Each service is now building its own rifles, with Navy Mk. 14 Model 0’s being produced at the Crane facility, while Army rifles are assembled at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., and the USMC version at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Some 5,000 EBRs have been produced at Rock Island Arsenal, with funding for another 1,200. A further 2,000 Sage stocks have reportedly been sold directly to military units and individuals for conversion of M14s. Still more rifles issued to Marines and SEALs suggest that perhaps 10,000 of these modernized M14s are now in service.
Firing The EBR
Thanks to Fulton Armory of Savage, Md., I was able to test fire a platform nearly identical to the EBR. Available to civilian shooters, this semi-automatic-only rifle incorporates Fulton’s own M14 Receiver, installed on the same Sage Int’l chassis stock that David Armstrong designed.
Examining the rifle in my shop, I found that its military two-stage trigger broke cleanly at 3 pounds, 7.5 ounces—about perfect for me. For test-firing, I mounted a Bushnell Elite 6500 4.5–30X Tactical Scope, which was a simple task with the rifle’s Picatinny rails.
Ergonomics had concerned me because of the stock’s square edges. Nonetheless, I found its balance and heft surprisingly good with the center-of-balance at the magazine well. Having trained on the M14 in the 1960s, I already appreciated the reliability of its gas piston and operating rod system, and the action’s resistance to sand and carbon buildup. Of course, I experienced no stoppages or malfunctions of any kind.
Weighing 14 pounds with a scope, a bipod and a loaded 20-round magazine, this weight plus the straight-line stock resulted in a mild recoil “push,” making it very comfortable to fire. This also assisted target reacquisition for follow-up shots.
The basic difference between the military EBR and Fulton Armory’s version is a National Match barrel—and that really showed on the range. Accuracy with the Fulton Armory EBR was impressive. Firing off sandbags at 100 yards, my Federal Gold Medal Match, .308 Win., 168-grain ammunition punched a three-round group measuring 0.721 inches. Switching to the U.S. military’s load specifically designed for sniping—the 175-grain, M118 Long Range round—the rifle fired even better, scoring a 0.50-inch three-round group.