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I have in my position an early SEI forged receiver. So I'm told? Can someone here on this forum Tell me what year the forged receiverd were produced? And what serial numbers would they be? Thanks Dan
 

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SEI produced milled barstock receivers only to the best of my knowledge.

Your best bet to get accurate info on you receiver would be to contact SEI directley.
 

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SEI produced milled barstock receivers only to the best of my knowledge.

Your best bet to get accurate info on you receiver would be to contact SEI directley.
Smith Enterprise, Inc. has manufactured billet machined and investment cast M14 receivers. The billet machined receivers are marked FORGED USA on the operating rod rail.
 

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Smith Enterprise, Inc. has manufactured billet machined and investment cast M14 receivers. The billet machined receivers are marked FORGED USA on the operating rod rail.
Is that true for all of the billet receivers? I seem to remember from some years ago that some billet receivers weren't marked FORGED USA. I had an early billet receiver and a later investment cast receiver that had a recoil lug welded to it. The cast receiver came in a very light gray finish. I wasn't sure if it was thin park or the way the bare steel looked after heat treating and maybe bead blasted. It was much lighter in color than the heavy dark finish on the billet receiver which didn't have a recoil lug.
 

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Ron Smith told me all the billet machined receivers were marked FORGED USA. I take him at his word but I've also never seen any receiver that contradicts that. This may be of help as well, from M114 Rifle History and Development Fifth Edition:

"There is a pronounced difference in the shape of the receiver heel between the Smith Enterprise (and Armscorp of America) billet machined and Smith Enterprise investment cast receivers. The billet machined receivers have almost square heel corners whereas the investment cast receiver heel corners are rounded. Smith Enterprise machined more than 300 semi-automatic M14 receivers from plasma cut plate steel. These receivers were marked FORGED USA because the company believed it was a simple, but not exaggerated, way to state the receiver quality. Smith Enterprise semi-automatic M14 receivers were finished with a phosphate coating until somewhere around serial number 002000. From that point forward, pre-’94 ban receivers had nitrocarburizing treatment which left a black color finish. Investment cast receivers above serial number 002000 had additional finish machining that made them nearly indistinguishable from the billet machined receivers."
 

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My earliest Smith was from 1979. I think it was 79, it could have been early 80's but I seem to remember it being 1979. It was sold as a forged receiver. Then around 1991, when Smith was going through the whole "Western Ordnance" deal, I ordered another receiver. Smith told me something like 6 months for a no lug, 8 months for a single lug and 12 months for a double lug. He also tried to sell me a new Garand muzzle brake for some reason. I ordered a single receiver at that time. That's when I received the cast receiver. It looked like it was in the white, with a very light gray color to the steel. If there was something on the steel it was very thin. I could tell it was a cast receiver and was later told by Smith it was a cast receiver. I compared it with a Springfield M!A receiver The Springfield had more metal around the radii inside the receiver. I think the casting molds must fill better shaped like the that. The Smith receiver may have had those areas machined down to mimic the milled receivers. I did talk to somebody about 10 years ago that claimed to have worked for Smith. That might have been who told me that not all of the billet receivers were stamped FORGED USA.
 

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Agreed, Springfield Armory, Inc. M1A receivers are beefier behind the magazine well than Smith Enterprise, Inc. M-14 receivers. As you mentioned, you can see the difference by looking on the underside of the receiver. Zinc phosphate coating will give the M14 receiver a lighter gray color. Manganese phosphate leaves a charcoal color on the steel.

In 1987, Creedmoor Armory (Oceanside, CA) was the first distributor of billet machined Smith Enterprise, Inc. M-14 receivers. Jim Hill, then owner of Creedmoor Armory, purchased twenty Smith Enterprise, Inc. billet machined receivers. These receivers had serial numbers in the single and double digits. Creedmoor Armory was established in 1979 to make shooting jackets and firearms accessories available to the competitive shooter. About 1990, Mr. Hill sold Creedmoor Armory to two gentlemen who renamed the business Creedmoor Sports. Mr. Hill moved to Illinois. He went on to become the National Matches Highpower Match Director at Camp Perry from 1992 to 2007.

In the late 1980s, Smith Enterprise manufactured twenty to thirty M-14 NM rifles for Creedmoor Armory. The firm did all of the barrel machining as well on these rifles using Obermeyer, Douglas and Krieger rifled barrel blanks. These rifles were assembled with bedded McMillan stocks finished with a spackled brown custom paint by Helen Smith at Smith Enterprise, Inc. Before shipment to Creedmoor Armory, each rifle was test fired at the Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club (Mesa, AZ). I have a photo of Helen Smith with one of these rifles, circa 1988, on my web site. Mo DeFina (Mo’s Competitor Supply) also purchased twenty of the billet machined receivers with serial numbers below 00100.

This information comes from Ron Smith, Art Luppino, Jim Hill, and history on Creedmoor Armory. Information from Tom Buss, Karl Maunz, Valley Ordnance employees, and documents related to the history of other manufacturers (Armscorp, Federal Ordnance, A R Sales, National Ordnance, et al) support the timeline above. In 1979, Springfield Armory, Inc. (Valley Ordnance in Wilkes-Barre, PA) was the only M14 receiver manufacturer in existence. Also, at that time there was a dearth of USGI M14 parts in the commercial market. There was not much incentive to make M14 receivers until USGI M14 parts were imported back into the United States about 1985.
 

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I think the law was changed in 1986 that allowed importing the parts. I had thought Armscorp started selling M-14's in 1986 but Jack Friese told me they sold M-14's since 1984 but I'm not sure that's accurate. I didn't see theirs until 86 or 87.
 

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Aside from the FORGED marking, is there any definitive feature that can be used to tell the "forged" receivers from the investment cast?

The bottom receiver pictured in the link below is marked FORGED and the middle receiver is investment cast. The top receiver is not marked forged, but to my eye has features more similar to the bottom receiver.

http://m14forum.com/m14/97117-older-smith-ent-receiver-markings.html#post675770

Thanks,
Cass
 

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Aside from the FORGED marking, is there any definitive feature that can be used to tell the "forged" receivers from the investment cast?

The bottom receiver pictured in the link below is marked FORGED and the middle receiver is investment cast. The top receiver is not marked forged, but to my eye has features more similar to the bottom receiver.

http://m14forum.com/m14/97117-older-smith-ent-receiver-markings.html#post675770

Thanks,
Cass
AFAIK, the shape of the heel corners and the FORGED USA marking, or lack thereof, are the telltale signs. There may be another way to tell a billet machined SEI receiver from an investment cast SEI receiver but I'm not aware of it. I agree, the receiver heel corners in the three photos linked above are shaped differently from one another. IMO, serial number 001640 looks like an investment cast receiver.
 

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I think the law was changed in 1986 that allowed importing the parts. I had thought Armscorp started selling M-14's in 1986 but Jack Friese told me they sold M-14's since 1984 but I'm not sure that's accurate. I didn't see theirs until 86 or 87.
John, you're likely thinking of the appeal filed by Blue Sky Productions (Arlington, VA) when the M1 Garands and Carbines being brought back from South Korea were seized by U. S. Customs. The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 that was updated in December 1987 to allow U. S. surplus arms to come back into the United States.

The best information I have is that Jack Friese was able to import some 1,000 or so USGI M14 parts kits (from Israel, Canada or the UK?) about 1985. These parts kits were used to assemble complete rifles using H&R Guns Co. SEMI-AUTO M14 receivers manufactured by Smith Manufacturing Co. (Toledo, OH). I've been over this timeline with Karl Maunz a number of times. Walt Kuleck, retired from Fulton Armory, agreed that the H&R Gun Co. receivers were pre-1987 vintage. Jack Friese did have a lot of overseas contacts from his previous employment with Winchester.

You're correct on the Armscorp issue. It was not a clean and easy start for Armscorp of America. Smith Manufacturing Co. (Toledo, OH) manufactured the very first Armscorp receivers about 1986. Smith Enterprise, Inc. (then Mesa, AZ) supplied Smith Enterprise, Inc. marked receivers to Armscorp of America in 1986 as well so Armscorp could assemble and sell complete rifles (Soldier of Fortune June 1986 and Shotgun News August 20, 1986).

I've seen the purchase order dated June 22, 1987 and signed by Jack Friese, one of the two owners of Armscorp of America, Inc., for 1,000 semi-automatic M14 receiver castings to be supplied by Karl Maunz. Mr. Maunz had a receiver die and I've seen it and photographed it. That deal fell through so Jack Friese bought the equipment needed to cast semi-automatic M14 receivers from Smith Enterprise, Inc. (then Mesa, AZ) about 1988. Armscorp of America was manufacturing its own investment cast receivers by no later than mid-1988.
 

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AFAIK, the shape of the heel corners and the FORGED USA marking, or lack thereof, are the telltale signs. There may be another way to tell a billet machined SEI receiver from an investment cast SEI receiver but I'm not aware of it. I agree, the receiver heel corners in the three photos linked above are shaped differently from one another. IMO, serial number 001640 looks like an investment cast receiver.
I see what you mean on the corners. I was looking more at the sharpness of the edges and the smoothness of the finish. I'll compare them in more detail when I get a chance.

Thanks,
Cass
 
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