This Memorial Day weekend is a time for reflection. Our country has accomplished great things– thanks to our men and women in uniform. They’ve been helped by some extraordinary rifles too. Arguably the finest battle rifles our country has ever fielded: the M1 Garand and M1A/M14, have become iconic symbols of American freedom. These are classic US firearms– of wood and steel. One of its direct descendants, the Springfield SOCOM 16, still sees action overseas– albeit in smaller numbers. Thanks to modular chassis innovations from Troy, Sage, and Vltor– many old M14s have been given an “Extreme Makeover: Rifle Edition,” and now serve our modern warriors in an SPR/sniper roll.

It’s no secret that modern stocks made of fiberglass, high-tech polymers, and alloys afford better accuracy and resistance to the elements. But there’s still something romantic and classic about wood– especially on an M1A. Now, I’m not claiming responsibility for this idea, but I’ve marveled at these configurations for years on the discussion forums and figured it was time for me to convert one of my own SOCOM 16s to wood. I’m calling it the SOCOM GI-16. [click here for the pics]

It was a simple and relatively inexpensive transplant. After browsing the BTF used stocks on Gunbroker selling for upwards of $90, I got an e-mail from Boyd’s. They had brand new walnut M1A stocks for only $106! So, I picked one of those up and ordered the stock liner w/screws, front ferrule, and sling swivels from Fulton Armory. The existing buttplate was an easy transplant, but the ferrule and liner were necessary because they’re molded into the fiberglass stocks. The only problem I ran into was with the front swivel screws. The ones included with the Fulton kit were too long and interfered with the action. So, the Dremel came out and cut them down to size. Overall, I’m happy with the classic look of the SOCOM GI-16. It’ll look good hanging on the wall in my office.

Enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, my friends. God bless.

— Evan