View Full Version : 2008 M14/M1A operating rods - RWB op rod review

March 16, 2008, 20:46
Just passing on some info posted across the street.

Originally posted by Different
Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any brand of M14/M1A operating rod. I am presenting information for your consideration. Operating rods and bolts should be fitted to your receiver by a reputable M14 gunsmith. Spend the time and effort to have these parts installed properly.

Springfield Armory, Inc. has a supplier that produces operating rods for their M1A rifles. I'm not able to find out who is the supplier.

Smith Enterprise, Inc. (Tempe, AZ) and Thrustline Manufacturing (Ogden, UT) are both working on new manufacture single piece operating rods. The Thrustline Manufacturing operating rod will be made of a different material than what the USGI drawing specifies, 8645 alloy steel. Head honcho is Ray Crawford. The Smith Enterprise, Inc. operating rod will be made from 8645 steel. The firm recently purchased a pallet changer for use in manufacturing its operating rods. Ron Smith is President of SEI. So, if you prefer Made in the USA, you have these to look forward to later this year. I don't have a better ETA. As time and funds allow, I'll get a sample of each of these and post reviews as well.

I recently received an imported new manufacture single piece operating rod from Red, White & Blue, LLC or RWB for short. RWB is a separate business entity from Red Cloud, LLC. Red Cloud, LLC was in the surplus market for many years. Both entities were/are owned by Dr. Young Leigh based in Springfield, VA. Red Cloud, LLC specialized in importing M1 Carbine, M1 Garand and M1911 parts. RWB, LLC is a registered importer with the BATFE. RWB, LLC has the operating rods made in the Republic of Korea and is importing them into the United States under an approved ATF Form 6. I have a copy of the approved ATF Form 6. The country of origin was announced by others across the street, not me.

The RWB, LLC operating rod I received is marked: top line - 7267064 bottom line - 18242. 18242 is the CAGE Code for Bristol Spring Manufacturing (Plainville, CT). Bristol Spring never made M14 operating rods. Why this number was chosen as a marking, I don't know. Regardless, if you see this number on a operating rod, it's a RWB imported unit. This is a hammer forged piece with subsequent CNC and special tool machining. I have a few photos of the manufacturing process already posted in the Commercial M14 section of the Photo Gallery at http://www.imageseek.com/m1a

I took some measurments using a dial caliper of the RWB operating rod:

Dimension / F7267064 requirement / RWB operating rod measurement

cylinder outside diameter / 0.590 - 0.004 " / 0.580 "
cylinder inside diameter / 0.474 " + 0.008 " / 0.475 "
handle rail width / 0.172 - 0.01 " / 0.172 "
tab depth / 0.100 - 0.005 " / 0.095 "
tab width / 0.33 - 0.01 " / 0.331 "
tab height / 0.320 - 0.003 " / 0.316 "

I tried the RWB operating rod on three commercial receivers with the bolts, operating rod springs and spring guides removed. The results were as expected. The RWB operating rod hung up just barely at the forward end of travel on M1A serial number 00288X. The RWB operating rod went in but would not slide smoothly (receiver operating rod rail too narrow) on M1A serial number 05212X. I could not install the RWB operating rod on Armscorp USA serial number 1737X.

Dr. Leigh has been easy to communicate with. Samples of the imported RWB operating rod have been examined and tested by Bill LeCount and Charlie Maloney. Fulton Armory has also examined a sample. He said that Fulton Armory will be selling these operating rods.

Member stercraz reports that the RWB, LLC web site shows a TRW marked operating rod. I was called on 03/11/08 by a very reputable source. This source told me that Dr. Leigh offered to sell them on 03/10/08 a large quantity (I'm withholding the exact quantity) of TRW marked operating rods. Ted Brown noted in January that RWB was importing TRW marked operating rods. All of this to make you, the M14 fan, aware that operating rods marked TRW but not made by TRW may appear for sale in the market. I had a pleasant telephone conversation with Dr. Leigh on 12/24/07 to discuss this project as well as future M14 type parts he will be importing. I suggested to him to mark the operating rods with his own unique identifier because M14 enthusiasts would not favor buying TRW marked operating rods not made by TRW. FWIW

Here are some photos I took of the RWB, LLC operating rod:






March 16, 2008, 21:19

I too read this earlier today and the fitting issue doesn't seem to be a
big deal, most rifles especially the earlier ones needed to be shallow so
the worn op rods wouldn't flop around on you. The troubling issue is
one typical of these Asian manufacturers that have no respect for quality
and what we believe is important with regard to honesty. To make a product
that is an icon in the M14 world borders on treason.

March 16, 2008, 21:40
I've seen some decent manufacuing come out of Korea. They are almost on par with Taiwan or Japan in my opinion. They will keep tweaking these oprods until they get 'em right.

That being said, we need to keep an eye on this Dr. Leigh. I'm not sure I trust him.