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What IF the M14, was not replaced by the M16?

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Old June 1st, 2011, 02:37 PM   #1
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What IF the M14, was not replaced by the M16?

Gentlemen, and Ladies, What IF the M14 had not been replaced in Vietnam by the M16? Consider for a few moments, if there had not been an M16...

Consider conditions in Vietnam, Republic of, and how the M14 could have been "modded"[modified] to make it more suitable for the type of Combat fought there...

The M14 never had the chance to be "modded" back then.

So lets us briefly consider how the M16 has been "modded" since its intro.

In no particular order, things modified on the m16 since its intro:

The powder and its composition has been changed. Including the amount of calcium carbonate, used for flash suppression that caused the gas tube to be fouled, it was eventually reduced.

Foward assist added.

The weight, and composition of the 5.56 bullet has been changed several times, which also caused a change in the twist of the barrel.

The diameter of the barrel has been changed.
The length of the barrel had been changed several times from 20 inches down to as short as 10 inches.

The sights were changed. Then the handle was "cut off" completely.

The stock furniture was changed, a retractable stock added, and then the picitanny rail forends...

Some sort of optical sight is just about standard issue now.

Still reports back from Somalia, and the Sand Box, tell of reliability issues, stopping power issues, and hitting at longer range issues...

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Old June 1st, 2011, 02:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by NE450N02 View Post
Gentlemen, and Ladies, What IF the M14 had not been replaced in Vietnam by the M16? Consider for a few moments, if there had not been an M16...

Consider conditions in Vietnam, Republic of, and how the M14 could have been "modded"[modified] to make it more suitable for the type of Combat fought there...

The M14 never had the chance to be "modded" back then.
Harrington & Richardson Arms did modify the M14 in 1962 for jungle warfare in Laos. The result was called the Guerilla Gun. It was demonstrated by H&R Arms to the U. S. Army at more than a dozen military bases.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 02:50 PM   #3
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I have never seen or heard of any reports on the M14 not being reliable or hitting hard.

So lets go back to Vietnam. What could have been done with the then current technology to make the M14 better for the war in Vietnam.

Again in no particular order.

First shorten the M14 to the 18" Bush Gun/Scout Squad barrel length.

Fit the rifle with a "plastic" stock, better for wet and rough conditions. This was actually done.

Modify the ammo. The M14 was originally made for the purpose for fighting the Comunist in a War III scenario, in Europe.

In the jungles of Vietnam ranges were much shorter. Ammo could have been modified in one or more of several ways.
Reduce the weight of the bullet, to say 125 grains or so. You could reduce the velocity from full power loads [@2900 fps or so] to 2600fps or so, which would reduce recoil and increase controlibility in full auto or burst fire.

Go to the Duplex rounds. @ bullets of @80 grains loaded in each case.
This would make each 20 round magazine able to shoot 40 bullets.
You would shoot 2 bullets with each pull of the trigger in semi auto fire.

I think these few changes alone would have enabled the M14 to hold its own in the jungles of Vietnam, increasing its handiness and controlibility, with out effecting its reliability or its lethality.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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Harrington & Richardson Arms did modify the M14 in 1962 for jungle warfare in Laos. The result was called the Guerilla Gun. It was demonstrated by H&R Arms to the U. S. Army at more than a dozen military bases.
True, but the adoption of the M16 but the halt on any true consideration of the Guerilla Gun.

The Duplex rounds and even loads with a single Duplex bullet were tested, but again the forced adoption of the M16 never let the true potential of any Modifications to the M14 be properly developed or tested, much less adopted.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450N02 View Post
First shorten the M14 to the 18" Bush Gun/Scout Squad barrel length.

Fit the rifle with a "plastic" stock, better for wet and rough conditions. This was actually done.

Modify the ammo. Go to the Duplex rounds. @ bullets of @80 grains loaded in each case.
This would make each 20 round magazine able to shoot 40 bullets.
You would shoot 2 bullets with each pull of the trigger in semi auto fire.
Shortened barrel - see my post above.

Duplex ammunition was used in M14 rifles in the Republic of Viet Nam, e.g., U. S. Army 4th Infantry Division LRRP Company snipers in 1968.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:08 PM   #6
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Fast foward to near the present day.
In Desert Storm the Navy Seals went ashore in Kuwait with M14's instead of the M16. And they can use pretty much anything they choose...

They new the M14 is better in sand, and better for the long range of desert country.

Move to the present day, and we have seen a rebirth of the M14.

Taking lessons learned from "modding" the M16, we now have the M14 EBR platforms.

The Basic action and "working parts" of the M14 have not changed, just the "stuff" fitted to the working barreled action.

Which says a LOT about the viability and reliability of the basic M14 design, IMHO.

The only 308 Battle Rifle with the same reliability in all conditions is the
H&K G3.

The "AR" 308 rifles suffer from the same reliability problems as the M16's, with their closed receiver/close tolerances. They can be made very accurate, and are good for semiauto Sniper Rifle systems, but, again IMHO are not reliable enough for a MBR [main battle rifle, for general issue].

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450N02 View Post
True, but the adoption of the M16 but the halt on any true consideration of the Guerilla Gun.

The Duplex rounds and even loads with a single Duplex bullet were tested, but again the forced adoption of the M16 never let the true potential of any Modifications to the M14 be properly developed or tested, much less adopted.
In 1962, the U. S. Air Force embraced the AR-15 but the U. S. Army had not yet done so at that point. The Hitch Report was released that year. IMO, that was the turning point in the institutional (DOD) debate.

Mr. Watters covers this subject of how the AR-15 became the M16 better than anyone: http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html

The M198 duplex cartridge was developed by Winchester-Western and standardized by the U. S. Army on May 07, 1964. In testing conducted by the U. S. Army Infantry Board in 1961, 7.62x51 mm duplex ammunition was 14 to 22 % more effective in hitting personnel type targets in simulated infantry squad combat conditions.

In late 1963, the M14E2 (later classified as M14A1) design was finalized after testing. The M14A1 saw combat service in the Republic of Viet Nam. The M14A1 was used by U. S. Army mechanized infantry and cavalry units.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450N02 View Post
The only 308 Battle Rifle with the same reliability in all conditions is the H&K G3.
Do you have a source for this information?

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:28 PM   #9
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I agree with your above posts. The M14 "Community" was doing a great job of adapting the M14 to Vietnam conditions.

The adoption of the M16 just never let their efforts come into wide scale production and use.

IF the M16 had not been adopted, then the M14 would have been under continued development, just as the M16 has been.

We fought WWII with the M1 Garand, and it proved to work ALL over the world.
It was not perfect everywhere, but it DID work.

The M14, and its ammo is heavier than the M16.
Even shortening the barrel and reducing the bullet weight does not do much to change this...

But I think one of the issues in Vietnam, was the marksmanship training of the troops. That and the M16 being full auto, contributed to the Spray and Pray shooting technique.
While cover fire does have its place, shooting a hundred rounds and not hitting ANY of the enemy will eventually show diminished returns.

I have not had a lot of contact with "regular leg troops" but in my former job I had a lot of contact with Spec Op troops and they do get much better marksmanship and combat training. Also I have done some "shooting" with BlackWater Personel, and they were good shots as well.

The Gist of this post is, IF the M16 had not been adopted as the General Issue Rifle, I think Modifications to the M14 over the years, would have left us with a better General Issue Rifle today...

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Different View Post
Do you have a source for this information?
Several different sources, but mainly from people/Armies that have used them.

For example, I have never heard any complaints from USERS of M14's and the G3'S, regarding reliability.

The FN-Fal has been widely reported to have problems in sand and mud.

Personally I have owned all 3 and shot them a lot but I have not subjected them to serious warefare conditions. I found all 3 ot be good rifles.

Even Larry Vickers, who personally likes the FN-Fal best, states the G3 is the more reliable rifle.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:37 PM   #11
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this is all sarcastic..... the M16 was totally progressive thinking. doorknob macnamara knew the day was coming when the military would be filled with young women, and even some limp wristed folks, and he knew they would not be able handle a full powered infantry weapon, thus the arrival of the varmint rifle, aka M16!

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450N02 View Post
Different
The M14, and its ammo is heavier than the M16.
Even shortening the barrel and reducing the bullet weight does not do much to change this...

But I think one of the issues in Vietnam, was the marksmanship training of the troops. That and the M16 being full auto, contributed to the Spray and Pray shooting technique.

The Gist of this post is, IF the M16 had not been adopted as the General Issue Rifle, I think Modifications to the M14 over the years, would have left us with a better General Issue Rifle today...
The argument regarding weight of M14/.308 versus M16/.223 is specious. I explain why in M14 Rifle History and Development.

The marksmanship training for the U. S. Army and the U. S. Marine Corps was not an issue in the 1960s. Those organizations used the M14 rifle for recruit/basic training marksmanship qualifications until the early to mid-1970s. I agree, lack of fire discipline with any weapon is undesirable, especially in combat.

Adoption of the M16 prevented the M14 from being developed by the U. S. military until after 2001 with notable exceptions of medium and heavyweight barrels for competition shooting. Since 2001, the U. S. military and the commercial market have made up for three lost decades, big time. What is available now could only have been a dream in the 1960s. Current day technology has resulted in the M14 being better than ever and most of that credit goes to the commercial market. In the long run, I think history and events turned out better for the M14.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:42 PM   #13
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This is an interesting what if. In Vietnam, we usually carried a rifle a lot and didn't fir them that much. Most targets were under 300 meters. Anything like the SOCOM 16 or Scout Squad would have been a whole new ball game in the bush. However back to reality, I seriously doubt that the Infantry Board would have pulled this off. The folks at Benning kept looking at Europe and were in denial about Vietnam.

The other part of this was that the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) had a tough time with their FAL's & Uzi's against AK-47's. Sooner or later we'd probably come up with something. However the Infantry Board & Armor Board than moved at a snail's pace. Their current track record isn't much better.

Other than the M-14 vs. M-16, the M79 & later the M203 were pretty good concepts for the grunt. The M-60 & even better the M240 were great weapons. The M240 could have been in place decades earlier. It is a good weapon. In Armor (I was a grunt in Vietnam). We went through decades of the worst coax machine-guns (M73 & M219) in the world. Blame that on the Armor guys at Fort Knox, now Fort Benning. With the M114 recon vehicle, the coax machine-guns, the Gamma Goat, & not putting RPG barrios on PC's, and no reactive armor on tanks.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450N02 View Post
Several different sources, but mainly from people/Armies that have used them.

For example, I have never heard any complaints from USERS of M14's and the G3'S, regarding reliability.

Even Larry Vickers, who personally likes the FN-Fal best, states the G3 is the more reliable rifle.
Fair enough, the G3 is not my area of study. The M14 is usually compared to the FAL and the AR-10 so I'm more familiar with those discussions.

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Old June 1st, 2011, 03:45 PM   #15
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I do not dislike the M16 for some uses.
In 1983 I was issued an original AR15. An ORIGINAL AR15, the full auto one, before there was the M16, before the "Civilian" AR15.

I used this rifle for several years, until I replaced it with an H&K 33k, at which time it was reissued to my partner.
We actually shot out the original barrel and at our own expense had it rebarrled.

This rifle and all other AR15's and M16's I have used and seen used over the years have all been reliable and accurate.

But they were always used by people that properly lubbed and maintained them.

Still they are all only a 223/5.56.

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