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I've heard that people in Vietnam would throw away their M14 rifles for AKs. I've also heard that marksman in Afghanistan hated the M14 and MK14. I know the M14 is a good rifle in the civilians' world. Can anyone who had been in combat using the M14 series or knowing someone used them in combat tell me how reliable is the M14? Cheers.
 

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We would have dropped the M16's for a AKs. I had no choice but the M16 in my tours.
 
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The M14 makes a damn fine parade rifle and a VG match rifle, but I've never carried one in combat. My guess is that it was a good fighting rifle but a grunt didn't like the extra length in the bush and the two extra pounds weight could make a difference if you are carrying all the time.
 

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You got it all backwards. I used the M4 carbine in fort benning and it was unreliable.
 

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I used the M14 in Vietnam and it was totally reliable. Never heard anything like the op stated. Now, the M16 was a different story. That must have been the unreliable rifle you were talking about . Piece of junk way out performed by the SKS and AK47.
 

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The M14 makes a damn fine parade rifle and a VG match rifle, but I've never carried one in combat. My guess is that it was a good fighting rifle but a grunt didn't like the extra length in the bush and the two extra pounds weight could make a difference if you are carrying all the time.
It sure is beautiful. It's one of the best looking rifle I've seen
 

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M14s are terrible, jammomatics, and very inaccurate. You should just toss them into the river.

Well, that should start a big fight.!!! We shot a lot of M14s in the Service - still standard on US Navy ships when I was in . Volunteered to get rid of out of date ammo every time the issue came up. also Had to Qual with them for top side watches, and duty use by my guys. the Marines range was between my house and the base, so shot every chance I got. Compared to a M16, they are heavy, but compared to an M1 Garand, the same +/_. I carried an XM177E2, cause I could. the M14s never jammed that I recall, never issues with them at all. I also do not recall issues with the M16s, other than shooting blanks. We had a mix of wood stocks, & fiberglass. Weight DOES matter, and as a lazy Occifer type I carried the carbine since it was shorter and lighter. For those of you that may not have ever fired a real AK, pretty much all the ones I ever shot were terribly inaccurate. as in cant hit a pie plate at 100 yds inaccurate, and in some cases can't hit a garbage can at 100yds. we got to shoot a lot back in the day for FAM fire, and I went through the Armies foreign weapons class in 1981, with a heavy emphasis on soviet small arms. there is no way I would trade an M14 for an AK, or an M16. the AK has it's place, but it is not a riflemans rifle. It is an untrained expendable peasant rifle. Same for the SKS.

Photo is one I scanned in taken in 1982 or so at a FAM fire event.
431668
 

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The weight isn't really an issue because they will load you up with something else anyway. Personal ammo, machine gun ammo, mortar bombs, LAWs, grenades, claymore mines and whatever else that can think of.
So on the money that it hurts to think about it.
The average Marine grunt carries a specific weight load regardless of how much each item weighs, if the items weigh less then he'll just carry more items. Everyone understands that if they are moving to a forward area then they'll be humping 80 to 110 pounds or so.

If the M14 was so useless then it never would had been reborn in different versions that are still used by some SpecOps groups as they see the need.

Most people that trash it never used it in the field and/or don't understand the role it was designed for. The M14 is a battle "RIFLE" as opposed to the M16 assault rifle or the M4 carbine. The WWII equivalent would be a Garand vs. a 1928 Thompson sub machinegun vs. The M2 carbine (the full auto capable version of the M1 carbine).

Unfortunately the M14 came on the scene as a replacement for all these firearms so it was too heavy for a carbine, it was too long for an assault gun, and it was just right for a battle rifle - because that's what it is. But the powers in charge decided that during the military drawdown, after WWII, they needed to cut costs and one rifle that could do the work of three was a good financial move. The military jumped at the M14 because it "looked" like what they were used to seeing and they knew that they needed to upgrade before the government could cut their post war spending. Then a liberal, Democrat, businessman turned politician got involved. Macnamara only knew that there was a radically new design available and that it would make him look good if he could force the old "Military Industrial Complex" (liberal/communist language of the 1960's for anything that the liberals wanted to either destroy or take over) to accept a weapon that they didn't want. The result was a split between the goals of management and the reality of the War Fighters. Then add in Vietnam and you get a mess created by poor leadership during the shifting of tactical realities in a time of war.

We were using a military that was trained and equipped to fight a war in the relatively open country of northern Europe in a jungle - the wrong tools for the job.

The M16 came along as an Assault Rifle, not a battle rifle. It showed up as an untested/new concept in military hardware with next to no real field testing, the grunts were the guinea pigs that tested the rifle during actual combat and the problems cost people their lives. Eventually there was a compromise; grunts dealt with having to clean the rifle a lot more and they couldn't penetrate cover as well and the management fixed the ammo and ergonomic issues and managed to cover up their leadership failures. It left a bad taste in the mouths of the early Nam vets.

After 50 years most people in the military have no ability to compare both rifles, they've only experienced the M16 variants, except for those that used the M14 in combat in the deserts and mountains. The true maximum effective range of the M4 pretty much sucks compared to the standard M14 (assuming that the shooters are skilled with their platform). The M4 is a dream in urban warfare but it's junk if you have to return fire at targets that are more than 3 or 4 hundred yards out. The M14 is just the opposite, it sucks in urban environments (that's why the SOCOM carbine was created) but kicks butt out to 600 yards with open sights (in the hands of a proficient shooter).

So after all this long winded history we come full circle, we keep picking weapons based on politics and money and the grunts are always stuck with adapting to using the wrong tools in the wrong situation. It explains why you're always going to hear conflicting statements about the quality of a weapon. I was an Airwing Marine and did several combat area deployments which included extra duties in security billets. Furthermore I originally trained with the M14 but was using the M16 by the time I left boot camp. I've used both in the mountains and the desert. My opinion is that I'd rather carry the M14 in open country but give me the M4 in urban situations or in a vehicle. They both have a specific sphere wherein they perform best and if the leadership would learn to quit reinventing the wheel and created a system that stockpiled both kinds of weapons then we'd be able to draw the appropriate tool for the job.
 

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I don't know of too many Commands that would allow you to "throw away" your issued weapon and use the enemies. You would certainly end up with a statement of charges. ;)

That being said, certain units such as LRRPS, SEALS, Rangers, etc, often have/had some flexibility in choosing their weapons. The AK would certainly be up for consideration.

I carried a folding stock, full auto AK for a week at Camp Mackall. I neglected it as much as possible and it still functioned properly. I once shot the Army's 40 round rifle qualification (pop up targets out to 300m) with a fixed stock AK. I had to aim about a foot above the 300m silhouettes, but it was doable. Overall, the AK impressed me, but I still consider it a slob's weapon, for the untrained masses. :p

A good deal of combat takes place under conditions that aren't much different from a training range, such as on roads and base perimeters. Not all combat conditions require you to stay neck-deep in mud for 12 hours and then still expect your weapon to function. Similarly, many training and test conditions go well beyond what any typical soldier will ever experience in the field. To say that a particular weapon is or isn't reliable in combat is not a fair analysis.

It's true that the open receiver of the M14 (and Garand and Carbine) allows much to enter the action easily. But it also allows you to clear that muck away easily, usually with just some canteen water. The closed design of other receivers keeps dirt out longer, but one it gets in it is a bear to clear, usually requiring disassembly. Everything in the military is a compromise. There are no free lunches.

 

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I think you are referring to the m16 as initially unreliable, not the m14.

The m16 had issues because it was a new platform and like anything new, needed field experience to mature it.
 

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You got it all backwards. I used the M4 carbine in fort benning and it was unreliable.
The M4 is a fantastic rifle. Just like anything in US inventory however, the rifles will eventually suffer from obscene round counts and lack of proper maintenance. Largest problems I had with the carbine was worn out bolts and ancient mags. However a properly taken care of M4 will, and in my experience has, out preformed just about anything else I've used. I've fired mine alongside L85a2's, FAMAS, F & EF88's, AK's, Type 89's, and 14's as well. The M4 out preforms all of them in ergonomics, ease of use, and reliability (In Tropic environments in my case). Speaking as a USMC 0351.
 

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I've heard that people in Vietnam would throw away their M14 rifles for AKs. I've also heard that marksman in Afghanistan hated the M14 and MK14. I know the M14 is a good rifle in the civilians' world. Can anyone who had been in combat using the M14 series or knowing someone used them in combat tell me how reliable is the M14? Cheers.
I've had the opportunity to work closely with Filipino Marines in 2016. They still use old lend/lease M14's, generally un-modified. The rifles that were properly maintained ran great however just like anything in military use there were some others that badly needed repair or simply to be put out to pasture. As much as I love the 14, she's a fickle bitch. She doesn't like to run dirty. Maintenance is difficult for most grunts. And God forbid if you get that trigger pack gummed with sand when taking contact. There's just too many ingress points for debris. With that being said, 20 rounds of M80 ball does wonders cutting through brush. Then again, what do I know. I'm just a doomer, grunt.
 

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The M4 is a fantastic rifle. Just like anything in US inventory however, the rifles will eventually suffer from obscene round counts and lack of proper maintenance. Largest problems I had with the carbine was worn out bolts and ancient mags. However a properly taken care of M4 will, and in my experience has, out preformed just about anything else I've used. I've fired mine alongside L85a2's, FAMAS, F & EF88's, AK's, Type 89's, and 14's as well. The M4 out preforms all of them in ergonomics, ease of use, and reliability (In Tropic environments in my case). Speaking as a USMC 0351.
The FN M4 I used in fort benning and fort lewis was an unreliable POS jammed all the time for no apparent reason. And the stupid aimpoint..might as well have had a piece of toilet paper on it.
You couldnt trade me 5 M4s for one M14
 

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The FN M4 I used in fort benning and fort lewis was an unreliable POS jammed all the time for no apparent reason. And the stupid aimpoint..might as well have had a piece of toilet paper on it.
You couldnt trade me 5 M4s for one M14
I'm sorry your weapon system that probably had 5+ pumps to the sandbox and no formal maintenance had reliability issues during your annual rifle quals.
 

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I'm sorry your weapon system that probably had 5+ pumps to the sandbox and no formal maintenance had reliability issues during your annual rifle quals.
You are never going to convince me that Mattel toy is some fantastic weapon. I used it first hand. I have used the M1A in high power and NEVER had an issue with it. More stopping power, more reliable,more accurate.
We are still having the same problems with the M16 that happened in vietnam.
 

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I'm sorry your weapon system that probably had 5+ pumps to the sandbox and no formal maintenance had reliability issues during your annual rifle quals.
And besides it was two different serial numbered weapons that both jammed. I am telling you of my first hand experience with that POS.
 
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