M14 Rifle History and Development By Lee Emerson Preface

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Foreign Made Magazines

Taiwan and People's Republic of China also produced twenty round magazines that were imported from the late 1980s until 1994. In 2004, Taiwanese M14 magazines are again being imported into the United States. While Chinese magazines are narrower than the USGI magazines, they have an excellent reputation for reliability. Canadian plastic twenty round magazines have also been imported into the United States. These magazines have a good reputation for feeding reliably.

U. S. Commercial Magazines

U. S. aftermarket brand twenty and thirty round magazines were produced prior to September 13, 1994. Aftermarket magazines do not have a reputation for reliability, largely because of their thinner body sheet metal and flashing on their plastic followers. Viking Tool and Machine made a small batch (less than ninety) of seventy-two round Beta C style M14 magazines before the 1994 Assault Weapons ban on new “large capacity” magazines. This conversion consists of cutting then screwing an MG-15 saddle drum to a Viking magazine tower. These M14 type drum magazines have been used at the legendary Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot held every April and October in West Point, KY. These magazines commanded a premium price during the ten years the 1994 Assault Weapons ban was in effect.

Scope Mounts

Accuracy Speaks, A.R.M.S., Armscorp USA, B-Square, Brookfield Precision Tool, Entreprise Arms, GG&G, Leatherwood Bros., McCann, S&K, Sadlak Industries, Smith Enterprise, and Springfield Armory, Inc. have made scope mounts for M14 type rifles. BPT, GG&G, Leatherwood Bros., and Smith Enterprise mounts have been used by the U. S. military on M14 type rifles. GG&G made M14 scope mounts for the U. S. Marine Corps only for its M14 DMR. These GG&G units were never available for commercial sale. Picatinny Arsenal (Morris County, NJ) conducted a study on the difficulties of mounting a scope on the M14 rifle. The U. S. Naval Surface Warfare Center (Crane, IN) also worked on the issue. Scope mount adapters were made for the AN/PVS-2 and 3 night scopes (NSN 5855-00-941-3036) by GPC Night Vision (CAGE Code 1YE66) and the AN/PVS-4 night scope by Brookfield Precision Tool.

Side Single Point Scope Mounts - The Basset Machine, Israeli Military Industries, S&K # 1765 and Springfield Armory First Generation mounts attach to the receiver left hand side using the only bolt hole, with alignment-theoretically at least-assured through firm contact with the receiver’s horizontal and vertical grooves. These mounts do not require removal of the stripper clip guide, while the others mounts do. The Bassett Machine and Springfield Armory mounts are made of aluminum, though the Bassett Machine model differs in having hardened steel keys to mate with the receiver grooves. The Bassett Machine scope mount accepts Weaver style rings. Early Leatherwood mounts were made of aluminum and used a single point of contact to the receiver on the XM21 rifles.

Side Two Point Scope Mounts - Removal of the stripper guide allows an additional point of contact between the scope mount and the receiver. The B-Square, McCann, Springfield Armory Third Generation, and later military issue Leatherwood Bros. mounts use the stripper clip guide area as a second point of contact for civilian M14 type and M21 rifles, respectively. The McCann mount is made of steel and is supplied with two Weaver style ring bases. The rifle’s iron sights can be used up to about an elevation of 200 meters with all versions of the Springfield Armory, Inc. scope mount. At higher elevation settings, the mount will block the shooter's vision through the rear sight aperture. The Springfield Armory, Inc. Third Generation scope mount uses a supplied substitute threaded block which replaces the stripper clip guide.

Side Three Point Scope Mounts - Mounts that have three points of contact with the receiver are the most reliable for keeping the scope zeroed under all conditions, including removal and re-mounting on the receiver. Commercial M14 manufacturers do not and never have guaranteed that their receivers meet the dimensional tolerances of USGI M14 receiver drawing 7790189. Therefore, slight dimensional differences exist between USGI and commercial manufacture M14 receivers. On the other hand, several, but not all, manufacturers have designed their scope mounts to fit USGI M14 receivers without making any accommodation for commercial-manufacture receivers. The bottom line for shooters wishing to use a scope sight on an M14 type rifle is that side three point scope mounts do not always fit hand-to-glove on all M14 type receivers. This scope mount style is very popular among M14 rifle enthusiasts. Several models are described below.

Brookfield Precision Tool - The Brookfield Precision Tool mount sits on the military XM25 and M25 rifles. Brookfield Precision Tool scope mounts were sold in the commercial market for a number of years. Brookfield Precision Tool scope mounts and other parts now command a premium due to the collector value. The Brookfield Precision Tool mount allows the shooter to use the rifle’s iron sights with or without the scope installed. It is a M1913 Picatinny style rail with a cam type mounting bolt designed to fit all four makes of USGI M14 receivers.

Smith Enterprise, Inc. - Smith Enterprise scope mounts are made from AISI 4140 alloy steel which is heat treated by nitrocarburizing. Their surface hardness is 60 HRC and they have a matte black finish. As of 2003, the Smith Enterprise MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail tactical scope mount is stocked in the U. S. military supply system (NSN 5855-01-506-5750). This mount allows the shooter to use the iron sights with or without the scope installed. It is in use by the U. S. Army 25th Infantry Division and the U. S. Navy. The scope mount with the marking NSN 5855--01-506-5750 U. S. PROPERTY is manufactured using the wire electro-discharge machining (EDM) method. EDM can be described as spark erosion of metals by local heating and melting. This metalworking method holds very tight tolerances and leaves burr free surfaces. Smith Enterprise’s earlier M14 scope mounts were made using conventional machining methods but are nonetheless just as trouble-free and durable. The older model Smith Enterprise Weaver rail scope mount is marked SMITH ENTERPRISE TEMPE, AZ M21.

The Smith Enterprise scope mount has a three degree upward slope on the under side of the rail, just above the rifle’s bolt. This allows ejected brass to clear the action while minimizing any contact with the mount because of varying receiver geometries among the manufacturers. This mount utilizes a cam type mounting bolt to compensate for the differing position of the bolt hole on various makes of rifles. For demonstration purposes only, Ron Smith installed a Smith Enterprise scope mount on a commercial manufacture M14 type receiver and torqued the receiver mounting bolt in increments to 140 in-lb. There was absolutely no damage to the bolt, mount or receiver. In field use, 65 in-lb of torque is sufficient for installing any scope mount. Installation instructions are included with every scope mount sold by Smith Enterprise. The mount installation instructions are also posted at its web site.

Armscorp USA - The Armscorp USA M14 scope mount is a very faithful copy of the Brookfield Precision Tool mount. It is machined from steel and heat treated to U. S. military specifications. It has an adjustable cam bolt. The iron sights can be used with this mount installed without removing the scope.

A.R.M.S - The ARMS # 18 has been made in two versions. The early style was first introduced in 1989. It has two base pads, one at each end, for mounting the scope rings. A few of the early style mounts have an integral stripper clip guide in the rear pad, useful only when the mount is installed on the receiver without a scope installed. Introduced in 2003, the new style ARMS # 18 mount has a full-length rail running from the stripper clip guide dovetail to the top of the barrel ring. Both models are M1913 Picatinny style rails. The A.R.M.S. # 18 scope mount sits low enough on the receiver to allow use of the iron sights if the scope is removed. It sits the lowest over the rifle’s bore of any scope mount available. Due to differences in commercial receiver geometry the user may find that a little judicious removal of metal at the underside corner of the mount’s front end may be necessary to get an ARMS # 18 mount to fit perfectly. The new style ARMS # 18 is made of case hardened AISI 8620 alloy steel.

Sadlak Industries - Since 2002, Sadlak Industries has made M14 scope mounts. This company offers its M1913 Picatinny style rail scope mounts manufactured from two different materials, titanium and steel. Its titanium scope mounts are machined from hot rolled billet and then heat treated to a hardness of 26 to 30 HRC. After heat treatment, the titanium mounts are finished with a matte black nitride coating for improved corrosion and abrasion resistance. This coating increases the surface hardness to approximately 80 HRC. The Sadlak titanium scope mount is tougher and stronger than steel but is 40 % lighter. Sadlak Industries titanium M14 scope mounts are marked


Sadlak’s steel scope mounts are made from stress relieved AISI 4142 bar stock with a core hardness of 28 to 32 HRC. David Ferrante applies a military specification black manganese phosphate coating to the steel scope mounts. In the fall of 2004, Sadlak Industries delivered 108 steel M14 scope mounts to the New York Army National Guard and instructed the soldiers in installing these mounts.

A 7075 aluminum-magnesium-zinc alloy version of its M14 scope mount is in testing in November, 2004. This alloy is commonly used to fabricate aircraft frames. The aluminum alloy M14 scope mount is fully machined and hard coat anodized. The aluminum alloy M14 scope mount is expected to be available in early 2005.

The Sadlak Industries M14 scope mount is based on the Brookfield Precision Tool model. Sadlak Industries incorporated some new enhancements to its M14 scope mount in late 2004. Two setscrews securely hold the wider adjustable dovetail piece (clip guide key) to the rifle’s receiver, to keep it from loosening. The rear end of the scope mount has cutouts to allow wrench access to the dovetail setscrews. The dovetail setscrews securely lock the dovetail piece (clip guide key) into the receiver. The scope mount hole for the adjustable dovetail piece (clip guide) screw has been machined with an oval slot and a larger counterbore to make it more easily compatible with non-USGI receivers. The front post screw size has also been increased for a larger contact area with the receiver barrel ring. The front screw has also been changed from a ½-28 fine thread to a 5/15-24 fine thread. The new size front screw reduces the number of hex head wrenches from three to two. The front screw and the dovetail key socket screw now both use the same size hex head wrench.

Upon customer request, the horizontal key of the scope mount can be machined 0.005 ” thinner to accommodate non-USGI dimension receivers and / or allow for elevation adjustment. The original nitride coating used on the titanium model was not always as consistent in color as desired. Sadlak Industries, LLC does not compromise on its quality control. So, those off-color mounts have been rejected even though all other inspections were satisfactory. Unfortunately, the rejection rate due to improper color only was unacceptedly high. Consequently, as of late 2004, Sadlak Industries is testing a second and more color consistent matte black nitride coating as well as a tungsten coating for the titanium M14 scope mounts. The tungsten coating is even more durable than the nitride coating and has a slight greenish-gray phosphate coloring reminiscent of older military weapons. Beginning in early 2005, a five degree relief angle will be machined into the bottom of its scope mounts to minimize interference from spent cases in rifles with worn ejector springs.

Entreprise Arms - This is a Weaver style rail scope mount. It is machined from AISI 4140 alloy steel. The Entreprise Arms web site lists this mount in two lengths, standard and extended. This mount allows the shooter to use the iron sights with or without the scope installed. The Entreprise Arms M14 scope mounts have a military specification phosphate finish.

Leatherwood Bros. – Leatherwood Bros began advertising its new side three point rail mount in Shotgun News in 2004. All parts are made from steel. This mount allows the use of iron sights and will accept M1913 Picatinny style scope rings. Leatherwood Bros. began shipping its mount to customers in June, 2004.

Keng’s Firearms Specialty, Leapers and T T International - These companies all offer moderately priced side three point scope mounts for the M14 type rifle. The Leapers model is made of aluminum and utilizes a Weaver rail. The Keng’s Firearms Specialty unit has an M1913 Picatinny rail. The T T International model TSA scope mount is made of hardened steel with an M1913 Picatinny rail. The rifle’s iron sights can be used with all of these mounts installed.

Side Three Point Scope Mount Fitting On Commercial M14 Receivers

There are five points of contact between the side three point scope mount and the rifle’s receiver that may cause improper fit up with military design side three point scope mounts when installed on commercial M14 receivers. The surface contact between the left side of the scope mount and the left side of the receiver is of primary importance. The more contact between these two surfaces the less likely the mount is to shift from firing recoil. The scope mount should be tested first for fit without the stripper clip guide dovetail key supplied with the mount.

Receiver Bolt Hole - The USGI M14 receiver drawing 7790189 specifies a distance of 1.500 " + or - 0.003 " for the distance between the bolt hole centerline and the front vertical edge of the barrel ring. If the bolt hole is drilled too far to the rear, the rear of the scope mount may contact the receiver stripper clip guide dovetail. This lifts the back of the mount so the mount horizontal key doesn't fully seat in the receiver horizontal groove. Consequently, the mount is moved left or right, and usually also down, at the front end. The rifle is then likely to shoot high and/or to one side. Furthermore, some bolt holes are undersized because the maker used worn out reamers, or the bolt holes may not be drilled perfectly perpendicular to the receiver wall. A very few commercial receivers lack the scope mount recoil lug or bolt hole.

Receiver Horizontal Groove - The height, angle and width of the horizontal groove affect the fit of side three point scope mounts to M14 type receivers. Some commercial receivers have horizontal grooves too shallow and narrow to accommodate military specification mounts such as the Armscorp USA, Brookfield Precision Tool and Sadlak Industries models. A 2002 manufacture commercial M14 type receiver examined by Sadlak Industries, LLC in December, 2004 is a representative case study of the mismatch between commercial receivers and military dimension scope mounts. The receiver horizontal groove of this particular 2002 manufacture commercial receiver measured 0.048 ” deep, 0.080 ” wide at the bottom and 0.134 ” wide at the top.

The width at the top of the receiver horizontal groove should be 0.0149 ” to 0.153 ” by calculation based on the sixty degree angle and groove bottom width dimension as specified in the USGI drawing number 7790189. The bottom of the horizontal groove is required to be 0.070 ” to 0.078 ” wide according to the USGI drawing number 7790189. The horizontal groove should be 0.062 ” to 0.072 ” deep by calculation. Commercial M14 receiver horizontal grooves have been measured as narrow as 0.120 " at the top of the groove.

Receiver Barrel Ring - The top front left hand corner of the receiver barrel ring may interfere with the new style ARMS # 18 mount. This is no fault of A.R.M.S. as its mount was designed to fit on USGI M14 receivers.

Receiver Stripper Clip Guide Dovetail - The receiver stripper clip guide dovetail may be machined such that the scope mount adjustable dovetail key will not slide in from the side of the bolt hole, but may do so from the operating rod side. The height of the stripper clip guide dovetail may also be tall enough to push up on the rear end of the scope mount. The stripper clip guide dovetail has been found to be as much as 0.030 ” taller than USGI specification.

Barrel Hand Guard - The ARMS # 18 front rail pad setscrew may contact the hand guard. This can be remedied by replacing the mount’s front setscrew with one that fits flush with the pad. Again, this is no fault of A.R.M.S. Commercial receivers are not always machined to the USGI blueprint dimensions.

Smith Enterprise, Inc. states that it has found as much as 0.010 " variance in a 3 " distance on USGI M14 receivers. In the 1990s, the U. S. Marine Corps and U. S. Navy had great success with the Brookfield Precision Tool scope mounts. However, the U. S. Marine Corps found that the location of mount bolt holes on Harrington & Richardson M14 receivers adversely affected mount alignment to require excessive windage adjustment to zero the scopes. The U. S. Marine Corps had no such problems with the Winchester M14 rifle receivers.

Scope Mounts Secured to the Rear Sight Pocket

In 1985, Smith Enterprise designed and produced pre-production units of two models of longer side three point scope mounts. Both were 9.250 ” long. The rear end of both models mounted to the rifle’s rear sight pocket, requiring removal of the rear sight assembly. The front end of the mount rail extended past the receiver barrel ring. One mount was TIG welded to the receiver, while the other was bolted on at the rear sight pocket through the sight knob holes. The heads of the bolts for the rear sight pocket were the same diameter as the sight knobs. The project was not pursued since it was found that the market in 1985 was not ready for this new style of scope mount.

The Springfield Armory, Inc. M25 and Accuracy Speaks, Inc. M1913 Picatinny rail scope mounts both attach to the rear sight pocket instead of the stripper clip guide dovetail and the barrel. The Accuracy Speaks mount will fit either the M1 Garand or M14 type rifle. This aluminum mount replaces the rear sight and firmly attaches to the barrel. Installation requires drilling and tapping the barrel and removal/modification of the hand guard.

Rail System Mounts - Knight's Manufacturing Company (Titusville, FL) produces an M4 Carbine style rail system, known as the M14 RAS offered in two models. The rear end of the top rail for both models ends at the receiver barrel ring. The deluxe model has a rear scope mount base that replaces the stripper clip guide. The standard model resembles the deluxe model, but without the rear scope mount base. This is a very solid mount and is easy to install. It allows the use of the rifle’s iron sights unless the rifle has a heavyweight contour barrel. The RAS’ side ribbed accessory panels will interfere with an National Match oversized stock, but not USGI contour stocks.

C. J. Weapons Accessories offers the Striker-14 M-14/M1A Tactical Rail System. This model uses three M1913 Picatinny rails, with the rear end of the top rail attaching to the stripper clip guide. The rifle’s iron sights can be used with a scope installed. The Striker-14 unit attaches to the rifle at three points. It is CNC machined from a single piece of aluminum and has a black anodized finish.

Barrel Scope Mount - Springfield Armory, Inc. offers a barrel mount for extended eye relief scopes. The M1A Scout Squad rifle is sold with this barrel scope mount installed. Springfield Armory, Inc. also sells it separately. This mount is made of aluminum and attaches to a standard contour barrel using six 7/32 " hex head screws that secure the upper half to the lower half of the mount. Medium weight and heavyweight M14 barrels and M1 Garand barrels cannot accept this mount. Springfield Armory, Inc. offers the Scout Squad scope mount finished in a choice of black or brown. Rooster33 began producing and selling its own barrel scope mount in March, 2004. It is made of steel and is also sized only for a lightweight (standard) contour M14 barrel. The Rooster33 scope mount attaches to the barrel by four hex head bolts.

Cleaning Kit

Springfield Armory developed and tested the cleaning kit for the M14 from 1958 until 1961, when the final version was fielded. Until then, M1 Garand cleaning kit items and an intermediary gas plug hex box wrench were used to clean the rifle. The USGI M14 cleaning kit consists of combination tool, chamber brush, four M3 cleaning rod sections, bore brush, patch tip, oil and grease bottle and a canvas case to hold the rod sections. The M14 chamber brush is marked 7790463 on the bottom of the ratchet mechanism. The M14 chamber brush is easily confused with the M1 Garand rifle and M60 machine gun chamber brushes. Unless it is an emergency, those brushes should not be used in the M14 type rifle.

The M14E2 stock does not have a butt stock compartment like the M14 stock, so the M14E2 cleaning kit was placed inside a nylon pouch and carried on the combat web gear by the automatic rifleman. The M14E2 cleaning kit pouch has a single ALICE clip for attachment to the automatic rifleman’s web belt. The USGI M14E2 nylon pouch is marked on the inside of the flap as follows:


second line – SMALL ARMS, M-14E2

third line – DSA 100-68-C-1863

fourth line 0465-926-6768

In the civilian market, J. Dewey Manufacturing, Co. Inc. (Southbury, CT) makes a one piece nylon coated cleaning rod that helps the owner from scratching the bore. Creedmoor Sports offers a plastic breech block insert that allows bore cleaning while protecting the bolt and trigger group. Alternately, the bolt can be locked back while cleaning with an empty magazine inserted into the well or an empty stripper clip inserted into the receiver stripper guide. To quiet the rattle of the cleaning kit inside the butt stock place three .30 Caliber bore patches through the hex box end of the combination tool then stow it. Sinclair International sells a Dewey Manufacturing M14 chamber brush with a hole drilled through the top ratchet portion. The advantage of this design is that it allows for a two handed pull to remove the brush from the chamber.

USGI Tools

An assortment of maintenance tools was made for the USGI M14 rifle. These include the combination tool, flash suppressor nut pliers, hand guard clip pliers, headspace gauges (go, no go and field), bolt disassembly/assembly tool, bolt roller greaser, bolt roller pliers, field test bolt, firing pin protrusion gauge, flash suppressor alignment gauge, throat erosion gauge, muzzle wear gauge, barrel reflector, ruptured case extractor and stock liner screw tool bit. All USGI flash suppressor nut pliers were made during one production run in 1962.

The M14 combination tool is very handy. The handle of the combination tool also holds the chamber brush and protects its bristles while stowed in the butt stock. The following tasks can be performed with this tool:

1. Tighten or loosen the gas cylinder plug

2. Tighten and loosen the rear sight knob screws

3. Remove or install the butt plate screws

4. Remove or install the muzzle stabilizer

5. Remove or install the M2 bipod

6. Act as a handle for the cleaning kit rod

7. Disassemble and assemble the bolt

8. Operate the spindle valve

9. Push cartridges from a stripper into the magazine

10. Disengage the connector lock from the operating rod spring guide for disassembly

11. Tighten or loosen the hex head bolt of the ARMS # 18, Bassett Machine, Sadlak Industries and Smith Enterprise scope mounts

Other Tools

Commercial .308 headspace gauges can be used in lieu of the military 7.62x51 mm gauges, but lack of a clearance cut for the ejector requires that the bolt must be disassembled to use them. Twist drill bits (sizes P and 15) can be used by hand to remove carbon buildup inside the gas cylinder plug and gas piston. A 1/16 " hex head wrench is used for the flash suppressor setscrew. A 7/64 " hex head wrench will fit the front sight screw and Springfield Armory, Inc. Scout Squad forward scope mount screws. Some commercial manufacture front sight screws will take a 3/32 " hex head wrench instead. A 3/32 " pin punch is useful in removing the stripper clip guide pin and the magazine catch pin. The tools necessary to remove and install a barrel are available from Brownell's. Badger Ordnance offers a stock liner screw wrench. Smith Enterprise, Inc. plans to manufacture aluminum and steel gas cylinder lock wrenches.

USGI Accessories

A number of accessories supported the various roles filled by the M14 rifle. These included the M12 blank firing attachment, M3 breech shield, M6 bayonet with M8A1 scabbard, front and rear sight protectors, sling (canvas web, nylon web, nylon weave and M1907 leather), aiming device, bandoleer kit (stripper clip guide, stripper clips, cardboard sleeves and canvas carrier), M5 winter trigger assembly with or without safety, M15 grenade launcher sight, M76 grenade launcher, M2 bipod, watertight carrying case for the XM21 ART scope and mount and even a M151 vehicle rifle mounting kit. There were two models of the ART scope and mount carrying case. Some canvas slings have a MRT (Mildew Resistant Treatment) and date stamp on the metal tip, such as 4 64. The leather sling was issued with the M14 NM and M21 rifles. The mounting kit (FSN 2590-045-9611) for the M151 vehicle secured the M14 rifle vertically on the front passenger side. In 2003, Smith Enterprise was supplying the U. S. Navy with M14 extended bolt stops, which allow the bolt to be released the same way as on M16 type rifles.

Bayonet - The M6 bayonet (NSN 1095-00-722-3097) was used for close combat, guard duty, riot duty and as a general utility knife. The final production drawing for the M6 is dated January 24, 1955. Thus, the M6 bayonet was developed and adopted even before adoption of the M14 rifle in May, 1957. Initially, the decision was made that there would be no bayonet issued for the M14 rifle. So, the M6 bayonet was not produced in significant numbers until 1961. Eventually, 1,633,000 M6 bayonets were delivered to the U. S. Army between July, 1961 and February, 1969. Aerial Cutlery, Imperial Knife and Milpar all made M6 bayonets. Imperial Knife made the most M6 bayonets of the three contractors, and Aerial Cutlery made the fewest. The bayonet blade material is AISI 1080 steel and the grip is made of molded plastic. Its weight is 12 ounces. The overall length is 11.51 " with a blade length of 6.75 ". The bayonet is designed to be loose when attached to the M14 rifle in an effort to minimize its effect on the bullet point of impact. The internal parts of the M6 bayonet are interchangeable with the M5 bayonet which is used on the M1 Garand rifle.

Scabbard - One manufacturer of the M8A1 scabbard (NSN 1095-00-508-0339) was Victory Plastics Company (Hudson, MA). Victory Plastics produced M8A1 scabbards in 1953 (for the M1 Garand rifle) and in 1961. Its 1961 production scabbards have the metal tip protector while those made in 1953 do not. The metal tip protector was added to scabbards made after 1955. The phosphate coating on the 1961 scabbards is lighter gray and more granular than on the 1953 scabbards, and the webbing is a darker green with a lighter sewing thread. Viz Manufacturing had a contract in 1967 to produce M8A1 scabbards. Another contractor was Pennsylvania Working Home for the Blind who made M8A1 scabbards between 1966 and 1968. Scabbards made by Pennsylvania Working Home for the Blind in the 1970s are marked TWB because the business’s name was changed to The Working Blind. Eichorn-Solingen in Germany manufactured M8A1 scabbards for the government of Denmark with both British and U. S. compatible belt attachments, although they were never U. S. Government issue. Eichorn-Solingen M8A1 scabbards did not have the metal tip protector.

Magazine Pouches - Magazines were carried in pouches attached to the USGI web belt. Early made pouches were made of canvas and held one twenty round magazine. Later-made pouches were made of canvas, then nylon, and each held two twenty round magazines. The M14 bandoleer will hold twelve stripper clips, two clips in each of six pockets. Each stripper clip will hold five rounds of ammunition, for a total of sixty rounds.

Grenade Launcher Sight - The M15 grenade launcher sight was used on the M1903 Springfield and M1 Garand rifles and carried over to the M14. The M15 sight base was mounted to the M14 stock on the left hand side with two wood screws. The M15 sight could be installed or removed quickly from the sight base by the grenadier. A canvas pouch that attached to the web belt was used to carry the M15 sight and instruction sheet.

Blank Firing Attachment - The M12 blank firing attachment (BFA) was issued to the individual soldier for training purposes, along with the M3 breech shield. The M3 breech shield was intended to protect the shooter from any blow back particles when firing blank ammunition, and to prevent loading live ammunition through the stripper clip guide. There were three versions of the M12 BFA and two versions of the M3 breech shield. The first version BFA was packed with the early style breech shield. These were produced around 1961 or 1962. The second and third version blank firing attachments were packed with the late style breech shield. The second version of the BFA was produced in 1964 and again in 1968. The third version of the BFA was made in 1968 and 1969. Two companies made all the M12 blank firing attachments. The BFA is designed to operate using the U. S. made M82 blank cartridge. It will not cycle the action using European 7.62x51 mm blank cartridges.

Commercial Accessories

Commercial accessories include nylon, biothane synthetic and leather slings, recoil buffer/reducer, stock comb/cheek rest, bipod, brass catcher, butt stock recoil pad, dual magazine clamp, elevation sight repair disk, keyed cable lock and gun cases. Shooters can purchase dry fire devices in the civilian market for practicing trigger squeeze, shooting position, and competition courses of fire. B.Jones Sights makes a prescription lens insert for the hooded National Match rear sight aperture. Entreprise Arms once made an extended bolt stop for the M14 type rifle but currently does not. Smith Enterprise at the time of this book’s publication had its M14 extended bolt stop for sale to the public.

Adjustable Gas Plugs - Rich Schuster (Toledo, OH) designed and makes Schuster Nuts. These are aftermarket M14 type gas cylinder plugs that can be used in competitive shooting. The top of the plug has a vent hole drilled to 0.015 " diameter. The interior diameter of the plug is larger than the standard M14 gas cylinder plug. This allows the gas pressure to drop about 2600 psi (equivalent to the effect of reducing a cartridge’s charge weight by 1/2 grain of powder). The result is less wear and tear on the rifle through lower initial pressure and less vigorous operation of the gas system. By adjusting a nut inside the plug, the net volume of gas in the cylinder is changed. This in turn changes the speed of the operating rod and the harmonics of the barrel vibrations. M14 gunsmith Clint Fowler (Barboursville, VA) and Accuracy Speaks (Mesa, AZ) can supply adjustable gas cylinder plugs for the M14 type rifle. These adjustable gas plugs use socket screws to vary the size of the opening in the top. Thus, the competition shooter can set the amount of gas venting to maximize accuracy and minimize wear.

Slings - Turner Saddlery and Les Tam M1907 style slings are highly regarded by M14 enthusiasts. Tactical slings of various configurations are available for the M14 type rifle from Specter Gear or Tactical Intervention Specialists.

M2 Type Bipods

The M2 bipod design was standardized in December, 1959 and improvements were added later. M2 bipods have been produced in the United States, Taiwan and China. Chinese copies of the M2 bipod do not have as excellent a reputation as compared to the USGI and Taiwanese models.

Taiwan models - The Taiwanese M2 bipod is reliable and suitable for civilian use. Beginning around 1998, some Taiwanese M2 bipods were sold to the U. S. Navy through Sarco, Inc. (CAGE Code 8R320). Taiwanese M2 bipods are made by Wayne Machine, Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwanese copies of the M2 bipod may have W M I stamped on the yoke. Taiwanese bipods sold by Sarco to the U. S. Navy do not have the W M I mark. Early Taiwanese bipods were brazed but failed routinely. Otherwise, Taiwanese bipods are welded and have had no problems through thousands of rounds of automatic fire.

Chinese models - The Chinese M2 bipod is marketed by Norinco. The Chinese versions will have the W M I marking. If the yoke screw requires a hex head wrench, it is a Chinese bipod.

USGI models - Farmer Supply and Tool was one contractor for the USGI M2 bipod. An American made USGI contract M2 bipod will have the following markings: U. S. 7790833 BIPOD RIFLE M2 for those with a sling swivel or U. S. 7790688 BIPOD RIFLE M2 for those without a swivel. A USGI M2 bipod will be of brazed, not welded, construction. The early version of the USGI contractor M2 bipod does not have a sling swivel. The USGI M2 bipods left the factory with a yellow DOD acceptance stamp on the left hand front side of the yoke and a blue letter M, one on the bottom of each leg pad and also on the outside of the right hand clamp. However, the yellow and blue markings tended to wear off with use in the field and are rarely seen on bipods found today.

Other Bipods

GG&G and Harris bipods are typically mounted to the rifle’s stock just aft of the front sling swivel. A hole is drilled in the stock to which an adapter is fitted and secured. The stock forearm may or may not be reinforced per the owner’s preference. Alternately, some rifle owners use the 5/16 ” diameter drain hole located 1 ” behind the stock ferrule. Either way, this method of attachment avoids changes in point of impact that may occur with the M2 bipod. These bipods are also lighter than the USGI M2 bipod.

The Keng’s Firearms Specialty M14 bipod is a Chinese copy of the Parker-Hale precision rifle bipod. Its bipod mounting adapter for the M14 type rifle is catalog number 150-102. This bipod mounting adapter replaces the American threaded gas cylinder plug to allow a Keng’s Firearms Specialty bipod to be mounted to the rifle. This mounting adapter will not work on Chinese manufactured M14 gas cylinders because of the different thread pitch. A Keng’s Firearms Specialty bipod can also attach to a standard quick detachable sling swivel with its universal mounting adapter (catalog number 150-100). Troy Industries offers a bipod for its Rock SOPMOD M14 carbine. It mounts to the six o'clock rail on the stock and has a quick release mounting lever.


USGI, Chinese and Taiwanese M14 type rifles are chambered for the 7.62x51 mm NATO cartridge (1.6350 " GO, 1.6405 " NO GO, 1.6455 " FIELD REJECT). U. S. commercial M14 type rifles are typically chambered for .308 Winchester. However, some U. S. commercial M14 type rifles will be headspaced for 7.62x51 mm ammunition. The majority of Federal Ordnance M14 type rifles were assembled with Chinese barrels and bolts or sold as bare receivers. Chinese M14 rifles from the factory are headspaced long. Therefore, the buyer should check the headspace when purchasing a rifle unless the factory or gunsmith supplies the headspace reading at the time of purchase. The commercial manufacturers typically headspace their rifles to SAAMI specifications (1.630 " GO, 1.634 " NO GO, 1.638 " FIELD REJECT). If the headspace is from 1.630 " to 1.634 ", then either commercial manufacture .308 Winchester or military manufacture 7.62x51 mm NATO ammunition can be used. The “NO GO” headspace limits for .308 Winchester are 0.0065 ” smaller than for the 7.62x51 mm chamber as noted above. The subject of hand-loaded ammunition in the M14 type rifle is beyond the scope of this work.

The U. S. Government (Lake City and Winchester) has produced 7.62x51 mm NATO ammunition as follows:

M59 Ball (150.5 grain bullet)

M60 High Pressure Test (171.5 grain bullet) - silver case

M61 Armor Piercing (150.5 grain bullet) - black tip

M62 Tracer (142 grain bullet) - orange tip

M62 Tracer Overhead Fire Mission (146 grain bullet) - red tip

M63 Dummy - fluted case

M64 Grenade Blank – rosette crimped case mouth

M80 Ball (146 grain bullet)

M80 Ball Overhead Fire Mission (149 grain bullet)

M82 Blank - double tapered neck, front portion replicates loaded cartridge length for reliable feeding

M118 Match (172 grain bullet) – headstamped MATCH or NM, no NATO circle-cross, primer not crimped to enable marksmanship units to easily reload training ammunition

M118 Special Ball (172 grain bullet) – usually headstamped L C and the last two years of manufacture at ten, two, four and eight o’clock for each character, crimped primer, no NATO circle-cross

M118 LR (175 grain HPBT bullet)

M160 Frangible (108.5 grain bullet) - green and white tip

M172 Dummy - black case and bullet

M198 Duplex (two 80 grain bullets)

M276 Dim (Night Vision) Tracer (140 to 150 grain bullet) - pink and green tip

M852 Match (168 grain HPBT bullet) – case body knurled about ½ ” from the head, primer not crimped

M948 Saboted Light Armor Penetrating (SLAP)

M973 Training Ball

M974 Training Tracer

M993 Armor Piercing (126.6 grain bullet) - black stripe at the tip

U. S. military ammunition is either linked for machine gun use or packed in cardboard boxes or in bandoleer kits for rifles. Due to the expense, ammunition packaged in bandoleer kits is issued for combat use only. Subsonic ammunition was hand loaded at Fort Benning, GA for XM21 sound suppressed rifles in Viet Nam. This subsonic round was designed to be stable for a distance of 100 meters or less.

Surplus military ammunition can be of high quality. Ron Smith was a member of the Arizona and California National Guard Shooting Teams. He reports that his scores were from 490 to 495 in High Power Shooting competitions (fifty shot National Match Course) with match grade ammunition. Using surplus Portuguese military ammunition, his scores ranged from 485 to 490!

Commercial ammunition in .308 Winchester is available in varying bullet weights of full metal jacket, soft point and hollow point. The M14 type rifle can be loaded using magazines or stripper clips. If the M14 type rifle has a scope mount installed, then it will be loaded only using a magazine.

Other Calibers

After then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced the cancellation of M14 rifle production in 1963, TRW attempted a conversion of the M14 to .223 Remington in an effort to save what it could of its investment with the M14 Rifle. This conversion included modification of the M16 magazine follower and magazine catch, and installation of a filler block for the rear of the magazine well. After 1990, Springfield Armory, Inc. made M1A rifles for a time chambered in .243 Winchester and 7mm-08. Arizona Expert Arms (Gilbert, AZ) does conversions on M14 type rifles to .300 Winchester Short Magnum. This conversion includes installation of a custom Krieger heavyweight barrel, machining the bolt face and extractor, drilling the proper size barrel gas port and relieving the stock to accommodate the barrel. Standard USGI M14 twenty round magazines will hold and feed eleven .300 WSM cartridges without modification.

M14 Problems

The most common failures of the M14 rifles while in service were cracked stocks and rear sight pinions, missing rear sight nuts, and misaligned flash suppressors. Less common failures were broken safeties, broken firing pins, and out of specification gas cylinders. The least common problems were broken extractors and bolt stops. No problems were reported with the operating rod, trigger group (except safety), butt plate, or front sight. There were two versions of the M14 extractor. The early version was identical to the M1 Garand rifle extractor and had a sharp point on the lower front corner which could snag the cartridge. This caused the extractor to leave the bolt on occasion. This problem was corrected with the late version (1965 and onward) extractor which was made with a beveled lower front corner. Repeated automatic fire from the hip with the M14E2 stock will cause it to crack at or near the pistol grip joint.

No projectile weighing over 168 grains should be used in an unmodified M14 type rifle with standard barrel chamber. 4 This is because of increased chamber and gas port pressure with heavier bullets. Thunderbird Cartridge Company (Laveen, AZ) tested some M118 ammunition for Smith Enterprise in 1990. The chamber pressure measured from 53,000 to over 59,000 cupric units of pressure (CUP). The adjusted average chamber pressure was 57,000 cupric units of pressure at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. U. S. Army M14 rifles in Iraq in 2004 were experiencing overpressure problems with M118LR 175 grain ammunition. An M14 rifle may safely shoot M118LR ammunition if the barrel chamber is reamed to the M118LR chamber dimensions. At the time of this writing, Smith Enterprise, Inc. is the only firm with the M118LR sized chamber reamer. The M118LR reamer is made only for Smith Enterprise, Inc.

Ammunition must NEVER be loaded by hand into the chamber with the bolt allowed to close at full speed driven the operating rod spring. That practice presents the risk of slam fire. Ammunition should instead be fed only from the magazine. Always point all firearms in a safe direction and always assume a loaded chamber for safety reasons.

The user should not attempt to engage the safety on an M14 type rifle unless the hammer is cocked. Otherwise, the safety can fail. Other components of the trigger group are remarkably trouble-free and durable, so long as amateurish “trigger jobs” are avoided.

Based on civilian experience, USGI gas pistons have a useful life between 10,000 and 15,000 rounds. USGI gas cylinders will require replacement after approximately 40,000 rounds.

Some Viet Nam War veterans have stated that the M14 magazine feed lips could and did bend when hitting the deck hard in a combat situation. While this is a true statement, it is not unique to the M14 rifle. This is a concern with most other magazine fed military rifles as well.

Some M14 type rifles have left the factory with loose flash suppressors and operating rod guides. Once these parts are correctly installed, the M14 rifle is almost always trouble free. The gas cylinder plug can and has loosened during firing and in combat at that. The prepared M14 type rifle owner always carries a M14 combination tool to check the gas cylinder plug on a routine basis. If the bolt does not cycle after the first shot is fired check the spindle valve to see if it is in the open position (slot in the vertical). The wise M14 rifle owner carries a spare complete bolt assembly already headspaced to the rifle.

A few M1A receivers under serial number 020000 tend to wear prematurely on the elevation serrations. These receivers can be heat treated and the surface hardness increased to correct this condition. The design of the standard windage knob detents prevents similar problems on that side of the receivers.

There have been cases where commercial manufacture extractors have flown out of the bolt while the rifle is cycling. These extractors can usually be made serviceable by further machining of the divot where the extractor spring plunger rests on the extractor, or by replacing the extractor spring plunger. An alternate solution is to replace the commercially-made extractor with a USGI extractor. Often, the commercial extractor spring tension is incorrect, the extractor spring detent is too large or the extractor stem is too long.

Chinese M14 type gas cylinders and gas cylinder plugs are prone to rusting because they are not made of stainless steel. Chromium plating on the Chinese gas pistons makes rust less of a problem with that part.

1987 Springfield Armory, Inc. Recall Notice

Springfield Armory, Inc. issued a recall of M1A bolts in 1987. The recall applies to M1A bolts marked as follows:

1) No numerical or alphabetical characteristics on either the top or back of the bolt (completely unmarked)

2) Any bolt with any numerical or alphabetical markings at all on the back of the bolt

3) Any bolt with the top marked 7790185 and with SA RRR centered below that number 4) Any bolt with the top marked 790185 and with SA centered below that number

If the reader has such a bolt, contact the Customer Service Department at Springfield Armory, Inc. Politely discuss your situation with the Customer Service Representative. Springfield Armory, Inc. still honors this recall if applicable to the part concerned.

Accurizing Tips

A competent gunsmith can enhance the accuracy of an M14 type rifle. Some of the procedures the gunsmith may perform include: checking the operating rod spring guide for parallel, padding the hand guard, gluing the gas spindle valve open, measuring the operating rod spring for proper length, unitizing the gas cylinder to the front band, shimming the gas cylinder to the barrel to correct gas cylinder lock timing, peening or knurling the barrel to ensure interference fit of the gas cylinder, operating guide, and flash suppressor, tuning the trigger group, backing off the flash suppressor setscrew, reaming the flash suppressor, polishing the gas piston, hand fitting various parts, installing National Match front and rear sights, bedding the stock and lapping the bolt.

Some shooters have a National Match front sling swivel installed on their stock. The USGI riveted front sling swivel is removed and replaced with a quick detach sling swivel that is mounted to the stock with bolts and nuts. This increases the strength of the swivel attachment and allows the shooter to wrap his arm into a tighter sling when shooting.

Suggestions for Your Relationship with M14 Gunsmiths and Firearms Dealers

The following suggestions will enhance your experience with these professionals if you adhere to them: 1) keep a written detailed journal of problems with your firearm 2) do not whine 3) listen before you speak 4) be willing to learn 5) be patient 6) accept the fact that quality service is never the least expensive 7) submit clear and complete written information describing the problem(s) or work to be done in the same package with your insured and unloaded firearm 8) be polite 9) educate yourself on your firearm and 10) the original equipment manufacturer should be contacted first if possible.

M14 Gunsmiths

The following is a partial list of gunsmiths with experience working on M14 type rifles. No particular business is being endorsed. They are listed alphabetically. If a web site or e-mail address is not listed, consult telephone directories for contact information.

Armscorp USA Baltimore, MD www.armscorpusa.com See section on Armscorp USA.

Arrington, Phil Scottsdale, AZ www.arringtonaccuracy.com Phil specializes in M1 Garand, M14 type and AR15 type rifles.

Brown, Ted Shooter's Den Jacksonville, OR tbrown@jeffnet.org Ted retired from military service with the U. S. Air Force and Air National Guard. He has been a team member, armorer and coach for National Guard shooting teams and successfully coached Junior Rifle Teams for several years. He earned the U. S. Air Force Distinguished Rifleman Badge and Master Class designation in 1988. He has built National Match M14 type rifles since 1978. Ted specializes in M1 Garand and Carbine, M14 type and AR15 type rifles.

Corn, Geoffrey Oakland City, IN mcorn@wtvw.com

Entreprise Arms Irwindale, CA www.entreprise.com See section on Entreprise Arms.

Evan's Gunsmithing and Shooter's World Orange, CA www.egsw.com/home.htm Featured in American Survival Guide.

Ferrante, David Heart Mountain Precision Powell, WY Dave is a High Master shooter with the M14 type rifle as well as a highly reputable M14 gunsmith.

Fowler, Clint Barboursville, VA www.m1-m1a-ar15.com

Gronning, Jim Gruning Precision Riverside, CA Jim is featured in Joe Poyer’s book The M14-Type Rifle.

Luhmann, Tom TLC Gunworks Clovis, CA

McKee, Clint Fulton Armory Savage, MD www.fulton-armory.com See section on Fulton Armory.

Morris, Ronnie Match Service Works Madison, TN

Pierce, Eric National Match Armory Rendon, TX

Rader, Dale Springfield Armory, Inc. Custom Shop Geneseo, IL www.springfield-armory.com

Smith, Clayton West Texas Ordnance Vealmoore, TX www.texasordnance.com Clayton specializes in M1 Garand, M14 type and AR15 type rifles.

Smith, Ron Smith Enterprise, Inc. Tempe, AZ www.smithenterprise.com See section on Smith Enterprise.

Strait, Tim Warbird's Custom Guns Houston, TX http://users3.ev1.net/~hd80/Warbird.htm Tim has twenty-three years experience as a military armorer and commercial gunsmith specializing in Mauser, M1 Garand, and M14 type rifles and M1911 pistols.

Tabor, Frank San Bruno, CA

Tank, Jon Tank's Rifle Shop Fremont, NE www.tanksrifleshop.com Jon specializes in M1 Garand and Carbine, M14 type, and AR15 type rifles and Remington shotguns.

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