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US Rifle M14: From John Garand to the M21
By R. Blake Stevens
Collector Grade Publications Inc.
I bought this book second hand of Amazon.com, and did not know quite what to expect. However, ever since it showed up in the mail a few days ago, I have not stopped reading it! Quite simply, there is so much interesting information about the m14 in this book, that the M14 enthusiastic will learn a about the trials and tribulations of the Army Ordnance's last rifle. In this book, Stevens traces out the long and tedious development of the m14 rifles. He covers everything from the early experiments with modified M1 Garand (which comprises about half the book) to the evaluations of the m14 as well as the development of the M21.
Starting with the M1E series, Stevens traces the lineage of the m14 through the various test and changes made on the M1 Garand. Detailed reports on the improvement and subsequent evolution of the M1 rifle are reproduced in this book, giving insight into both the ingenuity of the engineers as well as the unfortunate politics that would plague the m14?s future. Even included is a reprint of a preliminary Technical Manual on the T20E2; a rifle with remarkable resemblance to the m14 - produced in 1945!
Stevens also describes in detail the selection and production of the M14 rifle. Included are rather heart-wrenching details on the competition between the T44 rifle (soon to be the m14) and the T48 rifle (FN), which shows how close America came to adopting the T48. Stevens spares no effort to include the controversy (a lot was political) that surrounded the M14, and includes reports and findings that seemed to damn the M14 as an inferior rifle the M1 Garand, which late lead the push to adopt the AR-15. While I?m sure more than one M14 enthusiast will feel a bit sad as they read these reports (I sure did!), Stevens also describes the triumphs of the M14. We see a snap shot into the production of the M14 by Springfield, Winchester, H&R, and TRW and how they overcame the problems they faced (some like TRW did better than others), as well as a detailed account of the successful creation of the NM M14 and subsequent M21.
I had always wondered how the m14 came to be, and throughout the book, I found myself saying ?Oh that?s how they changed the M1 to the m14!? While admittedly, I am a total M14 amateur, I would think that even those with a lot of knowledge on the m14 would learn something from this book. Stevens has done a wonderful job of collecting numerous reports and putting them along with interesting and rare pictures into a cohesive history of the M14. Thanks to this book, the next time I shoulder a M1A or other M14 Clone, I will appreciate the time, effort, and dedication that went into producing that last American battle rifle.
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