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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some info for an obscure ‘M14 M' or 'M14 modified’ rifle that was tested in 1959-60 as the replacement for the canceled M15 squad automatic rifle, but was never fully embraced as a squad automatic rifle due to controllability issues in full-auto mode.

(On edit: the military seems to have used these select-fire “M14 modified” with M2 bipods in the early 1960s. However, it seems the US Army subsequently focused on the development of the pistol-grip stock of the M14E2/M14A1, which was tested and adopted as the U.S. Army squad automatic weapon circa 1963/66):

"COMFIRMATORY TEST OF PRODUCTION MODEL RIFLE, 7.62MM, M14," 23 October 1959, (USAIB). Excerpt:
"...a. Evaluation and service tests of a number of different type rifles including the Rifles, 7.62mm, T44E4, and T44E5 were conducted by this Board in 1956 (ref 2 and 3, Annex D). These tests revealed that in general the T44 rifle system was more suitable for Army use than the other types tested. In May 1957 the T44E4 and T44E5 rifles were adopted by DA as the standard, rifle and automatic rifle respectively. The T44 was standardized as the M14 and the T44E5 was standardized as the M15 rifle. The test rifle is the production model M14 rifle modified to correct previously reported deficiencies. In 1959 this Board determined that the M14 rifle with a hinged butt plate, slotted handguard, and detachable bipod was suitable as an automatic rifle and recommended that it replace the M15 rifle (ref 6, Annex D)."
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As seen in Frank Iannamico's neat book. The U.S. M14 Rifle: The Last Steel Warrior (2018), pg 126:
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So here's my quick mock-up replica of an M14 Modified using my early SA NM M14 as the base rifle (top). On the bottom is my T44E4 replica which is very similar to the early M14s circa 1959-60:
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Early M2 bipod (circa late 1959-61), that lacks the front swivel of the later M2 bipods (circa 1963):
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Comparison of the original M14 configuration versus the informal “M14 modified" that was designed to fulfill the Browning BAR/ squad automatic rifle role with M2 bipod, ventilated handguard, hinged buttplate stock, and selector switch. However, upon further testing, even with the bipod, it was simply not controllable or accurate enough in full-auto fire, so a new stock was subsequently designed. (On edit: In the early 1960s the USMC did issue some “modified” M14s with M2 bipods and select fire switch, as noted in a 1964 USMC manual. See posts #3 and 7).
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for sharing that book. That’s definitely the “M14 modified” for a squad automatic rifle. I’ll defer to others re the USMC and what they used in the 1960-1964 era re M14s, but the US Army seems to have bypassed the M14 modified and subsequently developed the M14E2 by 1963, becoming the M14A1 in 1966. Iannamico’s book doesn’t discuss the USMC utilization of the M14 modified, but clearly some were issued per that 1964 manual.

BTW, can you provide Pics of page 463, and any page that seems to show differences between the regular M14 and the version with the M2 bipod?
 

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NOTE: "M14 (Modified)" is not an official designation, but an unofficial description, shorten from M14 Rifle, modified for the Automatic Rifle Role. As far as the supply system, or any hand receipts, they were just "M14s".

Very nice example of the "final" pattern M14 (Modified)

The first pattern is probably unobtainium these days as the first type plastic handguards, the Type II (bayonet lug mounted) bipod and aluminum magazine are pretty rare.

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
In R. Blake Stephens excellent book on the M14, he includes this picture and caption as the opening page to his chapter on the M14E2/M14A1:
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Fwiw, in Frank Iannamico’s chapter on the M14E2/A1, he began with this page on the history of the “M14 (M)”. He gives the impression that a USMC officer sort-of nixed the M15 rifle with his suggestion to instead adopt a “modified” M14 with the M2 bipod. Based on the 1964 USMC manual, they did apparently use some in the early 1960s.
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…just some random info re the somewhat obscure “M14 (Modified)” rifle circa 1959 to early 1960s.
 

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Thanks for sharing that book. That’s definitely the “M14 modified” for a squad automatic rifle. I’ll defer to others re the USMC and what they used in the 1960-1964 era re M14s, but the US Army seems to have bypassed the M14 modified and subsequently developed the M14E2 by 1963, becoming the M14A1 in 1966. Iannamico’s book doesn’t discuss the USMC utilization of the M14 modified, but clearly some were issued per that 1964 manual.

BTW, can you provide Pics of page 463, and any page that seems to show differences between the regular M14 and the version with the M2 bipod?
The Marine Corps never used the M14A1 or M14E2, they went with the M60. At least that’s what my dad always told me, him being a Marine Corps Vietnam vet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Yes, I get the impression that the M14A1 was indeed a US Army fielded weapon. However, Art (nf1e) was in the USMC and deployed to Vietnam about the same era as your father, and has noted that he went through weapons training/familiarization process which included the M14A1 rifle. (I don't recall if that was stateside, or in Vietnam). I do recall that he noted that the instructor/officer(?) remarked that the stock was shaped like a "paddle oar" or something like that - and 50 plus years later, Art still refers to that stock as a "paddle oar." So, somewhere along the line he saw or handled an M14A1 as a young Marine, but I'll let him chime-in re the specific history.... That's just my impression.

Here’s what Lee Emerson’s book states re the USMC (Vol 1, page 106). I’m guessing the USMC Automatic Rifleman circa 1961-196x? was issued the M2 bipod and as such used the “M14 modified” with the selector switch. (No mention of the M14E2/M14A1 in his book)
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…and here’s what Lee Emerson wrote regarding the US Army and squad automatic M14s:
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...That's all I know re this arcane topic.
 

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The buttplate is also a little different. Looks like the checkering goes all the way to the top near the hinge . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Yes, the year 1959 saw a fair amount of experimentation to figure out how to make the M14 a more effective full-auto squad automatic rifle. Three different bipods tested (two attached to flash hider, and one attached to gas cylinder), a couple of different hinged buttplates (as seen and noted re checkering), two or three different fiberglass/plastic handguards to replace the original wooden part...and the M15 rifle was canceled altogether in late 1959, etc.

My reading is that the "M14 (modified)" was a short-lived stop-gap effort until the M14E2/M14A1 was developed, but by early 1963 McNamara had formally canceled the M14 rifle program altogether, so the M14A1 was relegated to the history books, while the heavy-duty M60 general purpose machine gun soldiered on in Vietnam and beyond, as the de facto squad automatic weapon in 7.62 NATO...
 

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The buttplate is also a little different. Looks like the checkering goes all the way to the top near the hinge . . .
Look at the date on the photo - 1959, very early proto-type.

Not the best pictures, but the you can get an idea of the variations :

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The Type C has three rows of slotted vents, one row on top and one row on each side, evenly spaced; the Type C modified has the top row removed, as heat wave from the center row interfere with sighting, and the remaining two rows moved up slightly so as to go the full length of the hand guard, but leaving the top closed.

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The Type I bipod has no height adjustment and cannot be folded back along the barrel, The Type II has three adjustments for height, and can be fold back along the barrel. Both attach the the bayonet lug. The M15 bipod was used as a control.

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There was only one proto-type hinged buttplate, shown a few posts earlier, these were evaluated with the standard M15 buttplate as a control.
 

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Yes, I get the impression that the M14A1 was indeed a US Army fielded weapon. However, Art (nf1e) was in the USMC and deployed to Vietnam about the same era as your father, and has noted that he went through weapons training/familiarization process which included the M14A1 rifle. (I don't recall if that was stateside, or in Vietnam). I do recall that he noted that the instructor/officer(?) remarked that the stock was shaped like a "paddle oar" or something like that - and 50 plus years later, Art still refers to that stock as a "paddle oar." So, somewhere along the line he saw or handled an M14A1 as a young Marine, but I'll let him chime-in re the specific history.... That's just my impression.

Here’s what Lee Emerson’s book states re the USMC (Vol 1, page 106). I’m guessing the USMC Automatic Rifleman circa 1961-196x? was issued the M2 bipod and as such used the “M14 modified” with the selector switch. (No mention of the M14E2/M14A1 in his book)
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…and here’s what Lee Emerson wrote regarding the US Army and squad automatic M14s:
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...That's all I know re this arcane topic.
Weapons familiarization was an ongoing thing in Vietnam. Not only did we have a chance to handle and fire the E2 but also the AK-47, SKS, M1 Carbine and a raft of others. We like to be prepared for any possible eventuality. Was my choice to attend when the Korean Marines were also there.
Yes, we were shown how to install the selector though I don't think anyone I knew made that choice. That's the nice thing about being a Marine. We were actually taught marksmanship so there was no need to waste ammunition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Weapons familiarization was an ongoing thing in Vietnam. Not only did we have a chance to handle and fire the E2 but also the AK-47, SKS, M1 Carbine and a raft of others. We like to be prepared for any possible eventuality
That reminds of an old article regarding improvised M14A1 sniper rifles used back in 1967: “Snipers in Vietnam Also Need Firepower,” by Louis A. Garavaglia, American Rifleman, January 1968, pages 18-19:

(excerpt)
...“During my Vietnam tour of duty as a first lieutenant with the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Company of the 4th Division, U.S. Army, a sniper detachment was made an organic part of our unit. All who volunteered for this had firearms knowledge and experience before entering the Army.

The detachment was divided into 3-man teams which usually operated at considerable distances from conventional troop units. If spotted and attacked while moving to or from an objective, the team was on its own. Its survival dependent on being able to deliver ample firepower.

At first the sniper detachment had no standardized Table of Organization and Equipment and so we had plenty of latitude in our choice of weapons. This let us intensively range test the Winchester 70 and Remington Model 700, the scoped bolt actions used by Marine snipers, and compare them with the M14, M16A1, and 3 versions of the Russian AK-47 Assault Rifle.

Our area of operations, the Central Highlands, ran the gamut from very dense to very sparse vegetation. The bolt actions would have been ideal for the 800-to 1000-meter shots the later areas afforded, but they couldn’t deliver the volume punch the 3-man teams needed to fight their way out of jungle ambushes.

The M16A1 functioned well when kept cleaned and lubricated properly, and had the added advantage of light-weight ammunition; the AK-47s scored high in ruggedness and the capacity to function even with deteriorated ammunition. But we finally settled on a modified version of the M14."

***

(My note: The author of that 1968 article is pictured here on the right with a captured Czech Model 58 Assault rifle, so I suspect that may have been one of the three AK-47 variants his unit tested. His fellow officer on the left appears to be wearing a commercial Colt Python 4" revolver...). It does seem a lot of weapon familiarization apparently went on in Vietnam..
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Only color picture I have seen from the Vietnam war showing a US Army Automatic Rifleman with an "M14 (M)" or "M14 modified". From the book, 'US Infantry Vietnam,' by Kevin Lyles (1996). Note M14 rifle on the far right, circa Oct 1965. Its has the M2 bipod and a selector switch.
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