Alright, I am back merely because Matt has requested it of me personally to come back and re-affirm my points.
FOR THE RECORD: I HATE this argument with a purple passion, because there is no RIGHT answer.
People who love the platform, are going to continue to love the platform. If you love the platform, and believe in it, then so be it. I am not here to change your mind.
People who don't, like those of us in the shop, are going to continue to point out the flaws that exist in a platform that hasn't evolved with the state of accurate shooting to a point to continue to be a consideration if you are comparing apples to apples.
The big thing I keep reading is that this weapon has an edge in long range shooting. No, it doesn't. It has an advantage in MULTIPLE SHOT long range shooting, but only over a bolt gun chambered in the same cailber and only slightly in Rate of Accurate Fire.
7.62 x 51mm is a better round, at range, than the AR-15 with the .223/5.56mm cartridge. But, you have to factor in the fact that the military doesn't use hollow point ammo and you have to factor in the fact that the military 7.62 x 51mm is a 173gr. ball round and not the more standard, civilian 168gr BTHP.
A hollow point, both at close range and at long range will do more damage as a hollow point then it will do in a comparably equipped ball round.
Yes, .223/5.56mm in ball ammo is going to punch through someone at close range and leave little wound channel for the Tango to bleed out. Hence the reason for multiple rounds on target and one of the key reasons for the faster firing M4.
The whole purpose of the M4 was to put 2 to 5 rounds, in center mass, in the blink of an eye. We aren't talking round for round comparisons in a CQB setting. We are talking about the overall damage of a force on force situation.
Now, here are some facts about the M1A:
This is a gas operated, bent operating rod cycling action. That means it is "more reliable" than a standard, non sealed, gas operating system that uses just gas to cycle the action.
However, the bent operating rod, on sustained fire, leads to barrel harmonics that affect follow up accuracy. Think I am kidding? Get your hands on one and fire three shots as fast as you can pull the trigger, from a standing, slinged up position and see what your group looks like.
In addition, since the operating rod must go from stop & locked, to motion ( reverse ) , to recoil (cycling the action and moving back forward ), to stop, to lock, to motion again means that the weapon simply will not fire with the same cyclic rate of that of a gas operated system like the M4. It's physically impossible due to physics.
The weapon is heavy, right out of the box, unloaded and without optics, you are looking at a 10 pound weapon. Even with "advances" in the M1A design the new M-21 Sniper System comes in at 11.5 pounds and the M-25 White Feather Addition ( which is a joke because Carlos never used an M1A ) comes in at 12.8 pounds ( and that is with the Chandler Brothers Fiberglass stock and "Special" features ). Jesus the Socom-16 comes in at 9.3lbs from the factory!
Now, you take a 18" barrelled anything that weighs in around 10-11 pounds and go from low ready, to up and smoking in the blink of an eye and tell me how that feels. Then do it about 100 times a day for weeks on end and tell me how you feel about it.
First, we were discussing the M1A, and I assume this statement is about the M-14, but it's not accurate either. I would put one of my built AR-15s in 5.56mm against an M1A or M14 in a shear test of how fast you can empty a magazine into any man sized target, any day of the week and would gladly put a case of beer on the results.
Bottom line is this: From a pure, rifle building standpoint. A stable platform, outside the influence of any external forces, like an operating rod driven system, is ALWAYS going to shoot better than one that is susceptible to outside influences. Barrel Harmonics, Recoil driven inertia, felt recoil by the shooter for the larger caliber in a lighter than design weight for the round, all of that is going to play into how well it will shoot.
Adding a short bull barrel, and a custom cut chamber, and match grade ammo, and a tuned trigger and the best optics to both platforms isn't going to change that fact.
If you like the rifle - more power to you. Buy all that you want. You can even buy mine as I won't be adding one to my arsenal. This is merely one person's opinion that is based on what MY personal term of "accurate" is.
Accurate is not a rifle that can shoot MOA when sub moa is capable. Accurate is not .5MOA if .25 MOA is capable.
Accurate is not .25MOA if I can squeeze .15MOA out of it.
End of the day, having the biggest, baddest, most manly round in the world isn't going to do you any good if you can't get it on target before your opponent gets his on you.
If you want a shining example of that played out in a daily theater, just take a look at the CQB Battles that feature the AK versus the AR.