Now my fellow ladies please don’t start yelling at me for making this headline. But this rifle is a beast. A fun beast mind you but it kicks your butt. And I am not a small person! Of course women can shoot this rifle. Just be prepared to be beat up a bit. Even the guys will agree to this. Everyone who had to use this in service or competed with it before the AR came along will back me up on this. This weekend was our WA State High Power championship. As you know, awhile back I promised to shoot the M1A instead of the AR at this match. I even had a request from a new ammo company LakOrr Ammunition if I would test out their re-manufactured match ammo for this event. They heard me talking about it on Facebook. Boy word gets around quickly about this rifle. It has a cult following.
Originally I borrowed my husband’s rifle and shot it at a specific M1A match about a month ago. I did not do very well since I had never really practiced with it yet but it got me started. Since then a friend of ours told me to try his rifle which is a few pounds lighter. Loved it. I could actually hold the rifle up a bit longer and with less wobble in offhand. But I wonder
also if being lighter made it kick harder? During my practices last week and during the match this weekend I found my thumb smacking in to my upper right lip. I thought for sure I would have a fat lip. Gripping this rifle with your trigger hand puts your thumb right in front of your upper lip. You either need to find a spot you can hold it further in front or really keep it snug to your face more on the side so it does not come back and smack you. Again, everyone else (the guys) said that is a side effect of shooting this rifle. Now if I were to shoot this off a bench all day long I would not find anything extraordinary about it. But in position shooting and rapid fire where you are self supporting it or with sling support it is a whole different game.
You would think that since I shoot a 308 rifle for my long range events that it would have been no big deal to shoot the M1A. But it is just, well, different. I will admit that at the 600 yard slow prone stages I loved it.
Again, we shoot sling support prone, iron sights. The sight radius on this is much longer than the AR and my scores were much higher. At 300 yard rapid fire prone I did pretty well also considering there is a huge recoil. I did not slide off my mat as much this time. I had a bad first string at offhand/standing at 200 yards. The trigger feels heavier even though it is the same weight as my AR. But my AR has a fabulous crisp Giessele trigger. The M1A does not. I found my self doing two big flinches as I tried to muscle the trigger in to the black and I pushed the shots right off target. Bummer. Then at 200 seated rapid fire I did something I have not done before. This had nothing to do with the rifle. You do strings of rapid fire back to back. You get 60 seconds to shoot 10 rounds with a mag change. For service rifles you shoot two rounds then change mags to the 8 rounder. I had my second string mags loaded and placed a little too close to my first strings mags. I shot my two rounds, dropped the mag, reached down to pick up the 8 round mag and fired. After the second shot there was nothing happening. What? I look down and
realized I had grabbed the wrong mag. I grabbed the other 2 round mag. I quickly dropped it and grabbed the 8 rounder but managed to only get 3 more rounds off before the targets went down. Oh my. I laughed so hard the whole line looked over. Of course I got a razzing for this. It is not “if” but “when”. Obviously now I knew I was totally out of the running for any awards. But my overall experience was awesome. I just need more time with this thing. Dave who loaned it to me said I had to shoot it for an entire season and then go back to the AR. The X ring will seem bigger when I switch back.
I did switch over to the AR for the final portion of the match which was the CMP Leg match. I was determined to get more Leg points and I thought I would perform better with it. I put the M1A back in the truck and brought the AR to the line. I had to dry fire quite a bit to get used to the trigger again. Kick? What kick? But you know what? I should have used the big rifle. I had better scores with it. (minus the flinches and 2 round mag oopsies) I also had recent zeros with it at each line. I did not get any Leg
points. Would I if I had used the M1A? Maybe maybe not. If I can get over the fat lip I get at the end of the day and the achy body I have the next day I will keep shooting this once in a while. This is not for the weak. You need at least as much muscle as the rifle gives you. Man or woman. The AR is is fun to shoot like a zippy little sports car going around tight corners. The M1A is the muscle car that will power through on the straight away. And boy does it guzzle gas. It takes it right out of you.
Congratulations to Mike Mauer who again took the overall Wa. St. High Power Championship and to Kristin Schwartz who again took the Service Rifle Champion trophy. Go girl! Thank you to LakOrr Ammunition for the chance to try out your great product.