The M-14 is an American Semi-Automatic Rifle Created by the Springfield Company to replace the M1 Garand, it was replaced by M16 as American main battle rifle, but his variants continues in activity as a Sniper Rifle
DescriptionEditThe experience gained by US troops during the Second World War showed that the M1 Garand rifle has a lot of things to be improved. The first was the feeding system with 8-rounds en-bloc clips that does not allowed the refilling of the partially full magazine. Others were excessive length and weight of the rifle. The cartridge used in M1 Garand and known as .30-06 (7.62x63mm) was too long and too heavy, effectively limiting the load of ammunition carried by each soldier. First attempts to improve M1 were made during the war, and numerous experimental modifications in .30-06 were built, mostly using the 20-rounds detachable magazines from BAR M1918 automatic rifle. One of such prototypes was the T20 ("T" means "test") of 1944. T20 was basically the M1 Garand rifle fitted with 20 rounds BAR magazine and with selective fire capability. This prototype latter evolved into the T37 rifle, which had gas cylinder moved back a little and was chambered for newest American prototype cartridge - T65. The T65 was no more than .30-06 case, shortened by 1/2 inch (12 mm), but retaining the original ballistic properties due to modern propellants used. It was slightly lighter and cheaper to made than .30-06, and has long effective range and good potential for accuracy, both desired by US Army. The idea of truly intermediate round was not acceptable to the US Military at that period. In the early 1950s T37 evolved into the T44 experimental rifle, which featured redesigned, self-regulated gas system with short stroke gas piston. Further development and tests lead to the slightly modified T44E4 and T44E5 (heavy barreled squad automatic weapon) prototypes, which were finally adopted by US Army as M14 and M15 rifles in the 1957. The M15, a heavy barreled weapon, however, was never brought into production. It must be noted that T44E4 was extensively tested against the only other entree in the US trials, the T48 rifle (Belgian FN FAL rifle made under license in USA by H&R Inc.). Both rifles passed the trials with equally high results, but US finally settled on the T44 because it was slightly lighter, similar to M1 Garand in manufacturing and operation, and, above all, a "Native American" design. The contracts to produce M1 rifles were issued to some US companies, such as Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge (TRW Inc), Harrington and Richardson Arms Co (H&R), Winchester-Western Arms Division of Olin Mathieson (Winchester) and Springfield Armory Inc (Springfield). Production was ceased by US Government in 1964, with some 1 380 000 weapons made. The termination of the production was the result of combat experience in the SE Asia, particularly in Vietnam. The M14 was too long and too heavy to be carried all day long in hot and wet climate. The 7.62mm NATO ammunition was too heavy, limiting the amount of ammunition carried by soldiers on patrols. The selective fire capability was mostly useless, since the M14 was way too light for powerful cartridge it fired, and climbed excessively when fired in bursts. In fact, most of the M14s were issued to troops with fire selectors locked to semi-automatic mode, to avoid useless waste of ammunition in automatic fire. The squad automatic version, known as M14E2, also was not too successful in its intended role. As soon as those deficiencies of the M14 became obvious for US Army Command, they started the search for lighter rifle, and finally settled on the Colt/Armalite AR-15 5.56mm assault rifle, adopting it as the M16A1. M14 was replaced as a first line weapon in the late 1960s, but is still used in small numbers by US Navy. It also served as a platform to build M21 Sniper rifles. Semi-automatic only versions of the M14 rifle are commercially manufactured for civilian and police markets by the Springfield Armory Inc since 1974 under the name of M1A. Some other US companies are assembling the M14-type semi-automatic rifles using military surplus M14 parts kits. Beginning in the early 1970s thousands of M14 rifles were given to several nations under military aid programs. In the 1990s alone, over 100,000 of these rifles have been given away to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. In USA, for some time M14 was mostly relegated to Honor Guard and similar duties, but during recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan many old M14 rifles were withdrawn from warehouses, dusted off and issued to troops in the field to improve range and lethality of troops armed with 5.56mm weapons. Some M14 rifles are issued as is, some are fitted with new telscope sights to serve as a para-sniper / designated marksman rifles (concept similar to Russian SVD rifle). US Marine Corps also re-issued M14 rifles for use in Designated Marksman role (DMR), and those rifles are fitted with newly made polymer stocks with adjustable buttstocks and pistol grips, and other accessories such as detachable bipods or sound moderators (silencers). Recently US Special Forces, operating under the US Navy flag, stepped forward with the Mk.14 Mod.0 Enchanced Battle rifle, which is an M14 fitted with many new commercially available parts, new stock with adjustable butt and plenty of Picatinny rails, and new accessories such as noise suppressors and optical equipment. The Mk.14 Mod.0 EBR is currently being used by US Navy SEAL's and possibly some other special operation forces within US Military.
In general, the M14 was a comtroversial weapon. It had the accuracy and range of the "old time" military rifles, but was too long, heavy and lacked the automatic fire firepower of a true assault rifle, often required in the modern close combat. Nevertheless, it was a reliable and powerful weapon, often favored by users for high lethality, long range and good penetration - features much appreciated by US soldiers during recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The M14 is a gas operated, magazine fed, selective fire (originally) design. The gas system is located under the barrel, and has a short stroke (about 1 1/2 inch - 37 mm) gas piston which operates the M1 Garand style action rod. The gas system features an automatic gas cutoff feature, which limits the amount of gases used to operate the weapon. The rotating bolt is quite similar to one found in M1 Garand but it has a roller instead of the simple lug, which connects the bolt to the operating rod. The fire mode selector is located at the right side of the receiver, above the trigger, and could be removed if rifle should not be fired in bursts, or re-installed if required. The rear receiver bridge features the stripper clips guides, so the detachable magazine could be refilled in place by using standard stripper clips. The bolt stop device is incorporated into the left wall of the receiver and holds the bolt open when last round from the magazine is fired. The safety switch is similar to M1 Garand and is located at the front of the triggerguard. Standard sights consist of the blade front sight with two protective "ears" and diopter-type adjustable rear sight, mounted on the rear of the receiver. Barrel is equipped with long flash suppressor. To be used in selective fire mode, M14 can be equipped with light detachable bipod. The M14A1 Squad Automatic rifle differs from M14 in the following: the fire selector is always installed. The standard wooden single-piece stock with semi-pistol grip is replaced by the "straight line" wooden stock with separate pistol grip and with folding front grip under the forearm. The hinged shoulder rest is attached to the buttplate. Special removable muzzle jump compensator is fitted to the barrel, as well as lightweight bipod.
The M15 was a modified M14 developed as a replacement for the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle for use as a squad automatic weapon. It added a heavier barrel and stock, a hinged buttplate, a selector switch for fully-automatic fire, and a bipod. Like the M14, it was chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO.
Firing tests showed that the M14, when equipped with the selector switch, hinged buttplate and bipod, performed as well as the M15. As a result, the M15 was dropped and the modified M14 became the squad automatic weapon. Accuracy and control problems with this variant led to the addition of a pistol grip, a folding metal foregrip and a muzzle stabilizer. The final design was designated as the M14A1.
The M14E1 was tested with a variety of folding stocks to provide better maneuverability and the like for armored infantry, paratroopers and others. No variant was standardized.
Selective fire version of the standard M14 used as a squad automatic weapon. Successor to the short-lived M15 rifle. The developmental model was known as the M14E2. First designated as M14E2 when it was issued in 1963 and redesignated as M14A1 in 1966.
M14M (Modified)/M14NM (National Match)EditThe M14M is a semi-automatic only version of the standard M14 and was developed for use in civilian rifle marksmanship activities such as the Civilian Marksmanship Program. M14M rifles were converted from existing M14 rifles by welding the select-fire mechanism to prevent full-automatic firing. The M14NM (National Match) is an M14M rifle built to National Match accuracy standards.
The M14M and M14NM rifles are described in a (now-obsolete) Army regulation, AR 920-25, "Rifles, M14M and M14NM, For Civilian Marksmanship Use," dated 8 February 1965. Paragraph 2, among other things, stated that the Director of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division, Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury (predecessor to the Bureau of Alcocohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) had ruled that M14M and M14NM rifles so modified would not be subject to the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) and, as such, could be sold or issued to civilians. However, with the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the NFA was amended to prohibit sales of previously modified automatic weapons such as the M14M and M14NM to civilians
Stand-off Munition Disruption, used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel to destroy unexploded ordnance. Essentially an M14 National Match rifle with scope
Mk 14 Mod 0 EBREditShorter, more tactical version of the M14, with a retractable stock and multiple rails for more accessories.
Modified M14 using the same stock as the Mk 14 but with a 22 inch barrel and a Smith Enterprise muzzle brake, used by the USCG
M14 Designated Marksman RifleEdit
Modified designated marksman version of the M14, used by the USMC.
M39 Enhanced Marksman RifleEdit
Modified M14 DMR fitted with the same stock as Mk 14, used by the USMC.
M89SR Model 89 Sniper RifleEdit
An M14 in bullpup configuration first introduced by Sardius in the 1980s. Later produced by Technical Equipment International (TEI) for the IDF
AWC G2A Sniper RifleEdit
Modified M14 with bullpup stock designed by Lynn McWilliams and Gale McMillian in the late 1990s. Produced and delivered for testing at the Fort Bragg sniper school.
M21, M25 sniper riflesEdit
The M21 and M25 are accurized sniper rifle versions, built to closer tolerances than the standard M14. These are the more standard sniper rifle variants of the M14.
M14KEditVariant designed and built by Master Weaponsmith Timothy F. LaFrance of La France Specialties of San Diego, California, most using forged receivers produced by Smith Enterprise of Tempe, Arizona. This rifle has a custom-made short barrel with a custom-made flash suppressor, shortened operating rod, and employs a unique gas tube system. Fully automatic versions have a removable flash suppressor. Semi-automatic versions (of which very few were made) have a silver-brazed flash hider to comply with the requirement that Title I firearms have a 16" barrel. Most M14Ks employ the M60 gas tube system. Some late-model M14Ks employ a custom-designed and manufactured gas system. Both are intended to control the rate of fire in fully-automatic mode. The rear sight is a custom-made National Match type aperture, and the front sight is a custom-made narrow blade, wing-protected sight to take advantage of the additional accuracy afforded by the special barrel.
The stocks and handguards on M14Ks are shortened versions of the GI birch or walnut stock, but make use of the original front ferrule. The front sling mount is relocated slightly to rear, to accommodate the shortened stock. Most handguards are of the solid, fiberglass variety (albeit shortened), but a limited number were made with shortened wood handguards. The steel buttplate was deleted in favor of a rubber recoil paid, that greatly reduces perceived recoil. A limited number of M14Ks were manufactured with the BM-59 Alpine / Para folding stock. These too had the shortened stocks and handguards, making for an extremely compact package especially suited to vehicular and airborne operations. A couple of M14Ks were built for SEAL Team members using the tubular folding stock assembly on a cut-down M14E2 stock found on some of the Team's full-size M14s prior to adoption of the Sage International EBR stock for M14 applications. These are by far one of the rarest variants of the M14K.
M1A / SOCOM series / Scout Squad / M21 TacticalEdit
Civilian versions manufactured by Springfield Armory. The M1A series is the basic M14 rifle with no included accessories except for the Loaded package which comes equipped with railed handguards, a bipod and a scope. The SOCOM series and the Scout Squad are based on the short-barreled version of the M14. The SOCOM 16 comes with provisions to mount a red dot sight and the SOCOM II adds railed handguards to the package. The M21 tactical is a civilian version of the M21 Sniper Weapon System currently in use by the US military
- Argentina: Used by Argentine soldiers of C Company, Regimento (Especial) de Infanteria 25 in the Falklands War at the Battle of Goose Green at San Carlos.
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Estonia: Adopted by Estonian military as marksman's rifle, modified by E-Arsenal called the Täpsuspüss M14-TP (Precision Rifle M14-PR), with heavy barrel, bipod, synthetic stock, and optical 4X sight.
- Greece: Hellenic Navy
- Haiti: Used by Haiti security forces in the 2004 Haitian rebellion.
- 'Israel: Used as sniper rifle with eventual conversion and production as M89SR.
- Lithuania: Lithuanian Armed Forces.
- South Korea: Unknown number provided by the United States under military assistance programme. In limited use with reserve forces and for ceremonial duties.
- Taiwan: Made under license as the Type 57.
- United States: Uses the M14SE, manufactured by Smith Enterprises, in SDM roles and has purchased M14s from other manufacturers. Also uses M14s custom built or modified in military armories, such as the M14 DMR.
- Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester)
- Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
- Length: 1120 mm
- Barrel Length: 559 mm
- Weight loaded: 5,1 kg (6.6 kg M14A1)
- Magazine: 20 rounds, detachable box
- Rate of fire: 700 -750 rounds per minute
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