Phased out in 1960s, M14 was ‘very reliable’
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  1. #1

    Cool Phased out in 1960s, M14 was ‘very reliable’

    December 12, 2005
    The Lore of the Corps
    Phased out in 1960s, M14 was ‘very reliable’
    By Charles A. Jones
    Special to the Times

    During World War II and Korea, Marines primarily used the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine rifles. However, disadvantages with both rifles eventually inspired Corpswide use of the M14.

    The Garand was reliable, but it had a clip that was hard to insert and fired only eight rounds. The Carbine was lighter, but it fired a .30-caliber round that was famous for inadequate stopping power.

    During the 1950s, the Army tested weapons in search of one to replace the Garand and the Browning Automatic Rifle, which was the squad automatic weapon.

    After considering several designs, the Army adopted the M14 in 1957.

    The M14 eliminated the Garand’s clip-feeding system, replacing it with a 20-round detachable magazine. It used the 7.62mm round, which had a smaller cartridge. It also included a flash-hider that suppressed muzzle flashes, something the Garand lacked.

    The M14 also had a selector switch enabling fully automatic or semiautomatic fire, although a lock could be installed to prevent users from selecting the fully automatic mode.

    Two variants of the M14 were made. The M14A1, intended to replace the BAR, failed in that role because it was too light. The M15 was a heavy-barrel version that was declared obsolete in 1959.

    In 1963, the era of the M16 dawned when Defense Secretary Robert McNamara terminated M14 production. However, M14s were used in Vietnam until M16s replaced them in the mid-1960s.

    The M16 had advantages over the M14. It was lighter, shorter and fired a smaller 5.56mm round.

    On the other hand, the M16 initially experienced problems in Vietnam stemming from the humid jungle environment, inadequate operational and maintenance training, and an inadequate supply of cleaning equipment.

    Once these problems were solved, the M16 became more reliable. But the M14 seemed to be the more robust weapon.

    Capt. Robert Modrzejewski, commander of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, in Vietnam, earned the Medal of Honor in 1966 for leading his company when numerically superior North Vietnamese forces attacked it in waves over a three-day period.

    His Marines were armed with M14s.

    “The M14 was a very reliable weapon,” Modrzejewski said during an interview broadcast on the History Channel.

    “It was a rifle that you could drop in the mud, drop in the dirt. You could drop the magazine, the bullets could get dirty, and yet the weapon would still fire,” he said.

    The M14 is still used by a limited number of service members, including snipers and special-operations troops.

    The writer is a lawyer and Marine Corps Reserve colonel in Norfolk, Va.


  2. #2
    yep it was a sweet rifle and i hated to give mine up for that piece of crap M16 that the feeding and chambering was all screwed up. Not only that the M16 didnt have the killing power the M-14 did. Give me the M-14 to hell with the M16

  3. #3
    "The Garand had a clip that was hard to feed"?

    Obviously this guy never fired the M-1 or he is still mad about his "M-1 Thumb". What he should have said is that the "Ping" sound of the ejected clip told the enemy that you were empty till you got another one in. That was fast however. To overcome the problem, (The Corps always does) we would fire in staggered fashion---after the Marine next to you put out 3 or 4 rounds you began to fire. That way we had continuous fire. (Gung ho).

    I thought the M-14 round was a little small when it came into Marine service. I would bet that Marines that received the new M-16 and looked at the round about sh*t.

  4. #4
    I liked my B.A.R. and the M1 , had alot of fun with that B.A.R. just strap the other maggs. to-gether and have at least 3 ready to go besides the ones in the belt.Big problem with it was the maggs and them dumb springs and they got messed up fast. Oh, the Thompson was sweet also, but not for long distance. Times change as do the weapons. Just an old grunt spouting off.

  5. #5
    The M14 was my favorite of the 3 ( M1, 14 , 16 ). That might be due to my size and weight though. The M1 was a little harder for me to hit with in rapid fire than the M14. Reading articles back then about Soliders and Marines being found dead after a fire fight with their M16's disassembled did inspire much confidence in me with the M16. I was able to hang on to my 14 ( kept a low profile) till spring of 68 when a Major and Gunny showed up and relieved me of it ( last man in 12th marines to give his up). chuckle chuckle.
    The M16 just looked to us like something made by the toy maker Matel.
    We were wrong i guess because it has served us well for many years since. Just a 30 cal to me is a much better rifle round for combat.
    John D.

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