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  #1  
Old 12-24-2020, 10:54 AM
Random Guy Random Guy is offline
 
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Default U.S. Army/Navy/USMC M14-based sniper and DMR/SDM rifles circa late-1960s to late 201Xs

Decided to take some groups pics of M1A replicas earlier this month. These are basically replicas of US Army M14 sniper and SDM rifles used from 1967 until 1988 when the M21s were officially designated as obsolete - but despite Big Army's decision - a few M14s were quietly developed as 'M21 Product Improved' versions by the 10th Special Forces Group in the late 1980s/early 1990s...

...and fast forward to the early 200Xs, when an urgent operational need resulted in thousands of basically rack-grade M14s being quickly pulled from storage and resurrected as DMR or Squad Designated Marksman rifles, along with variety of ad hoc/improvised optics and mounts. My replica of that era represents a somewhat more official variant that was purpose-built and accurized by Smith Enterprise Inc for the U.S. Army, initially called an M14SE "Crazy Horse" rifle, and later designated the M21A5. (I’m not sure when the M21A5s were withdrawn by the 2nd Infantry Division and 101st Airborne, but my guess is early 201Xs, when the M14 EBR-RIs were rolled out as the Army's standard 7.62 SDM rifle).

Lastly, the M14 EBR-RI (Enhanced Battle Rifle - Rock Island Arsenal) with a black SAGE chassis system was the last stop for U.S. Army combat M14 SDMs, service life was circa 2009 to approximately 2018. (My replica of this variant is still a work in progress).

Top: U.S. Army M21A5 Squad Designated Marksman (SDM) rifle (aka 'M14SEI Crazy Horse' rifle) w/ Leupold 3.5-10x Tactical scope, circa mid-200Xs to early 201Xs.
2nd from top: U.S. Army 'late' M21 sniper rifle w/ 3-9x ART II scope, circa early 1980s to early 1990s.
3rd from top: U.S. Army XM21/'early' M21 sniper rifle w/ 3-9x AR-TEL scope, circa 1969 to early 1980s.
Bottom: U.S. Army 'Improvised M14 sniper rifle' w/ 2.2x M84 scope and AWC scope mount, circa 1967 to the end of the Vietnam War.

Right side:


Left side:


Left side optics: The below pic shows 40-years of advancement regarding M14 optic systems and scope mounts. From the bottom mount circa 1967 with the little M84 (2.2x), 7/8" diameter scope with a condensation-prone tube and a not very stable single attachment-point mount, to the variable 3-9X scopes with improved scope mounts used from ~1969 to the early 1990s - to the tan optic at the top, circa 2007, a Leupold 3.5-10x Tactical scope w/ illuminated TMR reticle, 30mm nitrogen-filled tube, adjustable parallax, and a solid 3-point scope attachment system.



Not shown in the above group picture, but below is a replica of a unique "post-M21 Product Improved" variant used by the U.S. Army Special Forces that was internally designated as an XM25 (or M25) sniper rifle. These were not an official 'Program of Record' and were sort-of unofficially developed in the late 1980s/early 1990s at Ft Devens by the 10th Special Force's Group. They used various commercial parts, such as McMillan fiberglass stocks; some of which were bedded with a BPT steel stock liner, medium or heavy profile 1:10 or 1:11 twist match barrels, BPT scope mounts, and typically either Leupold or B&L fixed 10x scopes. Their service history is not well documented, one source noted that only 200 at most were built, but they were reportedly first used in Panama circa December 1989, followed by Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Some were equipped w/ sound suppressors and AN/PVS-4 night vision scopes, and a few might have been used in the early 200Xs in Afghanistan, but again, that SOCOM/SF-based history is based on anecdotals. (The Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane subsequently took over responsibility for building precision M14s for the SOCOM community).



The last combat-deployed M14 rifles used by the U.S. Army were the M14 EBR-RI rifles. Approximately 6200 EBR-RIs were made at Rock Island Arsenal during 2009-2011, and they were in service from 2009 to approximately 2017-18 as the 7.62 NATO Squad Designated Marksman (SDM) rifle, but I think all of them have now been withdrawn. (Some have apparently been sold to U.S. allies via the Foreign Military Sales program). I hope to complete my EBR-RI replica in 2021, but unlike the originals, it will have a medium weight barrel instead of a standard weight USGI barrel; and an early 'Pat Pending' SAGE chassis, so it won't be completely 'correct' but pretty close. The parts still need to be zinc-parkerized before the build, but it's coming along...



In essence, these 6 replicas try to provide reasonable representations of official and quasi-official varieties of precision, optic-equipped M14s used by the U.S. Army, on-and-off, over a roughly 50-year period (circa late 1960s to late 201Xs). Its' an old-school platform, but I still like the old M1s and M1As.

Happy Holidays, and stay safe.

Last edited by Random Guy; 01-05-2021 at 09:30 AM. Reason: typos
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  #2  
Old 12-24-2020, 11:25 AM
Det. Jason 714 Det. Jason 714 is offline
 
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Very cool line up.
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  #3  
Old 12-24-2020, 11:59 AM
PH68 PH68 is online now
 
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Very nice collection and Im jealous!!!
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Old 12-24-2020, 12:59 PM
nf1e nf1e is offline
 
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  #5  
Old 12-24-2020, 01:06 PM
Random Guy Random Guy is offline
 
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Thanks for the kind words, I figure there is some interest on this forum re this topic w/ pics. Here's a few more for anyone interested:

Below are replicas of US Navy M14 sniper/DMR rifles used from the 1970s thru ~ 2010/11, along with a replica of the iconic USMC DMR rifle that was used concurrently with Navy SSR rifle from around 2000 until ~ 2008-2010.

Top: Navy Sniper Security Rifle (SSR) w/ 10x Leupold scope, circa 1996 to 2000 for NSW/SEALS, and then used from ~2000 to ~2011 by the NECC (Naval Expeditionary Combat Command).
2nd from top: USMC M14 Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) rifle w/ Leupold 10x scope, circa ~2000 to 2009/2010.
3rd from top: Navy Physical Security Sniper Rifle (PSSR) w/ 10x B&L Tactical scope, circa ~1989 to mid-1990s.
Bottom: M21 w/ 3-9x ART II scope, circa early 1980s to early 1990s (same rifle used by U.S. Army).

Right side:


Left side:


(The USMC M39 is missing from that group picture. If I had the funds and the proper S&B or Premier Heritage scope, I might consider building an M39 replica, since it was the M14 that replaced the DMR and would sort-of complete the chronology, but for now I have more than enough projects...and space is limited in the safe.)

Military optics on these replica sniper/DMR rifles over the 20 year period beginning in 1989 and until the late 200Xs were somewhat standardized around a fixed 10x scope with Mil-Dot reticle. (That began to change around 2008 when the USMC M39 adopted a variable 3-12x or 3-15x scope, and circa 2011 the Navy started using a variable 3.5-15x scope on the Mk 14 Mod 2).



The last precision DMR-type M14 rifle made at Crane for use by the U.S. military is the Navy Mk 14 Mod 2 rifle, of which 250 were reportedly made in 2011. I recently heard that some are apparently still in use by NECC personnel for an EDM course. The formal name is kind-of long: MK 14 MOD 2 EBR-EDMV (Enhanced Battle Rifle - Expeditionary Designated Marksman Variant). I have many of the parts for this variant, and hope to build a replica of one of these in 2021-22 to finish up my collection of M1A replicas...assuming I can get the proper SAGE chassis parts.



It took me many years to piece these together, and I thought others might enjoy this random post of replica/tribute rifles shown more or less in chronological order.

Happy Holidays.

Last edited by Random Guy; 12-24-2020 at 06:21 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-24-2020, 01:43 PM
Cowtownscout Cowtownscout is offline
 
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Thanks for adding your XM25 and the EBR to your presentation. Great History of the scoped M14 in military service. Certainly share your Navy/USMC variants here when you get a chance I know everyone will appreciate it.
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2020, 02:13 PM
Random Guy Random Guy is offline
 
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Quote:
Certainly share your Navy/USMC variants here when you get a chance I know everyone will appreciate it.
Added/edited to the above. Thanks and enjoy.
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2020, 03:12 PM
Johnny Conroe Johnny Conroe is offline
 
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Bravo!

Beautiful stuff and thanks for sharing!
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2021, 04:52 PM
sleepinclass sleepinclass is offline
 
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Thank you for sharing these pictures. Beautiful collection. Need an opinion from the experts here... if Im trying to build a somewhat accurate clone EBR. Would it be appropriate to use a bula rifle as a base? If so, would I use a standard variant or the m21 version with a built in scope base. I would plan to place into a gray sage EBR stock. Or, would a JRA reweld with USGI heel be more accurate. I thought I remember reading that bula made some parts for military contracts but not sure if any bula receivers were ever used in service. Any leads on where to get a correct sage stock? Thanks!
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  #10  
Old 01-01-2021, 08:27 PM
Cowtownscout Cowtownscout is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepinclass View Post
Thank you for sharing these pictures. Beautiful collection. Need an opinion from the experts here... if Im trying to build a somewhat accurate clone EBR. Would it be appropriate to use a bula rifle as a base? If so, would I use a standard variant or the m21 version with a built in scope base. I would plan to place into a gray sage EBR stock. Or, would a JRA reweld with USGI heel be more accurate. I thought I remember reading that bula made some parts for military contracts but not sure if any bula receivers were ever used in service. Any leads on where to get a correct sage stock? Thanks!
I used a Bula in my EBR build. Here is a link https://www.m14forum.com/threads/tra.../#post-4526566 if you are interested.
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