M14 Magazine Conversions

9 January 1999
By Andy Webber - Armament Technology

I have had detailed experience with M14 mag conversions to Remington 700 rifle systems, and have evaluated a number of systems produced by several well-known shops. Here are my opinions.

Although this type of system can be made to work fairly reliably, the road to that end is long and complicated. In order for an M14 mag to feed rounds into a Remington 700, the following conditions must somehow be met:

The thrust of doing this conversion was that M14 mags were made for .308, cheap, and readily available. In reality, what is being done is to essentially redesign a rifle's receiver, feeding system, and stock, to fit a mag that had to be modified as well! A much more sensible approach is to design a mag body that is more "friendly" to the design of the Remington 700 action. Remington attempted this with only partial success. Although the mag system was acceptable, there are several failings:

  1. A true double feed system, it is prone to damage and wear. The bolt nose does not take very much bite of the cartridge head. Any misalignment of the cartridge in the mag can cause a misfeed.
  2. The latching system, borrowed from Steyr, is sticky and cumbersome.
  3. Because the latching system is in the bottom of the mag, the mag cannot be altered to take any more than the designed number of rounds (4 for .308 Win)
  4. Relief cuts are made to the rails in the bottom of the receiver, precluding conversion back to BDL internal box feeding, should one desire to do so.

H-S Precision has taken the most refined approach yet:

The advantages are:

  1. The triggerguard/floormetal acts as close-fitting mag housing, resulting in the need for only single-point latching. Straight in and straight out, like the M16. The days of rotated mags like M14's and FAL's are hopefully gone. (I have owned over a dozen assorted M14's and FN's, and used them in service rifle competition in Canada. I don't miss them a bit).
  2. The mag latch is located in the trigger bow, and can be operated with one thumb or finger. The mag falls out with gravity.
  3. Because the mag latch is in the rear, the option of having a larger capacity box is available. At the writing of this, 4-rnd boxes are starting production, and 10-rnd boxes are "in the works".
  4. The mag design uses a double-stack-to-single-feed design, like most hi-capacity 9mm pistols. This allows the mag to have an acceptable capacity while allowing the bolt nose to get a really good bite on the cartridge head. This design lets the mag lips force the cartridge to go where it is supposed-to each time.
  5. No alteration of the receiver is necessary. The single feed system is relatively narrow, and doesn't interfere with the receiver rails.

The disadvantages of the H-S precision system are:

  1. At the writing of this, December 1998, current production is backlogged. My company has had substantial orders on the books for months, and have only received one prototype unit ever. H-S Precision, understandably, is taking care of their own rifle production needs first. I suspect these problems will be sorted out sometime in 1999.
  2. The stainless steel mag system is somewhat heavy, and could benefit from lightening cuts.
  3. Because of the single-feed design, loading of the magazine with cartridges is a little slower than double-feed systems. Each cartridge must be pushed down and backward into the mag.

In conclusion, I feel advancements to detachable magazine systems have come a long way recently. Marksmen considering this type of accessory should look at new systems becoming available, instead of turning to the stop-gap solutions of the past.

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