Operation Enduring Freedom

“The M14 is one of the worst DMRs [Designated Marksman Rifes] in history, and should have never been adopted by the military,” scout.com asserts, despite affection for the platform in the military.
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“If soldiers love the gun, it must be pretty decent, right? Sure, so long as the rifle is clamped into a very heavy, expensive chassis and the soldier carrying it never drops it, or touches the handguards. Seriously, disturbing the gun’s bedding – the way it’s glued into a stock — doesn’t just shift point of impact, it reduces overall accuracy. Therein lies the biggest problem with the M14: accurizing the rifle and holding on to that accuracy.”

The Scout master loves him some M16 and reckons the AR-10 is the way to go.

Since the AR-10 shares it’s method of operation with the M16, advancements on one could likely be applied to the other. And, the guns shares the same manual of arms, so no additional training is required for soldiers transitioning from one to the other.

True story?

117 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Should the U.S. Army Ditch the M14?

  1. I have an $1100 armalite that I like better than heavier $2000 M1A’s. It has never malfunctioned but I only use it at the range.

    • The troops in the field should be making this decision. If they prefer the M14, keep it, and if not, change to a better platform. After all, it’s their lives on the line.

  2. There are M14 EBR’s in the armory downstairs and NOBODY touches them. Too heavy and not worth the time to maintain. The Garand action is a choir compared to the AR system and more things to go wrong; it’s also just one more weapon to get parts for.

    As for the accuracy, I have heard nothing but good things about basic M14’s. The Army put a scope on both it and daddy Garand with great success. I think it just comes down to what your exceptions of the rifle are.

    • The operative term here, I think, is “designated marksman”, not “Junior Sniper”.

      The whole point seems to be to take a guy who is a pretty damn good shot and give him a rifle that will reach out pretty far and give him reliable minute-of-bad-guy. The M14/M1A can do this with a good scope. An AR-10 might do this as well. I’d suggest letting the guys on the ground try them both in the field and let them decide, not some bureaucrats.

      Otherwise it’s like demanding they scrap all the A-10s and replace them with F35s. Let them fly side by side in combat and then decide. The most planes to get home safely after doing what the grunts on the ground need done wins.

      • The A-10 should never be scrapped, IMHO. Just who the hell in congress wrote the regulation that required the SR-71 had to have all plans, tooling, etc. be scrapped. What politician knows shit about aeronautical engineering? We need some “Firewall” between politics and military.

  3. Yes. It was brought out of service because there wasn’t many options available to field immediately. There are now, The SCAR, the M110, etc

  4. Well I think the SCAR is rad. It is very expensive, though. The ar10 is fine, so is the m14 in my mind, though. If the chassis they have are that finicky and expensive it sounds like they are buying the wrong ones. Are there not civilian models available that handle both of those problems?

    • You really think the procurement division is going to go with a civilian chassis to save money? I read just the other day that the Army pays @ $3,000 per for an M4! I bought a Ruger SR556 carbine a year ago for $1,500. Aside from the giggle switch, where is there $1,500 difference between the two?

      • No, that is incorrect. After quick search you’ll see that depending on the contract, the carbines were purchased from anywhere between 700 and 1,000 a piece. Once you add on an optic and an IR laser designator you would be at about 3,000. We had two reserve Marines attached to our unit that lost their PEQ-15’s during pre deployment work ups or while in country and IIRC they were charged around 1,500 each for them

  5. Never had a problem or complaint carrying one except weight of weapon. Engaged multiple targets rapidly and was accurate enough to do the job

    • I have read about a soldier in the Battle of the Bulge who could reliably get kills at 500+ yards with iron sights using an M1 Garand. Doesn’t seem like accuracy is the big issue.

      • which makes you wonder, is the accuracy problem with the modern M14 a result of it being a poor platform for OPTICS? Do modern M14s exhibit the same issues when used only with iron sights? I know putting a standard rifle scope on an airgun is a recipe for a broken scope. Does an M14 require a custom designed scope?

      • I can’t remember the soldiers name, should be in the records? He was a record holder back in the 1940’s? at the Camp Perry matches. Think he set records with iron sights at 1,000 years? Big difference is the sights. I always used iron sights when hunting, but my front blade was very narrow, worked it down with a bench grinder. Rear notch was cut by hand. The stock iron sights are too bulky to me.

  6. Have to say, as much as I love the M14 ‘platform’, it’s heritage, it’s aesthetics (and enjoy shooting my M1a with irons)… One cannot deny that it’s a legacy platform and there are much better options now (as mentioned above; SCAR, M110, etc)…. but notably, the AR-10 is not one of them IMHO.

  7. While in Marine Corps boot camp, I personally witnessed a score of 499 out of a possible 500, utilizing an “off the shelf” M-14. It was surmised that the errant hit in the “4-ring” was due to ammunition differences. So, it is possible to achieve phenomenal accuracy with the M-14 platform…

      • In my head I’m hearing the following statement, “Yeah, that ‘flyer’ was my first shot. I corrected for it on the rest.”

        • That’s the story of the best group I ever shot. About an inch low right and then I put the next 9 right down the center. Still pisses me off though.

    • THIS!!!
      If they go to the CMP, I’m game. Otherwise, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And i’m not convinced that whatevers allegedly wrong with it couldn’t be fixed with a synthetic stock.

  8. I spent two of my four active duty years in the Army as a company armorer. We had no training for M14 maintenance, and didn’t expect to get any of the rifles. Halfway through deployment, we inherited a bunch from a unit heading back home, including one with a four digit serial number. No training offered in theater. I love the M14, but without proper support on the maintenance side, it’s time to replace it with the AR10. Considering how mechanically ignorant young people are today, I don’t think it’s practical anymore.

  9. I don’t care, just as long as the decision isn’t made by the careerists and politicians at the Pentagon or by idiot writers at a third-rate blog who are scrambling for clicks.

  10. My experience with the m14 is very limited. It and Its ammo are heavy. Too heavy for me to want to lug around. I had a good time on the range with it but that was at a clean, well laid out stateside range. Wouldn’t want one in the field.

    • Sadly, a replacement will go through the bidding, prototype, test evaluation, selection, lawsuit, appeal, contract to specific congressional states, fighting between service branches, and so on. The end result will be delayed, have problems, and cost more.

      Then people will ask: “Why not go back to the M-14?

      • Exactly.

        What people on gun blogs don’t realize, and typically don’t want to realize, is that replacing something seemingly so simple as a rifle requires a large change in supply change logistics, training, tooling, etc. The cost of the rifle is merely the starting price of such a change.

        Someone in an office somewhere gets a Brilliant Idea and says something like (eg) “Let’s replace the M16/M4 with a harder-hitting rifle.”

        And then we go down the rabbit hole of specs, RFQ’s, RFP’s, contracts for prototypes, trials, evaluations, meetings to grease palms and try to buy votes on some committee (the call girls get paid for out of the coffee budgets), a preliminary selection, then legal battles, etc.

        Ad nauseum.

        To quote the Three Stooges: “Hey, what’s the big idea?” I’m tired of “big ideas” out of DC.

        In the end, we still have the M16/M4. All the gee-whiz proposals of rifles that can shoot around corners are by the wayside and gone, and we’re still using a 50-year-old design with a varmint round’s ballistics.

        Same deal here.

        So how ’bout this: The M14 is here. It works. Who is complaining? A bunch of self-appointed gun ‘experts?’ Then ignore them. How many lives have been lost to the M14’s flaws? Not many, I’ll bet. Nowhere near as many as have been lost to the M16’s faults, I’ll bet – and we’re still running M16’s (or the derived M4) as the standard infantry weapon.

        Want a more accurate DMR? OK, then give the man with the DMR MOS a bolt gun – which we already have in inventory for sniper MOS’s – and call it done. It’s in inventory, it seems to be working, we have the parts & training logistics already in place.

        This constant call for improved small arms in our military forces makes my wallet ache.

        • I would agree with you completely, except that the whole stupid DOD process has already been done, and resulted in the M110 and G28 (which I had never heard of as replacing the M110 until five minutes ago when I checked Wikipedia). Both of these are close enough to AR10 derivatives that they shouldn’t require much change in training, either for the shooters or for the armorers.

          Logistics for the M24 were never really explained to my satisfaction- I once spent two complete days driving back and forth across Ft Lewis trying to figure out how to send ours back to Remington for servicing prior to deployment. Finally got it done, and then a few months later when A Co next door had to do the same thing, they were told I had done everything wrong (no idea, the guns got there and back just fine). No maintenance at all between the shooters cleaning them, and going back to the factory.

          And really, very few units have the M14. The ones we got in Iraq were borrowed from some National Guard unit, and then passed around as each deployed unit got ready to go home. We kept them just long enough to go home, and then we had to ship them back to the Guard.

          Edit- Wikipedia says the G28 will cost $12,000 per rifle. I can’t even form the words to mock that level of ridiculous.

        • That $12k typically includes both day and night optics along with a silencer. At least it did with the M110 contract. The night optic eats up much of that amount.

        • Found an H&K page that lists the supplied optic as a Schmidt & Bender 3-20 x 50, if they’re going to use it as a sniper rifle then it will probably get a PVS-22 or similar added. Schmidt and Bender does go a fair way to explaining the price, but I never had a problem with the Leupold at probably one third the cost. Guess a long term parts/maintenance contract would explain the rest of it.

          http://www.heckler-koch.com/en/products/military/precision-rifles/g28/g28/technical-data.html

        • I agree with you on everything but the bolt gun as a SMR. I could not afford to carry 2 rifles, and when your entire element is 9 dudes, you need all the firepower you can get. The only time I would use a bolt gun is if I was in overwatch, and I was just borrowing it from the ODA, who only used it for overwatch as well.

        • I agree with all you have said except for the bolt gun for the DMR. The DMR generally will utilize a lower power optic than a sniper, and must be able to put a reasonably high volume of fire on enemy positions at intermediate ranges. A bolt gun will not do this, the M14 or similar rifle will. The SCAR platform is laughable because of the pencil barrels many come with as well as the high price for so little gain. I would propose (but no one would likely listen) that the .gov replace the aluminum boat anchors the M14s are set in and put on the fiberglass stocks they were ordered with.

      • No need for a new RFQ phase, the CSASS or the M110 could easily be used to replace the M-14. Both are active contracts that the Army can purchase on.

        These specialty weapons contracts typically don’t have the drama attached to them that general issue weapons contracts do. Because it is rare for them to even break $50M let alone $100M. And since they are so small the Army has less of an issue awarding it to different vendors.

        • Well, I’ll take your assessment with some small bit of comfort.

          Still, you have to understand that as we rise above $20 Trillion of debt, some of us are starting to ask “who the (*&(&*^ is going to pay for all this stuff??!”

          The answer is “the next ‘n’ generations younger than I am,” and this level of indebtedness is simply unjust. At the point it became clear that we were crossing the $20T level this year, something inside of me snapped.

          Yea, I understand the M14/M1A hasn’t a really good way to mount optics on it. Yea, I understand the issue with the bedding in wood stocks (I try to never remove mine from the wood+fiberglass if I can help it). Yes, I know it’s a hefty load. I’m no longer a spring chicken, and when I get 80+ lbs on my back while hunting, I start thinking “I’m too old for this, WTF am I doing?” – I can only imagine what it’s like for young guys to hump 120lbs of crap through an AO and then have to hump a 11lb (when loaded up with ammo and optics) rifle.

          I get it.

          Still, we’ve paid for the ones we have, and I’ll wager that they work plenty well enough to help Achmed take a dirt nap. If the DOD is so eager to be rid of the ones they have, then they should put them up for sale in the civilian market to help fund the replacement system.

        • Re: dyspeptic gunsmith. +1 for everything you ranted about, i agree 100% with everything and feel the same way….. -1 for reminding me I’m getting old.

        • You just named a few negatives about the M-14.

          1. Few people can work on it. It requires a gunsmith, not an armorer. And they are easy to mess up.
          2. They are heavy.
          3. Difficult to mount a day optic, let alone a clip on night vision optic.
          4. They look obviously different.
          5. No good way to mount a silencer.

          I am willing to bet that the up keep of a SR-25 or Hk417 based rifle would be lower, as most of it can be done by a trained monkey with a torque wrench. And heck most of the stock systems for the M14/M1A are almost as much as a new SR-25 based rifle.

        • Yeah, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to other expenses. And I can probably find savings that the new rifles bring that could off set a portion of the cost, if not all of it. Though we wouldn’t even need to argue it if the Feds let the military sell surplus guns, even if the receiver is demilled they could get some money for some of the small parts, the barrel, and the stock/handguards. I am willing to bet that they could easily sell the parts kits for a few hundred.

          A soldier that is targeted first because his M14 made him stick out, is a lot less effective and could cause more injuries to the unit. As he might not be able to do his job. Injuries cost money.

          Knee replacements because off all the extra weight that the solider had to carry because someone made the suggestion that “XXX is already paid for.” And that doesn’t even consider logistical weight, as every pound of gear is one less pound of fuel, which could result in more sorties needs to ferry the soldiers/equipment.

          The trained gunsmiths required to do much of the maintenance would cost more than lower level armorers that would do most of the works on the M110 or CSASS. And the new parts required to adapt the rifles for accessories because the design never built that adaptability into it.

          The list can go on.

      • I built and tested THAAD missiles at LM. The “Geniuses” designed it with each outside panel using different attaching screws. Seems 17 in total? So easy to mix them up, and sort them out? NUTS! We no longer have any common sense in the DOD.
        Hell, you want light weight ammo? Dump the AR-15 and use 22WMR. My revolver with 7 1/2″ barrel shot through an adult armadillo from 25 yards, from front shoulder to its rear end. My police chief friend says 22wmr will go through his body armor. Have not tested that. Cost is only a fraction of 5.56.

      • Built my personal DM rifle on the SR762. Replaced the trigger with SSA-E, and the buttstock with the ACS. The factory trigger is terrible and must be replaced period. Adjustable gas piston is awesome too. Tried to model it after the IAR since I loved it so much and the fat stock.

        Get a serial over 5000 to avoid the early problems with the Rugers.

        The Army can’t go wrong with an off the shelf .308 platform, especially with logistics.

        • I call mine the “hipster edition” I put an A2 butt stock (because nobodies doing that), 3 1/2 pound cmc trigger and a BAD ASS saftey selector on mine, and then I picked up a cheap muzzle break at the local shop, I primarily use it to clear out space when the county range gets too crowded

    • The HK G28 is an AR10 inspired rifle that uses a gas piston system and it’s already been approved for at least US military contract. The SCAR 17 is also a .308 rifle that uses a gas piston, and it’s already been approved for use by special forces and has been being used.

  11. I love my Garands and I have an M1A now, too. They are fun to shoot and if you spend enough time & money quite accurate. The system takes WAY too much maintenance and upkeep to maintain peak accuracy; I take my match Garands apart ONCE a year to keep from wearing out the (expensive) bedding job.

    I’ve got another Garand I’m going to bed myself so I can fix my “paid for” rifles when they need it. STILL not as accurate as a top top notch AR10 type rifle, which has no similar maintenance requirements.

    Why keep a dead end system on life support when the life cycle costs of a new and SLIGHTLY more modern system are significantly smaller and will give better performance?

  12. to be fair the free market has more or less came up with a huge, massive pool of replacements that the military could use that is lightyears ahead of the M14

    funny how an armed society has developments that bleed into the military at certain points

  13. Bona fides, ex infantryman, squad designated marksman, eventually sniper. I did a bit of training on the M21. I will say I liked the gun, I liked the ability to have quick follow up shots (one shot one kill is bullshit, you use as many shots as is necessary). I do think, however, that it is too finicky and too heavy for what you get. FFS, it was developed during WW2. It’s an eighty year old design. There’s no shame in letting it slide into the pages of history. There’s a dozen weapons that would provide the same or better performance at a lower cost, lighter weight and better reliability.

    I’d love to own one, but as a military arm, I think it’s just outdated.

  14. Not a big AR-10 fan, but WTF do I know, I’m just an internet chump (albeit one with lots of rounds down the pipe). I would think there are better options out there now though..

  15. The stupid chassis the army *generally* uses now is the problem. Makes it weigh nearly as much as a 240, and covers it in worthless rails. The old school m21 variant is just fine, although dated. An AR10 would be a fine replacement. I wouldn’t go with a SCAR though. Way Overpriced just like FN’s cousin.HK.

    • Jesus, the modular chassis is heavier than the M21? I own an M21 and it’s a freaking brick, that wood stock with the adjustable cheek piece weighs a ton.

      • Oh yes. We had one dude all hard up about carrying when we deployed, ended up staying on the cop most of the time by week 2 or so. One of our sister companies had a few nam era wood stock ones we were jealous of.

        • The fiberglass McMillians are the way to go. Then just build up a cheekpiece. My Fulton feels like a Mini when you pick it up after the M21 (not an original, an SA from early 00s).

  16. My limited experience with the platform, other than my own M1A, suggests that it’s six of one half a dozen of the other.

    Yes, the M14 has issues, especially with certain add-ons like a suppressor. On the other hand they were pulled out to do a job that the M16 and M40 couldn’t do. Today there are a lot of offerings that would fill the role and arguably fill that role better but I fear the procurement process may well turn that into another Bradley fiasco when the powers that be get into a dick measuring contest over what exactly the capabilites and specs should be.

    Everyone wants a gun that hits like a howitzer with sub MOA accuaracy, fits in their pocket, is cheap and weighs nothing but that’s not a reality. Reality intervenes and the whole thing turns into a shit show of who wants what and what is actually possible. In attempting to please everyone you get an abomination.

    The M110 seems like a good replacement, but how long, under current budgeting, until you have enough of them to go around? Probably longer than it takes to resolve a religion argument on the interwebz.

  17. I’m not sure I can take this article very seriously. The basic accuracy requirement for the traditional .308 battle rifle is about 4in at 100yd, and the M14 as well as contemporary domestic versions – M1A, DS Arms FAL, PTR91 – even in their stock form are quite capable of much better, easily sub 2in with decent ammo, and that’s really all I would say constitutes a DMR over a stock military battle rifle. If you want near-sniper rifle accuracy – sub 1in at least – in a semi-auto then of course the AR-10 type is the way to go, but while it doesn’t require constant tuning to keep it super accurate it is also not as robust a field weapon as a battle rifle in DMR format.

    • Mebbe so, but we don’t use the M14 as a battle rifle. The only use we have for it is as a middleweight sniper rifle, which means new stocks, scopes, and all that jazz, which makes a heavy rifle into the weight equivalent of a medium machine gun. Which makes it heavier than the old standard M24, with the tradeoff of faster fire for less range. Which, as noted above, the AR10 and plenty of other platforms can do far, far better.

      Some will sneer at the weight complaint, it’s only a difference of five to seven pounds. But when you’re going from 125 to 130 lbs in your battle load, you will notice that. For that weight difference, you could carry an extra M4.

  18. Trained on an M-14 in Army basic in 1968. Qualified as Sharpshooter, meaning between Marksman and Expert. It was a big, heavy rifle for me, being a skinny, little 120 lb. recruit. It kicked like hell, too. But if you had those sights zeroed in, you could pick off those 300 meter pop-up targets that resembled Russkies with their funny helmets. And remember, these weapons were beat to shit, used over and over by countless trainees. I never touched an M-16 until I got to Vietnam. The first time I fired one on “rock and roll” I felt like I had the world’s biggest weiner. Wow, what a rush. If I had to fight a European war as a grunt, I would take an M-14 because you can reach out and touch someone with it at longer ranges with a more powerful round. Sizewise, and given the heat, humidity, and general all-around suck ball Vietnam environment, I would prefer an M-16.

    Jim V. 4th Inf., 1st Cav.

  19. I love my M1A. It’s a lot of fun, but I think the military should go with more modern technology.

    If not for weight and durability, for easier maintenance and accurization. The time and resources saved could be applied to something more useful, like training and range time.

  20. SCAR all the way. I own a SCAR in .308 and an Armscor m1a. When you add an aluminum stock to the M14 it’s even heavier and without it there isn’t much space to mount whatever. The SCAR only weighs 8lbs with a 16″ barrel and it has a folding stock. Price is similar when you add the stock to the M14.

    • My opinion is identical here. Scar17 is what? 9lbs naked? That’s pretty decent for a 308. Those EBR’s from Rem are well into the $5k price tag, so almost 2 Scars for every one of those, I’m a buyer if I was .gov.

  21. Using cost/effective thinking. The only option is to keep what we have or switch to the AR10. All other options are stupid.

  22. We could adopt the British L129A1, which is essentially the Lewis Machine & Tool LM308MWS in 7.62×51. LMT is based in Illinois. It is a bit on the heavy side, but very accurate and rugged.

    • I haven’t shot that one specifically, but it’s basically a tricked out AR10. I think that or something very like it is probably the best bet for a middle-range replacement for the M21.

  23. If we ignore the politics of the decision, SCAR-H seems like a good way forward. It’s shorter and lighter than all but the 16″ SOCOM variants. On price it is probably cheaper than the Sage EBR variants.
    From an outright accuracy standpoint the M14 is probably better if tuned and setup right, but like others have mentioned it is a little “high maintenance”. God they are beautiful though.

    • Reciprocating charging handle is a monster no-go. Privates have an average IQ of about six. Issue SCARs and we’d have whole battalions of thumbless broke-dicks chaptering out of the military.

  24. From what I have seen of new military small arms programs, it seems lots of bureaucratic testing and evaluations take place in which the data results in no actions toward mass production and integration into service.
    Gotta pay for the F-35 somehow.

  25. They should but they won’t anytime soon because they have the M14 and they don’t have anything else in the pipeline. Kludge scope mount IMO but I am sure that scope mount has sent many hajji’s to see Allah.

  26. The problem I have with all of these firearms mentioned (M1A/14, Scar17, Knights M110) is the price tag. None of these guns should be anywhere near $4000 or more. The EBR Remington offers is what, $6k? For what? SCAR’s especially shouldn’t be that damn expensive for a mostly polymer gun. This coming from a FiveseveN owner too. FN seriously needs to reconsider their pricing scheme, they’d be surprised how many more owners they’d have of their products.

    • the military doesn’t pay anywhere near the price points that the average non-military member sees in a gun shop or online. a brand new M-4 carbine is right around $450 and around $325 for a refurbished one from either NSWC Crane, IN or Picatinny Arsenal. I do I know this? I was the reasource manager and it was my job to make sure all units had a full table of allowance of guns, accessories, NVG’s, ammo, and if they didn’t I had to know where to get it, how much it was, and much it would be to fix it when it broke or reached end of barrel life.

  27. After I watched these two vids, I never wanted to own an M1A. They’re not just a little bad, they’re TERRIBLE. The troops deserve better out of a .308 semi-auto or battle rifle. In range does some sand and mud tests comparing them with an AR, and the results weren’t even somewhat acceptable for the M1A.

    • I enjoyed these videos tremendously. The best one was the AR-15 versus the AK mud test. The AK fan boys really had to retreat to a safe space over that one.
      Yes, there are probably better choices than the M14, but tests with the AR-15 using proper parts and ammo back in the early 60s proved that.
      Using the correct powder in the AR works wonders.

  28. I wish the US Military would do an all-inclusive study (Capability Needs Assessment) to find a new rifle/carbine without restrictions of caliber(s) to determine the needs of the 21st Century Serviceman. Too often higher HQ sets restrictions on development, like caliber.

    • Hey, isn’t the Army(or SOCOM) buying a bunch of HK417 DMR’s? The M110 doesn’t seem to like desert dust. Or water. Typical AR. Whatever. The point I’m getting at is that the DMR needs to look similar from a distance to the standard rifles everyone else is carrying to avoid marking the guy carrying it. The M14 does not begin to meet that requirement.

      • Also, as has been pointed out elsewhere in this talkback, the M14 doesn’t work well in mud(or really at all) or blowing sand(water not really a problem). Also, it’s better in sub-freezing temperatures than an AR. During it’s selection process it beat out everything EXCEPT the Garand in sub freezng temps. Design quirks.

        All that said with the M4 still the standard issue I the DMR needs to be something that looks like it. The Marines are using the HK M27 to [nudge][wink]supplement(stealth replace) the M249 already, and the HK G28 would fit in just fine and doesn’t seem to have the M110’s dust issues.

  29. Send them to the CMP. Congress has the authority to do so. The NFA would not need to be repealed to do so. Congress could easily carve out the exemption. Hide it in a must pass bill. Problem solved.

  30. here is what most of you have failed to realize about the DM position in most units, it’s considered a collateral duty. I was a qualified DM and loved my M-14 DMR. it was my rifle, deployed with me, and since I was the commands armorer, I maintained it along with all the other firearms in my armory with the other armeror’s that worked for me. DM’s are not snipers and we don’t compare ourselves to them. DM’s work at ranges as far away as 500yrds and usually from a high point over looking entry control points (ECPs). most units in the Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force don’t use the SCAR for a DMR is that they are reserved for SOCOM Units (SEALs, Army Special Forces, AF PJ’s, Navy EOD, Force Recon) as well as the SR25 and M110. as far as the M-14 and M-4 costing those outrageous amounts listed earlier in the comments, that is false as well. a brand new M-4 Carbine (not refurbished) is approx $550 and a newly accurize M-14 turned into a DMR is approx $1050.

  31. A new lightweight, sub-MOA, cheap rifle to replace the M-14? Never going to happen; pick any two attributes, then add 7-10 years (at least) to field the thing.

    Sure…. the M110 and G28 are out there, but those are still just stop-gap. The procurement/DARPA/combat commanders are always looking for something far in advance of what’s currently being used, which will justify maintaining (or increasing) their budgets. But the bean-counters usually win out, which keeps things like the M-14 and B-52 in service…. except for the A-10, which is the other way around.

  32. Having been an 0311, I’d take an accurized AR-10 over an M14 or SCAR 17. The AR-10 has more solid scope mounting capability than the old warhorse M14. In my experience, the AR-10 with a decent stainless barrel is more accurate than the M14 (although I haven’t shot the National Match stainless version) or the SCAR.

    Given the virtually identical manual of arms between the AR-15 and AR-10, there would be less of a training issue. The AR-10 will put rounds on target faster than bolt guns of the same caliber in the hands of most military shooters. The Mk 262 and similar heavyweight 5.56 loads aren’t terrible at range, and run roughly double the energy at 550 yards as the M855 green tip load.

    DG and others have mentioned cost, and there’s no getting around that. I certainly hope Trump can cap costs while strengthening the military (save the A10!!!), but that remains to be seen. Addressing foreign trade deficits would certainly be helpful. If we have a Hillary presidency, small arms discussions will be moot because we’ll be screwed.

  33. Why ditch them? Oh, because they are NOT the newest boy on the block. They are paid for, plenty of them and parts on hand. Keep the damn things. Geezzzzz.

  34. This is a bizarre discussion. The M-14 is NOT the main rifle issued to troops. That’s been the M-16/M-4 since about 1966 or so. We are talking about a weapon issued in smallish numbers, for a specialized purpose. It’s also not a sniper rifle. Our military in Afghanistan found that they tended to have some targets that were out of the effective range of an M-4, and they needed something that could reach out farther. They dug out some M-14’s, dusted them off and found that they worked well for the intended specialized purpose.

    The while the M-14 is not perfect, it’s also not broken. It works. Really well. It comes from a proven design in the M-1 Garand. The design was improved on for the M-14. So why be in such a rush to “fix” it? Is is just not “tacticool” enough?

  35. If the object is to take a quality rifleman and provide him with a tool of long range accurate and deadly firepower then the clear choice would be a 98 Mauser derivative and a plethora of chambering options.

  36. ah, hell scrap them all and go with the AK platform, the US can’t make a decent weapon since Stoner made the AR series, politicians and Army Generals screwed that up! maybe up grade to .243 and put a piston in it!

  37. Make just semi auto and sell them to civilians that prep them for competition and are willing to put the time and effort. It is a good rifle but there are better options now for the military, lighter and more accurate with a variety of great optical systems.

  38. “very heavy, expensive chassis and the soldier carrying it never drops it, or touches the handguards.”

    I remember reading this the first time, not here at TTAG, and thinking:

    BS to chassis comment (it is heavy but does not have to be) and touching hand guards. However, dropping it . . . Um most rifles are not enhanced by butter fingers. You drop a rifle it messes up the mounts, zeroing, glass, etc.

  39. I have some background in the original version and I will explain the moving parts I was involved in and hopefully some of the readers can fill in additional info. In the 1990’s, the USMC EOD field drafted an operational needs statement for rifles in 7.62 and .50 calibers to be used to destroy submunitions from a distance. During this time, the services were cut back and achieving congressional funding for a totally new 7.62 rifle was not promising. Of course the Barrett was chosen to fill the 50 cal requirement. The Marines opted to fill this EOD need by having a small team at Quantico, VA refurbish warehoused M14s,. This would only involve a few hundred weapons and there were adequate parts available to meet maintenance requirements for these numbers. However, in 2004, the Marines were on their way back to Iraq and the need came up for infantry units to also have a DMR. Refurbished DMRs were taken off the line from the EOD teams and sent to Marine infantry units whereby all accounts they did a good job. My point is that these weapons were not originally purposed for infantry environments nor was an established long term supply chain available. I am not an expert with every platform out there, but I would get passed using the M14 DMR and go to a newer weapon that has similar ergonomics as the M4’s, a adequate supply chain, and is more optic friendly. Although a lot of soldiers cut there teeth and love the M14, there must of been a reason it was only in service for 6 years. I welcome any additional thoughts or details.

  40. I’m not sorry to say this to the a.r10 fan boys,but you should look into why they switched from Knights armaments sr25 to the m1a …… that’s all I’m going to say , do the research.

  41. I disagree with scout.com. A few thousand dead north Vietnamese soldiers will probably cheer if the Army rids us of the M-14. If they do I hope it is after Obama. He will order them destroyed.

  42. Yes the AR-10 is likely a better choice for that role…but guess what, the military didn’t happen to be sitting on a huge stockpile of AR-10s.

  43. I believe the most noted sniper of the Vietnam war, known as white feather, used a standard issue M-14. This guy did some pretty amazing things with his standard M-14. The enemy put a bounty on his head, that’s how good he was with his M-14. Also if you butt stroke your enemy with an M-16 or some of these other weapons, you won’t get the kind of results you would with an M-14. With the M-14 you will rip their head off. If you are running out of ammo for your M-16 during a raging fight, there isn’t any more coming. In our own fight a chopper flew low over the middle of our position and kicked out 2 cases of ammo. It was for the gunners M-60. If you have an M-14, you can break down these belts down and load your m-14. During my training, these M-14s would get sand and or dirt in them and they still kept working. This may not always be the case, but other weapons wouldn’t function at all under these circumstances. Is the M-14 a good weapon? Absolutely!

  44. The M14 served me well as a DMR with no issues… until it was put into the XM14 (named at the time)Sage chassis. Though I never deployed it in the field. A DMR is a weapon of opportunity for targets at greater than normal range, it’s not a sniper rifle. The M14 has served the US well but I can see how it is dated to our plug and play mellenians(did I spell that wrong). Needless to say any weapon will fail in select environments, you show me a weapon system that has never failed and I’ll change gods. The most important component to any system is the shooter. If a round can be put on target does it matter if it was an M14, FAL, Ruger Scout or sling shot. People (especially the wannabes) need to focus on building skills as most modern rifles will out shoot ever you above average shooter. Be the best you can with the gear you have… don’t worry about the rest.

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