Re: Springfield m1a ?
I'll admit a fondness for the M14/M1A, and earned about half my Distinguished points shooting them. They're great shooters if properly built, and many will run under MOA with decent ammo. They're good guns. That said, this assumes the use of USGI or MilSpec parts, which are gettin' both scarce and pricey these days. I'm dubious about buying one straight out of the box, and would rahter go the parts route and have one built by a good M14 smith.
Therein lies problem #2; these guys are likewise getting scarce these days. I think its great that Springfield and the CMP are running both the M14 and Garand matches these days, but competitively speaking, that's where both the M14 and the M1 belong today; in specialized matches competing against other shooters with the same equipment. They've been completely replaced by the M16/AR-15s as the gun to beat on the line today. The black rifles are easier (and cheaper) to build, there's several great smiths out there who do A-1 work on these (John Holliger, Frank White, Derrick Martin being three of the best), they're far more durable than the M14s (bedding and triggers are constant sources of "issues" with them), and frankly, they're harder to shoot well. There's a reason you don't see them on the line anymore, as much as it pains me to say that. If your friend wants to play with an M14, that's great; if he wants to win matches, go Distinguished, earn the President's Hundred tab, he needs an AR to be competitive. Sorry, but there it is.
Reloading for the gas guns is a bit different, and the M14s and M1s are the worst in this regard. Brass life is brutally short (three firings and toss 'em) with either of these. Powder selection is pretty simple; Reloder 15, Varget or the old standby, 4895. Back when the M14 was THE Service Rifle choice for match shooters, there was no such thing as "developing a load." You dumped in 40.5 to 41.5 grains of 4895, topped it with a 168 and went to the range. About 98% of the rest of the shooters there would be using the same load, and if your gun didn't shoot it, you had a gun problem. You have some limitations in weight (nothing heavier than 175 in either the M14s or M1s, unless the gun was specifically set up for heavier bullets) due to the gas systems in each. This is actually a bit too complicated to get into here, but I'd strongly recommend taking a look at Glen Zediker's book "Handloading for Competition." Lots of good info therein, with much of it centered on gas guns. Better yet, he's done quite a bit specifically for the M14 (Glen's shot M14s for a long time, too) and shares some good insights into the specifics.
They're great guns, and still viable for many uses, and besides, I like 'em. But I'll be the first to admit, they've got some limitations that have to be recognized. Just a bit to think about . . .