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Discussion Starter #1
After storing a couple M14 rifle stocks as spares I decided to look at them the other day and ran across one in pretty good condition but I can't tell if it is walnut or birch. I found it to have an unusual modification. Near the front end in the barrel channel there is a small curved piece of metal about two inches long that would just fit under the barrel at that point. It is held in by the same two rivets that hold the front sling swivel on. I have never seen this in an M14 before and I have worked on a lot of them. Is this perhaps some kind of heat shield? Any idea what this was for?

Sorry I would have had a picture but it is now in the loft of my garage and kind of hard to get at.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Perhaps a backing plate for the swivel attachment for strengthening ?
That is a possibility but it looks like it was added at a later date from when the stock was made as the rivets appear to be add ons and not the original parkerized ones. The stocks were purchased a couple decades ago and I believe I got three or four of them in the sale hoping to get at least one good one. Turns out they were all used but pretty good and cleaned up good also. They were advertised as being complete with butt plates and they were but several additional butt plates also came separately with the stocks. I do not recall who I bought them from. I dug them out of storage the other day.

I am wondering if this was an attempt to bed the barrel more firmly for accuracy as I understand beding the barrel on an M14 is fairly critical and a number of methods have been tried. Or maybe it was to keep the hot barrel from burning the stock. I once ran across an M14 stock where the barrel channel was totally charcoal. Obviously some guy had put several mags through that gun on full auto. I only ever ran one mag through an M14 on full auto at the range and even then it got plenty hot.
 

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PhD in Over-Engineering
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For what it's worth, the E2 stock came with a reinforcing brace very much like what you describe. I imagine it could be adapted to the standard stock, but it is longer than what you seem to have. I am not sure if the intended purpose was more about strengthening or shielding from heat, as both might play into use of the E2 as SAW with a bipod. But sounds like someone adopted a similar idea to your stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was even thinking it was used in conjunction with the ill fated M15 rifle This was supposed to be the replacement for the BAR. It was an M14 with a heavy barrel and bipod. However this channel does not look like it would accommodate a heavier barrel. When I was with the National Guard in the early 70s we received M14 rifles to replace our M1s. One of those rifles was labeled M15 on the receiver. I understand all existing M15s were recycled back into M14s when the M15 program failed.
 

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I don't think the barrel was bedded so much as the receiver itself. Perhaps just to tighten up the channel at the hand guard bracket. I may be wrong. An operation to seal the gas system was done a bit at the hand guard front bracket area though. I forget what they called it now - unitizing??? - brain freeze/old age I guess. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't think the barrel was bedded so much as the receiver itself. Perhaps just to tighten up the channel at the hand guard bracket. I may be wrong. An operation to seal the gas system was done a bit at the hand guard front bracket area though. I forget what they called it now - unitizing??? - brain freeze/old age I guess. :)
Yes for the match rifles and maybe the sniper rifles they did tack weld the band to the gas cylinder. The band held the front end of the hand guard and the bottom of it engaged the metal piece on the front of the stock. I believe I read someplace that a free floating barrel was great for many rifles but bad for the M14 so they wanted to tighten it up.
 

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I know many bedded the area underneath the front hand guard bracket - kind of a U channel thing to keep the barrel and lower wood snug to the upper forearm I guess? :confused:
 

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I have bedded my Match M1A several times in several stocks, the receiver is bedded in the stock using several fixtures to hold the stock a certain amount up out of the stock. Fixture are placed under the gas cylinder to hold receiver up. When the trigger group is locked in place it puts tension on the front of the stock. You should be able to pull the barrel down with 8 pounds of pressure I think it was . The gas cylinder would ride against the stock ferrule with that much pressure. Gas cylinder was welded to front stock ferrule and some small amount of machining was done to gas cylinder and gas piston to accurize it. It's been a few days but I don't believe we ever bedded anything forward of the receiver. Never saw a strip of metal forward on the stock. May have been a modification made for full auto fire. Saw a guy and his son burn thru so much ammo the stock was smoking once at public range. Left very soon when I saw them jump up on the table and blast away with a nice M1A.
 
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