Who makes the rifles that drill teams use?

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Commentary, Drill Teams, Honor Guard, Instructional 2 Comments

“We are the makers of rifles, and we are the dreamers of dreams”

The M1917 “American Enfield” (9lbs. used from 1917 to mid 1960s, eventually replaced by the M1903)
Winchester, Remington and Eddystone (Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania).
The British made the Lee Enfield Rifles which date from the late 1800s to the present day. Numerous version were created, rifles numbered 1, 2, 3 & 4, and different alterations were made to each version resulting in Mark I, II, III, and IV. Photo: Enfield Mark I from 1903, courtesy wikimedia.com

  • Drill-Specific Replicas: The L59A1 & L98A2 (Britain only, called “DPs” for Drill Purpose); the L59A1, modeled after the Mark 4, is OK exhibition drill, the L98A2 is not.

The M1903 (used from 1903 to 1937, eventually replaced by the M1 Garand)
Many call this the Spingfield M1903, but this is not correct all the time as Smith-Corona, Rock Island Arsenal and Remington Arms made this rifle as well.

  • Drill-Specific Replicas: the Glendale DrillAmerica M1903A3 and the Daisy Drill Rifle M1903A3.

The M1 Garand (used from 1936 to 1966, eventually replaced by the M14)
Springfield Armory is probably best known as the maker of this rifle but, Winchester, International Harvester, Harrington & Richardson and Baretta also made Garands.

  • Drill-Specific Replicas: the Glendale DrillAmerica M1 Garand.

The M14 (10lbs, used from 1959 to 1970, eventually replaced by the M16)
Springfield Armory, Winchester, Harrington & Richardson and Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge, Inc. (TRW)

  • Drill-Specific Replicas: the DrillMaster M14 (currently, only prototype).

What does all of this information mean to you, the Driller? If you want a demil’d rifle, don’t just look for what seems to be the most popular name. There are many more out there.

FYI, the quote is a rewording of something Willy Wonka said in the original movie.

Comments 2

  1. If you wanted to be super technical – there are two types of “M14” rifles. The most common you’ll find the driller using is an M1A. These are civilian models, and the only difference between the M1A and the M14 is that the M1A does not have a select-fire switch, and is incapable of switching between single shot and full-auto firing. The M1A is sold to the public through Springfield Armory only. These can usually run between $1000-$2000.

    The only way to acquire an M14 would be through military surplus rifles sent to JROTC/ROTC units for drill use – though these rifles have been modified to either not fire at all, or the selector switch has been taken off, technically making it an M1A. The other method for acquiring an M14 would be through filing for a special, or military collector’s, permit through the ATF and paying for a tax stamp for your rifle.

    Sorry to get super technical, but for the driller in search of an M1A rifle to use for drill purposes they will find zero results if they search for M14s, and should search for M1As instead. Still, there are no companies which currently sell drill rifle versions of the M1A, so you’ll either need to find someone selling a deactivated rifle, or purchase an M1A for yourself and having a gunsmith deactivate it.

    The Chinese company Norinco copied the M14, dubbed either the M14s or M305, and for a time exported a large amount of these rifles to the United States until they were banned. These rifles, while not technically true M14s, are a very, very close replica. They usually run $500-$700 cheaper than a SA M1A, so anyone looking for a cheap one to turn into a drill rifle would have better luck searching for one of those variants.

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