James River Armory is a North Carolina based company that specializes in reproduction rifles for the collector market. Something we are seeing a lot of today is that collectors will have a number of specimens of historical rifles that are very rare, but they still want to be able to enjoy the rifles as much as they collect them. Shooting some of these historical rifles can diminish their value drastically, especially if they have been rarely fired to begin with. Thus, companies like James River specialize in reproducing these rifles so collectors and shooters genuinely interested in the design so we can shoot or even compete with them and not damage a very historically significant rifle.
James River primarily specializes in M14s, but they also branch out into Kalashnikovs and even the ever elusive Italian BM59. For the M14s the company uses mostly original GI parts save for the barrel and receiver, which they make themselves. On some of the M14s the company even takes chopped receiver heels, and welds them to the new receiver. They do a pretty good job of welding and heat treating, and one would be very hard pressed to see the connection point. There isn’t a significant amount of stress on the heel of the receiver, so safety isn’t a concern as it is with actual chopped M14 receivers that are welded back together. The only item that is missing from the rifles is a faux auto selector button, something that would really complete the reproduction.
The M14s go for $1,995, BM59s for $1,299.
The shorter barreled M14 ins’t a modern day contraption, but instead a reproduction of a very limited run of M14s made in the 1960s in an effort to reduce weight. The contract was procured by the U.S. Military but was canceled when the AR15 begin taking over.