National Gun Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

· Ancient Gaseous Emanation
Joined
·
57,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Brian Sheetz
February 8, 2020


The internet is rife with essays by self-styled firearm experts who seem hell-bent on disparaging various legacy platforms for all manner of supposed deficiencies—despite the fact that those same guns are held in high regard by large numbers of satisfied users. Such differences of opinion are understandable given the fact that each of us has a uniquely individual set of experiences, knowledge and preferences that informs our choices.

One platform that seems to be a magnet for criticism is the M14 rifle. In fact, some call it out as an ideal example of failure with explanations such as: “It’s too heavy and too long. It was the shortest-lived service rifle in U.S. history and was only adopted because the process was corrupt. It was unsuccessful in singlehandedly replacing the M1 Garand, M1903 Springfield, M1917 Enfield, M1 Carbine, M3 submachine gun, M1928/M1 Thompson, and M1918 Browning automatic rifle.”

Of those claims, the first is purely subjective, the last represents an unrealistic goal and those that follow are arguable, considering that the rifle still sees some military service today and that the parties involved in its adoption are no longer with us. More to the point, none of the complaints are relevant to a discussion of the merits available to the average rifleman by modern-day, semi-automatic M14 clones.



Examples from such companies as Springfield Armory (whose corporate cornerstone is the trademarked M1A) LRB Arms, Bula Defense and James River Armory remain not only commercially viable, but are available in a wide variety of configurations, including polymer- and folding-stock and short-barrel models. And since most command the better part of two grand in price, that should answer any questions as to the value they hold in the minds of modern consumers.

At the risk of appearing to indulge in the same brand of myopic self-rationalization as the aforementioned “experts,” I’d like to suggest that the old warhorse is not only still worthy of consideration by today’s armed citizen, but is uniquely qualified as one of the best general-purpose rifle choices for uncertain times. Why? Because of six characteristics that lend it an undeniably attractive character.

Military Pedigree

Civilian firearms derived from military designs offer their users several advantages over those developed solely for the commercial market, and the M14-style rifle is no exception. Such designs are typically overbuilt as they are intended to suffer the exigencies of wartime abuse and neglect. They typically consist of separable subassemblies that ease cleaning and inspection and decrease parts loss.

Spare parts left over from military contracts eventually find their way into the civilian marketplace, which virtually ensures the user’s ability to keep the firearm in working order indefinitely. Provisions for the attachment of accessories such as optics, muzzle devices, bayonets, etc., and the on-board storage of cleaning equipment is another advantage. Finally, military firearms like the M14, because they are employed by wide-ranging user group, usually exhibit well-developed mechanical and ergonomic features.

Rugged Construction

The original M14 rifle was nearly devoid of polymers and nonferrous “light” metals or construction methods designed to shave a few ounces or favor inexpensive manufacture. Its parts are nearly all made from machined steel forgings—a process renown for longevity and durability. Its steel barrel threads into the receiver, which also provides the locking recesses for the two-lug steel bolt. The gun is basically a gas-operated bolt-action with a strong, simple mechanism that can withstand tens of thousands, if not a couple of hundred thousand, rounds of firing.

In fact, the improved drawings used to machine the receivers of today’s semi-automatic clones, whether from precision investment castings or forgings, along with improvements in metallurgy and quality control of bolts, barrels, gas cylinders and other parts, makes the current crop of civilian rifles even more reliable and refined, in some respects, than those the military had made by the U.S. Springfield Armory, Harrington & Richardson, TRW and Winchester.

Reliable Operation

Being an offshoot of the M1 Garand, and with aspects of its design perfected by none other than John C. Garand himself, the M14’s basic operating system had already proven itself throughout multiple theaters of World War II and in the Korean War before undergoing a baptism by fire in the Vietnam War. In fact, the gun’s detachable box magazine and piston-driven, gas cutoff mechanism were further refinements of the Garand’s more rudimentary en bloc clip and dog-legged, one-piece piston/operating rod.

Standing in distinct opposition to unsubstantiated claims about how the Garand-derivative family of arms is overly susceptible to the ingress of debris are reams of testimonials from G.I.s across a generation that praise the rifle’s performance across dramatically distinct climatic and terrain conditions. Given responsible care and lubrication and fed proper ammunition, today’s M14-style rifles, which include Ruger’s Mini-14 series, can be counted on work exactly as designed for many years.

Simple Ergonomics

Oftentimes, those who have intimate familiarity with one particular firearm platform, either through personal preference or professional service, have difficulty accepting another—and that’s understandable. But when one particular style of firearm or operating mechanism and one arrangement of controls becomes so sacrosanct that all others are deemed wrong, that becomes legalism, and such is the case with AR-style controls. The M14, by contrast, has quite usable controls in a slim, ergonomic platform. The M14-style rifle has a reciprocating charging handle on the right (ejection) side that’s simply an extension of its operating rod. It allows for positive chambering by a nudge of the heel of the hand.

The bolt catch, which can be replaced with a commercial version that also acts as a release, is on the left side of the receiver. The safety lever is operated by the trigger finger, and it pivots into the triggerguard from the outside, ensuring that the trigger finger is off the trigger when going “on safe.” The design also ensures that the trigger finger comes away from the trigger momentarily when the lever is pivoted to the triggerguard’s outside before the finger returns to the trigger to go “on fire.” The magazine hooks and rocks into position with an audible “click,” and the magazine release is also centrally located. Windage and elevation adjustments do not require the use of tools. It is, overall, a simple, tried-and-true set of controls that rely mostly on gross motor skills.

Ingenious Design

Several aspects of the M14’s design make it stand out from the crowd. Its ingenious White expansion and cutoff gas system—with a separate piston that moves rearward to strike the operating rod—minimizes damage with a variety of bullet types and weights used in it. In addition, a valve on the gas cylinder allows the gas system to be manually turned off, resulting in what is essentially a straight-pull rifle that can be cycled faster than a traditional bolt-action, since all that’s required is to withdraw the operating rod handle to the rear and then simply release it, allowing the recoil spring to return the bolt into battery.

Also, the rifle has a feature that most newer guns, even military designs, no longer possess: a built-in guide that allows the magazine to be fed using stripper clips. Such clips present an efficient and lightweight option for carrying additional ammunition. Additionally, the attachment of either conventional or forward-positioned optics using a wide variety of bolt-on mounts is easy. Finally, few could successfully argue against the M14-style rifle’s excellent sights and trigger, both of which contribute to a level of accuracy that well serves most hunting and defensive roles.

Traditional Aesthetics

Rifles made of wood and steel have served remarkably well in both civilian and military circles for about seven centuries. Sure, for about as many decades, polymer and nonferrous metals have proven to offer some advantages—but primarily in weight savings, not longevity. So, when it comes down to it, there’s simply nothing fundamentally wrong with a traditionally styled rifle made of wood and steel.

In fact, the appearance of such a gun could be an advantage during circumstances in which a more modern, tactical design might draw unwanted attention. With a flush-fit magazine and a shortened muzzle compensator, such as in Springfield’s recently released M1A, the Tanker, the M14-style rifle has a form factor that is significantly more svelte than the average modern sporting rifle, despite its greater weight.

For all of the above reasons and more, the M14-style rifle offers a level of utility and capability—all in an understated package—not commonly encountered in many more modern firearms. Is it the “perfect” rifle? By no means, but it is surely underestimated and underappreciated when objectively evaluated.




 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
9,928 Posts
I’LL TAKE IT!!! I’d truly like to have one but, I live in the communist state of New Jersey. I can’t have one just like I can’t have a M1 carbine. The wise and benevolent politicians of this state made laws against owning ether of these fine rifles but we can still have an AR15! As long as we don’t have any magazines over 10 rounds.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,520 Posts
I've always preferred one of these over an AR15. It's just me.
I really should have an M14 at the top of my list. Ahead of the Beretta Silver Pigeon in 20 gauge.
Local gun shop has one. It has a polymer stock. Even though it felt really good to hold. (after all it's an M14) I still would prefer one with wood stock, etc. Probably one of the more expensive ones. Built really good.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
22,062 Posts
And then after decades of side-by-side competition in "high power" class at varying ranges of 400 out to the 1,000 yards, the M14/M1A was separated from the M1 Garand in classification due to the M14/M1A consistantly producing typical groups at 1,000 yards measuring 7 1/2 inches versus 12 to 14 inches for the M1. The rifling twist (11:1) for the 150 grain bullet and the resultant stability, the powder-position sensitivity of the .30-06 cartridge and the consistent pressure "push" produced by the .308 case made people and "M1 traditionalists" realize that the M14 rifle and the 7.62/.308 cartridge were indeed "improvements" over what had gone before. However, try as it might, the M14/M1A cannot go "Pling" after the last round is fired and ejected! Points to Garand!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
302 Posts
I qualified on an M1 Garand in Navy Basic. I carried an M2 .30 Carbine as a backup to the M2 (Ma Deuce) .50 BMG in Viet Nam in 1965/1966. It was replaced with an M-14 after a few months. I carried an M-16 in Viet Nam as an advisor in 1970/1971. The M-14 was my favorite assigned battle rifle. The BAR was my all-time favorite to shoot, but I was never assigned one.

I have a Colt LE6920 and a Springfield Armory Saint in 5.56, an Alexander Arms AR-15 in .50 Beowulf, an Armalite AR-10 in 7.62, and a stainless loaded Springfield Armory M1A. The M1A is my favorite.

119373
 

· Registered
Joined
·
886 Posts
I competed on a Navy shooting team with a match tuned M1 Garand in 7.62 NATO. I also shot expert with the M16, but never liked the design. I agree with Patton that the Garand was "the greatest battlefield implement ever designed" and I think its performance in WWII was a testament to that. Although my Dad, who was a Navy Gunner's Mate and Shore Patrolman in WWII disagreed. He thought the BAR was the best rifle of the war.

The obvious weakness of the Garand was the capacity and reloading, which the M14 and M1A solved. The M14 also has the full auto capability of the BAR with a lot less weight. What's not to like?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
22,062 Posts
It was the full-auto capability and use of it that caused thousands of M14's to be scrapped for cracked receivers. A big difference between a 9.5 lb. rifle and a 20 lb. BAR when going full-auto, Receiver mass is what allowed BAR's to survive the shock and pounding.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,520 Posts
If I were to go full auto. The way the M16 is. With the pistol grip. This would be better. That's made for full auto.
I imagine a stock like the M14 would be difficult in full auto. I much prefer it as a rifle.
Also asking.... Anyone who has a problem buying an M14 over a M1. Why not just put in a small magazine? Biggest complaint. Otherwise the choice of 30-06 or 308 is all. No....not considering a full auto M14. That's out of consideration.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top