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ROC 07-16-2019 06:52 AM

New to M14 clone
Anyone care to comment on receiver quality regarding what your opinion on top 3 makers would be? Thinking about building one and want to start the process with quality parts. I will primarily be using this as a military style shooter.

nf1e 07-16-2019 08:05 AM

Bula,Fulton and LRB would be the top three choices currently in production in alphabetical order.

Mike in Wis. 07-16-2019 08:26 AM

I recently used a Bula Forge receiver and had no issues fitting it with all GI parts. Appears to be of very good quality.

ROC 07-16-2019 08:42 AM

Thanks for the info. I have a Bula on one I purchased. Just needed your insight for starting a build. Thanks again.

M14 07-17-2019 08:26 AM


Originally Posted by ROC (Post 1850370)
Anyone care to comment on receiver quality regarding what your opinion on top 3 makers would be? Thinking about building one and want to start the process with quality parts. I will primarily be using this as a military style shooter.

You know, I have been doing this for quite a few years, and I still ask myself that same question, almost daily, and certainly I am asked it by customers daily.

It is not an easy answer and cannot be blanket answered for sure. There are too many other questions to ask first,..... if you want an informed opinion and a good answer.

Such as:
Do you want to use a chrome lined barrel on your build? If the answer is yes, your choices of which receiver to use have shrunken measurably. If it is no, then your choices just increased measurably.

Do you want your action to fit in a Sage EBR chassis or other modern type, or fit in a g.i. rifle stock? Again, depending on the answer, your choices increase or decrease on which receivers are candidates for the build.

Will you build it yourself or contract it out? This question must be asked because all the previous questions and answers will cost you money, no matter which way you go..... Self assembly or contracted.

Why? Because all of the currently produced receivers have areas that must be attended too in order to get a cohesive build going. In other words, some drop right in a Sage or g.i. stock, and some won't.

Some will headspace with a chrome lined barrel, but most won't. Some need specific tools/tricks of the trade and a vast knowledge base to get completed, and some fall together with little effort.

So the short version is this. If I were going to build a rifle today, I would ask myself all these questions, and more, then decide which receiver to use. Here is my experience and opinion from building over 400 successful builds now.

In order of quality you asked about, but number two and number three are tied (interchangeable) in my opinion, Forged receivers only, with notes:

Number One:
Gunworks of Lower Alabama ....No longer in business, no customer support, scant few are available, chrome lined barrels not an issue, headspace not an issue, modern chassis or stock fit cautions only on a few early production numbers. Problem corrected after first heat treat batch. Legs cut too wide front to back and were .010" too large. Machining ridge line left up under the receiver 10 degree wings and interfered with stock insertion, as did the leg width. Experienced diamond wheel work or grinding required to correct. Only observed on 7 MSC first batch receivers and 3 production receivers in second heat treat batch.

Number Two:
Bula Defense receivers (rockola, james river, 762mmf,) ....Customer support in place, no customer support for 762mmf, many available of the first three names, chrome lined barrels and headspace fit are a coin toss, stock fit may or may not be an issue. Same problem as very early Gunworks receivers above, but persist today. Almost ten years in production experience now. M14 marked traditional receivers show less of this problem but issues were noted on several M21 DMR and XM21 receivers as recently as this past Sunday, locking lugs mis-located but solved with lapping on several, issues with barrel ring dimensions that caused extra work to hit target headspace.

Number Three:
LRB.....No current notes or experience with newer production receivers since restructuring their shop and machining production, many available, customer support in place and excellent, many years in production experience ( I want to say 16 years now, not sure, may be a hair less), chrome lined barrels and headspace a coin toss but may be overcome by contracting with LRB or others to do the builds, warranty void if using others but I have knowledge that they honor any problems when arising from "reputable" builders other than themselves. No issues with stock fit noted in my ten years of building on their receivers except one receiver and easily solved with diamond wheel, several issues with barrel ring dimensions that caused extra work to hit target headspace, bolt tail clearance on top noted on a few receivers but easily fixed, bridge locations slightly off but easily fixed on a few, locking lugs mis-located but solved with lapping on several.

Hope this helps. If you take your time and do it right, all of them can usually be built with the acquisition of a few select and extra tools in your bag. I highly recommend that any home builder purchase a Foredom tool and some diamond wheels and drums. In my opinion and experience, they can't be built without one, not correctly anyway.

As for new cast receivers, you are pretty much relegated to using a Fulton Armory for a build since Springfield no longer sells receivers only. Years ago they both had several of these noted issues above, but I haven't seen any issues at all in the past 6 years from Fulton production receivers and all builds went together very nicely......Springfields, not even going to go into it. Not enough bandwidth on the internet to note it all.:)

When I note that any makers receiver may be fixed that has the issue of bridge mis-location, it should be noted that this should only be done by very experienced personnel that have the exact dimensions required and know what to do and how to approach solving this particular issue.

Do Not try this at home unless you know exactly what is required and are ready to take the responsibility and consequences for your actions. Any rifle that has had this repair done to it, will be a bolt specific rifle forever, and must have notations to this effect kept with the rifle at all times, and by all owners of it. In other words, it is dangerous to change out the adapted bolt with a standard bolt, even if headspace is correct. The "properly" repaired rifles are perfectly safe.

ROC 07-17-2019 10:46 AM

That's a lot to consider and I appreciate your thoughts onbthis. To answer most of the questions I'm essentially looking to build a USGI clone using as many USGI parts as available. No plans to get a PRC chassis etc, no chrome barrel, probably a criterion mated on a Bula. The barreling, bolt receiver work would be contracted so I guess I'm more of an assembler than a builder. I've always heard good things about Bula but thought I'd ask you guys that are into this platform for your expertise. Thank you for all the details to consider.

Ted Brown 07-17-2019 12:47 PM

If you could have your choice of all the receivers made during the last 45 years or so I'd recommend LRB, GWLA, Smith Ent., and Bula, not necessarily in that order. Forged receivers are superior to cast, but cast receivers from Springfield and Fulton are good and will probably outlast the purchasers. A lot of excellent match grade rifles were built on SA cast receivers when they were the only game in town.

YahooMarine 07-17-2019 01:15 PM

Input from an assembler
After years of accumulating M14 parts I purchased an FA b/r based on NF1E's comments on their ease of assembly. FA had a labor day sale last year for 10% off so they made it easier for me to decide. Turns out they also had a Win bolt to match my parts so I purchased the b/r with a head-spaced bolt.

The b/r arrived at the FFL the day before Thanksgiving so I had a full weekend to assemble the rifle. It ended up taking only a few hours. Took it to the range and it proved to function perfectly and more accurate than I would have imagined.

The castle nut holding on the flash hider did not time well but that took only a few minutes with fine sandpaper to correct.

Very pleased with the outcome.

Having FA supply a properly spaced bolt was a good decision. The FA bolt is about $100 less expensive though.

Watch the FA site for the sales. If patient you can save a bunch of $$. Also, right after my b/r arrived FA had a 20% off pre-Christmas sale so I did leave $$ on the table.

This rifle has become my favorite shooter for plinking and matches. So far I have fed it Win white box, ZQ1, IMI and Atomic match ammo (not the reloads offered by CMP years ago) with no feed or function issues.

This was my second FA M14 as I purchased a more complete assembly back in 2013. It also came with a GI bolt, that one a TRW, at no extra cost. Not as accurate of a shooter as the more recent one. Probably the stock. I'll try it with a fiberglass one I have one of these days.

I still have a few M14 parts and stocks around so if there is a good enough sale by FA, perhaps a repeat of the %20 discount, I might go for another one.

Regarding SA Inc, my previous favorite rifle was a 1999 loaded model. It came with a billet bolt, which was fine, but I had an HRT bolt I wanted to put in it. This was an issue and I ended up having Gus Fisher take care of it. It was indeed a problem with the bridge as M14 noted above and over my head. After the Gus fix it has been 100% reliable.


ROC 07-17-2019 03:19 PM

Great info, I think I'm in a similar skill set as you. Garands are more my wheelhouse but I'm enjoying getting to know these rifles.

YahooMarine 07-17-2019 03:59 PM

ROC: Yes, I too am a Garand and also M1 Carbine guy. At first I thought the M14 might be over my head but with a barreled receiver and bolt in hand the rest was pretty easy. The op rod guide was a challenge as on a new barrel it required some force to install. Also, I bent the guide roll pin and needed to remove it and use another one that I had. You might also need to get a castle nut wrench and a gas cylinder wrench as well.

One FH centered nicely and one did not. I used a #2 pencil to check alignment. The castle nut would not index properly with the hex head lock screw. Quick fix was to sand the nut on a hard flat surface. It took very little to get the extra partial turn I needed to line up the slot so do not overdo it.

I have put together a few Garand B/Rs including 2 of the NAVY B/Rs from the CMP and have trouble shot many other Garands and Carbines successfully. That gave me a lot of confidence.

Also, since the roll pins are cheap have at least two of each before you start.

While I have quite a few M1 parts to swap around I did not have a lot of M14 extras but it turned out I did not need them. Those unused M14 parts may eventually become another M14 type. I did have three USGI oprods and two did not fit well. Fortunately the Win did fit well so my rifle is a pretty complete Fulchester.


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