An Upgrade M1?
The M-14 was the United States' initial newly adopted rifle post World War II. Essentially, it was an upgraded M1 Garand with a detachable magazine and innovative gas system. This rifle however would only last up until the early years of full U.S. committment to the war as the military wanted something fully automatic to compete with the Soviet and Chinese made AKs.
In 1957, the United States adopted a new rifle for its military, the M14. This rifle fired from a 7.62 NATO round- NATO countries tried to keep their cartridges the same for simplicity. This round was quite powerful and had high penetration density. The rifle was an upgraded version of the M1 Garand, a self-loading rifle that was the United States’ bread and butter during World War II. The M1 Garand was a semiautomatic rifle that fed from an eight round en bloc clip firing .30-06. This rifle was developed during the 1930s and was the most successful semiautomatic rifle to be adopted by any modern military at the time. The M14, like I said, was an upgraded version with a different shroud on the barrel as well as a shortened wood barrel cover. It fed from twenty round detachable box magazine which was a substantial upgrade from the M1’s capacity. It weighed in at a little over ten pounds with ammo contrary to the eleven and a half pounds the M1 Garand weighed. These weights are not too far apart as you can see, but remember these rifles are identical in functionality. The M14 had an effective range of 500 yards firing from the shoulder, and approximately “766 yards was added to the range when the bipod was used”. This 700+ yardage is really pushing it though; there are a lot of other components going into hitting your target besides the bipod and range, so that 700 yards number is not always dependable.
The M14 was adopted in 1957 but was not fully distributed to any unit fully until 1961 when the 101st Airborne were all equipped with it. The rifle itself did not perform as effective in the jungle however. The wood stock swelled and expanded in the humid climate which disrupted firing accuracy. This rifle also was available in full-automatic capacity, however was very uncontrollable in this state. The 7.62 cartridge was too powerful for a rifle of this size to wield effective full automatic fire. The M14 also was available in different variants: M14A1 and M14M (National Match). The M14A1 was the full automatic conversion stated previously. This variant had a pistol grip, a folding grip on the stock, a bipod, and a compensator to help with the climb (not helping much, however). These rifles were less common that the standard M14 but still prominent in the U.S.’ arsenal. The M14M was the sniper rifle variant of the M14. This rifle was sold to the military as well as to the public designated for target shooting. These rifles came with different scope mounts, one notable one being a state-of-the-art night vision optic. The M14 stayed into U.S. service until it was replaced by the M16 in 1966. In 1964, the rifle went out of production. However, the M14 has seen a resurgence in military use, most notably the M21 EBR, a modern designated marksman rifled used by the U.S. today. The M14 was not the face of U.S. troop involvement but did see the first action in country. Its faults led the U.S. to look towards a lighter, handier, and more intermediate rifle capable of select fire that can handle the full automatic capability. This would of course come in the form of the M16.