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Springfield M1A SOCOM 16 Carbine: Gun Review

SOMETIMES YOU WANT a gun because of what it will allow you to do—take an elk at 500 yards, tag a whitetail in dense brush, or a rimfire that shoots a dime-sized group on paper at 400 yards. And sometimes, you want a gun just for what it is, and where it came from.

I have lusted after a Springfield SOCOM 16 carbine since it was introduced in 2004. It has an impressive lineage—a descendant of the M14 and the M1A, which in turn owes much of its design to the M1 Garand.

Springfield cut down their semi-auto M1A rifle as much as possible to achieve a lighter, shorter semi-auto .308 Win. rifle without heading into SBR territory—the “16” comes from the gun’s 16-inch barrel. That barrel is mated to the gun’s gas system with a proprietary muzzle brake that helps tame the .308 in this small and relatively light gun.

(For more on the Springfield M1A rifle line and a deeper dive into its history, go here)

The M1A SOCOM 16 from Springfield Armory

The looks, furniture, and controls all scream M1A, just more compact. It feels handy, the way a scout rifle does or the way a lever-action carbine does—it comes to the shoulder and the rear peep sight to the eye with almost no effort at all, like it belongs there.

Could you hunt with this gun? Absolutely. It would make a terrific brush gun and with its forward mounted picatinny optics rail and .308 chambering, it can be used as a scout rifle quite easily, though it is a tiny bit heavy at just under 9 pounds without optics or ammo.


The M1A SOCOM 16 was not, however, designed for the woods, but for more tactical situations. Living in a restricted state, I opted for the original SOCOM 16 design with a black composite straight stock, but the carbine is also available in a CQB stock with a five-position adjustable buttstock and adjustable cheek piece, pistol grip, and M-LOK rails at the front of the gun for accessories.

If you want to add AR-style accessories to the SOCOM 16, the CQB stock is the way to go. If you want to keep it simple with just maybe a long-eye relief scope or a red dot optic, the classic SOCOM 16 is still full of features.

If you want that M14 look, Springfield also makes the M1A Tanker, which is the same length as the SOCOM 16 but with an American Walnut stock and matching brown polymer barrel shroud to complete the look.

SOCOM 16 at the range


The rotating bolt functions much like that of the M14 and it has the same familiar charging handle.

On the left side of the receiver is a bolt lock that will engage if you pull back on the bolt on an empty magazine. You can also manually engage it with the magazine ejected, but you have to pull the bolt back to release it and put it into battery. That means you can’t close the bolt on an empty magazine. Why does this matter? It really doesn’t. Just something quirky about the design to note, especially if you’re used to ARs.

Also worth noting, like the M14, the bolt carrier mechanism includes a reciprocating bit that runs along the right side of the receiver. It can interact with your fingers. It’s beveled in such a way that’s it’s not going to slam or pinch the fingers of your support hand, but they can get in each others way if you aren’t aware of it and that could prevent the rifle from cycling.

When I tried to use the gun with a Precision Turret from Caldwell, I had to move it all the way to the front of the stock to keep it from interfering with the bolt, which made that particular clamp style rest not really usable with this gun.

Like the M14 and many other pre AR semi-auto rifles, the magazine release is a lever behind the magwell, which means the magazine sort of has to be rocked into the magwell from the front when loading. This can be a little stiff when the rifle is new too, but loosens up and becomes smoother as the magazine release breaks in.

The manual safety is a stiff metal tab that lives in a notch cut in the front of the trigger guard, just like the safety on an M14 and the M1 Garand—back is safe, forward and clear of the trigger guard is hot. It can also use some breaking in when new out of the box.

The SOCOM 16 comes with integral sling loops at front and back and a good, modern adjustable two-point sling would pair great with this gun.

Another quirky little holdover from the M14 is the buttplate.

It’s a steel hinged plate that can be lifted to reveal a sort of double-tubed compartment meant to house the military issued cleaning kit for the M14—which you can totally buy online and put in there if you want to. But it would probably be better to save the on-board weight and cover that steel buttplate with some kind of recoil pad.

Also note there is a guide at the top of action behind the ejection port which actually allows the magazine to be loaded with stripper clips. I don’t know how well it works, I didn’t get to try that feature out, but with the price of magazines for this gun and the fact that it only comes with one, it might be a viable option at the range.

That is to say, the mags made by Springfield are pricey with MSRPs of $54.95 for the 20 rounders, $49.95 for 15-rounders, and $39 for 10- or 5-round mags. You can typically get them for a little less in real world prices, but not much.

ProMag does make a cheaper alternative, and while I haven’t tested their M1A mags, reviews online suggest you get what you pay for.


I was going for an endurance test, so there was only one type of cartridge in the ammo box for the SOCOM 16 range test, and as it turns out, the gun loved it.

The economical Speer Gold Dot LE Duty 168 grain soft points ran wonderfully without a single hang-up or feeding issue over 400 rounds.

The centers of silhouettes at 30, 40, and 50 yards were confetti after some mag dumps and semi-rapid fire drills and the rifle is balanced and shoots nicely off-hand.

SOCOM 16 and ammo at the gun range

The best group I could get out of it with my eyes and the not very precise iron sights off a rest with no rear bag was a hair over 2 inches at 50 yards. For a “battle rifle,” with a 16.25” non-free-float barrel, LE ammo, and a pretty large ghost ring peep sight (which is adjustable), that’s acceptable. With some slight magnification, better irons, or a better shooter, I’m sure that would tighten up quite a bit.

Premium ammo can also help. I recently ran a couple dozen of SIG’s brand new Elite Hunter Tipped 165-grain rounds through the SOCOM 16 and my groups shrank to about 1.75″ at the same range and with the same eyes—or maybe I was just more on that day.


I really dig this rifle.

Sure, it’s a little heavy, it’s optics options are pretty limited, a few of its features are outdated, and some are even relics of old rifle designs. Are there “better” semi-auto .308s you could get for similar money? Yes. But there’s something special about this gun.

It handles great, it shoots and cycles wonderfully, its kick gets a little sharp after a few hundred rounds, but then again, that’s how it is with most .308s. And I just like it. I like how it operates, I like the way it feels in the hand and the blend of polymer and old fashioned steel and the solid thud of a .308.

It’s a cool gun and one that can certainly serve many practical roles for which nimble, moderate to long-range rifles in .308 are suited. And it’s a lot of fun to take out to the range for no particular reason at all and it feels like one of those guns that if you practice with it a fair amount, you could get really good with it. Would I take it deer hunting? Absolutely. Did I spend a lot of time with it at the range—more than was required—yes…yes I did.

I will also say this: if this rifle could be chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor like Springfield’s M1A Loaded model and a reasonable optics base solution could be provided from the factory, it’s usefulness might increase depending on performance of the 6.5 ammo in the 16.25-inch barrel.

Springfield M1A SOCOM SPECS

video by Jeff Rife

Sours: https://www.range365.com/springfield-m1a-socom-16-carbine-gun-review/

Springfield Armory M1A Socom 16 7.62 NATO|308 AA9611

Springfield Armory M1A Socom 16 7.62 NATO|308 AA9611




Barrel length:

Rifle: Semi-Auto


7.62 NATO|308

9.3 lbs

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Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM

Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM



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What is a SOCOM M1A Rifle Worth?

A SOCOM M1A rifle is currently worth an average price of $1,700.86 new and $1,535.63 used . The 12 month average price is $1,740.32 new and $1,758.27 used.

The new value of a SOCOM M1A rifle has fallen ($331.29) dollars over the past 12 months to a price of $1,700.86 . The used value of a SOCOM M1A rifle has fallen ($262.59) dollars over the past 12 months to a price of $1,535.63 .

The demand of new SOCOM M1A rifle's has risen 20 units over the past 12 months. The demand of used SOCOM M1A rifle's has risen 5 units over the past 12 months.

Estimated Value

*Using 80% condition for calculating used Values.
*Caliber, Barrel Length, Generations, Sub Models may all affect item price. Make sure your search is specific enough to get the correct value.
Trade In$998.16$1,105.56
Private Party$1,535.63$1,700.86
Sours: https://truegunvalue.com/rifle/socom-m1a/price-historical-value

Price m14 socom

Springfield Armory M1A

"M1A" redirects here. For the locomotive, see Pennsylvania Railroad class M1.

Semi-automatic rifle. Sniper rifle

Springfield Armory M1A
M1A Kafziel.jpg

Springfield Armory M1A with bipod and M6 bayonet

TypeSemi-automatic rifle. Sniper rifle
Place of originUnited States
DesignerElmer C. Ballance
ManufacturerSpringfield Armory, Inc.
Unit costDepends on model
VariantsStandard, Loaded, National Match, Super Match, M21, M25, SOCOM 16, Scout Squad, SOCOM II, Tanker
Mass7.8–11.6 pounds (empty magazine)
Length37.25–44.33 inches (946–1126 mm)
Barrel length16–22 inches (406–559 mm)

Cartridge7.62×51mm NATO
.308 Winchester
6.5mm Creedmoor
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fireSemi-automatic
Feed system5-, 10-, 20-, or 30-round[1] double column, detachable box box magazine, optional 100-round drum magazine[2]
SightsNational Match front blade, match-grade hooded aperture with one-half minute adj. for windage and elevation.

The Springfield Armory M1A is a civilian version of the M14 rifle designed and manufactured by Springfield Armory, Inc., beginning in 1974. The term "M1A" is a proprietary title for Springfield Armory's M14-pattern rifle. Early M1A rifles were built with surplus G.I. parts until Springfield Armory, Inc. began manufacturing their own.

Differences between the M1A and M14[edit]

The M14 was developed to take the place of 3 different weapons systems: the M1 rifle, M3 "Grease Gun" and M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). It was thought that in this manner the M14 could simplify the logistical requirements of the troops by limiting the types of ammunition and parts needed to be supplied.[3] It proved to be an impossible task to replace all seven as the cartridge was too powerful for the submachine gun role and the weapon was too light to serve as a light machine gun replacement for the BAR. (The M60 machine gun better served this specific task.)

The Springfield Armory M1A is, for the most part, identical to the M14. There are, however, a few important differences:

Selector switch cutout in M1A stock manufactured in 1997

M1A receivers are made from precision investment cast AISI 8620 alloy steel. The military M14 receivers were manufactured using the drop forge process, which is more complicated and more expensive. Until around the late 1990s, the M1A produced by Springfield Armory retained the cutout in the rear right of the stock for the selector switch found on the M14. Springfield Armory has also omitted the "7.62-MM" caliber designator on the M1A receiver since 1991.

Once the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was passed prohibiting the manufacture of firearms with bayonet lugs (among other features), the M1A no longer shipped with a bayonet lug. Although the 1994 law expired in September 2004, making bayonet lugs on newly manufactured firearms legal again (in most states), Springfield Armory has not restored that feature. Since the bayonet lug is attached to the flash suppressor, "post-ban" rifles can easily be fitted with a bayonet lug by fitting a pre-ban flash suppressor.

The California Assault Weapons Ban prohibits flash suppressors on all semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine. As a result, Springfield Armory designed a muzzle brake, which they installed in place of the standard flash suppressor on all models that were sold in California. The muzzle brake reduces climb of the barrel, making the rifle easier to control.

M1A/M14 select fire rifles[edit]

Most of the M1A rifles manufactured since 1971 were made for the commercial market, and thus were only capable of semi-automatic fire. Springfield Armory, Inc. and Smith Enterprise Inc. were the two companies that produced select fire M14 type rifles for civilian ownership. Up until May 1986, Springfield Armory, Inc. had a Full Auto Department at their factory in Illinois. A few M1A rifles were converted to select fire and registered with the ATF by Class II manufacturers like Neal Smith and Rock Island Armory. The receivers of these select fire rifles have the selector lug and operating rod rail cuts for the connector assembly.


Springfield Armory M1A National Match

Besides the standard M1A, Springfield Armory also produces multiple variants. The M21 Tactical and M25 White Feather have been discontinued.

Loaded rifles[edit]

The Loaded variants are available with either a walnut or synthetic stock, and one model comes with a Precision Adjustable Stock. All Loaded models include the following features:[4]

  • Barrel: air-gauged medium weight National Match (available in stainless steel or parkerized chrome moly steel), 22 inches (56 cm) in length with a 1:11 right hand twist.
  • Front Sight: National Match .062” Military Post
  • Rear Sight: GI Match Grade Non-hooded Rear Sight: Aperture .0520, Adjustable, One-half Minute for Windage and One Minute for Elevation
  • Two-stage Military Trigger, Match Tuned, 4.5 to 5.0 pounds-force (20 to 22 N)

The Loaded models do not have the action glass bedded into the stock as do the National Match models.

Match rifles[edit]

Two M1As are advertised as match rifles, the National Match M1A and the Super Match M1A. The National Match is a more basic model, while the Super Match is more customizable has additional features on some models such as a McMillan stock and a Douglas stainless steel barrel.

Scout Squad[edit]

The Scout Squad is an M1A marketed toward law enforcement users. It has an 18-inch (46 cm) barrel, a forward-mounted optical sight base, and a proprietary muzzle stabilizer. It is advertised as being optimal for Aimpoint optics, although most mounts attached to the factory accessory rail will still require a cheekrest in order to get the proper weld. It is available in both wood stocked and synthetic furniture options with different colours of wood and synthetic stocks.

SOCOM rifles[edit]

Battle rifle

The SOCOM 16 and SOCOM II are modern variants of the M14 manufactured with lighter materials. SOCOM is an abbreviation which refers to the United States Special Operations Command. These variants have a barrel that is just slightly longer than the minimum barrel length of 16 inches (410 mm) permissible without taxing and registration under the National Firearms Act in the United States. The gas system was reworked to ensure proper operation with the shortened barrel, and a new muzzle brake was added to help soften recoil.

The SOCOM 16 was introduced in 2004, with the SOCOM II being introduced the following year; they are essentially the same except for their accessory rails. An uncommon variant called the SOCOM II Extended Cluster Rail features a longer top rail that extends over the ejection port to the stripper clip guide, allowing the operator to mount optics farther to the rear. It appears the SOCOM II was discontinued at the end of 2014.[5][6] The SOCOM 16 CQB (close-quarters battle), a SOCOM 16 with a pistol grip and telescoping stock, was introduced in early 2016.[7]

The SOCOM 16 and SOCOM II are largely identical to the standard M1A, but feature a 16.25-inch (413 mm) barrel, rather than the standard model's 22-inch (560 mm) barrel. The specially designed muzzle brake is designed to reduce the increased recoil produced by the shorter barrel. In addition to the top accessory rail for optics, the rifle has enclosed Garand-style iron sights, with tritium inserts for low or dim light conditions. The rifle will accept any M14 magazine, with typical capacities of 5, 10, or 20 rounds.

The only difference between the SOCOM 16 and SOCOM II is the Picatinny rails. The SOCOM 16 features a short length of Picatinny rail in front of the action, above the handguard,[8] while the SOCOM II features a continuous top Picatinny rail from just ahead of the action to the front of the handguard, and shorter lengths of rail on the sides and bottom of the handguard.[9] The extra Picatinny rails allow for more attachments, including scopes, grips, lights, and lasers, but also means the SOCOM II weighs 10 pounds (4.5 kg), compared to the SOCOM 16's 8.8 pounds (4.0 kg). Because the rails add weight at the front of the weapon, it is more muzzle-heavy than the SOCOM 16, making it more difficult for some users to engage multiple targets quickly.

See also[edit]


  1. ^https://www.classicfirearms.com/m14-30-round-steel-magazine/
  2. ^https://www.galatiinternational.com/beta-c-mag-m14-m1a-100-round-magazine-system-with-pouch-and-loader.html
  3. ^M14 Rifle History and Development (by Lee Emerson)
  4. ^http://www.springfield-armory.com/products/m1a-loaded/
  5. ^"M1A series on Internet Archive, December 28, 2014". Archived from the original on December 28, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^"M1A series on Internet Archive, January 8, 2015". Archived from the original on January 8, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^Bahde, Dave (May 3, 2016). "M1A SOCOM 16 CQB: Springfield's Close-Quarters Brawler". tactical-life.com. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  8. ^"SOCOM 16 on Springfield Armory's official website". Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  9. ^"SOCOM II on Springfield Armory's official website". Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  • Springfield Armory USA (2006 Catalog)
  • Duff, Scott A, Miller, John M and contributing editor Clark, David C. The M14 Owner's Guide and Match Conditioning Instructions. Scott A. Duff Publications, 1996. ISBN 1-888722-07-X
  • U. S. March 1989 foreign small arms import ban Semi-automatic rifles banned from importation in 1989
  • Emerson, Lee and contributing editors Different's M1A/M14 Information Archive
  • U. S. Department of State Dispatch Bureau of Public Affairs: May 30, 1994
  • Iannamico, Frank. The Last Steel Warrior U.S. M14 Rifle. Moose Lake Publishing, LLC: Henderson, NV, '05.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Armory_M1A
CYMA CM032A M14 / SOCOM 16 / Unboxing / Review / Airsoft On a Budget

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