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M14 Iron Sight Guide

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Old August 21st, 2009, 09:25 AM   #1
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M14 Iron Sight Guide

M14 Iron Sight Guide

This guide is a reference for all of the people that have questions about how to use sights, what sights they should or can use, and any other questions about sights. I have tried my best to answer any possible basic questions. If you have any questions, feel free to post them here.

The information in this guide is from personal experience, TMs, FMs, manufacturer’s websites, Different’s M14 Research, History, and Development, caliper readings, calculations, and drawings. I am missing some information and pictures. If there is a question mark, the information needs added or verified. If you have any helpful comments about sights, please add them. Also, if you have pictures, additional info, or find errors with the guide, PM them to me or post it here so I can edit the thread. The pictures I posted are mostly from manufacturer’s websites and other images I found on Google. If your picture is in this thread and you prefer it be removed, let me know and I will do it.

Basics About M14 Sights

Elevation is adjustable by a knob on the left side of the rear sight assembly. It can be further adjusted by an NM hooded rear sight aperture and/or the SEI hooded gas cylinder lock front sight. Windage is adjustable by a knob on the right side of the rear sight assembly and by moving the entire front sight by loosening a 7/64” set screw.

Sight Adjustments

Each click of the rear sight elevation pinion is approximately 1 MOA, each rotation of a hooded NM rear sight aperture is approximately 0.5 MOA, and each click of the windage knob is approximately 1 MOA or 0.5 MOA. Every approximately 0.007” lateral movement of the front sight on a 22” barrel, approximately 0.006” lateral movement of the front sight on an 18” barrel, and approximately 0.0055” movement of the front sight on a 16” barrel or rifle equipped with a gas cylinder lock mounted front sight is approximately 1 MOA. 1 MOA is approximately 1.05” at 100M. This makes sight adjustments rather easy. If you are shooting at 25M and your round hits 1 inch high, you simply adjust your sights 4 clicks down (1 MOA = approx. 0.25" at 25M, therefore 4 MOA = approx. 1” at 25M). If you are shooting at 400M and your round hits 8 inches right, you simply adjust your sights 2 clicks left (2 MOA = approx. 8” at 400M). Of course, the length of barrel, sight radius, and type of ammunition will cause these adjustments to be slightly different.
The M14 elevation pinion has been calibrated with a bullet drop compensator for the standard M14 using M80 ball ammo for meters. This means, if you zero your rifle at 300M and align the dash that corresponds with 300M on your elevation pinion, you can simply adjust your elevation to the corresponding distance dash and be close. The markings will not be exact since they are lined up divided by MOA and different barrel lengths, sight radii, and ammunition will cause it to be off. I zero my weapon at 300M and rotate my elevation pinion so that the dash for the 300M mark lines up with the dash on the receiver and leave it there. This allows me to be zeroed at about 25M and 300M. everything in between I only have to aim a little low for and everything past 300M I have to aim high for or adjust my sights.
When zeroing your rifle, always do so at the farthest distance you are able to shoot or shoot accurately. If you are limited in range, however, you can zero at a shorter distance and be fairly close at longer distances. If you zero at 25M, your rifle will be close to being zeroed at 300M. If you zero at 50M, your rifle will be close to being zeroed at 200M.

Sight Assembly

Only disassemble your sights if you are mechanically inclined, have experience with working on firearms, or don’t mind throwing money away when you break something. If you have any doubts about yourself, have a competent gunsmith do the work.

Instructions for installing the rear sight assembly can be found here:
http://www.fulton-armory.com/NMRearSight.htm
The only tool necessary is a flat blade screwdriver or combo tool.

You can adjust the tension of the elevation pinion and windage knob. If the tension isn’t set correctly, you either won’t be able to adjust your sights, or they will move while firing. A test to see if your tension is set correctly is to see if you can turn the windage knob and elevation knob easily and also be able to push down on the rear sight aperture without it moving. If you cannot move the elevation knob or windage knob, you need to loosen the tension. To do this: loosen the screw on the elevation pinion, loosen the screw on the windage knob (it will click while turning it), tighten the elevation pinion screw and check the tension again, repeat until you can move the elevation and windage knob. A trick to tightening the elevation screw is holding the elevation knob with padded pliers firmly (but not so hard to bend it) while tightening the screw. If you are able to push down on the rear sight aperture, you need to tighten the tension. To do this: loosen the screw on the elevation pinion, tighten the screw on the windage knob, tighten the elevation pinion screw and check the tension again, repeat until you cannot move the rear sight aperture while pushing down.

Dustin

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Old August 21st, 2009, 09:36 AM   #2
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Sight Components

You will need a front sight base (flash suppressor/muzzle brake or dovetail gas lock front sight), front sight, rear sight base, rear sight elevation pinion, rear sight windage knob, rear sight aperture, and rear sight cover, or rail mounted front and rear sights depending on your rifle, muzzle attachment, and stock.

Front Sight Bases

"Normal"

What front sight you use will depend on what front sight base you use, so make sure you know what you want and can use before purchasing either. The standard sight bases which attach to the barrel with a castle nut are:

USGI or USGI style flash suppressor, SAI muzzle brake, dummy USGI style flash suppressor, LRB muzzle brake, YHM Phantom flash hider with sight base, SEI Coast Guard brake, and the SEI Vortex flash suppressor

any others?

USGI flash suppressor


LRB muzzle brake


SEI standard Vortex


On any barrel length greater than 16”, you can use one of these sight bases. The length of the barrel determines the location of the front sight. A standard 22” barreled M14 has a sight radius of 26.75”, an 18.5” barrel has a sight radius of 23.25”, an 18” barrel has a sight radius of 22.75”, and a 17.625” barrel has a sight radius of 22.375”.

The positives of using one of these is that there are many options out there, they all attach with the same wrenches, they maintain the M14 “look”, and they keep your sight radius as long as possible.

The negatives of using one of these is that they install with a castle nut instead of directly threading onto the barrel, they don’t allow the use of sound suppressors, there is a chance they could be misaligned, and there is a chance they could be bent if the weapon is dropped or hit against something.

Gas Cylinder Lock Front Sight Bases

The other type of front sight bases are gas cylinder lock mounted. These are necessary when using a muzzle device that doesn’t have a sight base built into it. The SAI SOCOM comes with one installed already and the only other option for the SOCOM is the SEI version made for the SOCOM. SEI makes two more versions with different heights for normal M14s depending on barrel length. GLFS equipped rifles have a sight radius of 21.25".

The positives of using one of these is that you can use any muzzle device you’d like that doesn’t install with a castle nut and can be installed or removed with common tools, the front sight won’t be at the end of the barrel (less chance for it to hit something or get snagged), and you can use any standard height front sight you wish on any barrel length.

The negatives of using one of these is that the sight position will change ever so slightly every time you remove the gas plug and re install it, the sight radius is shorter, and they are expensive.

Part, Compatible With

SEI 22” dovetail GLFS
22” barrel
For use with standard height front sights only.
Markings vary.


SEI 18” dovetail GLFS
17.625”-18.5” barrel
For use with standard height front sights only.
Markings vary.


SAI SOCOM
16” barrel
For use with tall height front sights only.
No choice of muzzle attachment.


SEI SOCOM dovetail GLFS
16” barrel
For use with standard height front sights only.
Only compatible with the supplied Vortex and Vortex style muzzle brake.


Muzzle devices compatable with GLFS:

No muzzle device, "normal" muzzle devices with front sights removed, SAI M25 muzzle brake, SEI Direct Connect Vortex flash suppressor, SEI Vortex style muzzle brake, YHM Phantom flash hider, and AAC Blackout flash suppressor

any others?

SEI DC Vortex


SEI muzzle brake


Front Sights

There is a very wide variety of front sights available for the M14. Some will not be compatible with your rifle, so make sure you double check before buying one. Variations in rifles, rear sights, front sight bases, front sights, and the distance you zero at will determine how many clicks up your rear sight aperture will need to be for your zero. 5-12 clicks up is optimal. The fewer clicks up the better, since this allows less movement when “counting clicks”. SAI Bush, SAI Scout rifles, and any other rifle with a barrel shorter than 22” using a standard front sight base will need a taller front sight. This is because of the reduced barrel length and reduced sight radius. How much taller it needs to be will depend on your rifle. Be cautious when purchasing used sights, since it may have been filed down by the last owner(s) to get their desired rear sight aperture height. All of the front sights are adjustable for windage except the SEI hooded GLFS.

SAI sends out their Scout rifles with tall NM .062 front sights. I don’t believe this is because they want to give their customers more or anything like that. It is probably because a 0.062” wide sight on an 18” barrel, being closer to your eye, appears to be wider than it actually is. It will look as though it is almost as wide as a standard sight. Here is how the sights will appear while mounted on different barrel lengths:

Barrel Length, Actual Width of Sight, Sight Appears To Be

standard 22” barrel
standard 0.079”
appears to be 0.079” wide

18.5” barrel
standard 0.079”
appears to be 0.088” wide

18” barrel
standard 0.079”
appears to be 0.091” wide

17.625” barrel
standard 0.079”
appears to be 0.092” wide

16” barrel and all barrels with GLFS-D
standard 0.079”
appears to be 0.108” wide

standard 22” barrel
NM 0.062”
appears to be 0.062” wide

18.5” barrel
NM 0.062”
appears to be 0.069” wide

18” barrel
NM 0.062”
appears to be 0.071” wide

17.625” barrel
NM 0.062”
appears to be 0.072” wide

16” barrel and all barrels with GLFS-D
NM 0.062”
appears to be 0.077” wide

Because of this, I use an NM .062 front sight on my rifle that has a dovetail GLFS. The sight appears to be 0.077” wide, which is almost the same size as a standard front sight (which I prefer).

Part, Width, Height, Compatible With

standard
0.074”-0.084” wide
standard height approx. 0.562” tall
22” barrel or any with GLFS-D


tall standard
0.074”-0.084” wide
approx. 0.720”? tall
16”-18.5” barrel with standard mount
pic needed

NM .062
0.060”-0.065” wide
standard height approx. 0.562” tall
22” barrel or any with GLFS-D
marked NM .062


tall NM .062
0.060”-0.065” wide
approx. 0.720”? tall
16”-18.5” barrel with standard mount
marked NM .062


NM .072
0.072” wide
standard height approx 0.562”? tall
22” barrel or any with GLFS-D
marked NM .072
pic needed

XS tritium 22”
? wide
standard height 0.562?" tall
22” barrel or any with GLFS-D. Use with SOCOM GLFS?


XS (SOCOM) tritium 18”
? wide
tall height ?" tall
16”-18.5” barrel with standard. Use with SOCOM GLFS?


XS? hooded
? wide
standard height 0.562"? tall


AmeriGlo night sight
? wide
? tall


Tech-Sights AR style adjustable
0.047" wide but can be changed out
adjustable height


hooded target style
various apertures
standard height 0.0562" tall?


SEI tritium dot
0.076”? wide
standard height approx. 0.562”? tall
22” barrel or any with GLFS-D


SEI tritium bar
0.076”? wide
standard height approx. 0.562”? tall
22” barrel or any with GLFS-D


SEI hooded GLFS
0.062” wide
adjustable height
17.625”-22” barrel
Not adjustable for windage.
Markings vary.


any others?

Rail Mounted Front Sights

Those using the TROY SOPMOD stock or TROY Battle Rail cannot use the M14s standard iron sights. If you wish to use iron sights on your rifle, you can purchase any front fixed or back up sights designed for the AR rifle and others.



Dustin


Last edited by pezboy; August 24th, 2009 at 02:00 PM.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 09:45 AM   #3
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Rear Sight Apertures

What size aperture you use is mostly personal preference. The distance your eye is from the rear sight aperture will determine how large it appears, however. If you hold your head forward on the stock, the hole will appear larger. If you keep your head back on the stock, the hole will appear smaller. The larger the rear sight aperture, the more chance there will be to misalign the sights. If you prefer a larger rear sight, you can simply drill out a standard rear sight aperture to the diameter you want. The smaller the aperture, the harder it will be to see through in low light and the harder it will be to focus on the front sight with bad eye sight. There are, however, vision correcting inserts for hooded rear sight apertures. The hood on the hooded NM rear sight aperture prevents glare and distortion on the rear sight. The hood also allows for approximately 0.5 MOA vertical sight adjustment by rotating it to the right or left. A hooded rear sight aperture will fit into a standard rear sight base, but it won’t be allowed to lower completely since the bottom of the hood contacts the rear sight base. When using a hooded rear sight aperture, you must use a modified standard sight base, NM/2, or NM/2A sight base.

Part, Diameter, Adjustment Value

standard
0.069”-0.074” diameter
no adjustment


NM .0520
0.0520” diameter
no adjustment
pic needed

NM .0595
0.0595” diameter
no adjustment
pic needed

hooded NM .0520
0.0520” diameter
approx. 0.5 MOA adjustment
NM/2 or NM/2A sight base needed to lower aperture completely.


hooded NM .0595
0.0595” diameter
approx. 0.5 MOA adjustment
NM/2 or NM/2A sight base needed to lower aperture completely.


standard drilled and tapped for hooded NM AR aperture
0.030”?-0.060”? diameter
no adjustment
NM/2 or NM/2A sight base needed to lower aperture completely.
pic needed

XS (SOCOM) ghost ring
0.125” diameter
no adjustment


any others?

Rear Sight Elevation Pinions

All M1 and M14 elevation pinions are the same and can be used interchangeably (except Chinese, which have metric threads). Either pinion on either weapon will give you the same amount of adjustment per click. The only difference is that the M1 elevation pinion’s distance marks are calibrated for the standard M1 rifle using M2 ball and for yards and the M14 elevation pinion’s distance marks are calibrated for the standard M14 rifle using M80 ball and for meters. You can place either knob on either rifle and the marks will get you within “minute of man”. It is more accurate to count clicks than rely on the markings anyway. Cartridge, barrel length, and sight radius all affect the calibration of the pinion. It is not a precise BDC. No elevation pinions give you 0.5 MOA adjustment, only some rear sight apertures.

Part, Thread Pitch, Adjustment Value, Description

M1 lock bar
standard SAE threads
1 click = approx. 1 MOA
calibrated in yards for the M1 rifle
Must be unlocked to make sight adjustments.


M1
standard SAE threads
1 click = approx. 1 MOA
calibrated in yards for the M1 rifle


M14
standard SAE threads
1 click = approx. 1 MOA
calibrated in meters for the M14 rifle
M marked between distance numbers on side.


Chinese M14
metric threads
1 click = approx. 1 MOA
calibrated in meters for the M14 rifle
Only compatible with Chinese windage knob and Chinese sight base.
pic needed

Rear Sight Windage Knobs

Windage knobs can either give you approximately 1 MOA or 0.5 MOA adjustment per click. The 0.5 MOA adjustment is helpful when really trying to get zeroed on something or when shooting at longer ranges. At 1000M, 1 MOA is 10.5”. If your rounds are hitting about 5” to the left or right, no adjustment of a 1 MOA sight will get your rounds closer to the center of the target. Standard windage knobs and ball detent modified windage knobs must be used with standard sight bases and NM windage knobs must be used with NM sight bases. Chinese windage knobs must be used with Chinese sight bases and Chinese elevation pinions.

Part, Thread Pitch, Adjustment Value

standard
standard SAE threads
1 click = approx. 1 MOA


standard with ball detent mod
standard SAE threads
1 click = approx. 0.5 MOA


NM
SAE fine threads
1 click = approx. 0.5 MOA
Only compatible with NM, NM/2, or NM/2A sight base.
Marked NM on the flat side.


Chinese
metric threads
1 click = approx. 1 MOA
Only compatible with Chinese elevation pinion and Chinese sight base.
pic needed

Rear Sight Bases

With rear sight bases, you basically just pic the one that is compatible with the rear sight components you want to use. If you are planning on using an NM windage knob, you must use a NM sight base. If you are planning on using a hooded rear sight aperture, you must use an NM/2 or NM/2A sight base or modify a standard sight base. If you are using Chinese sight parts, you must use a Chinese sight base.

Part, Thread Pitch, Description

standard
standard SAE threads


NM
SAE fine threads
Only compatible with NM windage knob.
pic needed

NM/2 and NM/2A
SAE fine threads
Cut out for hooded rear sight aperture.
Marked in paint or stamped NM/2 or NM/2A.


Chinese
metric threads
Only compatible with Chinese elevation pinion and Chinese windage knob.
pic needed

Rail Mounted Rear Sights

Those using the TROY SOPMOD stock or TROY Battle Rail cannot use the M14s standard iron sights. If you wish to use iron sights on your rifle, you can purchase any rear fixed or back up sights designed for the AR rifle and others.



Dustin

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Old August 21st, 2009, 10:02 AM   #4
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Excellent!! Thank you for some very hard and valuable work!

Maybe this should be a sticky?

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Old August 21st, 2009, 10:18 AM   #5
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Thank You, yes please make this a sticky.

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Old August 21st, 2009, 04:49 PM   #6
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Well done! Some very good information compiled in a single place.

Thanks,
Mike

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Old August 21st, 2009, 05:44 PM   #7
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Awesome Sticky please!

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Old August 21st, 2009, 07:25 PM   #8
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Great! Nice pics and thanks for measurements. If you want to get even more detail I wouldn't mind seeing see base height measurements from different flash hiders, breaks and gas locks. That and distance between front / rear sight for different barrels and sight locations? I'd like to do some geometry here, you gave me some new ideas..

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Old August 21st, 2009, 11:57 PM   #9
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Post Sticky! PDF!

Thank you so much for all this hard work!

Please make it a sticky!

Please turn it into an Acrobat PDF file, like the lubrication tutorial!

Very grateful.

Best!

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Old August 23rd, 2009, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msinabottle View Post
Thank you so much for all this hard work!

Please make it a sticky!

Please turn it into an Acrobat PDF file, like the lubrication tutorial!

Very grateful.

Best!
This is one of those kicking myself for not looking at sooner threads I was going to print the stream then saw msinabottle's request so +1 on the PDF request Oh, and my thanks as well for the work that went into this AND for including my lil' black sheep (SocII).

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Old August 23rd, 2009, 11:28 AM   #11
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If anyone knows of additional sights than what I have listed or pics, please add.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimura1 View Post
Great! Nice pics and thanks for measurements. If you want to get even more detail I wouldn't mind seeing see base height measurements from different flash hiders, breaks and gas locks. That and distance between front / rear sight for different barrels and sight locations? I'd like to do some geometry here, you gave me some new ideas..
Can't really help with the measurements of the front sight bases. I can tell you that all of the USGI flash suppressors will be the same. Everything else (excluding the SEI GLFSs and the SOCOM GLFS) should be the same height.
The sight radii are already listed in the post... somewhere. I will add the distance for GLFS equipped rifles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msinabottle
Thank you so much for all this hard work!

Please make it a sticky!

Please turn it into an Acrobat PDF file, like the lubrication tutorial!

Very grateful.

Best!
I don't think my version of Adobe will let me do that. I'll see if I can do it at work. Most likely after I get some more pics.

Dustin

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Old August 23rd, 2009, 12:25 PM   #12
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This needs to be a sticky!

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Old August 23rd, 2009, 12:44 PM   #13
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Awesome report!!! One of the other millions of reasons I love this site. I agree, this is sticky worthy

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Old August 23rd, 2009, 06:41 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Right On Bradduh!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilDogEBR View Post
Awesome report!!! One of the other millions of reasons I love this site. I agree, this is sticky worthy

Thanks for your great contribution to our TFL Forum Pezboy. I concur with DevilDogEBR!

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Old August 23rd, 2009, 07:15 PM   #15
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Wow, Just when i was needing a question anwsered about sights for my rifles her pops this thread with some wonderful detail and pics to boot. Great job and this one needs to be put where it can be referenced to again,again,again......sticky,sticky,sticky Please!

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