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Posted: 7/17/2003 4:59:54 AM EDT
I will soon receive a 1960 H&R M14 with a beat-up stock. I'd like to fit a GI walnut stock but only if it originally had one. There seems to be some doubt whether this rifle would have originally been fitted with a wood or fibreglass handguard as well. Any specific knowledge? I'd like it to be as original as possible.
Link Posted: 7/17/2003 7:14:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/17/2003 7:17:00 AM EDT by Different]
The plastic hand guards were first produced during the second half of 1960. Production engineering of the plastic hand guard was completed some time after 01JUL60 and production followed that so chances are your H&R rifle had a wood hand guard originally. The fiberglass stocks were not installed on M14 rifles at the factory until September, 1962. The standard stock for the M14 until September, 1962 was yellow birch with black walnut as an alternate. HTH

Congratulations on your M14! You have the very best.
Link Posted: 7/17/2003 12:24:49 PM EDT
Monkey-man, I did some further research. Bottom line, your H&R M14 left the factory in 1960 with a walnut stock and walnut hand guard.

The first plastic hand guards were ventilated and were not produced until April, 1961. The solid plastic hand guards were developed in the second half of 1961. Fiberglass stocks were not produced until at least October, 1962. The birch stock as standard with walnut as the alternate wood did not take effect until after January 01, 1961. Until then the stocks and hand guards were walnut. The shift to walnut from birch was made to save cost ($5.09 for a black walnut stock versus $2.75 for a yellow birch stock at the time). The last M14 rifles with wood stocks were built in July, 1963.
Link Posted: 7/18/2003 5:25:53 AM EDT
Thanks Different. I have only seen pictures of the gun but the wood on the handguard and stock are definately mis-matched. How do I post a pic here? If I post a pic you'll see what I mean. The handguard is in good condition but the stock itself is crap with missing pieces. I'm also wondering about the finish, what colour/texture should the matelwork be?
Link Posted: 7/18/2003 2:31:00 PM EDT
I've seen thousands of M14 rifles and never one with a wood handguard. They either came from the factory with fiberglas handguards or the armorer must have replaced any early wooden ones which I understand were very fragile.

There are reproduction wood handguards available, of course. My personal favorite is the ventilated model -- but I don't shoot National Match and appreciate the faster cooling.

-- Chuck
Link Posted: 7/19/2003 4:28:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/19/2003 4:31:40 AM EDT by Different]
Chuck, there's no doubt in my mind that the wood hand guards were replaced fairly soon after the plastic hand guards were developed. Both the plastic hand guard and fiberglass stock had development problems. Fortunately, these problems were worked out. I prefer the ventilated hand guard for my select fire M1A. The barrel cools noticeably faster.

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