Taking the M1A to 1,000 Yards

By Jeremy Tremp
Posted in #Guns #Skills
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Taking the M1A to 1,000 Yards

October 12th, 2020

4:38 runtime

I have always been in love with the idea of placing shots at extreme distances with pinpoint accuracy on paper or steel. Little did I know how much knowledge and skill goes into such feats. I have done extensive carbine training and engaged targets out to 300 yards with ease, but I’ve never had the opportunity to stretch those skills into long-range precision shooting. That is, until now.

The tools of the trade — an M1A Loaded Precision and Black Hills Gold 147-gr. ELD-M ammo.

The Rights Tools – and Teacher

My firearm of choice for this project was the M1A, a fine firearm from Geneseo, Illinois’ Springfield Armory. Based on the U.S. military’s M14 rifle that preceded the current M16, the M1A is a civilian-legal, semi-automatic version of that venerable design.

Known for its durability, simplicity and power, the M1A is offered in 16″-, 18″- and a 22″-barreled variants. Being that my goal was to stretch this legendary platform out to 1,000 yards, I opted for the Loaded Precision model in 6.5 Creedmoor.

Rob Orgel of ER Tactical was the author’s coach on this long-range effort.

I approached longtime friend and renowned instructor, Rob Orgel from ER Tactical, who happily obliged my request to deliver a crash course in precision long-range shooting. As a former 0311 Marine, combat instructor and military contractor, I was optimistic he could help me achieve my goal with the M1A.

The author fitted the M1A out with a Vortex Razor HD Gen2 3-18X optic on a Spuhr ISMS scope mount.

Aiding me in this journey is my trusted Vortex Razor HD Gen2 3-18×50 with a Spuhr ISMS scope mount. To eliminate as many ballistic variables as possible, I chose Black Hills Gold 147-gr. ELD-M as my precision ammo of choice. Providing stability on the desert floor, I chose the B&T PSR Atlas Bipod, which is lightweight and extremely rugged.

Range Time

We began the day at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona, dialing in the rifle and getting a 100-yard zero. Rob gave me tips on technique, position, shooter/spotter communication, and what to expect when we moved to the 1,000 yard range.

For firing prone, Tremp used a B&T PSR Atlas Bipod on the M1A.

The clock was ticking as the temperature was rising to a high of 112 degrees that day. I was advised that past 11 am, the mirage on the 1,000 yard range would make the shot nearly impossible for even a skilled shooter. Time was not on our side.

From the sighting in and familiarizing period earlier in the morning, it was easy to know what to expect from the M1A. The rifle was extremely smooth with incredible accuracy, the two-stage trigger made it very easy to know where the break was, and the adjustable stock was very comfortable in the prone position.

Orgel was there with the author every step of the way during the shoot.

I’ve got to give Rob most of the credit here with his amazing knowledge in the precision shooting arena. He called out the elevation adjustments and read the wind perfectly. All I had to do was press the trigger and input as little of myself into the rifle as possible. As I positioned myself behind the rifle, I cleared my mind and focused on the small blue target in my reticle. “Shooter ready.” “Spotter ready.” Exhale.

Tremp was very happy with his results downrange, and felt Orgel’s guidance was a big part of it.

CRACK. The first shot snaps downrange, a breath later I see the impact directly behind the target, and dust drifts into the blue sky. I’m in the money! Great calls, Rob. I send four more rounds and hold my breath as I send the final shot.

At 1,000 yards, even on 18X through the scope, you cannot know how well you did at this distance. Rob on the spotting scope has an idea, but he keeps quiet until we reach the target downrange. As we pull the target down, to my relief all five are on the paper! For a novice long-range shooter, I was extremely happy with my grouping of about 8 inches at 1,000 yards.

Conclusion

My takeaway from this experience is that even a novice precision shooter, with expert guidance, quality equipment and a strong desire to learn, can repeatedly hit the 1,000 yard mark. My goal is to attend ER Tactical’s five-day precision rifle course to further refine my shooting capabilities with the M1A. There is something beautiful about shooting an iconic piece of history like this rifle, and one updated and modernized for long range shooting.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp is a filmmaker/photographer who turned his passion for the firearms industry into a dream job. Having identified a need in the 2A space, he and some like-minded friends started Offensive Marketing Group to help bring their unique skillsets to an industry in dire need of "outside of the box" marketing approaches. One of the perks is getting access to some of the best gear and training in the industry. In his spare time, he loves to be at the range testing gear and learning to be a better shooter, firearms advocate and content creator.

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