What a Way to Waste a Perfectly Good M14

Used to shoot a line from ship to ship.

9 Responses to “What a Way to Waste a Perfectly Good M14”

  1. j t bolt says:

    What? The military had lots of em ‘free’ in surplus, the navy doesn’t need a lot of rifles, the powder charge is good enough to get line away, and they haven’t been altered so they can’t be used as an actual rifle if the need arises. Perfect recycling.

    Better than designing a bunch of ‘shotline-only’ throwing devices at $20k+ per unit.

  2. Sean Sorrentino says:

    as a former squid, i don’t think that these M-14’s are permanently modified. they just use a blank round to propel an orange ball attached to a long length of what is basically engineer twine inside the little can on the muzzle. then they use the twine to pull across some line (never rope!!!!) and finally some steel rope (NOT cable!!!) that they use to hold up a really big fuel hose. BTW, the ship that the shooter is standing on is the USNS Comfort, one of the two hospital ships, i think the one home ported in Baltimore.

    they occasionally let us shoot the M-14’s at floating targets when we were bobbing about in the ocean. that’s how i learned first hand that they are right about the M-14 being basically uncontrollable in full auto.

  3. JamesLee says:

    Yes, the line-throwing attachment is not permanent, just slip it over the muzzle, lock the cotter pin, and you are ready. The ball of line is actually held by someone else, attached to the big rubber bullet in the attachement. Load up what is essentially a .308 blank cartridge, and go to town. Officially, you were supposed to try to shoot OVER the other ship, but I always tried to hit a gun mount or something.

    That particular M14 looks like it was kept a lot better than most of the ones we had on the USS Virginia.

    Sean, hehe, you should have been there when we held rifle quals on the fantail, and the SK2 accidentally got the select-fire 14 handed to him!

    And somewhere, there is a German Navy vet who has a picture of one particular Gunners Mate looking a lot like the dude in that shot.

  4. Bram says:

    Us Marines used to borrow the Squid M-14 and shoot floating targets too. Much better weapon than our M-16’s.

  5. Linoge says:


    What they said. The shot line cup is not a permanent modification, and speaking from first-hand experience, M-14s are still often used for their original purposes on Navy vessels. Granted, our CO often liked to break one out just for the fun of it, but that was the kind of CO he was :).

    Oh, and just let me say that the T-AKE class of replenishment ships are remarkable ships. Funny to look at, and a marked design change from previous UNREP vessels, but all for the better in my opinion.

  6. Andy says:

    Am I the only person noticing that he’s standing next to an empty machine gun mount?

  7. Mark says:

    They use a rifle grenade cartridge to launch the shot line, not a blank.
    The USS Kitty Hawk had an M-14E2 on board while I was stationed there. I saw a line handler carrying it up to the flight deck, and spotted the distinctive wood foregrip.
    In 1997, I was assisting the Lincoln tying up at NAS North Island, and the BMs in the Foc’sle damned near shot me with a monkey fist. Bounced off the ground 2 feet away from my feet.

  8. JamesLee says:

    Andy, I saw that mount as well. Looks like a new and improved version of the Ma Duece soft mounts we had. They were kind of a pain to set up, but oh so sweet blasting away at trash bags.

  9. FTNuke says:

    We use an M-16 modified the same way as a line-throwing gun in the submarine force.