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Different
03-14-2010, 09:05 AM
I recently purchased Poly Technolgoies, Inc. M-14/S serial number 00074 from the importer, Keng's Firearm Specialty (Atlanta, GA). This rifle was assembled in 1988 by State Arsenal 356 in the People’s Republic of China. It was imported into the United States before the March 14, 1989 ban. Therefore, it was legal to import this rifle (at that time) with “evil” features. Chinese M14 rifles are still being exported to Canada and New Zealand. Apparently, Keng’s Firearm Specialty kept a few of these rifles in storage ever since the 1989 ban. KFS auctioned this rifle in February 2010. I was the successful bidder. The rifle was shipped in its original factory box to my FFL in Nevada. If you check Gunbroker ad 160965666, KFS has another one of these pre-’89 ban rifles on auction. The pictures posted in that ad are of the rifle I received. I have no financial interest in KFS. I paid above market price for this rifle but less than $2,000.00. This rifle has not been altered or modified. It is in the same condition as it left State Arsenal 356. As a researcher, the price was worth it to me so that I may accurately document as much of the M14 history as possible. Here is what I found.

Sights – Rear sight knobs are marked WCE. The front sight is a standard width post. The elevation and windage knobs operate with clear, distinct clicks

Muzzle Attachment – The muzzle is fitted with a functional M14 type lugged flash suppressor with bayonet lug. The flash suppressor is electropenciled 14028 at six o’clock. The flash suppressor nut is not tack welded to the barrel. It was removed without any trouble to check muzzle wear.

Bolt Assembly – The bolt is electropenciled 14028 on the underside. There are no other markings. The firing pin is non-plated. There is no indication of lapping of the lugs. The extractor post does not protrude below the bottom surface of the bolt. The bolt assembly was shipped with the rifle but separate inside a plastic bag.

Barrel Assembly – The barrel is standard profile chromium plated. It is stamped MADE IN CHINA KFS ATL GA at six o’clock between the flash suppressor and the gas cylinder. There are no other barrel markings. Muzzle wear reading is 1.5 by B.A.D. T-1. Throat erosion reading is 0 by B.A.D. T-1. I ran a patch through the barrel. I examined the bore, clean, shiny and crisp. The operating rod guide pin is staked.

Headspace – 1.6335 ” (bolt will not close on a 1.634 “ gage but does close on a 1.633 “ gage)

Gas System – The gas cylinder lock is timed at 6:30. The spindle valve is functional. The M14 style operating rod spring guide has lightening cuts but no markings. The operating rod spring is 14 7/8 “ long and appears in good condition. The Chinese connector lock is typical, match grade length. The single piece forged operating rod has a forward end vent hole. The operating rod connector notch has been milled to prevent installation of the connector assembly. The operating rod is electropenicled 85 29-3 on the inboard side of the rear section. There are no other markings on the operating rod. Removal of the operating rod from the receiver is easy.

Firing Mechanism – The trigger housing is electropenciled 14082. There are no other markings. The firing mechanism has a rack grade two stage pull.

Receiver – Forged receiver with the heel stamped POLY TECH M-14/S 7.62 NATO 00074. The left side of the receiver under the stock line is stamped 0. The machining work is grade A. The barrel setscrew is staked. The operating rod dismount notch is recessed to accommodate easy removal of the operating rod. The bolt roller does not bottom out on the receiver when closed. The bolt and the operating rod pass the tilt test.

Stock – The rifle was assembled with a walnut stock with stock liner and screws but no selector cutout. The butt plate assembly fits nice and snug on the stock end. There are no markings on the stock whatsoever.

Hand Guard – The hand guard appears to be injection molded. It has a brown marbled finish on the top and silver paint on the underside. It is marked DT25.

Accessories – No sling, two twenty round magazines covered in cosmoline inside clear heat-sealed plastic bags, and a Chinese M14 cleaning kit stowed inside the stock.

Cleanliness – The rifle was received in excellent condition. It has a manganese phosphate coating. The cartridge clip guide has a few handling scratches. Otherwise, the finish appears factory mint. No rifle parts have been greased. The operating rod, operating rod spring, operating rod spring guide, gas piston and gas cylinder plug threads are lightly coated with oil.

Summary: Where was I in 1989? I should have bought several of these when they were inexpensive. The rear sight can be mushy and some of the Canadian imports have misaligned barrel indexing. The only real issue I have with the Chinese M14 is the bolt. The locking lug contact isn’t always what you would like to see and the lugs are smaller than USGI dimension. Bolt hardness ranges from 40 to 47 HRC based on several independent reports. At the low end of that hardness range, the headspace will grow after several hundred to a couple thousand rounds. If the bolt hardness is 45 to 47 HRC, run it like you’re Mr. T from the A-Team. To the credit of KFS, an effort was made in 1988 to work with Poly Technologies to use USGI bolts in the Chinese M14 rifles until State Arsenal 356 could produce a USGI quality bolt. Unfortunately, Poly Technologies, Inc. declined.