Afterwar: Year 0
M14 Battle Rifle
In the early 1950s, NATO began to adopt a common cartridge for rifles and light machineguns, the 7.62mm NATO round. Most of NATO decided to adopt the FN FAL or variants of it, but the Defense Department didn’t like the FAL, partially because it was “not invented here,” and partially because they though US designers could come up with something better. Unfortunately because of politics and sheer government bumbling, an updated version of the M-1 Garand called the M-14 was selected for issue. Though Springfield designed and originally was the sole producer of the M-14, several other manufacturers have since built the M-14, most notably Fulton Armory. Production of the original M-14 stopped in 1964, as the US military transitioned to the M-16, but public demand led Springfield and Fulton to resume production of a version of the M-14 capable of only semiautomatic fire in 1974, and since then numerous variants have been built by a number of companies. Most US Navy ships carry several M-14s in their armories; these are used to shoot floating mines in the water to detonate them before they can hit the ship. (These are designated M-14 SMUDs, for Stand-off Munition Disruption). The 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) retain a number of immaculately-kept M-14s for ceremonial purposes; these weapons are typically well-polished, but still in working order (though they are not the weapons the Old Guard trains with when conducting tactical training). In addition, the M-14 is still used by a number of ceremonial honor guard units, including the US Air Force (modified to disallow semiautomatic or automatic fire, as they are used for rifle salutes at funerals), US military academies, and various military colleges around the US. These may or may not be in working order, but will always look great. The M-21 sniper rifle and its more developed version, the M-25, are modified forms of the M-14. The M-1A is also a variant of the M-14.
The M-14, as originally designed, differs from the M-1 Garand primarily in its caliber, automatic fire ability, larger magazine, and shorter gas cylinder and 22-inch barrel. In addition, the M-14 had better chroming for the bore and chamber as well as a long flash suppressor at the muzzle. The M-14, though accurate at long range, proved to be far too light for automatic fire, and in US Army and Marine use, they tended to be locked to disallow automatic fire. A later variant of the M-14, the M-14A1, was weighted to be heavier, used a straight stock, and an integral bipod; though touted as a replacement for the M-14 and the BAR, it proved to still be too light as an automatic rifle, and too heavy as a personal weapon. For a short time, it was used as a squad automatic weapon, but it too quickly passed from use by US troops.
Other modifications of the M-14 proved to be far more successful; the M-21 and M-25 sniper rifles are accurized and modified M-14s, and recent modifications have produced Designated Marksman Weapons for the USMC, US Army special operations, combat engineers, and Israeli forces. Recent pictures taken in Afghanistan and Kosovo sometimes show US soldiers using the M-14, M-21, M-25, and various other modified M-14s.
A fairly recent modification of the M-14 is Springfield’s M-14K. This was essentially the first attempt at a carbine variant of the M-14 (many others have been produced since its introduction in the late 1980s). It is externally virtually identical to a standard M-14, but instead of a 22-inch barrel, it uses a 13.3-inch barrel. The standard rate of fire of an M-14 is 750 rounds per minute; the M-14K uses a modified gas system from the M-60 machinegun and thus has a rate of fire reduced to about 600 rpm. (This unfortunately has no real effect by the Twilight 2000 v2.2 rules.)
The US Navy SEALs and Marine Recon units discovered in Afghanistan that they needed a rifle with more punch and range then the M-16/M-4 series with which they were largely armed. This led, in part, to the development of the SCAR, but the SEALs decided they needed such a weapon right away instead of waiting the years it would take to develop the SCAR; the SEALs were already using the M-14 for such purposes, but they weren’t happy with it. The M-14 series was essentially obsolete, being large, heavy, and unable to use the large range of optics and accessories developed since the M-14’s inception. NSWC Crane therefore came up with the Mk 14, Mod 0 EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle). This version of the M-14, at first glance, is barely recognizable as an M-14 variant. The EBR has its wooden furniture replaced with the Sage International Stock System; this stock is built of lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, and incorporates a collapsible stock, four-position MIL-STD-1913 rails around the handguard, a polymer pistol grip, a forward handgrip, and in addition allows the 18.5-inch barrel to free-float. The front of the handguard has a mount for bipods of various makes. The stock also allows the receiver to sit lower, facilitating aiming from any position, and provides a straight in-line configuration. The receiver also has a fifth MIL-STD-1913 rail on top. The barrel is tipped with a Vortex muzzle brake, with the front sight moved to gas cylinder lock ring. The buttplate has a thick rubber cushion to further cut felt recoil. The M-14’s standard bolt stop (which, like most modern semiautomatic and automatic weapons, holds the bolt open when the magazine is empty), has been replaced with a “slap” type paddle, like that of the M-16 series, making reloading just a bit faster. A civilian/police version of the EBR is also manufactured (by Fulton Armory); this version is identical to the EBR except that it is capable only of semiautomatic fire.
Today, the M-14 is again being issued, usually in a heavily-reworked form as an SDM (Squad Designated Marksman) rifle. This need was made obvious by the much longer engagement ranges found in the Afghanistan theater of operations. Though the SDM version is not up to the standards of the M-21 sniper version of the M-14, virtually all that remains of the original M-14 in most cases is the action, and the barrel itself being retained depending upon its condition. The SDM version is first accurized, with the action being tuned and the trigger group being either tuned or replaced by a more precise trigger group. Again, depending upon the condition of the barrel, the barrel may be replaced by one which is better-made, and the barrel is usually bedded in a free-floating manner. Alternately, a 22-inch or 18-inch match-quality heavy barrel may be used. Muzzle brakes on the match-quality barrels may be removed and replaced by suppressors. The stock is totally replaced by a synthetic stock system, usually made by McMillan or Vltor, which has a MIL-STD-1913 rail ahead of the action and three sets of short MIL-STD-1913 rails at the front of the handguards. The buttstock is sliding and adjustable for length of pull and cheek height, as well as having a padded butt. The lower MIL-STD-1913 rail usually has a folding light alloy bipod adjustable for height and cant; the lower MIL-STD-1913 rail is longer than those on the sides of the handguard, and a vertical foregrip behind the bipod is a common add-on accessory. The standard M-14 iron sights are retained. The receiver is typically topped by a scope of moderate power, generally adjustable and in the neighborhood of 3-6×.
The US Marines use a rifle with a similar function, called the M-14 DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle). This version is equipped with a McMillan Tactical M2A fiberglass stock, which has a true pistol grip and a buttstock with an adjustable cheekpiece. The M-14 DMR uses a 22-inch match-grade Krieger or Rock Creek barrel, tipped with the OPS muzzle brake; this may be removed and replaced with an OPS 12th-Model suppressor. The M-14 DMR has a MIL-STD-1913 rail mounted over the action, normally topped with an Unertl 10x scope (the same as used on the M-40 series), a Leupold Mark 4 TS-30.xx 12x scope, or one of several night vision scopes. Under the handguard at the front is a Harris S-L bipod adjustable for height and cant. The Marines are currently in the process of replacing the M-14 DMR with the M-39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle (EMR), which is essentially a Marine version of the M14 Mod 0 EBR, though equipped with the barrel of the M-14 DMR and the addition of the Harris bipod. The M-39 has been lightened considerably over the M-14 DMR.
The US Coast Guard uses a version of the M-14, the M-14 Tactical, which is equipped with the same stock as on the Mk 14 Mod 0 EBR, a 22-inch match-quality barrel, and a Smith Enterprise Muzzle Brake.
Other than the US, M-14s were used by Israel, Taiwan, and South Korea, and in some cases, still are. Like the M-16, examples of the M-14 captured in Vietnam have found their way around the world, most notably in Central America in Sandinista hands. In 2001, some 40,000 M-14s were given to Lithuania by the US; rumors say this was in return for certain intelligence activities. They were also very successful on the civilian market. The M-14K was reportedly tested by US, Israeli, and some other countries’ military forces; though there are rumors of limited combat use by special ops units, they are not officially being used by any country. They are somewhat popular among civilians, though.
Twilight 2000 Notes: The M-14 became a widely issued weapon again during the Twilight War; in addition to certain applications by special operations forces, the M-14 was issued out to both MilGov and CivGov militia units, and issued as a personal weapon to some military units raised late in the war. South Korea and Taiwan also issued M-14s to civilians and military alike, and the Israelis converted a lot of theirs to sniper and DMR rifles.
|M-14||7.62mm NATO||5.08 kg||20||$1046|
|M-14A1||7.62mm NATO||6.64 kg||20||$1562|
|M-14K||7.62mm NATO||3.59 kg||20||$1024|
|Mk 14 Mod 0 EBR||7.62mm NATO||4.73 kg||20||$1246|
|M-14 SDM||7.62mm NATO||6.8 kg||20||$1951|
|M-14 DMR||7.62mm NATO||4.99 kg||20||$1857|
|M-39 EMR||7.62mm NATO||3.4 kg||20||$1884|
|M-14 Tactical||7.62mm NATO||4.91 kg||20||$1193|
|Suppressor for M-14 Series||N/A||3.4 kg||N/A||$685|
|Mk 14 Mod 0 EBR||5||4||2-3-Nil||5/6||2||6||57|
|Above w/Suppressor||same||same||2-Nil||+ 2 / + 2||-1||-2||-30|