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I guess that every ex-military personnel gets attached to their service weapon, the M14 was no exception. This 7.62X51mm (.308), was the field ready, military issue model that was made very popular in the military during the late 50’s through the end of the Vietnam era. The M16 was certainly prevalent during the same time, but was lighter in weight and caliber, making it easier to carry not only the weapon, but in carrying a significant amount of ammunition. The M16 also disassemble much easier and faster, though its propensity to jam was much greater. In 1974, Springfield Armory introduced the M1A. The M1A is the civilian model of the military M14. Of course the major difference is the select fire system, which enabled the M14 to function in a fully automatic mode. The M1A became instantly popular with civilians, and has undergone just a few changes through the last 40 years.
For the first few years of production, the M1A was compiled using a lot of military surplus parts. The foremost used part was the receiver. The military receivers were a little more expensive, due to their manufacture and forging. While not the same today, the receivers are still highly durable, and the weapon is still in high demand. The military receivers had a plate on the side for the select fire switch, but the more modern models have eliminated it. Then there was assault weapons ban of 1994 which eliminated the bayonet lug. Fortunately, the lug is part of the flash suppressor, and aftermarket suppressors are available with that lug today. Then there was the 2000 California ban that eliminated the suppressor, but of course Springfield has a California model that answers that problem.
There are variations in barrels and barrel lengths. I had an M1A with a “match grade” barrel once, and it absolutely was a tack driver. Somewhere in the 1980s, the designation of 7.62X51mm was eliminated from off the side of the rifle and replace by the .308 designation. There are several different barrel lengths and stock configurations which can greatly affect the overall length of M1A.
Overall lengths on the M1A can be anywhere from 37.25 up to 44.33 inches. Barrel lengths from 16 inches up to 22 inches are still common, depending on the model. The weight varies with each model too, and can range anywhere from 7.8 pounds all the way up to 11.6 pounds. The detachable box magazine is available in 5, 10, and 20 round capacities. The .308 is a NATO round, which makes the purchase of military surplus ammunition plentiful and attractively priced. You will still find most other countries still use the 7.62X51mm designation on their .308 ammunition.