Rico Morgan’s M14… and Mine

Modifying and making the most of a Chinese-made M14S. How I restored a PolyTech rifle into a top-end self-loading 308 Winchester.

by Ray Ordorica

It began life as a lowly Chinese-made PolyTech M14S rifle. It had no claims to fame except perhaps that it was my first centerfire autoloading rifle. I’d recently moved in with Mom, having come back to southern Michigan from my 14-year Alaskan sojourn. The time was the early 1990s. On the way to Mom’s house I passed through John Linebaugh’s Wyoming country where I retrieved my sixguns, mailed to John’s FFL from Alaska. I stopped at Ross Seyfried’s ranch in Roggen, Colorado, for a few days, then drove my LandCruiser – pulling my tiny travel trailer – to the old family homestead in southern Michigan.

I had very little money to spare, with only meager earnings from the golf courses. My gun writing had not yet paid anything. I’d been away from gun writing for over a decade in Alaska, during which time I was a professional photographer in Anchorage. I don’t recall ever firing a gun in that time. Now I had a dog to care for and feed. Eventually I had a bit of success with my gun articles, so I was finally back at my chosen profession, with a few dollars coming in.

One fine day I realized I had enough spare jack to consider buying a battle rifle. I’d never owned a modern semiautomatic mil-spec rifle of any sort. I never liked the common AR-15 black rifles with their dinky 223 Remington/5.56 NATO cartridge. I wanted none of that. I wanted a 308 Winchester/7.62 NATO battle rifle or nothing.

The Springfield M1A was way too…

Read more about Rico Morgan.

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