The M1A is one of Springfield Armory’s most well-known rifles. With both .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor options, it’s a fantastic option for anyone looking for something more powerful than a .223.
One of the tricks with an M1A, though, is that it’s not immediately obvious how to mount a scope to it. Unlike the AR-15 platform, which usually comes with a rail on top of the upper receiver for mounting, the M1A does not have any direct way of mounting a scope onto it.
So how do you get an optic onto an M1A?
Easy: you get an M1A scope mount.
Springfield Armory M1A Platform
The M1A is considered a high-end, thoroughly tested, reliable and stable platform for larger caliber rifle shooting.
Along with that is that the M1A is generally not considered a firearm for newbies; the M1A is more expensive in price and more difficult to customize, but once you’ve got it the way you want it, it’s hard to find something better.
In short, the M1A is designed for experienced shooters who rely on their rifle on a regular basis.
So, you may be wondering, what do I need to know about M1A mount to pick the best one? Well, we’re going to cover a few of our favorite picks but first, we’ll go into the different considerations you need to have when looking at a M1A scope mount.
“Not Insignificant” Recoil
An M1A is going to kick harder than an ar-15 or anything else chambered in .223. That doesn’t mean it’s like a 12-gauge shotgun or anything, but recoil is one of the main causes of optic failure, and when you’re mounting an optic to a .308 or 6.5 creedmoor.
You’ve got to make sure that the optic you’re mounting, and the mount you’re putting in between the optic and the rifle, are both strong enough to withstand it over the long run.
Most of the mounts you’ll see are going to either be steel or an aluminum alloy. The aluminum is lighter, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you’re using it.
While there are legitimate concerns with long-term strength and stability with aluminum, the best M1A scope mount that we’ll recommend here have been shown to do just fine.
M1A mounts tend to fall into two camps; the high-end, battle-ready, highly secure versions that also tend to be more expensive, and the less robust versions that tend to be more affordable. One of the things to look for is how many mounting points the mount has with the rifle.
These points may be screws or just places where the dovetail mount slides in snug, but there are some mounts that only have 1 contact point that is designed for security, and some (the Sadlak) that go as high as 12 point contact.
Redundancy here is going to be key to long-term reliability and stability, and mounts with 1-3 contact points with the rifle are going to be more appropriate for casual shooters.
An Involved Installation Process
Those two camps of M1A scope mount also come with different installation processes. The less robust mounts also tend to have the simplest install process, while the tougher, more durable mounts are going to be harder and take longer to install properly.
You can always just purchase the mount you want and take it to a gunsmith, but if your bank account is looking a bit sparse after buying an M1A, a M1A mount, and a scope to put on it, you may be tempted to follow along with a YouTube video and do it yourself.
Of course, if you’re experienced with customizing firearms outside of the plug-and-play style of the AR platform, the install won’t be too difficult for you as long as you follow the instructions.
Installing the scope mount involves taking the rifle apart, putting the M1A mount in, and putting it back together again.
There are no versions of M1A scope mounts available that do not require this install process, not even the ones that claim “no gunsmithing required”.
If you intend to do the install yourself, make sure you first look up what tools you will need to complete the install so you don’t end up halfway through without what you need to finish the job.
Most of the M1A mounts come with instructions, but the quality of those instructions can vary, so give yourself some time to understand the process thoroughly before you dive in.
Alrighty, let’s get to our recommendations. Here are our 6 recommended best M1A Rifle scope mounts.
M1Surplus Scope Mount Rail
M1Surplus Mount Rail
Sadlak M1A Aluminum Airborne Scope Mount
Sadlak M1A Aluminum Airborne
Springfield M1A Generation 4 Scope Mount
Springfield M1A Generation 4
UTG New Gen 4-Point Deluxe M14/M1A Scope Mount
UTG New Gen 4-Point Deluxe M14/M1A
Aim Sports M-14/M1A Scope Mount
Aim Sports M-14/M1A
Sadlak Industries M1A Steel Scope Mount
Sadlak Industries M1A Steel
Variations in the M1A Product Line
The M1A comes in a number of different flavors depending on what you want to use it for. Lighter, shorter versions and longer, heavier versions. Some M1A scope mounts are designed specifically for a single model of M1A and won’t properly fit other models.
All of the mounts we review here should fit all current models of the M1A unless otherwise stated.
Different models will also have a different contact design and brass ejection trajectory.
For the most part, the number of locking points you have for your mount will be limited by the mount and not the rifle, but you’ll want to double-check and make sure that you’ve got the right rifle and mount combination.
We’ve done our best to cover a wide range of price points here, and you’ll see that the price range can actually be significant.
The main difference in price points is going to be how well you can achieve and maintain a perfect zero. Strength and durability is going to be higher with the more expensive mounts.
Best M1A Scope Mounts
1. M1Surplus M1A Mount Rail
The M1Surplus is somewhat in the middle of the price range and is an aluminum alloy. It’s got a rail all the way front-to-back and has a see-through channel to allow you to use your iron sights as a backup.
This mount is also only available in the US at the moment, so international readers may just want to skip ahead.
The M1Surplus comes with an anodized matte black finish and currently has over 40 ratings on Amazon with a 4.5-star average rating. If you want to use this mount on a SOCOM II, it will require a little bit of modification but can still work just fine.
The installation of this mount is a little bit less complicated than some of the other mounts, but don’t let that fool you; it will still take an experienced person around 30 minutes to complete.
M1Surplus Mount Rail
The price of M1Surplus Mount Rail varies, so check the latest price at
2. Sadlak M1A Aluminum Airborne
The Sadlak is actually going to appear twice on this list, as they have multiple versions of the same basic design, and they’re both fantastic for different purposes. This first version is made of aircraft-grade aluminum.
The aluminum model weighs only 4.3 ounces, which makes it a great fit when you are trying to keep your rifle light and agile. It is well-reviewed and commonly recommended as a top-of-the-line scope mount for an M1A.
Like the M1Surplus, you’ve got a hollow channel to allow for iron sights to be used as a backup. The Sadlak has been battle-tested by the 10th special forces in the US Army and has a 12 point fit when properly installed. It’s 9 inches long and 6 inches tall.
You’d be forgiven if you’d never heard of Sadlak Industries before now. Sadlak specializes exclusively in premium components for the M1A and AR-15 line.
This is partly why their M1A scope mounts are so highly rated; they specialize in them almost exclusively. They also sell bipods, replacement screws, and other mounting hardware.
Sadlak M1A Aluminum Airborne
The price of Sadlak M1A Aluminum Airborne varies, so check the latest price at
3. Springfield M1A Generation 4
It’s probably not surprising that Springfield Armory would make some of the best scope mounts for their M1A rifles. The 4th Gen Springfield mount is the first in our list to have a gap between the front and back rails instead of having one long rail piece.
Where the Sadlak has 12 points of contact, this mount from Springfield has only 3, and will also not fit the Socom II. You’ll notice that the Springfield also does not have a hollow channel for use with iron sights.
You can always put a red dot on it, but if you use a riflescope with magnification, it could make backup sights not an option.
You’ll generally see two styles of these M1A mounts; the style of this Gen 4 mount and the style of the Sadlak. Obviously, 12 points of contact and six inches of depth is going to provide a more robust attachment and be less prone to getting loosened over time.
That said, if you’re not putting rounds through your M1A on a daily or at least weekly basis, three-point contact is going to be plenty to keep it strong and solid for years.
Springfield M1A Generation 4
The price of Springfield M1A Generation 4 varies, so check the latest price at
4. UTG New Gen 4-Point Deluxe M14/M1A scope Mount
If you’re looking for a highly-rated budget option for your scope mount, look no further than the UTG. A lot of what you’ll see on this scope mount is what you may have come to expect from the mounts we’ve already covered, like the adjustable side screw, but the UTG is a bit of a different beast.
Notice how the rail looks different? That’s because it is. It’s a “new gen mil-spec quality deluxe sniper mount”. Why didn’t they just go with a picatinny-style rail or weaver rail? (shrug) But it’s fully compatible with picatinny or weaver scope rings and the hollow channel allows for iron sights.
As another slight difference, the UTG has 4 points of contact instead of the usual 3 for this type of design.
Where the more expensive mounts will have around 9 inches of rail length, the UTG only has 6 inches, which means you will have a little less flexibility to mount your optic exactly where you want it, but 6 inches should be plenty for the most part.
The UTG is relatively easy to install compared to the Sadlak but is still something you want to be careful to follow the instructions for and not rush. It comes with detailed instructions and is a quality M1A scope mount.
UTG New Gen 4-Point Deluxe
The price of UTG New Gen 4-Point Deluxe varies, so check the latest price at
5. Aim Sports M-14/M1A Rifle Scope Mount
This is actually the second best M1A scope mount in our list that is also compatible with the M-14, along with the UTG. For those who don’t know, the M1A and M14 rifle are very similar in design.
The Aim Sports M1A Scope mount is very similar in design and function to the UTG, and I’m including it on this list as another budget option to compare with the UTG.
Personally, I would buy the UTG over the Aim Sports. The UTG has a lot more information available and better reviews, and the Aim Sports version doesn’t really have any advantages over the UTG.
A number of reviews mention having to do significant amounts of filing to get the mount to fit on the M1A and some quality control issues.
That said, reviews here are more positive than negative, and once the M1A mount is installed correctly and being used, it seems to hold zero pretty well and allow for use of iron sights as a backup.
It accepts weaver rings and should offer a similar adjustment range as the UTG to control for the eye relief of the scope.
Aim Sports M-14/M1A
The price of Aim Sports M-14/M1A Scope Mount varies, so check the latest price at
6. Sadlak Industries M1A Steel
You might say we’re saving the best for last here, and you wouldn’t be wrong. The steel Sadlak M1A scope mount comes in two varieties, one that looks almost identical to the aluminum construction:
And one that has a bit more cut out:
What’s the difference? About 2.1 oz of weight and one has a manganese phosphate finish while the other has a black phosphate finish. What’s incredible about the steel versions of the Sadlak is that they are in the same weight range as some of the other brands’ aluminum versions.
The added weight can be a feature when you want to help stabilize your shooting position and handle recoil.
If you want lighter, you can always go with the aluminum version. Just like the aluminum version, this mount has 12 points of contact with the M1A and has been battle-tested by the 10th special forces of the US Army.
Sadlak guarantees that the mount will hold zero and not shoot loose, and with 12 points of contact it’s easy to believe.
So why wouldn’t everyone just buy this mount?
Well, for one it’s significantly more expensive than some of the other options. For another, it’s really designed for shooters who are either going to put a lot of rounds through their rifle on a regular basis or whose lives will be on the line if your optic isn’t perfectly zeroed every time you pick it up.
If you’re a soldier, avid shooter, or bear hunter, then this is the M1A mount for you. If you get to the range a few times per year and go on an annual deer hunt, this will be great but possibly more money than you need to spend on it.
Sadlak Industries M1A Steel
The price of Sadlak Industries M1A Steel varies, so check the latest price at
Summary & Closing Thoughts
So if money is no object, I would highly recommend either of the steel versions or the aluminum version of the Sadlak, and even if money is an object, if you’re planning on shooting a lot or in dangerous circumstances, the Sadlak is a wise choice.
If you’re more of a casual shooter, don’t shoot very often, or hunt game that doesn’t fight back, then you can look at some of the other options available. It may be tempting to just pull the trigger on the UTG or the Aim Sports, but keep in mind the old rule that you get what you pay for.
Getting something high-quality, with high durability, a one-piece design with a low profile (enough to give you good cheek weld) is a tall ask and usually comes with a taller price.
All of the mounts we’ve covered here should take most picatinny and weaver optics, and you can always double-check and ask questions if you’re not sure.
Let me know in the comments if I missed something or didn’t cover a mount that you think should be included on this list.