That was a good read. Thank you.
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.
1) Bipod: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):
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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):
Well, they were totally alone in that field with skinny barrels on "support weapons".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.
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.The assembly drawing for the Rifle, 7.62mm, M14A1, with a 7 Jan 1964 date, shows the Bipod, M2, P/N 7790668
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!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')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.
"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:
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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:
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…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).
The original (liner-less) stock is drawing F7791671.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.
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That pin may or may not be original, but the old DAS stamp is original.
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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:
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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.
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...and here's the stock channel with the 1968 update kit (see rigid steel mounting plate):
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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:
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Just an random pics/observations to add to the M14A1/E2 history.