M14 series rifle reliability - Page 2

M14 series rifle reliability

This is a discussion on M14 series rifle reliability within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; randy, the acronym now a days is LMGAS (Lightweight-Magazine fed-Gas operated-Air cooled-Shoulder fired...), pretty much the same rifle. I also have "forward assist" issues - ...

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Thread: M14 series rifle reliability

  1. #16
    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    randy, the acronym now a days is LMGAS (Lightweight-Magazine fed-Gas operated-Air cooled-Shoulder fired...), pretty much the same rifle. I also have "forward assist" issues - I remember asking myself why in the world do I need this thing for? Came to find out why sooner than I thought.

    dr_cmg, rant on brother! Your experiences/what you say today, may mean the difference of me coming home in the future - so tell it like it is, the M16 is a piece of junk if you don't keep it clean. Equipment procurement decisions are always out of hands of the guys who should make the decisions (our pay grade), so don't feel guilty, you couldn't do anything else.


  2. #17
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    The M-14 is a good weapon, but it is heavy and long. It can also be unweildy under certain circumstances. The recently introduced abreviated versions have had reliability issues and the jury is still out on them for serious use.

    I have spent a lot of time with some flavor of the M-16 in my hands, under a variety of conditions, and have never had a problem. The only time I saw any problem with the weapon system was when the weapon had been abused or neglected (usually weapons issued and re-issued to initial entry personnel).

    I suppose any discussion of the M-14 has to include some lamentation of its replacement as our service rifle. Comparisons to its successor are only a natural part of such a discussion. The M-16's "teething problems" are a tragic part of its history. However, the incessant M-16 bashing whenever the subject of the M-14 is raised gets old.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Array hsuCowboy98's Avatar
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    However, the incessant M-16 bashing whenever the subject of the M-14 is raised gets old.

    Indeed it does.

    but about the early M16s issued to American soldiers and marines. It was like handing them a live grenade and then when they weren't looking pulling the pen.

    Those early rifles never should have seen the battlefield. It is far better to try and implement mainstay armament changes between wars...not during.
    Fear No Evil.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk6 View Post
    Comparisons to its successor are only a natural part of such a discussion. The M-16's "teething problems" are a tragic part of its history. However, the incessant M-16 bashing whenever the subject of the M-14 is raised gets old.
    I think that some of what might be called M-16 bashing is not aimed at the rifle itself. It was flawed, but so is everything else. Many of the flaws that showed up in the early use of the M-16 should never have been found in use, they should have been found in testing. My personal animosity is not for the weapon in its current form, but rather at the bureaucratic bungling that brought a weapon that still needed extensive testing into the military arsenal and at the bureaucratic bungling that then hamstrung the men who would have to use it by not providing a way to clean and maintain the weapon and compounding the maintenance problem by procuring ammo that did not meet the manufacturer's specifications.

    The M-16 in its current configuration is not a bad weapon, but American's died to get it to that configuration. This should never happen. I don't feel guilty as an individual that I gave soldiers the best training I possibly could nor that the equipment that they were issued was not the best in the world, but I feel guilt as an American for our country sending these young men out with equipment that because of limited testing, poor decision making, and flawed or missing accessories put their lives at more at risk than was necessary in a combat zone.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

  5. #20
    Senior Member Array hsuCowboy98's Avatar
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    but rather at the bureaucratic bungling that brought a weapon that still needed extensive testing into the military arsenal and at the bureaucratic bungling that then hamstrung the men

    Dont forget the bureaucratic bungling that put strategic bombers on tactical targets, and tactical bombers on strategic targets, that restricted combat as a whole...on the whole there was alot of bungling goin on when action was needed.
    Fear No Evil.

  6. #21
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    However, the incessant M-16 bashing whenever the subject of the M-14 is raised gets old.

    Tell it to the Marines who spilled blood and had buddies die on the battlefield because of that weapon platform.

    You could not GIVE me one of those tinker toys, and if you guys that like them so much would like, we could drag ANY 16 through some combat type environs and see if the newer ones are any better [ and they are not ]. That rifle should not be on any battlefields, period.

    Now, relative the 14, I've own several M1A's [ the civvy version ] and they'll run all day, everyday for a few thousand rds before ANY cleaning is necessary. I presently own one thats still set up as a main battle rifle, and with the throw of two levers becomes a precision rifle good on humans out past 500 yds.

    Overseas in the late 60's/early 70's, the 14 was as reliable as the M1 Garand was in WW2. Unwieldy? Compared to what? The 16? So what, it goes bang, bang bang, bang, bang, bang ad nauseum, and the "less wieldy" 16 goes bang bang, click, bang bang click.

    When your arse is really on the line and your life depends on the rifle you have actually WORKING by FIRING, unwieldy is a minor inconvenience at worse.

    the incessant M-16 bashing whenever the subject of the M-14 is raised gets old

    You are right, it got old real quick in the RVN as well, but the truth then is still true today where that piece of crap is concerned.

    Brownie
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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by hsuCowboy98 View Post
    but rather at the bureaucratic bungling that brought a weapon that still needed extensive testing into the military arsenal and at the bureaucratic bungling that then hamstrung the men

    Dont forget the bureaucratic bungling that put strategic bombers on tactical targets, and tactical bombers on strategic targets, that restricted combat as a whole...on the whole there was alot of bungling goin on when action was needed.
    There is more than enough blame to go around it that fiasco. Since I was Army and trained guys to be grunts my main concern and my main pain has always been the individual equipment. I know the training was good, but training can only do so much.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzQkr View Post
    However, the incessant M-16 bashing whenever the subject of the M-14 is raised gets old.

    Tell it to the Marines who spilled blood and had buddies die on the battlefield because of that weapon platform.

    You could not GIVE me one of those tinker toys, and if you guys that like them so much would like, we could drag ANY 16 through some combat type environs and see if the newer ones are any better [ and they are not ]. That rifle should not be on any battlefields, period.

    Now, relative the 14, I've own several M1A's [ the civvy version ] and they'll run all day, everyday for a few thousand rds before ANY cleaning is necessary. I presently own one thats still set up as a main battle rifle, and with the throw of two levers becomes a precision rifle good on humans out past 500 yds.

    Oversees in the late 60's/early 70's, the 14 was as reliable as the M1 Garand was in WW2. Unwieldy? Compared to what? The 16? So what, it goes bang, bang bang, bang, bang, bang ad nauseum, and the "less wieldy" 16 goes bang bang, click, bang bang click.

    When your arse is really on the line and your life depends on the rifle you have actually WORKING by FIRING, unwieldy is a minor inconvenience at worse.

    the incessant M-16 bashing whenever the subject of the M-14 is raised gets old

    You are right, it got old real quick in the RVN as well, but the truth then is still true today where that piece of crap is concerned.

    Brownie
    Hey, Brownie, why don't you quit beating around the bush and tell us what you really think?

    Well said, sir.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

  9. #24
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    Brownie,

    Obviously emotion has clouded your objectivity on this issue.

    I feel for the men who lost their lives due to the M-16's deficiencies in Vietnam. I grew up listening to men who had served in Vietnam criticize the M-16. I have spent my entire military career waiting for those deficiencies to materialize. Honestly, the deficiencies have not materialized.

    Quote Originally Posted by AzQkr
    You could not GIVE me one of those tinker toys, and if you guys that like them so much would like, we could drag ANY 16 through some combat type environs and see if the newer ones are any better [ and they are not ]. That rifle should not be on any battlefields, period.
    In the mid-90's my unit deployed to Panama for ~6 weeks of training. My recon platoon was overdue for an external evaluation so the Battalion Commander scheduled one for the Panama deployment. During the EXEVAL we spent 12 hard days in the jungle, conducted two helo-cast insertions and one small boat insertion. Our weapons were submerged in both the ocean and brackish water, dragged through the sand and mud, and subjected to the worst that the jungle had to offer. The EXEVAL culminated with a live-fire exercise where we expended in the neighborhood of 2500 rounds with minimal prep time. Nineteen weapons, no malfunctions. Zip. Nada. Not a one.

    Now I realize that Panama is not Southeast Asia and a twelve-day EXEVAL is not a one-year tour in the 'Nam, but the conditions are similar and certainly if the weapon system were still as flawed as some people believe it to be, its performance would have been dismal.

    My rifle has been sand-blasted in the rotorwash of a helicopter (on more than one occasion) and subjected to sandstorms in the current combat environments of the Middle East. Still fired. So did everyone elses'.

    Quote Originally Posted by AzQkr
    Oversees in the late 60's/early 70's, the 14 was as reliable as the M1 Garand was in WW2.
    I find it interesting that you brought up the M1 Garand. I had occasion to visit with a few of Merrills' Marauders about 7 years ago. At some point in the conversation the topic of weapons came up and someone asked how their weapons held up in the jungles of Burma. The reply was that the weapons did well but "you had to keep up with your maintenance." That's the same advise I have always been given with regard to the M-16/M-4. Advice that I followed and that continues to yield good results.

    There is no doubt that early on the M-16 had problems. It is apparent to me that whatever the cause of those problems, they have been corrected.
    Last edited by Blackhawk6; September 8th, 2006 at 05:20 PM.

  10. #25
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    I generally try to stay away from these, but I would have to second BH, second-hand: A close friend was an AR man (Marines) during Vietnam. He does not say much, but in summation , as long as he kept his rifle "basically" clean, and paid attention to his mags, he never had a serious problem. He had quite a bit of "suppressive-time" with his. My step-dad had two tours, brown-water, and said much the same. Varied experiences, various expectations

  11. #26
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    Blackhawk6;

    Though the emotion is there, it has not clouded the facts since then that:

    I've owned 3 of them at buddies requests and houndings, all high dollar end platforms from the best makers and they were junk, bang bang clicks. Finicky has hell in 223. My 308 ran better, but not anywhere near as reliable as either the Garand nor the 14.

    One of the guys I shoot with regularly, a federal agent with the Border Patrol, owns his own class 3 shop, maintains, builds, rebuilds them for others, and has 4 of them himself.

    The agent friend drags them out EVERYTIME we go shooting, and shoots at least two of them, one his wife is using and one he uses of the four he owns at any one time. Soups to nuts with all the bells and whistles on differing ones so he plays with them all regularly, all of them full auto.

    He got quite perturbed when I refused to shoot any of those rifles at his offering at every get together. After the 5th of 6th time out he got upset at my refusals, and not wanting to run his toys and told me so. I told him why, that they were bang bang clicks and I didn't care for them. He told me his never had problems but on the rare ocassion, had I not seen most of the time they ran for 100's of rds in front of me?

    He takes great pride in the fact that his business is very well known in this state and the southeast US and his guns run, period. I told him okay, "load er up", we'll see. The results?

    Bang, bang, bang, bang, click. Could not even get it to run for 10 rds on the first mag. I handed him back his toy and told him not to ask me again. He hasn't and we are stil very good friends firing all sorts of full auto's he own like the mp5's in 40/9mm, FAL's, Scorpions, and a very nice Walther MPL. They run all day, everyday for the group of us who shoot these.

    They all have their pet 16 platforms, they all experience problems with them more than any other platforms they own. None of them has a 14, too bad, they run all day, everyday.

    My own M1A has run some 2K+ without one problem, cleaned and another 1-2K through it, on several ocassions and now has over 10K through it with NO issues, that includes ftf's or fte's.

    Yes, the garand actions require maintenance as do all guns. Thing is, they run in the meantime. Maintenance is very different than having to keep a weapons platfrom hospital sterile clean to hope to get it to run without "some issues" and a whole lot different than battle conditions where they'll stand the chance of getting you killed in a hurry.

    During swat training at HK in Sterling, Va. in 93, two L.A. feds were there with their issued 16 carbines in 9mm. The rest of us were using mp5's all week.

    The 16's had issues all week, even though these guys cleaned their weapons every night, while the mp5's [ the other 14 students ] ran all week and were cleaned at the end of the last day in the classroom. I had one of the best laughs that week I'd had in some time. See, when they dragged them out on the first morning, I made the comment to both of them that they should be issued something that runs reliably if they were going to stick their necks on the line for such a small paycheck.

    They both looked at me pretty perturbed that I would talk about their weapons that way without knowing them. On the third day when their 16 carbines had repeatedly screws the pooch on them, during a break, I went over and asked them when they were going to swap them for one of the loaner mp5's so they could get some training in that week. Oh, they didn't like that comment even more. They defended their carbines like they were not having issues and toild me they didn't know why, but they had never had problems with them before. YA, RIGHT!!!!

    I'm glad yours and your units ran well while you needed them, I truly am, for you are here to discuss this and other posts with us. But the fact remains they plain don't run with any of the real big dogs all that well or for all that long for the vast majority.

    Regular maintenance is one thing, reliability is quite another. Just my opinion from my own observations and experiences with that weapons platform, and I know many many people who feel the same way from their own experiences and horror stories as well.

    I do make it a point to tell my buddy, the fed, "nice toy" when he drags one out of the case when we set up though

    edited to add:

    I didn't know anyone "over there" who preferred their 16 to an AK or 14 if they could get one at one time or another. No one threw down AK's or 14's in discust when they had a chance to use the 16, but I know plenty that went the other way.

    Brownie
    Last edited by AzQkr; September 8th, 2006 at 06:18 PM.
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  12. #27
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    Brownie,

    With the multitude of manufacturers producing AR-15's, you are undoubtedly going to have issues. But an "off-brand" AR-15's performance (or any AR-15's performance) should not be considered indicative of the military rifle's performance. Not only are they not assembled to the same standards, they are often used with crap ammunition and crap magazines. At this point, an AR-15's performance says more about the shooter's frugality or the manufacturer than the platform.

    Case in point. I attended a rifle course where two DEA agents were using their new RRA rifles, while everyone else was running Colt M-4's (not Ar-15's). The round count was about 2,500 rounds. Everyone used quality ammunition and good magazines. Guess which two people had issues with their rifles? The experience did not change my opinion of the M-4, but I did change my outlook a bit with regard to RRA.

    I also do not think you can equate the 9mm subgun's performance with the M-4. I was issued a Colt 9mm subgun once and while I found it accurate enough, I was underwhelmed. No doubt, the MP-5 is the better of the two weapons. While the ergonomics are the same as an M-4, I believe they use different systems. I do not remember the bolt carrier having a gas key on the Colt 9mm. I am fairly certain the 9mm uses some form of blowback action.

    We base our opinions on our experiences. You have obviously done so, as have I. I am getting ready for my fifth trip overseas and, once again, I'll be using an M-4 without reservation. What else can I say?

  13. #28
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    I had Colts and Bushmasters for the ones I owned, supposedly the best at that time, though I can't speak for anything recently in the last 10 years or so.

    If the border agents m4's had run as reliably as the 14's, I would have considered having him put one together for me, but alas, even his, though more reliable are just not enough for my tastes.

    Be safe on your 5th trip while out of country, I wish nothing but the safest, healthiest trip while gone.

    I will say I know lots of guys who love the m4 platforms and swear by them, they can't all be wrong, and probably have the same experiences you have on that platform.

    Brownie
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  14. #29
    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    I think it was early '97 when I was a LCpl/E3, on the Pińa ranges in Panama, or was it the Empire ranges pass the Gamboa training area?... jum... anyways... it was a 100 meter deep squad rushing range on a double canopy jungle; you had to aproach the range from a blind turn around a big rock, then green plastic targets with red ballons atached to them (one on head, one on torso) were seen at about 100 meters through tall & tick vegetation; I took far right security on squad online and we started our assault; the squad had M16A2s, we were divided in 3 fire teams,3 Marines per fire team (10 Marines total including squad leader - a Cpl/E4); two 30round magazines and 25meters into the range, theres a dip, then a mound of mud you had to get over; well, I sliped face first and there I was covered in thick brow mud falling behind the online assault; catched up to the fire team and got over the muddy mound, pressed trigger 1 time, rifle fired, torso ballon popped (for some reason there was no head shoot ballon on that target); moved forward about 5 meters next to a tree stump, got down, pressed trigger again for torso shoot on next taget, then nada, no click, no nothing. Anyways, ejection port was full of slushy mud (I imagine it was dripping from carrying handle?), and bolt halfway into batery with soft mud - great! I ended doing the SPORTS thing and about 10 seconds latter I had a gun up. The assault had ended by that time, I had 4 mags left and I felt really dum for slipping into the mud and jamming my rifle. I attributed that jam to operator error, and from that point on, I was gona do everything on my power to keep my rifle away from the mud. Would I've taken down that target had I carried an M14 at that time? I can't tell.

    While on OEF/OIF 1 I was assigned to a combat support unit, so I had a pistol. However, I kept hearing everyone around me complaining of having to clean their rifles over and over daily, and also hearing that grinding sound every time a bolt was cycled; to me thats just too much maintnance in a combat zone.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by cagueits; September 8th, 2006 at 11:25 PM. Reason: Something just didn't make sense

  15. #30
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    Would I've taken down that target had I carried an M14 at that time?

    Your chances of the m14 rifle performing with the same circumstances of being driven into the mud would be excellent.

    As to keeping the rifle clean in combat conditions while moving and diving into all kinds of nasty terrain, the rifle needs to be reliable in those situations. Resolving to keep the rifle up and out of harms way is not the answer to surviving combat and could get you killed for thinking about such things when your mind needs to be concentrating on more important issues at that very moment.

    Brownie
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