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Old 04-08-2007, 11:55 AM   #1
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Design of the M14 Magazine

From the 04/08/07 draft of the Third Edition of M14 Rifle History and Development by Lee Emerson copyright 2007:

"Denied his wish for a magazine fed rifle in the M1, John Garandís T31 magazine was further improved by him for the T44E4 (M14). The sheet metal used for the magazine tube, follower and floor plate make it economical to manufacture yet rugged enough to endure combat use. The magazine spring was designed to avoid any tilting of the follower inside the magazine tube or body. Should a follower tilt inside the magazine body it may jam and render the rifle temporarily out of service. In a combat situation, this can be a fatal flaw for the operator. The relative alignment of the M14 receiver with the parts of a magazine work together to feed every cartridge at a slightly upward angle for reliable chambering. A rear side latch plate was added to the magazine tube. The T31 magazine front side rectangular hole was retained. The two features, the latch plate and the rectangular hole, became the means for locking the magazine to the T44E4 (M14) rifle. The latch plate is held securely by the magazine latch. The rectangular hole is retained by the operating rod spring guide. The follower was designed to hold the bolt open after the last cartridge had been ejected from the magazine. The front side of the magazine tube was given a welded lap joint to provide extra resistance to deformation from inertial contact with the cartridges. The double-stack arrangement of the cartridges increases capacity for the same length over a single-stack magazine. The M14 magazine can be disassembled and parts easily replaced in the field."

References: 1) U. S. Patent 2715789 2) U. S. Patent 2710476 3) Department of the Army, Army Infantry School. Special Text 7-179 U.S. Rifles, 7.62-MM, M14 and M15. Fort Benning, GA: December 1958 4) Stevens, R. Blake. U.S. Rifle M14 from John Garand to the M21 Revised Second Edition. Collector Grade Publications: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, 1991 5) personal examination of Mathewson Tool Company T44E4 magazine courtesy of Thomas A. Buss 6) Springfield Armory Research and Development. Notes On Development Type Materiel Rifle. Caliber .30, T44E4 Report SA-NM11-2612. Springfield, MA: June 17, 1955.
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:00 PM   #2
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Was the top left edge of the follower, the part which is a single layer of sheet metal, truly and intentionally designed to provide a nice little "knife" edge to slice open USGI cardboard ammo cartons at the perforations?

That's what I was told on the firing line circa 1984 by a few old hands. What I do know is that it worked like a charm to quickly open up cartons of M118, M852, and Special Ball ammo. Neat trick--slice one long side, then grab the box ends and twist to pop the perforations on the sides. Then the box opens up over the caseheads, with the other longside perforations acting like a hinge.
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:26 PM   #3
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Grump, that's very interesting. How was 7.62 mm NATO ammunition packaged in the mid to late 1950s? The hole in the trigger guard was intentionally designed to receive a cartridge tip for removing the firing mechanism. I suppose it is possible for the follower to be designed as a knife edge.
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:30 AM   #4
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Off-topic but within the drift...

Having tried a .30-06 round to unlatch a trigger guard on a Garand, I'd say that the hole in that gun's trigger guard, carried over to the M14, was truly intended to take a section of the cleaning rod.

Other bullet-tip/cartridge applications seem to work ok on US military arms: M16 to adjust the front sight and to remove the cotter pin from the bolt carrier, cartridge rims for various screws (barrel band on M1 Carbine comes to mind), and so on.

Back on topic:

Sorry, but I have never seen USGI 7.62mm ammo packaging before the mid-60s. But since I *have* seen .30-06 ball and match ammo in the same general types of cartons from the mid-50s, as what the 7.62 Match ammo always came in (ball is usually in brown instead of white boxes...), I think this story warrants further investigation.
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grump
Was the top left edge of the follower, the part which is a single layer of sheet metal, truly and intentionally designed to provide a nice little "knife" edge to slice open USGI cardboard ammo cartons at the perforations?

I always thought it was to engage the BHO...
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deltaheavy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grump
Was the top left edge of the follower, the part which is a single layer of sheet metal, truly and intentionally designed to provide a nice little "knife" edge to slice open USGI cardboard ammo cartons at the perforations?

I always thought it was to engage the BHO...
Yes. that's the primary use. But look closely, and you'll see that the design *could* have also been made without that edge of sheet metal sticking out, parallel with the rear surface of the magazine tube and protruding from the rest of the complexly-shaped follower stamping.

Having snagged myself with that thing and drawn blood, I'd conclude that there was a reason to have that generally dull edge out there, with a benefit worth the risk of an occasional superficial cut.

See what I mean now?
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Old 04-16-2007, 04:29 PM   #7
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Just looked at a ChiCom Type 57 mag, and its follower also has the butterknife edge at the to left rear.
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:28 PM   #8
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Good grief!

I just turned to Page 2 of the threads and saw this jewel!

I just tried the magazine "knife edge" on a cardboard box and it works great!

Nothing in the drawing number 7267019 indicates a specific purpose for the sharp corner, but it does explicitly show a sharp right-angled corner at that location.

My other standby, BTW, is my old "P-38" can opener from the old C-ration days. I have it on my key-ring and it opens boxes well, also.

Thanks for this great tidbit!

JWB
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File Type: jpg Follower_1.jpg (33.3 KB, 952 views)
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:02 AM   #9
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JBrooks:

Thanks for trying it out, glad it worked for you.

The method I was taught on the firing line at matches was start with a single slice along the long edge of the box, over those not-deep-enough perforations. Grab the box with both hands at the ends, thumbs towards the top or casehead end. Twist. If the side perforations don't let go (most commonly because of the corner area not breaking), do two more slices along the sides--narrow edge of the box--to weaken those perforations and twist again to finish breaking the box on three sides of the perforations.

Fold the box lid over the caseheads to open it up. In prone slowfire, prop the casehead side of the box up on the flipped -over lid and place the box where you can easily pull the rounds out with your non-sling hand. Counting the empty holes and the rounds left (including in the chamber!) makes it easy to compare with your scoresheet and know quickly if you forgot to mark the value of the last round fired.
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