Backed by the experience of many marksmen, the battle between the M1A vs. AR-10 is bordering on controversy. They’re great guns, but resorting to just guessing could end up very wrong for you. So while hunters love them both, the real question remains: Which is the better rifle?
Features of Both Guns
Ergonomics is a priority among many shooters as the design can directly affect one’s performance. In this department, the AR-10 stands out, but it’s not just this particular model. Our experts agree that ergonomics-wise, AR-style rifles win against any other rifle platform.
When in use, the AR-10 feels more natural and easy to handle. That makes it perfect for shooters who are just starting out. So although there are different styles out there that promise ease in gun manipulation, the AR rifle really does it better.
On the other hand, the M1A has a more complex design that can scare beginners off. You may need some training in handling this rifle. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll appreciate the functional design of the M1A.
All in all, the AR-10 wins this round for its easy use and handling.
Both rifles are gas-operated and can be scoped easily, but we tip the hat to the AR-10 as it makes placing optics easier. It has a rock-solid scope mount as a part of the receiver, plus a longer rail which allows more accessories to be mounted upon.
Meanwhile, the M1A encounters a flaw in this area, particularly because it’s an iron sight rifle that requires more effort when mounting. It can be equipped with a variety of good mounts best fitted for its design, but the rifle itself is not actually made with a scope.
Furthermore, if other parts of the M1A aren’t properly chambered up, they have the tendency to become loose and fail to maintain their hold. Of course, this can lead to other problems, so the easy winner in the mounting department is the AR-10.
When it comes to caliber, there is no difference with M1A and AR-10 because they both use the 7.62×51(.308) caliber. Both platforms are constructed exceptionally perfect for battle, self-defense, or hunting purposes.
We believe the caliber is where most people get stumped when making a choice because these two cartridges are very similar. However, it’s not the end-all-be-all of rifles even though it’s still something to be considered.
Both the AR-10 and M1A are powered with a good aim for accuracy. However, the AR-10 is more accessible than the M1A in terms of accuracy because plenty of concentration and extraordinary skills are required with the latter. But with the AR-10, you just have to assemble a good barrel and a free-float handguard and you’re good to go.
Both the AR-10 and the M1A are also capable of shooting sub-MOA groups with match grade ammunition. Long distances of up to 1,000 yards are easily reached by these models as well.
But of course, the accuracy still relies on the shooter, as the rifle can only do so much. Proper positioning and aim, together with consideration to different parts such as the barrel, sights, magazines, and mounts, ultimately decide the accuracy.
The M1A and the AR-10 weigh almost the same. However, the M1A is more lightweight because the AR-10 is assembled with a floated barrel and an aluminum handguard that makes it a bit heavier.
The M1A gains an advantage in this aspect because most sharpshooters would prefer a lightweight firearm on the field. Aside from building endurance, lightweight firearms can give you a lot of power as well.
The M1A holds a huge advantage against the AR-10 when it comes to durability, mainly because the majority of its parts are based on the M14, a battle-tested rifle .
With its solid build and good track record, the M14 has left a legacy that the M1A platform now puts to excellent use.
If you’re constantly hunting for available customization options and aftermarket upgrades, the AR-10 allows you more flexibility and adaptability. It can be equipped with much cheaper add-ons compared to M1A, which is largely due to the former platform’s popularity.
The AR platform is open to most rifle customization options, including replacing stocks, mounts, adding rails, changing the upper, using a different caliber, and other modifications. It’s a very versatile piece that you can tweak and change according to your preferences.
Still, if you prefer the M1A, it does have its limited customization options. However, it would require more conditions that may be complicated, hence the reason why many don’t do much customization on their M1A rifle.
Looking at it, the AR-10 has a cheaper but smarter build than the M1A. But while both have magazine-fed operations with detachable box magazines, only the AR-10 is equipped with drop magazines. This gives the AR a strategic advantage to use than M1A.
Of course, built-in magazines make it more convenient for the shooter so there is no need to carry an extra arsenal for his weapons. But adding to the versatility of AR-10, it can adapt to changes in the situation since its magazines may be interchangeable.
Since the AR platform is more popular than the M1A, manufacturers tend to reduce their production cost up to three times less compared to the latter.
An M1A rifle is priced around $2,000, excluding its customization options and aftermarket accessories. Clearly, the AR-10 is a better deal than the M1A considering what it brings to the table despite being in a more accessible price point.
Conclusion: M1A or AR-10?
Weighing the perks of the rifles M1A vs. AR-10, each serves its own purpose depending on your personal preferences.
The M1A is great for more advanced shooters who prioritize durability, power, and reliability in the field.
Meanwhile, the AR-10 is the better rifle for those who want easy customization, user-friendliness, and good performance at a lower price.