Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record
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|Title:||RIFLE, MILITARY - U.S. RIFLE M15 (T44E5) 7.62MM SN# 1103|
|Date of Manufacture:||1957|
|Catalog Number:||SPAR 3911|
|Measurements:||OL:115.5CM 45 1/2" BL: 55.8CM 22" 13.5 lbs. without accessories|
U.S. RIFLE M15 (T44E5) 7.62MM SN# 1103
Manufactured by Springfield Armory, Springfield, Ma. - Modified T44E4 rifle with heavy barrel and bipod. Gas piston, cutoff type of operating mechanism. Select-fire. Rate reducer was eliminated since automatic firing tests indicated comparable accuracy at both rates of fire. Muzzle velocity 2800 fps. Cyclic rate of fire 750 rpm. Maximum range 3500 yards; effective range 1,000 yards. Fed by 20-round detachable box magazine. Complete with bipod, hinged buttplate, and 20-round detachable box magazine. Weapon weighs approximately 13.5 lbs. Adopted as M15 weapon 1 May 1957, declared obsolete on 17 December, 1959.
Receiver: RIFLE/CAL. 30 T44E5/SPRINGFIELD/ARMORY/1103.
Weapon transferred to the Museum on 7 January 1965. At that time weapon was appraised at $250.00.
HISTORICAL SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES:
1JUL54 - 31DEC54 - "The T44E5 Rifle with and without the rate reducer showed no significant difference in accuracy and resulted in the assembly of these rifles without the rate reducer."
1JAN55 - 30JUN55 - "A bipod was developed based on a design suggested by Board 3. This bipod provides manual adjustment for Command height and for folding of the legs parallel to the rifle. Models for the BAR and T44E5 Rifle were fabricated. Redesign of the bipod head will allow adaption to the T44E1 Rifle."
1JUN58 - 31DEC58 - "Component improvements continued on the M14 and M15 rifles. The changes in rear sight calibration from yards to meters were completed in October 1958. Design changes in the gas system including ease of assembly, prevention of cross threading, and prevention of loosening of the gas plug were made and tests started in December 1958. Design changes were also made in the flash suppressor and testing started. Preliminary trials by USAIB and USMC using the M14 rifle with bipod in the heavy barrel role, resulted in the adaptation of the M15 bipod to the M14 rifle. This brought about the design of two additional types of bipods, for field trial."
1JAN59 - 30JUN59 - "A joint user-developer conference was held at USAIB in February to select designs of a bipod suitable for the M14 Rifle modified for BAR role. Two designs submitted by Springfield Armory were tested at Fort Benning from 16 March 1959 to 23 March 1959 with scheduling of Arctic phase of this project contingent on results. The two designs were classified as Type I and Type II. Type I weighs .75 pounds and has no adjustment for command height and cannot be folded back along the barrel. Type II weighs 1.28 pounds and has three adjustments for command height and can be folded back along the barrel. Both of these designs were readily attachable to the bayonet stud. The Rifle, Automatic, 7.62mm, M15, was used as the control item. USAIB concluded that Type II Bipod was preferable to the Type I Bipod.
For use in conjunction with the bipod test, the Rifle, 7.62mm, M14 was "Modified for BAR Role (i.e., as a substitute for Rifle, 7.62mm, M15) as follows:
a. Hinged butt plate assembly that consists of an aluminum butt plate and a steel hinged shoulder plate. When folded, this butt plate assembly has the same configuration as the Standard M14 Rifle.
b. Upper handguards, hereinafter referred to as Type A, B, or C, constructed of plastic fiberglass and with the same configuration as the standard upper handguard of the M14 rifle. Type A has no ventilation. Type B has 38 round holes and Type C has 14 slotted holes.
The USAIB tentative report dated 10 April 1959 (Project No. 2839, DA Project 502-08-006) recommended: (1) For the rifle role, the Rifle 7.62mm, M14 should be modified by the addition of a handguard of the modified Type C design and a hinged butt plate of the design tested in this project; (2) For the automatic role, the Rifle, M14, modified as above and with the addition of a bipod of the Type II design, is a suitable substitute for the Rifle, Automatic, 7.62mm, M15.
A number of improvements to the weapon were developed, namely:
a. Longer connector lock pin to facilitate disassemblyb. Modified piston and gas cylinder plug to facilitate alignment of the piston during assembly.
c. Modifications to barrel, gas cylinder and flash suppressor providing offset splines to prevent incorrect assembly.
d. Modifications of barrel to provide a pilot diameter to prevent cross-threading of gas cylinder lock during assembly.
1JUL59 - 31DEC59 - "The M15 version of the M14 rifle was dropped by standardization actions in December 1959. Further, the type III Bipod and the aluminum hinged butt plate as well as the fibre glass hand guard were added as components of the M14."
Notes: In October 1954, a new heavy barrel version of the T44 was introduced, designated the T44E5. This rifle was designed to replace the BAR. It differed from the T44E4 only in the fact that it had a heavy barrel, bipod, hinged buttplate, and slightly heavier stock. Unlike the BAR, it was also capable of select-fire.
While being tested with a standard T44E4 by the Marines in 1958, the Marines decided to put the T44E5's bipod on the T44E4. They were so impressed with the full-auto capability on the T44E4 with the bipod, they requested a bipod be made for the T44E4.
At the same time the Army Infantry Board at Ft. Benning was conducting a similar test. They advised that the M14 be equipped not only with a bipod, but also a hinged buttplate and modified upper handguard. The idea was that the T44E4 could replace the BAR, and the T44E5 would not be required.
The Infantry Board recommended to the Commanding General of CONARC that five M14 rifles be equipped with hinged buttplates, modified upper hand guards, and bipods. That these arms be furnished to the Infantry Board for testing.
On 10 April 1959, the Infantry Board recommended the adoption of a modified M14 for for the automatic rifle role. They suggested a bipod, a buttplate with hinged shoulder strap, and a ventilated fiberglass reinforced plastic upper hand guard.
Testing concluded that the bipod, despite modifications, was repeatedly disengaging from the rifle when firing full-auto. Other problems included bullet dispersion, even in the hands of expert riflemen; excessive recoil; and muzzle climb.
Recommendations were made by Captain Gasney for an in-line stock, front and rear pistol grips, and a recoil check. After testing Gasney's rifle, the Infantry Board asked the Weapons Command for a production version. This assignment was given to the Springfield Armory. (See, SPAR-2328, M14E2.)
Ezell, Edward Clinton. THE GREAT RIFLE CONTROVERSY. Stackpole Books. Harrisburg, Pa. 1984.
Poyer, Joe. THE M14-TYPE RIFLE. North Cape Publications, Inc. Tustin, Ca. 2000.
Stevens, Blake R. U.S. RIFLE FROM JOHN GARAND TO THE M21. 2nd Ed. Collector Grade Publications Inc. Toronto, Canada. 1991.
Walter, John. GREENHILL MILITARY MANUALS: MODERN MILITARY RIFLES. Stackpole Publications. Mechanicsburg, Pa. 2001.
SA-NM11-2617 "Notes on Development Type Material for Rifle, Caliber 7.62mm, T44E5 (M15)," by C.F. Packard.
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