September 23, 2010
Troy Industry Battlerail
Troy Industry's M14 Battlerail opens up a whole additional world for M1A shooters. Rivaled only by the VLTOR Cluster Rail--available only as a factory-mounted system right from Springfield--the Battlerail allows the attachment of lights, lasers, BUIS, and anything else you may want to hang on your M1A. Now, I'm usually pretty conservative about accessorizing a rifle because I don't like heavy, bulky outfits that require three manuals to operate properly, but I set up a Springfield M1A Scout Squad rifle with Troy's Battlerail, a tan Miniature Red Dot Sight (MRDS) from Insight Tech Gear, a tan M3X Tactical Illuminator light from the same company, a tiny low-profile laser unit made by Laserlyte that I mounted directly above the bore, and Troy's folding Battle Sights. The Battlerail attaches to the rear sight bracket on the back end, and I wanted some kind of iron sight. A nice side benefit of using this system with the adjustable-cheekpiece McMillan stock was that if I took off the optic, I didn't have to lower that adjustable cheekpiece to see the standard iron sights. The Battle Sights are on the same sight plane as the optic when folded open.
On the range, the rail allowed perfect function, and the whole system allowed quick and effective target acquisition and engagement.
The M14 Battlerail is made of aluminum, hard-coat anodized in black or Dark Earth (shown here), works with standard wood and fiberglass stocks, and accepts all standard 1913 rail accessories. It is somewhat involved to install. Unless you are pretty handy with tools, the job is best done by a gunsmith. MSRP is $435.
McMillan Adjustable M1A Stocks
One problem common to all M14/M1A receiver-mounted optics actually involves the stock. As the line of sight is necessarily raised well above that of the iron sights, cheekweld becomes almost non-existent. Solutions range from strap-on cheekpieces--which aren't too stable but are certainly the most cost-effective route--to adjustable stocks. Some of said stocks are available on factory guns, such as Springfield's M21 Tactical and M25 White Feather. But for shooters who already have a rifle, McMillan has an excellent lineup of appropriate models, ranging from a folding, free-standing pistol-grip version to my current favorite: the ADJ M3A. The stocks aren't cheap and must be bedded by someone familiar with the process, but they are worth every penny.
The folks at McMillan were kind enough to ship one to Shooting Times for testing, and I was amazed at the difference it made to the Springfield Scout Squad rifle I keep around home. The adjustable cheekpiece allowed me to fine-tune my cheekweld, and the stock, though 2 pounds heavier than the factory stock, enhanced balance nicely. An unexpected bonus was the spacer system in the buttpad, which provided the capability to set the length of pull to exactly perfect. This Scout rifle tends to be quite accurate, and I can't wait to see how it shoots with the bedded stock.
One item to be aware of is that once bedded, these stocks are best left alone. Once bedded, don't plan to ever take the barreled action out until you absolutely have to for repair. If you plan to mount a rail system like the Troy M14 Battlerail shown here, do it before you have the action bedded into the stock.