Originally Posted by lovetoshoot
I have a Springfield M1A and LOVE LOVE LOVE shooting that gun. Which one would you recommend I get to go along with it. A smith, a Fulton or a RRA?
Also, for the people that have the smith, are they worth all the $$$$? I thought the Springfield was pricey but not compared to the smith!!!
I was in the same dilemma a while back. In my case, I was gonna go with a Smith build using an LRB receiver, but decided in the end to build up on a Norinco M14S receiver instead, and pick up another M1A for about the same cost as the LRB/SEI build would have run me at the time. It took me about a year of research/parts gathering to come to this decision, but in the end, I ended up with 2 rifles for roughly the cost of one, and haven't regretted it....
My Norinco M14S build
Criterion 18.5in chrome lined bbl
USGI bolt group, trigger group, gas system, op-rod spring, connector lock(conv), and stock
Smith GLFS (H) with Vortex DC flash hider
Norinco Op-rod (1 piece forged steel construction), rear sight assembly, and bolt stop.
Sadlak op-rod spring guide
ARMS #18 split rail scope mount
This rifle has over 10k rds through it to date with out any issues, and will shoot just as well as my daughter's Fulton M14, and buddy's LRB M25. I use it to hunt with exclusively now with and without a scope. On a side note...... I was on the lookout for a solid way to mount optics on the M14/M1A, and have a very low profile. The ARMS 18 does set a little lower than my buddies LRB M25 which appealed to me.
At present, it may take some decent funds to come up with a good set of parts, but it can be done. Smith, and Sadlak make excellent quality parts from my actual dealings with them. To be honest, I find that the OEM chi-com parts are pretty decent in their own right, and I haven't personally come across a bad one yet, but hear a lot of stuff on the net about "soft" bolts. Since I had the USGI parts/Criterion bbl at the time, I chose to go this route. ( This rifle is my SHTF gun after all...)
Forged vs cast receivers ? I don't even go there, but will state that I have yet to wear out either type to date. If this difference matters, then your options are as follows... Forged = LRB, Norinco, and Polytech. Cast = pretty much everything else short of an actual M14, or a few Smith built receivers that would most likely demand a fortune, if you can locate one for sale.
(The other rifle I bought) M1A Socom. After dropping it in a USGI synthetic stock/HG, this rifle is fairly handy in the bush. My son uses it to hog hunt with.
M1A Bush rifle built from factory with USGI (TRW) parts minus reciever and bbl of course. My wife has "claimed" this rifle, and she will ruin a hog's day with it.
I have had zero issues with the SAI M1A in several of their different models over the years. The lifetime warranty travels with the rifle, and doesn't matter if a body buys new, or used. SAI customer service is great, and it is good to know that a company will back up their goods so to speak. Others mileage may vary however. I keep an eye out for M1A's built with USGI parts, but thats just me.
No " hands on" with a Smith built rifle at present. The budget doesnt allow for it at this time.
To my knowledge, RRA (Rock River Arms) does not build any M14 type rifles, but if you are referring to their AR's chambered in 308, then I cant comment here either as I don't have an interest in them at present, and limited hands on with any AR in 308.
FTR..... This is just my .02... I'm not a professional gun builder, or gun dealer in any way. Just a very satisfied "end user".
I would be interested in your final decision, and your own reasons behind it.