M1A vs AR10 Historic vs Present

| June 23, 2019 | 8 Comments

The M1A was designed by Elmer C. Ballance of the Springfield Armory Inc., in 1974.  The AR-10 rifle was developed by Eugene Stoner in 1955 and was manufactured by Armalite.

That’s right the AR10 is older than the M1A you read it right. Confused yet? The M1A is the civilianized version of the M14. The M14 was designed in 1954 and was meant to be a replacement for the M1 Garand. Eugene Stoner tried everything he could at the time to prevent this from happening with the AR10 as the M14 competitor. The AR10 could not pass military trials with the barrel rupturing during testing. Therefore history is created with the M14 being the replacement for the M1 Garand. This makes the AR10 the father to the AR15, and older than the M1A.

There are many differences and similarities between these rifles which I will cover in another article. In short you can think of the AR10 capable of being highly customized while the M1A is very limited. Mounting a scope on an AR10 took all of 5 minutes with the right tools. On the other hand the M1A took well over 20minutes and needed a rubber mallet according to instructions to mount properly.

The barrel twist rate on the M1A is 1/11 twist rate which I have found is not suitable for heavier bullets above 168gr. The AR10 has many different barrel options but most have a 1/10 twist rate which seems to do really well at distance with 178gr bullets.

Having just mounted the scope on the M1A I grabbed some 155gr rounds loaded with IMR4895 and headed to the range. IMR4895 is the proper powder with the right burn rate for the M1A and duplicates what the military used. The proper burn rate of powder is critical for safety and care to the op rod and action of the M1A. I have also found that the AR10 performs well with the same powder which makes it easy to reload 308 for both rifles.

After getting the M1A on paper and zeroed, it was only right to test accuracy from both.

MOA Average to Center 0.406
MOA Average to Center 0.644

Which Semi Auto Platform would you chose today for your use?
The M1A and the AR-10 use the same caliber and their platforms were both designed for battle. Both these rifles are widely used and it?s quite hard to make a fair choice. The M1A is just so much fun especially when shooting from the standing or prone position with a leather sling. Though it does jump around and recoil a bit more from the bench. The AR10 on the other hand is softer recoiling and much more customizable.

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8 Comments on "M1A vs AR10 Historic vs Present"

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  1. Wade Landeche says:

    Well just recently I acquired the AR10 platform 24″ BBL, so I’ll be working with that shortly! It is a heavy rifle so I’ll need to get to know it and its likes with ammo.

    Had the pleasure to shoot with the M1A many years ago, but it wasn’t mine.

  2. Let us know how the AR10 shoots for you.

  3. Durrutti1936 says:

    I find the M1A to have far less recoil, and a joy to shoot.

    Still the AR10 is a great rifle.

    Enjoy them both.

  4. John says:

    I shoot an AR 10 it’s a DPMS lower, timney trigger , dedicated technology built upper with a 18 inch Shilen stainless select match fluted barrel,it’s a 1/10 twist , it loves 150 FB Berger target bullets on top of 46.5 grains of varget with an OAL of 2.800, this will shoot with my 6 ppc bench rifle , constantly putting 5 in the .2’s and low .3’s weighs around 15 lbs loaded but my idea is to carry it shorter distance and shoot it further distance

  5. David Woollett says:

    I own both, a M1A Scout and an AR10 i built on an Aero Precision ME5 lower with an ACT pact gold trigger, I love shooting both of them and could never decide which to take since they were both 308. Solved the dilemma buy putting and Omega Rifles upper chambered in 375 Raptor on the AR10. No more deciding which 308 to shoot!

  6. Will Ford says:

    Had a N.M. M1A sold it. Have a AR10 Piston type, LOTS more accurate. LOVE IT! IF your AR10 kicks to much Change muzzle breaks?

  7. Ron says:

    I own both. They are both great rifles just different. Hard to beat a m1a for fun. My suggestion is by both of them.

  8. Howard R. Bricker, SMSgt USAF (Ret) says:

    Different strokes for different folks. Have an M1A and a Mini-14. Planning for an AR-10. I belong to a gun club. I’m messing around with reloading and load development. I’m having fun. I lived on a farm during my teen years. Had a 22, but not much cash. Did a lot of dry firing at a spot on my bedroom wall. Got pretty good at ‘snap’ shooting. Trying to get those days back, har de har. Lots of luck with that.

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