by David Crane
Sage International, Ltd. has teamed up with Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Indiana (NSWC Crane) to create a Special Operations-focused M14/M1A rifle package called the M14 EBR/M1A EBR, or M14/M1A "Enhanced Battle Rifle".
Apparently, the M14 EBR/M1A EBR was developed to win a five-year Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (Crane NSWC) contract to supply the U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SPECWAR) and Marine Corps communities (perhaps MCSOCOM and Force Recon units) with a SPECOPS-ready SOPMOD accessory-compatible M14 rifle/carbine. The M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (or M1A Enhanced Battle Rifle) should prove particularly effective in the CQB (Close Quarters Battle) and short-to-medium range interdiction (sniping) roles in urban warfare/combat environments.
Defense Review will be publishing a more in-depth article on the M14 EBR/M1A EBR soon. In the meantime, here’s what the "Armed Forces Journal" (AFJ) evaluators had to say about the M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (or M1A Enhanced Battle Rifle), after they got a chance to T&E the new weapons package at their annual "Shoot Out" (2004) at Blackwater USA (the following is excerpted from "Armed Forces Journal"):…
"What ZM has done for the M16 design, Sage International, Ltd. has accomplished with another old favorite. The Oscoda, Mich.-based company’s M14 (or M1A) Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) was nothing less than a standout at this year’s Shoot-out. The system was developed during the past two years in cooperation with the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Crane Division. In fact, during the weapon’s development, it was officials at Crane who gave the weapon its EBR moniker.
As this issue goes to press, Crane is selecting a winner in a contracting competition that will have EBR "rifle chassis stock systems" from some source begin making their way into Navy and Marine Corps inventories. The five-year, unspecified quantity contract covers just weapon stocks and attachments — the weapons’ uppers will come from M14s now sitting in excess stocks.
The Sage-developed EBR has to be considered a prime contender for the Crane contract. With an M14 barrel, receiver and trigger group as its core, Sage’s EBR sports a totally new look, from the flash suppressor/compensator on its working end to a retractable buttstock (with graduated stop adjustments) and an adjustable cheek piece.
Four Mil Standard 1913 rails surround the barrel; another above an added pistol grip accepts standard night-vision and other accessories.
The result is a 7.62-firing weapon whose roots are betrayed only by the peephole iron sight and windage and elevation knobs at the rear of the receiver and the telltale flat, through-trigger-guard safety.
An equally well-designed pintle mount system with a quick-release lever lets even an average shooter accurately engage targets out to the maximum effective range of the 7.62 round — either in full auto or semi-auto mode.
Completely outfitted (without scope or other devices), the EBR weighs 11 pounds, 10 ounces with a 22-inch M14 barrel. The optional, quick-release mount weighs 7 pounds, 12 ounces.
The EBR, in three configurations, garnered high praise from our evaluators. "Shot all three; fell in love with all three and their new mount," said one.
Another found the EBR to be "an excellent platform. It seemed to reduce recoil and made mounting of various mission-required accessories much easier. The soft mount reduced recoil even further and made it much easier to engage targets from a fixed point. The mount is quick to engage and disengage, as well."
"An excellent update for an old, proven system," noted another. "It’s a well-designed, well-executed improvement to the M14. Its ergonomics are very good; the system allows myriad attachment options."
"It’s a low-cost, effective platform that turns existing surplus M14s into modern battle rifles," a third evaluator wrote. "It’s lightweight and adaptable. The innovative cheek piece readily fits a wide range of shooters."
"Great design; a lot of potential. Brings the M14 into the 21st century," another said.
"Highly impressed," an evaluator of few words wrote. "Excellent design and very user friendly," his colleague added.
Another noted: "I tried the system in all configurations. It showed excellent reliability and functioning. I didn’t like collapsible stocks until I tried this one."
And an evaluator admitted that his initial misgivings about the weapon’s cutting-edge design were unfounded. "I didn’t think I would like this set-up," he said, "but after shooting it I’m sold. This is a very good shooting weapon. Combined with the tripod, it gives the user a fantastic package!"
These plaudits indicate that Sage’s contender in the ongoing EBR competition is in an enviable position."
In the coming weeks, DefenseReview will attempt to acquire as much additional information and pics on the M14 EBR/M1A EBR as possible. We’ll also try to secure additional video footage of the M14 EBR/M1A EBR in action.
You can contact Sage International, Ltd. at 989-739-7000, or via email at customerservice@sageinternationa[email protected]. John Klein is the president of Sage International, Ltd., to inquire about price and availability of the M14 EBR/M1A EBR.
Click here to see an AFJ video clip of the the Sage International/Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle/M1A Enhanced Battle Rifle. The video clip is titled "M14 EBR: An M14 Like No Other".
Click here to view the original "Armed Forces Journal" (AFJ) article on the Sage International/Crane NSWC M14 EBR/M1A EBR.