I'm reviving an old thread here but I'm new to the forum and have the SOCOM 16 as billt pictures here.
To me the SOCOM 16 is the best rifle of all worlds if one had to have ONLY ONE gun! I've had the standard M1-As from Springfield since 1987 off and on--never a problem with any.
Right now the only M1-A I have is the short and business-like SOCOM 16; I may add a longer wooden stocked version I don't know--I really don't NEED to!
The SOCOM is a pleasure to shoot--a bit loud but no louder than an HK 91 or other 7.62 "assault style" rifle. Recoil is LESSER than a standard M1-A believe it or not. I put a handgun scope that is detachable on the barrel rail mount (Burris 1.75-4X) and that gives me more precision than an open sighted (non-scoped) standard M1 A any day--the problem with getting the standard version is the scoping thing--once you finally get one on the stock is not right for the proper cheek weld.
I've heard the thoughts both ways on Fulton or Springfield. Never owned a Fulton but I never had a problem with a Springfield M1-A whether it was bought in the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s.
Perhaps in the 2010s I may get another standard Springfield--it's mostly an urge more than a need!