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Weapons: Two By Two, An EBR For You
   Next Article → WARPLANES: The Flying Squadron That Never Leaves The Ground
March 24, 2010: Last year, the U.S. Army, noting the success of U.S. Navy SEALs with rebuilt M-14 rifles (the EBR, or Enhanced Battle Rifle), converted 5,000 7.62mm M-14s to the EBR standard. This costs $3,000 per rifle, and involved using a high quality aluminum chassis, an adjustable stock, pistol grip, and standard rail for mounting scopes, plus other tweaks. The resulting EBR comes with a ten power scope, but any other can be mounted.

Designed for sharpshooters and snipers, the EBR weighs six pounds more (unloaded) than the standard M-14, and 8.5 pounds more than the M-4 assault rifle. But the EBR is much more accurate than either of those weapons, and since last year, each army infantry squad in Afghanistan has been issued two EBRs. Thus the nine man squad in Afghanistan has two 5.56mm machine-guns, five 5.56mm assault rifles (some with 40mm grenade launcher attachments) and two M-14 EBRs. The hitting power and accuracy of the 5.56mm round rapidly declines beyond 300 meters, while the EBR is still accurate and effective at 800 meters, and beyond (depending on the skill of the shooter.)

Previously, many snipers have had success using tuned up M-14s as sniper rifles. While semi-automatic and rugged, the M14 wasn't designed to be a sniper rifle. But the M-21 version of the M-14 (with a heavier barrel and other tweaks) served as the standard sniper rifle from the 1960s until 1988.

The M-14 itself was an effort to produce an improved M-1 Garand rifle. The M-1 was developed in the 1930s, and it wasn't until 1959 that the M-14 entered service. By then, the concept of the 5.56mm assault rifle was gaining momentum, and the M-14 was replaced by the M-16 by the late 1960s. But despite the success of the M-16, there was still a need for a longer range, larger caliber, rifle, especially in places like Afghanistan. The M-14, despite failing to fill the role as standard infantry role, continued, and continues, to serve as an excellent "sharpshooters" rifle.

Equipping 22 percent of American infantry in Afghanistan with the M-14 EBR simply recognizes the special characteristics of combat there. British infantry squads in Afghanistan, for example, have made similar adjustments. For example, when the troops will not be travelling long distances, over rough terrain, and expect to encounter armed resistance, they will carry more firepower, including more long range weapons. Thus an eight man squad will go out with two men armed with L85 5.56mm assault rifles (one equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher), two with 5.56mm LSW automatic rifles (an L85 with a longer and heavier barrel), two with 5.56mm FN Minimi machine-guns and two with 7.62mm L129A1 semi-automatic sharpshooter rifles. Most squads already have one man armed with a 7.62mm sharpshooter rifle.

American squads will sometimes scrounge up other weapons as well. Wise commanders will let this go on, trusting experienced troops to know what works best for them.

 

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MAJUSMCRET    5.56mm Lethality   3/24/2010 7:09:16 AM
 
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The Drill SGT       3/24/2010 7:38:46 AM
"Equipping eleven percent of American infantry in Afghanistan with the M-14 EBR simply recognizes the special characteristics of combat there. "
 
The writer's lack of math skills give me concerns about the accuracy of the article. 
 
"and since last year, each army infantry squad in Afghanistan has been issued two EBRs. Thus the nine man squad in Afghanistan"
 
2 in 9 is 22%, not 11%
 
 
 
 
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Paul_In_Houston    Wise commanders will let this go on, ...   3/24/2010 10:40:45 AM
... trusting experienced troops to know what works best for them.
 
Those commanders may as well forget about applying for anything in this administration.
Such thoughts are absolute heresy.
-
 
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smitty237       3/24/2010 12:10:04 PM
A couple of years ago I read that the Army's stockpiles of M-14 rifles had been exhausted.  I guess that's not the case, but you have to wonder how many are left.  Just how long do we hold onto "obsolete" weapons?
 
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PBAR       3/25/2010 8:03:58 AM
I believe I read somewhere that the Clinton administration had ordered vast stocks of M-14s destroyed to prevent them from ever being sold under the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
 
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Mighty Mo       3/25/2010 5:22:39 PM
Not nearly has heretic as with Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld would have told McCrystal how to fight the war in Afghanistan. Right before he fired him for having original ideas and a brain of his own...
 
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Nichevo       3/27/2010 9:20:32 PM
Why not go AR-10 / AR-25 with the lighter weight, modern design, superior AR ergonomics?  That said, my father qualified with the M14 in 1962 and thought it a tack driver.
 
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smitty237    Huh?   3/28/2010 12:26:31 AM

Not nearly has heretic as with Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld would have told McCrystal how to fight the war in Afghanistan. Right before he fired him for having original ideas and a brain of his own...
And what, pray tell, does this have to do with the subject at hand?  Ok, yes, the guy just before you said something negative about Bill Clinton, but at least it was related to the topic of M-14 rifles.  This whole Liberal tactic of excusing anything that a Democrat does by pointing out that something Bush, Rumsfeld, or Cheney was far, far worse is exasperating and is starting to get boring.  If you don't have anything useful to contribute to the conversation, then do everyone a favor and just keep it to yourself.  There are plenty of other threads on this site in which you can complain about what a bunch of doo doo heads the Bush Administration were. 

 
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Nichevo       3/29/2010 9:10:01 AM
And for the record, Mo, the lack of engagement you are getting on your so relevant (but content-free) post is not because everyone agrees with you.  There are plenty of people here who will find good things to say about Donald Rumsfeld.  I do not elaborate because IT WOULD BE OFF TOPIC.
 
Now back on the topic, why go with the M14 tech tree instead of the AR tech tree?  I thought the rep of the M14 for reliability was what had brought it so often to mind, and this reputation had been somewhat blown upon by events.  If the ballistics are what is desired, why not go with the AR pattern, commonality with allies and with one's own logistics train?  The AR is as accurate as one could wish; much lighter; everyone is used to its operating procedures; and in ambush one is less likely to be picked out to be shot first for carrying the special weapon.  And refurbed or not, I suspect Murphy has a place in his heart for 40 year old weapons. 
 
If anybody wants anything from the M16 series, it is more punch.  The AR10 or SR25 type delivers that.
 
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Nichevo       3/29/2010 11:24:29 AM
BTW, speaking of reliability, anyone in either sandbox have experiences to report with the Garand?  I understand the M1 was supposed to be even more reliable than the M14.
 
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