I was under the impression that some M-14s were made as semi auto only...as in every one in my ships armory, with the exception of two, were built as semi-auto only, no full auto ability. Does ATFE consider these rifles, constructed as semi-auto only, without the provision to convert, as full auto machineguns?
Might be an M1A. Also, didn't TRW make some semi M-14s as VIP gifts?
M14s were issued with the selector lock pinned to the selector shaft in lieu of the selector, rendering them operationally semiauto only. However, the lock can be easily removed, one roll pin, and replaced by the selector. Thus, even though your M14 appears to be semiauto only, it lacks only the selector to be full auto. The BATFE considers all M14s to be machine guns.
M14NM rifles were built by SA (the real one, not the commercial company in IL that appropriated the name) and TRW. TRW did give some of its contract overrun M14NM rifles to employees, vendors and customers. These rifles were manufactured with the selector lock welded to the selector shaft, with other weldments rendering the rifles semiauto only. They never were machine guns. However, the BATFE position was, has been, and remains that these M14NMs are also machine guns.
There is only one exception: TRW M14 NM S/N 143711; see U.S. v. One U.S. (TRW) 7.62mm M-14 National Match Rifle, Serial No. 143711, 1980 WL 95647 (S.D.Ohio, May 20, 1980)
"In this case the trial court turns down an ATF attempt to forfeit a TRW M-14 rifle, built by TRW as a National Match rifle. The court decides that ATF failed to prove the gun was a machine gun, as ATF argued - the gun was not registered as anything. ATF claimed the gun was readily restorable to a machine gun, and tried to prove that by welding the selector lockout to the lug on a regular M-14, then restoring that gun to take a selector. However, the court found that they did not weld the lockout in the manner that was done on the NM guns, nor did they refute the evidence that the NM guns never were machine guns, but were made as semi-autos at TRW."
This decision is binding only on this particular rifle, and the precedent, if one can be argued, applies only to the Southern District of Ohio. The trial judge seems to have been persuaded by TRW engineers' testimony that the modifications to the receiver that rendered the rifles semiauto only were done prior to heat treat, that is, prior to the point that the receiver could be considered a firearm. Further, she was not moved by the ATF's clumsy attempt to show how an M14 could be welded and unwelded to go from select fire to semi to select fire again. The judge noted that since the rifle had never been a machine gun, the "readily restorable" criterion did not apply, because you cannot "restore" something to a state in which that something never was.
The Army, prior to GCA '68, considered a modification to existing M14s, welding the selector lock, with the designation "M14M." However, this strategem was rendered ineffective by the passage of GCA '68 and the program terminated.
It sucks, but that's the way it is.