Barely Legal Yet Positively Awesome: The M1A Scout Squad in Illinois

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Thanks to the crypto currency Solana’s meteoric rise earlier this year, I could afford my own copy of the “great gun” Guns Save Life selected for our Great Guns 2024 drawing.  For those who missed it, the Illinois gun rights group GSL likes to give away a really nice firearm every year in a multi-month drawing. Springfield’s M1A Scout Squad got the nod this year thanks in part to the state’s sloppily-written gun and magazine ban.

And because GSL loves poking fun and ridiculing political hacks that think they’re better and smarter than the little people like us.

Why would I buy something with wooden furniture? Admittedly that’s outside of my usual lane. However, after Land o’ Lincoln’s Governor signed a bill banning America’s favorite rifle and many like it last year, that limited my defensive choices in my dysfunctional state.

Enter the Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad. It’s barely legal thanks to shipping with a muzzle brake instead of a flash suppressor.

But don’t look at it as a neutered doggie. It fires a very potent 7.62×51 NATO round in a tried and true rifle design that’s put down a lot of commies and bad actors over its 50+ years of service.

I expected good things based upon my limited experience shooting more traditional M1As over the years.

I got more than I expected.

First Shots & First Impressions

At the DeWitt County Sportsman’s Club, I set up targets and stuffed some magazines. My M1A now has a proper rifleman’s sling, one that can be fashioned into a loop sling for precision long-range work or use as a hasty sling for, well, hasty use.

The trigger proved very good for a factory product, breaking cleanly. The long sight radius helped provide precision in aiming. Then, when you do your part with a nice trigger squeeze, that’s when the magic happens and the M1A puts rounds on target.

The biggest surprise? That muzzle brake works better than I expected, taming the recoil down to something similar to an AR-15. Even better, it did so without the addition of a ton of obnoxious noise like AR- muzzle brakes I’ve worked around in my time as a rifle instructor.

The only negative experience involved the mechanical safety. In previous M1As I’ve handled, the safety worked as if lubricated with butter. This one required real work to put the safety on—and required pushing firmly with the thumb to get the safety off. I’m told that this difficulty will disappear with use. However, I think I’d rather go have another colonoscopy than sit around for a few hours working that safety on and off a few thousand times.

Accuracy, even with nonmatch ammo proved excellent. Reliability was perfect. Fit and finish, outside of the safety actuation, was great. Springfield’s machines also crafted a great piece of lumber for the stock—probably walnut, but I’m not an arborist.

With a street price of about $2,000 with tax and 7.62/.308 ammo going for about a buck a round, this isn’t a rifle for those on a budget. Unless of course you hold the winning ticket at the Great Guns 2024 drawing, of course. (With odds a whole lot better than the lottery.)

Remember how gun control is racist, classist and sexist? Welcome to the “classist” aspect of that trifecta.

Since taking it out and putting it through its paces, it my M1A has become my go-to tool for commies and criminals who might want to visit harm to me, my family or my community.

Yes, you can thank Gov. Jelly Bean for prodding me to replace my weaker .223 dispenser with a .308 for two-legged pest control, especially for swarms. Consider it the unintended consequence of gun control…driving people to (far) more powerful defensive tools.

Given our state’s onerous new gun ban, perhaps the best part of owning this particular boomstick where I live is not needing to look over one’s shoulder when taking it out for some range therapy.

 

Need Ammo? Check out Ammo To Go, the ammunition retail sponsor of TTAG gun reviews and simply a cool online place to fulfill all your ammo needs.

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