Springfield's SOCOM 16 is the shortened version of its M1A that was built by military request. The 16-inch-barreled .308 sports a four-inch MIL-STD 1913 rail attached about 8 3/4 inches behind the front sight to accept a long-eye-relief scope, making the gun suitable for either close-quarters combat or long-range engagements, but according to some, a shortcoming of the SOCOM is the lack of rails for attaching accessories.
In response, Springfield developed the SOCOM II. One version has a MIL-STD 1913 rail running along the top of the barrel from the front of the receiver to just 2 1/4 inches behind the front sight. Another version extends the rail to the rear of the receiver and can accommodate a scope with standard eye relief. Springfield then adds rails to the bottom and both sides of the fore-end. The rail system can be removed in a matter of seconds by retracting two spring-loaded latches, revealing the standard fiberglass stock available in either black or Urban Camo. I received the Extended Cluster Rail version for testing.
The SOCOM II action is identical to the M14, using a gas piston and rotating bolt, except that a muzzle brake has been added. It sounds easy to shorten a rifle, but just lopping off the end of the barrel reduces gas pressure and affects functioning, so the muzzle brake, which also acts as a pressure chamber, was added to ensure proper cycling
The rear sight is a military aperture that is fully adjustable for elevation and windage and moves the point of impact one minute of angle per click. At the other end, protected by sturdy wings, is a post front sight with tritium insert to aid in low light. The gun accepts any M14 magazine. The test gun's two-stage military trigger broke at six pounds, two ounces.
Immediately after receiving the test gun, I contacted Vltor Weapon Systems for its recently developed M14 Modstock, which sports a buttstock that is adjustable for both height and length of pull, a quick-detachable sling swivel on both sides and a pistol grip made by Tango Down. I added a Surefire Model 900 combat light with its own vertical foregrip, a Wilderness Single Point Sling, an Aimpoint Comp M3 with two-MOA dot combat optic and an Aimpoint 3XMag magnifier.
So how did it shoot? Well, off the bench at 50 yards the best group average was 1.2 inches with Hornady 155-grain TAP, but all ammunition used performed well within acceptable limits.
This gun has an effective range of 300 to 400 yards, perhaps more depending on the aiming device and the ability of the shooter. At the Scottsdale Gun Club, I conducted close-quarter combat drills consisting of quickly acquiring and shooting targets at ranges from three to 25 yards and found the SOCOM II to be fast, accurate and easy to aim.
IMPORTER: Springfield Armory
TYPE: Gas-operated semiauto
CAPACITY: 5, 10, 20 possibly 30
WEIGHT (oz.): 10 3/4
SIGHTS: Aperture rear, tritium post front
m14 EBR pretty much the same thing