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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When were the medium weight NM barrels developed and when did they start to replace the standard weight NM barrels on the M21? If I understand correctly, the original M21 used a standard weight NM barrel, and at some point before being upgraded to the M25, M21's were built using the medium weight.

Were there any other USGI medium weight NM barrel manufacturers besides SAK? Were the only standard weight USGI NM barrel manufacturers SA, TRW and SAK?
 

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Someone correct me if I`m wrong but I believe Springfield Armory, TRW, Saco-Lowell, Canadian Arsenals and Nomura Machine made National Match GI barrels. I am not sure when or what other manufacturers made the medium weight NM.

I have a NM medium weight barrel that was made by General Dynamics and mine was made in 83. Keep in mind SAK (Saco-Lowell) became General Dynamics at some piont. My barrel reads-MFR 26978 9345206 9-83 123456
(Maremont CAGE code) (med. weight barrel part #) (date) (material lot code)
 

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Drawings for the medium weight NM barrel were produced in June of 1981. Actual production dates are in the 82-83 range. Examples I've seen were made by Saco-Lowell (MFR 26978). Canadian Arsenals and Nomura machine did not make medium NM barrels. I inspected several M21 rifles belonging to the National Guard around 1988-89 that had the medium barrel. Some of our advanced marksmanship M14 rifles were rebarreled with medium weight barrels in that time frame. Each state NGMTU was issued 6 heavy Barnett barrels in the early 80's. I never saw an issue Nomura Machine or New Arc Welding heavy barrel installed on any GI M14NM rifle. These barrels were produced in 1993 just in time for the military switch to the M16 for advanced marksmanship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thank you for the info, that answers a lot of questions. What are the chances of locating an original SA NM barrel? I see SAK standard contour NM barrels for sale once in awhile, but I have not been able to locate a SAK NM medium weight or an SA NM standard weight.

Was there a preference in barrel manufacturers for the M21's?
 

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Thank you for the info, that answers a lot of questions. What are the chances of locating an original SA NM barrel? I see SAK standard contour NM barrels for sale once in awhile, but I have not been able to locate a SAK NM medium weight or an SA NM standard weight.

Was there a preference in barrel manufactureres for the M21's?
Very slim on the USGI SA NM std weight...

I had been actively looking for one for about 20 years and finally lucked into one 2 years ago in great shape and built an LRB around it

same with the TRW NM barrel

They are floating around out there..... most are probably on SAI rifles and hence have been defaced with the Geneseo marking

Good luck!
 
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I used to scour for m14 parts in the mid to late 90's. I knew a couple of dealers who had a nack for offering hard to find parts for sale. Never seen SA NM std wgt barrel worth buying. I know one dealer who probably still has a new in the tube TRW NM std-wgt barrel. His private stock. I offered him $500 for it in the mid to late 90's and he didnt even think before turning me down.
If you really want something and are persistant, sooner or later...
good luck.
 

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yup...back in the 1990's I had one of the old parts guys send me a TRW NM tube that had more craters than the moon...that went back

I finally lucked into a really nice TRW NM barrel about 4 or so years ago and had that put on an LRB receiver

Same with the GI-SA NM barrel...about 3 years ago...also in great shape wear-wise

Finally got both barrels about a year apart after looking for 2 decades for either....both are excellent shooters

and they are staying in the family
 

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According to Stevens or Senich (don't have the reference handy at the moment) the majority of original XM-21 rifles were built up with SAK standard weight NM barrels. This is not necessarily because they were the best, more likely just because SAK had the contract at the time so most new barrels in the supply system were theirs. In any case, barrels were closely inspected and hand selected by the Army MTU for use on XM-21s, so a number of SAK parts seemed to have passed the tests. BTW, "Hook" Boutin was the man in charge of the XM-21 builds at that time, and he still builds rifles... who knows for how much longer.

There is another manufacturer of standard weight USGI NM barrels not mentioned yet, that is SGW (The old Schuetzen Gun Works.) I discussed this at some length with Different on this board a few years ago, and this is the best information we have to date.

SGW won a contract to make NM barrels, but they got hosed by their steel supplier. Some (not all) of the steel supplied to SGW for the barrels did not meet specs. Some number of the SGW NM barrels blew up in service. All of the SGW barrels were recalled and removed from USGI rifles.

Possibly due to the bad publicity, SGW changed their name to Olympic Arms (still in business today.) Sitting on a large pile of recalled barrels, Olympic Arms did their own hardness tests on the steel. The barrels that passed the tests had the SGW markings ground off the barrels and were restamped OLY in the same location. There are surplus OLY NM barrels floating around on the market, and in theory they have been hardness tested and are safe. There are also, rarely, NM barrels still marked SGW on the market. I would seriously beware of those, they either failed the hardness tests or were never tested.
 
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