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· NSR
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Gents,

I was having a discussion with Phil the other evening and we are both concerned about the future of the M-14.

Let's face it. Parts are drying up AND getting very expensive. This leads people to scour gun shows for older rifles...purchasing them and breaking them down for parts and receivers to get more money. This points to the problem. Parts, especially QUALITY parts, are drying up. No one seems interested in producing USGI quality parts and that includes Bula Forge. LRB IS producing bolts and receivers, but it ends there.

So, no parts produced means no rifles being produced. I know Springfield is producing some, but I question their "commercial" quality. Also, they sell guns, not parts. In short, we will be critically short of parts very soon.

What is needed is to have LRB, Bula, or ??? someone stand up to the plate and produce parts. Frankly, Bula doesn't seem interested any more, but they are the logical choice as they HAVE produced quality parts in the past.

Does anyone have a solution that I'm not aware of ?

Hey, I'm older and have my M-14's, but that's not the point. Saying "I've got mine" and screw everyone else is hardly a charitable solution.

What is needed is something that will solve the issue and lead to the long term solution. Perhaps, Art, Lou, or TonyBen want to chime in here. Perhaps they have an answer.

Your thoughts and solutions are solicited...

Wes
 

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Bula is producing receivers and parts constantly but they are only, at this time, putting them in their own rifles for market. Keeps them busy building Bula Defense Systems rifles along with the current contracts for supplying some USGI M14 parts to our government. I totally agree a source for everyone would be wonderful. Whatta Hobby!
 

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Some food for thought...

There are over 1/2 million Springfield Armory M1A's floating around, with more being made every day.

About 120k of them have some degree of USGI parts.

During the last 3-1/2 decades of using such rifles, the only parts I have seen wear out or break were USGI.

As for making current production parts available to the public, it's Catch-22. Many parts on the M14 rifle need to be fitted. Manufacturers want to fit the parts in house, so they can't be blamed by the DIY crowd if things don't fit.
 

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I just checked Gunbroker and there are roughly 375 M1A's (all flavors) listed for sale. The vast majority are Springfield Armory as one would expect.

Doesn't that suggest supply > demand?

I used to own a full auto FNC. Parts are literally unobtainable. I bought a $3K mint semiauto FNC just to have a 'complete parts kit'. Bolts can break and you would spend years trying to find one in the wild so this was my best option.

After sitting in the safe for 5 years I sold both as I decided I didn't want that headache and have other similar toys.

Compared to this, M14 parts are plentiful and NOS parts FS seem to come up quite frequently.
 

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The M-14 will always be a special rifle and never a production AR. That means challenges for the manufacturer and will drive up prices over time. I think the path the Bula has taken is the path of the future with completed rifles being the likely path forward. I do like my Bula. It has a special place because of the M-14 I was issued. I doubt that most buyers of AR-10s would be looking at the M-14 as an equivalent. The market will be the driver.
 

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It boils down to a shortage of qualified individuals who know the inner workings of M14's and who care enough about quality and attention to detail. Once you find these people, you still have to pay them.

CNC machines can only do so much. Who will do post-CNC de-burring and polishing? Who will do final dimension checks? Who will make sure op-rods are properly soldered? Who will do post heat treat straightness checks? What machinist or worker performing these tasks actually cares about the job they're doing? Who's going to give this individual a steady paycheck and provide benefits?

Steel is also hard to get. Barrel makers are abandoning or putting M14 barrels on the backburner. Kreiger won't make ANY gas gun barrels until about 2024! I can say Lothar-Walther is stepping up and should have US-made barrels available in early 2023.

Satern has a limited supply of barrels with some batches coming. This is a recent rare occurrence for them. I've never actually seen them stock M14 barrels in the past. It was usually a 2 year wait.

Criterion just shipped a batch of barrels to Lou, but I don't know how long before they stock others like Fulton. My last e-mail from August said they're next batch would be in early 2023.

Bula and SAI may have barrels but I haven't checked their inventories lately.

A lot of shops are making due with steel they had pre-covid.

I just bought carbide threading tools (60˚ and ACME) and am considering learning how to finish M14 rough barrels. I still need a dividing head for milling barrel splines and a pre-chamber cutting tool before I can practice that task. My lathe can handle thread cuts and pre-chamber cuts, but I wouldn't want to do full barrel contouring. I'd need a bigger lathe for that.

Interesting challenges, for sure.

Tony.
 

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The military is already scaling back, and no longer procuring spares, just relying on stock on hand and reducing the end-item inventory.
[/QUOTE]

I think that if you check, you will find that the govt is still procuring parts and barrels for the M14. Bula Defense Systems happens to be one of the current suppliers.
 

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The last buy of operating rods was in 2007, for 400.

The last buy of pistons was in 2016, for 600.

Bolts - 2012, 113

Firing pins - 2017, 297

The last time the USMC bought barrels was in 2011, and bought 19 for $1,140.00 each.

Those few parts that are being bought are being bought in low quantity buys, with long intervals in between, and therefore rather expensive, the Army paid $575.00 for those operating rods
 

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So, no parts produced means no rifles being produced. I know Springfield is producing some, but I question their "commercial" quality. Also, they sell guns, not parts. In short, we will be critically short of parts very soon.

What is needed is to have LRB, Bula, or ??? someone stand up to the plate and produce parts. Frankly, Bula doesn't seem interested any more, but they are the logical choice as they HAVE produced quality parts in the past.
Honestly, based on rising prices of M14 parts for the past 5 plus years, there is already a shortage. Nice USGI trigger groups and bolts bring $300 each, and an op rod brings $250. These prices are now twice (or more) the price of the very similar M1 Garand parts, which of course many more were made than M14s. For many years CMP supplied the surplus M14 parts for the niche builders like LRB and Fulton, but those M14 parts kits are mostly a thing of the past, with some of the latest kits sold by commercial firms circa 2019-20 lacking key parts like bolts and gas cylinders. That supply is about dry.

Regarding LRB, they do the forgings for their receivers and bolts - but all the machining and heat treatment is contracted out to separate entities, and they only do tiny batches of a few dozen receivers at a time due to low demand and the fact that their machine shop subcontractor will likely only do small batches of machine work at at time. Why? Low demand = low volume, and it seems they will only machine those receivers and bolts for Lou about once per year, if that. So, LRB doesn't sell nearly enough rifles to make all the small parts required - they have no economies of scale.

The one and only manufacturer with enough sales volume and hence economies of scale to make all the various parts is SAI. However, for the past few years - they are diversifying their product line and moving away from the M1A (no more NM or Supermatch M1As, no more M21 Tactical Match rifles, and certainly no more high-end rifles like the M25 White Feather they last made a decade ago). I think that is why Krieger barrels and McMillan stocks is cutting back on making M14 related parts - they likely lost their best customer when SAI discontinued their high-end M1As.

My pet theory is one of SAI's prime subcontractors is over in Taiwan (Wayne Machine?) and the only reason they can afford to make all those commercial M14 parts is that they still have the tooling and fixtures from old M14/Type 57 Taiwanese military contracts. Those Type 57 military rifles were made from 1969 to about 1980, and I think leveraging that old machinery is why SAI has been able to make affordable M1A/M14 pattern rifles for the past 40 years. No one else can likely support such a niche rifle without a huge investment in all the manufacturing processes, tooling/machines, and related specialized fixtures...so that's my theory re SAI's success over the decades.

So, unless someone has a military contract to make a large volume of M14 rifles or parts (which is not going to happen for a 60+-year old design that is considered obsolete) - it's just not cost effective to make all the unique steel parts on an M14 type rifle, along w/ all the machining needed and related heat treatment processes that is also required for the critical parts, etc.

To reframe your question: Who will invest several million dollars today - as illustrated in this archival picture from the original Springfield Armory - to re-create what Uncle Sam spent back in the late 1950s-early 1960s? My guess? No one will make such an investment. Sorry to say that, but start-up costs are too high, the manufacturing processes is somewhat complicated relative to modern platforms - and most importantly, consumer demand is just too low...
Font Urban design Parallel Paper Pattern

(Historical note: The three original commercial M14 vendors were expecting to make collectively up to 5 million M14 rifles to replace the M1 Garands on a one-for-one basis, hence their willingness to make huge investments in both tooling/machines and their workforce, but the program was unexpectedly canceled by the DoD in 1963, with only 1.3M rifles actually produced and delivered. Winchester almost went bankrupt after the M14 was canceled, H&R was then given an M16 contract but also suffered financially in the 1970s-80s and eventually went under, and I read that TRW never bid on another gov't firearm solicitation afterwards either. Moreover, various commercial entities that made semi-auto M14 type receivers have also gone under over the past few decades...so its high-risk).

The good news as Kurt noted, is that things on the rifle don't wear out very quickly, aside from barrels, and eventually the gas cylinder, and gas pistons, get worn too. Again, we already live in an era of scarcity regarding M1A receivers and M1A parts, and unless SAI suddenly starts selling complete commercial "parts kits" like CMP did years ago re old USGI M14 parts, this dynamic won't change. (SAI of course won't do that as they are in the business of selling complete M1A rifles, not random parts). Building niche/custom M1A/M14s from a receiver is already an expensive project today, and will likely stay that way into the foreseeable future. That's my 2cts.
 

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Gents,

I was having a discussion with Phil the other evening and we are both concerned about the future of the M-14.

Let's face it. Parts are drying up AND getting very expensive. This leads people to scour gun shows for older rifles...purchasing them and breaking them down for parts and receivers to get more money. This points to the problem. Parts, especially QUALITY parts, are drying up. No one seems interested in producing USGI quality parts and that includes Bula Forge. LRB IS producing bolts and receivers, but it ends there.

So, no parts produced means no rifles being produced. I know Springfield is producing some, but I question their "commercial" quality. Also, they sell guns, not parts. In short, we will be critically short of parts very soon.

What is needed is to have LRB, Bula, or ??? someone stand up to the plate and produce parts. Frankly, Bula doesn't seem interested any more, but they are the logical choice as they HAVE produced quality parts in the past.

Does anyone have a solution that I'm not aware of ?

Hey, I'm older and have my M-14's, but that's not the point. Saying "I've got mine" and screw everyone else is hardly a charitable solution.

What is needed is something that will solve the issue and lead to the long term solution. Perhaps, Art, Lou, or TonyBen want to chime in here. Perhaps they have an answer.

Your thoughts and solutions are solicited...

Wes
You are right. I personally prefer TRW parts and the 7791262 USGI NM barrels. I also have commercial NM barrels that may lack some of the mystic but shoot as well. But an M1A rifle is the sum of the parts Plus the quality of the skilled workmanship that went into properly building that rifle. It is those highly skilled gunsmiths and their knowledge of the M14 platform and our desire for steel and wood that will keep it alive.
 

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Whenever it is very seldom you see a civilian legal M14 at rifle matches it speaks volumes. The rifle is not popular as it once was even though I bought an LRB M14 SA in 2012 for I like the rifle and just wanted another one. Other than receiver, barrel, bolt, it is completed with GI parts and to date, which is some 10 years, only has a round count of just over 800, not used on a regular basis. Firearms of quality are not "parts users" as a rule and personally don't think a quality clone of a military rifle will fall into that category either. I shot trap a fair amount and used my father's Winchester Model 12 which was purchased new in early 50's and total rounds down the barrel is definitely in the many thousands and never broke any part during that time frame, goes "bang" every time. I seriously doubt my LRB will survive that much shooting, but entirely two different firearm platforms and with my current rate of shooting believe the rifle will last me a very long time, perhaps even long enough for my son to inherit after I go "to the big range in the sky."
 

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As mentioned above, it really just boils down to demand and supply. if there's enough demand, there will be a supply to meet it.

The one thing that I can think of that could influence the calculations of ENOUGH demand is the expansion of computer design and controlled machining. It is technically possible nowadays to produce small runs of machined parts that (relative to the past) don't require huge investments in setup time. CAD files of the parts means that the process is repeatable without traditionally skilled manual setup, too. It is possible for a manufacturer to setup and make even a few hundred parts that could meet the per-part price point that once required massive scales of production. A boutique manufacturer can do this on a rotational basis to produce many, many different parts in relatively small quantities while still doing that at a reasonable cost and making a profit.

Another possibility is the production of MIM parts that rely on molds that are durable and can be sold or bought between manufacturers (i.e. durable capital that can be monetized as business needs change). I know that MIM is a bad word in many firearms circles, but it does produce functional and durable parts at much lower costs than traditional forging and machining.

The point being that modern manufacturing technology can shift the ENOUGH demand down in scale to meet relatively small, niche demand while keeping the costs for both the manufacturer and the customer affordable. So, yea, eventually MILSURP parts will dry up and become the purview of the "collector class" of M1A owners while the rest of us "shooters" might still find parts available if we're willing to pay for them and redefine our standards of assessing acceptable quality.
 

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I want to quickly address two perspectives:
During the last 3-1/2 decades of using such rifles, the only parts I have seen wear out or break were USGI.
...versus this perspective:
So, yea, eventually MILSURP parts will dry up and become the purview of the "collector class" of M1A owners while the rest of us "shooters" might still find parts available if we're willing to pay for them and redefine our standards of assessing acceptable quality.
Fwiw, my first M1A was this SAI M21 Tactical Match made in December 2007. I got it in 2009 as a gift. The only three USGI parts that it had was a hammer, trigger, and trigger housing. I subsequently bought one of the M25 "White Feather" adjustable trigger groups, so now the only USGI part on this rifle is now the hammer. That's it - one USGI part, and the rest are commercial parts. Between 2009 and 2021 I shot over 5k rds thru it over those 12 years - so I had SAI install a new Krieger SS heavy replacement barrel on it, as its stellar accuracy had begun to drop-off. I have had zero issues with all its commercial SAI parts, and this rifle has historically been my most accurate M1A as well.

So, for high-volume "shooter" M1As, I think the SAI parts work perfectly well, and may last longer than parts made way back in the 1960s. My kids will inherit this rifle and I suspect it will be used for decades to come, commercial parts and all... So time will tell, but USGI parts are what I use on my replicas of US military rifles for "period correctness," but commercial parts will work for non-replicas. The larger problem as I noted earlier, is that SAI will not likely ever sell complete "parts kits", and they don't really sell receivers now either. To SAI it seems demand is not quite sufficient at this point, or it was creating too many headaches re warranty work.
Air gun Wood Trigger Shotgun Amber


Anyhow, that's my 2cts on the never-ending USGI vs commercial parts topic...(BTW, one could argue that contemporary M1A parts - if made in Taiwan using same machines/processes as originally used for the military Type 57 rifles, and later the civilian SAI M1A rifles - then one could argue they are still more or less mil-spec parts - just not USGI parts. Aside from some bolts that SAI made back in the mid-1980s that were not properly heat treated (which also applied to some USGI bolts back in 1960) and reportedly some problematic unmarked hammers and extractors made in the early 2000s, SAI seems to have produced overall good quality M1A/M14 parts.
 

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I'm not quite sure how anyone came to the conclusion that parts made by Wayne Machine are made on original US government supplied M14 machinery. Most parts supplied over the last 20 years to SAI have been either cast or MIM technology. Earlier SAI reproduction parts were cast and in use from clear back into the late 1970's. Trigger housings and op rods come to mind. I know we supplied machinery to Taiwan for their M14 program, but I have not seen any SAI parts that indicate it were used to support WMI M1A parts production.

LRB Arms could produce more parts, but they are tied into a long term relationship with JVP Machine, who gives them a very low priority. Establishing another company to make their parts would require to much time and a very long learning curve to get QC up to the current level. I've had this conversation with Lou on several occasions. By the way, keep your eye on LRB. Something interesting is in the works, but it won't change this dilemma.

I don't know what to say about Bula Defense. They seem to have cought a lot of flack over their QC and backed off from selling parts. No telling what they have planned.
 

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I know we supplied machinery to Taiwan for their M14 program, but I have not seen any SAI parts that indicate it were used to support WMI M1A parts production.
It's a bit of an enigma, and I don't know enough about the Type 57 rifles and whatever happened to fixtures and other machinery used during military production up through 1980, but I find the plethora of specific M14 small parts made by Wayne Machinery Inc interesting. Given that they make all kinds of spare parts for the Taiwan military, including both small arms parts, M60s, etc, and some artillery parts for 105mm and 155mm canons, and 60mm and 81mm mortar parts, etc, - it gives me the impression that they have the capability to make most parts for the Type 57 rifles except the three major components of the M14: receiver, bolt and barrel (which require specific heat treatment processes as well). I made an assumption based on company profile and parts manufactured, that perhaps they got some of the Type 57 fixtures, and maybe the M14 fiberglass handguard molds, etc. I am not saying the quality of all these parts is stellar, but I suspect SAI likely gets the bulk of small parts from Wayne Industries:

Again its an enigma, but here's a list of Wayne Enterprise M14 products circa 2010:

M14 Blank Fire Attachment
WM0320A/7790929 -- M14 Blank Fire Attachment with Breech Shield Kit M14 Blank Fire Attachment
WM0320A-1沖壓 -- M14 Blank Fire Attachment - Clamp Body(空包彈遮沒器夾板)
M14 Blank Fire Attachment 沖壓模具NT$17,000, 單價NT$13

11010363 -- M14 Elevation Knob 高低齒螺桿總成)
11010359 -- M14 R/F表尺外齒墊圈 M14 Elevation Knob
7267096 -- M14 R/F 照門螺桿(一字盆頭) M14 Elevation Knob
11010362 -- M14 R/F 表尺分度牙盤搓牙及組裝 M14 Elevation Knob
7312732 -- M14 R/F表尺照門彈簧沖製 M14 Elevation Knob
7312727 -- M14 R/F 表尺牙盤墊圈 M14 Elevation Knob
7267097 -- M14 R/F表尺分度牙盤 M14 Elevation Knob
7267098 -- M14 R/F Rear Sight Elevation Knob Pinion (M14表尺高低齒螺桿旋鈕)
7312736 -- M14 Rear Sight Pinion Elevating, (M14高低螺桿車製)
7791053 -- M14 Flash Hider/Suppressor with bayonet lug (防火帽)
11686413 -- Firing Pin, M14 Rifle
7267617 -- M76 Grenade Launcher for M14 Rifle
7267064 -- Operating Rod, M14 Rifle 1005-00-587-8404
7790386 -- M1 Garand/M14 Windage Knob NM M14 Rifle
WM0224A-NM -- Rear Sight Group[NM], M14(M14照門組總成 (NM))
WM0224A-STD -- Rear Sight Group [Standard], M14 M14照門組總成 (Standard))
7791286 -- Fiber Glass Hand Guard, M14 Rifle
7312631 -- Guard, Trigger (M1護弓) M14 Rifle
6008887 -- Spring, M14 Rifle Hammer M14 Rifle 1005-00-600-8887
7790184 -- Guide Catridge Clip, M14 Rifle (彈匣片導体 ) M14 Rifle
M14 Stock Metal Parts
7267089 -- Swivel Assembly Sling, M14 Rifle M14 Stock Metal Parts
7790686 -- Buttplate Assembly, M14 Rifle M14 Stock Metal Parts
7267017 -- Stock Ferrule, M14 Rifle M14 Stock Metal Parts
7267033+7267063 -- Stock Liner and Screws (2ea), M14 Rifle M14 Stock Metal Parts

M14 Trigger Group
WM0223A/7790195 -- M14 Trigger Group including 12 items. M14 Trigger Group
7267080 -- Safety Spring, M14 Rifle (保險彈簧) M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-587-8414
6008883 -- Hammer Spring Housing, M14/M1 Rifle (扳機彈簧套) M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-600-8883
7791367 -- Trigger Pin, M14/M1 Rifle M14 Trigger Group 5315-00-819-4501
5013668 -- Hammer Pin, M1/M14 Rifle M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-501-3668
7267090 -- Trigger and Sear Assembly, M14 Rifle M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-587-8419
6008880 -- Plunger Hammer, M14/M1 Rifle M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-600-8880
5546020 -- Trigger, M14 Rifle 毛胚 M14 Trigger Group
7267032 -- M14/M1 Magazine Latch M14 Trigger Group
5546015 -- Safety, M14/M1 Rifle M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-554-6015
7790990 -- Trigger Guard, M14/M1 RIfle M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-587-6998
7267030 -- Housing Trigger, M14/M1 Rifle M14 Trigger Group
5546008 -- M1 Garand Hammer M14 Trigger Group 1005-00-554-6008

M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7791036 -- M1A Buttplate Wood Screw (托底板木螺絲) M14/M1 Garand Rifle
6008881 -- M1A/M1 Buttplate Machine Screw M14/M1 Garand Rifle 1005-00-600-8881
6008891 -- Stacking Swivel, M1 Garand (架槍環) M14/M1 Garand Rifle 1005-00-600-8891
6008870 -- Rear Hand Guard Band, M14 Rifle(後護木夾箍)

M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7791571 -- M1 GRD/M14 Rear Sight Base NM (NM照門座(64牙)
7791578 -- Extractor Cartridge M1/M14 (拉彈勾)
11010364 -- M1 Gardand/M14 Elevation Pinion Late Style M14/M1 Garand Rifle
6008872/GRD093 -- Rear Sight Cover M1/M14 Rifle (照門座護蓋)
6008618 -- M14 Rifle Plunger Extractor Spring Assembly M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7667454 -- Eyeshield [Caoutchouc] 眼罩
7267047 -- Gas Cylinder Piston, M14 Rifle M14/M1 Garand Rifle
6008868 -- Combat Aperture, M14/M1 Rifle M14/M1 Garand Rifle 1005-00-600-8868
WM0056A/7791607 -- Bolt Tool for Assembly & Disassembly, M14/M1 Rifle M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7791282 -- NM 520 Aperture Assy, M14 Rifle M14/M1 Garand Rifle 11 005-00-864-2928
6528290 -- M14/M1 Housing Trigger (板機架)
M14/M1 Garand Rifle
6008886 -- M14 Rifle Extractor Spring M14/M1 Garand Rifle
6008885 -- Spring Clip Latch (彈匣栓扣彈簧)
M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7790995 -- Lubricant Oiler, M14/M16 Rifle M14/M1 Garand Rifle
5546001 -- Rear Sight Base M14/M1 (照門座32牙)
M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7267959 -- M14 Rifle Ejector Spring M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7267015 -- M14 Rifle Ejector with Spring Assembly M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7790902 -- M14 Rifle Cylinder Gas (瓦斯缸管)
M14/M1 Garand Rifle 1005-00-790-8766
7267041 -- Spring, M14 Rifle Magazine Latch M14/M1 Garand Rifle
7312737 -- Knob, Windage (32牙風向調整螺總成) M14/M1 Garand Rifle
 

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Hmmmm……relying on Taiwan sourced components may not be a viable business model long term given the desires of the CCP. 2022 is not 2010, things change. One statement of undeniable truth set forth above is that no one will invest large sums of money in tooling to produce an obsolete weapon platform, although I do wish that gelicee(sp) would produce more of their MK13 mod 7 USMC triggers…….one brought $5K on gunbroker this last weekend. Seems like I heard that trigger had issues while fielded in the Fleet.
 
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