M1A Hunting Overview – Vital Information and Accessory Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated:
July 30, 2023

Hunting has become a very popular hobby these days, especially in regions where the population of varmints, pests, and predators has grown out of control. This hobby requires the right tools and the M1A rifle fits the bill perfectly. The M1A is a classic rifle and is widely owned among shooters.

Here, we will discuss the hunting capabilities and usefulness of the M1A rifle. We will learn about the effectiveness of an M1A rifle when hunting small or large game and what accessories can help improve its shooting performance. We will also review the necessary accessories to be used with the M1A for optimum performance. So let’s begin. 

Development of the M1A

The M1A rifle is the civilian version of the legendary M14 rifle, adopted by the U.S Military in 1959 as a service rifle. The M14 replaced the old M1 Garand rifles as the standard issue rifle for troops.

The M14 has been successfully used in many wars, and in 1974, Springfield Armory Inc. released a semi-automatic version of this rifle intended for civilian use, which came to be known as the M1A.

It was designed by Elmer C. Ballance of Springfield Armory Inc. The only major difference between the original M14 and M1A is the firing selector. The M14 is a full-auto weapon whereas the M1A is a semi-auto.

M1A Rifle (Source)

Upon hitting the market, the M1A quickly gained popularity as a civilian use rifle. Probably because most shooters and hunters were retirees from the army who liked to use a platform exactly the same as their standard issue rifles. Plus, the platform was already adopted by the U.S Military, which also gave people a sense of assurance.

Today the M1A is available in several models/variants across the market which include the standard/loaded, match, scout, and SOCOM versions. The M1A is used for hunting, self-defense, competitions, and even tactical uses.

M1A For Hunting Small Animals

Hunting small animals refers to varmints from the size rabbits up to the size of a coyote. The M1A rifle fires the powerful .308 cartridge. It is a heavy, pricey rifle to feed, so hunting small animals with the M1A is not a very good choice.

Hunting varmints is different than hunting large animals like boar or deer. If you are shooting a cute little rabbit with a .308, chances are that you’ll end up tearing it to pieces.

The M1A is a semi-auto rifle, which makes it good for taking follow-up shots. However, small varmints are neither tough enough to take that sort of a punch nor require such expensive ammunition. Plus, their hunting range is always under 150 yards. Such animals can be successfully eliminated with .22’s and even airguns.

Additionally, when you are on a varmint hunting spree, you won’t stop at two or three trophies. It is also difficult to carry such a heavy rifle along with you for such long durations.

Conclusively, the fact is that you don’t need a sledgehammer to break a glass. So leave the small varmints to .22 and .223’s.

M1A For Hunting Medium to Large Animals

This is the part where the M1A works best. The M1A fires the powerful 7.62 cartridge, which is enough to take down a deer or hog at 300 yards and a brown bear at 150. The M1A is an accurate rifle, and when combined with a proper scope and good ammunition, it is the ultimate hunting rifle.

Bull Moose make an easy hunting target (Source)

Hunting big animals is generally done at a range between 150-400 yards and the M1A is dead-on accurate at this range. Plus, if you are ready to play with the gas system and accessories, it can hit two-inch groups at 600 yards and beyond. The M1A is a semi-auto so it allows you to take quick follow up shots, which comes in handy when shooting hogs or feral dogs.

Using the right kind of ammunition will also ensure that your target drops dead in just one shot. The M1A is also a durable rifle and can withstand harsh environmental conditions (remember it is a battle-tested platform).

Taking into account factors such as accuracy, range, caliber, and reliability, the M1A is an exceptional rifle for hunting medium and large-sized game.

Best M1A Ammo For Hunting

The type of ammunition you choose plays an important part in defining your accuracy and performance with the rifle. There are different types of ammunition available for every cartridge, ranging from Milsurp to precise match-grade rounds.

If you are hunting small animals at a close range, the quality of ammunition might not matter much. But if you are hunting medium or large-sized game at a long range, having a good round (140gr or more) for your M1A surely helps to get a clear and humane kill.

Plus, your hunting ammo should be economical. It is also important to take note of the weight of the bullets. A 150-grain bullet is good for deer and coyotes, whereas moose and bears require 165-grain or more.

Note: Be sure to check if FMJ rounds are legal for hunting in your state.

1. Federal - Lake City 7.62x51mm Nato 149gr Xm80 FMJ Ammo Can

This box of M1A ammunition from Federal is an economical bulk purchase for you. The box contains 200 rounds of FMJ 7.62x51mm cartridges for your M1A rifle and the price is just amazing.

The ammo features non-corrosive primers, so they won’t damage your rifle. Plus, the ammo burns very clean and can be reloaded if desired. The full metal jacket bullet is good for targets where terminal expansion is not required, especially big game.

These rounds can also be used to line up shots and make multiple kills with one round. The ammo is of good quality and is good for practice and shooting big game. These bullets do attract a magnet, so make sure to check guidelines before taking them to a range.

2. Federal Premium Vital-Shok - .308 Winchester - 150 Grain

The Vital-Shok ammo from Federal is a premium 150-grain bullet with exceptional ballistics and impressive expansion. This is a ‘one shot, one kill’ kind of bullet, which makes a quick and clean kill. It burns very clean and will never create jamming problems.

Due to its penetration and expansion capabilities, the bullet is apt to shoot medium and big-sized game, ranging from whitetails to bull moose and bears. This is by far the best bullet for your M1A you’re ever going to find on the market. It is also available in a 180-grain variant which can also be used for big-sized game.

3. Winchester® USA Rifle Ammunition

It is almost impossible to create a list of ammunition brands without including Winchester. These 7.62x51mm rounds from Winchester have been manufactured in adherence to strict NATO standards. The newly manufactured brass cases have a clean burning powder and boxer primers, topped with 147-grain FMJ bullets.

These bullets offer good penetration and are exceptional for hunting deer at short and long ranges. This ammunition can be used for high volume shooting, as it is clean and inexpensive. These rounds are quite accurate and will complement your shooting skills.


The M1A is a classic American rifle derived from the M14 and is widely used for hunting. Different models of this rifle are available on the market today. It fires the powerful 7.62x51mm cartridge, which packs a lot of punch to knock down medium and large-sized game.

To upgrade the hunting capabilities and performance of the rifle, you should add a good scope and use the right kind of ammunition. The M14 has been successfully used to kill hostiles in battle, so there’s no point in doubting the hunting capabilities of the M1A, its civilian counterpart. 


Ankit Kumar is an engineer turned writer who specializes in topics related to firearms, gun safety and weapon tech. His passion towards enrolling in the Army drifted his interest towards light and heavy firearms. He’s a qualified competitive air rifle shooter and an avid nature lover. His other areas of expertise include survival, prepping and firearms/ammo storage. When he’s not writing, he’s either learning a new skill, trekking or enjoying a long drive.

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