Affordable M14 Brands

This is a discussion on Affordable M14 Brands within the Rifles forums, part of the Sniping Related category; I tried to search for answers to my exact questions and really couldnt find a precise answer. I am wondering what is the most affordable ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member warriorways's Avatar
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    Affordable M14 Brands

    I tried to search for answers to my exact questions and really couldnt find a precise answer. I am wondering what is the most affordable brand of M14 that could be upgraded. I did learn that it will most likely be an expensive project, but I would like to try to take it on, even if it takes a year or two to complete. Any input or ideas from M14 owners would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
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    Years ago, I lusted after an M-14. I wrote to Jeff Cooper and I asked him about the M1A from Springfield Armory. He wrote back and told me that I would either be getting, "a pill or a pearl". ( I will never forget his wonderful turn of phrase)

    I have heard elsewhere that when you buy an M-14 type rifle that it is a crapshioot. You will end up with a piece that is very, very good or very, very bad.

    Hoplite,Inc sell the Springfield Armory M1A for $1500. Their telephone no is (502) 955-5014

    But if you like Garand-style rifles, maybe you should think about an original Garand. The Civilian Marksmanship Program has them and you could get a wonderful rifle at an affordable price. Check out http://www.odcmp.com

    Mad.

  3. #3
    Senior Member warriorways's Avatar
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    Thanks alot, I will check out those links.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Recoil's Avatar
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    First warrior, let's get something straight: there is no such thing as an affordable M14. :lol:

    With that out of the way, we can discuss a few things...

    The cheapest M14s are the Chinese variety. A Polytech M14 will command about $800 these days on the low end, and push $900+ on the high end. The stocks suck and the bolts are soft, and other than metric threading on the gas system parts (which isn't a bad thing, just a minor pain in the ass), they're great rifles. Even Ron Smith and Clint McKee, who both are in the business of telling you whatever they need to get you to buy their stuff, admit that Chinese receivers are the closest thing to having a USGI M14 receiver as you can get without having a USGI M14 receiver. Other parts, the barrel in particular, are as good as or superior to USGI parts, and most of the parts are superior to Springfield Armory, Inc. parts (Chinese op rods are one piece forged and harder than SAI op rods, for example).

    Long story short: a Chinese M14 with a USGI bolt conversion will be an amazing rifle that will last a lifetime. Just be sure to buy Chinese gas system parts as spares because the metric threading will cause problems if you try to make a repair with an American part that uses Imperial threading.

    Springfield Armory, Inc. rifles are, in general, pretty low quality compared to a real USGI M14. The receivers are cast in Canada instead of forged, other parts are cast or of lower quality and tolerances, and so forth. The rate of failures for SAI guns tends to be pretty high; a cursory glance through technical threads on the M14 forums will prove this. However, unlike the Chinese guns, SAI has a lifetime transferable warranty. No matter what happens, no matter if you're the original owner or not, as long as the problem wasn't your fault, SAI will fix your gun or replace it outright. That's pretty awesome no matter how you look at it.

    Long story short: SAI M1A/M14s are good rifles but they're nothing like the real deal. They're materially different and dimensionally different, but they are guaranteed forever. I personally recommend buying a used one, both because new SAIs are way too damn expensive, and because of the transferable warranty. Let someone else break the rifle in and discover any problems it has, then reap the benefit of paying less for a proven rifle.

    Then you have Fulton Armory guns, Smith guns built on LRB receivers, etc. I wont bother discussing these rifles because you said "affordable." M14s from these guys are anything but affordable.

    So you're really left with two choices: a Chinese gun that needs a USGI bolt conversion, or a SAI gun that isn't technically as good as the Chinese guns, but may indeed shoot and function great, and has a warranty and superb customer service backing it up.

    If I didn't already have two M14s that I scored amazing deals on and was starting from scratch, I'd buy a used SAI M14. With Chinese M14s approaching $1,000, it doesn't make any sense at all to buy a gun that you know beforehand needs work only to pay in the end what you would have spent on a SAI M14 that was already good to go.

    A year or two ago when the Chinese rifles were $500-$600, I would have told you the opposite.

    Right now, MedCpt has a brand new SAI for sale for $1,300. I'd be talking to him if I were you.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator muzzleblast's Avatar
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    I love my Chinese 14.

    So far that I can tell, the aperture is drilled off centre on the rear sight, the barrel isn't machined down very smooth, and the Chu wood stock sucks. There's also evidence of rough machining marks in the interior.

    These are all cosmetic though, and don't affect how it runs at all. In fact, it is a consistent 2 MOA gun and thats plenty good enough for me. I've seen people use a gas shim kit and a new oprod spring guide and take that down to 1 MOA or dang close.

    For $399 I can live with that.

    The only really negative thing I can think of that I know for a fact is that the rear sight clicks can become sloppy. Mine has not yet. Others have. Who knows? You can find replacements for them pretty easy anyhow.

    I think even in the US if you buy one for $750 or so and put $150 into it, you are getting a fine rifle.
    I am dyslexia of Borg, futility is resistant, your &#* will be laminated.

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator navyrigger46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoil
    First warrior, let's get something straight: there is no such thing as an affordable M14. :lol:
    I don't know Recoil, I paid $750 for my SA National Match and got 640 rounds of LC Match ammo, 8 spare GI mags, bayonet, sling, and a spare E2 stock with it. Not to mention Its a fairly low SN rifle (10000 Range) so the quality control was not as much of an issue when it was built (1979.) I think I got a smokin deal.

    Oh yeah, did I mention it was un fired when I bought it?

    Rigger
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    Life's hard, buy a helmet. You're not going to get coddled around here so get over it.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member warriorways's Avatar
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    Thanks alot guys, for all the infor. It just so happens I was watching a movie last night that fueled the ideas. Maybe you have all heard about it "Full Metal Jacket", that mixed with reading some new magazines got the old gears moving. Unfortunatly when my gears move, people make money. :lol:

  8. #8
    Senior Member Recoil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by navyrigger46
    I don't know Recoil, I paid $750 for my SA National Match and got 640 rounds of LC Match ammo, 8 spare GI mags, bayonet, sling, and a spare E2 stock with it. Not to mention Its a fairly low SN rifle (10000 Range) so the quality control was not as much of an issue when it was built (1979.) I think I got a smokin deal.

    Oh yeah, did I mention it was un fired when I bought it?
    Yeah, that's an exceptional deal, just like my $500 Poly with 20 GI and Type 57 mags, and a case of ammo. It's also safe to say that neither of us will ever, ever find another deal like that ever again, particularly with an SA. I'm also certain you didn't pick that deal up recently either.

    It's worth mentioning since Muzz brought it up, that Canadian Chinese rifles are different than American Chinese rifles. The last Chinese M14 that was imported to the Untied States was in 1994 sometime. That means that any legal Chinese M14 here is a minimum of 14 years old and most of them are older than that as they were imported by the boat load (literally) in the 80s.

    The receiver geometry hasn't changed, nor has the quality of the other parts; that's all the same...However, it is said (though not scientifically confirmed) that the new Canadian import rifles have harder bolts than the ones we got down here 14+ years ago. Many Canadians have reported no problems with losing head space after shooting thousands of rounds. This has lead to a lot of confusion and resulting misinformation about Chinese bolts.

    So to sum it up: if you have an American import, change the bolt. It has been tested and proven that the bolts are too soft, not to mention the lugs are far too small. If you have a Canadian import, your bolt may be fine, however there is no scientific proof of this that I am aware of, but rather anecdotal evidence. It very well may be that the Canadian import bolts still use soft steel but are hardened better, which will sustain bolt life but still result in eventual head space loss. Only time will tell on this issue.

    A Canadian with access to hardness testing equipment would serve the gun community well by taking some precise measurements of bolt dimensions and doing some destructive testing on a spare Canadian import bolt (gotta test core hardness and you have to cut it up to do that). Someone down here would do it, but we can't legally get them and no one is stupid enough to admit they tested a Canadian import bolt from their smuggled M14.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator muzzleblast's Avatar
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    If someone had the gear I would chip in if not outright buy a Chinese bolt, just to find out. I only know of the exterior being tested, and that comes away at 51 rockwell c.

    They sell them a lot, cause a lot of folks replace them with USGI pretty quickly, not only because it may or may not be better, but it is gentler on brass and leads to better accuracy (reduces headspace to near zero). People go gaga over TRW.

    Thanks for pointing out the difference in the older US/newer Canadian rifles, Recoil. You're right, and I wouldn't want anyone gettin confused either.

    Rigger stop sayin that or I am gonna cry :cry:
    I am dyslexia of Borg, futility is resistant, your &#* will be laminated.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member warriorways's Avatar
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    Im sucking up the knowledge guys. I see how it is going to be hard to find an affordable one, I went the the gun shop to pic up some match 308 for tomarrows range time and there was a new SA M14 for 1,750.00 bones. I definitly cant invest that right now knowing how much more I need to put into it, I am going to hunt around some gun shows for a used one. Think I am going to make me a show calender right now.

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