I have to admit that I am a sucker for nostalgia and even tributes to nostalgia. I had the honor to review and handle a piece of history in that of the M1A action and also the comfort and maneuverability of a shorter barrel and compact and sturdy stock. I of course am referring to the obvious 308 elephant in the article, the Springfield Armory M1A Tanker 308 Rifle. Love the idea of having a reliable time-proven and tested action along with some classy vintage style? Let us dive right into the M1A Tanker 308!
SPECIFICATIONS: SPRINGFIELD ARMORY M1A Tanker 308 Rifle
While Springfield Armory has a long history involving their M1A rifle line up, they obviously are curators of the past as well as of innovative production of long-standing iconic firearms. As I mentioned before this is a vintage homage of sorts and I say that cause it draws its inspiration from the prototype/experimental T-26 M1 Garand put into development for possible jungle and paratrooper usage. Even though this firearm draws from something old and arguably outdated, it is not obsolete in its features. Check out the specs below.
- CALIBER – .308 WIN (7.62x51mm NATO)
- STOCK – Stained American Walnut
- BARREL – 16.25″ 6-Groove Carbon Steel
- TWIST – 1:11
- TRIGGER – Match Grade 2-Stage
- FRONT SIGHT– XS Post w/ Tritium Insert, .125 Blade
- REAR SIGHT–Ghost Ring .135 Aperture, MOA Adj. for Windage & Elevation
- METAL FINISH – Parkerized/Matte
- SYSTEM – Gas
- WEIGHT – 8lbs 9oz
- LENGTH – 37.25″
- MAGAZINES – One 10 Round
- TRIGGER PULL – Roughly 5.25lbs
- MSRP– $1,987
The above photograph depicts what the rifle comes with. A very nice soft case with magazine pouches inside of a large center pouch. Plenty of room for three magazines, a box or two of ammo, and a cable lock. Inside the case are one ten-round magazine, chamber flag, cable lock, lube, and two manuals. One manual is an old-style thick government manual on the rifle since, in essence, this is the civilian M14 and then the other is Springfield Armory’s manual on the M1A in general. My only gripe here is that they do not offer a Socom/Tanker specific manual but that really is not a big deal.
The MSRP for the Springfield Armory M1A Tanker 308 Rifle sits comfortably at $1,987. Now I realize this cost can be daunting especially if you find yourself in love with guns like these, but even though it seems quite expensive, I do honestly think it is justified given the craftsmanship and quality you receive. On the shelf at a gun shop, it would be fair to guess that it would be cheaper than full MSRP. There is a lot of material and machining time that goes into making a gun that looks like the wood grew around the metal. Quality walnut is not cheap nor is the nice tritium night sight.
The M1A Tanker is the newest addition to the M1A SOCOM 16 line up. It features most of the general aspects of the SOCOM 16 series like a front night sight and compact design. It does sacrifice the tacticool features like rails and M-LOK slots all over the place but makes up for them with its historical inspiration and style. Springfield Armory gives lots of behind the scenes detail on the M1A Tanker page. Excerpts of the page are below.
The M1A™ Tanker combines paradigm-shifting defensive features like a tritium-powered front night sight and ghost ring rear aperture with the inimitable timeless appeal of quality stained walnut. The 16.25″ carbon steel barrel features a 1:11″ right hand twist and six-groove precision rifling, and the whole package comes in at less than 9 lbs. With the compact yet powerful M1A™ Tanker you’ll always have enough gun.
The stained American walnut stock gives the M1A™ Tanker classic appeal.
The M1A™ Tanker draws its inspiration from the prototype T26 Tanker Garand developed toward the end of World War II.
A rifle like this deserves a perfect trigger. This match-grade two-stage version breaks crisply at an ideal 5 lbs.
FIRST LOOK: SPRINGFIELD ARMORY M1A Tanker 308 Rifle
The first time I had the chance to handle the M1A Tanker was when a Springfield Armory representative stopped by the gun shop I work at with one when it had come out. I was impressed with the craftsmanship then and when I got this one for review I was pleasantly greeted with the same level of quality. At first glance, you realize this is an incredibly sturdy rifle that is tight in all the places it should be.
When you hold the rifle it is surprising how much more compact it feels than another M1A SOCOM 16 does. I think that is because it is very linear and has the wood stock with a semi-pistol grip instead of a tactical stock featuring rails and even a pistol grip jutting out. The wood stock is smooth and comfortable but lacks the rails and slots for attachments which are limiting but not entirely a drawback to me.
RANGE TIME: SPRINGFIELD ARMORY m1a tanker 308 rifle
Range time with this gun overall was a blast. It handles incredibly well and is comfortable and smooth in almost every aspect. It is hard to critique an action or operating system that is tested and proven from its military cousin serving for years. One thing that I have always disliked about the M1A design is how you insert the magazine. I bring this up because I can do it extremely well since I have had time to practice. You are supposed to kind of rock the magazine in like an AK almost. A small square peg is supposed to fit into a corresponding hole, rocked in, and then you are all set. If I handed this to someone and asked them to do it even with instructions I am sure it would be tough. That being said it is one of those things that just is what it is and I offer no fixes that come to mind.
Manipulating the rifle was extremely easy and it gave me a confidence boost while shooting. Recoil is slightly stout due to the small package but nothing uncontrollable or unwieldy. I have to assume the muzzle brake helps and it is not just the sheer weight of the firearm. The sights are very easy to pick up after recoil and honestly only after closer inspection for another upcoming article I did not realize the front sight was a night sight. I never shot the rifle in low or dark lighting and the white on the post always looked like that was all that met the eye.
FINAL THOUGHTS: SPRINGFIELD ARMORY M1a tanker 308 rifle
All in all, I think the Tanker is a fitting and much-needed addition to Springfield Armory’s SOCOM 16 series as a reminder of where It all came from and how time-proven the gun is as a whole. This variant is versatile as much as it is classic. It is super comfortable and well-engineered in so many ways and that is why I would say it justifies its price tag to someone who would be interested in owning one. To those people, I will tell you that I would be surprised if you were disappointed in any way. This is a very well built tool that does its job well with class.
In closing, I want to say thank you to Springfield Armory for allowing TFB and myself the opportunity to try out their M1A Tanker 308 Rifle! That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that this variant of the SOCOM 16 series is something worth spending your money on? Would you run to the range with this lovable chunk of walnut and steel? Would this be your go-to fun gun at the range? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
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