This is a post I wrote for Springfield Armory’s Blog, “Armory Life”, back in August.
A Self-Defense Precision Rifle (SDPR) should have a number of qualities, the highest of which is pinpoint accuracy at realistic ranges (max distance you can ID a threat). As a survivalist, I consider a realistic range for a self-defense rifle to be a good deal less than what one would suppose the operational ranges of a military sniper would be.
My standard for a precision rifle is 1 Minute of Angle (MOA is approximately 1 inch at 100 yards, e.g. 200 yards = 2 inches) groups at any realistic range. Beyond precision, attributes of a SDPR would be reliability, durable design, and comfortably ergonomic. All of these features are embodied in the Springfield Armory Loaded M1A, and at a reasonable price.
I have owned a 7.62×51 NATO caliber Loaded M1A for the last 14 years. It now has had 1260 rounds through its stainless, medium weight, National Match barrel. It consistently produced one half MOA groups with Match ammo.
I was sent a 6.5 Creedmoor Loaded M1A for a comparison shoot. Except for the caliber, the Archangel stock/Springfield scope mount the 6.5CM came with, and the Sightron 6.5-20x scope I put on the 6.5CM for the shoot, both rifles are the same. I was sent a couple hundred rounds of 7.62N and 6.5CM Norma Match ammo for this comparison. The 7.62N is the 168gr Match bullet, and the 6.5CM uses the 130gr Match bullet.
To start, both rifles had no feeding or reliability issues. This has been the same experience I’ve had over 30 years with a half dozen Springfield Armory M1As. The 6.5CM version kept that long track record intact with a couple hundred rounds. Durability of these Springfield Armory M1As is the same as the reliability already mentioned. No issues experienced during the test, and to be completely honest, ever.
The only issue experienced during the shoot was the outside temperature. It was 96 degrees the day of the shoot, and the humidity hovered around 80%. Not only does this affect the shooter, but also the rifles and ammo. I had to make sure the ammo was covered by something, because the direct sunlight that day was making it too hot to pick up. Heat can also affect accuracy.
The best results of my shooting that day came back with the two targets shown in the photo below. The best 100 meter group for the 7.62N Loaded M1A was three shots into five eighths of an inch. The best for the 6.5CM Loaded was a half inch for three shots (top group). The 7.62 rifle was using a Horus Vision 4-16x Raptor. As stated earlier, the 6.5CM sported a 6.5-20x/Duplex reticle Sightron scope. Both scopes were set to 16 power for the shoot.
First up is the Archangel stock the 6.5CM came with. In a word “AWESOME!” It has everything on it that I had to do to my standard synthetic stock to bring it to that level of performance. I added a picatinny rail to the bottom of my forearm, while the Archangel already had it built in. I also added a cheekpiece to my rifle stock and the Archangel has an easily adjustable cheekpiece built in. Additionally, the Archangel has recessed sling mounts and an easily adjustable length of pull on the buttstock. Springfield Armory offering this stock with any M1A rifle is a huge winner.
The Springfield scope mount that came with the 6.5CM is much better than older scope mounts I had used from Springfield Armory years back. The newer version is very similar to the Smith Enterprises mount I have on my Loaded M1A. Weight comparison of the two rifles with empty 10 round mag as pictured is 15 pounds for my 7.62 Loaded M1A, and 13.75 pounds for the 6.5CM Loaded. The Sightron scope is a little lighter than the Horus, but I believe a lot of that 1.25 pounds is the lighter Archangel stock.
One of the things I noticed was that I could fire a faster, similarly accurate follow up shot with the 6.5CM over the 7.62N. The speed difference was what I approximated to be around .25-.5 seconds. This was due to less recoil. A sandbag filled rest was used for the majority of the shooting, but I could still tell a significant difference.
As I mentioned earlier, a SDPR should be a precise shooter in all realistic self-defense shooting ranges. Both 7.62N and 6.5CM Loaded models fit that bill, and then some. After using the Archangel stock on the 6.5CM, I am actually considering getting one for my 7.62N. If you are interested in a rifle in the 6.5CM caliber, you will do yourself a disservice if you don’t check out the Loaded M1A.
“Parata Vivere”- Live Prepared.