The M14 is a select-fire assault rifle chambered in 7.62 NATO. The M14 was an integral military weapon in the mid-20th century, primarily in the years 1959 to 1970. It was designed to provide a single-weapon-replacement for the M1 rifle, the M1 carbine, the M3 and the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. At the time, the military sought to simplify weapons logistics by providing troops with a weapon that could function in the same capacity as the aforementioned weapons. It was originally manufactured by Springfield Armory, which began production in 1957. More than 1.5 million were eventually produced, many of which are still in operation today.
The M14 employs a gas operated loading system. This means gas released from the firing of an individual round is cycled through a tube, directed into a valve on the bolt, and used to push the bolt rearward. It also uses a 20-round box magazine and has a 700 to 750 rounds/minute rate of fire.
Its cartridge the 7.62x51mm cartridge was originally developed as the standard small
arms caliber among NATO nations in the 1950s. The .308 Winchester
cartridge is the commercial version of the 7.62x51mm and also became
available in the 1950s.
The M14 was an effective weapon in its own right. The heavy rounds easily penetrated the dense cover of the Vietnamese jungles where it was used during the Vietnam War. In addition, it proved a reliable weapon in a number of adverse conditions. However, the wood stock construction tended to swell in the humid tropic conditions, rendering the sights less accurate. Hence, it predictably failed to serve as an adequate all-in-one replacement for its four predecessors. As a result, it has been largely superseded by the M16 rifle. However, a number of M14 variants are still in use today within several branches of the US Military, often in a marksman or sniper rifle capacity. Springfield currently makes civilian versions called the M1A.
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In videos and photographs of the US military operations worldwide, you will see many combat troops carrying the easily recognizable M16 and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. But every once in a while what you will also see is the military’s workhorse, the officially designated “Battle Rifle,” the M14. It’s the current staple weapon of the designated marksman as well as Special Forces operators.
The M14 was originally introduced as an all-in-one package so troops only had to carry one rifle. It is select-fire and has long-range capabilities with the punch needed to take out a target, disable a vehicle, or suppress enemy movements. Today, it falls under the nomenclatures M21 and M25 sniper rifles, it is used as the ceremonial rifle for drill meets and military and law enforcement ceremonies, and it is a prized possession of many shooters in the civilian sector as well. Many people overlook the M14 as a hunting and sporting rifle.
The 7.62x51 (.308 Winchester) is optimum for any competitive shooter or hunters looking for bigger game like elk or moose.
My only problem, and I think most agree, is that the M14 is very heavy. It would be comparable to swinging around a sledgehammer. It’s the only real issue I have with the M14. While it isn’t too much of a problem for me, I can see it being a huge problem for a smaller person. The recoil of the .308 is greatly reduced due to the weight and the gas cycling function of the semi-auto. This is one of those great guns that give the anti-gunners fits.
I don’t recommend purchasing this gun by anyone other than those who want to make a long-term investment, or those who are serious shooters. Those who aren’t dedicated to the sport will be discouraged by its heft and bulk without being able to fully enjoy and appreciate its benefits.