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This is an on going project and information is subject to change as further research is conducted.

I’m sure this topic has been beat to death by Black Hawk Down fan boys
and others paying their respects to the Medal of Honor recipient…. But
I’d like to bring it up again.

I had a chance to speak with Johnny Strong, the man who played SFC
Randy Shughart in the 2001 movie Black Hawk Down. He shared a few
details that he learned about Randy and also a picture from the set
(shown below). I didn’t see the picture anywhere else on the forum
here, so I figured it would be nice to share for anyone who wants to
build a replica of the M14 used in the movie.



I watched the film myself when it first came out. I was only 9 years
old, but the story had an impact on my life. A few years later I read
through the book. It opened my eyes to what service members endure
and live for, and although it would be another decade before I
enlisted, it planted the desire in me to serve. I was particularly
drawn to the story of Randy and his team leader, MSG Gary Gordon. I
don’t care who you are, watching two men volunteer to risk
their lives to save others will move you. Randy’s rifle, the M14,
stuck with me for years and was my dream rifle. After returning from
my last deployment, I decided to buy an M1A and outfit it similar to
his. I knew nothing about them and chose the SOCOM 16 because of the
short barrel (I’m a short guy and never liked hauling around long
barreled weapons). Using this picture as reference, I tried to
replicate the movie’s M14:



That was the best photo I could find at the time. Due to my limited
knowledge, all I gathered from that photo was USGI stock, striped
camo, and Aimpoint optic. I ended up with this:



I thought it was close enough to the movie prop, but as I learned more
I realized how much I missed. The scope mount is an ARMS 18 split
rail instead of a full rail, the barrel should have been a full length
22”, and I had never paid any attention to the M1907 leather sling.
Now, most people wouldn’t care about the small details. If you take
any M14 and add a red dot, it instantly becomes cool and pretty
accurate. Not much more to be done after that. But for me, this was
the rifle of choice for a childhood hero.
I wanted to honor him, and I wanted to do it by recreating the rifle
he used on his final mission. I had no idea how much time,
money, and effort this project would demand.


USGI M14

The first task was collecting USGI parts. Randy used a government
issued rifle, and if I was to recreate it then I needed to use the
correct parts. I chose Winchester because it is a famous name in
American firearm history. I could have stuck to using only marked
Winchester parts, but I felt that was cutting corners on a project
that meant a lot to me. Instead, I found almost ALL Winchester parts
new in wrapper, new from wrapper, or lightly used. A total of 30
Winchester specific parts were used to build this M14.



Scope Mount

The scope mount was a tough one. The movie Black Hawk Down and the
displays at the Special Forces museum in North Carolina showed the
ARMS 18 split rail mount. Shortly after purchasing one, I discovered
some information that opposed those two sources. I learned there was
a brief spat between ARMS and Brookfield Precision Tool. Army Special
Forces preferred the BPT scope mount due to issues with the ARMS 18.
In the end, Army SF wanted BPT mounts and that is what they got. I
found a BPT scope mount, sold the ARMS 18, and never looked back.



The Aimpoint

I thought the scope mount was going to be the hardest part. Little
did I know, the optic would take that title. For starters, Randy
did not use a traditional scope that day. His mission was to
provide aerial sniper support, and using a red dot optic
made that mission a lot easier. Also, the Aimpoints used in the movie
Black Hawk Down did not exist in 1993. I narrowed the
optics used down to the Aimpoint 3000 and 5000. After finding both optics new in box and comparing them to photos of Delta from Mogadishu, I came to my conclusion that the
Aimpoint 5000 was the most likely optic used by Randy.




The Paint Job

Believe it or not, the Army frowned upon soldiers painting their
weapons in the 90s, even Special Forces. Snipers, however, were an
exception. You will not find pictures of Delta with painted rifles in
Mogadishu. However, it is believed that Randy and Gordy (Delta
Snipers) had their weapon systems painted. I wanted to make an M14
completely unique from what we typically see when viewing Black Hawk
Down clones, so I asked the owner of Blown Deadline, a cerakote
business, to view images of Mogadishu and custom paint a desert
camouflage to match. To further dedicate this rifle to Randy, I also
requested that he place the Delta Airborne patch on the stock.


The Sling

The sling was simple to identify, but hard to find! Randy used a
government issued M1907 leather sling on his M14.



The Tribute

Here is the final result. I am still waiting on my display case and another plaque to arrive. Will update with those pictures when they do. The second plaque is dedicated to the task force and gives credit where it is due.








Special thanks to Dale Axline, Peter Bray, Brian Briggs, Cameron
Culliver, Corey Jarque, Chad Logan, Joe Lucero, Brian Scott, and Stan
Willis for their help with this project. Also, a big thank you
to the M14 community for all the information shared, parts located,
and support during tough times!



http://s148.photobucket.com/user/ranger619_bucket/media/Mobile Uploads/73FEFE34-6368-43AF-A66F-8972D23410F4_zpso1lcdsqb.jpg.html

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Fun build.

Going to get in on JRA's M14 receiver group buy to get it started??
I do need to look into that. I seen the link earlier, but my hands are TIED with the wife until we get our tax returns. She keeps me on a financial leash (thank God).
 

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9 years old??? Please, someone tell me I am not that old! SMH :(

I think your rifle is pretty cool.

I am interested in any pics of specifically DELTA using M14s but I doubt there is enough available to start a new thread.

I wonder if there is any info out there about WHY Randall chose that weapon....doubt there is but I am still curious.
 

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Nice looking rifle. In all of the movie shots you've posted, the rifles got a Comp M4 with the battery compartment/switch in the high right position. I've got one of those. Unless I'm not seeing it in the picture of the actual rifle, I don't see the high right switch, or a low right switch. As far as I know thats the only two options for the M4. The actual rifle might have been running some other Aimpoint (or something else) mounted. I'd be interested to know which it is, any idea's ?
 

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USSF06, You built up a very nice rifle. The sling is a 1907 sling and I recommend buying one of the leather NM 50" slings from Gunny Richard Turner at Turner Saddlery (http://www.turnersling.com/). He often has seconds for sale and to be honest they look great. I do not recommend pulling your rifle in and out of the stock. That eventually results in a looser receiver to stock fit and that, in turn, reduces accuracy. Rick
 

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Very nice setup!! If you really want to be 1993 accurate. The Aimpoint should be a Comp model. Just straight Comp no numbers, It was introduced in 1991. It was designed as a pistol dot. But it works well on rifles as well.GI2
 

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No telling what the real SFC Shughart had. Don't remember any details in the book about the rifle, but its been a while.

Since there are no left-hand shots of the M14 in the movie, there is only speculation. My SWAG would be a split-rail mount with the rear rail portion cut off. From the pics, it appears there is only a single-point contact.

For the Somolli operation, a 16" bbl. would have been ideal for ground work, but the sniper unit was airborne and needed the range of a 22". Was the SOCOM even around back then?

Fun thread.
 

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Thanks for sharing your knowledge 3Gunnah. I would never have thought of the possibility of the optic being an erlier discontinued model.
 

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The aimpoint comp m from the movie is incorrect. The model was not available until several years later. The aimpoint most likely used was probably an aimpoint 3000 or 5000.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am interested in any pics of specifically DELTA using M14s but I doubt there is enough available to start a new thread.

I wonder if there is any info out there about WHY Randall chose that weapon....doubt there is but I am still curious.
Randall's mission was to provide aerial sniper support. A semi-auto, 7.62 NATO rifle sounds perfectly fitting to me GI1 I have seen pictures of Special Forces in Somalia, and the soldiers were carrying G3 rifles! I cant confirm they were Delta, though.

No telling what the real SFC Shughart had. Don't remember any details in the book about the rifle, but its been a while.

Since there are no left-hand shots of the M14 in the movie, there is only speculation. My SWAG would be a split-rail mount with the rear rail portion cut off. From the pics, it appears there is only a single-point contact.

For the Somolli operation, a 16" bbl. would have been ideal for ground work, but the sniper unit was airborne and needed the range of a 22". Was the SOCOM even around back then?

Fun thread.
This is untrue. A lot (probably ALL) of the Delta soldiers knew about Randall's M14. In the book, several of them referenced his M14 when talking about how poor their M4s (CAR15s in the book) were with knock down power. I'd wager the ONLY thing that can't be replicated is his rifle's camo, but given that it was a simple rattle can, it'd be hard to duplicate. GI1

The sniper team was never meant to be on the ground, so my original thought of "Randall used an M14 for CQB work" was incorrect as pointed out to me by Johnny Strong. He used a red dot because sniping from a helicopter is no easy feat, and the dot made it a bit easier.

The aimpoint comp m from the movie is incorrect. The model was not available until several years later. The aimpoint most likely used was probably an aimpoint 3000 or 5000.
I've seen this topic debated several times and a more definite conclusion was made... you are probably correct, but I'll go back and find the reference.
 

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Funny, at the exact time you were typing the first post in this thread, I was watching Black Hawk Down again on Amazon.

Great thread.
 
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I've actually thought about doing that several times. I never had enough information on the rifle to attempt it. I did learn one thing from this post. The actor and I share the same name. Go figure!USNA
 
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