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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RIFLE, 7.62MM, M14E2. (18 DECEMBER 1963)

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Scope

Current information is presented on the design characteristics of Rifle, 7.62mm, M14E2.

B. Engineering Development of Rifle, 7 .62mm, M14E2.

1. Rifle, 7.62mm, M14 and Rifle, 7.62mm, M15 were classified standard on 23 May 1957. The M15 Rifle was the heavy barrel model of the M14 Rifle intended to be used for automatic fire. Tests by the Army and the Marine Corps led to the adoption of the M14 Rifle ·with the M2 Bipod and to the obsolescence of the M15 Rifle on 17 December 1959.

2. The User [United States Army Infantry Board] was dissatisfied with the automatic fire accuracy of the M14 Rifle with the M2 Bipod and, in early 1962, the United States Army Infantry Board (USAIB), Fort Benning, Georgia, with the assistance of the Army Marksmanship Unit fabricated and tested a modified M14 Rifle which became known unofficially as the M14 (USAIB) Rifle.

3. The M14 (USAIB) Rifle demonstrated that the automatic fire accuracy requirements (i.e., 80 per cent of the shots must fall within a 40-inch diameter circle at a range of 200 meters when fired in 2- to 3-round bursts) could be met consistently with this configuration. More M14 (USAIB) Rifles were fabricated and tested extensively.

4. Headquarters, U. S. Army Weapons Command instructed [Springfield] Armory on 7 August 1963 to prepare a technical data package for manufacture of the M14 (USAIB) Rifle and to adhere to the original configuration to the greatest extent practicable. Since there were no drawings or design data for the M14 (USAIB) Rifle, the Armory analyzed the USAIB and prepared preliminary design data and sketches. These sketches and data provided the basis for the engineering of a comparable design which would meet not only the operational requirements but also the quantity production requirements. This technical data package was completed 1 October 1963.

5. On 2 October 1963, Headquarters, U.S. Army Weapons Command, instructed [Springfield] Armory to completely redesign the front handgrip so that it would fold to the rear, present a small silhouette in the closed position, and provide greater comfort when the weapon is carried at sling arms. The Armory was instructed that this handgrip should also be adjustable longitudinally to accommodate the gunner’s arm length. In addition, a butt swivel should be provided which would pivot to the left side of the stock to permit side slinging of the weapon. The Armory was also requested to fabricate four rifles for confirmation of design by testing.

6. The handgrip assembly, stock assembly, and sling were redesigned and product engineered and four rifles were fabricated and tested by the Armory. On 29 October 1963, the design was confirmed by higher authority, and four weapons were shipped to the test agencies on 4 November 1963.

7. The new weapon was designated Rifle, 7.62mm, M14E2 (photograph below)

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[TO BE CONTINUED]
 

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Thanks, lots of folks don’t know much about the M14E2, great you are sharing your research.

No first hand knowledge is available to us, so archives and reference books are all we have, be careful of the guy who says he has first hand knowledge.

Here is mine, enjoy the pictures!

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MORE THAN A HOBBY, A PASSION!
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Thanks, one or two questions about the M2 bipod. The earlier bipod was part #7790833 (it lacked a front sling swivel), and the later bipod 7790688 had the front sling swivel installed. Do you know what years the earlier vs. later M2 bipods (or drawings) were completed? I ask b/c the two part numbers would appear to be "out of sequence" with the lower number supposedly the "later" version, and the higher part/drawing number being the "earlier" version. From Frank Iannamico’s book (page 144):
Font Machine Art Toy Wood


Thanks again for the info. Per Iannamico's book, "During 1966, after extensive testing in the field, the M14E2 was formally adopted as the U.S. Rifle M14A1, 7.62mm (the A1 suffix represents Alteration 1)."

So the nomenclature changed after about 2.5 yrs of testing, and today folks on this forum seem to refer to both "E2" vs "M14A1" interchangeably, although the reference to an "E2 stock" seems slightly more common than referring to an"M14A1 stock." Just a random observation.

BTW, if possible, can you also confirm if the “M14 M (modified)” was just a standard M14 but with the early M2 bipod?

As noted in Frank Iannamico's book; U.S. Rifle M14: The Last Steel Warrior, 2018 (page 145):
Historical Note: Durwood Dean Gosney, who had the original inspiration of what was to become the M14A1 rifle, never had the opportunity to see his idea for the inline M14 stock adopted by the Army. Captain Gosney was serving as a MACV Senior Advisor assigned to the 5th ARVN Division when he was killed after the UH-1 helicopter in which was was a passenger, was shot down in the Republic of Vietnam on 7 October 1964. Thirty-one year old Captain Gosney was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
8. Listed below are the significant differences between the M14 (USAIB) and the M14A2 Rifles resulting from redesign to meet requirements and engineering for quantity production.

a. The stock for the M14 (USAIB) was fabricated from several pieces of wood cemented together to meet the new configuration of the butt and the new rear handgrip. The front end of the stock was identical with the standard M14 rifle except for two holes to permit mounting of the front handgrip. The M14E2 stock is fabricated from the standard stock blank except for the rear handgrip which is doweled and cemented in place. The front end and the and the sides of the stock have been strengthened to withstand the heat and stress of automatic fire. The butt end and the rear handgrip have been reshaped to provide greater accuracy and comfort ln firing.

b. The recoil pad for the M14 (USAIB) was of commercial design and manufacture which had to be modified to accommodate the shoulder rest and individually fitted to the stock. The pad had open ribbing on the sides which allowed foreign matter to accumulate, and the rubber bad poor resistance to oil, abrasion, and cold cracking which resulted in a high replacement factor. The M14A2 recoil pad is molded from rubber with excellent resistance to oil, abrasion, and cold cracking. Thera are no exposed cavities to accumulate foreign matter. The pad has an integral steel shoe for strength and a tight fit with the stock; the pad is interchangeable from rifle to rifle.

c. The shoulder rest assembly for the Ml4 (USAIB) Rifle consisted of the standard M14 Rifle shoulder rest plate mounted on a block and a stop plate screwed to the top of the block. This stop plate projected above the top and the side surfaces of the stock. A detent was provided to hold the rest in the open or closed position. The shoulder rest assembly for the M14E2 is a completely new design with only one moving part, the shoulder rest. This design provides detent action for both open and closed positions and eliminates projections beyond the contour of the stock.

Scale Font Office supplies Tool Auto part

Font Illustration Musical instrument accessory Handwriting


d. The muzzle stabilizer for the M14 (USAIB) consisted of a perforated steel sleeve welded to the flash suppressor. Replacement of the flash suppressor with the muzzle stabilizer was required when the M14 Rifle was converted to the M14 (USAIB) configuration. The stabilizer for the M14E2 is a separate unit which fits over the flash suppressor and is fastened to the bayonet lug. The rifle combination tool is used for assembly and disassembly.

Air gun Trigger Machine gun Shotgun Gun barrel


e. The front handgrip assembly for the M14 (USAIB) was made of wood, folded forward only, and was not adjustable longitudinally. The silhouette of the handgrip in the folded position was high and awkward. The handgrip was held in the closed position by friction. The handgrip assembly for the Ml4E2 is a completely new design incorporating all the features requested by higher authority. The handgrip folds to the rear and fits close to the stock in the closed position to provide a low silhouette and greater comfort for carrying the weapon at sling arms. The handgrip assembly can be moved five inches longitudinally to accommodate the gunner's arm length. The handgrip is made of aluminum and is rubber-coated to insulate against heat or cold. The handgrip assembly incorporates a positives stop in the closed position. The latch mechanism in the handgrip is large and can be operated with winter mittens.

Air gun Trigger Shotgun Gun barrel Gun accessory

Font Parallel Rectangle Art Handwriting


f. The sling used for the M14 (USAIB) was the standard M1-M14 rifle sling and was too short to carry the rifle at sling arms. The sling used for the M14E2 is 20 inches longer and has an extra hook assembly to permit the sling to be connected and disconnected quickly from the front handgrip and bipod.

g. The butt swivel on the M14 (USAIB) was stationary as on the M1 and M14 Rifles. The but swivel on the M14E2 pivots 90 degrees to the left side of the stock to permit side slinging of the weapon.

[TO BE CONTINUED]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
C. General Data

1. The M14E2 Rifle differs slightly from the standard M14 Rifle and is designed to deliver accurate automatic fire in the role of the Infantry Squad automatic rifle. The standard M14 Rifle is used primarily to deliver accurate semiautomatic fire by the Infantry Squad.

2. Both models are 7.62mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated, shoulder type weapons, and both use the same sight system.

3. The M14E2 Rifle incorporates a "straight line" stock assembly, muzzle stabilizer, modified M2 bipod, and a long sling. The barrel and receiver group, and the firing mechanism are the same rugged, reliable, M14 Rifle mechanisms and are completely interchangeable between the two weapons.

D. Physical Characteristics of Rifle 7.62mm. M14E2

Weight of weapon, complete with empty magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 lb, 12 oz approx.
Weight of weapon, complete with full magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 lb, 12 oz approx.
Length of weapon, overall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44.3 in.
Ammunition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7.62mm NATO
Muzzle Velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2800 fps avg

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II. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

A. Stock Assembly

1. The stock assembly of the M14E2 Rifle is of the "straight line" type with a fixed rear pistol grip and a folding front handgrip which lies flat along the bottom of the stock when not in use. The location of the handgrip assembly can be adjusted longitudinally for five inches in one-inch increments to accommodate all gunners. The handgrip assembly also has a sling swivel for use when the bipod is removed from the weapon.

2. The stock assembly also incorporates a rubber recoil pad to reduce fatigue resulting from continuous automatic fire. The folding shoulder rest provides vertical control of the butt end of the rifle and is especially useful when the weapon is fired from the prone position

3. The butt swivel pivots 90 degrees to the left side of the stock and allows the weapon to be aide slung for carrying.

B. Muzzle Stabilizer

The muzzle stabilizer slides over the flash suppressor and is fastened to the suppressor by a screw and a lock nut. The rifle combination tool is used to tighten the screw and the nut. The stabilizer provides muzzle compensation, recoil-braking, and flash suppression. It is compensated for right-handed gunners.

C. Bipod, M2 (Modified)

The M2 bipod is modified by the addition of a sling swivel and a longer pivot pin in lieu of the current pivot pin to accommodate the swivel. The swivel provides the mounting point for the sling for both firing and carrying.

D. Sling, Gun

The sling used on the M14E2 is the long Browning Automatic Rifle sling with extra hook assembly. The portion of the sling between the handgrip and the bipod provides additional muzzle control when the weapon is fired. When the weapon is carried, the sling is disconnected from the handgrip assembly.

[TO BE CONTINUED]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
III. CONVERSION OF M14 RIFLE TO M14E2 RlFLE

A. The conversion of the standard M14 Rifle to the M14E2 configuration is accomplished in the following manner:

1. Break the M14 Rifle down into the three main groups, i.e., the barrel and receiver group, the firing mechanism, and the stock assembly.

2. Replace the M14 Stock Assembly, F7790702, with M14E2 Stock Assembly, F7791671.

3. Reassemble the three main groups.

4. Slide the muzzle stabilizer over the flash suppressor, swing the yoke over the bayonet lug, and tighten the screw with the combination tool. Slide the combination tool over the head of the screw and tighten the nut securely.

5. Modify the M2 bipod by removing the cotter pin from pivot pin in the head assembly. Hold the jaws in place with fingers, and remove the pivot pin, B7791104. Insert pivot pin, B7791669, into swivel, C7791670, so that the loop of the swivel projects forward of the head of the pivot pin. Insert the pivot pin into the bipod head and through the jaws, and reassemble the cotter pin to the pivot pin.

6. Assemble the modified bipod to the rifle gas cylinder and tighten with the rifle combination tool.

7. Attach the sling hook assemblies to the bipod swivel and to the handgrip pin, pass the trailing end of the sling through the butt swivel and back through the keeper assembly.

B. If the standard M14 Rifle is equipped with a selector lock, installation of the selector and the selector spring should be accomplished by the company armorer or ordnance personnel.

IV. ADJUSTMENT OF SLING FOR FIRING

Proper adjustment of .the portion of the sling between the handgrip and the bipod swivel is necessary to achieve maximum accuracy of automatic fire. The sling should be adjusted so that the portion between the handgrip and the bipod is taut when the handgrip is pulled rearward against the stop position. This should be accomplished without undue strain on the gunner. This adjustment will maintain proper tension in the sling section when the weapon is being fired and will minimize variations in the size of the shot group.

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Not really sure why they thought it was a good idea going to be a machinegun for suppressive fire w/ that iddy-biddy skinny barrel. 😁 They wanted something that can hold its own be the Lewis gun - that is rifle! WW1 issue and it is still kicking today. There is nothing to really break from that rifle.

Machineguns are usually built like a bulldozer - that can go day and nite laying down suppressive fire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, one or two questions about the M2 bipod. The earlier bipod was part #7790833 (it lacked a front sling swivel), and the later bipod 7790688 had the front sling swivel installed. Do you know what years the earlier vs. later M2 bipods (or drawings) were completed? I ask b/c the two part numbers would appear to be "out of sequence" with the lower number supposedly the "later" version, and the higher part/drawing number being the "earlier" version. From Frank Iannamico’s book (page 144):
View attachment 497793

Thanks again for the info. Per Iannamico's book, "During 1966, after extensive testing in the field, the M14E2 was formally adopted as the U.S. Rifle M14A1, 7.62mm (the A1 suffix represents Alteration 1)."

So the nomenclature changed after about 2.5 yrs of testing, and today folks on this forum seem to refer to both "E2" vs "M14A1" interchangeably, although the reference to an "E2 stock" seems slightly more common that referring to an"M14A1 stock." Just a random observation.

BTW, if possible, can you also confirm if the “M14 M (modified)” was just a standard M14 but with the early M2 bipod?

As noted in Frank Iannamico's book; U.S. Rifle M14: The Last Steel Warrior, 2018 (page 145):
1) Bipod:

As you can see for Springfield Armory's report, shown in part above, the sling swivel on the bipod could be on both part numbers as it was a field conversion.

The assembly drawing for the Rifle, 7.62mm, M14A1, with a 7 Jan 1964 date, shows the Bipod, M2, P/N 7790668. As to the apparent out of sequence part numbers, this may not be the case. How the Ordnance and later ARRADCOM numbering practices work, I have no idea, but the M249 part number sequence is largely in the 9348XXX range, well below the M1 rear sights, M14 firing pins, entire M14A1 drawing numbers.

2) Nomenclature:

The M14E2 and the M14A1 are the same thing. For the most part they were the same weapons. The time delay from fielding to standardization lagged in the 1960s, the XM16E1 waited over three years and the XM21, four?

3) M14 (Modified)

There are a few reports, mostly from USAIB, that refer to an "M14 Modified for the BAR Role", or M14 (Modified), almost immediately followed by: "hereafter referred to as the Test Rifle . . ." or something similar. So, it would appear that the working designation for an M14 with some form of bipod (not necessarily and M2) being used and a replacement for the M15 was known as a "Modified M14" or an "M14 (Modified)". There were at least four type of bipod tested prior to the adoption of the shoulder rest butt plate and M2 bipod in 1959.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not really sure why they thought it was a good idea going to be a machinegun for suppressive fire w/ that iddy-biddy skinny barrel. 😁 They wanted something that can hold its own be the Lewis gun - that is rifle! WW1 issue and it is still kicking today. There is nothing to really break from that rifle.

Machineguns are usually built like a bulldozer - that can go day and nite laying down suppressive fire.
Well, they were totally alone in that field with skinny barrels on "support weapons".

The Germans and British had adopted "dual-role" weapons with serious weigh limitations.
 

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Thanks for the that info. So is there a date attached to drawing P/N 7790833 from 1959? I read in Iannamico's book "An Army Maintence Work Order was issued with instructions to refit the older model bipods by installing a sling swivel and longer yoke pin." I am wondering if the 7790833 might have a 1959-1960 drawing assembly date? Again turning to Frank's book, he alludes to the "M14 (M)" on pages 127-129, and the early M2 bipod without the sling swivel is clearly seen in an undated picture:
Helmet Military person Military uniform Squad Machine gun

This below diagram is also undated, but what is really interesting to me is that the relatively obscure “M14 modified” or “M14 M” is shown with a very early M14 with M1 Garand buttplate and wooden handguard (circa 1959-1960), and the “M14 modified for BAR role” is shown with the flipper buttplate, a ventilated handguard, and the early bipod that lacks a swivel…(price list also refers to an almost mythical aluminum magazine as well, perhaps a spin-off part from the T44E6 program). I just wish the date was shown, but my guess is 1959-60-61:
Trigger Air gun Gun barrel Machine gun Shotgun

…hence my belief that bipod p/n 7790833 is indeed a bit earlier design than the 1964 version of the M2 bipod, chronologically speaking. What can be inferred is that SA felt the flipper buttplate would be needed on the “M14 (M)” stock for enhanced controllability in full-auto. I guess shortly thereafter a decision was made to just install the new “flipper” buttplate on all M14s circa 1961, and the whole “M14 M/modified” concept was scrapped, with Captain Gosney instead developing a prototype “pistol grip” stock circa 1962 (aka M14 USAIB rifle).
 

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The assembly drawing for the Rifle, 7.62mm, M14A1, with a 7 Jan 1964 date, shows the Bipod, M2, P/N 7790668
Fwiw, the reason I am asking about drawing dates is that I just purchased this early version of the M2, and I am trying to date it. Hence the curiosity about this particular part number drawing date.
Wood Auto part Metal Hand tool Engineering

That pin may or may not be original, but the old DAS stamp is original.
Wood Material property Hand tool Metal Fashion accessory


Fwiw, there was a flaw with the design of the original E2 stock - the soldiers would often crack the forend of the stock when pulling down/back with the front foregrip. In 1968 a Work Order and update kit was made available to add much needed strength to that area - via a steel mounting plate for the folding grip.
Font Wood Rectangle Auto part Metal

My early SA vintage E2 stock that I got from Ted Brown had an arsenal repair/wood splice at the forend, presumably due to the tendency to crack from pressure of the foregrip. My theory is this stock was likely/possibly one of the original 8,350 M14A1s delivered to the US Army in late 1964, and this rifle was subsequently fielded, where it acquired a lot of patina/character - along with some arsenal-based repairs afterwards.
Wood Rectangle Electric blue Hardwood Fixture

...and here's the stock channel with the 1968 update kit that I added (steel mounting plate):
Musical instrument Vehicle Automotive exterior Bumper Auto part

Also, the M2 bipods have a tendency to ding-up the stock pretty good when in the folded position, and my old E2 stock has 4 wood plugs in the areas where the M2 bipod had dinged it up. Lastly, and perhaps most interesting, while it has no cracks or damage to this area of the stock - it has 5 brass pins to reinforce the sidewalls of the stock. There are 4 on top, and 1 from the bottom. I guess these rifles when used in full-auto were hard on the wood E2 stocks, and I presume this ad-hoc strengthening measure done when an armorer repaired the front forend of this old stock:
Wood Recreation Magenta Event Flooring

Just some random pics/observations to add to the M14A1/E2 history.
 

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I was exhibiting an E2 at a local gun show this last weekend. Of all the Vietnam veterans who looked at it, only one told me he actually carried an E2 during the Vietnam war. Most of the others had never seen one before, or maybe they just forgot.
 

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I was exhibiting an E2 at a local gun show this last weekend. Of all the Vietnam veterans who looked at it, only one told me he actually carried an E2 during the Vietnam war. Most of the others had never seen one before, or maybe they just forgot.
Yes Ted, I have two relatives both officers who did a tour in Vietnam and neither had seen an M14 E2. When I showed them my E2 they thought the stock was aftermarket!

And yet we have one person on this forum who was in Vietnam and has seen and shot all the variations….if you can believe that! Not me…no.

First hand knowledge my arse!

I had an uncle on my mothers side who was awarded the bronze star, but I can’t ask him, he’s dead.

MORE THAN A HOBBY, A PASSION,
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I was exhibiting an E2 at a local gun show this last weekend. Of all the Vietnam veterans who looked at it, only one told me he actually carried an E2 during the Vietnam war. Most of the others had never seen one before, or maybe they just forgot.
Video from January 1966, Ho Bo woods, several M14A1s in use (by both left-handed and right handed US Army soldiers). I would consider the 1965-66 era as 'early Vietnam war' era, more or less. (Note: an M60 barrel change is shown at 2:30 into the video, it had become 'burned out')

One of the rare pics/videos of the M14A1 muzzle stabilizer used in Vietnam:
Product Jaw Organism Font Recipe

I have read reports about them being used some in 1967 as well. However, my guess is the M60 general purpose machine gun was seen as superior to the M14A1, despite weighing much more. (The quick change barrel capability in the field was a key benefit of the M60, and a 200-rd belt fed system, was simply a much better general purpose machine gun, even if it was a heavy "Pig"). Barrel changes mainly required an insulated glove:
Camouflage Squad Military camouflage Military uniform Military person

As for recollection of Vietnam vets, it should also be noted that the height of the Vietnam war from a US troop level was 1968-1969, and perhaps by 1968 many M14A1s had been replaced by the M60s w/ infantry units? If that assumption is true, that may explain why so few Vietnam vets recall seeing them. (SA made only 8350 M14A1s in 1964, so it's not a huge number to begin with, compared with other infantry rifles). Not sure how that compares with M60 production levels in the 1960s.

Lastly, the M14A1 was formally declared obsolete in November 1970, so it had a very short service life...it just doesn't do well as a squad automatic rifle with only 20 rd mags. In a fire fight I suspect 200 rds in a belt fed machine gun is a better system. Tons of pictures from the Vietnam era show troops with M60s walking through the rice paddies and elsewhere in that war.

"The M60 later served in the Vietnam War as a squad automatic weapon with many United States units. Every soldier in the rifle squad would carry an additional 200 linked rounds of ammunition for the M60, a spare barrel, or both."
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks for the that info. So is there a date attached to drawing P/N 7790833 from 1959? I read in Iannamico's book "An Army Maintence Work Order was issued with instructions to refit the older model bipods by installing a sling swivel and longer yoke pin." I am wondering if the 7790833 might have a 1959-1960 drawing assembly date? Again turning to Frank's book, he alludes to the "M14 (M)" on pages 127-129, and the early M2 bipod without the sling swivel is clearly seen in an undated picture:
View attachment 497816
This below diagram is also undated, but what is really interesting to me is that the mythical “M14 modified” or “M14 M” is shown with a very early M14 with M1 Garand buttplate and wooden handguard (circa 1959-1960), and the “M14 modified for BAR role” is shown with the flipper buttplate, a ventilated handguard, and the early bipod that lacks a swivel…(price list also refers to an almost mythical aluminum magazine as well, perhaps a spin-off part from the T44E6 program). I just wish the date was shown:
View attachment 497817
…hence my belief that bipod p/n 7790833 is indeed a bit earlier design than the 1964 version of the M2 bipod, chronologically speaking. What can be inferred is that SA felt the flipper buttplate would be needed on the “M14 (M)” stock for enhanced controllability in full-auto. I guess shortly thereafter a decision was made to just install the new “flipper” buttplate on all M14s circa 1961, and the whole “M14 M/modified” concept was scrapped, with Captain Gosney instead developing a prototype “pistol grip” stock circa 1962 (aka M14 USAIB rifle).
"
5. Modify the M2 bipod by removing the cotter pin from pivot pin in the head assembly. Hold the jaws in place with fingers, and remove the pivot pin, B7791104. Insert pivot pin, B7791669, into swivel, C7791670, so that the loop of the swivel projects forward of the head of the pivot pin. Insert the pivot pin into the bipod head and through the jaws, and reassemble the cotter pin to the pivot pin."
This passage was written in Nov or Dec 1963, indicating that the drawings for the 7790833 bipod existed, as they are reference, and 7790688 bipod drawings were available, or at least in draft form, as in Jan 1964 they put it on the M14E2 drawing. As to the exact date for the 7790833 bipod, it has to be after Oct 1959, as that is when that style bipod was recommended for adoption. Barring new evidence, I can't close the window down any better. But very late 1959 (Dec most likely) or early 1960 is the date for the "official" M2 bipod.

It is obvious from reading the service test report on the "modified" M14 for the BAR role, that the intent was that standard M14s should be able to be modified to the BAR role by the unit armorer, therefore all M14 had to have the shoulder rest, as that require a bit of wood working outside on the armorer's skill set. The bipods originally studied were all clipped to the bayonet lug, however these all were deem fragile and/or poor support, so much so that they looked at modifying the M15 bipod to slip over the flash hider or some other quick attachment method. The "other quick attachment method", became the type III bipod which fixed to the gas cylinder and became the M2. This happened in October 1959.

Trigger Air gun Gun barrel Font Parallel


I think you might have to branch off and read the 1962 comparison trials between the M14 and AR-15 to find out why the USAIB reversed course from the 1959 idea that the "M14 does everything", with just a bipod, for the 1963 specialized M14 (USAIB) with semi-permanent modifications.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Fwiw, the reason I am asking about drawing dates is that I just purchased this early version of the M2, and I am trying to date it. Hence the curiosity about this particular part number drawing date.
View attachment 497824
That pin may or may not be original, but the old DAS stamp is original.
View attachment 497825

Fwiw, there was a flaw with the design of the E2 stock - the soldiers would often crack the forend of the stock when pulling down/back with the front foregrip. In 1968 a Work Order and update kit was made available to add much needed strength that area - via a steel mounting plate:
View attachment 497827
My early SA vintage E2 stock that I got from Ted Brown had an arsenal repair/wood splice at the forend, presumably due to the tendency to crack from pressure of the foregrip. My theory is this stock was likely one of the 8350 M14A1s delivered to the US Army in 1964, and this rifle was subsequently fielded, where it acquired a lot of patina/character- along with some arsenal-based repairs.
View attachment 497828
...and here's the stock channel with the 1968 update kit (see rigid steel mounting plate):
View attachment 497829
Also, the M2 bipods have a tendency to ding-up the stock pretty good when in the folded position, and my old E2 stock has 4 wood plugs in the areas where the M2 bipod had dinged it up. Lastly, and perhaps most interesting, while it has no cracks or damage to this area of the stock - it has 5 brass pins to reinforce the sidewalls of the stock. There are 4 on top, and 1 from the bottom. I guess these rifles when used in full-auto were hard on the wood E2 stocks, and I presume this ad-hoc strengthening measure done when an armorer repaired the front forend of this old stock:
View attachment 497830
Just an random pics/observations to add to the M14A1/E2 history.
The original (liner-less) stock is drawing F7791671.

The stock with the steel foregrip liner is drawing F11686526, dated 8 April 1966.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The reason why the M14 failed as a squad automatic rifle is NOT because of the cartridge being "too powerful," the weapon being "too light," or the barrel being "too skinny."

The German FG-42 is about the same weight, shoots a full power cartridge, and has a barrel profile similar to the M14.

The problem is the bolt throw of an M14 is about 3-3/8 inches, and after that small amount of travel everything comes to a sudden stop when the operating rod hits the front of the receiver in a solid steel-to-solid steel crash. The jolt of that impact travels, unmitigated through the receiver and stock right into the shooter's shoulder. 80 milliseconds later that shock repeats for as long as you hold back the trigger.

The FG-42, on the other hand, has a slightly longer bolt throw, about 4 inches, but more importantly, has a buffer spring that absorbs the shock of stopping the recoiling bolt/op-rod mass over a distance of about 1/16 inch, Further, the butt stock is not hard mounted to the receiver. but also sprung off the other end of the buffer unit. This make the felt recoil rather mild for a full power cartridge, and coupled with a straight-line stock a very controllable weapon. And off a sand bag, at 100 and 200 meters it is slightly more accurate in full automatic fire than an M16 . . .
 
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