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The best rifle in the Corps Admin |

By: David Carriker

I’ve long known of the eternal discussion of the Springfield, M-1, M-14 and finally the M-16. Depending on the age of the Marine, each of these rifles has its supporters. I qualified Expert on the M-1, M-14, and the early M-16.

I personally lean toward the M-14 over the M-1 because of the increased capacity for rounds. The M-14 was a very robust design that was fairly easy to maintain.

And finally, it was the end of an era in the Corps when extreme accuracy was the goal. You could easily hit a man sized target at 500 yards. Try that with an M-16.

For the last 40 years or so, the concept of battle was no longer accuracy but rather volume of fire. This was the intended use of the M-16. As a very old Marine I find this deplorable.

The old phrase “one shot, one kill” was not originally used by snipers. In my day, every Marine believed in that motto and we all strove to emulate. Today’s Marines and soldiers are taught to blow the crap out of anything that moves.

Which is better? We’ll never agree!

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The ‘best’ weapon the Marines didn’t have was the Stoner 63, designed by Eugene Stoner of AR15/M16 fame, This was a rifle, carbine, top-fed box magazine-fed LMG, a belt-fed squad MG and a vehicle mounted 5.56mmx45 weapons system. L/3/1 got a few to field test in RVN during 1967 and some were used by SEAL teams in RVN, Lik any weapon, it had flaws but mostly failed in the Politics Tests.

As to “what’s best”, there’s a reason there’s Fords and Chevys, revolvers and semi-autos, beer and wine: It’s about opinion.

In the Old Corps, I know the salts pissed & moaned about the ’03 being replaced by the M1, the M14 taking place of the M1 … As my DI pointed out, “It ain’t the dope on the rifle, it’s the dope behind the rifle.”

‘Stoney’ Brook,

You’re referring to the M-50 Ontos (Greek for ‘Thing”) which mounted six 106,, recoilless rifles, two .50 caliber spotting rifles sited to the 106’s and an M1919 .30 MG

‘Stoney’ Brook,

I have fired the M-14 fully automatic and it was an experience. The best way that I found was: When standing, with the rifle held tight against the hip, grip the fore end of the stock from above with the left hand. Lock the elbow, pull the trigger and hold on tight. As I remember, it helped hold the muzzle down with not as much rise. I never tried it at any other position and it did have a full stock……..Bob 1381..Vietnam 1966/1967.

Bob 1381,

The M -14 by all means……..just loved this rifle………..couldn’t shooting a perfect score from the 500 year line……….I like it so well that I have a M1A to sister to the M -14………….308 but shots 7.62 also…..

Sgt Courtland C Conkwright USMC,

Ontos, I think. Did it carry 4 of the 106 ? Ferried a few across the Thu-Bon. Harry 1371

Harry 1371,

My choice would be the M-14 for accuracy and stopping power. Issued the M-16 in Nam, went to the range and given 10 rounds to sight in? Those sights were crap after training with the 14. You could carry a lot more ammo and mags with the 16, only good thing about it. I joined 2/27 in May of 68, was told by some of my boot camp buddies that went to Nam with the 27th in Feb 68, they carried M-14s and had to break down M-60 belts to reload their mags. FUBAR! Semper Fi 0311 Echo 2/27 and Delta 1/9

John M Mason,

They hauled them on a track vehicle (ontose- spelling) There was one they left out, just northeast of Con Thien were it was put out off operation. I passed by it on a few operations. Anyone else remember seeing it. May to Aug 67.

Murray M hermanson,

I was going to stay out of this but,what about the M-40 Rifle… (The 106) it’s called a rifle right?. think about humping that through the bush. Paul


Now that you brought in the heavy stuff, how bout the quad .50 .I saw one of those only once. army had it at Hai-Van pass. Nick 0311

Nick 0311,

The M14, in theory, was designed to replace the M1 and the Bar. However, the full auto version of the m14 (requiring only a full auto selector to replace the semi auto selector) was proven to be damn near uncontrollable. Stock redesign with pistol type grips and the hinged butt plate still couldn’t tame the beast in full auto. Also, the barrels and chambers were to light to stand up to full auto. I have qualified with the M1, but our whole platoon at Quantico failed to qualify with our M14’s, because when we drew our rifles, they all had full auto selectors, The barrels and chambers were shot 0ut (think of smooth bore shot guns). And the sights wouldn’t hold dope. In semi-auotomatic only, it’s dream. The 308/7.62 and 30 06 ballistics are very close. I have a Springfield M1A (M14 civilian version) and when the SHTF, it will be my go to. You Jar Heads probably already know all this, but if you didn’t there it is.
United States Marine Corps
Keeping the Army safe since 1775
Semper Fi all my brothers
Big Joe

Joe Cawthon,

During my Marine Corps career I experienced the M-1, M-14 and M-16. Although the M-1 only had an eight round clip it could take abuse, hold its zero and reach out and give someone a loving kiss even when filthy. My favorite weapon of all was the virtuous Ma Deuce which I manned in Nam during my 67-68 tour. She’s been around for what seems like forever but is still reaching out there killing the enemy.
SSgt, CWO-3, Capt (Mar62-Nov82)

Frank Walker,

Late summer or early Fall of 1966, I was with E-2/1 south of Da Nang. Platoon Sgt brought us an Army AR-15 (soon to be M-16) for a show and go. We took an M-14 ammo can and packed it with sand. He fired 2 rounds from his 45 into can..1 round all the way through–1 round stuck in back wall of ammo can. Then 2 rounds from AR–both rounds disintegrated in the sand. The we fired 2 rounds from our M-14—-these literally ripped open the rear wall of the ammo can quite impressively! Enough said!!
Did carry the preferred M-14 whole of 66 into 67 tour. When I returned in 69, it was yes, the Matty Mattel Machine Gun!!! No doubt about it, M-14 for fire power.. (I personally own a .308 in Remington).

Pete C.,

My feeling also 1371 , 1969- 1973

Keith pollard,

My first rifle in the Marine Corps was the M-14. In 74 I was lucky enough to compete in the Eastern Division Match at Camp Lejeune with a Match M-14. I’d love to have that rifle today for my own. I do recall when I was issued my M-16 in 71, I thoroughly looked it over to find where it had to be stamped “Made by Mattel”! Although I didn’t find that marking I still felt Mattel had a strong influence on the design.


I loved my M-14. What a magnificent rifle. It was almost perfect in every way. It’s accurate, durable, easy to maintain and extremely reliable. The only slight drawback I can think of (and it’s very slight) is its overall weight. In comparison, the M-16 is a good rifle. It’s very light weight and if you kept it clean, jamming wasn’t much of an issue. Adjusting the sights was a royal pain! (Not so much with the latter models A2 and A3). But once you zeroed it you were fine with accuracy. Never once did I have a problem hitting from the 500-yard line.
The single biggest gripe I and many of my fellow Marines had with the M-16, was the caliber it was chambered in. the 5.56 round has no stopping power. I’ve seen it. You can hit someone 2 or 3 times and they are still in the fight. You hit someone with a 7.62, they are not getting up! Heck, you can graze someone with a 7.62 and the wound in generates can effectively render them combat ineffective.

Andre Lucero,

My opinion is, Accuracy M14, sturdiness M14, reliability M14. Lack of M1 thumb, M14. Fire power, BAR, but you’ll never get to fire one. Semper Fi. USMC 64/69 0311/2311, RVN 65/66/69. H.young L/cpl.

Henry young,

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