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Shooting Illustrated

M14 7.62x51 NATO rifle

M-14 Designated Marksman Rifle

 

United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14
Weight 9.2 lb (4.1 kg) empty
10.7 lb (5.2 kg) w/ loaded magazine
Length 44.3 in (1,126 mm)
Barrel Length 22 inches (559 mm) 1:12 RH twist (not including flash hider or silencer)
Caliber 7.62x51 mm NATO
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt
   
Muzzle Velocity 2800 feet per second (850 mps)
Effective Range 500 yards (460m) 875+ yds with optics (800m)
Feed System 20 rds detachable box magazine
Sights Aperture iron sight, optional side scope mount
   

The M14 was developed concurrently with the 7.62x51 Nato cartridge (designated M80). A barrel twist rate of 1:12" was found to be the optimum rate to stabilize the 7.62 Nato 147 grain bullet.

 

M21 7.62x51mm NATO rifle

M21 sniper

United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M21
Weight 9.2 lb (4.1 kg) empty
11.25 lbs (5.11 kg) loaded w/scope
Length 44.3 in (1,126 mm)
Barrel Length 22 inches (559 mm) 1:10 RH twist (not including flash hider)
Caliber 7.62x51 mm NATO
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt
   
Muzzle Velocity 2800 feet per second (850 mps)
Effective Range 875+ yds with optics (800m)
Feed System 20 rds detachable box magazine
Sights Redfield/Leatherwood 3-9x Automatic Ranging Telescope (ART)
Trigger Pull Specially tuned 4 1/2 pound match two-stage military trigger

The M21 is a modified M14 National Match rifle. The earlier versions (XM21) had a specially selected walnut stock, but this changed with the M21 to a fiberglass stock which was resistant to moisture. The XM21 was first used in 1969 and remained the U.S. Army's primary Sniper Weapon System until 1988 when it was replaced by the bolt-action M24 SWS. An update to the M21 known as the M25, was developed by the US Navy and was the weapon of choice for SEAL snipers during Desert Storm.