Top 5 M1A Stock Systems
December 26th, 2021
7 minute read
The classic wood stock and fiberglass handguard on an M1A handily gets the job done. The stock is sturdy and, if push comes to shove, it can be used as a club.
Competitive shooters in Service Rifle matches use the classic-style stock quite well out to ranges that reach 600 yards. Many of these shooters have adapted their shooting style to efficiently use the standard stock.
What if you flipped that so the stock adapted to you, the shooter? Swapping out the stock on an M1A can completely change the ergonomics of the rifle to better suit your shooting style and needs. So, here are five of the best stocks for the M1A rifle.
You’ve probably swapped stocks on an AR, so you understand how an aftermarket stock can make a major difference in shooting comfort and accuracy downrange. And the modularity of the AR design makes this a breeze, with tons of aftermarket parts available.
But you might not have been aware that you can do the same with the M1A with an aftermarket stock. You can achieve better shooting comfort with recoil-absorbing butt pads, and pistol grips with a more vertical angle to ensure you don’t need to cant your wrist when shooting prone.
If you shoot your M1A with a scope and use the standard stock, you soon realize a cheekweld becomes a chin weld. The side mount design for M1A’s increases the height of the scope. For standard stock rifles, I add a strap-on cheek rest. Most aftermarket stocks come with an adjustable cheek rest to compensate for the scope height.
I have two reasons why I’d want to swap stocks on an M1A. Reason one is for better accuracy and comfort with long-range shooting. Archangel makes excellent examples of aftermarket stocks well suited to hit steel at distance. Reason two is to make the M1A more compact and maneuverable in tight spaces. The Delta 14 and VLTOR both can make the M1A, especially the SOCOM model with the shorter barrel lengths, easier to operate in tight situations.
Dropping an M1A barreled action in a polymer stock or aluminum chassis can tighten up any accuracy, eroding the wiggle between the action and stock. Another plus with an aftermarket stock is your ability to add accessories like a bipod. The downside — if you want to call it that — with an aftermarket stock is that it can make the rifle heavier. However, for long-range shooting, I prefer a heavier rifle since it helps me settle into the shot fast. It also takes the edge off recoil.
If I wanted to upgrade my M1A with an aftermarket stock, here are five stocks I would consider. You should, too. These are in no particular order.
Archangel Precision Adjustable Stock
The M1A barreled receiver drops into the Archangel polymer stock, so it is easy to assemble. Don’t miss Yamil Sued’s video on the Archangel stock.
The design also provides little pressure to the barreled action, so accuracy is not adversely affected. I like the cheek-riser, which employs a click-adjustable thumbwheel with ½” increments. The length of pull is also adjustable with a click-adjustable thumbwheel. You can adjust LOP from 13.5” to 14.8”, which is great, especially when you have on a heavy coat or gear with shoulder straps.
The buttpad is contoured and made of soft rubber to help slurp up recoil. The forend has an extended Picatinny rail mount on the underside so you can easily mount a bipod. The forend is grooved so the rifle feels less chunky, and you use the grooves to better grip the forend. It also has four internal steel inserts for ball-lock/push-button quick detach sling swivels. Plus, there is a storage compartment in the pistol grip. I like the angle of the pistol grip and the palm swells. When shooting prone, this pistol grip is very comfortable.
If you’d like to get your M1A right from the factory with this stock, you can also purchase the M1A Loaded Precision, available in .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor (Note: Check out our full review of the 6.5 CM model).
VLTOR Improved Modstock System
Use this stock if you have a shorty M1A like a SOCOM or Scout Squad model with the shorter barrel. This stock is made of a proprietary carbon fiber composite which makes the stock strong yet lightweight. The magwell is relieved of material so magazine changes are fast.
The set-up includes the carbon fiber composite forend, pistol grip, buttstock adaptor and VLTOR’s EMOD buttstock. This is the same buttstock you can use on your AR platform. The stock can be adjusted for five different lengths of pull and can be adjusted for elevation, which means you can adjust the stock to use iron sights or optics.
Just drop the barreled receiver into the stock and install the trigger assembly. Then attach the receiver extension tube to the stock, slide on the EMOD buttstock and you are good to go. The buttstock has two storage compartments, which hold four CR123 or three AA batteries in each compartment. The stock also has multiple QD sling swivel attachment points.
To take this stock another step forward, pair it with the CASV-14 M1A Rail system. This is a lightweight aluminum free-float handguard that offers a variety of optic mounting positions — scout rifle style, red dot, traditional scope. There are also multiple points to add Picatinny rails for a bipod. While the SOCOM and Scout Squad rifles may have abbreviated barrels, in my experience they can still reach out and touch a target at distance. I like the combination of compact stock for close to medium work and the ability to add a bipod for distance work.
Sage International EBR Stock
The Sage Industries EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) stock is a precision chassis system (Don’t miss Jeremy Tremp’s review of the Sage EBR stock). Machined from billet aluminum, the EBR is a drop-in replacement stock system. The close tolerances and rigidity of the chassis increases accuracy in the M1A barreled receiver.
Sage offers a variety of chassis models; some that use a mil-spec M4 tube to attach any AR-style stock you want. I like the M14ALCS model chassis. This model features a telescoping stock with an adjustable cheekpiece. I like the minimalist approach to this stock and the Picatinny rail at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions.
If you want to wring the most distance with the EBR, pair it with the M14DCSB (Detachable Cantilevered Sight Base) which spans the action to the rear sight and allows mounting of large optics. And by the way, EBR chassis stocks are in service with the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Coast Guard. The EBR takes the 1950’s-era design squarely into the 21st century.
JAE-100 G3 M1A/M14 Rifle Chassis
It has been said that good things come to those who wait. You will wait until your JAE-100 G3 M1A/M14 chassis is being built, but it will be so worth it.
The JAE-100 has the reputation as the most accurate drop-in stock for the M1A. It uses an aluminum skeleton that runs the length of the chassis from forearm to buttstock. You can adjust the draw pressure (that’s the force on the barrel) to tune the rifle. This feature really sets it apart from other drop-in chassis.
The cheek rest is fully adjustable via a thumbwheel and is quickly detachable. The butthook built into the bottom of the stock allows you to pull the stock into your shoulder while shooting. The buttpad is cushiony and absorbs recoil. Four QD sling swivel mounts per side and at the 6 o’clock position under the forend is a section where you can adjust a length of Picatinny rail to suit your needs. This chassis is an excellent choice for those who want to shoot long range.
Delta 14C Chassis
The Delta 14 completely changes the M1A SOCOM experience (read Travis Pike’s complete review of the Delta 14 chassis).
Think of the Delta 14 as the LEGO version of compact M1A stock in the sense you can customize the chassis with nearly any stock you want. The Delta 14 Chassis Gen2 is made of glass-filled nylon, so it is lightweight yet tough.
With this stock, you can mount any Mossberg 500-pattern stock onto the chassis, or you can use the Mesa Tactical adaptor to attach a buffer tube and attach an AR-style stock, or — yes, there are plenty of options, including folders.
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