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I used to agree, but it grew on me. After firing it I really liked how it felt and shot. Granted, I'm shooting from a bench, not in the field.
I will agree, the E2 is an acquired taste that took a while to see it’s beauty! The first time I tried bourbon, I thought why, but as I grew into a man my taste matured.

Some foolish people never grow up, and you would think that a person in their seventies would have by now.

MORE THAN A HOBBY, A PASSION!
REN
 

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I lost all my firearms in the Rio Grande when the barge hit a sandbar and sank.
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This information should not be missed placed or lost in time.

XXIV Corps
 

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As noted in Lysander's posts #29 & 31, there was an obscure "M14 Modified" or "M14 (M)" prototype configuration that was tested as a replacement for the heavy-barreled M15 as a Squad Automatic Rifle (as the Browning BAR replacement). Note: The M15 platform was canceled in late 1959:

"COMFIRMATORY TEST OF PRODUCTION MODEL RIFLE, 7.62MM, M14," 23 October 1959, (USAIB). Excerpt:
"...a. Evaluation and service tests of a number of different type rifles including the Rifles, 7.62mm, T44E4, and T44E5 were conducted by this Board in 1956 (ref 2 and 3, Annex D). These tests revealed that in general the T44 rifle system was more suitable for Army use than the other types tested. In May 1957 the T44E4 and T44E5 rifles were adopted by DA as the standard, rifle and automatic rifle respectively. The T44 was standardized as the M14 and the T44E5 was standardized as the M15 rifle. The test rifle is the production model M14 rifle modified to correct previously reported deficiencies. In 1959 this Board determined that the M14 rifle with a hinged butt plate, slotted handguard, and detachable bipod was suitable as an automatic rifle and recommended that it replace the M15 rifle (ref 6, Annex D).

...and...

REPORT OF COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF BIPODS FOR THE M14 RIFLE IN THE AUTOMATIC RIFLE ROLE,” 29 October 1959, (USAIB). Abstract- compares the Type II bipod (bayonet lug mounted, the best candidate from the first report) with the Type III bipod (gas cylinder mounted). It also tests the suitability of the plastic handguards and hinged buttplate, both modified to correct deficiencies identified in SERVICE TEST OF RIFLE, 7.62MM, M14 MODIFIED FOR THE BAR ROLE. The handguard, now stiffened by longitudinal and radial ribs, the aluminum buttplate with steel shoulder support flap, and the Type III bipod are all approved as suitable for Army use."
***

As far as I can tell from those test reports circa summer/autumn of 1959, these six "M14 Modified" test rifles were the very first rifles that used the initial aluminum+steel production hinged buttplate and a ventilated fiberglass handguard. (Those two items would later be incorporated into standard M14 rifles during the mid-to-late 1960 era, but I thought I'd do a replica of that rifle given the early M2 bipod that I recently acquired). Interesting diagram in Frank Iannamco's book; The U.S. M14 Rifle (2018), page 128. (My guess this is diagram is from late 1959 or early 1960):
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Parallel Gun accessory

So, for the heck of it, I took my replica of an SA NM M14 and mocked-it up as one of the six "M14 (modified)" or 'M14 modified for BAR role" rifles tested back in 1959. Per Lysander posts # 29 & 31, they consisted of an M14 with the prototype 'hinged' or 'flapper' buttplate, the newly designed M2 bipod (without a front sling swivel), the prototype ventilated handguard, and of course a selector switch. Top is my replica of an 'M14 modified' and bottom is my replica of the T44E4, which is what the standard infantry M14s looked like circa 1959-1960 (M1 buttplate; wooden handguard, no bipod - and selector locks are already seen on some of the archival pictures, so by 1960 the standard infantry rifle was presumably to be configured as a semi-automatic rifle - and the 'M14 modified' version would be the select-fire, squad automatic version with the selector switch, along with the M2 bipod).
Air gun Wood Trigger Machine gun Shotgun

The motivation for doing this quick mock-up was the early M2 bipod that I found on this forum. This design was apparently tested in the summer of 1959, with the drawing finalized in the autumn of that year, and entering mass production in either late 1959 and/or 1960. Unlike the two prototype M15 bipods that connected to the special M15 flash hider, the so-called "type 3" bipod connected to the standard M14 gas cylinder. (Later M2 bipod designed circa 1963 has the front sling swivel for the special M14A1 sling, and a slightly improved 'claw' attachment mechanism).
Automotive tire Bicycle part Wood Line Rim

...Well, as noted in Frank Iannamico's book, around 1960-62', it had been determined that the "M14 Modified for the BAR role" was simply not accurate or controllable in full-auto, and thus it was not issued. However, the desire remained for a more controllable squad automatic rifle based on the M14, which subsequently led to the development circa 1962-63 of a new 'straight-back' stock with a pistol grip, and a forend grip (aka, M14E2 stock); revised bipod, special sling, and a muzzle stabilizer to control muzzle rise.

Anyhow, here's one more pic of what was supposed to be the Squad Automatic weapon circa 1960 as a replacement for the Browning BAR (an older 30-06 weapon). However, only a few prototypes were tested and the US Army decided that a new stock was needed to control the M14 in full-auto mode (as outlined in this thread re the history of the M14E2/M14A1 platform).
Wood Air gun Gas Gun barrel Trigger

Just my random contribution for today of an obscure M14 variant that had a very short life.
 

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Thanks, I honestly don't know how rare the early versions of the M2 bipod are. I suspect some have been modified back in the 1960s to use the front sling swivel from the later bipod, but my example had not been updated. A WTB ad is probably the best way to find one. Thanks re my T44E4 project, but you have not one, but two awesome examples...

BTW, when the legs are folded up - the M2 bipod easily swivels from side-to-side on the rifle, and often leave dings on the stock and a mark or two in the side of the handguard as well...so I was extremely careful when I folded the legs up for these pictures. Thus, I carefully removed the bipod afterwards, as I don't want to damage my vintage SA stock - just an fyi since you have an extremely rare original T44E4 stock, and I would hate to see it get dinged up with these old bipods....
Wood Air gun Trigger Shotgun Gun barrel
 

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I was looking at some pics in this book, and spotted some color photos of the "M14 (M)" and the M14A1 in Vietnam, circa 1965 and 1966. Just an fyi post:
Military person Military uniform Soldier Poster Book

October 1965, on the right is an "M14 (M" or "M14 modified") w/ selector switch & M2 bipod - presumably carried by a US Army automatic rifleman (note bipod). My guess is the other M14s may have the selector-lock for semi-auto fire, and only the soldier on the right has the select-fire M14.
Squad Helmet Cargo pants Vehicle Combat vehicle


April 1966: M14A1 in Vietnam. I assume the solider on the far left is the Squad Automatic Rifleman, who is armed with an M14A1 (including the muzzle stabilizer). Newish looking M16s are also seen.
Sky Cloud Military camouflage Squad Cargo pants
 

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All the time I carried the M14, I never seen or knew about a "bipod!" USMC, Vietnam,
It is slightly obscure, but in the early-to-mid 1960s the M14 w/ M2 bipod and a selector switch was apparently issued by both the US Army and USMC. Not sure when the USMC stopped issuing them, maybe mid-1960s? Pics from member Reaper6 of his father's 'Guidebook for Marines' circa 1964:
Brown Publication Wood Book Font

Publish date was June 1, 1964.
Publication Book Font Material property Paper

Note the first sentence, the selector switch, and the buttplate flipped upwards for the automatic rifleman role. Despite the 2nd sentence, Frank Iannamico's book notes both the Army and USMC found the "M14 modified" or "M14 (M)" in full-auto, both inaccurate and effectively "uncontrollable".
Wood Trigger Font Parallel Gun barrel


...Anyhow, I posted that picture from October 1965 of a US Army automatic rifleman with such a rifle, as it's the only color picture I have seen of that rifle being used in Vietnam. I understand that the US Army moved to the more controllable M14A1 shortly thereafter, but I don't think the USMC followed suite?. Again, it's a somewhat obscure configuration that appears to have had a short service life...
 

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Nobody is that lucky - my goodness!
 
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