Don't own one myself, but Ron, a fellow club member, bought one some years ago. It's a pretty rifle, no doubt.
It took, however, three trips back to SA, Inc. to get it to function reliably with USGI M2 Ball from CMP. If I recall correctly, Ron's rifle was mistimed and was a bear to load. Then it spit partial clips -- shoot four or five, and the remaining rounds were ejected. I don't recall what the other problem was, but I do remember Ron getting a bit... um... irked 'bout the whole situation.
This is not what one would expect from a $1500 (+) rifle, is it?
In contrast, both of my own M1's -- a vintage-1953 H&R, and a ca. 1943 USGI SA "woodless Dane" return have been as reliable as the sunrise.
Truth be told, you'd be much better off with a rifle from the CMP. (My opinion only, please note!)
Functionally -- assuming that both are working properly -- there is no difference between the USGI M1 and its latter-day commercial copy. That said, please consider:
1. USGI receivers are forged; SA, Inc. receivers are cast. There is nothing inherently wrong with cast receivers, of course; Bill Ruger proved that. There have been allegations that some of the cast M1 receivers are not "to dimensional spec," have casting defects, and the like. Can you recognize those problem areas, should they be present. (Yes, the fella in the gun shop should know, but he most likely doesn't. Sorry to disillusion everyone!)
2. There is a potential problem in the production process. USGI rifles were produced to a standard; commercial rifles, to a price. Where were the shortcuts taken; what corners, cut? Can you tell?
3. Latter-day commercial M1s will generally have a (possibly) questionable mixture of USGI, foreign manufacture, and repro parts. This may be the source of my friend Ron's frustrations with his "new" M1.
4. There are advantages to be had, however, with the "new" SA, Inc. rifle.
4a. It's probably prettier than a CMP M1. You'll not need to do a lot of "finishing work" to make it look good.
4b. SA, Inc. does advertise a lifetime guarantee. (To be fair, CMP will generally make something right, but whether it's "forever" or not, I don't know.)
Ultimately, Joe, you'll have to make your own decision. Most of us afflicted with "Garanditis" will opt for the USGI/CMP rifle, as you've not doubt noted.
And that's probably no help, whatsoever. Were I you, in your situation, I'd find somebody locally who is M1 knowledgeable, and ask him (or her -- there are a lot of "Lady Garand Shooters" out there!) to give you some hands-on, on-site advice.
Thank You Ben H for your input, I will see if I can find some to take a look at Rifle I have in mind.
Alot of the deal is I can have the Springfield Inc. Rifle in a very short time. I am not looking for min. of angle accuracy just a good shooter.
Again thanks evreyone for the input.
PS I may end up with both
...to obtain information on qualification to purchase. (You do not have to be involved in competitive marksmanship activities, contrary to common belief.)
Supplies of M1 rifles seem to fluctuate, so I'd suggest getting your order and supporting paperwork in Real Soon Now so as to avoid disappointment. My recommendation: go the $595 for the Service Grade.
It should also be noted that CMP is probably the least expensive source for true M1-compatible M2 ball ammo. (Commercial .30-'06 isn't, as a general rule, but that's 'nother whole bucket of snakes.)
Give me a shout at bwhartley(at)verizon(dot)net if you'd like me to expound further.
A forum community dedicated to hunters and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about optics, trails, clubs, gunsmithing, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more. The friendliest gun forum on the Internet!