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Showcase cover image for Replica Vietnam era M14 sniper w/ M84 scope (aka Mr. Camo)

General Information

Inspiration for this replica project was a picture taken in October 1969 of a couple of US Army snipers from the 1st Infantry Division. Both rifles appear to have 'in-country' camo paint jobs. The M14 on the left has the night vision rail that was typically used with the PVS-2/PVS-3 night vision devices. The rifle on the right has a Army Weapons Command (AWC) scope mount with a (2.2x) M84 scope. I already had the vintage optic system, but not a USGI stock with a camo paint job...so I decided give it a try with some black and OD green oil paint. I call this rifle "Mr. Camo."

Background: I was impressed with the hand-painted stock that Rob Ski did for his XM21 rifle in 2022. He provided me with the brand info of the same oil-based paints that he used. So I purchased those two paints for a vintage Sachs and Sons walnut stock that had some character marks - but solid lock-up. I stripped the stock and painted it along with a USGI handguard over the winter of 2022-23.

Donor rifle is a 1981 SAI Standard M1A (15k serial range) that came with a USGI birch stock that was swapped for the walnut stock. The rifle has a mixture of both USGI and commercial parts. Shown here is the rifle dissembled, along with Vietnam War era AN/PVS-3 night vision scope with an M14 mounting bracket, and the vintage AWC+M84 scope set-up. Also shown is 1967-dated M118 ammo and a web sling with an MRT date of February 1962.

Assembled SAI rifle with vintage AWC scope mount and M84 scope.

Below one can see the M14 rear sight cover w/ an old rack number "146" painted on it; faux selector lock, USGI clip guide, and a mag with patina. These parts were chosen to add a “character" to this project. This M84 scope was rebuilt by Iron Sights in 2020 as has clear optics, with no more 'specs" on the lens, which is common with these old scopes.

Flash hider is reamed, and I added a vintage AMU-type two-piece NM op rod guide, but otherwise the rifle is basically a standard configuration M14. Here’s some misc field accessories of that era. The 6x30mm binoculars are WWII era M13A1s, and they were painted green during the Vietnam War. The holstered 1911 pistol is rebuilt mixmaster with a 1914 dated Colt frame and a WWII era Remington Rand slide. Also shown is web gear of that era, and an ammo can of M118 match ammo from 1967.

Daytime mission configuration: The AWC scope mounts were developed to meet an urgent request in 1966 for a telescope-equipped M14 rifle for use in Vietnam, and utilized the old WWII era M1C sniper rifle scope rings and base. Per Peter Senich’s book, The Long-Range War, they were first shipped to Vietnam in March of 1967, and were used until the end of the war on both National Match/accurized M14s, as well rack grade M14s made into improvised sniper rifles with the addition of the optic system. The high and offset position were not ideal regarding ergonomics, but it was a quick solution for that era. (The new XM21 sniper rifles were not really introduced until late 1969).

Night mission configuration: Below pic shows the vintage AN/PVS-3 night vision scope installed (for display purposes only) and its large plastic carry case. The M84 scope and bracket were carried in the M65 canvas carrying case shown here. So like the picture from October 1969, this camouflaged replica sniper rifle is shown with the vintage optics for both daytime and nighttime missions in the later years of the Vietnam conflict...

First range trip of 2023 with iron sights; 95-5x. (Due to my suboptimal eye sight, it would score better w/ an optic).

So that’s Mr Camo, my 2022-23 replica project.
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