*M14 Type Rifles*
By: Different
Updated 12-28-02

The U.S. Rifle 7.62 mm M14 was adopted for military service by the United States in 1957. It is a rotating bolt, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, shoulder fired weapon. As adopted, the M14 was 44.14" long and weighed 8.7 pounds. With a full magazine and sling it weighed 11.0 pounds. The maximum effective range was 460 meters (503 yards). 1,380,358 M14 rifles were made from 1958 to 1965 by four entities. These were the U. S. Army Springfield Armory, Winchester (Olin-Mathieson Chemical Corp.), Harrington & Richardson Arms Co. and Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge (TRW). The M16 rifle replaced the M14 rifle in the mid-1960s as the standard arm of the U. S. Armed Forces. The U. S. Government sold the M14 rifle production machinery to Taiwan in 1968. Taiwan began making their Type 57 rifles in 1969. M14 type rifles have also been produced in the Peoples Republic of China. Philippine rebel groups have used M14 rifles made in the People’s Republic of China. Today, there remain less than 170,000 M14 rifles in the U. S. military inventory. At least 450,000 rifles have been transferred to foreign armies (Israel, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). Israel was given 35,000 M14 rifles by the U. S. Government in 1973 at the start of the Yom Kippur War. The Israelis built 10,000 sniper rifles out of these and they remained in service until 1997. Another 750,000 have been destroyed by Presidential Executive Order. However, the M14 rifle remains in use today aboard U. S. Navy ships, in Navy SEAL Teams, and at West Point Military Academy and JROTC units nationwide. Some police departments in the United States also have them in inventory on loan from the U. S. Army.

Since 1971, U. S. commercial manufacturers have produced more than 230,000 M14 type rifles. Most commercial manufacture M14 type rifles are very similar to the U. S. Rifle 7.62 mm M14 except that they are not select fire. The exceptions are an estimated 1000 to 2000 Smith Enterprise and Springfield Armory, Inc. select fire rifles produced prior to May 19, 1986. Forty-eight USGI M14 rifles were registered prior to the end of the 1968 Gun Control Act amnesty and are in the hands of American civilians. In the United States, the May 1986 ban ceased production of select fire M14 type rifles. Civilians may own select fire M14 type rifles in the USA by civilians as long as federal, state and local laws are complied with. U. S. Government Issue (USGI) M14 rifles have been exported to New Zealand and Canada from Israel for sale to private owners. There are surplus USGI M14 rifles also available for sale in the Netherlands. Undoubtedly, a small number of M14 rifles remain in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

The M14 rifle has been employed as a battle rifle, squad automatic weapon, competition match rifle, grenade launcher, sniper rifle and ceremonial rifle. As a battle rifle, the M14 has seen service from the 1963 Cuban missile crisis to 2002 Afghanistan. In the U. S. military, the selector shaft lock is installed on most M14 rifles so that only semi-automatic fire can be employed. In the U. S. Army infantry squad of the early 1960s the M14 rifle was standard issue. Each ten man infantry squad had two automatic riflemen and two grenadiers. The M14 rifle assigned to the automatic rifleman had an M14E2 stock and sling, stabilizer assembly and M2 bipod. His rifle would have a selector switch and selector shaft spring installed in place of the selector lock. In this configuration, the rifle was designated as the M14E2 in 1963 and redesignated as the M14A1 in April, 1966. Until it was replaced by the M79, the grenadier’s rifle was equipped with the M15 grenade launcher sight and the M76 grenade launcher. M14 rifles equipped as such did see combat service in Vietnam. The grenadier prepared the M14 rifle by turning the spindle valve, loading a grenade blank into the magazine and placing a grenade on the M76 grenade launcher. The grenadier could propel a one and one-half pound grenade out to a distance of 250 meters depending on the angle at which he held the rifle and the launcher position to which the grenade was placed. Grenade types included smoke, signaling, anti-tank, white phosphorous and training.

Springfield Armory and TRW made match grade M14 rifles for competition shooting. The M14 rifle was popular in competition shooting until the early 1990s. Although the AR-15 has eclipsed the M14 rifle in competitive matches, U. S. DCM shooting clubs still inventory M14 National Match rifles. In 1969, Rock Island Arsenal converted 1,435 National Match M14 rifles. These M14 rifles were scoped and supplied with match grade ammunition for use by U. S. Army and Marine Corps snipers in the Vietnam War. This rifle was designated the XM21 until 1971 when it became the M21. The M21 remained the Army’s sniper rifle until 1988 when it was replaced by the M24 bolt action rifle. In 1991, the U. S. military updated the M21 and designated it the M25. The M25 first saw combat service with the U. S. Navy SEALs in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The M21 and M25 rifles are both match barrel, match tuned and scoped M14 rifles. Early M21 rifles had a wood stock but later rifles were issued with a fiberglass stock. The XM25 rifle had a steel liner placed inside the stock to allow removal of the stock without loss of scope zero. The M25 rifle typically sports a McMillan M2A bedded stock without the steel liner. Some M21 and M25 rifles have been outfitted with Sionics and Seeberger sound suppressors to minimize noise signature. The M14 rifle is frequently used by drill teams and color guards and at Arlington National Cemetary as a ceremonial rifle.

There have been several U. S. commercial manufacturers who have produced M14 type rifles. Mr. Elmer Ballance of the L.H. Gun Co. in Devine, Texas began producing the M1A ™ in 1971. The U. S. Army Springfield Armory had closed down in 1968. So, the name of his company was changed to Springfield Armory, Inc. The change was a successful marketing strategy. Mr. Ballance built approximately 3000 before selling the company in 1974. In 1974, the last of the Texas M1A (TM) rifles were made at their Radium, Texas address. The new owners of Springfield Armory, Inc. transferred production from Texas to Geneseo, Illinois in late 1974. Springfield Armory, Inc. in Illinois began production of M1A (TM) rifles with a serial number in the 0032XX range. Other U. S. manufacturers include Smith Enterprise (Tempe, AZ), Entreprise Arms (Irwindale, CA), Federal Ordnance (El Monte, CA), Armscorp (Baltimore, MD), A.R. Sales Co. (South El Monte, CA) and Smith, Ltd (Ohio). As of 2002, only Armscorp, Entreprise Arms and Springfield Armory, Inc. are producing M14 type receivers in the United States.

The M14K is an interesting development of the U. S. commercial made M14 type rifle. In the late 1980s, Smith Enterprise developed the engineering and produced a small number of these rifles. They are pre-86 ban select fire M14 type rifles modified with a M60 machinegun type gas system. The M14K was marketed by Tim LaFrance. The reports are that the rifle is very controllable in full automatic fire.

The following list is not complete but based on observation of serial numbers U. S. commercial manufacturers have produced at least this many M14 type receivers:

Springfield Armory, Inc. (Texas and Illinois) M1A - 149,000

Armscorp M14 NM, M21 - 16,700

Federal Ordnance M14A, M14SA - 60,000

Smith Enterprise M14 NM - 2,500

Entreprise Arms M14A2 - 500

PRC M14 Type Rifles - Two concerns in the Peoples Republic of China produced M14 rifles, Norinco and Polytech Industries. Chinese semi-automatic M14 rifles have been exported to Canada and the United States for sale to private owners. Three companies imported Chinese M14 rifles into the United States prior to the September 1994 enactment of the Violent Crime Control Act. IDE and Keng's imported Polytech Industries M14S rifles. Century Arms International imported both Polytech Industries and Norinco M14 rifles. Polytech Industries M14S rifles in the U. S. are generally regarded as pre-94 ban. Some of the Norinco M14 rifles were sold prior to 09/13/94 and some were warehoused by the importer then sold after 09/13/94. If a Chinese made M14 rifle was not assembled with sufficient U. S. made parts prior to 09/13/94 (to allow installation of a flash suppressor per the March 1989 import ban) the rifle must comply with the 1994 ban on semi-automatic rifle features. It is best for the owner of a Chinese made M14 rifle to check with the U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regarding a specific rifle serial number. Some of the Polytech Industries M14S rifles are marked on the receiver heel and some are not. In either case, the serial number is stamped on the receiver below the stock line. Norinco M14 rifles are marked on the scope mount side of the receiver. Norinco M14 type rifles are marked M14 Sporter and M305. Polytech Industries rifles have a better reputation for receiver surface machining and finish over the Norinco rifles. The Presidential Executive Order import ban of March 1989 affected the Chinese M14 rifles brought into the United States. Subsequent to the import ban, Chinese M14 type rifles entered the US market with a rubber recoil pad instead of the buttplate, the bayonet lug ground off, the flash suppressor castle nut welded on and the flash suppressor either removed or installed without the open slots. Some of the Chinese M14 rifles were rebuilt by the importer after the March 1989 import ban with U. S. made parts including the USGI flash suppressor. This was legal until the September 1994 ban. Additionally, after the March 1989 import ban Armscorp, Federal Ordnance and Century Arms International assembled M14 type rifles using American made receivers and Chinese parts sets.

Receivers - There are three important factors in determining the quality of a M14 type rifle receiver. They are the material, heat treatment and dimensional geometry. American receivers are made of 8620 steel and the Chinese receivers made of 5100 steel. 8620 steel contains trace percentages of molybdenum, manganese, nickel and chromium. 5100 steel is a chromium alloy steel. Both are suitable for hardening using heat treatment. USGI, Chinese and Taiwanese receivers are forged. The U. S. Marine Corps found through competition shooting that the H&R, Springfield Armory and Winchester receivers would last 400,000 rounds and the TRW receivers were good for 450,000 rounds. Entreprise Arms and Smith Enterprise Arms receivers are CNC machined from raw billet. Springfield Armory, Inc. and other companies made receivers using an investment casting process. The notable exception is that Smith Enterprise did make a batch of about 260 forged receivers. Springfield Armory, Inc. and Entreprise Arms also make rear lugged and double lugged receivers for competition shooting. Federal Ordnance made two types of M14 receivers, one for all USGI parts and one for all Chinese parts. Prior to 1986, two U. S. companies welded USGI M14 receiver halves back together and legally sold them. They were Hahn Machine and Specialty Arms (Ohio).

The functional differences between USGI and commercial M14 type semi-automatic receivers are slight but important. The USGI M14 receiver has a notch cut in the center of the receiver rail. This allows for dismounting of the operating rod during diassembly and fore and aft movement of the connector assembly during full automatic fire. The forward end of the USGI receiver rail has a groove cut into it on the under side to allow the front end of the connector assembly to slide back and forth. The USGI receiver is also manufactured with a selector lug on the rear right hand bottom side. The selector and connector assemblies are attached to the rifle by this selector lug. The commercial semi-auto M14 type receivers have no selector lug, no center notch in the operating rod rail or groove on the under side. The dismount notch for the operating rod is located at the rear end of the operating rod rail on commercial made receivers. If a receiver is USGI manufacture it will not have this rear dismount notch.

Barrels - Barrels are either made of chromium molybdenum alloy steel or stainless steel. The twist rates are 1:10, 1:11 or 1:12. There were many contractors for USGI M14 barrels such as H&R, TRW, Winchester, Springfield Armory, General Dynamics, Saco-Lowell, Canadian Arsenal, Nomura Machine, etc. Commercial and match barrel makers include Douglas, Barnett, Hart, Krieger, Obermyer and Wilson. M14 type rifle barrels are either 22" or 18" long. The contours are standard (lightweight), medium weight or heavy weight. USGI rack grade and Chinese barrels are chrome plated. U. S. match grade and commercial barrels are not chrome plated. 1:10 twist barrels are better suited to the 168 and 175 grain bullets. The USGI M14 4150 alloy steel chrome plated barrels have a maximum rate of fire listed in FM 23-8 (see below). USGI match grade M14 barrels were made to much stricter dimensional standards than the rack grade barrels. Most of the USGI match barrels were made in the lightweight contour and the rest were mediumweight. One USGI heavy weight contoured match barrel was made. Typically, match grade M14 type rifle barrels begin to lose competition level accuracy after 5000 to 9000 rounds depending on use and cleaning. USGI M14 barrels were designed for a minimum service life of 15,000 rounds.

Stocks and Hand Guards - The first M14 stocks were made of walnut and birch. Some of the wood stocks were marked with a DOD cartouche on the left side near the receiver and a Proof "P" mark on the underside of the grip. The birch stocks are lighter and twenty percent stronger than the walnut stocks. Reportedly, a few cherry stocks were made as well. As the technology caught up in the early 1960s, synthetic stocks made of fiberglass were available to replace the wood stocks. Oversized walnut and birch stocks were made for match grade M14 rifles.

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. Most of the E2 stocks were made after 1963. The M14E2 stock has a recoil pad, pistol grip and retractable fore grip. Attached to the M14E2/M14A1 gas cylinder was the M2 bipod and a stabilizer assembly fitted over the flash suppressor. Prior to 1994, E2 birch and walnut stocks were available from Springfield Armory, Inc. Currently, Fred's (Ramseur, NC) is the only known surplus dealer of M14E2 stocks in the U.S.

In the present day, McMillan makes synthetic stocks for the M14 type rifle. They have three models, M1A, M2A and M3A. The obivous difference between the three models is the grip style but they all must be bedded prior to 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.

Prior to 1994, Springfield Armory, Inc. offered commercial M1A-A1 folding and extra fancy AAA grade walnut stocks for the M1A ™. Otherwise, Springfield Armory M1A (TM) rifles are outfitted in textured and painted USGI synthetic, commercial walnut or USGI birch stocks. The commercial made walnut stocks will not have a selector cutout. Black colored crinkle textured synthetic stocks are fitted with a rubber butt pad. This softens the recoil and the overall length is increased by an inch. The Springfield Armory M1A Bush ™ rifle is now offered in a Mossy Oak ™ painted synthetic stock with GI butt plate. Boyd and Fajen have also made walnut stocks for the M1A (TM).

The USGI M14 fiberglass stock lends itself to camouflage patterns by anyone with an imagination and cans of spray 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 buttplate to shorten the overall length by about 1/4". However, the hinge area should be filled in with suitable material. The Chinese stocks are made of a lighter wood than the USGI walnut stock. A USGI M14 stock should be fitted to a Chinese M14 rifle as there are small dimensional differences. For long term storage, the trigger guard should be unclamped from a wood stock. This will allow the wood stock to expand and contract as the weather changes.

The very first hand guards for the U. S. M14 were made of walnut. These were very quickly changed to a slotted fiberglass model. The slotted fiberglass hand guards were found to be fragile and caused mirage over the barrel on rapid fire. So, a solid fiberglass hand guard became the standard. USGI solid hand guards were made in at least four color variations, coffee, brown, dark brown and black. A more rugged solid fiberglass handguard is available from Fulton Armory. Prior to 1994, Springfield Armory sold heavy walnut match, extra fancy AAA grade walnut and laminated walnut/maple hand guards for the M1A (TM).

Sights - The M14 type rifle has three sizes of front sights and three sizes of rear sights. The front sights are classified by the blade width. The standard or GI front sight is .084" wide. There are two National Match size front sights, .072" and .062" wide. The rear sight has a standard or GI size and two National Match sizes, .0520" and .0595". Either National Match rear sight can be fitted with a hood. Use of the hood on the rear sight allows for ˝ minute adjustments in elevation. Without a hood on the rear sight aperture, the elevation knob moves point of impact one minute per click. The windage knob will either be the standard one minute per click adjustment or the National Match model of ˝ minute per click adjustment. The M14 type elevation knob will have an "M" inscribed on it. This denotes calibration in meters. If the elevation knob does not have an M the knob is calibrated in yards and was made for an M1 Garand rifle.

Muzzle attachments - There are different muzzle attachments available for the M14 type rifle. Some Chinese made M14 type rifles imported into the United States after March, 1989 have faux flash suppressors or the suppressors cut off at the muzzle. These faux flash suppressors were made without milling out the slots between the prongs. The USGI flash suppressor was fitted on all USGI M14 rifles except for match M14s. Match grade M14 rifles have been fitted with flash suppressors that have been reamed out. Smith Enterprise and Entreprise Arms sell the Vortex ™. The Vortex ™ is a short open pronged flash suppressor. It is very effective in reducing muzzle flash. 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. Springfield Armory, Smith Enterprise and Entreprise Arms offer muzzle brakes as well. The M14E2 stabilizer assembly fits over the USGI flash suppressor to help reduce muzzle climb during full auto. USGI M14E2 stabilizer assemblies will be marked on the operating rod side with the drawing number 7791661.

Parts - Parts for the US Government M14 rifles were made from 1959 onward until at least 1992. The last government contract for M14 magazines was fulfilled in 1996 by Check Mate Industries. The bulk of the parts production was done though from 1960 to 1967. The government contractors were held to strict quality control standards. For instance, out of every lot of 100 chrome plated barrels made nine were selected for inspection. If any of the nine barrels failed inspection the entire lot of 100 barrels was scrapped. 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, operating rod spring guide, trigger guard, front band, rear sight base and safety. Springfield Armory, Inc. began making parts as far back as the mid-1980s as the supply of USGI M14 parts became limited. Since the mid-1990s, Springfield Armory M1A (TM) rifles have been assembled with a mix of USGI and commercial manufacture parts. Most U. S. commercial M14 type rifle parts are cast but M1A ™ bolts have been forged since the late 1980s. National Match parts such as the barrel, front sight, and rear sight parts will be marked "NM." USGI and commercial manufacture parts are interchangeable. Some of these parts are interchangeable with their Chinese counterparts. A USGI or American commercial manufacture bolt requires some gunsmithing to fit a rifle with a Chinese barrel.

Magazines - 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 round magazines have been made for the M14 type rifle. The U.S. Department of Defense contracted with several companies to make 10 and 20 round magazines. Sometimes the manufacturer initials are marked on the rear side and sometimes not. Magazine contractors included Winchester, Borg-Warner, Killeen Machine & Tool, Springfield Armory, TRW, Check Mate Industries, Harrington & Richardson, and Union Hardware Company. The USGI magazines are generally regarded as the best made. Taiwan and People’s Republic of China also produced twenty round magazines that were imported from the late 1980s until 1994. While they are narrower than the USGI magazines they have an excellent reputation for reliability. Canadian thermold plastic 20 round magazines have also been imported into the United States. The thermold magazines have a good reputation for feeding. U. S. after market brand 20 and 30 round magazines were produced prior to 09/13/94. After market magazines do not have a reputation for reliability due to the thinner body sheet metal and flashing on the plastic follower. M14 magazine rebuild kits (spring, follower, and floor plate) and the magazine bodies are available in the civilian market.

Scope Mount - A.R.M.S., Brookfield Precision Tool, Smith Enterprise, B-Square, S&K, Leatherwood and Springfield Armory, Inc. have made scope mounts for M14 type rifles. The B-Square and Springfield Armory 1st Generation mounts do not require removal of the stripper guide while the others listed do. Removal of the stripper guide allows an additional point of contact between the mount and the receiver. Scope mounts that have three points of contact with the receiver are the most reliable for keeping the scope zeroed. The U. S. military used the Leatherwood mount for the M21 and the Brookfield mount for the M25. The Smith Enterprise mount is similar to the Brookfield Precision Tool model. 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.

Cleaning Kit - The GI 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 M14E2 stock does not have a butt stock compartment like the M14 stock so the cleaning kit for the M14E2 was placed inside a nylon pouch and carried by the automatic rifleman. In the civilian market, Dewey 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 quieten the rattle of the cleaning kit inside the buttstock place three .30 Caliber bore patches through the hex head end of the combination tool then stow it.

Tools - An assortment of maintenance tools were made for the USGI M14 rifle. These include the combination tool, flash suppressor nut wrench, hand guard clip pliers, headspace gauges (go, no go and field), bolt disassembly/assembly tool, bolt roller greaser, field test bolt, firing pin protrusion gauge, flash suppressor alignment gauge, throat erosion gauge, muzzle gauge, barrel reflector, ruptured case extractor and stock liner screw tool bit. Commercial .308 headspace gauges can be used in lieu of the military 7.62x51mm gauges but the bolt must be disassembled to use them.

The M14 combination tool is very handy. The following tasks can be performed with this tool: 1) tighten or loosen the gas cylinder plug 2) tighten and loosen the rear sight knobs 3) remove or install the buttplate 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 during disassembly. The combination tool also protects the bristles of the chamber brush while stowed in the buttstock.

Accessories - A number of accessories supported the various roles fulfilled by the M14 rifle. These included the M12 blank firing adapter, M3 breech shield, M6 bayonet with M8A1 scabbard, front and rear sight protectors, sling (canvas web, nylon web and M1907 leather), 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 and M2 bipod. The M6 bayonet is designed to be loose when attached to the M14 rifle. It was designed this way to minimize the effect that the bayonet has on the bullet point of impact. Magazines were carried in pouches attached to the USGI web belt. Early made pouches were made of canvas and held one twenty round magazine. Latter made pouches were made of canvas then nylon and carried two twenty round magazines. The M14 bandoleer will hold twelve stripper clips. Each stripper clip will hold five rounds of ammunition for a total of sixty rounds. The M15 grenade launcher sight was used on the M1 Garand rifle and carried over to the M14. The M15 sight base was mounted to the M14 stock with two wood screws. The M15 sight could be installed or removed quickly from the sight base by the grenadier.

Civilian made accessories include nylon and leather slings, recoil buffer / reducer, stock comb, bipod, butt stock recoil pad, dual magazine clamp, elevation sight repair disk, keyed cable lock and gun cases. Taiwanese and Chinese copies of the M2 bipod do not have an excellent reputation as compared to the USGI model. Taiwanese copies of the M2 bipod may have W M I written on them, the Chinese versions will have the W M I marking. Some Taiwanese M2 bipods have been sold to the U. S. Navy. An American made USGI contract M2 bipod will have the following markings: U. S. 7790833 BIPOD RIFLE M2. Harris and Parker Hale bipods are typically mounted to the stock just aft of the front sling swivel. This method of attachment avoids changes in point of impact as experienced with the M2 bipod. Versapod makes a modified gas cylinder plug to which their bipod fits. Shooters can purchase dry fire devices in the civilian market are available for practicing trigger squeeze.

Department of The Army Manuals




4) FM 23-8 7.62MM, M14 AND M14E2 May 1965





Ammunition - 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 chambered for .308 Winchester for the most part. However, many U. S. commercial M14 type rifles have USGI or Chinese M14 barrels threaded on their receivers. The commercial manufacturers head space their rifles to SAAMI specifications (1.630" GO, 1.634" NO GO, 1.638" FIELD REJECT). A U. S. commercial made M14 type rifle can use either .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. This is because the headspace limits for .308 Winchester are smaller than for the 7.62x51mm cartridge as noted above. The U. S. Government has produced 7.62x51mm 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 - crimped case mouth

M80 Ball (146 grain bullet)

M80 Ball Overhead Fire Mission (149 grain bullet)

M82 Blank - double tapered neck

M118 Special Ball (172 grain bullet)

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) - knurled case

M948 Saboted Light Armour Penetrating

M973 Training Ball

M974 Training Tracer

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

Commercial .308 Winchester ammunition 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 on it, then it will be loaded using a magazine. Springfield Armory, Inc. did make M1A ™ rifles for a time chambered in .243 Winchester and 7mm-08.

M14 Problems - The most common failures of the M14 rifles while in service were cracked stocks and rear sight pinions, missing rear sight nut, and misaligned flash suppressor. Less common failures were broken safety, broken firing pin, and out of specification gas cylinder. The least common problems were broken extractor and bolt stop. No problems were reported on the operating rod, trigger group (except safety), butt plate, or front sight. Use of bullets over 180 grains are not recommended as this can lead to bending of the operating rod or cracking of the receiver. The user should not attempt to engage the safety unless the hammer is cocked. Otherwise, the safety can fail.

Springfield Armory, Inc. M14 Type Rifles - Springfield Armory is the oldest and largest commercial manufacturer of M14 type rifles. They have the following models: Standard, Scout Squad, Bush, Loaded, National Match, and Super Match M1As ™, M21 and M25 White Feather ™. The standard model M1A ™ has a USGI M14 1:12 twist four groove chrome plated chromium molybdenum barrel with standard size rear and front sights and either walnut or synthetic stock. The Bush and Scout Squad models are essentially the same. Each has an 18" 1:11 six groove twist non-chrome plated chromium molybdenum barrel and synthetic stock. The Scout Squad has a scope mount installed on the barrel. The barrel scope mount will fit on a standard model M1A and it is available separately. The following rifles are offered with either chromium molybdenum or stainless steel six groove barrels. The loaded M1A has a 1:11 twist medium weight match barrel, National Match flash suppressor, .0520" non-hooded rear sight aperture and National Match front sight, National Match trigger group and either walnut or synthetic stock. The National Match M1A ™ comes glass bedded in an oversized match grade walnut stock with all of the features of the loaded model plus a National Match gas cylinder, match operating rod and spring guide and hooded rear sight aperture. The Super Match M1A ™ may have a standard receiver, a rear lugged receiver or a double lugged receiver. The barrel will be a 1:10 twist heavy weight Douglas barrel unless the customer selects another brand barrel. Regardless of the barrel make, the operating rod will slide through an oversized operating rod guide. The buyer also has his choice of oversized walnut or McMillan fiberglass stock. The M21 is the Super Match M1A ™ with a walnut stock that has an adjustable cheek piece. The M25 White Feather ™ rifle has a rear lugged receiver, McMillan fiberglass stock with adjustable cheek piece, low profile custom muzzle brake, Krieger 1:10 twist heavy weight barrel and no iron sights. The M25 White Feather must be scoped to sight a target. While much has been written discussing the merits of chromium molybdenum versus stainless steel for barrels the best evidence seems to indicate that both are equal in accuracy with throat erosion occurring slightly faster in the stainless steel barrels. The advantage of the stainless steel barrel is better weather resistance.

Accurizing Tips - A competent gunsmith can enhance the accuracy of a M14 type rifle. Some of the procedures he may perform include: checking the operating rod spring guide for parallel, padding the hand guard, gluing the spindle valve open, measuring the operating rod spring for proper length, unitizing and shimming the gas cylinder to the front band, tuning the trigger group, bedding the stock, backing off the flash suppressor set screw, reaming the flash suppressor, polishing the gas piston, hand fitting various parts, installing National Match front and rear sights, and lapping the bolt.

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