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On many occasions I have read references to Springfield Armory not being able to obtain the proper steels with which to manufacture the M14 flip up but plate. No actual dates have been sighted regarding the actual delivery of rifles with revised features during the 1959 and 1960 physical years at the Armory. About all I can do is surmise approximate dates based on what little information there is.
In 1959 recommendations were made to modify some parts of the M14 rifle. They included the hand guard, gas cylinder, and butt plate assembly. Obtaining steel for the new flip up butt plate was supposedly delayed due to a steel strike that lasted 116 days from July 15 to November 7, 1959. It was a long and bitter strike over wages in the steel industry. Apparently, it took some time after the strike ended before adequate steel was available for the production of the new butt plates. This makes me wonder how they managed to make any other parts for the M14, but is has been noted that only about 4500 rifles were produced up to April of 1960. This was attributed to a lack of funding from Congress which kept Springfield from full production.
In the interim, to utilize the new stocks made for the new butt plate, a simple rubber filler
(7790914) was produced which allowed the continued use of the M1 Garand butt plate. However, the Garand butt plates were in short supply. A contract was given for the production of a substitute butt plate (this was the one with reversed dimples). I don’t quite understand how they could produce a steel substitute if they couldn’t get steel for the new part. We now have a picture of a modified M14 rifle that includes the rubber filler and the temporary replacement butt plate (not the picture shown here.). It is dated 3 August 1960. It’s believed that this temporary assembly was only in use for about three months until the new flip up plate became available.
I also found, in my research, that the slotted hand guard is shown on a production rifle in December 1960. The picture shows the rifle included the new butt plate. It didn’t show the gas cylinder modification, but I think it’s safe to assume the gas cylinders with barrel band bosses were being installed by that time. The new gas cylinder was first designed in March 1960.
Although much of this is conjecture, it appears that the butt plate transition happened about midyear and the other changes were made by no later than December.
The solid fiberglass hand guards were finalized in October 1961 and was standard by 1962.
If anyone has anything to add to this please jump in.
 

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A couple of early/transitional HGs. Top is marked DT 2 and SA. Note the "+ sign" reinforcing ribs are on both the inside and outside.
The vented one is marked with either a 6 or 9 depending how you look at it. IIRC, Lee mentions this vented version in his book. Just confirmed it, he refers to it as a "type B". Book says 38 holes, may be a typo. This has 36.
Timelines on either of these????
 

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What I have

Ted,
The Hahn that I have from what I have been told is one of two SA's Hahn did. The serial number falls in the first order of M14's from Springfield (15,600). I have been tempted to make it All SA, but left it alone. Only reason I guess is it is as it left Hahn after he put the 2 book ends together. Putting these 14 Types together is a jigsaw puzzle at best. After all the pieces are put together then we stand back to look. The nice thing about it is the fact there are other pieces that can be used or changed out without ruining the puzzle. The difficult part is the critics with ourselves being the WORSE or Best of the LOT. Too Much Idle Time and this is the only key board I can play.
Pfc out
 

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It has been my understanding that the buttplate delay was caused by there being no suitable one available when the M15 was canceled and the decision was made to modify the M14 for the BAR role.

The previously accepted M15 buttplate was unsuitable because: 1, too heavy. 2, the hinge was above the stock. They needed to design and test one that met the weight requirement and had the hinge below the comb of the stock.

In order to meet the weight requirement, it was decided to use an aluminum base plate (which they already had designed for the T44E6 project). The problem was figuring out how to move the hinge below the stock line.

The below photo is date 21 Apr 1959.
 

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It is my understanding that the buttplate delay was caused by not being able to design a steel flap on an aluminum base plate that could stand up to the firing of rifle grenades. What Different describes as the Type 2 (checkering above and below the door) was accepted, but it still wasn't perfect. Buttplates were eventually redisigned with a longer support bracket, eliminating the checkering above the door. Keep in mind that the aluminum hinge and support bracket on all M14 buttplates are aluminum, being attached to the aluminum base plate by magic (I do not know if it is epoxy or actual welding. That is a question for Lysander or Different).
 

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Ted and all,

Thank you for your clarification about early SA butt plates. I have an early aluminum one and the garand style with rubber insert.

Wes
 

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I have three butt plates with checkering above the door, similar to the broken ones pictured, and one that does not. One of the ones with checkering came with a fiberglass stock.

Personally, I believe the elimination of the checkering was later than the first attempts at making a fracture free butt plate. The butt plate in your first post appears to have checkering above the upper screw hole, which is atypical in what I have seen.

As to how the bracket is attached to the plate, I believe it is welded, partly because P/N 7790700 is referred to as Plate Assembly (Weldment), although, I believe technically it should be referred to as an aluminum brazed assembly
 

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Early full checkered butt plate. The design had been around since Feb 1959.



The butt plate differs from the standard production in that the standard production version has two holes for blind rivets or aligning pins and the checkering stops at the upper screw hole, or in some cases at the top of the butt trap door. The flap has additional checkering at the hinge.

What happened to some of the early stocks with M1 butt plates:


And, it would seem that by December 1960, all of the obvious changes from the T44E4 to the "standard" M14 had been incorporated, although it does not seem to have the lug on the gas cylinder, but it might be not visible in the picture.
 
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