M-14 7.62mm Rifle

The M-14 rifle was a direct successor to the World War II M-1 Garand, upgraded with selective automatic fire. It was heavy and of traditional design, not destined to last long as the standard service rifle. Warfare was changing and in Vietnam the M-14 was replaced by the M-16, a weapon better adapted to counterinsurgency war in the jungle or urban environments. The M-14 continues in service for limited roles.

Shipboard firing line for M-14 training, November 1996
Shipboard firing line for M-14 training, November 1996.

More photos and videos of the M-14 7.62mm Rifle are available at the linked page.

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U.S. Rifle, Caliber 7.62MM, M-14

The M-14 rifle is a magazine-fed, gas operated shoulder weapon, designed primarily for semi-automatic fire of the NATO 7.62 mm cartridge. After World War II the Army began the search for a lightweight replacement for the M-1 Garand and the M-1918A2 BAR. The Army selected the M-14 rifle in 1957.

In January 1968, the U.S. Army designated the 5.56mm M16 as the Standard rifle, and the M14 became a Limited Standard weapon. The M16 also replaced the M-14 as the Table of Organization rifle for the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Production of the M-14 rifle was halted in 1964 after 1,380,874 were procured.

During the Vietnam War and continuing until the late 1980s, the M-21 7.62mm Sniper Rifle was produced from an accurized M14 National Match (NM) rifle equipped with a Leatherwood 3X-9X Adjustable Ranging Telescope (ART).

The USMC DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) is another sniper version of the M14, hand built at Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA. It is capable of precise, semi-automatic fire out to 1,000 yards with M118LR special ball 7.62mm ammunition. The DMR is equipped with a fixed ten power scope attached to its modular M1913 MIL-SPEC rail, a fiberglass stock adjustable for length of pull and with an ambidextrous, adjustable cheek piece, a 1/12 twist stainless steel barrel with six lands and grooves, a detachable twenty round box magazine, and a removable bipod.

U.S. Rifle, caliber 7.62MM, M-14
U.S. Rifle, caliber 7.62MM, M-14

After its replacement by the M16 as the standard Army and USMC rifle, the M-14 was used primarily in the Competition in Arms program, or for drill and ceremonial purposes. The M14 returned to combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan, refurbished and updated to mission standards as part of a program instituted by the U.S. Army to provide small teams with designated marksman support.

Characteristics of the M-14 Rifle

Overall length 44.14 inches (112.12 centimeters)
Barrel length 22 inches (55.88 centimeters)
Weight, empty magazine 8.7 pounds (3.95 kilograms)
Weight, full magazine and sling 11.0 pounds (5.0 kilograms)
Bore diameter 7.62mm
Maximum effective range 1,509.26 feet (460 meters)
Muzzle velocity 2,800 feet (853 meters) per second
Cyclic rate of fire 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 20 rounds

Models of the M-14 Rifle

Marine with M-14, Vietnam, 1965
Marine with M-14, Vietnam, 1965.

The M-14 was basically an improved M-1 Garand, and performed well as an infantry rifle. The M-14 had an effective range of 500 yards (460m), using a standard NATO 7.62mm cartridge in a 20-round magazine. Some M-14s were equipped with a bipod for use as a squad automatic weapon. However, the M-14 displayed an erratic dispersion pattern, excessive recoil, and muzzle climb when fired as an automatic rifle.

  • M-14A1. The Army designed the model M-14A1 to overcome the problems noted with the M-14, but it was too light to become a truly successful replacement for the M-1918 series BAR, and production of the M-14A1 was halted in 1963. The M-14A1 featured a full pistol grip and a folding forward hand grip.

  • M-14 National Match (1959) was used in the semi-automatic mode only. The M-14NM had special sight parts and barrels selected especially for accuracy.

Bayonet: The M-14 rifle used the M-6 bayonet, not interchangable with any other bayonet or rifle.

Thanks to SPC Johnathan Howard of the 42nd ID Eng Bde (Fwd) RROC for help with this page.

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