Springfield M1A (M14) SOCOM II Project

I have always wanted a battle-proven semi-automatic rifle, chambered in .308 Winchester, to play around with and try to improve upon.  The Springfield M1A SOCOM II seemed to be a perfect match for that endeavor.

I began by mounting a SWFA SS 3-15x42 first focal plane (FFP) scope via an American Defense RECON mount.   As I did so, I discovered that I could not achieve proper cheek weld, even though I had chosen the lowest possible scope mount.  I went and ordered a Triad Tactical Scope Pack, for which I needed one additional Comp Height Kit to make the cheek weld work.  To say that I was able to make it work is generous, as it started tilting over the stock's comp due to too many layers of Velcro straps (Comp Height Kit).

In order to avoid any cant error, I decided to install a Flatline Ops ACCU/LEVEL since I've been wanting to try one for a while.  Mounting the level and setting it true was very easy with its two adjustment screws, allowing it to be leveled in both the folded and unfolded positions.  While I was at it, I also mounted a Burris FastFire II that I had lying around, using a GG&G B-Comp Ring System.

At the range, I adjusted the Schuster Adjustable Gas Plug that I had installed, together with a National Match Operating Rod from Sadlak and a Smith Enterprises Gas Piston.  The Schuster Adjustable Gas Plug was easy to adjust and reduced recoil quite a bit, which left me pleasantly surprised.  Even with the reduced recoil, the rifle had a lot of horizontal movement when fired in the prone position using a Harris Bipod.  The first thing that came to my mind was to change the Springfield Muzzle Brake out with a superior design.  Due to the barrel length of 16.5 inches, I decided against a baffled brake and instead installed a BattleComp, for which I needed a different gas lock (I used Smith Enterprises').

Back to the range I went.  With the new muzzle device installed, the recoil was reduced even more, but the horizontal movement still persisted.  At this point, there was no doubt that this was due the fact that the butt of the stock was offset to the bore.  A decision had to be made in regards to whose stock/chassis I would choose.  After doing some online research I decided to drop my M1A into a Troy Industries M14 Modular Chassis System.

The installation of this system is quite extensive, but doable by anyone with a little bit of knowledge in this arena.  From my online research about different stock/chassis systems on the market for the M1A, I already knew that the Troy Industries MCS is on the heavy side.  Weight does not bother me since it results in even more recoil reduction, aiding in lightning fast follow-up shots at longer distances.  When it came time to make a decision on which butt stock to use, only one came to my mind, the ACE Hammer.  It is heavy, all metal (with the exception of the cheek piece) and looks absolutely sexy on the Troy Industries MCS.  The ACE Hammer is an exceptional stock, just not for the AR/M4 platform for which it is intended.

With the cheek piece raised, the AR/M4 type of rifle can only be charged with the butt stock in the last two positions, which would have been easily avoided by making the cheek piece spring-loaded to slide back and forth with the charging handle (much like the LaRue Tactical RISR).  For the M1A in a Troy Industries MCS, however, the ACE Hammer stock is perfect, almost like the products were developed in conjunction with one another.  Now with the weight of my M1A already sky rocketing, I figured what the heck, stick with the aluminum theme, so I installed a GG&G XDS-2C bipod, as well as a Hogue A2 aluminum grip.

After looking at the rifle for a while, I was bothered by the empty selector switch cut-out in the Troy MCS. I decided to try to install a Hawk's M14 Dummy Kit. It took some machining on both the selector kit and on the chassis to get it to fit properly.  After about two hours of work, which did not do anything to improve the rifle's performance, it sure enhanced the looks, and I would say it was worth it.

Take three at the range; both recoil and horizontal movement were 100% eliminated.  The group size shrank from roughly 1 MOA to .7 MOA, on average, at all distances (100 to 600 yards), using cheap 150 grain Hornady FMJ bullets over Hodgdon Superformance powder in once fired Federal Gold Medal Match brass.   This rifle turned out to be quite a shooter, with affordable ammo, for high volume mid-range shooting.