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Posted: 12/2/2001 10:29:27 PM EDT
Hey guys (& gals),

I would like your thoughts and info on M14s...primarily Norinco/Poly Tech
clones. After having 5 ARs of various makes, I am really interested in
getting an M14 to shoot. I like the idea of having something in 308 to
shoot (although ive never had anything in that cal. before except a crappy 'parts gun' FAL type
gun from Century), would like to have a 'real' battle rifle with some
range, plus my Dad had one when was in the service and I know he would love
to shoot one again.

The thing is, while I consider myself highly knowledgeable on
M16/AR15s & and can do all my own gunsmithing/repairs.....I dont know that much about M14s....Are they very hard to work on?
What tools does a person need?

Another issue is that I am pretty sure I would not be able to afford a
$1000+ Springfield.......so I am looking primarily at the Chinese M14
clones. I see those at shows for about $500 on a regular basis (unless some
other mfg makes them in that price range??). I see a lot of people bad
mouthing Chinese M14s, but I suspect it is a lot of 2nd hand
stories.....with very few first hand knowledge (at least imo). Are these OK
to shoot as they are, or do they really need parts replaced? I know I have
heard the headspace goes gunnybag on em..so what happens then? What does a
person need to do? If I were to go about buying one, what should I look
for as far as wear on the gun and things like that? How hard is it to
install parts that need to be replaced? Also I hear from a lot of people to
buy parts from the CMP, can you do that?

I greatly appreciate any info, either emailed to me direct or posted here.

Also if there is some 'starter' type of book for M14s (besides the GI
manuals), please email me or post here.


Link Posted: 12/3/2001 3:56:06 AM EDT
You need two books
One by Scott Duff and the shop manuals by Jerry Kuhhhausen
My advics is get the ChiCom,Send the receiver and bolt to Ron Smith for heat treat and proper fitting of the bolt and then shoot it.
The barrels are actually pretty good and are chromelined.
When a part wears out replace it with USGI.
I have several M14 types and like them all.
I have a Supermatch,Preban for sale right now
Have fun
Link Posted: 12/3/2001 7:29:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2001 7:23:51 AM EDT by Sukebe]
www.smithenterprise.com click on info then M-14 info. www.fulton-armory.com check out the FAQ's. I have a Poly/U.S.G.I. M-14S, pre 89 ban. Excellent standard grade semi out M-14. If you want the bolt conversion go with Smith Enterprises. Ron Smith modifies the receiver to fit U.S.G.I. bolts and you can keep the Chinese barrel. Fulton modifies one bolt to fit your receiver and they want to sell you a barrel as well. It's been argued that the bolt conversions may not be necessary. I can't say, mine had it when I got it. They have the best receivers available excepting original un cut U.S.G.I..
Link Posted: 12/3/2001 8:11:20 PM EDT
cpermd....where does a person get the books you metioned?

Link Posted: 12/3/2001 8:24:45 PM EDT
Fulton-Armory.com sells the book and has a very good professional opinion on the use of Chinese receivers there too under the M1A FAQ section of the board.

IMNTBHO: If you can afford to buy 5 AR's of various makes then you can afford to wait to get the quality that is a Springfield Armory rifle.

Why bother with receiver and headspace issues when you can just spend an extra $500 and get one right that works like a champion. Heck I've run that much ammo though mine in a year.

The only part I've changed out on mine was the recoil guide rod. The trigger assemblies on the new rifles are cast and can't be tweaked like the older forged ones. The CMP is selling forged M-14 ones for $40 delivered. I bought one last year and one of these days it's going to make it to Fulton for some work.
Link Posted: 12/3/2001 8:53:54 PM EDT
GNR: With a Chinese M14 you are basically buying a receiver (but what a receiver!!!!). If you get one, you will need to replace just about everything on it (except that wonderful receiver).

Chinese M14's are the ONLY receivers which were drop forged like the original receivers made by TRW. Also the Geometry on their receivers is excellent.

Unfortunatley the rifles suffer from excessive headspace, bolts are too soft, etc.

When you get done paying for a gunsmith to rebuild it, it will cost you a little more than what a Springfield Armory M1A will cost you...but you will have a BETTER rifle.

Springfield Armory makes a good rifle. But their receivers are cast, and they have a lot of commercial parts on them.

The CHEAPEST route would be to buy a Springfield Armory Rifle.

Also you will be wanting to ONLY buy USGI mags.

The M14/M1A is a great system. It is not as accurate (at least out to 600 yards..longer ranges are a different story..since the .223 round blows all over the place..even the 75 - 80 grain VLD's..) as the AR15 and a Match Grade M14 Rifle will require more maintenance to keep it shooting well than a Match grade AR15.

(On the other hand: a service grade M16 requires more maintenance and cleaning than a service grade M14).

Tools: definately a Combination tool, a chamber brush and and a cleaning kit. And you will need a guide for the cleaning rod. (you can only clean these rifles from MUZZLE end and flipped over so you don't get solvent running into the gas system).

Oh yeah National Match hood sights are delicate.
If the rifle you get has a bedded action..you will want to remove the rifle from the stock as LITTLE as possible in order to avoid destroying the bedding.

You'll be wanting Scott Duffs M14 Guide and Jerry Kuhnhausens Book on the M14 Rifle.
As well as the US Service Manual for the M14.

That should cover just about everything you might run into on the rifle other than its history.

The rifle is a lot of fun to shoot. I like it over my AR15's.

Link Posted: 12/3/2001 9:45:00 PM EDT
Well I have read Fulton Armory's website etc and while I have no doubt they do fine work I cannot afford buying a gun 'just' for the receiver and re-doing the rest with GI parts.

Paul.....yes I have 5 ARs but none are fancy M4s or anything like that.....all but one I have built myself from parts and thus dont have that much in them. I plan on selling off 1 or 2 to help finance this purchase.

btw, does one have to be a member of CMP to buy CMP parts???
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 6:30:31 AM EDT

Well, opinions are everywhere. I have an alternative opinion.

I have an M1A and it is a fine rifle. Even better since I had Smiths Enterprise harden the reciever and do a few tweaks for me. It is a fine rifle if you wish to shoot iron sights.

This might get me in a pile of doodoo from some M14/M1A lovers, but let me say it - the rifle is useless with a scope. Unless you wish to change the stock for an aftermarket (McMillan for example) with an adjustable comb, there is no way to mount a scope and get a proper cheekweld. At this point, you have done some major modifications to allow use of a scope.

I also have an Armalite AR10. I choose the flattop target model. Perfect for use with a scope (if that is your desire).

Some other aspects I would point out. As you (and I) are very familiar with AR15s, you will feel right at home with the AR10 for maintenance. And if really precision shooting is your goal, the AR10 has an additional advantage in that no bedding is required.

The M14/M1A is a fine rifle. Don't get me wrong. But, for precision shooting it requires more tuning (bedding), will require rebedding in future, and needs a totally different stock to use a scope.

If you are simply looking for iron sights shooting and not match quality accuracy, then the M1A is a great rifle. If you want a tack driver, I think the AR10 is a better platform.


""Asbestos suit donned""
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 7:15:44 AM EDT
"Flame on" here is a picture of my useless scoped M1A with a $2 cheek piece that I made myself.

This is how it shoots.

"Flame off"
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 9:05:24 AM EDT
Yo Squid,

Pretty slick cheekpeice. I've tried a couple times to use aftermarket, and create one of my own. Varying levels of success. As your picture indicates you really need to raise the cheek from the stock to get a proper sight picture.

I don't "hate" M1As, I just think if you want a scoped rifle the AR10 is a better starting point. And long term, accuracy is easier to maintain since no bedding is required.

But a "tip 'o the cap" for a nice job on the rifle and nice shooting.


PS - How did you get the cheekpeice to stick on the stock?
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 2:46:07 PM EDT
Thanks Jimmy, You are correct about the AR10 being a solid .308 platform. There is just something magical about that M1A, the wood and steel and 3" long flash hider sticking out from the front. BTW, That is no common M1A. Its a Super Match with a Douglas barrel, ARMS #18 base and #22 rings and an illuminated Leupold M1LR 3.5-10x40 scope. I have over $3000 invested but it is truely my dream rifle. (and I am sure everybody is tired of hearing me talk about it.)

I have heard so much bad stuff about after market cheek pieces that I decided to make one myself. I used a used standard mouse pad, an old (clean) black sock and a plastic clip that cost 50 cents. It works great and pops off in a second if you want to use iron sites.
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 4:21:13 PM EDT
I think the best way to get an M1A is to buy a receiver, I would use Springfield but you can get an Armscorp cheaper.

Buy all the parts you can from the CMP, they give a list of associations that are CMP eligible that you can join. Gun shows are a good source for smaller parts.

Then pay someone,I use Ron Smith,to assemble if for you. This way you have a nice rifle at a good price with almost all GI parts

Last rifle I had assembled on a MKS receiver cost 880.00
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 4:54:55 PM EDT
Hey Squid,

OK, how does it work? Do the pads go inside the sock and then clip onto the stock? Or ?????? I see the pictures but I can't tell how this all fits together.

If I could solve the cheekweld problem I might like my M1A better. Mine isn't up to the same level as yours (mine i s a standard although Ron Smith has done a little work on it) but if I could use a scope with it I would shoot it again.

Thanks for the idea and any further info on how it goes together.

Link Posted: 12/4/2001 5:17:26 PM EDT
Cut the mouse pad in 4 pieces and stack them up and slide them inside the sock. (you can cut any shape you want or use more or less to adjust your height. the 4 pieces worked perfet for me.) Thread the ends of the sock into the clip and tie a knot to hold it in place or forget about the clip for now and just tie it onto the stock. Good luck.

Link Posted: 12/4/2001 5:41:04 PM EDT
Hey guys id like to hear more opinions please.......
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 6:37:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bostonterrier97:
The M14/M1A is a great system. It is not as accurate (at least out to 600 yards..longer ranges are a different story..since the .223 round blows all over the place..even the 75 - 80 grain VLD's..) as the AR15 and a Match Grade M14 Rifle will require more maintenance to keep it shooting well than a Match grade AR15.
Although I agree with everything you said, I must disagree with above quote.
Link Posted: 12/4/2001 6:46:08 PM EDT
I got my Springfield Armory M-1A new in 1981 for $550. Came with a National Match Barrel, NM Front Sight, and 2 USGI Magazines. Serial number is 06XXX so this was back when all the parts used were original GI. I had to wait until 5 years ago when I got back to North Carolina to get it built into a match rifle.

I had the work done my Norm Chandler. Yup, same Norm Chandler that runs Iron Brigade Armory and builds Marine Corps Sniper rifles (the Chandler Rifle). Norm's got over $25,000 in jigs and fixtures to make the M-14/M-1A right. He's also got a cadre of experienced people to do various stages of the work. I've now got a rifle that's better than I'll ever be.

I'm not trying to create more business for Norm. Fact is, I've heard the wait for his sniper rifles are approaching 18 months. The point I want to make is that, considering what you can pay to do the weapon up right, what you pay for the initial weapon is not going to be your major expense. I can guarantee whatever you try to save by not getting a Springfield Armory M-1A, you'll end up having to pay back in replaced parts.
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