JAE-100 Stock Turning a M14/M1A into a true Designated Marksman Rifle
By Mike Miller,
Years ago (Heck two and one half decades ago), I purchased my first M14 type rifle. It was a Springfield Super Match M1A, pretty as could be, perfectly bedded in a Walnut Stock. I shot that rifle for NRA Service Rifle Competition and always wanted to use it for SWAT Sniper Applications. I say "Always Wanted" because that rifle never got there for accuracy with a scope. I tried bolting on every contraption that would make it better and even talked it into a rebuild by the USMC Smiths. In the end it shot very well with the iron sites but just frankly sucked with any and every scope I tried.
One day I brought it to a local shop that a friend of the late and great Gale McMillan owned. I handed him the M1A and asked for him to turn it into a Sniper Rifle. He walked back into the shop with the M1A and returned a few minutes later. This time he was carrying a M40A1 USMC clone rifle with a Leupold Ultra scope on it. He handed me the rifle and said, "That's the only way anyone can make that other rifle into a sniper rifle. You owe me 400.00." I paid him and left with the rifle (No dumb rifle waiting period then). The M40A1 bolt gun became my sniper rifle and served its purposes for over a decade well. It was eventually replaced by other bolt actions, but no M14s ever found their way into the position of my main sniper again. Not for a lack of attempts, for a lack of ability to hold group size and cold bore consistency, with any Scoped M14 type weapon I shot.
Since that time, I have tried every new stock for an M14 I could find, but still ran into one problem or another, knocking it out of sniper rifle category. I never gave up but never found success either.
That recently all changed. About a year ago I saw my first JAE-100 Stock. It was in a Gunshop, in Southern California, where I was shooting a competition. It looked great and the owner of the shop raved about how well it worked. I picked it up and liked how it felt but funds where short then so I did not purchase it. Other things came up and I forgot about the JAE-100 for awhile.
About six months ago I was shooting a friends Springfield Armory M1A, which had a JAE-100 stock on it. The M1A was the "Loaded" model. This rifle was scoped with a Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50. The scope had the Zero Stop option and MLR Mil based reticule. The rifle shot far too well to be a non National Match type. Groups under 1moa were common with this set up. The rifle handled like a true sniper rifle. While I wanted better groups than one MOA, it was easily the best shooting "Standard Loaded" model I had shot. At 1moa I figured it would fill the need of a Designated Marksman Rifle well.
The thing that struck me was the lack of problems getting a good cheek weld and how easy it was to use a scope. That may sound strange but for those of you that have attempted to use a M14/M1A as a sniper rifle will understand. The M14s were designed for much lower sitting iron sights and scopes sit so high, shot consistency goes away.
There are two major problems when you try to use a M1A for sniper use. The first is you just can't get a good cheek weld. Many times shooters will shoot better groups with the iron sights than they do with a scope on standard type stocked M14s. Many have attempted to fix this but there is only so much foam you can glue to a stock to get height and when done it's a hatchet job at best. The JAE-100 stock was designed from ground up to use a scope on an M14/M1A and it works well for this. Iron sights can only be used in an emergency by removing a spacer. It is easy to do and fairly quick but not ideal. The stock is designed for scope use so please consider that.
The second problem is bedding. M14s seem to eat bedding for lunch. In my High Power Service Rifle Competition days I used a highly modified M1A (Well in all honesty I had two as it seemed one always needed to have bedding redone). It was a chore to keep them shooting under hard conditions. This is one of the reasons the NRA High Power Service Rifle Class is now basically ruled by the AR15s. No bedding required.
The JAE-100 stock does away with the bedding. The inside of the JAE-100 is machined similar to a modern aluminum sniper rifle chassis system. The stock is machined to have the M14/M1A receiver assembly mate and bolt in, like a bolt action sniper rifle. Simply follow the instructions and torque bolts. Easy enough for a ham handed guy like me to do right first time. Converting the rifle to the JAE-100 stock takes less than ten minutes.
The rifle above was a friends so I only had a few days to play with it. That problem had to be solved post haste so I contacted JAE and ordered a stock. A couple of weeks later it showed up. I already knew I planned to keep this stock so I ordered it with Tactical Intervention etched on one side and "Custom Made for Mike Miller" etched on bottom.
The stock is one of the few on the market with many mounting locations for sling use. This is a big deal to me as I shoot a great deal with a sling. The bipods are very nice but many times a sling is faster and allows more height options. The JAE-100 has the mounting positions for sling use down pat and for both left and right handed shooters. The JAE-100 also has several Bipod mounting options with both QD studs and a bottom Weaver type Rail for mounting options.
I tested two of my M1As in this stock.
The first was a Hand built custom Super match that shot .75 - 1 moa with its bedded other brand stock and scoped. In the JAE-100 groups shrank to .50-.75moa. Not a big change, but over the course of three months testing cold bore shots, the JAE-100 stock was far more consistent. In the JAE-100, this would make an excellent Sniper Rifle in areas where rapid, but accurate fire, is needed.
The second rifle was a standard M1A that in the military non-bedded stock shot groups 2-3moa. In the JAE stock, groups shrank to 1-1.5moa. Not great but half the size of what the standard stock did. In the JAE-100 stock, it would fill the need for a Designated Marksman Rifle well.
Part of my tests included sling shooting. Hey what did you think, I do make Tactical Intervention Specialists Slings, LOL. I used both Quick Cuff and Slip Cuff Slings on the JAE-100 stock. The stock is well designed for sling shooting and the ability to change swivel positions is a big plus for carrying options.
The things that separate the
JAE-100 M1A Stock form others are in my opinion:
1. No need to bed
2. Consistent Cold Bore shot
3. Correct Ergonomics for scope shooting
4. Excellent Balance
5. Rear Butt Hook for bag shooting
My thoughts are simple on this. Currently no other M1A stock can compete for scope shooting with the JAE-100. A very well design and executed stock.
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