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With all the M1A threads that have gone up over the past few weeks and after doing a little research on them I quickly found out I want one.

After recently purchasing a beautifully looking and shooting Garand, I'd like to have the naturally evolved version of it.

I'll be pricing one out later this week and I'm aware of the differences between the models but I wanted to get some opinions from you guys what would be a good 1st M1A. Of course I'm sure all of them can be, but I'm looking for one of the longer barrel, more traditional looking ones.

My main use is just as a plinker at a little bit of a distance. I'll probably add a scope for it down the road but for now I'd just keep the open sights. What's the difference between the hooded and non-hooded rear sight?

I love the look of the walnut stock but other than the wood warping over time is there any other disadvantages over the synthetic? I figured the synthetic would be a little lighter but SA's site says the comparable wood/synthetic weigh the same.

I'm leaning towards the loaded since I don't need a glass bedded stock etc. and its just a fun target gun, not a competition gun. But I think my biggest dilemma is what kind of barrel to get. I've heard of SS BBL's but not Carbon Steel? Is there a big difference between the 2? They are both rated as NM medium weight air gauged and from what I can see it just looks like their appearance is different.

Is their loaded similar to the 1911 loaded, where your getting a great gun to start with out the box that doesn't really need any changes?

Sorry for such a long post and so many questions, I'm just intrigued by it and want to learn as much as possible so I get the right one.

Enlighten me!
 

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With all the M1A threads that have gone up over the past few weeks and after doing a little research on them I quickly found out I want one.

After recently purchasing a beautifully looking and shooting Garand, I'd like to have the naturally evolved version of it.

I'll be pricing one out later this week and I'm aware of the differences between the models but I wanted to get some opinions from you guys what would be a good 1st M1A. Of course I'm sure all of them can be, but I'm looking for one of the longer barrel, more traditional looking ones.

My main use is just as a plinker at a little bit of a distance. I'll probably add a scope for it down the road but for now I'd just keep the open sights. What's the difference between the hooded and non-hooded rear sight?

I love the look of the walnut stock but other than the wood warping over time is there any other disadvantages over the synthetic? I figured the synthetic would be a little lighter but SA's site says the comparable wood/synthetic weigh the same.

I'm leaning towards the loaded since I don't need a glass bedded stock etc. and its just a fun target gun, not a competition gun. But I think my biggest dilemma is what kind of barrel to get. I've heard of SS BBL's but not Carbon Steel? Is there a big difference between the 2? They are both rated as NM medium weight air gauged and from what I can see it just looks like their appearance is different.

Is their loaded similar to the 1911 loaded, where your getting a great gun to start with out the box that doesn't really need any changes?

Sorry for such a long post and so many questions, I'm just intrigued by it and want to learn as much as possible so I get the right one.

Enlighten me!
Ok first I'll answer the things I know:

The hooded sight has a notch on it, by rotating it 180 degrees up and down you change the POI by 1/2 MOA.

I am looking for a long range M1A as well. The Springfield Dealer I talked to said that the Loaded is better than the National match.

I personally prefer Synthetic because I feel it is much more durable.

As for the SS... How do you want it to look? Do you want it to be "tactical"? If so go with the blued barrel, otherwise you would have to coat the SS. The dealer told me the SS doesn't give you an advantage over the regular barrel. It is just the look.
 

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The hooded rear sights are referred to National Match or NM. Besides the notch, they block out light and are interchangeable with different size apertures.

Good read here: Fulton Armory FAQ: The M1 and M14/M1A National Match Rear Sight

Not sure why you are worried about the walnut stock warping? I have several M1 Garands with original WWII walnut stocks and none are warped.

It is easier to find synthetic stocks. If you want to also have a wood stock, I would buy with the walnut and buy a synthetic after. If you decide on only one I might go with the synthetic.
 

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My M21 Sniper rifle was really just a National Match M14. It was a walnut stock that was glass bedded. If you get the National Match you will have a great gun that can reach way on out yonder! The Scouts and SOCOMs are special purpose rifles for shorter range applications.
 

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I was gung-ho about buying the Loaded model, but when I went down to the shop to buy it, they were out of stock. Would have been another 3 days wait. The shop was sympathetic, taking into account that I drove 87 miles one way to get to the shop to purchase through them, so I got it for 1600 out the door. $100 less than MSRP on the Standard walnut/blued rifle (according to Gallery of Guns.com - Gun Gallery, Ruger Firearms, Shooter Online Services, Firearm Industry News, Firearm Dealer, Gun News anyway)

Im happy with it. Already got my A.R.M.S. scope mount and got it sighted in at 100 yards. Its a real shooter. I was able to get a good 3/4MOA 3 shot group out of it after I got it sighted. And Im not really all that good. Im decent, but Im not great.

I love my M1A National Match. Its worth the money.
 

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I have a standard and a scout squad. In the Army I trained on, and used the M21. If you are looking for just a great rifle for a cheaper price I would just go with a standard. I can tell you this, the wood stock heats up pretty fast. The fiberglass does not contain the heat as much and has a nice feel. I can not really tell you what models are better, they are all good, I will leave the choice up to you, but I would urge you to look into the Scout Squad. My next M1A will be the M21.
 

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I have a Standard from SA and it eat's any ammo and is a pretty dam good shooter

 

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Go with a Standard

 

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Not sure why you are worried about the walnut stock warping? I have several M1 Garands with original WWII walnut stocks and none are warped.
I've read a gov't report that was written based off of anonymous interviews from soldiers who had seen combat in 'Nam. One of their complains was the wooden stock of the M14 did not fare well in the climate of that area. The stocks swelled up and down, warped, etc. Since the fit of the stock is crucial to the M14's accuracy, it created a problem.

I've got over $2K invested in mine, and so I don't plan on playing soldier boy with it in the swamplands of Florida anytime soon. It isn't my go-to SHTF rifle, rather it fills the long distance role in my collection. I prefer the look, feel, and nostalgia of the wood stocks.

P.S. I agree with Panther308, go with a Standard. Mine will shoot between 1 and 1.5 MOA with the right ammo & concentration.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies.

At this point it looks like I'm leaning towards either a standard or loaded with a walnut stock. I love the look and feel of a classic wood stock and I'd rather have a factory walnut stock and get an synthetic stock later if needed.

I'm going to price some out in the next couple days.
 

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I don't know what it is. Maybe its the "Evil Black" look but I'm an all synthetic man. The grips on the 1911's I want. The M1A I have, and the Loaded I want. The shotguns I want. All are sythentic.
 
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