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Old 10-21-2004, 07:13 PM   #1
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Why the Mystic in the Winchester M14

When I was in the Corps, most of us were issued Springfield M14's. But there were always a few Winchester's in the platoon. The people who had them would brag about them all the time, and most of us who didn't have them wanted them. I think I just like the sound of the name "Winchester" better. Why would you prefer the Winchester M14?
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Old 10-21-2004, 07:37 PM   #2
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Back in 1965 when I went thru boot camp, I was issued a Winchester M14...never saw much difference between any of them AFAIWC. They all looked the same and shot the same. I guess no one knew what a TRW was back then.
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Old 10-22-2004, 12:54 AM   #3
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kbar,
This will run contrary to popular myth, but there were no "bad"
M14's (unlike bad Winchester Garands) as the quality control was so high for the M14 that all had to pass the same criteria.
I think the Winchester hype you experienced was simply the name.
Most recruits nowadays have very little gun experience, but the very name of "Winchester!" evokes name recognition and some sort of nostalgia.
In M14 circles, there is the TRW myth. True, its very high quality stuff. But a lot of that has to do with the original American Rifleman magazine articles in the early 60's when they toured the plants building the new M14's--the Winchester, H&R, and Springfield factories were older buildings dating back a LONG time and looked as such, but when the reporters visited the TRW factory (who had never built guns before) they were treated to an ultra-modern looking complex with that aero-space look and feel. They were impressed!
But when ALL the parts, regardless of who made them, had to pass the same super-rigid quality control (or be rejected if they didn't measure up) then any manufacturer involved supplied
superlative parts. There has never been a military rifle built to such exacting standards as the M14!
--BushRat--
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Old 10-22-2004, 04:35 AM   #4
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Winchester had many starting problems in the beginning. They where the lowest bidder to purchase the contract (I thout $70,- for a M14), so they had make there promises thru of building a rifle for less money. But they didn't faced the many problems H&R had. They used the wrong aloyed steel, wrong heat-treatment, and they had M14's that blow-up after firing.
TRW looked totaly different when they manufactured the rifles. They looked at building a rifle the same as making precision tools or machine parts. Something like: "We've to manufacture a barrel, how can we do it on a fast and good way?" For example, TRW used techniques to make parts with German craftmanship and European techniques, and with the use of modern CNC lathes etc. The other manufactured, especialy SA, used slow, traditional techniques to build a rifle.
Rock Isle Armory build M21 rifles out of Springfield and TRW rifles, because the tended to be the best. well, I don't know. I don't think that we will notice the differance.

Greets,

roger
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Old 10-22-2004, 05:42 AM   #5
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It is kind of odd since most winchester M14 parts are only ID'd thru
there cage code most people don't know a Mercury Machine and
Tool from a Wnchester op rod. I would still rather have the Winchester. Springfield the Armory was the last government produced rifle, just think they were not required to bid on their work. I don't like the idea of the lowest bidder. Funny that when
you try to buy something that way you rarely win it.
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Old 10-22-2004, 05:47 AM   #6
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Name branding, advertisings, and name brand recognition are very important marketing tools. And you saw the effect on the general population as guys in your unit were bragging about having a Winchester M14.

You can see this effect in collecting rifles. Winchester M1 are highly collectable even though they show about the worst workmanship of all the M1ís. Rockola M1 carbines are very collectable, so are Saginaw. Strangely enough IBM carbines should have great name recognition, but computer geeks arenít buying enough to drive the market up.

Springfield Armory of Genesco Illionis made a great business decision to use the name of the now defunct Government Arsenal Springfield Arsenal. Even names that are close will work, such as ďRock RiverĒ for Rock Island.

Advertising counts for a lot. An example, Brown and Sharpe made precision measuring tools of the highest grade but knowledge of that company and the tools they made is something the general public is not aware of. So my "B&S" stamped M1903A3 replacement bolts have less value than if they did not have a manufacturer's marking.

And if you saw the names of the actual subcontractors who make most of the military gun parts out there, you would not recognize them, and would not attribute quality or value to their parts.

Colt is an example were the name counts on resale. Even though, since the 1980's, the products (ARís and pistols) they have made are overpriced and inferior to the competition. At least in my opinion.

I believe that Colt AR parts are mostly outsourced, according to an industry source. Someplace named Connecticut Machine Tool Company.
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Old 10-22-2004, 06:31 AM   #7
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I did not know about Brown & Sharpe marked bolts for 03's. Since I have some of their calipers and a few other bits, I do appreciate their capabilities.
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Old 10-22-2004, 07:57 AM   #8
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As a side note, I am reading about the history of the M1A. The LH
Gun Co. owned by Elmer Ballance was the one that aquired the name
Springfield Armory after the armory closed in 1968. He sold it
to the Reece family who was in the surplus firearms business.

Later

2BA
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Old 10-22-2004, 08:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2barearms
I would still rather have the Winchester. Springfield the Armory was the last government produced rifle, just think they were not required to bid on their work. I don't like the idea of the lowest bidder. Funny that when
you try to buy something that way you rarely win it.
As Rodger said, wasn't Winchester actually the lowest bidder?

SA was the government arsenel with @ 200 years of manufacturing experience behind them. SA turned out beautiful M1 Garands, why would the M14 be any different? Keep in mind that SA is the organization that actually designed the M14.
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Old 10-22-2004, 08:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwp
I did not know about Brown & Sharpe marked bolts for 03's. Since I have some of their calipers and a few other bits, I do appreciate their capabilities.
I have about 10 "B&S" stamped replacement 03A3 bolts in the wrap. The "B&S" is stamped on the bolt root. They have a square safety lug so appearance is not improved. A couple of them also have "8620" stamped on them, which indicates to me that they are made out of 8620.

I have one in a 03A3 right now, they work fine.

Maybe if they were stamped "Coca Cola" or some other stupid popular brand name their value would be higher.

Don't doubt that constant exposure to media advertising does effect us and our buying habits.
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Old 10-22-2004, 04:55 PM   #11
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BTW, I wish I could afford the Brown and Sharpe tools, they are the standard by which all great tools are made. I would figure anything that had to do with a company that makes the finest gaging, measuremnt tools and machine tools would be worth a little extra in my book. I really miss the craftmanship that went into things 50-60 years ago. CNC machines are great for repeatability
but they can't hand fit an M14.
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Old 10-23-2004, 03:25 AM   #12
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One of the reasons the name Winchester may have been popular is due to name recognition as a gun manufacturer. Back in WWII aircraft mechanics always complained that engines made by Oldsmobile were never as good as Curtis Wright, but were better than the non engine manufactures who geared up for the war. Yet all engines met the same specs. I think it is strictly psychological.

Winchester had a well noticed name for manufacturing firearms. The rest didn't.
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Old 10-23-2004, 04:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ricca
One of the reasons the name Winchester may have been popular is due to name recognition as a gun manufacturer. Back in WWII aircraft mechanics always complained that engines made by Oldsmobile were never as good as Curtis Wright, but were better than the non engine manufactures who geared up for the war. Yet all engines met the same specs. I think it is strictly psychological.

Winchester had a well noticed name for manufacturing firearms. The rest didn't.
Bill's information squares with what Karl Maunz told me when I interviewed him this week. He said the same thing. All the M14 parts had to meet the same US specifications but H&R had a reputation less than Winchester because civiilian firearms made by H&R at the time were viewed as "poor man's guns." He said the same as Bill. Winchester had a very good reputation in the 1950s and early 1960s.
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Old 10-23-2004, 06:53 AM   #14
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B&S bolts

Slamfire: I, too, have some of the A3 B&S bolts with the 8620 marking on the bolt handle root.. I picked them up at Silverstien's Army Surplus store on Six mile road at McNichols in Detroit in the mid sixties.. $2.00 apiece, wrapped in oiled paper.. should have bought a lot more.. hindsight is 20/20..Les
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