Smith Enterprise’s M-14SA
By Jacob Gottfredson
Published In The GUNS Magazine 2011 Special Edition
Smith Enterprise and Pride-Fowler Industries have joined forces to produce a long-range sniper system that merits applause. Based on the Smith Enterprise M-14 “Crazy Horse” Semiautomatic Sniper System, they have combined speed of fire through innovative new M-14 materials and re-manufacturing; with the Pride-Fowler Industries’ Rapid Reticle.
The Smith Enterprise’s Squad Designated Marksman M-14SA “Crazy Horse,”
with the Pride-Fowler Industries’ scope and red-dot.
In the past several years, Smith Enterprise has worked to upgrade the M-14 rifle to make it more suitable for squad duties in harsh environments. The weapons are finished in Mil Spec black phosphate and offered in all-new construction or are refurbished. Smith Enterprise rifles are given a Melonite MIL STD AMS 2753B treatment, where applicable. Manganese phosphate is applied to all barrel assemblies, op rods, trigger assemblies and other small parts. All Smith Enterprise rifles and related components are made from the highest quality 8620 or 4140 chrome moly steel materials. Significant improvements are made to the gas cylinder, as well as an extended bolt stop. In addition, a new trigger assembly in either adjustable or 4.5 lbs standard configurations is provided. The company tops it of with an advanced, chrome-lined barrel technology.
Smith Enterprise goes out of their way to produce a rifle that solves various problems in earlier M-14-type rifles. One is the use of cryogenics. Here’s how they describe the production process: “ … cryogenically treat the barrel, we also treat the bolt, receiver and most other components to this most essential process. Prior to the cryogenic treatment, SEI dry hones the barrel, bolt and receiver assemblies. In addition to removing any surface imperfections resulting from manufacturing or service use, dry honing also affords a certain measure of stress relief to these components.”
The process is impressive. All these improvements can be found on Smith Enterprise’s Web site, as can the Pride-Fowler Rapid Reticle scope. With limited space available, my job was to shake out the benefits or possible problems with the “SYSTEM.”
The Crazy Horse comes with the cheek pad as shown. The rifle shoots about 1.5 MOA
with most of the ammo, better with Black Hills 168-gr. Match ammo and Lapua 167-gr. Scenar.
In concept, the “Crazy Horse”, coupled with the Pride-Fowler scope, allows for rapid acquisition and productive hits on targets at various ranges, from 800+ yards. Large capacity M-14 magazines, which are still available to the military, allow a degree of extended fire while relieving the sniper of the problems inherent in bolt guns, namely working the bolt for every shot.
Most current sniper programs make primary use of bolt guns. The English are said to have a bolt rifle called “The Long” that makes mile-long shots in Afghanistan. For myriad reasons, such a rifle is not appropriate as a Squad Designated Marksman rifle that must boast the ability to not only make long shots, but to also be adequate for use in both a semi-and full-auto, close-quarter battle situation.
The Crazy Horse, coupled with the Pride-Fowler Rapid Reticle and red-dot sight, has the ability to function in both heated close-quarter battle, as well as make accurate shots to 800 yards with considerable bullet momentum remaining. Rapid acquisition of targets, quick elevation assignments and rapid fire make for an awesome combination.
The Pride-Fowler scope is mounted using SEI’s CNC manufactured mount, after which the rifle is sighted in at 100 yards. The Pride-Fowler reticle situates the 100, 200 and 300-yard bars above the main horizontal crosshair. The main horizontal crosshair is designated as 400 yards. Bars continue down the vertical crosshair in 100 yards intervals to 800 yards. The design concept is simple: range the target using a range finder or the bars, chose the bar for that range and fire.
Is it really that simple? Well, yes and no. To 300 yards it is that simple, depending on the size of the target. Beyond that, some tweaking might be required. Every rifle, every lot of ammunition and every area’s environmental conditions, such as temperature and pressure vary. When these vary, the bullet’s flight follows a slightly different path. But this is easily solved with a bit of experimentation until the range at which each bar hits is established. A card is then made that reminds the shooter where they hit. For example, in a perfect world, the 700-yard bar would put the bullets inside a 7″ bull at 700 yards. However, you might learn that in cold temperatures you must use the small dot just below the 700-yard bar to do that, while the 700-yard bar makes hits at 680 yards for example.
The scope is mounted using SEI’s wire EDM scope mount and rings for the M-14.
I live near the Texas coast and my range is about 60′ elevation. I shot in good weather, mild winds and early morning light. It was 60 degrees with a barometric pressure of 29.95.
The rifle is chambered for the M118LR ball round. I had samples of different ammo from 149 grains to 175 grains from Federal, Black Hills, Hornady, Lapua, Israel’s Samson and the M118LR.
I didn’t try to zero every round, but instead tried to find the grouping capability of the ammo. Using the ammo grouping that worked best at that short distance (100 yards), I shot as accurately and quickly as possible at ranges from 400-600 yards. The rifle as delivered to me, weighs approximately 9 lbs without scope or ammo. The recoil was mild, increasing the possibility of rapidly acquiring targets and delivering fire. Using my bolt-action sniper rifle and .308 ammo, I can put 5 rounds downrange in a little more than 10 seconds, hitting all five 10″ steel gongs. With a .308 semiautomatic AR I can do the same in less than eight seconds. I found the Crazy Horse, plus PFI, just as capable for making rapid fire, productive hits as either weapon at those ranges.
The true test of the system is its ability to deliver rapid shots at various distances, productively and rapidly. The Pride-Fowler 10x scope with the Rapid Reticle makes that possible. Since you don’t need to dial for each shot, speed of fire is increased and productive hits made. To test this, I moved to the Rifles Only facility where such testing is possible. Targets are arranged at various distances from straight down at 20′ to 1,000 yards and more.
I gave the rifle to Jacob Bynum, owner/operator of Rifles Only, and we went to the tower. I was out of the M118LR, which the rifle is to be chambered in, so I gave him the Black Hills 168-gr. that proved to be the most accurate. Jacob started with the 300-yard steel and proceeded to 400, 500 and 600 yards, making both consecutive and random runs at the targets. With broadside winds, Jacob hit every target, making each run in less than 10 seconds.
The rifle shot to expectations in terms of accuracy and speed. I didn’t have the time or the ammo to test its reliability over time and extended fire.
The Smith Enterprise website offers a great deal of information about their M-14 configurations, far too much to print here. Also, the PFI website is loaded with information about their scopes and their red-dot configurations.
The following shooting sequences were from 300 to 600 yards, both
sequential and random, each string taking less than 10 sec.
Five shots at 400 yards with 168-gr. Black Hills Match ammo in 10 mph wind 5″ group.
M-14SE “Crazy Horse” Program Highlights
• Medium heavy barrel, 22″or optional 18″.
• SEI Gas Cylinder Modification Program.
• SEI M-14 Scope Mount and Ring Package.
• 4SEI Strap-On Check Pad.
• 5. SEI Direct Connect Vortex Sound Suppressor-capable Flash Eliminator.
• Gas Lock Front Sight — hooded.
• SEI Extended Bolt Stop.
• SEI standard, 4.5 lbs tuned trigger assembly.
• Redesigned SEI hammer and trigger springs for long life.
• Redesigned tool steel connector link pin for positive sustained and secure magazine changes.
• Weapon finished in black phosphate. Other finishes upon request.
• SEI-modified USGI synthetic stock. Other stock configurations at extra cost and upon request.
• M-1907 sniper/target sling in either leather or synthetic material.
• Deep thermal cycling.
• Weight approximately 9 lbs without scope.
• Price approximately $1,800 to $2,100 depending on configuration.
The Pride-Fowler Industry 10x42mm scope with the Rapid Reticle 800 worked
extremely well to engage mid-and-long range targets quickly and accurately.
Jacob Bynum of Rifles Only prepares to run through the
300, 400, 500 and 600 yards targets as quickly as possible.
M-14SE “Crazy Horse” options:
• 18.0″ medium heavy “Crazy Horse” barrel (no extra charge for 18″ bbl).
• SEI Extended MIL STD 1913 Scope Mount .
• SEI ACOG/MIL STD 1913 Scope Mount .
• Quick disconnecting SEI M-14 DC Sound Suppressor (only available to USG and FMS customers).
• Full range of Leupold Mark 4 optics.
• Installation of MIL STD 1913 rail to USGI stock for QD bipod or IR laser pointer.
• SEI Tri-Rail MIL STD 1913 System.
• Sage Int’l modular collapsing stock (Mark 14 SEI configuration).
• Angle Cosine Indicator (ACI) and mount.
• M-14DC Suppressor and Tool Carrier.
• SEI Cylinder Wrench, Gas Lock Front Sight.
• Tritium Close Combat (Front) Sight (TCCS).
• Numerous tactical fixed stock configurations.
Pride Fowler RR800 Scope Specifications
• Magnification: 10x42mm
• Material: 6061 T6 aluminum – matte black
• Tube size: 30mm
• Reticle: Rapid Reticle 800 ranging reticle with hold over lines and dots.
• Ocular: Threaded eye piece adjustment with lock ring.
• Weight: 18 oz
• Length: 13-5/8″
• Waterproof, shock proof, fog proof
• Price: $850
Looking For More? Get It From The GUNS Magazine 2011 Special Edition