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Posted: 7/25/2002 11:12:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2002 11:41:25 AM EDT by Scary]
I don't hear much about the performance of the M14 in Vietnam. How did these rifles (m14 and fnfal) perform in their respective combat situations? If they performed well, then why switch to the smaller 5.56 in NATO?

Is there an opinion as to the better infantry rifle?
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 11:22:42 AM EDT
The military is a top down organization. Those in charge decided to switch so the switch was made. Those who did the shooting lived with it.

Everyone has they're own opinion. So there a billions and billions of opinions. I'll spare you mine
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 11:26:28 AM EDT
the biggest test of the FAL was, in my opinion, the falklands, where it(or a variant of) wazs used by both sides, and to my knowledge, performed very well, except on full auto fire, where it was uncontrollable. the biggest complaint to my knowledge was weight and length, but having a full size round makes up for that.

the m14 performed pretty well with proper maintenance in vietnam, the problem there was trying to handle a rifle that size in a jungle environment.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 12:43:11 PM EDT


We seem determined to F**K the grunt no matter what the war.

We go into Vietnam with M-14's and a few Garands (jungle environment mostly) and finally come out with a 'pretty' good weapon, the M16A1. Course a few thousand of our military had to die to finally get the M16 mostly right.

Moving right along to the Afghan war, we seem determined to issue more and more M4's - basically a CQB weapon for use in a country where the average shot must be measured in hundreds of yards. I'm just too dumb to understand.
-----------------------------------------------

As "shoez" has stated, I believe both sides used a FAL type weapon in the Falklands and I heard nothing negative about the performance.

So far as the M-14's performance in Vietnam it was not good. The rifle was not controllable when fired full-auto*, the thing was too long and too heavy. Not uncommon to sling a rifle upside down during rain. Too often the M-14's flash suppressor would become plugged with dirt. (In Korea during winter, the plugged suppressor would then freeze - especially at night.)

*Recoil from the M-14 made the rifle uncontrollable on full automatic. I believe almost all M-14's were made into semi-autos - excepting some few used by SEAL Teams.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 12:50:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By quietshoez:

the m14 performed pretty well with proper maintenance in vietnam, the problem there was trying to handle a rifle that size in a jungle environment.



Isn't the M14 the same size as, or shorter than, the Garand? And the Garand was used in the Pacific jungles with great success.

Why did the rifleman complain about size and weight all of the sudden in Vietnam?
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:04:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2002 1:05:50 PM EDT by ED_P]
Scary- I think you'll hear a ton of opinions on the M-14, pro and con. I work with a guy who was a ground pounder in Vietnam for 3 and a half years (a real glutton for punishment) and has a ton of polaroids of him in both City and jungle environments in his office. Whenever I mention the M-14, he always says "M-14, good rifle, good rifle." and hasn't ever really had anything positive to say about the M-16 back then, though he still works with the Military and likes it now.

The Garand in the jungle was a good point, when people bring up the M-14 in the jungle. Though I can see the appeal of a light rifle when walking long distances.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:13:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ED_P:
Scary- I think you'll hear a ton of opinions on the M-14, pro and con. I work with a guy who was a ground pounder in Vietnam for 3 and a half years (a real glutton for punishment) and has a ton of polaroids of him in both City and jungle environments in his office. Whenever I mention the M-14, he always says "M-14, good rifle, good rifle." and hasn't ever really had anything positive to say about the M-16 back then, though he still works with the Military and likes it now.

The Garand in the jungle was a good point, when people bring up the M-14 in the jungle. Though I can see the appeal of a light rifle when walking long distances.



Ed, my brother would agree with your friend although he only used the M-14 in boot. They trained on the M-14 and were handed an M16 upon arrival in Vietnam.

The 'worst' thing about the M-14 seemed to be lack of control when shot full auto.

When we're talking about weight and length please don't forget we're also speaking of the South Vietnamese ability to use the weapon also.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:14:01 PM EDT
I thought that the reason NATO went with the 5.56 round was because the United States used their position as the largest member to force it upon the rest of them. Just as it did with the 7.62 over the British .280 round.

Vulcan94
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:19:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Scary:

Originally Posted By quietshoez:

the m14 performed pretty well with proper maintenance in vietnam, the problem there was trying to handle a rifle that size in a jungle environment.



Isn't the M14 the same size as, or shorter than, the Garand? And the Garand was used in the Pacific jungles with great success.

Why did the rifleman complain about size and weight all of the sudden in Vietnam?



Our WWII alternate to the Garand was the 03 regardless of the theatre. Comparatively, the Garand was a fine weapon and much better than anything the Japanese, Italians or Germans had for most of the war. (Or the British for that matter.)
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:22:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:
When we're talking about weight and length please don't forget we're also speaking of the South Vietnamese ability to use the weapon also.



We issued thousands of Garands to the Montagnards, and I've seen pictures of them resting that huge rifle in the V's of trees to shoot them!
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:33:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Scary:

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:
When we're talking about weight and length please don't forget we're also speaking of the South Vietnamese ability to use the weapon also.



We issued thousands of Garands to the Montagnards, and I've seen pictures of them resting that huge rifle in the V's of trees to shoot them!



True - a lot of M-1's and M-1 Carbines. And we replaced them with the M16 as soon as available. One of the reasons we kept training our troops with the M-14 was the lack of M16's. Everything was going to Vietnam.

Again, the M-14 just was not controllable on full-auto. (Neither was the AR-10 for that matter.)
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:40:02 PM EDT
The book "The Black Rifle" explains the shift from 7.62mm to 5.56mm in detail.

To make a long story short, the 5.56 was adopted as a stop-gap measure during the Army's eventual transfer from conventional weapons and ammunition to unconventional weapons and ammunition. At the time the Depart of Defense and the Army were considering a weapon that increased hit potential at normal CGB ranges by using ammo loaded with flechettes or other forms of multiple projectiles.

After we bullied the other NATO countries into adopting the 7.62 (as opposed to the .280 round that was designed for the original FN/FAL) we contracted with Colt for a one time purchase of M16's.

Well, the M16's were transformed into M16A1's and eventually M16A2's by the Product Improvement Program (PIP). Now we have the M4's, M16A3's yadda, yadda, yadda and it looks like the 5.56mm is here to stay... maybe. Some proponents of multiple projectile weapons and ammo still exist. Needless to say we then standardized the 5.56mm and replaced the 7.62mm. Some people believe that the move from the M1911A1 to the M2 was a form of political "payback" for our previous actions regarding ammunition standardization. I don't know about that, but it is possible.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 1:49:14 PM EDT
Oh yeah, the 5.56mm has one great advantage over the 7.62mm round: it is a "flatter" shooter. The M16 and M16A1 were designed with "set it and forget it sights" that influenced U.S. Army training and doctrine. Soldiers were trained to AIM CENTER MASS at targets from 0 to 300 meters. Don't adjust for elevation; just acquire the target, aim, and shoot. While BRM (Basic Rifle Marksmanship) began with the pits and the fundamentals, it ended on the qualification range where trainees engaged pop-ups.

This training improved the number of soldiers who actually fire during combat (simple taught action and reaction as oppossed to deliberate target range fire) and it improved hits.

The M16/M16A1 was more than a new weapon, it was a new doctrine.

Oddly enough, the USMC insisted on treating the M16 as if it were an '03, M1 or M14. Hence the new A2 that allows the soldier to adjust for windage and elevation quite easily. They have taken a new weapon concept and doctrine and stuffed it back into an old box.

Personally I like the A2 at the high power match, but I prefer the A1 when it comes to doctrine and training.

BTW, it is easier to train soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to be effective riflemen with the M16 series weapons as opposed to the M14.

I'm not flaming the M14, I'm just saying that the M16 is easier to learn how to shoot effectively. (Speak with most match shooters and they'll tell you the same.)
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:08:09 PM EDT
I hear a lot of talk about the M-14 being "uncontrollable" in full auto. Has anyone who made this comment ever fired an M-14 on full auto? If so have you fired it often enough to consider yourself "experienced" in firing a 7.62 rifle on full auto? Do you have experience firing any other 7.62 rifles on full auto? How do they all compare? As far as issuing semi only M-14's to combat troops in Vietnam. I've only known one man, a former Marine 0311 who served in Vietnam when M-14's were standard issue. He told me all M-14's issued to all troops he served with were select fire rifles. He also said that the M-14 was fine on full auto, you just had to develop the correct technique and that came with practice. The closest I have come to firing a full auto M-14 is bump firing my Poly Tech. It seems to me that if I were able to properly shoulder the rifle and fire it on full auto it would be reasonably controllable if fired in short bursts of 3 to 5 rounds. I think I could develop adequate accuracy within realistic full auto combat distances. To me that is within 100 meters for a rifle.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:12:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
I hear a lot of talk about the M-14 being "uncontrollable" in full auto. Has anyone who made this comment ever fired an M-14 on full auto? If so have you fired it often enough to consider yourself "experienced" in firing a 7.62 rifle on full auto? Do you have experience firing any other 7.62 rifles on full auto?


yes, yes i have.
the m14 and the FAL, and both were VERY difficult, near impossible to keep on anything less than "area" fire for more than 2 seconds or so.
have you?
i would not make a statement i was not qualified to back up with experience.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:25:11 PM EDT
i have fired a full auto m14 variant. it was hard to hold even when using the bi-pod. i can't imagine fa w/o any support!.the BAR was a great squad mg because it weighed more than an m14.it was controllable......m14 too light for fa. unless u are SGT. ROCK
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:28:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By XxSLASHERxX:
i have fired a full auto m14 variant. it was hard to hold even when using the bi-pod. i can't imagine fa w/o any support!.the BAR was a great squad mg because it weighed more than an m14.it was controllable......m14 too light for fa. unless u are SGT. ROCK


funny story, 7point62 and i were shooting with some people in lapeer, MI, this crazy guy was trying to fire this japanese lewis gun copy .303 satnding from the hip. he was surprised that he kept fallin down.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:29:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sukebe:

It seems to me that if I were able to properly shoulder the rifle and fire it on full auto it would be reasonably controllable if fired in short bursts of 3 to 5 rounds.



I too wondered about using 3 round bursts but I've read the M-14 was not controllable even in 3 round mode. That's why most all were converted to semi-auto.

(I have no personal experience firing this rifle on full-auto.)

Just took a minute and called my brother, the former Marine, and he says when he went through boot in 1966 the M-14's had already been converted to semi-auto.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:33:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2002 3:36:21 PM EDT by Scary]
Full auto 7.62 should be handled by the M60 or M240 MACHINE GUNS. One thing about the Garand as a general issue infantry rifle was that it was semi-auto. Full auto should be left to more specially trained troops that leg infantry riflemen.

Bring back the '03 for some fire discipline!
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:37:42 PM EDT
Just a comment on the controllability of these rifles in full auto. I have no direct experience with this, but have watched the AGI FN/FAL Armorers Course video, and at the end of the video they show a normal sized guy letting it rip with 2 FALs in full auto, one in each hand. He's not firing from the shoulder, but from the waist. It looks tough, but he keeps both guns on target. So I would say full-auto with either the M14 or FAL is not uncontrollable but perhaps more correctly termed hard to control?
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 3:49:14 PM EDT
Having alot (read: ALOT) of experience with full auto FALS I'm going to have to set the record straight.

Full auto fire is controllable, but it's mostly the operator, not the gun that determines it's "controlability". The FAL would be alot easier in FA for me to handle if I weighed a couple hundred pounds extra, and had big burly arms to grasp the rifle with, which I don't.

SO basically you fat people have the advantage on us skinny people. I just can't keep a rifle that weighs that much close and tight under FA fire. But that doesn't ruin it's fun.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 4:31:34 PM EDT
A few more points re: the M14 in RVN.

While the M14 was a bit heavier than the M16, a bigger issue was the weight of the ammo. A soldier could carry about 3 times as much 5.56 ammo as 7.62 ammo. (And if the first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun, the second rule is not to run out of ammo!)

Granted the M14 was pretty much uncontrollable in full auto (that is, any round after the first – and maybe second - one went wild). The reasonably controllable full auto capability of the M16 was a significant advantage over the M14.

(Incidentally, the M14 could easily be switched to and from full auto capability by the unit armorer.)

The M-1 Garand did well against Japanese soldiers armed with bolt guns. But in RVN the M-14 went up against the AK-47 in close up firefights and was out-matched in these situations. (Interestingly, the AK-47 did less well in some Afghanistan situations where the Soviets went up against Mujahadeen armed with longer-range bolt guns such as Lee-Enfields.)

Also, at the risk of sounding naïve, I think the military genuinely felt it was helping the grunts by going to the M16. Admittedly, Westmoreland initially had to fight the Pentagon to get more M16’s purchased (rather deviously enlisting, IIFC, the help of some visiting Congressmen to that end).

In initial tests of the M16 in RVN, it was met with acceptance by the troops. This ended when the rifle started having problems. While no one knows the true number of U.S. troops that died as a result of malfunctioning M16’s, the “few thousand” cite by 5subslr5 sounds high. Regardless, it definitely did happen.

FWIW, the Australians used the FAL in RVN.

Incidentally, it was recognized early on that the M-1 Garand was a bit heavy. One of the initial objectives in going to the M-14 was getting the weight down. However, by beefing up the M-14 to make it full auto capable, little weight reduction was actually realized.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 4:42:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By quietshoez:

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
I hear a lot of talk about the M-14 being "uncontrollable" in full auto. Has anyone who made this comment ever fired an M-14 on full auto? If so have you fired it often enough to consider yourself "experienced" in firing a 7.62 rifle on full auto? Do you have experience firing any other 7.62 rifles on full auto?


yes, yes i have.
the m14 and the FAL, and both were VERY difficult, near impossible to keep on anything less than "area" fire for more than 2 seconds or so.
have you?
i would not make a statement i was not qualified to back up with experience.



You did read my entire post didn't you? As far as I know this is the first time I've seen you comment on your experience with an M-14 on auto. So I wasn't insinuating that you were making a statement that you can't back up. I clearly posted my "experience" with the M-14 on auto. So I wasn't making any statements that I can't back up. I mostly wasn't making statements but asking questions. For Sub Sailor, in boot camp at Parris Island in 82 we were all issued M-16A1's with the auto sears removed. Thus they wear only capable of semi auto fire. However in the fleet they were all select fire. I have been told that when the M-14 was standard issue that they were in fact mostly semi auto only for troops in garrison. Marines in combat in Vietnam were issued select fire M-14's.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 5:48:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jurgen_Moltmann:
Oh yeah, the 5.56mm has one great advantage over the 7.62mm round: it is a "flatter" shooter.


Get out a ballistics chart. The two rounds are virtually identical as far as ballistics, with the 7.62 gaining the edge as the range increases. I think the military switched to the A1 type sights because they realized that it is fairly unrealistic for an infantryman (1) to accurately judge distances past point blank range and (2) actually hit some that far away.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 6:20:49 PM EDT
There is no existing weapon that will work well in all situations. The M-14 was a good improvement over the M-1 with the 20 rd mag. Good proven 600 yd technology. Would have been great in a war in Europe. Will work fine in Afghanistan.

It was not the weapon for Vietnam. I know because I was issued one when I first arrived. It was heavy to carry with the 308 ammo. You hardly ever saw the shitasses you were shooting at. 600 yard accuracy was not an issue. Forget about effective full auto fire.

The M-16 was a great improvement for Vietnam. I was very pleased when I was issued one. Light weight with tremendous full auto fire power. It was the equal to the AK whenever it didn't jam. I bet the Marines in WWII would have given their right nut for one.

Nowadays I would say that I love my M-1A but I think the best general all purpose battle weapon is a M-16 with a 20 inch barrel.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 6:33:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 199:
A few more points re: the M14 in RVN.



In initial tests of the M16 in RVN, it was met with acceptance by the troops. This ended when the rifle started having problems. While no one knows the true number of U.S. troops that died as a result of malfunctioning M16’s, the “few thousand” cite by 5subslr5 sounds high. Regardless, it definitely did happen.





As you state, the early M16's used by a few select S. Viet forces and Army special Forces performed well. That's because they were given the ammunition with the powder for which the AR-15/M16 was designed - namely IMR.

Then without notifying either ArmaLite or Colts', the Army switched to Ball powder ( which this gun was never designed to use) and our people began to die.

Yes, the "few thousand" number is too high. The largest single group that was completely over-run was a Marine Company. (That I'm aware of.) Still the Army didn't notify anyone and Colts' continued to fire the acceptance tests using IMR powder.

Finally, a couple of Colts' engineers changed the design enough to get the M16 to function with Ball powder, cleaning kits were issued with the weapons and the chambers were chromed.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 6:38:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Flash66:


I bet the Marines in WWII would have given their right nut for one.



no doubt.
the m16 would have been sweet in guadalcanal or the philipinnes or the score of pacific islands.....
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 7:23:05 PM EDT
My .02 worth. Have shot a '14 in FA. If kept on a short burst, entirely practical. The comment about not any good for more than a couple seconds is odd, as it will zip thru a mag in far less time than that.
Am issued M4/203 (hence the name), aside from the 40mm, wouldn't care to go to battle with it. M4 on burst isn't much good past hallway distance anyway.
FWIW, Dad was in '65-'66, trained and issued '14, never touched an M-16 and only had semi auto M-14s.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 7:54:07 PM EDT
I would just split the difference between the M14 and and AR and take a lightened 18" barrel version of the M14 chambered for .223. Ruger made this rifle (the Mini-14) but unfortunately used a barrel made of crap. Otherwise this would have been my rifle of choice. To be very honest, no company makes the rifle I would like to have. So for me everything is just a compromise anyway.
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