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View Full Version : Accuracy: AR15 vs. M14 vs Garand


unclejackrock
January 7, 2010, 03:41 PM
I'm going to light a fire... A buddy of mine and I have a little discussion about the accuracy comparisons of these favorite military weapons. Opinions???:D:

SR420
January 7, 2010, 03:43 PM
All three can be very accurate with good ammo and in skilled hands.

DMK
January 7, 2010, 03:44 PM
As a service rifle, I'm going to say that they are roughly equivalent and that the accuracy of a particular rifle would be highly dependent on the quality of ammunition and the condition of the rifle.

In modified form, any of these can lead the pack depending again on the quality of the gunsmith's work, the parts installed and the quality of the ammunition as well as how well the ammunition has been matched to that particular rifle.

In competition, it does seem that historically the best M14s had beaten out the M1s and the best AR15s had beaten out the M14s. This may be due to gunsmithing techniques such as bedding, free-floating and such being easier with the later generation rifles.

In my personal experience, getting my M1 to shoot as well as my AR15 cost me much more money and required the skilled work of a master gunsmith. I assembled my most accurate AR-15 myself in my garage with little previous experience, two specialized tools and an assortment of hand tools.

azredhawk44
January 7, 2010, 03:48 PM
As a function of the cost versus the measurable 0.1 minutes of angle received for that cost... AR's are superior.

When you take money out of the equation and ask: "Which rifle, as an average used rifle found on the rack of a gun store with 5000 rounds through it, is more accurate?"

My money is on the M14, followed by the Garand, then the AR.

FALacy
January 7, 2010, 04:00 PM
Ar15>M14=Garand

The AR will be the most accurate of the three. M14's are 2-3 MOA guns as are M1 Garands. This is comparing a Garand with the same amount of usage as an M14.

FALPhil
January 7, 2010, 04:05 PM
My money is on the M14, followed by the Garand, then the AR.
My experience is that anything with an op rod has less long term accuracy potential than anything without one. All that reciprocating mass has an effect and will affect long term accuracy. Also, think about this. Match M14s and match Garands have to be rebedded periodically to maintain accuracy. ARs don't; the barrel will wear out before you have to fool around with anything else.

SR420
January 7, 2010, 04:10 PM
azredhawk44

When you take money out of the equation and ask: "Which rifle, as an average used
rifle found on the rack of a gun store with 5000 rounds through it, is more accurate?"

My money is on the M14, followed by the Garand, then the AR.

Yes!

FALPhil

Also, think about this. Match M14s and match Garands have to be rebedded periodically to maintain accuracy

Enhanced and modernized M14s offer repeatable accuracy without re-bedding...

Candiru
January 7, 2010, 04:23 PM
Much of the M14's reputation for requiring rebedding periodically comes from the fact that the AMU would rebed match rifles on a yearly basis, whether they needed it or not. I've not seen any data indicating whether rebedding with such frequency was necessary to maintain accuracy or if it was done regularly purely for consistency.

RockyMtnTactical
January 7, 2010, 04:49 PM
All three can be very accurate with good ammo and in skilled hands.

I would add, that all 3 would also be very effective in skilled hands. I think the AR15 wins in pure accuracy though.

tINY
January 7, 2010, 07:02 PM
There is the question of practical acuracy in field conditions as well - here the Garand and M14 have a slight edge, especially with longer shots and wind...



-tINY

DMK
January 7, 2010, 07:16 PM
Ok, this is were everyone is going to vehemently defend their favorite rifle

Slamfire
January 7, 2010, 07:22 PM
In competition, it does seem that historically the best M14s had beaten out the M1s and the best AR15s had beaten out the M14s. This may be due to gunsmithing techniques such as bedding, free-floating and such being easier with the later generation rifles.

1996 was the last year the Marine Team used the M14 across the course at Camp Perry. The next year I asked Marine shooters how they were doing with the M16. They told me “better in the rapids and worse at long range”.

The 30 caliber rifles just kick more and they are not only harder to shoot, they beat themselves out of tune sooner.

However, these are match rifles. Match barrels, tight fitting parts, etc.

In rack grade condition, the M1 is by far the least accurate. I have shot a bunch of rack grade rifles and a rack grade M1 is not that accurate.

I only own match conditioned M1a’s. However from what I read, a rack grade M14 was more accurate than a rack grade M1.

I have one Armalite M4 clone. I cheated by installed NM rear sights and a NM trigger. With its 1:9 chromed lined barrel, using a bench rest, it is by far more accurate than any rack grade Garand I have ever shot. The thing will shoot close to a MOA with match bullets.

Still, accuracy is not the end all in weapons procurement. Accuracy in military weapons is based on an analysis of combat distances, target size, target exposure and recruit ability. From what I have read about difference weapon system accuracy criteria, 3 MOA is considered acceptable accuracy for a combat weapon. Some countries have weighted accuracy more and their rifles are closer to 2 MOA, but they traded off something like cost or weight.

The trend since WWII has been that accuracy is not as important a factor as it was before WWII.

m.p.driver
January 7, 2010, 07:28 PM
All depends on what you want it to do.When i first started shooting high power you werent in the running to be considered a man if you didnt shoot a

.30.Be it a M1,M1a1,or a 1903.And yes i have and shoot all three still.

Then everyone found out that an AR doesnt kick and you cant beat it in the 100 yards for accuracy.Plus it was cheaper to shoot.

Out beyond 200 yards i'll grab a .30 for the 168 grains matchkings,and no i dont need to hear about "Well they shoot AR's in the 1000 yard matches".

RockyMtnTactical
January 7, 2010, 07:58 PM
There is the question of practical acuracy in field conditions as well - here the Garand and M14 have a slight edge, especially with longer shots and wind...

Good point.

3StrikesNC
January 7, 2010, 08:51 PM
I'm not an expert, but do compete with each of these. I'm sure everyone's opinion depends on their specific hardware & experiences, but I'd agree in general terms;

AR15>M1A/14>M1

That being said, I absolutely love all my makes/grades of each, but for my "fun" factor and joy of shooting?

M1A>M1>AR15 ;) I guess there's just something about that 30 caliber bang!

44 AMP
January 7, 2010, 10:28 PM
It is important. It is useful. But, beyond sufficient accuracy to hit your target, what good is it?

Benchrest rifles are built for competing in a game where accuracy is the primary component. No service class rifle can compete in terms of sheer accuracy.

The M1 and M1A (M14) rifles are wonderful guns, accurate enough for any useful occupation. Varmint rifles they are not. The AR is a varmint rifle, today. But it wasn't nearly as good as when it came out. Pick up an AR from 1968 and you will not find it capable of the accuracy of today's ARs, due to design improvements in recent decades.

The M1 is not upgraded in similar fashion. The M1A has been/can be to a degree. Plenty accurate enough for their orginal mission, but not sub MOA rifles. Modern ARs can be MOA, which is nice, especially for shooting a varmint cartridge, at small targets, but for a service rifle, not needed.

Other than in shooting competitions, comparing a .22 caliber rifle against a .30 caliber rifle is basically meaningless. Military combat requirements are different than civilian ones. Target shooters needs are different than big game hunters, who are different from casual plinkers, who are different from personal defense needs.

Free floating ARs are very accurate, doing better on paper than M1s and M1As, on average. But there is more than just group size that determines the utility of a particular rifle design, or caliber.

tirod
January 7, 2010, 10:46 PM
For the dollars, you can accurize an AR to a higher precision, for less, and do it all yourself. No gunsmith needed.

The M1/M14 requires a gunsmith to bed it, lap the lugs, square the bolt to the receiver, square the receiver to the barrel, etc etc etc. Add all that labor - and be prepared to literally shoot it away to do it all again later.

Don't let the differences in caliber distort the difficulty in actually wringing precision out of the different platforms. The AR is easy, the M-series hard. The potential superiority at longer ranges is that - just like the overall match, fast accurate shooting is what counts in combat, and what wins trophies.

I sold my .308, I'm building an AR.

pvt.Long
January 7, 2010, 11:10 PM
well if it came down to accuracy ill take the m1 or m14 for long range , for rapid fire accuracy ill take the m16. in combat ill take the 30 cal. the ar had to evolve to what it is today. the m14 and m1 were designed to be battle ready right out of their production.

SR420
January 7, 2010, 11:24 PM
With less fanfare than the AR, the 30 cal. M14 has also evolved to what it is today.
Consistent MOA accuracy from rack grade M14s that have been modernized is a reality.
The M14EBR-RI is nothing more than a scoped rack grade M14 bolted into a SAGE EBR stock.

Skyyr
January 8, 2010, 12:57 PM
Get a .308 AR or an AR-10 and solve both issues at once: .30 caliber range without the expensive and repeated costs of accurizing an M-1/M-14 while keeping the versatility and interchangeability of the AR platform.

SR420
January 8, 2010, 04:12 PM
Skyyer:

....repeated costs of accurizing an M-1/M-14

What repeated costs of accurizing the M14 are you referring to?

Scorch
January 8, 2010, 04:35 PM
As far as the accuracy potential of each of the platforms, the M14 and M1 both have large, heavy operating rods and heavy bolts that can and do affect accuracy by causing vibration. Vibration is the enemy of accuracy. The AR's direct impingement has fewer moving parts, and less vibration, so its accuracy potential is higher. This statement is supported by the fact that the cost of producing a match-grade weapon with an M1 can be $3,000-$4,000, producing a match-grade weapon with an M14 can easily run up to $3,000-$4,000, and a match-grade AR can be built for less than $2,000.

That said, in many cases, it's the shooter (not the rifle) that spoils accuracy. Any of the three can be awesomely accurate.

Art Eatman
January 8, 2010, 04:41 PM
As-issue, new, out-of-the-box? Six of one, half-dozen of the other. If there is some difference, it probably favors the M-16 somewhat.

ARs seem to be a different animal, really. Probably a bit better, but they gotta get sold to more-critical inviduals instead of issued en masse.

4EVERM-14
January 8, 2010, 08:07 PM
At the National Championships in 1993 a Marine with an M14 and an Army Soldier with an M16 fired a 200 yd. rapid fire sitting string. This was to settle a tie during a trophy match. The Marine fired 100-4x. The Soldier fired 100-6x. Though surely unscientific those results would make the AR platform more accurate. However that same day I fired a better 600 yard score with my M1-A then the Soldier with an M16 that I was paired with.
With ball ammunition and new guns I suspect that all would shoot about 2 MOA. That's with the AR in it's A-1 configuration.

Tim R
January 8, 2010, 09:07 PM
Having shot tuned M-1's, tuned M-14's and tuned AR's, in matchs there is a trade off. It took the M-14's awhile to shoot better than a tuned M-1 but the plummers figured it out. Sight radius is longer on the M-1 but the front stock is a sail when dealing with wind and off hand. The M-14 was a darn good rifle. It was not until the AR/M-16 shooters figured out what was a good twist rate did they start out shooting the M-14. The invention of 77 gr and 80 Gr SMK's and the like was the down fall of the M-14.

The M-16/AR has no recoil but has a shorter sight radius. The M-16/AR is easy to control in the rapids. First time I shot a AR at 600 with a 80 gr SMK, I thought for a fleeting second this was too easy. I belong to the group who believes the 22cal 80 gr SMK flys better than the 30 cal 168 gr SMK. While the M-1 and M-14/M1A shoot good scores in the rapids you still have to glue yourself down with some firm grip.

Today I much like the AR as it's about 1/2 the money to shoot. It did take me awhile to beat my best score I had shot with a M-14 but I had stopped shooting for for about 12 years before I bested it. Much older and the eyes in that period of time changed a lot.

chris in va
January 8, 2010, 09:38 PM
Wow, seems like there would be too many variables to contend with.

How many different AR's are on the market with HOW many types of barrels?

Garands are how old? Are we talking about a brand new barrel, the old shot out one or a special match grade?

Bart B.
January 10, 2010, 08:45 AM
When the 7.62 NATO round was first allowed in high power competition (1963), the rebarreled USN and USAF M1's outshot the Army and Marine Corps M14NM's. All were built at that time using the same basic procedures. One might think the M1 was a better platform at the time to shoot the best 30 caliber cartridges as accurate as possible because of this.

When the Army and Marine Corps finally figured out what had to be done with their new rifles to improve accuracy, they finally shot almost as well as the converted Garands. All of them in top condition would shoot about 4 inches at 600 yards with the best commercial match ammo or handloads with new cases. And as before with the M1, reloading fired cases from the M14 was a disaster accuracy wise; case heads were far too out of square. When M14's got fine tuned to the nth degree, they finally equalled what the Garands would do.

At 1000 yards, the Garands had an advantage; their 2 inch longer barrels gave just enough muzzle velocity increase to keep 168's frp, M8562 7.62 match ammo supersonic through the paper. Too many M14's didn't shoot these bullets fast enough. And the M1's handled 190's better than the M14.

Along comes the M16 to Camp Perry for the first time in 1971; the year they were first allowed. Accuracy was nothing to write home about past 300 yards. No heavy and accurate match bullets were available. After several years of improving how these rifles were rebuilt and getting long, skinny and heavy good 22 caliber bullets, they finally caught up with the M1 and M14.

From accuracy cradles testing each for best performance by eliminating the human element, they are all about equal. Off the shoulder, the M16/AR15 smaller bores are easier to shoot accurate because of their lighter recoil while the bullet's going down the barrel. And these all metal rifles made today based on the M16 design concept are much easier to make accurate; no epoxy bedding and fit of metal to wood/synthetic stocks which alone, is an art within itself. But accuracy wise, the best of them are no better than what their 30 caliber semiauto grandparents produced back in the early 1970's

Chris_B
January 10, 2010, 09:10 AM
I'm gonna go 180* on this

An M14 and an M1 are easier to make less accurate than it is to make an AR less accurate

carpshooter
January 16, 2010, 11:06 PM
This has been a very interesting thread !:eek:

kraigwy
January 17, 2010, 01:13 AM
Lets back up a bit. You asked about accuracy.

The M-1 will never out shoot the 03 springfield cause its a machine gun. But it did.

The M14 beat the service rifle records set but the Garand.

The M16 Beat the service rifle records set by the M14.

Not just at HP (200-600 yards) but at the 1000 yard service rifle matches.

Take a look at the firing line at Camp Perry. Mostly M-16s. Look at the winer circle, All M-16.

The Garand and M-14 have been pushed to their own matches.

There are few that like the M14/M1A as I do, but even I have moved to the M16 for serious match shooting.

FALPhil
January 17, 2010, 03:03 PM
Kraigwy,

I have a theory that in service rifle competition, recoil, actual and felt, has a lot to do with what wins. Your post seems to bear that out.

varoadking
January 17, 2010, 04:38 PM
What repeated costs of accurizing the M14 are you referring to?

The ones necessary on competition legal platforms...

The AR will run circles around an M14, and the M14 might nose out the M1 on a given day...or not...

Flatbush Harry
January 17, 2010, 05:00 PM
The prevalence of the AR15 is military rifle matches suggests that accuracy and light recoil are deemed superior by competitors. I happen to use M1s and M1A/M14s for mil rifle competition because at my age, with my tremor, I'm no longer competitive so I shoot purely for fun...and I have more fun with the .30s.

Each to their own,

FH

LongRifles, Inc.
January 17, 2010, 05:06 PM
Having shot the NM M-14 and NM-AR-15 in the Marine Corps I can say both are capable of fine accuracy, but the AR edges it out. The Army proved this back in the early 90's when they made the switch and beat the Marines up pretty good at Camp Perry.

The M-14 is a fine rifle but its tempermental, labor intensive, and high maintenance. An AR on the other hand is very, very easy to assemble (notice I didn't say "build") and with the big improvements in bullet design it is a clear cut winner in competitive circles.

I personally like the M-14 better as it just seems like a "real gun" but the proof is in the X counts and the AR is the winner everytime.

Garands are even more fussy from what I've seen. (never shot one)