View Full Version : Accurate M14 rifles/NM Mods

April 19, 2008, 00:32

I don't mean to stir up a pot, but having shot the m14 since 1983, including Service rifle, and building and maintaining my NM rifles, I thought I would post my thoughts on this series of rifles.

I have seen a lot of people who start with a old Military or Standard grade barrel and pour on All the NM mods...Trigger job, unitized frontband/Gas cylinder, NM spring guide, NM sights, NM modded FH, Glass Bedding only to discover it won't shoot better that 3-3.5 MOA with surplus ammo,and no better than 2.5 MOA with Match ammo. Then they Bad mouth the capabilities of the M14 family of rifles...well if you are a 2 MAO shooter and shoot 3.5 Moa Ammo you will be able to out-shoot your Rifle/ ammo, and you will be disappointed with the rifle.

Building an accurate M14 is dependent first and foremost on a high grade Match tube (they ain't cheap!) with High grade match ammo (Handloaded and tuned to my rifle...again not cheap). And then strict attention to detail to get every NM mod done properly done and fitted.

The stock has to be fitted to eliminate any binding or unwanted/desired tensions...90% of bedding problems occur before the first epoxy is even mixed...then the Bedding begins...I use the method taught to me by Gus Fisher..his so called Coat-Hanger method that beds the stock with the front band and gas-system on the barrel...I have found this to be a superior method and was the method used by the USMC big team just before they switched to the M16 series of rifles. I personally use a McMillan synthetic or USGI synthetic that I have heavily modified to stiffen the fore-end, and then bedded with Devcon Plastic steel...My modifications take approx 5 days to finish but turn the stock into one that is as stiff as a Super Match stock.

As I mentioned earlier, AMMO is one of the key factors for performance...I shoot only ONE load across the course...175gr. SMK's that I have tuned for MY rifle. I know what my load will do across the course and out to 1000 meters, I live and shoot in Arizona and long range is easy to practice.

I won't make any claim to my shooting prowness as I know lots of people who out shoot me...but, my Rifle and ammo are limited by ME not the other way around.

BTW; Smith Enterprises has a M14 rifle that is being tested at Ft. Benning that is shooting 3/4 inch groups with a Med weight match barrel and shimmed front band/gas system in a standard unbedded USGI synthetic stock with M118LR ammo. So the idea the M14 platform cannot be a Sub MOA rifle is not borne out by testing. Confirmation of this can be obtained from "Different".


April 19, 2008, 08:18
The original spec for this rifle was 5" or so at 100yds. Having said that it
would be ridiculous to go buy an M1A Std rifle and somehow expect 1MOA.
I too have had a few pass thru my mitts and the one's that started life
with a purpose always did the best. I wouldn't begin to build a DMR type
without a Med Wt Barrel, 4 groove. Almost any of what's out there will work.
Most are fast twist and are for heavier bullets. You can go all out Krieger
Lilja, etc but Kriegers Criterion line are excellent barrels. I like a heavier trigger,
you may want the weight cut back a little, it may help your lock time
and improve the accuracy. I could go on and on about what could be done
to any of these and you most likely would end up with a fine match/DMR
type rifle. I like iron sights and a occasionally like to mess with a scope the
M14 lets me do both. You can spend way more tricking out a Remmy 700
308 before you get it to shoot one hole also. There is an industry set up
around these rifles as well, except that there are more "smiths" that can
work on a factory bolt gun than a Battle rifle. I have an FN SPR A1 24" that
right outta tha box shot 1/2" @ 100yds with FGGM 168 BTHP and that's
only a $1,200 rifle with a $300 piece of glass, but the best of both worlds
is well tuned M14 IMHO.

April 19, 2008, 09:17

I see so many people demand a USGI barrel then go to town with the mods thinking it will be a sub-MOA shooter. Just shake my head.

April 19, 2008, 10:37

I had a friend who shoots rail guns help me with a Barrel/Ammo experiment some years ago.

His Barrel was a .308 caliber Axle test barrel (thick as a truck axle). mounted on a cradle, in a 100 meter testing tunnel (no wind effect).

We used Handloaded 168 gr SMK Match-grade ammo tuned to HIS barrel, and got 10 shot one hole groups at 100 meters with the set-up.

Then we Fired Portuguese Surplus ammo...10 shot groups 2.6 inches @ 100 meters.

Then Indian Surplus...10 shot 4.1 inch groups @ 100 meters.

The point is...Even with the best match grade barrel and set-up; if you feed it cheap crap, you will only get the best accuracy the worst link in your chain will allow. Feed it 4 MOA ammo and you will not get better than 4 MOA.

Every single link (Barrel, Ammo, Stock, Sights, YOU) needs to be tuned to get sub MOA accuracy from a set-up. Otherwise, you are just pissing in the wind...It's a nice warm feeling, but you are still just getting pissed on!


Silver Fox
May 15, 2008, 18:25
Nice thead.

Any suggestions on optics for a NM rifle? Something more for a field environment and not the bench.


May 15, 2008, 20:02
M1As suck c'mon Hansel - you don't know what yer talkin about. You probably think that rifle bouncing around in the stock is a bad thing. Its an inherent design characteristic - its made so that dirt will shake loose.

And why bother with a match barrel - they don't pry open ammo crates any better than a GI barrel.

Coathangers to bed a rifle? Who are you kidding . . . coat hangers are for affixing sling swivels.

(tongue in cheek - I've known Hans for a decade and he knows of what he speaks - even if he don't post much.)

May 16, 2008, 00:37

Your sense of humor is as dry as it was a decade ago!!! But, I try to only post when I think I have something to add that will be educational. BTW I must add that it has been my pleasure to call you a friend...And I am not going to sell you my original SS10x42...as bad as you drooled!!!

I hope our discussion of the Bedding shimming and unitizing of the M14 educated you as much as you have educated me through the years. Your Mechanical and Master machinist expertise is beyond question.

Silver fox:

I would suggest for the M14 platform that you look for a Leupold or Super Sniper scope with ARM's, Sadlack, or Smith mount. The Basset mount is also worth a look.

While the M24 system is a true 1000 meter system, the M14 with all the Mods and a scope is at it's best to 800 meters.

You might consider that the M14 with a NM set of sights and practice would make you deadly out to 500 meters. I will tell you from years of experience that a scoped M14 with a med weight barrel weighs a ton when you are humping it in the field. In fact it is heavier than the M24 system.


May 16, 2008, 09:20
'Scuse me whilst I hijack this thread for a second.

Hansel, your comment on the Super Sniper interests me. I've been looking at that for awhile now to mount on my M1A. I've also been looking at the Leupold Mk2 tac which costs more than the SS.

Ideas on which one?

I now return this thread to its previously scheduled topic.


May 16, 2008, 09:39
The 1" Leu 4x14 tac is around 475. Its an excellent scope. The Mk IV is twice the cost, but a 30mm tube.

Seems to me - you either want to keep it as light as possible and use a 1" scope with a standar contour barrel and a fiberglass GI stock, or go the other way and have a 15 pound rifle. the former being more of a designated marksman . Light is good. It comes with a tradeoff.

the SS I have used just one on a friend's rifle, and I think its a good value for the money. A lot of the features of a higher priced Mk III without the price. NIKON tactical also offers some "sleepers" as far as features for value. I also had the need to test nikon's warranty once, and they honored it.

To be a true ninja, you syhuld mount a tiny red dot on the side of your scope - that way you can do rapid target engagement at close range - tough with a fixed 10x (and everyone will know by your toys that YOU DA MAN

Silver Fox
May 16, 2008, 11:37

Nah.... i am going to have rails at the 12, 1;45, 3:07, 4:07, 6, 7:39, 8:03 and 11:17 clock positions. I need the Goober super cool 37 mm flare launcer with GPS tracking, esspresso maker and ipod MP3 player with video option.

I have the SE mount already on the rifle (SA NM w/ med cont barrel in an Izzy Nimrod stock... she ain't light).

I was thinking about a 1" tube as this is a 800 meter gun, but I would rather ask the teachers for the opinion.


May 18, 2008, 21:23
Autos are for guy's who like to challenge themsevles. I have an FN(Winchester)
SPR A1 that will flat out shoot any thing in my armory.
It's got a Millett scope on it and produces 3 shots on dime at 100 yds.
So it's not about small groups with M14 type rifle or I'd shoot the FN
which to be honest shoots so well it's no fun. If you haven't tried the
Bushnell 3200 Elite 10x Tactical you should, had one on my Smith Ent.
M14 "Scout" length rifle and got very nice results, it's in a Bassett Machine
mount. I'm still an Iron Sight guy and of course like to challenge myself
and my equipment.

May 19, 2008, 16:40
"Gus Fisher" now that name brings back fond memories that man knows his Garands/M14.I miss seeing him at local gun shows Richmond Va. area. I moved to Arizona about 7 years ago.

May 20, 2008, 09:01
I just put a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 4.5x14x40mm on my NM. I paid $675 for it from SWFA, so 30mm Leupolds can be found at a relatively low price if you forego the illuminated and mildot/TMR reticles. I used Badger Medium (.885") rings and a Sadlak Airborne Steel mount. I wanted to maintain the ability to use the irons (without having to bottom the rear aperture) yet not get too high. A 50mm bell would have required the scope to be really high. This combination lined up really well.

I have not yet confirmed the ejected brass will clear the target knob covers. I should find out next weekend.

I'm using a Blackhawk cheek pad. A Kydex version would be better, but I don't want to drill holes in my walnut stock just yet.

May 27, 2008, 21:18
The Leupold 2.5-8x36 MR/T is a perfect match for the M14. comes from the factory with a .308 175bthp ballistic cam. The MR/T on a sadlak mount would be hard to beat.

May 28, 2008, 21:57
And if you are going to put glass on it use the only scope mount worth owning - Smith Enterprises.

And you couldn't pay me to use a Loopy on mine. I ate three of those things up within a hundred rounds. They just don't hold together very well. Put A Super Sniper 10X fixed on it. It's a solid MOA rifle.

May 28, 2008, 23:01
Originally posted by Norton1
And if you are going to put glass on it use the only scope mount worth owning - Smith Enterprises.

Thats the most roughly cast POS I've seen. Makes chinese stuff look high quality.

May 29, 2008, 00:34
I have used the ARM's #18 since it's inception, I love mine and it sits low, so I can remove the scope and utilize the Irons.

I have never had any fit problems or any other issues after I modified the underside forward web to a true 90 degree angle (5 minutes with the dremel).

I prefer it to ALL other mounts.


May 29, 2008, 01:38
I use a Sadlak mount with a Leupold 56070. I have the same scope on my Remington 700 Police.

May 29, 2008, 09:25
Originally posted by gunplumber

Thats the most roughly cast POS I've seen. Makes chinese stuff look high quality.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA - put an opinion out and glad I could get a response! Had I known of your site before I might have taken a different tack on it. I DID have to put it in my mill and do a little work to it - I've reworked a couple of them - :D