« The Real Deal, Part I: The Story of Finn Aagaard | Main | The Worst Guns of All Time »

May 15, 2006

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Nut at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut.

The Guns I Own: The Springfield SOCOM16

Editor's Note: Each week until he runs out of guns, Dave will be writing about each of the different firearms in his collection here on The Gun Nut. This is the first.

When I reported for basic training in 1963, the Army was just phasing out of the M-1 (Garand) and into the M-14, which was an improved Garand.  The M-14 lasted only 4 years as a general-issue infantry rifle before it was supplanted by the M-16. However, it continues to see specialized use with the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Its range, penetrating power and reliability are superior to those of the M-16, and there are still places where these qualities are highly useful. New ones--called M1As--are made by Springfield Armory of Genesco, IL., at very high prices.

Springfield’s most recent M1A wrinkle  is an evil-looking firearm called the SOCOM 16. SOCOM stands for “special operations commander,” and the 16 refers to the fact that this rifle--actually, a carbine--has a barrel that’s just over 16 inches long, which is the shortest length rifle barrel you can own without the ATF coming to have a talk with you.

It’s heavy (9 pounds plus), all black (courtesy of a fiberglass stock) and evil-looking. It is a rifle of no redeeming social value, and it’s a ball to shoot. There’s almost no recoil, courtesy of the gun’s weight, a recoil suppressor that keeps the muzzle from jumping, and the fact that the 7.62mm NATO cartridge for which its chambered doesn’t kick much anyway.

All I have to do is lay hold of this anti-social little powerhouse and I’m once again a 22-year-old Private E-2 squad leader, shivering my ass off on the cinder track in front of the World War II-era barracks that housed November Company, 4th Tng Rgt., Ft. Dix, NJ. Believe me, you can buy lots of fun for $1,700.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Guns I Own: The Springfield SOCOM16:



Great toy...if the mission is just marketing...with a nostalgic eye toward affluent plinkers.

The truth is, the M-14s which continue to have real-world relevance "over there" – because of the reach and lethality of their 7.62 round – all have the original-length, longer barrels.

And here's something else to consider:

With its short, stubby barrel, this new M1A features dramatically increased muzzle blast, which is magnified even MORE by that ear-splitting muzzle brake.

Of course, I realize all of this is probably falling on deaf ears...


Mr. Petzal,
Enjoy the blog and your writing in F&S.

What size bullet do you shoot out of your SOCOM 16?


Dave Petzal

To Concerned Soldier: 150 grains. Remington makes a brand of practice ammo that's very inexpensive (compared, at least, to fancier commercial stuff) and it works fine. Springfield recommends military ammo because of the harder primers, but I've never had a problem.

If I muster the ambition, I'd like to mount a scope on it and see what it does with 168-grain match ammo.


Thank you Sir,
That will a big pro (Look Babe the ammo is cheap) in the argument with my wife about possibly getting one in the future!



They actually had a SOCOM 16 on the used gun rack at Cabela's a couple months back, it was really a neat little rifle. If I recall correctly it looked almost brand new and the price was right around $1100 which is suprisingly good for Cabela's (they have some of the worst pricing I've seen; I was there yesterday and a used Remington 504 was $10 more than they were going for new down the road at Gander Mountain).

Incase you haven't noticed the new SOCOM II comes with a horrendous (though I'm sure it is quite handy) looking picatinny rail cluster:

Based on your accolades, I'm assuming that your SOCOM didn't come with the special option. The rod storage compartment was a bit hard to open -- It seems that the buttstock of my factory new, in the box and wrapper $1500 dollar toy was full of dead ladybugs.

Roger E. Reeves, Sr.

In the market for a Sears ( J.C. Higgins) model 50 in either 270 or 30-06 caliber. Must be in A -1 condition, good finish and metal with no work necessary to shoot) prefer one with orig. 4 power Weaver scope, but not a must. Please reply if one is available.Alsom ienclose your price.

Adam Lloyd

I've had my I on the socom for a while now and finally squeezed one out of my wife for my birthday. I couldn't be happier w/ it's accuracy even w/ the short barrel.

Jack Bohm

I've looked at a few of these wonderfully Anti-Social monsters at a Local gunshop- Johnson's In Adrian MI. Despite the weight they handle pretty well- my BAR Safari is is actually slightly heavier. If I could afford it, I'd buy either the SOCOM or M1A National Match, the more evil looking the better- just to terrorize my neighbors- one of their Brain-Dead teen-aged kids ran off screaming when they saw me wandering my yard with a Winchester SuperX2 after I'd seen a crow that I wanted to terminate. That was May 2005. Just Imagine what kind of panic an Erstwhile "assault rifle" would do to those stupid hippies! Those idiots put up "No Hunting" signs all over the place becasue they don't like my- and the rest of my family hunting or shooting


I know what you mean and the muzzle brake with its frig'n loud report really scares the bejesus out of the locals. But like someone said earlier the accuracy is great out of the 16 inch barrel and it is quick to acquire the target even despite its 11 pounds plus with a 20 rnd mag

John S.

I have owned a SOCOM now for approximately 1year and I must say that I am very disappointed in 1) accuracy, 2) quality control, & 3) reliability. First, I have shot several different brands of ammo (factory, military, and reloads) and have not been able to get it to group better than 6inches at 100 yards (from a bench rest). Second, upon opening the box I found that the night sight had a crack in it and it has never worked. I believe that the Q.C. guys should have caught this before it left the factory. And finally, my rifle has a serious problem with extracting the spent cartridges from the chamber. Now, I know the extractor is working properly, as it has no problems ripping the rims of the cases from the cartridge. It is more of a problem with the cartridge sticking in the chamber. I have spoke to the dealer who sold me the rifle and he has said that of the eight SOCOM's he sold, 2 have returned to him for factory service for the same type of issues. That is 25% of the SOCOM's he has sold!!! That is poor in anybody’s book. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love the M-14 and own several Springfield products and will no-doubt purchase more, but I am not happy with the quality or performance of my SOCOM.

Steve Joiner

For the fellow looking for Sear's / JC Higgins stuff...I have a very old Weaver 4X scope - fine crosshair. It is in great shape (has brass turrets). If interested let me know the value that is fair in your mind and I will send it to you.

Michael Stora, Ph.D.

MatWV, I assume you are from WV? The Cabellas in Phoenix had the same gun for the same price but when I went back for it it was gone, ended up getting a highly customized .45-70 lever gun.

Edward Mannah

can a full size M1A be bought with the muzzel brake thats on the SOCOM ?

Lance Crusilla

I have owned a socom 16 for almost a year and the only problems I have had were with the 20 rd mag. The bullets seem to be getting jammed and not getting extracted correctly. What should I look for to handle this problem? the tip of the bullets are touching the front of the 20rd mag and not popping up freely! My 10 rd mag works perfect, everytime all I want is to utilize my 20 rd mags.....do I need to stretch the mags?

Guy Turner

I bought my SOCOM because it fit me like a glove, and it will make a great End Of Days rifle. Alas, my aging eyes don't allow very good accuracy and when I mounted a scope I must lift my face off the stock to see through the scope. I tried one of the various gadgets (padding) for raising the stock comb, not very good. Any suggestions?

Tim Frey

I bought my SOCOM 16 used, with a scope alredy mounted on it. It was plenty accurate. For my intended purpose, I replaced the scope with an EOTECH red dot sight - that whole end of days scenario - for a QCB rifle.
Anyway, when I went to transplant the scope to a Ruger 10/22 I realized that the eye relief on the scope was a generous 12 to 14 inches - kinda like a shotgun scope, I guess. The mounting rail on this rifle is way up from the bolt area so it made sense once I thought about it.
The scope is a Bushnell Elite 3200 2x6. If you think you might want to try it, I'd send it to you to try before you pay me. I just don't have a need for it.
I love my red dot!

guy turner

Thanks, Tim. I think I may have the problem solved with a TC 2-7 pistol scope mounted out on the rail. I still need padding on the stock, tho.
Anyone making aftermarket stocks for the M-1A variations?


Troy Industries makes a great AR conversion chassis.


Hi Dave,
Good article on the SOCOM big dog. I got one 3 years ago and was quite dissapointed initially. Upon initial dissasembly I was unable to reinstall the trigger group back into the receiver without using super human force and a 6 foot cheater bar, well not actually, but it was incredibly hard to reassemble. I have much experience with the M1 family and knew this just wasn't right !
On further examination it was determined that the trigger group had been forced into the receiver at the factory and had actually damaged the guide grooves in the receiver. Boy that pissed me off!
I contacted SA and was told to reship the rifle back for repair (my hook of course). 5 weeks later and with no word I got my baby back, no explanation other than a work order showing a new receiver had been installed.

I have shot my baby quite a bit since with no problems and all is well. I learned later that SA was having QC issues at that time (luck of the Irish) and the subsequent problems had been corrected. I don't know if they have since, but my baby is just fine.

It seems for a weapon in the spendy range such as this rifle incidents like this shouldn't happen.

Since then I have carried this gun in harms way and it has always worked since and is a reassuring weapon to have beside one. I will trade a little more weight for a lot more smack anytime!


chad hudgens

love the looks of the socom a little concerned about accuracy.Im mostly a hunter and think it would make one hell of a brush gun. I'd sell my sole if I could get one that would shoot an inch group what are your thoughts

Our Blogs