RIA: M14E2 Semiauto Clone

The M14E2, later redesignated the M14A1, was the replacement for the ill-fated heavy barrel M15 rifle. Both were intended to fill the role of the BAR in providing automatic fire in support of M14 rifles. The M15 program was cancelled before any rifles were built, and the M14E2 that replaced it was simply an M14 with a pistol grip stock, bipod, forward grip, and bipod. While it was more effective in automatic fire than the standard M14, it was significantly inferior to the M60 (no surprise there). A total of just 8350 were made. This particular one is a well-done semiauto copy made on a Springfield M1A receiver, so it can be owned without NFA paperwork.

30 Comments

  1. A HS buddy carried an M14E2 in Viet Nahm as one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. He told me the preferred way to use it was to hold it sideways ( breech parallel to the ground ) braced against the hip holding the fore grip firmly. I saw a photo of him using it that way. His unit got sucked into the battle for Hue in 1968 and were the only people there using M-14s. There is a photo of him firing his M-14 ( not a E2 at that point ) on P.75 of Eric Hammels MARINES IN HUE CITY. He also
    told me 7.62 packed for rifle use was not in the resupply chain due to the suddenness of their deployment so they had to acquire M-60 belts, strip them and reload their magazine cartridge by cartridge.

    • I think only Marines used M14,s in the nam.
      I have a Springfield m1a scouter in a walnut e2 green cotton sling no forward grip but metal is enbedded in stock no m2 bipod.

      Young pup here i,m only 57

      • You buddy is telling tall tails. I was company commander and had an M14-A1 with the full auto selector switch, pistol grip, and bi-pod. It was a well behaved weapon, very accurate, and when used as intended (replacement for a BAR as a squad automatic weapon in prone position) it performed flawlessly. If You wanted to shoot it on semi-automatic it was easily fired effectively as a shoulder weapon albeit all 11 pounds of it, a bit heavier than a sissy m-16. I was CO of a track unit and hung it over the gun shield on the ACAV and allowed my troops to take it out on ambush at night as it also had a starlight scope on it. I was Army by the way and this was “acquired” from a marine unit in Northern I-corp where we were also operating. John Osgood, CO B-Trp 3/5th CAV 1968

  2. Ian, Interesting presentation as always, however you missed the primary function of the pivoting front pistol grip. The main reason it was connected to the sling was not to push it back against the shoulder (which was part of its purpose) but to increase the downward force on the bipod legs. From July 1964 to June 1967 I was an engineer in Development Branch at Springfield Armory. I had nothing to do with the E1 project but did shoot it on several occasions and found it to be very controllable in automatic fire. In those days I weighed about 135 pounds. If I remember correctly Test Branch measured a range of 25-30 lb downward force on the bipod legs.

  3. I had several M14 rifles back in the mid 80’s (actually one of each manufacturer, Springfield, H&R, Winchester, and TRW) they were all ‘surplused’ out of Israel back at that time and most were hardly used at all! I built up an M21 ‘clone’ with the correct ART II scope and used the army TM to ‘accurise’ it, it was incredibly accurate out to 600 metres. I also built up an M14A1 clone with ‘NOS’ parts from Sarco… All went scrap when the semi-auto rifle ban came about in the late 80’s…. I still have the M14A1 stock and M2 stabilizer and the ART II scope though (sigh)! Oh I miss them so 😉

  4. I forgopt to say that whilst transiting through Schipol (Amsterdam) airport in 2007 going to Lithuania (another story!) there were a dozon or so Lithuanian Army personnel on the flight returning from Afghanistan who at baggage reclaim in Vilnius collected M14 rifles from customs!

    Turns out the US gave them a few thousand so they could be NATO compatible whilst in theater. Interesting thing is they have actually modified the M14 into their version of a sniper rifle (more probably a dedicated marksman rifle). I have photographs of their modified rifle if Ian wants to post them here?

    It looks like the bastard child of a Draganov SVD and an EBR Sage stocked M14 😉

  5. Just looking at picture… this is incredibly awkward and for sure expensive to make stock. It may be made of parts bolted together, which I cannot see.
    I will return to video later. Again, good show and thanks.

  6. So the stock was made in Toronto? Do you know if it was made at the Longbranch (Small Arms Limited) arsenal? That used to be the main military small arms manufacturing plant in Canada and made the Lee Enfield and FN FAL (known as the C1 and C2 in Canada).

    If so, then it would have been an interesting intersection between the M14 and the FN FAL.

  7. I found one of those stocks at the property disposal office in Fort Richardson, Alaska, back about 1973. Picked it up for a couple bucks just for the curiosity value. I later gave it to a guy in my National Guard unit who was shooting competitively with an M14. Never heard how he did with it.

  8. Alas, the M14E2 and the M1918 BAR could not really get past the middle of the century… Small magazine capacity, overheated wooden stock, and terrible accuracy due to muzzle rise…

    Weapon of choice scenario:

    Given a choice, which would you have in the middle of the jungle where you only see enemies when they jump out to shoot you? I should warn you that I got this idea from a JAPAN-ONLY SNES turn-based tactical videogame called Stealth, where your six-man squad is sent out to destroy SAMs. You will only see hidden Vietcong soldiers (well, the ones not pretending to be regular civilians) during the end phase of a soldier’s turn (selecting the search option as opposed to the attack option or the radioman’s call option) or if the CPU moves to attack (either by shooting or grenade-tossing) during its turn or if you happen to be unlucky and actually COLLIDE with a Vietcong in the underbrush (upon which he screams something along the lines of “DIE, YANKEE!!!!!” and shoots your soldier point-blank). By the way, you don’t have a medic on hand. I will permit you to drive your own vehicles if possible…

    1. M14A1 or M16 with underbarrel grenade launcher
    2. Polish wz.28 variant of the BAR or an MG-3
    3. WWII vintage Japanese officer’s issued katana (not a family blade) or machete (or a trench knife, if you prefer)
    4. Rocket launcher or recoilless rifle (your choice)
    5. flamethrower (can be vehicle mounted)
    6. Gyrojet
    7. Minigun on M113 APC
    8. Bofors L/70
    9. River gun boat
    10. Suppressed PPK or OTS-38 silent revolver
    11. Death from above courtesy a radio summons! BOMB THEM BACK TO THE STONE AGE! (MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!)
    12. Or per the usual, screw the budget and add your favorite toys to this list.

    This activity is totally voluntary. You are not required to participate. Please keep any and all criticism of this post humane and free of foul language.

    Thank you,

    Cherndog

    • “12. Or per the usual, screw the budget and add your favorite toys to this list.”
      Considering “(…)point-blank(…)” long-range is not needed, hence I would suggest some WW1 shotguns which proved be effective at short range: self-loading M11, shotgun, Remington or pump-action Winchester Model 1912.

      • Why the heck the Marines didn’t use their shotguns as main arms in the jungle is beyond me, especially if those shotguns can still have bayonets fixed in order to probe for mines or pitfall traps… In any case, Daweo, I’m glad you did NOT suggest machine pistols (which would be nigh uncontrollable during a panicked trigger pull even if the ambusher is three feet right in front of you).

        • Paper shotgun shells do not coexist with jungles very well. Paper shells swell. The solid brass shells were few and far between plus they were easily bent due to their thin walls. Both the paper and brass shells are hard to seal from the elements on the front, over shot wad or crimp. The weapons themselves were sound, but the system, the shells, were not up to the task in WW II. Even in WW I the shotgun shells gave trouble.

          • That is why we have plastic hull shot shells. They are longitudinally grooved to prevent sticking and bode with elements well. For military purpose they’d have to be boosted in pressure level, likely.
            But, world has seen this in form of CAWS already.

          • The British used brass shotgun cartridges extensively in Malaya during the “Malaya Emergency”, which was also a guerrilla war in a jungle (which the British ultimately won).

            This was the origin of the well known “Malay Load” shotgun cartridge – a mix of large and small shot.

        • Hi Cherndog, i thought the same thing but from what I’ve read it was partly an issue of gear being fragile, especially the ammo and magazine capacity, weight of ammo per round but range was a significant issue too. Vietnam certainly had plenty of jungles but longer shots over rice paddys and other places were still fairly common. It still seems it was useful in certain places but not universally so. Contrast that with Malayan Emergency where shotguns seem to have been king due to the amount of dense jungle encounters with small force vs small force and a tendency to break contact quickly rather than continue to attack. It’s a fascinating topic!

          • Agreed. It appears that the shotgun does better in skirmishing than in long, drawn out fights if only not to get wet ammo problems. Continuing the attack on the part of the Vietcong would have gotten them shot in the face (in fact the Tet Offensive backfired because of bad timing) with buckshot, but any American using a shotgun wouldn’t want to have wet cardboard shells robbing him of his primary firepower. So unless you made like the Australian Special Air Service Regiment and stalked the Vietcong to death (out of fear, in fact), you would need to keep all shooting to a minimum…

  9. Why was the M15 automatic rifle cancelled? It seemed like a good and simple idea as a replacement for the BAR on the squad level. Would have probably been sturdier than the M14E2.

  10. During my non-glorious Army service (179 days and out w/ an injury) back in ’67-’68, an M14E2 stock was kicking around the supply room. Only I, the company know-it-all (there’s always one), knew what it was. Oddly, it was in non-finished condition, i.e., lacking the oil and sealer treatment that an issue stock should have had. We also had a non-authorized full-auto M14 in the rack; I wonder if they were supposed to mate up? Well, armies get sloppy in wartime; not everything is also SOP at the company level.

  11. I trained on this weapon in 1966 but never used it in VN. I may have a bad memory but I could swear the model # drilled into me was “M14A1E1”. I always remember enjoying firing this puppy in training. With the combination of shoulder plate, pistol grip, front grip, bipod and sling you could draw/drive the weapon into the ground….incredibly stable and accurate. With semi 700 yds accuracy; with 3 to 4 round bursts–first round on target and scare the Sh…t out of target with rest.

  12. I agree with Joe Ebeni on this. I trained with the M14E2 in Infantry AIT at Ft. Lewis, WA, in December-February, 1968. I thought it was a magnificent weapon given the criteria for which it was designed. I was an experienced shooter before enlisting so perhaps approached it with a different view than some. If you learned to get the foldup buttplate well down on your shoulder and used the forearm grip to put down pressure on the bipod, this was a VERY stable weapon for 3-4 round bursts. I fired Expert with it and the M-60 and had only gotten Sharpshooter with the M-14 itself in Basic. When I got to B/2/508 in the 82nd at Fort Bragg after jump school, we had the M-16. But when we were sent up to Washington D.C. for riot duty in early April after martin Luther King was shot, I was issued an M-14E2 instead of my M-16. There were lots of wild rumors about snipers trying to pick off soldiers and I was the platoon’s designated “anti-sniper sharpshooter.” It turned out that we spent a lot of time standing around a half-looted liquor store on South Capitol Street, just a block north of the swing bridge over the Anacostia River. The 14E2 was heavy and the magazines were a lot heavier than those for the M-16. So it tired you out more than an M-16 even for something like that. But I was 17 years old and just out of jump school and in the best physical shape of my whole life.

    Yes, the whole family of M-14s was an overly conservative development from the Garand. They had their limitations. But so has every rifle we have had since. I don’t think they would be a good choice at all today for the general infantryman. But they also were magnificent weapons in many ways. I’d much rather have an M-14E2 than a BAR and an M-14 rather than an M-1. There are many situations in which I’d personally have an M-14 rather than an M-16. I put in another 26 years in the USAR after getting off active duty in 1970. All of this was with the M-16. That weapon is great in some ways, abysmal in others. I always wonder what would have happened if we had gone with the Stoner 63 when that came out.

  13. I want to add that I was in the 173rd Airborne at LZ English in 1970 and had an M-16. But I was not in a rifle company and spent most of my time on the LZ. So the only time I used it was when we pulled guard duty at the end of the helipad facing the village of De Duc. It was easy to keep an M-16 clean in those conditions.

  14. I was CO of B troop 3/5th CAV for 9 months Jun 68 to feb 69, OPCON First CAV, I Corps. I had one of these. I inherited it from the prior company commander. It had been “acquired” from a marine unit in I CORPS. Barrel was cut off just forward of the gas cylinder plug and the forward pistol grip had been removed. We had a box of magazines and had to tear down belt M-60 ammo for ammo supply. this was off the books obviously. I would routinely send it out on abuse at night with instructions that if you lose it don’t come back alive . It had a starlight scope mount on it as well that we used at night. It was deadly in a 5 round burst at 100 meters. I carried it during daylight operations and hung the bipod over the cupola armament on the ACAV. Email me and I will send a picture of it. I was quit fond of this weapon and still brag about it today.

  15. Mr. Osgood: I appreciate your comments. I think it points out the fact that there is no single weapon that is optimal for all possible combat locations. And there are differences between individual soldiers in their ability to take advantage of the strengths of a particular weapon. I understand the practical advantages of using one cartridge only at the squad or platoon level, especially from a resupply point of view. But there were many situations in which having a couple of M-14E2s in a platoon of people armed with M-16s would have solved lots of problems.

    Me carrying one into battle on the pavement of South Capitol Street in DC in April, 1968 was a sensible action. And I happened to be a raw-boned 160 lb, 6′ 2″ 17-year old farm boy who was not bothered by the weight of the M-14 with magazines nor by the recoil of a full-caliber cartridge. I was two seeks out of jump school and in the best physical shape of my entire life. There were many times in Vietnam when having an M-14, as you had, would have benefited units in action. But, as the Marines found out, hauling an M-14 and 15 magazines through swamps is more physically taxing than an M-16 and twenty magazines.

    In the 173rd, at LZ English, north of Qui Nhon, We had our 3/319th FA 105 batteries at outlying firebases, mostly on mountaintops. These were subjected to harassing fire from sharpshooters in the jungle downslope. Most of the shots came from some old Russian Moisin-Nagant bolt action that fired the same rounds as the RPD machine gun. They were in the same situation as you in having to break down MG ammo to load a rifle. But the artillerymen up on the FBs had only their M-16s and M-60s. The NVA snipers could be comfortably out of effective range of an M-16 and so if one opened up, the gunners could only shift one of the M-60s around to return fire. Like the M-14E2, the M-60 had a lot of faults and yet in ways it was a magnificent weapon for its time. I always shot well with it, but any weapon that fires from an open bolt is never a real sharpshooting weapon.

    When I was in the 82nd and the order came down for each platoon to have at least one man armed with an M-14, these were available in the weapons room. They did not have to come out of storage somewhere. I think all were E2s, not just straight M-14s. So there was some sentiment at some level of command that these weapons were not yet obsolete. We also had the old 3.5″ bazookas because these folded and would go into a PAE bag while the rest of the infantry was using the 90mm recoiless rifle. But there were a couple of those 90mms at battalion even though they were not on our TO&E. So just as you got your M-14 from your predecessor, there was improvization and use of “field expedients” at the unit level to meet what experienced soldiers saw as the needs of the unit.

    I’d love to see a photo of your M-14E2. With the barrel cut back, muzzle flash must have been quite a factor if fired full auto. You can email me at ed@edlotterman.com

    Thanks again for your memories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*