When taking on the M1A rifle and finding proper scope sights, there are some issues that need to be addressed. The M1A is basically the civilian version of the military M14 battle rifle. As such, it has some features and design elements that can get in the way of a proper scope sight mounting system.
Depending on the exact M1A model, the ability to mount a scope is not at all the same. On the “Scout” version of the rifle, the scope mounting situation is a no-brainer. Yet, there is a trade-off. You will need to select a scope with very long eye relief, like that on a handgun scope, because the sight will need to be mounted well forward of the receiver.
On the standard M1A wood stocked or plastic stocked model, a real issue arises. A special side-mount, almost like that used on the Russian Dragunov but far more complicated, comlicates things.
Mounts for the M1A or M-14 can involve as many as thirty different installation steps. If you don’t have good tools, knowledge, and time, the best plan is to take everything to your trusted local gunsmith.
Even when installed on the M1A, often a special elevated but stock comb will be needed. The offset side-mounted rail will stand quite high. In my humble opinion, this rifle was built for a darn good receiver sight just like its predecessor, the M1 Grand. As such, the sights on the rifle straight out of the factory are outstanding.
While I do not own the rifle myself, I do own both the Ruger Mini 30 and the Mini 14in. .233 Remington. These are ←14 design receivers on smaller more flexible rifles. The receivers have been re-designed at the upper end to accommodate the Ruger ring base system. They also fit a secondary Weaver rail that outs directly over the ejection port on the receiver. Based on these rifles and also owning old-school M1 Grand, I can say that when the M1A has glass sights in place its performance is unparalleled. The 7.62 X 54 (.308 Winchester) is the owner of the valley, battlefield, or whatever gets in the way of her muzzle.
Assuming you have the correct scope mount for the M1A, try one of the seven best scopes for M1A reviewed below. They will get the job done.
Top 7 Best Scope for M1A Reviews 2021
1. TRACT Toric UHD
Tract builds a scope that is large. It is not overly long, which makes it a good fit for the full-length M1A standard model rifle.
This scope carries extended adjustable open turrets with ample amounts of windage and elevation adjustment.
Schott glass is featured on the lens. It offers great light control overall. I shoot three of these scopes here at BR&D. I have found them to be very effective and trouble-free. When testing/writing reviews for a business, you can’t afford downtime with bad gear. TRACT is one of my favorite scopes. This model is ideal for use on the M1A full-size standard rifle.
The large 300 main tube holds large heavy-duty parts and turret guts. The 3-4×20 power settings allow for visual control against long-range targets.
Built in the FFP first focal plane, the scope is designed for long-range sniper work and tactical police applications. The varmint hunter, deer hunter, or general target shooter can also use this glass sight. It is all around a sold system. The sub-tensions carry MOA settings in dots for quick in-the-scope elevation adjustments when you have the system DOPED for shooting beyond 400 yards. TRACT will not build a great many scopes in their line. However, the scopes they have all are mission-friendly. Priced fair and affordable.
Ratings on this scope are very high among owners, including myself.
2. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15X44
The second scope of this list I also use on a regular basis. It is the Leupold VX series 5HD. This scope makes use of 3-15 power settings. That is more than enough for 1000-yard work. It uses American construction and components for quality production results. Leupold also completely backs their product.
It is illuminated for low light shooting conditions. There is an auto on-off system that activates by movement.
The side focus provides lens control and allows advantages in light control downrange. Zero lock turrets have open turret control for elevation and five choices in sub-tension etched glass reticles.
As applied to the M1A, the scope is again a good fit for the standard full-size model. A special side-mount is required in all other full-size standard glass sights.
3. Hi-Lux Long Eye Relief
The cutback Scout model in the M1A is very popular among hunters or in tight quarters. It requires long eye relief scopes that mount on the factory-installed rail ahead of the receive ring.
The Hi-Lux glass sight is budget-priced. It offers a 2-7X32 one-inch tube with a duplex reticle. The sight is built for closer range work. In the hands of a good shot, however, it can be stretched well out to 600 yards or more.
The scope is built as a solid one-piece unit. It has a main tube, coated lens surfaces, and is both water and shockproof. The turrets are capped off for general use. The mounting system will require Weaver-style rings and bases.
I have shot Hi-Lux sniper scopes here in my business and found them not only affordable but effective.
4. Leupold Handgun Scope
While not everyone’s cup of tea, the use of a handgun scope can help with shooting the Scout compact rifle. This scope is basic. It carries a very long eye relief that accounts for hand gunners’ needs. With the forward mounting on the Scout rifle, it is a good fit for a general-purpose rifle.
This scope by Leupold is a 2.5-8X32 power. It allows some flexibility in terms of range settings. It carries a Leupold Duplex reticle for some additional ability over ranging on long-distance targets. Finally, it uses the Leupold “Twilight” light management system as well.
The one-inch main tube and ultra-lightweight design make this an easy sight to haul around. The adjustment settings on the capped turret house are all in ¼ MOA. In the tradition of Leupold, there is a change made off dead zero clicks.
5. NightForce SHV 3-10x42mm .250MOA Riflescope
Let’s return to the full-length M1A rifle. Shooters that want the military/hunting style scope sight should consider a Night Force optics.
Here we have the Night Force SHV 3-10×42. This scope is a solid fit for .308 cartridges. It also has a balance point associated with the M1A full-size standard rifle.
This scope makes use of the larger 30mm main tube. It is offered in the second focal plane SFF. The turrets on this scope are capped and the eye relief is 3.5 inches.
The reticle is illuminated and the sub-tensions display the “Forceps” reticle. This is similar to other brands of hunting scopes with the same basic configuration.
Elevation adjustments are .250 MOA. The power settings are 3-10X42mm. They allow ample magnification for hunting. Light control is positive with the larger forward bell.
6. Night Force 8-32X56mm NXS
This scope is best considered for the M1A full long-range target type stock that is set up for the bench or 1000-yard match settings.
The scope is massive. It can reach out far, but at the cost of weight, size, and price.
This scope retains standard illumination, a zero stop turret with open adjustment settings, and open high knobs There is also a .250 MOA correcting graduation setup and the MOAR C437 reticle.
I would not consider this scope an option for general hunting, or even long-range mountain and open country work. This is a far better choice for military and police use. It would be right at home on the target range to be sure.
Information about total elevation clicks and windage adjustments are sketchy. The buyer will need to research these requirements. Despite the lack of information, the scope is of Night Force’s usual high quality. It is a professional model rifle scope.
7. Sig Sauer TANGO6T
Here we have the chopped bell tactical military scope patterned after the new US Army glass sight built by Sig. This is a smaller scope. It is possible to fit it on the Scout version of the M1A or even the full-size rifle
This scope is offered with the 1-6X24mm power settings that work up to about 600 yards. The main tube housing is robust in size. It is a full 30mm. The whole scope is built field-grade tough.
Special lens material is used to control light. It will not react to nasty field conditions. The sight is illuminated, set up in military MRAD elevation and windage settings, and uses a lockdown zero system. If you lack the space and time, I can tell you that the whole scope is built around light and sight control. This scope retains lots of new features.
There are many different models of the M1A rifle being offered to the shooter today. Attention needs to be given to your exact needs when it comes to the sights. Currently about all I own and shoot in this style rifle is my Ruger .223 Rem Mini 14. It is a truly reduced size M-14 receiver built around a much lighter and shorter barrel stock system. My rifle even makes use of the new Samson Stainless-steel and walnut side folding unit throwback model. Ruger got the sight system right in that the scope. It is placed directly over the receiver on machined Ruger ring mounts and bases. Springfield should take note here and offer a revamped M1A with this style glass sight machined in one-piece mounting system.
L.P Brezny has been writing and reviewing product as well as how to projects for the past 50 years. He has authored four books on shooting with three on long range, and one covering shotgunning. With 26 years on a metro police department as a street officer and the rank of SGT / training L.P. has covered all the bases regarding weapons and street survival.
During the early years in non-toxic shotshell ammunition development L.P. designed the first successful measurement system for recording the speed of shot shell payloads down range. He was responsible for getting actual shotshell velocities printed on factory load boxes. Over the years he has developed and markets MetroGun System TM, and sells his designed ammunition for subsonic sound suppressed shotgun shooting.
Current L.P. resides in the South Dakota Black Hills and spends a good deal of time working through many types of ammunition both in the field on warm targets. With ultra long range being a current specialty L.P. shots for test and accuracy at ranges as great as one or more miles on the wide open Dakota grasslands.