Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

M1A
Springfield Armory M1A.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Firing behavior
  • Loading
  • Sights
  • Sight history
  • Front sight
  • Cocking effort
  • Operating rod handle is for show
  • Scope base
  • Summary

There was lots of interest in the new Springfield Armory M1A rifle. It’s a nice-looking lookalike. It’s a decently powerful springer. It’s an underlever, and yes, there are folks who like that feature over all the others. It has other features that I’ll get into today, Like I said at the end of Part 1, velocity testing will have to wait for Part 3.

The trigger

The trigger is two-stage and not adjustable. There are no screws in sight when you peer deep inside. Stage one on the rifle I’m testing is heavy and a bit creepy. Stage two is hard to feel, with the result that at present the trigger feels like a light single-stage trigger. I think as the rifle breaks in the first and second stages will become more distinct.

M1A trigger
The trigger blade is bare, without any adjustment.

The trigger pull is 3 lbs. 9 oz. for stage one and 4 lbs. for stage two. That’s how close the two are. I think many will see this as a single-stage trigger. Stage two is very crisp and positive.

By the end of today’s examination I was already feeling a distinct separation between trigger stages one and two. I probably fired a dozen shots today, just getting familiar with the rifle, and no more than 20 from when it came out of the box.

Firing behavior

The rifle fires with a slight shudder from the mainspring. It isn’t offensive and doesn’t need quieting, in my opinion.

Loading

Today while I cocked the rifle I watched the place that opens for loading and could see the sliding compression chamber move quickly to the rear to compress the mainspring as the upper handguard slides to the front to reveal the loading port. I stress again that the area for loading is small and may not suit all people.

M1A port opening
As the underlever is pulled down the upper handguard slides forward and the sliding compression chamber goes to the rear.

M1A loading port
When it’s all the way open the M1A loading port is small.

Sights

Now we come to the most interesting feature of all — the sights! The sights on an M1 Garand and an M14 are the most pleasant sights to use of all those on any battle rifle, in my opinion. And you get a set just like them on the M1A airgun.

They are a peep sight in the rear that adjusts for both windage and elevation. I was going to report that the adjustments felt mushy, but that was before I noticed the screw on the right side. When it was checked with a screwdriver it was not quite tight and tightening it snug rendered both adjustments clearer and crisper. It’s just past finger-tight, so don’t crank on it. When I do the accuracy test I plan to do a special “boxing” of the sights to see how well these adjustments really work. I will explain what boxing means when I get to that report.

M1A rear sight
The rear sight on the M1A pellet rifle adjusts in both directions — just like on the firearm.

M1A rear sight screw
Tighten this one screw that looks like a nut on the right adjustment knob and both sight adjustments get crisper.

Sight history

The M1 Garand went through many different designs of rear sights. The Lock Bar type that was used throughout World War II had a locking bar on the outside of the right side adjustment knob that controls elevation. After the war the bar was eliminated and the adjustment became just a knob. 

When the M14 came along the sights continued to refine. The Army liked this type of sight and only changed when necessary due to the different design and construction of the M16.

The one drawback I find with the pellet rifle rear sight is there are no directions on the adjustment knobs. You have to remember that for the elevation knob on the left side, turning counter-clockwise raises the peep and therefore the impact of the pellet. Turn the windage adjustment clockwise to move the peep and the pellet impact to the right.

Front sight

Most American battle rifles have front sights that are protected from damage by “ears” on either side of the central post or blade. On the M1A the center is a blade. The manual shows to hold the front blade with its tip centered on the target, which is correct by the military manual. I shoot at black bullseyes, though, and a 6 o’clock hold is easier to hold precisely.

M1A front sight
The front sight is a blade, protected by a “ear” on either side.

Two more things to know about the front sight. It appears to be on a dovetail and can thus be tapped left and right for more windage correction. This is just an illusion given by the very detailed casting. The sight does not move in the dovetail.

The second thing is a problem with all front sights that have ears. Make darned sure when you sight on something that it is the front post you are holding on the target and not one of the ears. The peephole is small and it’s easy to make a mistake. The ears are bent out to either side to help you identify them through the peep.

I will say that the pull of this M1A is just 13-1/4-inches. That allows me to get far enough forward that I can see the entire front sight assembly through the peep hole.

That “thing” in front of the front sight is a replica flash hider. The real flash hider has slots that allow hot gas to escape out the sides as the bullet is exiting the muzzle. It hides the flash from the shooter in low light, to preserve his night vision.

Cocking effort

With the cocking handle extended on the underlever I measured the cocking effort as exactly 35 pounds on my bathroom scale. That’s what the description on the Pyramyd Air website says it should be. The underlever extension is an important feature that you want to use if you plan on doing a lot of shooting.

Operating rod handle is for show

The curved handle of the operating rod, or what many would call the cocking handle on the right side of the receiver is for show, only. It is spring-loaded to slide back and forth but it does nothing for the rifle.

M1A operating handle
The operating handle can be pulled back and will spring forward again, but it is non-functional.

Scope base

One last surprise today — the scope base. In Part One I said the rifle comes with the scope base, but a reader corrected me. The scope base is something you have to order separately. At this time it is called the M14 scope base and this M1A isn’t listed on the description page as a rifle that it fits, but it does. I mounted it to the left side of the receiver in about 5 minutes.

M1A scope base
The M14 scope base fits the Springfield Armory M1A pellet rifle.

Summary

That’s all for today. Next time we test the velocity and the time after that we start testing accuracy! Stay tuned!

76 thoughts on “Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle: Part 2

  1. Errata-

    Section- Front Sight, last paragraph

    ‘That ‘Thing’ in front of the the front sight…
    M14s only had flash hiders. Various ‘brakes’ and such came about later as add-ons to appease anti-gun regulations and as possible accuracy improvements.


  2. B.B.,

    How much added length with the lever extended (looks about 4-5 inches)? How difficult (how many pounds) is it to cock if the cocking handle was not extended (no mechanical advantage)?

    Siraniko


  3. BB,

    Very interesting that the hand guard (automatically/mechanically) slides forward at the [same time] the compression chamber moves to the rear.

    I did not expect the hand guard to move at all. Is this the (only) under lever that has the loading port expand in 2 different directions?

    Chris


  4. BB
    Now this is interesting. I have seen three of these rifles and each has a different Serial No.
    Yours—– # 0171
    Mine—— # 0375
    Hard Air– # 0379
    A limited production rifle ? A few groups made with various S/N”s ? or an honest individual S/N assigned to each rifle?


    • My lowly Red Ryders all have unique serial numbers that appear to be laser etched. These are just paint or ink stamped/printed on the heel. Shouldn’t be difficult for unique numbers per individual gun.


      • Pacoinohio
        I agree with you there but why bother with all the number changing if it’s a decoration. They must really want to keep track of them for some reason. Internal modifications in production or perhaps just to keep track what month or year it was made.
        OK ! I got it … One year warrantee and for any possible recalls in the future.


        • Bob,

          Painted on in any form is pretty crappy! There will be wear. Hard stamping or at least laser etching should be the minimum. Essential/safety/serial # data should permanent in my opinion.

          Chris



          • Chris
            A small trade of for a great price.
            Look at it this way, How much money do you save by using a spot weld in place of a nut and bolt during car assembly? 5 cents or so?
            And then you have labor and time involved that can be saved.

            Now how many spot welds do you use during an annual production run, A million or so? Do the math. That was a bit of info I received while attending GM’s Fisher Body and Fender School when I asked “Why don’t they just bolt these things together like they used to?”
            Bob M




  5. BB
    I see in the two pictures you show of the sliding hand cover that they are two different colors. So I wonder what color brown they use on the current production gun.

    I would still have to paint it black if I got one though.


  6. This is still an interesting rifle to me, but the more I think about that “reverse functioning” safety the more it bothers me. Why would they do that? Do they make others like this, or is it just about the aesthetics of having the safety sort of “disappear” when it is up against the trigger guard when set to fire?


    • Alan, we simply messed up. We are looking to see if we can reverse the safety direction in 2021 production, but it will be like this for a while (lots of these are in production and on the water already). They are selling strongly. It will be some time before we even know if it’s possible (changes are needed in the trigger assembly, obviously, S/F markings, etc).

      Thank you
      Val



      • Val,

        Thanks so much for that simple, honest explanation. That kind of integrity goes a long way!

        While I obviously would prefer the safety to function the other way around, do be sure to make the best decision for customer satisfaction, and especially customer safety. Having a good number of rifles that otherwise are the same working differently can be a problem too, and needs to be considered as part of any action plan.

        Thanks again!

        Alan


        • Yes, you nailed it right on the head. It’s one of those – now, what do we do. Tooling, production, testing, QC, lots of things would need to change, and then the customer impact… Let’s say one day, you return the rifle with safety working backwards, but receive a replacement rifle with safety working the other way? Are you happy as a customer?

          Maybe we just leave it as is and let everybody complain about it… 😉

          Still, think our product group did a great job with this one (if I say so myself), my only wish is/was the slimmer receiver, but that one is tough…


          • Val, I am a Umarex Synergis owner. I was curious about how the magazine system worked, so I bought one last year. It has worked without a single jam with about 5 tins through it. It is allot of accuracy for the money I think, I wish it was as good looking as this rifle! I wanted to have a single shot tray for the Synergis, but the idea of sticking my fingers in the tiny loading port, with a anti-beartrap I dont trust, put me off that idea. That, and it really is more fun to just cock and shoot a pre loaded magazine than load ‘classic style’, especially if the rifle is accurate. I think this rifle design is begging for the magazine system, maybe a belt design, with a probe. The op rod handle could be functional.. I like the scope mount too. How about an FG 42 replica?(my fav)
            Anyway, nice job!
            Rob


          • Val,

            I am loving what you guys are doing with the replicas. Keep up the great work. I’m impressed with the accuracy of my M1 Carbine.

            I’ll second Alan’s appreciation for your direct, honest answer. That inspires a lot of confidence. Thank you.

            And, I’ll “third” Rob’s interest in more WWII era classics. Keep em comin!

            StarboardRower


          • Or then the gun gets sent back to the person with the safety working the opposite way or the markings don’t change and another person owns the gun.

            Hopefully the gun don’t go off at the wrong time because of the safety. Could be a tricky situation.


          • Val,

            I have been thinking seriously about the pros and cons of changing the safety, and as the one that raised it today let me say that knowing what I know now, I would leave it as is.

            Thanks so much for the straight answer and facts on this.

            Alan


          • Val Gamerman,

            “Maybe we just leave it as is and let everybody complain about it… ” i felt good about your reaction until i read the above quote. If you haven’t read Kevin Wilmeth’s comment already you need to!

            https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2020/10/springfield-armory-m1a-underlever-pellet-rifle-part-1/#comment-464922

            You need to consider his post as a statement of best practice and consider consequences of not recalling or offering an exchange program for existing product. Risk Management should be your guide.

            Your business to do with as you choose.

            Best wishes for a good outcome.

            shootski


  7. Just going to post these pictures of the 499 barrel fitted inside the drilled out 2240 barrel and mounted on my 2260. I didn’t get to shoot it yesterday because the bb’s I tried in it kept rolling out the barrel before I could shoot. I had my target outside at 10 yards. I shoot from the breezeway on a bench basically. So I’m shooting down hill.

    In case anybody wants to know my 499 barrel on the outside diameter was .297″. The closest drill I could find at work was .295″ to drill out the 2240 barrel with. So I had to put the 499 barrel in the lathe and turn it on and use some sandpaper and Emery cloth to get the couple thousandths off of it. Then I polished it with some scotch brite till I got a nice fit in between a slip and press fit. Then I pressed the 499 barrel into the drilled out 2240 barrel. Then I made the transfer port hole in the 499 barrel by using the 2240 barrel transfer port hole basically as a giude.

    And I’m guessing where the 499 barrel screws into the breech on the 499 gun that they have a magnet back there some how.

    So I’m taking my bolt to work tonight to magnitize it. Then I shouldn’t have the bb rolling out of the barrel problem.

    So tomorrow I’m going to shoot the 2260 with the 499 barrel then I’m putting the 499 barrel on my 1377 with the 1399 stock. But here is some pictures.




        • Paco
          It might. But I did magnitize the barrel after I got it done at work so I thought that would work.

          I did try this though. I touched a magnetic screwdriver to the bolt probe by the o-ring then I set the bb in the opening of the breech and it pulled back to the probe. Then I pointed the gun down and the bb stayed on the bolt probe. Soon as I took the screwdriver away the bb released.

          So I think when I magnitize the actual bolt probe tonight at work that I should be in business then. We will see what happens tomorrow.


        • Paco
          It looks like I’m going to have to sort of go with your idea about the magnet.

          I tried magnitizind the barrel then the bolt probe. It still won’t hold the bb.

          So I’m going to try to find one of those magnets the right size I need and either super glue it or JB Weld it to the front of the probe.

          So no shooting results yet.


          • GF1,

            I mentioned it before,.. but how does the bb get it’s push/start if stuck to the probe? Unless wrong, the 499 holds the bb at the back of the barrel because of a magnet in where the barrel screws into. So, nothing is in back of the bb and the bb can receive a full blast of air from the piston. With a pellet, the probe can still be there and touch the pellet,… but the skirt that hangs out past the probe tip can catch the air and get it moving/pushed.

            Chris


            • Chris
              Not sure about the 499. I have not owned one.

              I do have 499 diagram and parts list. I’ll have to check it out. Maybe I can tell how the 499 works after I look at it.

              But I ended up super gluing a piece of magnet to the end of the 2260 probe. It will now pick up 2 bb’s from the table with the first bb hanging on the magnet and the second one hanging from the first bb. So pretty positive the bb will now stay in place in the barrel.

              Here’s a picture of the probe with two bb’s hanging off the magnet. It will hold bb’s like that. So the magnet is pretty strong.

              Going to put the probe back in the breech with the 499 barrel and put it back together.

              Hopefully I will get some shooting results pretty soon.



        • Chris
          I have been thinking more about this. I’m thinking the 1377 pumper is going to give the best result.

          I know from messing with my smooth bore 760 that the number of pumps made a difference when I tried shooting BB’s.

          I really don’t know what to expect will happen yet. Hoping for something good. But don’t know.



        • Michael
          Thanks.

          But you know as well as I do that is not what counts.

          If I can’t get a good group at 10 yards then it wasn’t worth while. But as it goes how would we know.

          What is in my mind is if I try 5 yards and I don’t get as good as groups like the test target I got from Daisy with the barrel. Then what does that mean?

          I hope I at least get good groups at 10 yards. And if I don’t at 5 yards then I will be wondering what caused the worse groups. I can already think of a bunch of reasons why the 499 barrel might not get good groups in another gun.

          If anything it was worth a try. To me anyway.


          • Gunfun1,

            If you get good but not awesome groups at 10 yards, then I’d chalk that up to the smooth bore. That would especially be the case if the groups spread dramatically with just small distance increases.

            But Chris did get pretty good accuracy at longer distances with his “steroided” 499. My expectation is that you’ve created one deadly accurate hybrid.

            Michael


            • Michael
              Not good news so far. Shot the different bb’s I have with the 499 barrel on the 2260 and 1377.

              I get like 3 bb’s at 10 yards touching each other then 3 bb’s go 3 inches away in different directions. Both the 1377 and 2260 did the same.

              I tried all kinds of different pumps on the 1377 and even tried without the scope using open sights to eliminate if the scope could be the problem.

              I’m thinking that the magnet I glued on the bolt probe may be causing inconsistency in the way the bb loads in the barrel. Just not sure.

              But what I have thought about is offering to mail the barrel to someone else that would like to try it on one of their guns. I’ll pay the shipping even.

              But that’s where I’m at right now.



                • Michael
                  Absolutely tried the Avanti bb’s and yep they did do better than the other bb’s.

                  I even tried the Dust Devils I have.The original designed ones. And the Marksman bb’s I have won’t even go in the barrel.

                  And I did even try the JSB 10.34 pellets in both guns. They was like a shot gun pattern at 10 yards. About 2 inch groups.

                  So I don’t know right now.


                  • GF1,

                    I am thinking speed, Chris hot rodded his 499 and got it to 310 or was it 410 fps and still had accuracy. I think you may be going a lot faster.

                    The other thought is in the 499 the air comes directly thru the barrel, with your setup using a transfer port the air has to turn an 90 degree angle and may be that upsetting the travel. Really do not know.

                    Good try anyway and soon we should see how Derrick’s 499 adventure goes.

                    Mike


                    • Mike,

                      It went to 412 fps from the stock 240. As for the 90 degree,… it is no different than any other bb rifle like an 880,.. so I am not sure there.

                      The thing to study, to me anyways,… is to compare the probe/o-ring/breech/transfer port area/relationship (of all).

                      Also, what was the fps GF1 was getting?

                      Chris


                    • Mike
                      I never chronyed but the 2260 was definitely the faster gun. The 1377 I used from 2 to 15 pumps and it liked from 2 to 3 pumps the best.

                      It was those flyers that kept getting me. Just couldn’t get any consistency in the groups.

                      There was one thing I was going to try though but I forgot and already put the 2250 (no typo 2250) barrel back on my 1377. That was using spaghetti like Minute Of Something’s idea of his spaghetti shooter.

                      So I’m going to put the 499 barrel back on the 1377 today and try shooting some spaghetti out of it. I think it will like the 499’s smooth bore better than a rifled barrel.


                    • Mike,

                      It would be easy to add the coupler and funnel back on to test that theory. There is no “pin” on the front of the piston head on the 499. There is obviously a magnet involved for holding the bb, but I am not sure where it is. I recall seeing it, but not sure if I saw it from the piston side or the barrel side.

                      Chris


                  • GF1,

                    See comment to Mike in Atl just below. I don’t know. At least you tried. It would have been nice to have had the bb sit at the back of the barrel like the 499 (and) not touch the probe and still have a magnet do the holding. Something like a few light stake marks to keep it from rolling back to the probe. (no magnet on probe, muzzle load, bolt stays closed, etc.)

                    Chris


                    • Chris
                      Yep I may still try the stake marks. I thought about that. And I think that after I load the bb down the barrel to the stake mark’s that I will tap the bb just so slightly with my wood dowel rod I have. That may be enough to keep the bb from rolling out the barrel.

                      And read my comment to Mike today about velocities. Also I think I’m going to put the 499 barrel back on the 1377 and try shooting some spaghetti out of the smooth bore 499 barrel. Plus I forgot to take a picture of the 499 barrel on my 1377. I do want a picture of it too just so I have it.


                    • Chris,

                      I have a 2100 classic and at 10 meters it does like GF1’s 499 barrel on other transfer port guns, I just see a tornado of air spinning and turning 90 degrees, I could be wrong but that has to have some effect.

                      But you cannot compare a 499 to an 880 or any other BB gun, the 499 just works.

                      One other thought is the funnel for muzzle loading the BB, I wonder if that has any effect on the air and BB as it leaves the barrel.

                      Too many variables.

                      Mike

                      edit to add

                      On the 499 the air goes straight thru the barrel, no turbulence, and if I am not mistaken there is a pin on the piston that gives the BB a start just as the air arrives.




    • Bob,

      You have to remember that Air Venturi is trhe distributor of these. How many pallets does it take to put 375 full-sized gun cartons on? That’s what they are dealing with. Sure the numbers will increase with time but everything takes time.

      Gene, sorry for breaking in but your comment seemed the best place to do it.

      BB


  8. BB ,

    No worries , I am hoping that these are a hit , nice replicas . Personally I think they would be better shooting 825 to 850 fps in 177 with smoother cocking but people need to see that 1,000 fps on the box !!! We have to do what sells . I like the click elevation and windage , great feature at this price point .

    Gene Salvino


  9. BB,

    The more I see of this, the more I like it. That’s the air rifle inside, not the replica skin. With the extendable cocking lever a true sproinger carbine can be made. I can see me and Hank making a nice little shooter out of this with maybe an eight inch barrel. We would have to get rid of that backward safety though.

    Imagine if more airgun companies were to adopt the extendable cocking lever. Air Arms could come out with a truly awesome TX200 series carbine. Shorten the shroud and fix the cocking lever. Maybe the Hatsan Dominator could make a comeback? Maybe a Synergis in carbine?


  10. BB,

    It is sounding like there may be a bit of anti-rust lubricant in the trigger assembly that is being worked out. Please keep us informed of the trigger’s progress.



  11. Geo791,

    Can’t imagine having a hundred Mahr Dimensionaire gages. I’m surprised that its possible to even measure diameters accurately when the surface finish is rougher than about 8 micro inches.


  12. Well Guys,

    Some may think I suffer from a case of arrested development, not here though. I prefer to call it extended ‘ Yout ‘ and I enjoy my toys.
    I have had a lifetime (literally) of responsibility. Raising kids, creating a secure life and retirement and living with knowledge for the past 40+ years that if I ever screwed up at my work in aircraft maintenance it was possible that hundreds of lives could be lost.
    It may be we aircraft mechanics have developed a sense of humor at work to counter the awesome responsibility we carry or our brains are wired to always keep it going in our subconscious but we often look like a bunch of clowns. However not much ever goes over our heads, sharp people.

    I figured out how the company could save weight and even have a pellet storage magazine under this M1A. Create a good quality composite, with just a touch of metal, M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle, EBR, Chassis that works with the underlever. Piece of cake, Right? 😉

    OK it may need a little modification for the lever, but that’s what people get paid to do. I’d buy SN # 00001. But I may take it up as another fun project. Anybody see my box of round toits. And yes they could keep the sliding thingy on the right side of the receiver. Nice touch. They do think about us.
    Bob M



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