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Posted: 6/8/2023 6:00:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: Powershota530]
I'm interested in buying an M14 pattern rifle and wanted to know what options I have in buying or building one.  I know there are the Big 3- Springfield Armory, Fulton Armory, and LRB Arms.  Can anyone speak to the difference in quality between the three and advantages or disadvantages one over another?  How will a Springfield hold up to an LRB or Fulton.  Does any one have a high round count on a modern Springfield?  Is Smith Enterprises the only option for scope mounts?  I have owned several M1's but want a fresh perspective on this buy. Thanks in advance for your help!
Link Posted: 6/8/2023 7:41:45 PM EST
[#1]
Man I can't wait for everyone to chime in on this one. I have a Springfield, and it's been good to go. I mean, it's a combat rifle, so it's not MOA accurate in stock trim, but how many people can shoot MOA in combat?
The others are all good to go as well, more expensive, but super quality. Ya pic yer horse and place yer bets.

Optics mounts are many. Trying to mount an optic on a rifle never intended for such can be overcome. Sadlak, ARMS, SEI, they all work within their limitations. '

If you're familiar with M1s, take a look at Shuff's Parkerizing. He offers magazine conversions on M1s, uses M14 mags and they work very well. He also does chopped and channeled models with 18" or 16" barrels. It's an option.

Now, brace for the "it's a POS!" crowd...
Link Posted: 6/8/2023 10:19:49 PM EST
[#2]
My Springfield with a gas cylinder shim kit will do MOA with a red dot (ARMS 18 mount). My Fulton receiver and Criterion barrel combo will do 1.25 MOA with iron sights. I'm not a high volume shooter, and these have about a thousand rounds a piece.

One upgrade I recommend for any M14 is a Smith Enterprises Extended Bolt Stop so you can load the mag and release the bolt with the support hand instead of having to rack the op rod.
Link Posted: 6/8/2023 10:45:39 PM EST
[#3]
I have an lrb m25 tanker from 2010/2011 Era. Mostly gi parts, chrome lined 18". It's my favorite rfile. I wish .308 wasn't do darn expensive...

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Link Posted: 6/8/2023 11:00:47 PM EST
[#4]
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with SA rifles, people just like to be elitist.
Link Posted: 6/9/2023 1:33:01 AM EST
[#5]
I went with LRB.

Springfield makes a very good rifle thats proven. By that I mean the cast receivers are proven to perform without issues, at least none that I have heard of.

The price tho is climbing on Springfield rifles, nearing or at $2000. With that in mind I spent more money but also got what I wanted, a forged receiver and by chance LRB had a complete rifle ready to ship, listed on their web site and that rarely happens, so I jumped, no waiting for months, had the rifle in my hands within a week.

I am very glad I did.

Its all about what you want. The 3 you mentioned are all good rifles, just comes done to how much are you willing to spend?

Link Posted: 6/9/2023 4:31:14 AM EST
[#6]
Fulton is just another cast receiver. Same as Springfield. May have a few more GI parts in a new rifle, but still cast. Cast op rods also, if IRC.

LRB or Bula is where I'd look. Both are forged.
Link Posted: 6/9/2023 4:52:27 AM EST
[#7]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 1shott:
I went with LRB.

Springfield makes a very good rifle thats proven. By that I mean the cast receivers are proven to perform without issues, at least none that I have heard of.

The price tho is climbing on Springfield rifles, nearing or at $2000. With that in mind I spent more money but also got what I wanted, a forged receiver and by chance LRB had a complete rifle ready to ship, listed on their web site and that rarely happens, so I jumped, no waiting for months, had the rifle in my hands within a week.

I am very glad I did.

Its all about what you want. The 3 you mentioned are all good rifles, just comes done to how much are you willing to spend?

View Quote


I haven't priced a new SA rifle in a LONG time so I had to go and look up prices. Damn...........................

I have 2 4 digit NM's and a 48K standard but bought back in the late 90's or early 2K's.
Link Posted: 6/9/2023 6:04:24 AM EST
[#8]
I know LRB receivers are forged.

Just learned BULA are forged.

At one time, weren't Smith receivers forged?

Does anyone else produce a forged receiver?

I have a Springfield I purchased new in 99 or 00 and for what I've needed it for it has been ok.

Still, there's the nagging notion it isn't really built to spec since it has a cast receiver.
Link Posted: 6/9/2023 7:22:37 AM EST
[#9]
Forged are LRB, Bula, and Polytech/Norinco.  Cast are SAI and Fulton. SAI has been known to have issues with their scope mounting on the left side.  Issues tended to be sporadic, and I haven't heard about it for a while, so I don't know if they have fixed the problems, or it just hasn't been posted about. Polytechs are decent if you can find one at the right price.  They have a few issues, but most are easily fixed.
Link Posted: 6/9/2023 8:29:21 AM EST
[#10]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Sailormilan2:
Forged are LRB, Bula, and Polytech/Norinco.  Cast are SAI and Fulton. SAI has been known to have issues with their scope mounting on the left side.  Issues tended to be sporadic, and I haven't heard about it for a while, so I don't know if they have fixed the problems, or it just hasn't been posted about. Polytechs are decent if you can find one at the right price.  They have a few issues, but most are easily fixed.
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I have a Polytech.  Only thing I've done is swap out the rear sight, which almost everyone does eventually.  I may try to find a real flash hider for it but those are surprisingly expensive.
Link Posted: 6/9/2023 4:55:11 PM EST
[#11]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By REAPER2502:
I know LRB receivers are forged.

Just learned BULA are forged.

At one time, weren't Smith receivers forged?

Does anyone else produce a forged receiver?

I have a Springfield I purchased new in 99 or 00 and for what I've needed it for it has been ok.

Still, there's the nagging notion it isn't really built to spec since it has a cast receiver.
View Quote

I wouldn't throw a SAI out. Even moreso one that is prior to 2005 or so. The cast receiver is rated for 50k rounds.

IIRC, SEI was machined from bar stock, some were forged, most were cast. There have been many players in the game over the years. Most were cast. The good manufacturer's are still standing.

I'll send you a IM in a bit...
Link Posted: 6/27/2023 9:53:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: mace2364] [#12]
Given what ammunition has cost over the last decade, I think most of this is people arguing semantics.

A new Springfield costs about $2k. If you took the same amount of $ and bought as much .308 as you possibly could with it you’d have less than 3000 rounds. You would be able to shave a little off that .70 per round by reloading, .57 per assuming you already have brass, does, etc. But still.


Point being here is that very few people could actually afford to shoot an M14 clone enough to where these theoretical differences could come into play. Buy whatever strikes your fancy and enjoy it.

20 years ago, $2k could’ve bought you 20,000 rds or more At that point, maybe the difference between forged and cast receivers could have mattered-I’m not exactly convinced even in that context.  But at least the discussion made a little sense at that point.
Link Posted: 6/27/2023 10:16:15 AM EST
[#13]
Your money will go furthest with a Norinco or Polytech, even after you upgrade the rear sight, stock (I prefer USGI) and flash suppressor.

I've personally observed problems with SAI receivers so I wouldn't buy one. (Maybe they're better now?)

ARMS #18 scope base is my favorite.

AR-10 is better (especially for use with an optic) but you probably already know that.
Link Posted: 7/1/2023 12:22:31 PM EST
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By KitBuilder:
ARMS #18 scope base is my favorite.

AR-10 is better (especially for use with an optic) but you probably already know that.
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Agreed on both counts.

For what it's worth, my mid-2021 production SAI Standard has performed flawlessly. Shoots ten rounds off of bags into an MOA group with Prvi 155 HPBT. Modifications include a Vortex Strikefire red dot, ARMS #18 Swan mount, USGI fiberglass stock, and a Fulton gas cylinder shim kit.
Link Posted: 7/4/2023 7:18:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: Sailormilan2] [#15]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By KitBuilder:
Your money will go furthest with a Norinco or Polytech, even after you upgrade the rear sight, stock (I prefer USGI) and flash suppressor.

I've personally observed problems with SAI receivers so I wouldn't buy one. (Maybe they're better now?)

ARMS #18 scope base is my favorite.

AR-10 is better (especially for use with an optic) but you probably already know that.
View Quote



Agreed on the Norinco or Polytech.  They do often have some minor problems, which are easily corrected. But at the right price, they can be a bargain.  I have 3, and I learned about the M14 platform by tinkering with them.  I already had a basic knowledge since I also own Garands, and some of the parts will interchange. The grey park of the Polytechs irritates me(think I am somewhat OCD), so I have refinished 2 of the 3 to be black like an M14 is supposed to be. I have built 3 from the ground up using receivers from JRA(made by Bula), GWLA(no longer in business), and LRB.
Link Posted: 7/4/2023 10:43:41 AM EST
[#16]
The cast vs. forged argument is a nothing burger. Anyone who doesn't believe that just wants a feel good moment from the money they're spending. No one wears out a SA. But for those that just have to have forged, at least be honest about why. It has nothing to do with actual proven reliability, and we all know it. Now if you want as close to milspec as possible, then forged all day.
Link Posted: 7/4/2023 11:49:01 AM EST
[#17]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Sailormilan2:



Agreed on the Norinco or Polytech.  They do often have some minor problems, which are easily corrected. But at the right price, they can be a bargain.  I have 3, and I learned about the M14 platform by tinkering with them.  I already had a basic knowledge since I also own Garands, and some of the parts will interchange. The grey park of the Polytechs irritates me(think I am somewhat OCD), so I have refinished 2 of the 3 to be black like an M14 is supposed to be. I have built 3 from the ground up using receivers from JRA(made by bull), GWLA(no longer in business), and LRB.
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Grey park is zinc oxide based which is what USGI was.  It turned a greenish color from storage in cosmoline.  Black is manganese oxide and wasn’t a mil spec finish. It’s used more on commercial and modern firearms.
Link Posted: 7/5/2023 8:54:19 AM EST
[#18]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By tsg68:


Grey park is zinc oxide based which is what USGI was.  It turned a greenish color from storage in cosmoline.  Black is manganese oxide and wasn’t a mil spec finish. It’s used more on commercial and modern firearms.
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Grey park was used from roughly the start of WW2 up until around the late '50s to early '60s.  Then the black manganese took over.  So, one can find USGI M14 rifles with early grey park and also some with the later black manganese park.
Link Posted: 7/8/2023 8:25:39 AM EST
[#19]
I have a had good luck with Springfields. Keep an eye on the Equipment exchange or join up over at M14Forum and watch the PX might find one that strikes your fancy. I have two with scope mounts one a Smith Enterprise and one a ARMS 18. I also have one set up with a Ultimak rail that has a red dot mounted if a forward optic is something you like that’s not a bad setup.
Link Posted: 7/8/2023 8:36:49 AM EST
[#20]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Rbass:
The cast vs. forged argument is a nothing burger. Anyone who doesn't believe that just wants a feel good moment from the money they're spending. No one wears out a SA. But for those that just have to have forged, at least be honest about why. It has nothing to do with actual proven reliability, and we all know it. Now if you want as close to milspec as possible, then forged all day.
View Quote


I think [I'd have to look it up in ''The Last steel Warrior'' book] testing showed that a cast receiver M-14 was good for around 250,000 rounds, a forged, around 450K rounds. I know of few people that will be going through 20-25 barrels.

I have three SA, 2 4 digit, and one 48K range one, all were put together very nicely.
Link Posted: 8/14/2023 7:27:08 PM EST
[#21]
Cast versus forged in a commercial M14 receiver really doesn’t matter.  Springfield, LRB, Bula, or Fulton all make receivers capable of wearing out many barrels before the receiver becomes unserviceable.  

LRB makes a good receiver and I would buy one in a second but it just never worked out.  

I own older Springfields either made with USGI parts or slightly  newer variants where I replaced some of the SA Inc. parts with USGI.  Not because I had to, but because I wanted to.  

I also own two Fultons.  I’d give Fulton the nod over Springfield for their machining and aesthetics, but either would suit you well.
Link Posted: 8/15/2023 10:38:16 AM EST
[#22]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By lew:

One upgrade I recommend for any M14 is a Smith Enterprises Extended Bolt Stop so you can load the mag and release the bolt with the support hand instead of having to rack the op rod.
View Quote

I've bent two punches trying to get my OEM pin out to install my SEI. After the second I'm debating if I even want to try a third punch. That little shit does not want to come out.
Link Posted: 8/15/2023 10:49:50 AM EST
[#23]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Square66:
Cast versus forged in a commercial M14 receiver really doesn’t matter.  Springfield, LRB, Bula, or Fulton all make receivers capable of wearing out many barrels before the receiver becomes unserviceable.
View Quote
Dave K on the national champion Virginia Rifle Team shot an Armscor receiver M1A for years.  Last I asked him (when he went over to the AR with a scope) was he was on his sixth or seventh barrel and still going strong.

I remember his particular rifle because he worked auto body restoration and his stock was a beautiful blue metallic like a rock star's guitar -- that thing was gorgeous.
Link Posted: 8/15/2023 2:19:41 PM EST
[#24]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By m24shooter:

I've bent two punches trying to get my OEM pin out to install my SEI. After the second I'm debating if I even want to try a third punch. That little shit does not want to come out.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By m24shooter:
Originally Posted By lew:

One upgrade I recommend for any M14 is a Smith Enterprises Extended Bolt Stop so you can load the mag and release the bolt with the support hand instead of having to rack the op rod.

I've bent two punches trying to get my OEM pin out to install my SEI. After the second I'm debating if I even want to try a third punch. That little shit does not want to come out.


Mine didn't require any undo force, but try a penetrating oil soak for a few minutes. Are you using proper roll pin punches?
Link Posted: 8/15/2023 4:41:13 PM EST
[#25]
We have recently acquired a 1990's vintage Springfield M1A with almost all GI parts, including the barrel and bolt.

It came to us wearing the black krinkle finsh SA synthetic stock but now wears a GI wood stock.
Added a faux selector and it now it's basically an M14 clone.

Sights are straight and it was pretty much all zero'ed up.
I think it's going to be a great rifle. More range time is needed
but I'm super happy with it.

So keep an eye out for these "sleeper" M1As with a high
GI parts count.
Link Posted: 8/15/2023 5:26:26 PM EST
[#26]
Norinco m14 if you can find one somebody wants to sell
Link Posted: 8/16/2023 12:30:03 PM EST
[#27]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By lew:


Mine didn't require any undo force, but try a penetrating oil soak for a few minutes. Are you using proper roll pin punches?
View Quote

Kroil was going to be added to my third attempt if I go through with it.
Yup, proper roll pin punches with the little nipple. If I get real motivated I'll make a third run maybe over the weekend. I even considered using the Dremel cutoff wheel suggestions but I really don't know that I want to do that. That's an awfully close tolerance in there.
Link Posted: 8/16/2023 12:58:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: mlin] [#28]
Nothing wrong with investment casting receiver. If it's not SAI kept M1A / M14 rifle on the market in large quantities many decades ago, we may see even a smaller market or shrink to nothing for the platform today.

Springfield is largely a production level rifle. LRB/Fulton are more of next step up, the semi-custom. You are paying the semi-custom quality. For some will be well worth the price. For most average shooters, probably just a bragging right to claim I own the best of the best. There is a bit of something for variety types of buyers. If you can afford, buy the best you can get. If you have limited budget, get the rifle in your price range and spend more on ammos and range time will give more satisfaction IMO.
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