*Disassembly and Cleaning of the M-14/M1A*

Disassembly and cleaning of the M-14/M1A

While the M-14 is one of the more reliable weapons ever designed, being based on the M-1 Garand, maintenance still needs to be performed on it periodically to keep it functioning and to keep the accuracy of the weapon from degrading. This is especially true if you run across a batch of corrosive surplus ammo that pops up on the market from time to time. To start with, we'll start with the disassembly procedures.

First, remove the magazine and retract the bolt to ensure your weapon is empty. Next, using the combination tool stored in your buttstock, unscrew the gas plug and remove the gas cylinder. Next, moving back to the trigger group, put the butt on the ground and pull the rear of the trigger guard backwards and downwards at the same time. The trigger guard will unhinge and you can pull the trigger group straight down and out of the weapon. Now you can remove the stock from the receiver group by rocking it away from the front flange on the gas cylinder.

Next step is the removal of the bolt group and the operating rod. Turning the weapon upside down, press foreword slightly on the operating rod spring guide. While you are going this, there is a small pin that runs through the guide that is pulled towards the charging handle that will release the guide and spring which can now be removed. Retract the bolt until the tab on the operating rod aligns with the takedown notch on the receiver right under the windage knob of the rear sights. Push the rod up and away from the receiver until it disengages from the bolt roller. Turn the operating rod upside down and remove it to the rear from the operating rod guide and out of the weapon. Finally, remove the bolt by running it foreword in the receiver, and then twisting it to the left while lifting the front of the bolt clear of the receiver to allow it to be removed from the weapon.

While this is as far as you should have to go for normal cleaning, removing the firing pin, extractor, ejector and ejector spring is also easy to do and may be necessary for replacing a broken part. Taking your combination tool, you should notice that one end has a round head with a small teat on the rim of the head. Compressing the ejector with the rounded head with the teat under the extractor, simply turn it clockwise for the teat to remove the extractor up and out of the bolt, and slowly allow the ejector and it's spring to come out as well. The firing pin is also free to come out at this point. Reassemble in reverse order.

Moving on to cleaning, it's not much different than most other weapons. The dirtiest part of this weapon is the gas cylinder and gas cylinder plug. A lot of Q-tips and solvent are going to be used here to clean the carbon out. Keep in mind that you aren't able to clean the barrel from the receiver end so you are going to want to use a rod guide when you push the rod down the barrel from the muzzle. The one main thing that the M-14 needs that some other weapons don't need is grease instead of oil. You are going to want to grease the following areas with either the military rifle grease, or it's civilian counterpart of your choosing.

These areas are the roller on the bolt, the top of the tail of the bolt and along the locking lugs and the lug's track on the left side of the receiver. Inside the operating rod's hump where it contacts the bolt roller, on the top of the hammer where it contacts the bolt, the hole in the operating rod spring guide where the small pin goes through the hole, and the threads of the gas cylinder plug (to prevent the threads from seizing up) are the other areas that you are going to want to use grease. The rest of the weapon should be lubricated with CLP or other similar protective lubricant.

One quick note about the cleaning kit that is stored in the butt, the combination tool, followed by the brush of the chamber brush in the handle of the combo tool followed by the grease/oil tube goes in the top hole. In the bottom hole, your rods, patch holder and cleaning brush are supposed to go in here. The brush and the patch holder are stacked one on top of the other to make up a "fifth rod" in addition to your four rod sections. The problem is that it is a VERY tight fit most of the time and humidity with a wood stock can cause the wood to swell and make getting it out almost impossible. The best cure for this problem is not to leave the bore brush out of the kit, but to sand or file the hole slightly bigger so that it will fit without getting stuck. To keep everything from rattling, I put a couple of cleaning patches behind the grease/oil tube and the butt trap. The rods are kept in their pouch and don't tend to rattle when you use it so there isn't a problem with this.

So, there you have it. Keeping a reliable weapon reliable isn't very hard to do and will take care of you as long as you take care of your weapon. Remember, the other guy's weapon IS going to fire! Will yours?


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