Springfield Armory and General Tire and Rubber Company conducted research into a synthetic stock for the M14 beginning in 1960. Development of this lighter, stronger stock made of fiberglass for the M14 proceeded in stages from 1960 until late 1965. The drawing for the final version M14 fiberglass stock is dated December, 1965. Beginning in 1962, fiberglass stocks were installed on M14 rifles at the factory. The early fiberglass stocks had no checkering and the hole for the upper butt plate screw had a wood insert to which the wood stock upper butt plate screw was anchored. These early issue fiberglass stocks were milk chocolate brown in color. Later-manufacture fiberglass stocks were assembled with an upper butt plate screw with a finer thread. The later upper butt plate screw is anchored to a steel nut held inside a metal bracket inside the stock. Stock ferrules on synthetic USGI stocks are either crimped or dimpled but the dimpled ferrules are not common. USGI fiberglass stocks were made as late as 1967. USGI M14 synthetic stocks have the letters DT as well as other alphanumeric characters in the magazine well area (see Hand Guards). A small gap between the middle portion of the receiver and the stock is normal for USGI wood and synthetic M14 stocks, but is more noticeable on many fiberglass stocks.
USGI M14E2 Stocks
The M14E2/M14A1 rifle was fitted with a walnut or birch straight-line stock. One rare laminate M14E2 stock was made and it was issued for service. The first of approximately 10,000 M14E2 stocks were made in late 1963. Most of the M14E2 stocks were made of birch at Canadian Arsenals in Ontario, Canada in 1964. The few walnut M14E2 stocks were made at Springfield Armory, Rock Island Arsenal and Anniston Army Depot. Winchester made at least one cherry M14E2 stock. The USGI M14E2 stock has a selector cutout, rubber recoil pad, smooth surface flip up butt plate, a pistol grip and fore grip. Early model fore grips were made of phenolic resin, while later grips were rubber coated metal. The fore grip locks into place when in use. It retracts and swings upward by pulling on a latch on the rear side of the grip. The position of the fore grip is adjustable. A medium weight or heavyweight M14 barrel will fit in an M14E2 stock with no problems. Springfield Armory, Inc. sold M14E2 birch and walnut stocks before 1994. In 2000, Fred's of Shotgun News (Ramseur, NC) was the winning bidder on a U. S. government auction of 2,701 M14E2 stocks. Currently, Fred's of Shotgun News is the only known surplus dealer of M14E2 stocks in the U.S.
Commercial Synthetic Match Grade Stocks
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks - The U. S. Marine Corps approached McMillan Fiberglass Stocks around 1987 to develop a synthetic material stock for its M14 type rifles. The Marines wanted a more durable stock to replace the wood M14 stocks, which were cracking and splitting. McMillan developed its M1A stock was developed to meet the request from the U. S. Marine Corps for a more durable M14 stock. The National Rifle Association and Director of Civilian Marksmanship changed its Service Rifle competition rules to allow the use of this new stock because the U. S. Marine Corps was using it. In the present day, McMillan makes three models of synthetic stocks for the M14 type rifle, M1A, M2A and M3A. The obvious difference between the three models is the grip style but they all must be bedded to the rifle’s receiver and trigger group before use. These stocks can be fitted with or without a steel liner. The M2A and M3A models have adjustable cheek pieces. The McMillan M1A stock is a traditional design sized for heavy barrel M14 type rifles. McMillan M2A stocks have been fitted on M25 rifles for the Army 10th Special Forces Group and M14 DMR rifles for the U. S. Marine Corps. The U. S. Navy SEALs are reported to have M14 rifles dressed in McMillan M3A stocks. The M2A and M3A stocks are not allowed to compete as Service Rifles per the rules for Director of Civilian Marksmanship and NRA High Power Competition matches, but may be used in NRA High Power Rifle competitions as a Match Rifle (a class usually populated by shooters using bolt action rifles).
Bell and Carlson - Bell and Carlson is a designer and manufacturer of synthetic material rifle stocks. Its offering for the M14 type rifle is one model in its special purpose line of stocks (catalog number C190). The stock is built with structural urethane, aramid, graphite and fiberglass. It is offered in a choice of seventeen finishes. This stock will accommodate a heavyweight contour barrel and the magazine well is flared to facilitate quick magazine changes.
Folding and Telescoping Commercial Stocks
Folding and telescoping design stocks have been available for the M14 type rifle since about 1980. Consult state and local laws before installing folding or telescoping stocks on any M14 type rifle.
Springfield Armory, Inc., Reese Surplus, Inc. and Choate Machine & Tool, Inc. - Springfield Armory, Inc. offered commercial M1A-A1 folding stocks in the 1980s and early 1990s. The company made three versions of the M1A-A1 folding stock. The first version was either a modified M14 or a modified M14E2 stock. These stocks were cut just behind the receiver well, where an Italian BM-59 Alpine metal butt stock was added. These BM-59 butt stocks had butt plates with a rubber pad on the upper half of the butt plate and two braces for supporting the butt plate. The first version M1A-A1 stock often used a modified M14 stock and had a plastic pistol grip added to it, rather than starting out as a M14E2 stock. The plastic pistol grip had a storage space accessed by a metal cover on the bottom. The first version of the M1A-A1 stock will have the selector cutout because it originated as a USGI stock.
The second version of the Springfield Armory, Inc. folding stock does not have the lower butt plate supporting brace or selector cutout. It has a hardwood pistol grip and full length rubber butt pad. This version is still available from Reese Surplus (Colona, IL) as a modified BM-59 folding stock fitted to the M1A or M14. Springfield Armory, Inc.’s third version of a folding stock is a Choate Machine & Tool, Inc. (Bald Knob, AR) plastic butt stock folding arm with steel hinge, mated to a truncated USGI synthetic M14 stock with an added synthetic pistol grip and the selector cutout filled in. These third version folding stocks are black color and have a full length rubber butt pad. Choate Machine & Tool began operation in 1972. Choate Machine & Tool produces gun stocks and other firearms accessories. Springfield Armory, Inc. sold the third version folding stocks as late as 1999 with the instruction that they were to be installed on rifles assembled prior to September 13, 1994, in compliance with the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban still in effect at that time.
SparrowHawk Stocks - In the fall of 2003, SparrowHawk Stocks introduced the M-14CM4 stock to the market. The M-14CM4 stock is the mating of an AR-15 four position telescoping stock and pistol grip to a synthetic M14 stock for use on M14 type rifles where allowed by law. State and local law may allow installation of this stock if the butt stock is fixed and a muzzle brake is permanently installed. Consult state and local laws before installing this stock. A lower front hand guard and M1913 Picatinny style accessory rails are optional. Colors available are black, white, olive drab and earth brown.
Troy Industries, Inc. - Either of the two Troy Industries stock discussed below can be used on a M14 type rifle under federal law in the United States. Consult state and local laws prior to installing this stock. The standard color for Troy Industries stocks is black.
Rock SOPMOD M14 Stock - Troy Industries supplies a telescoping stock for its Rock SOPMOD M14 conversions. The magnesium alloy stock comes with a multiple position collapsible titanium rail butt stock and adjustable cheek rest. Length of pull from the rear of the butt stock to the pistol grip is approximately 11 " when fully extended. This was designed to accommodate operators wearing body armor. The telescoping stock extends and retracts with the push of a button at the end of the stock behind the receiver heel. The stock has ambidextrous sling swivel studs.
M14 Modular Stock System (MSS) - LAW483 Enterprises designed the Drop-In Modular Battle Stock for Troy Industries. Troy Industries had two prototype Drop-In M14 Battle Stocks on display at the 2004 SHOT Show. Both prototype stocks were made of fiberglass and incorporated a magazine well with an opened up lengthwise dimension, making magazine insertion much easier. The enlarged magazine well also resulted in a hump-like area just in front of the magazine well, providing a grip point on the stock. The Drop-In M14 Battle Stock prototypes had a telescoping AR-15 stock that also folded to the left side, an AR-15 type grip with a textured surface and ambidextrous sling swivel studs. The prototype models had M1913 Picatinny style rails at the three, six and nine o'clock positions on the fore end. The company then expressed plans to add a twelve o'clock rail to the production model.
As of the fall of 2004, the M14 Drop-In Modular Battle Stock has been further refined. It is now known as the M14 MSS. The M14 MSS is a drop in stock with no replacement of parts needed other than the stock and hand guard. It fits all standard configuration M14 type rifles. The stock can also be modified to accept other M14 type models. The stock body is machined from bar stock T6 aluminum alloy and is hard coat anodized to military specifications. It has a six-position collapsible titanium rail stock assembly with a recoil butt pad and adjustable titanium cheek rest. The M14 MSS has a full M1913 Picatinny rail system, including a full length bottom rail, 6 " side rails and a detachable top rail. The detachable top rail is the same length as the M14 hand guard. All rails feature numbered cross slots and sport military specification 1/4 " x 20 threaded holes. Delivery of the first 500 M14 MSS stocks is expected in early 2005.
Sage International, Ltd – Sage International, Ltd. began operations in 1973. Mr. John Klein is the owner and President of the company. Its modern manufacturing facility boasts extensive machining and welding capabilities. Sage International, Ltd. makes rifle and shotgun accessories, vehicle gun racks and inspection mirrors.
The Sage Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) stock is a telescoping pistol grip stock with adjustable cheek piece and adjustable butt pad. It has ambidextrous sling swivels. The Sage EBR stock has four military standard M1913 Picatinny rails around the barrel and one behind the receiver heel. It will fit a M14 type rifle with a standard contour or a Fulton Armory medium weight barrel, but no other medium weight and no heavyweight barrels. The standard size operating rod guide must be replaced with an operating rod guide supplied by Sage International. Once that is done, it is a matter of reassembling the rifle with the stock bolted to the new operating rod guide. Sage International, Ltd. won a contract in 2004 to supply its Sage EBR stock for M14 rifles to the U. S. Navy. The Sage EBR stock has seen service on M14 rifles in use by U. S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan. Sage International also makes a stripper clip guide scope mount base for anchoring a scope or dot sight. The clip guide base may be used in conjunction with its stock for mounting optics.
The lightweight non-reflective anodized gray color version of the Sage International M14 stock is supplied to the U. S. Navy SEALs. It is lighter than the black color M14 EBR version because thirty-eight extra holes are drilled in the frame. Additionally, the top and side rails are 1.60 ” shorter than the black color version. The shortening of the accessory rails also serves to reduce the weight of the stock by about one pound overall. The six position butt stock runs through a sturdier mount that is drilled with lightening holes for additional weight reduction and a new internal metal support tab. The side of the EBR stock is marked on the right hand side below the operating rod rail:
First line – EBR CHASSIS STOCK
Second line – SAGE INTERNATIONAL, LTD
Third line – Oscoda, Mi 48750 Patent Pending
In late 2004, Sage International, Ltd. is further developing the M14 EBR stock to allow the rear 2 ” of the top rail to be removable. This will allow the M14 EBR stock to co-exist with Smith Enterprise, Inc. and other side three point scope mounts.
In December, 2004, Sage International made a single batch of twenty-five of the lightweight gray color M14 stocks with the top rail the same length as the black color M14 EBR stock model. This single batch of stocks was released by Sage International through one authorized distributor to the civilian market. Future production lightweight gray color M14 stocks will have all three rails 1.60 ” shorter than the black color M14 EBR stock.
LAW483 Enterprises – LAW483 Enterprises offers two folding M14 stocks. The Drop-In Modular Battle Stock folds, collapses for adjustable length of pull, has rails at three, six and nine o’clock, a LAW483 proprietary enhanced magazine well for easier insertion, proprietary fore end texturing and can be configured for bottom or side sling swivels. The highly modified USGI M14 synthetic stock utilizes an AR15 collapsible butt stock and A1 style pistol grip. Its BSR Folding Stock mates a Beretta BM59 folding mechanism to a modified USGI M14 synthetic stock. The BSR Folding Stock is formed to follow the contours of the USGI M14 wood stock and is given a front end side sling swivel. Filling the selector cutout, various grades of surface texturing, single point sling attachment, and camouflage pattern painting are additional options for either stock.
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Inc. – McMillan Fiberglass Stocks completed its first production run of folding M14 stocks in October, 2004. The McMillan Fiberglass Stocks tactical M14 stock uses a six position M4 carbine butt stock that is attached to a folding mechanism mounted to a modified M2A stock. The butt stock folds to the receiver left side. This allows for firing while folded. When extended, it locks positively and only requires a tug to release. The McMillan tactical M14 stock has three different fore end rail configurations. One rail configuration covers the barrel from the barrel ring to the front band and the front 4 ” or so at the fore end at the three, six and nine o’clock positions. Another rail arrangement extends the six o’clock rail forward to accommodate a bipod and the third configuration extends the twelve o’clock rail to the rear.
Commercial market wood stocks will not have a selector cutout, as of the date of this book. The author knows of no small commercial stockmakers which made M14 type stocks with a selector cutout, though single specimens may conceivably exist. Typically, Springfield Armory M1A rifles are outfitted in textured and painted USGI synthetic, commercial walnut or USGI birch stocks. Before 1994, Springfield Armory, Inc. offered extra fancy AAA grade walnut stocks as an option for the M1A. Black colored crinkle texture synthetic stocks are fitted with a rubber butt pad. This softens the recoil and the overall length is increased by an inch. Some black color crinkle texture stocks have the selector cutout. The Springfield Armory, Inc. Standard and Scout Squad M1A rifles are available in hunting camouflage synthetic stocks.
Boyds' Gunstock Industries, Reinhart Fajen, Inc. and Wenig Custom Gunstocks have manufactured wood stocks for the M14 type rifle at one time or another. The Reinhart Fajen, Inc. Style II was a medium contour stock available in walnut or laminated wood. Fred Wenig was the plant manager at Reinhart Fajen, Inc. for many years. He now operates his own gun stock making business in Lincoln, MO. Wenig Custom Gunstocks produces a Monte Carlo style comb M1A rifle stock with a more vertical grip and double palm swells. It is available in walnut or laminated birch. The Wenig traditional style M1A stocks are made in maple or walnut. Boyds' Gunstock Industries offers two styles of M1A stock in walnut or laminated wood. Style I is not inletted for bedding but Style II has a semi-inlet cut.
The Chinese stocks on M14 rifles imported into the United States by Keng's Firearms and Century Arms are made of chu wood. Chu wood only grows in Manchuria, China. Chinese M14 type rifles imported by CJA into the United States have walnut stocks. The walnut for these stocks was harvested in the Yunnan Province of China. Chu is softer and lighter than black walnut.
For long term storage, a rifle fitted with a wood stock should have the trigger guard should be unclamped from a wood stock. This will allow the wood stock to expand and contract as the weather changes, avoiding compression of the wood and loosening of the receiver-to-stock fit.
The USGI M14 fiberglass stock lends itself to camouflage pattern finishes by anyone with an imagination, a steady hand and paint. The flip up butt plate on the M14 and M14E2 stocks was adopted from the M15 rifle that was declared obsolete in 1959. An M14 stock can be fitted with an M1 Garand butt plate to shorten the overall length by about 1/4 ". However, the part of the stock heel which houses the butt plate’s hinge should be filled in with suitable material. An alternate solution provided by SparrowHawk M14 Stocks is to remove the hinge and roll pin from the M14 butt plate. The stock is preserved and the storage compartment is still readily accessible. A USGI M14 stock installed to a Chinese M14 rifle will require fitting, as there are small dimensional differences.
Israeli Military Industries modified the USGI M14 stocks it supplied for the Israeli Defense Forces. An integral cheek rest and rubber butt pad for sniper duty was added to each stock. The Israelis used two different versions of its M14 stock. The early version had a shorter length cheek rest, while the later version used a longer cheek rest. These stocks and the hand guards were painted black. They also had left hand side sling swivels just aft of the stock ferrule and just forward of the rubber butt pad. Some of these stocks have been exported back to the United States for commercial sale.
Sage International, Ltd. - Sage International offers its EBR stock with a fixed Remington 870 shot gun butt stock or in conjunction with Fulton Armory, a wood M14 butt stock. This stock is legal under local state law for sale to California residents. The standard finish for both EBR stocks is smooth black with a black textured lower fore end hand guard. Both EBR stock models are CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and supplied with a replacement operating rod guide.
LAW483 Enterprises – LAW483 Enterprises creates fixed butt M14 stocks by modifying USGI synthetic stocks. The M14 butt plate can be replaced with a M1 Garand butt plate or a Pachmayr or Hogue rubber recoil pad. The USGI M14 stocks can also be modified to create a right, left, or ambidextrous vertical grip or an M14E2 style stock. Options include filling of the selector cutout, various grades of surface texturing, single point sling attachment, side sling swivels, LAW483 proprietary enhanced magazine well, camouflage pattern painting, and reducing or increasing the length of pull per customer order.
Paladin Republic Armory - In 2004, Paladin Republic Armory started production of its Warmaster X-1 line of wood and synthetic California legal, thumbhole style and pistol grip style M14 type rifle stocks later in 2004. Each Warmaster X-1 stock includes a matching hand guard, custom cheek rest, custom recoil pad and rubber gripping.
USGI Hand Guards - The very first hand guards for the USGI M14 were made of black walnut. These were changed to a slotted fiberglass model in April, 1961. Later, the under side of the slotted fiberglass hand guards were painted silver to help dissipate barrel heat. Apparently, some of the slotted hand guards stayed with the rifles for some time. From a photograph of PFC John F. Dugan, USMC taken in September or October, 1966 near An Hoa, Viet Nam, one can see a slotted hand guard on his M14 rifle. The slotted fiberglass hand guards were found to be relatively fragile (especially by Marines practicing drill team maneuvers), and caused mirage over the barrel on rapid fire. So, a solid fiberglass hand guard was developed and became the standard in 1962. USGI solid hand guards were made in at least four color variations, coffee, brown, dark brown and black. USGI M14 hand guards often have the letters DT followed by a number ranging from 2 to 67 on the bottom side. The manufacturers of USGI contract M14 hand guards have not been determined with certainty.
Commercial Production Hand Guards - Fulton Armory offers a more rugged solid fiberglass hand guard, as compared to even the USGI solid fiberglass hand guard. Before 1994, Springfield Armory sold heavy walnut match, extra fancy AAA grade walnut and laminated walnut and maple hand guards for the M1A. Some Chinese M14 rifles were imported into the USA with a marbled brown fiberglass hand guard. Reinhart Fajen, Inc. offered matching wooden hand guards when it was producing M14 stocks. Boyd’s' and Wenig also sell matching hand guards for their wood stocks. Commercial wood hand guards are noticeably thicker than the USGI wood hand guards.
The M14 type rifle has the best iron sights of any battle rifle. The M14 sights are almost identical to those found on the M1 Garand rifle but it has the longest sight radius of any semi-automatic battle rifle in the world. The M14 rifle has a sight radius of 26.75 ” with the rear sight aperture set at 100 meters. The very long sight radius helps maximize the battlefield accuracy of the M14 rifle. There are three sizes of front sight blades and three sizes of rear sights.
Rear Sight - The standard issue rear sight aperture has a diameter of 0.069 " + 0.005 ". The USGI M14 also had two National Match rear sight aperture sizes, 0.0520 " and 0.0595 ". Either National Match rear sight aperture can be fitted with an adjustable hood (National Match rear sight apertures without the hood were made only for the M1 Garand rifle). Use of the hood on the rear sight allows for one-half minute of angle adjustments in elevation. The elevation knob always moves point of impact one minute of angle per click, while rotating the sight hood will add or subtract a half-minute of angle of elevation. A notch in the rear of the hood designates the direction of the extra adjustment—rotating the notch from the six o’clock position to the twelve o’clock position will add elevation, while rotating the notch from the top position to be on the bottom will subtract elevation.
Elevation and Windage Knobs - The M14 type elevation knob will have the letter M inscribed on it between the numbers 10 and 11. This denotes calibration in meters. If the elevation knob does not have a letter M, the knob is calibrated in yards and was made for the M1 Garand rifle. The windage knob on an M14 type rifle will either be the standard one minute per click adjustment, or the National Match model of one-half minute of angle per click adjustment. The National Match windage knob must be matched to a National Match rear sight base because they both have finer threads than the standard USGI parts. The finer threads of the National Match rear sight parts allow the smaller angle adjustments.
Front Sight - The front sights are classified by the blade width. The standard or USGI front sight is .084 " wide. The military National Match front sight is .062 " wide. The USGI and NM M14 front sights can be used as a range finding device by the shooter. Assuming a 22 " barrel length, a 20 " wide target (frontal view of a deer) will appear to be the same width of the front sight post at the following distances:
Chineserear sight aperture diameter tends to be larger than on the USGI standard model. Tooltech (Oxford, MI) can install a 1/8 " tritium insert into the M14 type front sight for use in low light conditions. Brownell's sells an Alley Supply globe style front sight and set of inserts for the M14 type rifle. This type of front sight is useful in reducing eyestrain in target match shooting. Smith Enterprise offers two proprietary combination gas cylinder lock and post style front sight parts for M14 type rifles. The original version has a fixed post, but the newer version of the combination gas cylinder lock and sight has an adjustable post. The Rock SOPMOD M14 can use flip-up type AR-15 type sights.
Springfield Armory, Inc. - Springfield Armory, Inc. made a 0.072 “ NM front sight for its match rifles in the 1980s. It is marked NM 072 on the side. Springfield Armory M1A Scout and Bush rifles are fitted with slightly different front sights to compensate for the shorter barrel. The Scout / Bush front sight blade height itself appears no different, but its base is four millimeters taller.
Close Quarters Battle Application Sights - In 2004, XS Sight Systems introduced a M14 type rifle front sight for Close Quarters Battle situations. It is the factory issue front sight for the M1A SOCOM 16. The front sight is a tritium dot halo style sight. This sight set is designed for faster acquisition of targets over the traditional sights. Sight sets for 16 ", 18 " and 22 " barrels are available. The rear sight aperture on the M1A SOCOM 16 has been enlarged from the standard military diameter.
Several different muzzle attachments are available for the M14 type rifle. They can be classified into four categories, flash suppressors and hiders, muzzle brakes and stabilizers, grenade launchers and sound suppressors. Sound suppressors are discussed in separate sections below. The reader should consult federal, state and local laws before removing or installing any muzzle attachments to an M14 type rifle. Some muzzle attachments may be illegal to attach to the rifle.
Closed Prong Flash Suppressors / Flash Hiders - The USGI flash suppressor was fitted on all USGI M14 rifles except for match M14 rifles. Match grade M14 rifles were fitted with flash suppressors that have been reamed out to National Match specification (a standard taper reamer is used to enlarge the end of the flash suppressor by 0.406 “). Brookfield Precision Tool also made a special flash suppressor for the U. S. Navy. It had a front sight machined into it as it was built to support a silencer. The silencer hid or interfered with the standard front sight so the standard flash suppressor was not used. Some Chinese made M14 type rifles imported into the United States after March, 1989 have faux flash suppressors or the suppressors completely cut off at the muzzle. They also may be tack welded to the barrel. The Chinese faux flash suppressors were made without milling out the slots between the prongs. Entreprise Arms sells a M16A2 bird cage style flash suppressor for M14 type rifles. This has the advantage of shortening the rifle overall length by about one and one-half inches.
Open Prong Flash Suppressors / Flash Hiders – Smith Enterprise, Inc. makes an open prong flash hider which is not subject to problems normally associated with such designs. The straight prong flash hider design is susceptible to loosening under fire unless it is very tightly torqued on to the barrel. The Smith Enterprise flash hider solves this problem. It was invented, designed and refined by Sonja Sommers of Smith Enterprise, Inc in early 1995. It is a patented accessory (U.S. Patent Number 5,596,161). This flash hider is machined from AISI 8620 bar stock alloy steel then case hardened to provide a tough core and hard surface for maximum strength. It is given a black phosphate coating and comes with a conditional lifetime guarantee. The dimensions are 2 ¼ " long and 0.861 " diameter. It is sound suppressor capable. The flash hider is secured to the barrel by threads but it is not a timed item (no specific parts need to be lined up when installed). When the Smith Enterprise flash hider is fastened, it is simply snugged tight and it does not need a lock washer to stop its rotation at any specific alignment. It conceals essentially 99.999% muzzle flash even on full automatic. Four specially angled flutes dissipate the gas but contain the unburned powder allowing increased residual burn for less visible flash.
The Smith Enterprise flash hider incorporates a helix design which tightens itself on the barrel’s muzzle threads when the weapon is fired. The design also helps to evenly align exiting barrel gas to improve accuracy with all bullet types. The flash hider will have "left hand" angled slots for barrels with left hand threads and "right hand" angled slots for barrels with right hand threads. The Smith Enterprise flash hider has successfully passed the U. S. Navy 5000 round endurance test. It is in service with many U. S. law enforcement agencies and has been used in combat by the U.S. military. It eliminates all flash and greatly reduces muzzle climb in M14 automatic fire. Smith Enterprise offers two versions. The direct connect model threads directly to the barrel muzzle threads. The traditional style front sight base version attaches to the barrel using the flash suppressor nut. The direct connect flash hider is sound suppressor capable (all NFA Rules apply).
Entreprise Arms lists a M14 open prong flash hider for sale on its web site.
Adjustable Vibration Flash Hider - AWC Systems Technology has in the past modified the M14 type rifle to increase accuracy by reducing barrel vibration. This modification included removing the front sight and flash suppressor, cutting the gas cylinder just forward of the spindle valve, welding a HK91 front sight just forward of the front band and threading an adjustable bird cage style flash hider on the barrel. This adjustable flash hider works in much the same way as the vibration reducing muzzle attachment on Browning bolt action rifles. The flash hider is turned on the threads to find the optimum spot where accuracy is maximized for a given cartridge load.
Muzzle Brakes - Muzzle brakes are installed on M14 type rifles to reduce muzzle climb, felt recoil and / or to comply with state law, e.g., California’s prohibition of civilian-owned flash suppressors. Fabian Brothers made its M14 DTA MIL BRAKE muzzle brake in the early 1990s. It is a two piece muzzle attachment consisting of a muzzle brake and flash hider. It is threaded on to the rear portion and secured with a lock nut. The flash hider is narrower than the muzzle brake section. The rear portion is secured to the barrel with the traditional flash suppressor “castle” nut. The rear portion has a bayonet lug and dovetail mount for the front sight. Jim Clark of Clark Custom bought the design rights from Fabian Brothers and produced another Fabian design muzzle brake for a time.
Springfield Armory, Inc., Smith Enterprise and Entreprise Arms offer muzzle brakes for the M14 type rifle. Springfield Armory, Inc. also installs its standard muzzle brake on the M1A Scout Squad model and all M1A rifles shipped to California except the SOCOM 16. The SOCOM 16 has a proprietary combination gas cylinder lock and muzzle brake. The Smith Enterprise muzzle brake is machined from AISI 8620 alloy steel. It has successfully passed the U. S. Navy 5000 round endurance test. The Entreprise Arms muzzle brake is made from quality steel and finished in black oxide.
Troy Industries makes a CQB muzzle compensator for its Rock SOPMOD M14 Carbine. The front surface of the Troy Industries muzzle compensator consists of many pyramid shaped points. The purpose of this is to prevent slippage of the muzzle when pressed against an opponent in extreme close quarters combat.
USGI Muzzle Stabilizer - The M14E2/M14A1 was fitted with the M2 bipod clamped to the gas cylinder and a stabilizer assembly fitted over the flash suppressor. The stabilizer assembly has holes drilled in it which direct the majority of the muzzle gas to exhaust to the left side and slightly upward of the flash suppressor. This helps reduce muzzle climb during automatic fire. The original 1962 design of the M14E2 stabilizer did not include a locking mechanism. Later, a locking mechanism was added and then improved upon. The early style locking mechanism did not lock well enough to keep the stabilizer on the rifle during extended firing. Consequently, the locking mechanism was redesigned to the bolt-tightened unit available today. The second and final versions of the USGI M14E2 stabilizer assembly will be marked on the operating rod side of the locking mechanism with the drawing number. The second version is marked 7791661. The final version is marked ASSY 11686521.
Commercial Stabilizer – Springfield Armory, Inc. very briefly made its own version of a muzzle stabilizer which included a bayonet lug for its folding stock M1A-A1 Bush rifle prior to the 1994 ban. The front portion of the Springfield Armory, Inc. muzzle stabilizer has a short bird cage style flash hider. It threads on to the rear portion but is held in place by a single SAE 10-32 thread setscrew on the bottom. Removing the flash hider reduces the length of the rifle by 2.75 ”. The rear portion of the muzzle stabilizer consists of the front sight base, bayonet lug, and a cylindrical section perforated with gas venting holes. It is marked Muzzle Stabilizer Springfield Armory on the bottom. The outside diameter is 0.6 ” for the entire length of the stabilizer. Numrich Gun Parts Corporation and Sarco, Inc. imported cast reproduction M14E2 muzzle stabilizers do not have any markings such as numbers or lettering.
Grenade Launcher - The X-1 was an experimental 40 mm grenade launcher made for the M14 rifle in 1961. Previously, the T140 grenade launcher was developed for the M14 rifle in 1955. It was adopted as the M76 and produced in 1961. The M76 grenade launcher is marked LAUNCHER GRENADE M76 U S on the rear end ring. It became obsolete with the introduction of the M79 grenade launcher. Consult federal, state and local laws prior to installing a grenade launcher on a M14 type rifle.
Troy Industries M14 type rifle stocks can accommodate the newer M203 40 mm grenade launcher originally designed for installation on M16 series rifles. Civilians may own 40 mm grenade launchers in the United States in accordance with the National Firearms Act of 1934.
Military Sound Suppressors
Sound suppressors are used to conceal the origin of sniper fire, and/or deceive enemy troops regarding the shooter’s location, by minimizing the muzzle blast. During the Viet Nam War, the XM-21 rifle was sometimes equipped with the Sionics M-14 SS-1 suppressor. Forty Sionics SS-1 suppressors were sent from the U. S. Army AMTU in February, 1969 to the U. S. Army 9th Infantry Division Sniper School for testing in combat. More Sionics SS-1 suppressors were shipped to the U. S. Army in Viet Nam after April, 1969. This suppressor consisted of a series of counterclockwise and clockwise metal spiral shapes abutting each other around a smooth perforated barrel extension core with rings fore and aft. A gas relief port was at the rear end of the SS-1 suppressor. The Sionics SS-1 parts were made from 6061-T6 alloy aluminum and AISI 4130 alloy steel. Some M21 rifles have been outfitted with Brookfield Precision Tool sound suppressors.
O. P. Seberger, Jr. was an electrician by trade but in retirement he took up sound suppressor design as his new career. He established OPS, Inc. in 1988. OPS, Inc. sound suppressors have seen service in Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan with the U. S. military. OPS, Inc. did more to advance sound suppressor technology from 1988 onward past 2000 than any other concern. One of its sound suppressors is featured in the 1994 movie Clear and Present Danger with Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe and Anne Archer. OPS, Inc. sound suppressors are self-cleaning, maintenance free and guaranteed for 30,000 rounds or two years, which ever comes first.
In today’s U. S. military, M14 DMR and M25 rifles are at times suppressed using OPS, Inc. 12th Model muzzle brake mounted sound suppressors designed by Phil Seberger. These are designed to drain water in six seconds or less. The 12th Model muzzle brake sound suppressor is made of fusion welded 300 series stainless steel. Its sound attenuation is listed as 40 dB. The military version muzzle brake suppressor includes a barrel sleeve and thread protector. The rifle’s gas piston hole is welded shut then drilled to a diameter of approximately around 0.055 “. The small hole restricts the flow of gas. With the suppressor is installed, the bullet clears the rifle before the operating rod is able to move enough to affect accuracy. Use of the OPS, Inc. 12th Model muzzle brake sound suppressor results in an average accuracy increase of 0.25 MOA and an increase of 20 to 50 feet per second bullet velocity. The muzzle brake portion of the assembly acts to reduce recoil and muzzle climb. These units are self-cleaning, maintenance free and are rated for more than 30,000 rounds. The OPS, Inc. suppressors have seen service in Afghanistan during the War on Terrorism.
Commercial Sound Suppressors
Installation of a sound suppressor on an M14 type rifle may require modification of the gas system to prevent parts damage. Sound suppressors are regulated in the United States of America by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (the “NFA”). Note that the BATFE considers a sound suppressor to be a flash hider as well. It may be legal to own an NFA registered sound suppressor on a M14 type rifle, but still be illegal to install it on an M14 type rifle, e.g., State of Washington law prohibits such installation of a sound suppressor otherwise legally owned under federal law. Consult all laws and an attorney knowledgeable in firearms laws prior to purchasing a sound suppressor.
American Suppressors - AWC Systems Technology in the past made the M30 suppressor that used two mounting points to attach to a M14 type rifle. Today, AWC Systems Technology offers a smaller sized but very efficient sound suppressor for the M14 type rifle based on its Thundertrap model. It is called the Spectrum 2000. The Spectrum 2000 sound suppressor is made from AISI 304 stainless steel, is 1.5 ” in diameter, and weighs 28 ounces. It is about 12 ” in length, longer than the Thundertrap model, but when installed the overall rifle length is only increased by 6.5 ”. The flash suppressor and nut are removed from the rifle barrel. The Spectrum 2000 suppressor is then slid down the barrel and threaded on to the barrel threads for the flash suppressor nut. The rear end of the Spectrum 2000 suppressor stops about an inch from the front end of the gas cylinder plug. The USGI front sight is replaced with a Heckler & Koch style hooded front sight that sits over the gas cylinder portion of the barrel.
Tim Bixler at South Central Research Corporation (Katy, TX) makes a suppressor for the M14 type rifle. It is called the Mk23 and can be taken apart for cleaning. Troy Industries sells an optional sound suppressor for its Rock SOPMOD M14 carbine. It screws on the barrel with left hand threads and self-tightens as the rifle is fired. The Rock SOPMOD M14 conversion allows installation of a sound suppressor without modifying the gas system because the Troy Industries suppressor has a back chamber to accommodate the gas. The rifle will operate normally without harm while this suppressor is in use.
Suppressed Tactical Weapons, Inc. (Rougemont, NC) has a sound suppressor for the M14 type rifle that screws on or permanently attaches to the USGI design M14 flash suppressor. It is made of titanium and is 8.5 " long. The advantage of this suppressor is that the front sight is not removed from the rifle. Smith Enterprise, Inc. and Fisher Enterprises have developed and produce a M14 sound suppressor that quickly attaches and detaches from the Smith Enterprise, Inc. direct connect flash hider. It is 9 “ long and does not require any modification of the gas system.
Foreign Suppressors – BR-Tuote (Joensuu, Finland) produces a line of suppressors for pistols, rifles and automatic weapons. Its all steel construction T6M14 suppressor screws onto the M14 barrel once the flash suppressor assembly is removed. These suppressors are self-cleaning.
USGI M14 Technical Documentation
Parts and accessories for the M14 rifle were manufactured according to government drawings and item specific military specification documents covering requirements not listed in the drawings. Part drawings for various M14 parts date to as early as 1954 and were updated until at least 1979. As an example, the operating rod spring guide drawing 7267027 is originally dated October 04, 1954. It was redrawn and revised on July 10, 1958 and last updated by Picatinny Arsenal on April 01, 1979.
Up until the Iran-Contra affair in 1987, the entire M14 Technical Package was available for civilian purchase from the U. S. Government for less than $1000.00. This included the drawings for the accessories and support maintenance tools. This information is now restricted to businesses with a CAGE Code which have a need for it or firms that are asked to bid on an item that the U. S. Government needs. The item contract up for bid will come with the associated drawings and specifications. The term “mil spec” is not a trademark or other protected descriptive term, but is often used freely by sellers when describing firearms parts of uncertain origin or even clearly from non-military sources, so buyers must beware.
Parts for the U. S. Government M14 rifles were made from December, 1958 onward until at least 1992. The bulk of the parts production was, however, from 1960 to 1967. The government contractors involved were held to strict quality control standards. For instance, out of every lot of 100 barrels made nine were selected for inspection. If any of the nine barrels failed inspection, the entire lot of 100 barrels was scrapped. Still, there are often slight but significant differences in how USGI parts fit, e.g., bolts and operating rods with respect to the receiver. USGI bolts have been found to differ by as much as 0.004 ” in length even when made by the same manufacturer.
USGI Part Materials
The specified steel material for the following parts is listed as follows:
Barrel – chromium-molybdenum-vanadium or 4150 re-sulphurized alloy steel
Bolt – 8620 alloy steel
Extractor – 8645 alloy steel
Firing Pin (October 20, 1965 drawing) – 8640 or 8645 alloy steel with complete chromium plating
Gas Cylinder – 416 stainless steel
Gas Cylinder Plug – 416 stainless steel
Gas Piston – 416 stainless steel
Operating Rod – 8645 alloy steel
Operating Rod Spring Guide (solid USGI version) – forged 8640 or 8645 alloy steel
Operating Rod Spring Guide (USGI version with holes) – stamped 8640 or 8645 alloy steel
Selector Shaft – 8645 alloy steel
Spindle Valve – 440A stainless steel
Stripper Clip Guide – 4140 or 8620 alloy steel
AISI 440A stainless steel can be heat treated to obtain very high strength, hardness and wear resistance. AISI 440A stainless steel is a martensitic stainless steel. AISI 8645 is a nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy steel like AISI 8620 steel but it has a much higher carbon content at 0.45 %. This material can be sufficiently hardened and strengthened for USGI uses without carburizing. The USGI drawing for the operating rod requires heat treatment to 40 to 46 HRC.
Miscellaneous Notes on USGI Parts
Some of the parts are marked with manufacturer codes. Typically, the manufacturers stamped the operating rod, bolt, elevation and windage knobs, trigger housing, and hammer. Sometimes, the manufacturer is identified on the stock, flip-up butt plate, operating rod spring guide, trigger guard, front band, gas cylinder, rear sight base and safety. Examples of such are the Harrington & Richardson front band, rear sight base, and safety, Killeen Machine & Tool operating rod spring guide, flip-up butt plate and trigger guard, some wood stocks, and Springfield Armory gas cylinders. Springfield Armory gas cylinders are very faintly stamped S A. Gas cylinder markings are generally not visible because the surface finish hides them.
The DOD acceptance stamp (eagle, arrows and three stars) is usually found on USGI M14 chromium plated barrels, M6 bayonets and M2 bipods. The DOD acceptance stamp or cartouche is sometimes found on wood stocks, and Winchester gas cylinders and Winchester operating rods. It was used on rifle parts as early as 1953 but certainly was discontinued no later than 1968 when Springfield Armory was closed. USGI National Match parts such as the barrel, front sight, and rear sight parts will be marked NM or NM/2A.
Bolt Markings - A USGI bolt (and receiver) will have a dimple from a prick punch after successful proof round testing. An inscribed letter M on a USGI bolt means it was magnafluxed. Not all USGI bolts will have the letter M though. USGI M14 bolts have additional stamps besides the part number and bolt manufacturer. The other markings are heat treatment and steel lot numbers. Such an example can be found on a bolt marked 7790186 HRT A20 CDR. These are in order: 1) part number 2) manufacturer code 3) heat treatment lot number and 4) steel supplier code. If a manufacturer had only one steel supplier then just the heat treating lot was stamped on the bolt. Other manufacturers consolidated their markings to include both heat treatment lot and steel maker.
USGI Springfield Armory bolt markings can be confused with commercial reproduction Springfield Armory, Inc. bolts. The USGI Springfield Armory stamped its bolts in one of two ways, one format for 7790185 bolts and another format for 7790186 bolts. If the bolt was made by the USGI Springfield Armory and it is marked 7790185 it will have the following: 7790185-SA on the first line and the heat treatment lot number on the second line, e.g., YO2. USGI Springfield Armory bolts made to the 7790186 drawing have this identification scheme: 7790186 on the first line followed by SA and the heat treatment lot number on the second line, e.g., Z1B.
There are bolts with counterfeit markings. Ron Smith of Smith Enterprise, Inc. has seen two M14 bolts stamped TRW that were not made by TRW. Genuine unaltered commercial Springfield Armory, Inc. M1A bolts do not have a prick punch dimple. The bolt installed in the M14 type rifle should be able to pass the slide test as discussed in Kuhnhausen’s manual and have proper lug engagement and proper headspace prior to use.
Firing Pins - Three types of M14 firing pins were made. The original firing pins were made of completely phosphate coated AISI 8640 or 8645 alloy steel. The next version was a phosphate coated steel firing pin with a chromium plated tip. These were only made in 1962. The last version is a fully chromium plated steel firing pin. These were manufactured from 1965 to 1969. The benefits of chromium plating the firing pin are improved wear resistance and lubricity.
Operating Rods - Some Harrington & Richardson, Springfield Armory, and Winchester operating rods do not have a vent hole drilled in the forward end of the cylindrical portion. Three 1961 manufacture new-in-tube operating rods (two Harrington & Richardson and one Winchester) opened for examination had no vent hole. U. S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground Report No. DPS-471 discusses the testing of twenty-one randomly selected M14 rifles. This testing was performed from September 28, 1961 to January 30, 1962. The Winchester and Springfield Armory operating rods on the rifles in this test did not have the vent hole, but the Harrington & Richardson operating rods did. It appears that Harrington & Richardson added this change to the operating rod beginning in 1961. Springfield Armory and Winchester did likewise after 1961.
The USGI M14 drawing 7267064 shows the welding of the operating rod handle and cylinder halves together and requires a hole at the front end of the operating rod. The diameter of the hole is specified to be 0.077 ” + 0.006 ”. As discussed above, only TRW made one piece operating rods. TRW operating rods have a vent hole at the front end. All other manufacturers of USGI operating rods made operating rods by welding the two halves together. The front end of the operating rod that contacts the gas piston is chromium plated for improved impact resistance. Rewelded USGI operating rods are sold on the surplus market. Many rewelded operating rods will not function smoothly due to misalignment of the two halves. Operating rods should be able to pass the slide test discussed in Kuhnhausen’s manual prior to use.
Gas Cylinder - Two versions of the M14 gas cylinder were manufactured. The early version does not have a lip just aft of the bottom gas port to support the front band. The late version gas cylinder was manufactured with a support lip for the front band. These early version gas cylinders were used in the production of T44E4 and some M14 rifles. 1 Early version and early production late version gas cylinders were machined from forgings. Rough forgings of gas cylinders were available for sale at gun shows in the 1970s. Late production late version gas cylinders are thought to be made from castings but this has not been confirmed. 2
Other Parts and Accessories - All M14 trigger guards were stamped from spring steel. Extractors were made by forging. If an extractor is made by casting it is a commercial reproduction. Early version USGI operating rod spring guides are solid. The late version operating rod spring guides have holes to reduce weight. The latest known dates of manufacture noted for the items below were either found by firsthand examination or through photographs of the original packaging:
Springfield Armory made all parts for the M14 rifle but also used subcontractors for various parts in later years. Workers there made a production run of gas cylinders between July 01, 1964 and June 30, 1965. Between July 01, 1965 and June 30, 1966 the Armory began production to deliver an order of spare M14 parts including 64,000 bolts, 35,000 operating rods, and 12,000 stock assemblies. This spare parts run was expected to be completed by April, 1967. Springfield Armory also received a production order for 52,700 M14 barrels between July 01, 1966 and June 30, 1967. The first of these barrels were delivered in June, 1967 and continued into at least October, 1967. Borg-Warner, Saco-Lowell and Union Hardware Company made parts for Springfield Armory.
Winchester made all the major M14 parts and most of the small parts with the exception of springs, pins and screws. MXR was a subcontractor for Winchester and possibly Springfield Armory. The M14 parts Winchester made equaled 80 % of the value of the rifle at the time.
TRW made eleven major parts during its M14 rifle production, which equaled 65 % of the rifle’s value. The company’s management purposefully produced what it thought could be made economically well.
Harrington & Richardson subcontracted parts production to a large extent. Bostich, General Tire, Saco-Lowell, Textile Machine Works, Torrington Company, Westinghouse, Wright Manufacturing Company, and possibly others, were subcontractors to Harrington & Richardson. Parts marked with HR followed by a third letter, e.g., HRT, were manufactured by subcontractors to Harrington & Richardson.
The marking BRW S-1 indicates the part was made at the Spring Division plant of Borg-Warner. Borg-Warner made magazines from as early as December, 1961 until at least November, 1967. Mechanical Component Corporation made gas cylinders in 1969. Dennison Machine Tool made hammers some time between 1968 and 1972. Harris Graphics made NM barrels in 1983. Mercury Tool & Machine made M14 parts from 1983 to 1986. Mercury Tool & Machine operating rods sometimes have misaligned factory welds straight out of the wrapper. Watervliet Arsenal made about 500 bolts under emergency procurement in the 1980s. The Brookfield Precision Tool parts were made from 1988 to 1996. Tong Industries is located in South Korea.
The following is a list of contractors and government facilities that have produced USGI M14 parts. The individual entity is listed first followed by any identifying marks or Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code and what parts the contractor is known to have made. Real USGI stampings are 1/16 " tall on the bolt and trigger housing. Note that not all USGI M14 parts were made by forging or extrusion. Some were made by investment casting, e.g., flash suppressors and M14E2 stabilizers. Sometimes a casting can be identified by a raised line on the surface of the part where the halves of the mold were fitted together. USGI flash suppressors will have barrel splines with square ends not round ends like on commercial reproductions. Some USGI flash suppressors, e.g., Harrington & Richardson, will have a “step” directly behind the front sight base while other USGI units do not.
Aerial Cutlery Co. - M6 bayonet
Allied Precision Products, Inc. (24249) - NM windage knob
American Pin, Inc. (A) - magazine body, [possibly stripper clip]
Anniston Army Depot (AAD) - walnut M14E2 stock
Apex (APEX) – M14E2 stock fore grip mount
Argo Development Corporation (ARGODEVCORP) - M14E2 stock rubber butt pad
Associated Spring (AO) - stripper clip
BHM Corporation (BHM CORP) – gas cylinder plug wrench
A few parts were also stamped with the part number. They are listed as follows:
Barrel, chromium plated - 7790190
Barrel, National Match, standard contour - 7791362
Barrel, National Match, medium weight contour - 9345206
Barrel, National Match, heavyweight contour - 9349847
Bolt issued without roller - 7790185
Bolt issued with roller - 7790186
Hammer - 5546008
M14E2 stock butt pad – 7791673
M14E2 stock hinged butt plate base - 7792062
Operating rod - 7267064
Receiver - 7790189
Trigger group housing – 7267030
Meccanica Bresciana. USGI Parts Sales
USGI parts were sold to the American public after termination of M14 rifle production in 1964. Harrington & Richardson, TRW and Winchester all sold off their M14 parts inventory to the commercial market. This was done in an attempt to recoup some of their investment in the M14 program. Additionally, in the 1960s the U. S. Army declared much of its M14 parts inventory surplus and released them to the public for sale. Mr. Elmer Ballance of Devine, Texas purchased the parts inventory from companies who manufactured the M14 and from foreign nations that had received M14 rifles and parts under U. S. military assistance programs. From these parts stocks, he and his company began production of the M1A rifle. In 1973, USGI M14 bolts and operating rods could be had at gun shows in San Jose, CA for $5.00 each and USGI M14 barrels for $10.00 to $15.00 each.
The owner of Armscorp USA, Jack Friese, in 1985 or 1986 imported approximately 2000 M14 parts kits from Israel. Gerald Drasen, a surplus dealer, purchased the bulk of these parts kits. Some of these M14 parts kits were sold by Bill Ricca on a consignment basis. Some of these parts kits were assembled to H&R Gun Co. semi-automatic M14 rifles. At about the same time, a batch of 1,200 M14E2 stock fore grips and 30,000 M14 gas cylinder plugs were released by Naval Surface Warfare Center (Crane, IN) and purchased and divided among three parts dealers. Several times in the 1980s, Bob Reese also brought large shipments of M14 parts into the United States. Some other companies also imported M14 parts from Israel during the 1990s. M14 bolts and barrels imported from Israel will have Hebrew markings. Through the years, NSWC Crane and Rock Island Arsenal have released various USGI M14 parts for public sale. Many of these parts were sold as a result of destroying M14 rifles.
The Office of the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (ODCMP) received a shipment of USGI M14 parts in 1996 as part of its normal routine operations. These parts were sold to members of DCM affiliated shooting clubs in the United States until the end of 2003. The sales ended because the ODCMP sold what M14 parts they had, according to Orest Michaels, Chief Operating Officer. In February, 2004, he did not know when or if the ODCMP would be able to sell any M14 parts in the future. USGI M14 parts remain available for sale from various gunsmiths and parts houses, but in limited quantities and at increasingly higher prices. As of 2004, USGI barrels, bolts, gas cylinders, operating rods, and flash suppressor are not widely available in the commercial market.