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  #1  
Old 09-11-2020, 07:01 PM
Random Guy Random Guy is offline
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Northern Virginia
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Default Replica T44E4 project completed (minus the pending scope mount) - pics attached.

Dropping by to show pics of my replica of a T44E4 rifle circa 1955. What started this project was a very odd, 3-digit Armscor receiver that is marked “SPRINGFIELD ARMORY, CAL 30M1 T44”. Apparently back in 2003 Armscop made a very small number of these “T44” marked receivers for Dupage Trading, who had acquired some of the early M14 stocks with M1 Garand buttplates and sold a few of these receivers with the early M14 stocks.

Secondly, I was fortunate when a forum member offered me a well-used but nicely restored original T44E4 stock that made been modified into T44E6 configuration, presumably back in 1957-58.

Thirdly, I was also able to buy a unique Criterion M1A barrel from Ted Brown that is a replica of the original T44E4 barrels (only 5 of these barrels were made, and I was lucky that I got the 5th and final new barrel that he had).

So, with those three key parts acquired in the spring, this became my main retro M1A project during 2020. Here’s some pics for anyone interested:

Brief history: Springfield Armory made 510 of the T44E4 rifles circa 1955 for extensive testing by the US Army against the T48 rifle (aka FN FAL). This replica tries to represent several of the nuanced differences between the original T44E4 rifles made in 1955, and the later M14 rifle that was first manufactured in late 1959. An abbreviated list of unique T44E4 type parts and/or very early M14 rifle details that I was able to include on my replica:

1. early ‘small base’ flash hider;
2. early ‘no lip’ gas cylinder,
3. replica T44E4 barrel made by Criterion, which has the unique T44E4 barrel shank profile that lacked the wedge cuts for legacy M1 barrel installation tools, and has the correct drawing # and 1955 date,
4. original early wood handguard,
5. original wood T44E4 stock that utilized the M1 Garand buttplate, and had a slightly different stock liner,
6. safety with a rounded front profile,
7. early 2-piece/brazed pin trigger guard,
8. cartridge clip guide with heavily beveled insertion area for stripper clips,
9. bolt release with reduced size ‘thumb’ shelf,
10. connector arm part of selector switch for T44E4 had a unique profile with exposed springs (Thanks Hawk)
11. M1 rear sight pinion marked for yards, instead of the M14 pinion marked “M” for meters.
12. 'Wide-rib' or 'double-ribbed' rear sight cover that was used on WWII era M1 Garands and the T44E4s as well.

Also used is a vintage web sling with an MRT date of May 1955, to give the rifle an additional detail. I need to do a little more filing/fitting work of the faux connector arm, and I’m going to re-park the modified bolt stop, but otherwise the rifle itself is pretty much complete.

This project was a collective effort and I owe several forum members a big thank you. The final piece is still pending that will convert this into a replica sniper rifle – a reproduction of the early ‘hinged’ scope mount that was used as part of the prototype sniper rifle evaluations that took place at Ft Benning in 1958. Per Springfield Armory archives, nine T44E4 rifles that had the flat-sided (aka ‘slab sided’) receivers were hand-drilled and threaded for a hinged scope mount, in which the military tested 12 commercial scopes. The little M84 (2.2x) scope served as the control scope in these trials. My receiver obviously has the scope mount set-up so it's appropriate for this endeavor.

Last year on eBay I found the top half of the rare hinged scope mount that was stamped ‘M84,’ but the bottom bracket that mount to the rifle was missing. Some drawings were completed that attempt to reverse engineer the mount, and all is needed now is for a very talented machinist to fabricate the bottom half of the scope mount. Still hoping that might occur during this autumn-winter. In the meantime, at least the rifle itself has been completed.

FYI pics for anyone interested in this very retro project.

Heel of odd-ball receiver:


Right profile:


Right buttstock of T44E4/E6 stock:


Reproduction T44E4 barrel made by Criterion in 2019:


Early flash hider ('small shelf' for front sight), non-reamed:


Left side profile:


T44E4 type bolt stop and round front safety (Thanks Ted Brown):


Beveled clip guide (Thanks Ted Brown again):


Ultimate goal is to reproduce the bottom scope bracket seen here on an
early prototype hinged mount. I have the top half and M84 scope, so its a start:


Happy Friday.

Last edited by Random Guy; 09-15-2020 at 04:48 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2020, 12:14 AM
Hawk Hawk is offline
 
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Kewl beans!!!
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2020, 07:02 AM
7,62x51mm 7,62x51mm is offline
 
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I also put together an early example years ago. I used a mint T44 stock with M1 butt plate (was going to get the aluminum butt plate) on a early M1A1 receiver. I found a early SA barrel dated Jan 1960 from Roland Beaver and early parts - I have shot it too
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:24 AM
Random Guy Random Guy is offline
 
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Location: Northern Virginia
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Fwiw, here's a quick visual guide about the difference b/t the original T44E4 stock vs the early M14 stock that used the M1 Garand buttplate. This was not evident to me until I saw two original T44E4 stocks, one of which one is seen in this thread. (I studied some pics of T44E4s in SA's museum to confirm this nuance).

Top is an original T44E4 stock circa 1955, and bottom is an early M14 stock circa 1959-1960 (both use the M1 Garand style buttplate):


It is not known by most folks, but there were two changes to the drawings b/t the T44E4 and the later M14 stock, which occurred in either 1956 or 1958 (drawing is not legible re date). One was a revised stock liner that dropped the metal protrusion at the front of the liner (see white arrow for unique T44E4 liner)



The other was a slightly revised front sling swivel that used odd-looking 'cup-shaped' rivets to hold the front swivel, instead of the much more simple rivets seen in the later M14 stock:



...Most folks call (or advertise) any vintage M14 type stock with the M1 buttplate a "T44E4" stock, but technically speaking, they are actually early M14 stocks, and not original T44E4 stocks. There were only 510 T44E4 rifles made back in 1955, compared to approximately 15,000 early M14 rifles made in late 1959 and into 1960 with the M1 buttplates, hence the scarcity of real T44E4 stocks. (Note: Most T44E4s are in museums or were de-milled/destroyed and were never issued weapons aside from field testing against the T48 rifles, so the unique T44E4 stocks are rarely seen).

Just an fyi post to add to the body of knowledge re this arcane subject.

Last edited by Random Guy; 09-12-2020 at 11:07 AM.
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  #5  
Old 09-14-2020, 04:17 PM
pmclaine pmclaine is offline
 
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Love the red!
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2020, 11:33 AM
7,62x51mm 7,62x51mm is offline
 
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Have a photo of a M14 stock that Rick B. found, the butt area is inletted for some type of different butt plate with flap
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2020, 12:59 PM
Random Guy Random Guy is offline
 
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Would really like to see that pic. There were various experimental stocks in the early 1950s, and perhaps he found one of them.
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2020, 03:04 PM
Hawk Hawk is offline
 
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Would also like to see it!
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