me having to do it myself. I have to admit, they did a far nicer job than I would have. The 22″ 6 groove barrel with a 1-11 twist that has been air gauged is a nice touch as well.
Pretty much the biggest con is that the rifle was designed off of one of the worst service rifles our nation has adopted since we have moved to a semi-auto for general issue. The National Match M1A is not anything beyond a target rifle in my mind, it just isn't designed in a manner that would allow it to operate reliably in harsh conditions.
You can wipe that zombie fantasy where you fend off hoards of lumbering undead from the roof of your local Walmart now. This rifle is gonna jam and your neighbor is probably going to eat your eyeballs.
Other cons include the singular 10 round magazine. Factory magazines are expensive and it would have been nice to have more than one included given the hefty price tag.
Is the National Match M1A a rifle that I would spend my hard earned dollars on? Probably not. There are just too many other options that aren't $2,359 that either beat the National Match M1A in performance or are exactly as good.
That said if you are looking for an M1A that is more attainable than the ludicrously priced $3,708 Super Match M1A with a McMillan stock, the National Match M1A might just be the right gun.
You can find all the specs that your heart might desire on the Springfield Armory website.
About Patrick R.
Patrick is a firearms enthusiast that values the quest for not only the best possible gear setup, but also pragmatic ways to improve his shooting skills across a wide range of disciplines. He values truthful, honest information above all else and had committed to cutting through marketing fluff to deliver the truth. You can find the rest of his work on FirearmRack.com as well as on the YouTube channel Firearm Rack or Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.