Having enlisted  in the U.S. Army this was the weapon as was issued to me. Qualifying as a marksman [lowest possible qualification] with the M-14. My memories fond and not so fond.
"The Rise and Fall and Rise of America’s Last Battle Rifle"
"The M-14 wouldn’t surrender" That latest incarnation now called the M-25. In development stage called the T-44. Issued as the M-14.
"The M-14 was the U.S. military’s last battle rifle. It appeared in 1959—the contemporary of the Pentagon’s first jet fighters and ICBMs. With its heavy steel parts and walnut stock, the M-14 looked positively archaic."
American troop demonstrates the M-25 to some Iraqi [?] onlookers. NO sight like that on the weapon during my day!! And in 1966 no sunglasses or gloves either!
"It was hardly a Space Age weapon. And it only endured as America’s battle rifle until 1970, when the M-16 completely superseded it—the shortest service record of any U.S. military rifle in the 20th century."
That M-16 weighing only HALF as much as the M-14. A soldier able to carry TWICE the amount of ammo for the same weight when armed with the M-16 as compared to the M-14. That is significant on the modern battlefield where VOLUME OF FIRE is paramount.
Indeed, the M-14 has the appearance of and is hardly a whole less in design functionality from the M-1 Garand rifle. A few improvements of a mechanical nature, other than that not much more.
Even up unto 1965 American troops being taught the basics of rifle marksmanship using the Garand M-1. By 1966 however, basic trainees issued the M-14. To INCLUDE MYSELF.
"Yet, the M-14 has come and gone and come back again. Its accuracy and power—it fires the 7.62 x 51 millimeter NATO round—have given it a new lease on life as a weapon for snipers and designated marksmen."
The Pentagon having to purchase M-14 rifles from foreign nations to maintain a proper inventory!! That category of designated marksman appreciated by the Soviet in 1959 with the development and adoption of the Dragunov sniper rifle. That latter weapon deemed so deadly it not being legal to import for sale in the U.S.