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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If anyone is interested, I could repost an article on how to build a folding stock and shorten the barrel on an M-14/M1A/M-14S.

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
M-14 Carbine/Folding Stock Instructions:

Before you get started you should know a few things about folders and M-14s. Depending on your facial anatomy, you may find that a folder gives you a cheek weld that feels too high for the iron sights. However, if you have a scope mounted, the folder feels just about perfect. If you mount the folder so that it slopes down when extended, when you shoot it you will probably find that recoil pushes the top tube into your cheek bone with enough force to HURT. And finally, while the folder makes the rifle a lot more versatile, it does change the way the rifle balances.

The folding stocked M-14 balances best for me when I also chop back some of the barrel, and get rid of the flash hider.

You can make your own M-14 folder for about 1/4 the price SA wants for one . First step, get a Butler Creek folder for the Winchester shotgun, and a GI WOOD stock. The Winchester stock profile, with a shallow "V" notch, may seem like it is more work to duplicate, but the Winchester type stocks are going to give the best results. The Butler Creek folder is a bit shorter than the Choate, and fits more people of average size. The BC is also cheaper than the Choate, and the ones I've handled recently seem to lock up as tightly, or even better than the Choate.

Lay out the notch so that the trigger is the right distance from the pistol grip, and so that the top of the folder, when extended, is close to parallel with the top of the action. Check that when folded the top tube of the folder is BELOW the action screw on the right side of the M-14 stock, as later you will be removing some wood here, to relieve the stock for the top tube when folded.

After you have the notch duplicated on your M-14 GI WOOD stock, disassemble the Butler Creek folder. You will see two holes in the pistol grip/bracket. I used two 1 1/2" long thin black Drywall screws here. Be careful when drilling for the screws that you don't drill at an angle into the receiver area. Mix up some epoxy, smear it over mounting surfaces and screws, and screw down the mounting block. You are almost finished.

Wrap some heavy tape [ duct tape ] around the pistol grip part, and take a 1/2 round rasp and start whittling until the M_14 stock blends into the Butler Creek pistol grip. Reassemble the folder to the mounting block, and close the folder. You will see that it interferes with the right side of the M-14 stock. Take out your 1/2 round rasp, and relieve this area until the stock closes. Finish with sandpaper, to smooth out the rasp marks, and to
clean off any oil and old finish on the rest of the stock that may not provide a good foundation for paint.

Paint with Black "Truck Bed Liner" spray can paint, which gives an "orange peel" mottled finish that is durable and attractive.

The folder looks and balances best on a shorty M-14 carbine, with a 20" or 18 1/2" barrel. I've built up several of these, mostly because the Springfield Armoury "shorties" come with 18" barrels [ the minimum legal barrel length in Canada is 18 1/2" ].

For those who like to do-it-yourself or who want to save some money, here is the advice and instructions on how to shorten the barrel, and do the detail work required to end up with a professional looking "Carbine" that shoots as good [ or better ] as it did before shortening.

If you are using a scope & mount, there is no real need for a front sight. If a front sight is required, the simplest to use is the Smith design which adds an extra ring to the Gas Cylinder Lock, and looks very much like an H & K front sight. In my experience, for "rack grade" M-14 rifles there will probably be more variation in individual guns, and what loads that gun likes, than any accuracy changes that may result from cutting the barrel and leaving the flash hider off. But, if the flash hider was loose, cracked, or crooked, you may gain some accuracy as an unexpected bonus.

Before whacking a chunk off of the barrel, check on legal requirements as to minimum barrel length and min. OAL. 16 " or 18 1/2" will probably be the legal minimum barrel length, depending if you are Yankee or Canuck. If adding a folding stock, check for minimum legal OAL, and if a pistol grip folder is legal.

If sticking to 7.62 NATO loads, you probably won't have lack of gas pressure at the port causing functioning problems, even with the shortest legal length. After all, the Garand takes gas off closer to the muzzle and further from the action. Plus, most 7.62 NATO ammo is designed to keep the port pressure high [ powder may have retardent/ pressure curve is standardized to bullet weight ]. However, if using different bullet weights, reloading with different powders, or using commercial .308 Win ammo, you may find shorter barrels may cause some reduction in reliability with some ammo.

As for accuracy, "Theoretically" a shorter barrel of the same weight will be stiffer, and have less "whip". Also, dampening
harmonics, or ensuring that each shot "harmonizes" THE SAME WAY, can give the ultimate THEORETICAL accuracy. So, chopping a barrel often seems to increase accuracy. This can hold true for one specific load, or all loads. [ more likely though, is that the muzzle and crown were worn out from too much cleaning, and a new crown caused the improvements ]

However, with the M-14, proper stock bedding, trigger group tension, and gas assembly fit, will have a great deal to do with accuracy. Add to that a decent trigger job, good crisp sights, and you'll probably find that barrel vibration plays a very small part in overall accuracy. Remember, this is a CARBINE, not a sniper rifle, so don't get too technical here. That being said, you may find that trimming back a bit at a time, will yield a "sweet spot" that does give you ubelievable accuracy with your favorite load. If you have the time and patience, you might want to try trimming the barrel a bit at a time.

If restricted to hand tools, you want to watch out if cutting a GI CHROME lined barrel. With these, make the cut a bit forward of your desired finished length, and preferably plug the barrel at the cutoff point with a bullet. Otherwise, the chrome can flake off while being worked, and this would NOT be a good thing for accuracy. Use a rotary ball grindstone to break the chrome lining at the crown. A lot of rifles have been crowned with a file, a countersink, and a ball lap, and some of these shoot just fine. For those with more money than patience, Brownells sells special tools for "NO LATHE" squaring and crowning of rifle
barrels. These tools are excellent, but expensive, and if used on chrome lined barrels, may not last too long.

If you have a lathe, a barrel vice, and an action wrench, you can pull the barrel off and do the job professionally. Access to these tools, or someone who will do this for you at a good price, opens up all sorts of possibilities. With the barrel off, cutting and crowning can take minutes. My favorite way of doing this job, is to cut the barrel to 19", then turn a 1/2" X 28 TPI shoulder at the muzzle, to fit an AR-15 Flash hider. If desired, one of Smith's
"politically correct" AR-15/ .30 Caliber screw on muzzle brakes could be substituted here. [ Note I said .30 Cal, not .22 Cal ]. I use this setup with a Smith gas cylinder lock front sight, for the most professional look.

If you prefer a longer sight radius, or don't want to thread the end of the barrel for an AR flash hider/ brake, I have fitted some of these carbines with Choate Mini-30 combination Front Sight/Bird Cage "slip on" flash hiders. This requires turning the inside of the Choate part, to match the OD of your barrel at the cutoff point. I can't give you exact dimensions here, as cutoff point and barrel OD variations will determine the final size. However, any so called "Flash elimination " from either of these shorty setups is negligible.

To get the open sights to work, this method also requires the rear sight aperature leg be trimmed as much as possible, to allow it to travel lower. Leave enough at the end, to prevent the rear sight from coming all the way out if raised too high.

You will probably find that the Choate front sight is still way too low. If you have access to a milling machine, you can mill the top ears of the Choate front sight, into a dovetail which is an exact copy of the M-14 front sight mounting block. This gives a very professional appearance, which closely duplicates the original.

Special flash hiders and front sights can be mounted, custom parts can be made, and different theories experimented with. For example, adding a lock nut at the back of the AR-15 Brake/ flash hider, could give you an "adjustable accurizing device" [ turn in and out to tune ]. Or, a handy man with a lathe could easily sleeve the existing M-14 front sight to fit onto a cutoff barrel. Or, you could simply cut off the front half of the GI flashider, turning it into a pronged style rather than a cage style.

I've always wanted to experiment with welding a tube with an ID of barrel OD + , to a Gas Cylinder Lock. Left a few inches longer than a cut off barrel, you could cut out different flash / brake designs into the overhang. Or, if the barrel was threaded at the muzzle, you could experiment with a tensioning device, bracing such a tube against the gas assembly at the back, and tensioning the barrel with an adjustable collar at the front. Theoretically, such an adjustable tensioning device could be tuned to dampen the vibration, and give heavy barrel accuracy with a light barrel. Or, you add some holes as barrel porting to [ preferrably non-chrome lined barrel ] and forget about muzzle brakes and flash hiders all together. Or, you could combine the barrel porting with the tension tube, add another larger exterior tube, fill with ???, and call it a ?muffler?.

· No Longer Involved
2,394 Posts

Be sure to be aware of what your state and federal laws concerning "assault weapons" may be.

If the firearm is a GRANDFATHERED assault weapon, then you can modify with all the toys you want.

If it is not grandfathered (i.e. it was built before the ban, but did NOT have any evil features at the time of the ban), then you will be creating a ~new~ assault weapon, and be in violation of the law.

I believe that most all preban M1A rifles are considered assault weapons, due to 2 evil features: Flash Suppressor and Bayonet Lug. If your rifle is missing the lug, it only has 1 evil feature, and therefor isn't grandfathered.

But if it is grandfathered, you're set! Go for it!

:usa: :usa: :usa:
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