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M1A: Forged receiver or cast?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Glock Glockler, Jan 1, 2003.

  1. Glock Glockler

    Glock Glockler Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking about getting one of these, I actually came close to bidding on a Springfield National Match the other day, but then I read Boston's Gun Bible and he insists that a Forged reciever is completely superior to the cast models that Springfield makes. The forged reciever models also cost a wee bit more, so I'm wondering if the cost/benefit ratio leans towards the forged model.

    So how much difference does it really make?

    Kaylee, I'm sure you'll have lots of info on this subject, so go nuts and I'll put on a pot of coffee:)
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2003
  2. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Who makes a forged receiver? I know that Smith Enterprise made a milled receiver, but a civilian forged receiver?
  3. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

    MK Specialties made a forged receiver, but ATF nixed 'em.

    Polytech is forged. If you don't mind reading "made in China" on the side and doing some parts swapping out.

    Some of Smith Enterprises are forged, some aren't.

    Don't recall on Armscorp, and I know Springfield Inc. is cast.

    All that said... a good casting is better than a poor forging. Who made it and to what specs is gonna have a lot more more of an impact than the casting/forging debate, or so say my 'smith and manufacturing friends.

    On a more down-to-earth level, we had Oleg's Polytech, my Smith Enterprises, and twoblink's Springfield Inc. rifles all out alongside each other this last fall. Of the three, I'd say the Springfield is the best balance of quality and money. You buy a polytech, and there are things you'll want to upgrade over time. You buy a Smith, and (IMHO) you're paying more than you need to -- the money goes toward a name.

    Were I to do it over again (now that MKS is bust) I'd go Springfield Inc*. and not look back.


    * preferably an older one with a high USGI parts count. See Scott Duff's M14/M1A book for details.
  4. Glock Glockler

    Glock Glockler Well-Known Member

    MK Specialties made a forged receiver, but ATF nixed 'em.

    Agggrrrrrr! These guys are seriously starting to bother* me.

    First, they forbid import of CZ's 122 and now this. Not that it'll change anything, but did they shut down the company or forbid the production of that receiver?


    PS I actually am aware that the BATmen have pulled some other stunts fit to make Garth Ennis loose his cookies, but this seems completely stupid, even for them.

    *A euphamism was used here to prevent my ban from THR
  5. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    six one, half-dozen the other.

    There can be some crappy forgings, and some excellent castings. And vice' versa.

    Smith Enterprises did some forged receivers. Highly sought after these days.

    Polytech/Norinco Chinese M14S rifles had forged receivers. Nicely done, but the bolts ended up being too soft, hence a walking headspace problem after being fired for a while.

    USGI M14 receivers were forged. Not too many of those in civilian hands, however, because of the "once a machine gun, always a machine gun" ATF rule.

    MKS did a great business rewelding destroyed USGI M14 receivers and selling them as semiauto-only M14 receivers. Ran into ATF legal trouble with that approach, though, last I heard.

    Then MKS got a hold of original M14 receiver forging equipment, and was promising a brand-new, semiauto-only, forged M14 receiver. That was in August of 2001. Not much news outta them since the reweld debacle.

    Springfield, Inc. makes a cast M14 semiauto-only receiver. They went ahead and renamed it to the M1A, and copyrighted the name. If it's not a Springfield, Inc receiver, it's not an M1A. Springfield, Inc. M1A cast receivers can be either a thing of joy, or a thing of despair. I saw a couple receivers that should never have left the factory. One ended up as a paperweight. It should have gone back to Springfield, Inc, but the gunsmith was so pissed at the poor quality he saved it as a reminder. Other folks have been quite happy with their M1A rifles, and do just fine with them in all endeavours, to include competitions at Camp Perry.

    Armscorp USA makes a cast M14 semiauto-only receiver, in two flavors, M14 and M21. They are still available, and accept USGI and aftermarket M14 parts. I ended up building my M14NM on an Armscorp receiver after some serious shopping in 1992, including looking at the above bad Sprinfgield, Inc. receivers. In hindsight, I should've grabbed a couple Polytech receivers, they would have been the basis for some quality guns, too. But I was of a patriotic, preWalMart awareness bend at the time.

    Cast or forged, the metallurgy of either receiver is plenty strong enough for a centerfire rifle in .308, no sweat.
  6. redneck

    redneck Well-Known Member

    Why wouldn't the ATF approve of a forged receiver for civilian rifles?
    Are they going to ban quality if they can't ban them outright?
  7. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

    The issues with the MKS receivers were as follows:

    rewelds -- "once a machine gun, always a machine gun"
    ATF ruled that the M14 receivers were still "machine guns" even after the naughty bits were permamently removed.

    new manufacture -- what MKS was promising was significantly closer to a real M14 than any of the other manufacturers -- to include a side lug and "take down pin" where the full-auto connecting rod is on the real thing. ATF ruled that the construction was too easily modified into a FA weapon, as I recall.

    In neither case was it a cast/forged issue. It was a "this looks like a scary full auto gun, and therefore should be illegal" issue. Or more to the point "well... THIS looks like a good way to bankrupt a guy who's trying to make Evil Almost Auto guns.. let's squish him since the 'plebes shouldn't have such things anyhow"

    But I digress. :p

  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member


    MK-S should make the receiver w/out the lug for the connector & switch. Now, if they want a lug, it should be a rear receiver lug for bedding it.
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    MKS had the chance to make a high quality forged receiver like that on the M1A, using the M1 type takedown. But their customers wanted something they could pretend was a "real" M14, so MKS made the receiver with a connector and a selector tang. Supposedly someone (BATF?) "readily" converted one to fire FA, and BATF seized them.

    MKS was on the right track with a good forging. They just need to ignore the "real" M14 guys and build a good, high quality equivalent to the M1A. Of course, they are in so deep now, that I doubt they will ever be able to get a manufacturers license again. But those forging dies and tooling are somewhere or could be duplicated.

    In theory, forged receivers are better, and I will always go for forged, given a choice. But good cast receivers are giving excellent service and will last far longer than most shooters will ever know. There are reports of SA, Inc. M1A receivers that have gone over a half million rounds and several barrels with no problems. That is pretty good, in my book.

  10. cheygriz

    cheygriz Well-Known Member

    Quality has nohing to do with whether the receiver is cast, milled, or forged. There are excellent quality examples of all three, and there are junk examples of all three.

    The Ruger bolt guns all have cast receivers, and they are about as high quality as money can buy. PROPERLY cast receivers, properly finished, are just as good and just as strong (or maybe stronger) than forged or milled.
  11. buttrap

    buttrap Well-Known Member

    Yes a cast receiver can be pretty well made but they just have to remember to melt a few of the dogs down is all. Ruger does that but most fly by nights wont. The Reject rate is higher with the cast stuff is all and many dont do rejects....
  12. Buzzbox

    Buzzbox Well-Known Member

    Hey fellas, LRB Arms is manufacturing forged receivers.


    For civilian use, unless you shoot the crap out of it, you'll probably never notice the difference between a good casting and a forged receiver. Forgings are tougher, and more dimensionally sound. Of course, if the manufacter is bad, then it's moot.

    If you're looking to build a sweetheart of an M14 semi, you'll probably look for a forged receiver. They are indeed better, and that's why they are part of the orginal design of the M14.

    Really though, it's just a preference for the civilian shooter. "Just because" is good enough for me. At least it is, now that I found something:

    *I photochopped my serial, btw*

    Whoops, dug up an old one! apologies.
  13. ocabj

    ocabj Well-Known Member

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