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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
One of my great pleasures in life has been High Power Rifle competition shooting. I’ve never been great at it (at least not as good as I would like to be), but it has given me endless hours of enjoyment. I started out in 1963 as an Air Force base team member shooting the wonderful M1 Garand rifle. Air Force Premium Grade Garands were among the best in those days. I well remember seeing my first M14NM rifle when some of the Army teams showed up with them. They didn’t seem to happy with the M14 and we didn’t really have much of a problem beating them with our M1 Garands. I never dreamed at the time that the day would come when I’d be shooting the M14 and go on to earn my Distinguished Rifleman Badge with one.

Along the way I learned to assemble and accurized both the M1 and M14. It was about 35 years ago, at a time when I could not afford a National Match rifle any other way. Fortunately, I was starting out another part of my military career about then. It gave me access to a fine M14 National Match rifle that I was issued and used for the next seventeen years. It also lead to training in the proper way to build and maintain NM rifles which further evolved into the career I now have as an Armorer, building gas operated US Military style rifles.

As an Armorer and competition shooter I have learned to appreciate quality products, especially those that make my job easier and contribute to the integrity of my business. I never have any trouble recommending exceptional products to the point that some folks think I’m prejudiced. One of the problems with dealing on the internet is that my prejudices can be construed to that of being a shill for certain manufacturers. I grew up in Las Vegas where being a shill is quite common, but by definition a shill is a person being paid to promote an activity or product while pretending he or she is doing it for pleasure. While it brings me pleasure to use and recommend many products, I am not a shill by any means. Recommending good products brings me pleasure, but I don’t get paid to do it.

There has been some debate in the forums about one of the products that I use and highly recommend. The product is LRB Arms hammer forged M14 receivers.
I’ve built rifles on almost every M14 type commercial receiver made. I think the only ones that I haven’t worked with are Maunz and Hesse. I don’t believe Hesse receivers actually ever made it to market although I was able to look their prototypes over at one of the SHOT Shows years ago.

In my opinion, LRB Arms produces the best commercial receiver made. It is closer to spec than any other and has been refined to a point of outstanding excellence.

Charges have been made that the LRB Arms M14 receiver is not made to mil spec. That is quite true in some ways, but not to the point that there are any safety issues involved. No one has made a commercial M14 type receiver that is mil spec. The truth is that if you were to make a receiver exactly to the specifications on government drawing F7790189 it would not work. Many changes were made to the drawing specifications that were never added to the actual drawings. The drawings everyone is using as reference are simply outdated and do not contain the latest revisions. This is one of the reasons that companies attempting to produce a commercial M14 receiver have had such a long and hard learning curve before they came up with a usable product. It’s also probably the reason some companies have given up before they even got a product out the door.

Another reason some receivers seem out of spec is that machining processes are so much different today than they were in 1957. While the M14 was machined with the most modern equipment available at the time, today’s modern CNC and EDM computer controlled, multi tasking machinery do not operate in the same fashion and do not exactly duplicate the results of the older processes.

This doesn’t imply that there is anything wrong with the newer systems or their results. In fact, many of the changes brought on through technology are producing a better product than what could be expected 40 or 50 years ago.

I’ll have to admit that I was a little concerned with some of the accusations about the dimensional integrity of LRB’s receivers. It made me get out the calipers, dust of the surface plate, and dig out a few old cut up GI M14 receivers. As luck would have it, I just happened to have a new production LRB Arms M14 receiver on hand too. Here is what I found:

The receiver bridge on the LRB arms receiver is .152” at it thickest point (at least on this example). I also checked an older receiver that was thicker at .175”. I found the difference is a result of a change in the machining operations on the back side of the bridge. However, I then inspected the length of the receiver from the face to the rear of the bridge and found it was actually 3.931”, well within the mil spec of 3.935 -.010”. The bridge thickness was said to be unacceptable as it’s below spec. Being a curious fellow, I got a Winchester M1 Garand receiver down from the shelf and checked the bridge on it. The Garand turned out to be .145”. That sort of speaks for itself. (I noticed a couple of days after I posted this thread that a very detailed example of this type of receiver inspection along with excellent photos was posted. The results were much the same.)

In reality, the receiver safety bridge is a relatively low stress area. The bridge serves three purposes. With the bolt closed, the bridge controls the amount of shuck at the rear of the bolt. That is defined as the amount of lateral play the back of the bolt has while constrained by the upper side of the bolt hole and the top of the bridge. The bridge also serves to add rigidity to the sides of the receiver. Last, the caming slot serves to retract the firing pin as the bolt begins to rotate open. The fact that it restrains the firing pin from traveling forward under it’s own inertia while the bolt is closing is an advantage, but not all that important. There are other built in features in the bolt and hammer that help prevent slam fires. I have found no significant issue with the timing of firing pin retraction from the specifications of the bridge or cam surface on LRB receivers.

Then, there is the width of the rail that the op rod rides on. I checked the LRB receiver against the GI receiver and found that the LRB rail is slightly wider. .220” compared to .206 for the government. Is this important? No, if it was companies like Springfield Inc. and Armscorp would not have made their’s so overly large. The actual reason for the extra wide rails on other commercial receivers was to insure they could not be converted to full auto by enterprising owners. One advantage of a wider rail is that it adds area to the bedding surface of the receiver when glass bedding. This may enhance bedding longevity, but has little effect on accuracy.

I have found that for most M14 owners, the only really important thing is that their rifle goes bang when they pull the trigger. Few actually know anything about the mechanics of the rifle or really care as long as it goes bang. Internet posts that attempt to deal with issues, real or fabricated, tend to just confuse and are detrimental to the confidence owners have in their rifles. If there were any real safety issues with LRB receivers I’m sure there would be horror stories to loose sleep over. LRB has an outstanding safety record for their products. I have yet to hear of any catastrophic failure involving LRB. I wish I could say that for the other manufacturers out there.

HP Rifle season is almost over here. I have one more match and probably won’t get to shoot in it as I will be acting as match director while the other guy is off hunting Elk. I shot a match a couple of weeks ago and did fairly well in spite of my poor eyes. I shot a 600 yard 190-9X and shot the following day a 194-5X. The best part was that I shot the higher score with my LRB M14 while the lower score was shot with my .223 Space Gun. That felt really good! Our season will begin again in March. In the mean time I may have to shoot a little Full Bore. That’s the old man’s game for those who cannot get into positions. All prone and bipods…. Scopes an stuff. Oh well.
 

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Thanks again, Ted, for sharing that information. Good stuff to know! I do appreciate you taking the time to type up posts like this.
 

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Thanks for this timely post!
 

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I would like to thank you TEd for takeing the time to not only write up this post, but also takeing the time to do the background work to make this post possible.
 

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Cranky Old Vietnam Vet
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No one has made a commercial M14 type receiver that is mil spec. The truth is that if you were to make a receiver exactly to the specifications on government drawing F7790189 it would not work. Many changes were made to the drawing specifications that were never added to the actual drawings. The drawings everyone is using as reference are simply outdated and do not contain the latest revisions.
Wow! and Double Wow!!
THAT'S Something to Think About!!!

GI8

CAVman in WYoming
 

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Thanks Ted, that was interesting info. I have only heard good things about the LRB receivers and would not hesitate to build on one. Especially after what you have just posted.
 

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LRB's

Thank you Sir. That was articulate, well documented, and explained in terms that are easily understood by those such as I who are familiar w/the operational aspects of the weapon, but not the ''nuances'' and ''significance'' of certain design features. Please accept my regards and most sincere thanks for taking the time and trouble to share your knowledge. P5
 

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Thanks Ted good post.
 

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...The truth is that if you were to make a receiver exactly to the specifications on government drawing F7790189 it would not work. Many changes were made to the drawing specifications that were never added to the actual drawings. ...
Excellent read, Ted! GI1

Could you elaborate on your statement above? Are you saying that the folks at the various manufacturers had some unwritten things they were doing? So a TRW rifle may be different from an H&R? How were these undocumented changes coordinated?

It seems to me that it would be hazardous, and contrary to US Ordnance regs, for undocumented changes to be made...

What specific parts of the drawings were not documented?

Thanks,

P_R
 

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the changes were after the drawling was issued their not really differences from one manufacturer to another they are amendments to that drawling

and as for LRB i always thought they were the top of the line
don't know how much better you could expect to be regarded
 

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the changes were after the drawling was issued their not really differences from one manufacturer to another they are amendments to that drawling..
Drawings had revisions, not amendments. The Gov't documented everything. Nothing was left to word-of-mouth or secret hand-shakes. The revisions were published as new, complete drawings so everybody would be on the same page, so to speak.

The drawings I have go up to rev. "V", dated as late as 1986, including ECP (Engineering Change Proposal) W3S2072/B31115.

So I don't think there are any undocumented changes to the drawings.

P_R
 

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and what do you think a revision is.
it is a amendment to a previous issue so excuse me for not meting your vocabulary requirements
 

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and what do you think a revision is.
it is a amendment to a previous issue so excuse me for not meting your vocabulary requirements
No need to get snippy.

My point is, as of 1985, the drawings contain all the revisions. No evidence of undocumented changes. The concept of "undocumented changes" is anathema to US Gov'e bureaucracy.

P_R
 

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No need to get snippy.

My point is, as of 1985, the drawings contain all the revisions. No evidence of undocumented changes. The concept of "undocumented changes" is anathema to US Gov'e bureaucracy.

P_R
i was not being snippy just stating a fact
im sorry but i never stated that there were any undocumented "revisions" i just stated that it was not a manufacturing difference it was a update to the drawling number stated in the previous posting
 

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Ahhhh.... Contracting, military drawings, planing yard functions. Any time you build anything for the government you submit a drawing or the government gives you a drawing, now the fun begins, everyone knows the drawing is... iffy and might need to be changed, the provisions and procedure for change is written into the procurement contract. First comes the DCR (Drawing Change Request) that is triggered by a problem or an improvement, then comes the EO (Engineering Order) generated if the DCR has any merit, after you collect enough EO's (usually the fifth EO) this triggers a revision change to the drawing. All these changes require approval by the contract authority (insert your favorite government organization here) prior to being put into effect. Lets not discuss process changes as this is different ball of worms. But at any given time work is being performed with all these documents (DCR's, EO's and a drawing at some level of revision), most drawings are in a constant state of change and the latest revision of any given drawing may not be correct without the DCR's and EO's which are not listed on the latest revision of the drawing but are listed on a document control cover sheet issued with the drawing package prior to start of fabrication.
To add mud to the water the names of these documents change depending on how, where, and when, the original contract was written.

Best Wishes: Mike dance2
 

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Let me add an un-official anecdotal experience.
I have an LRB -TFL Receiver which was built up by a known 'Smith here and turned out great.
But the bolt hung ever so slightly when I cycled it by hand and tracked it down to the safety bridge dragging a bit where the bolt passed over it.
I was assured it was normal and not to worry, it would "break-in" as I put more rounds downrange.
It did very shortly after I got it and would not hesitate for 1 second to get another LRB Receiver.
FWIW: My experience tells me every firearm has a break-in period for everything to work together a while....and I trust this product and recommend it to anyone with the $$$$ for a top-line receiver.
I suspect I'm not alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Changes

Let me add a little to my statements about the changes made to M14 receivers. We know that changes were made during production. Change orders were given and specifications altered. I stated that not all changes made it into the drawings most of use for reference. It did happen and was varified to me by more than one knowledgeable person in the industry. Unfortunately I wasn't there so, I have no idea about when or why. Springfield Armory wasn't perfect. There were changes made by production foremen on the M1 Rifle that were not reported to John Garand (Heaven forbid!). A good example was the notorious issue of the milled off rib that caused all those seventh round stopages. This was a case of an attempt to make machining faster and easier and a significant deviation from the drawing specs. Unfortunately it was one that didn't work out.

I was fortunate to have been involved with LRB Arms in being given an opportunity to evaluate one of their first production receivers. Lou asked for an honest opinion and told me not to hold anything back. I ripped it apart pretty good. I found several areas that needed improvement. However, I was still able to build that receiver into a very nice rifle that functioned perfectly and was reasonably accurate. I have to give LRB credit for eventually making all the changes that I recommended. Some of those changes took considerable time to implement. Some were met with resistance from the machine shop. They were reluctant to reprogram their machines in some cases. I'm sure it was economics that drove these delays.

LRB, Lou has always been driven to produce the best products possible. As I said before, there is a long hard learning curve in producing something as complicated as the M14 receiver. Mistakes and oversights are normal in early production of anything. LRB does it's production runs in small quantities, which has allowed them to make corrections rapidly. Some receivers never made it into the market. Some were found to be servicable with a minimal amount of adjustment and those were usually only distributed to qualified Armorers who had the ability to make those minor adjustments. However, some fell through the cracks and those who got them will probably always feel these receivers are indicative to LRB's total production. I returned an LRB receiver that never got it's detent knotches milled into the windage knob ear. How that one got through I'll never know. No biggy, I sent it back, they replaced it.

Over time, I've documented all the problems I've found with all kinds of receivers. While no one has been perfect, I still stand behind my statement that LRB Arms makes the best commercial M14 receiver on the market. Springfield and Fulton are good and I'm sure Smith will be excellent. Class is still out on 7.62. I've only had one in the shop so I can't give a definative oppinion.
 

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I think I enjoyed reading about Teds background and history of building and shooting rifles the most about this post. Not that I don't appreciate you taking a stand for a product that you believe in, because that takes guts in itself.
Great post thanks a lot!
 
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