I qualified expert with the M-14 in basic at Ft Leonard Wood. It was great as to the ease that you could knock down a man size pop up target at 400 yards. The semi auto recoil was not bad at all. An absolutely great battle rifle, but it was an antiaircraft gun after a 3 round burst. Too much power for the rifle’s weight.
Notwithstanding that I still preferred the M16A1 for Nam. I too kept 2 mags of 5.56 tracer to mark targets for my squad (I too deedeed the hell out of the position whenever I used them to avoid the inevitable return fire) but thats why they were paying me $125.00 plus $55.00 jump pay + combat pay extra a month as a Sgt E-5 I guess.
I gotta respect your opinions, but the M-16 worked pretty well in my company. Most of the NVA it hit were either wounded badly or dead right there.
My '14, on the other hand, would always connect when I asked it to and it could penetrate anything - even those heavy concrete gravestones. Hiding behind them didn't help them a bit.
One other plus to the '14 was the M76 grenade launcher. We had a Staff Sergeant who was a Korea vet and a master at firing those finned grenade adapters with an M26 in them - he always nailed what he fired at and we younger guys emulated him and got our own launchers, adapters and blanks. With practice, you could hit within a meter or two of what you wanted to out to 125 meters or so with a frag and it really was effective. A real virtuoso could put one of those puppies right above your target in an airburst. Just had to remember to switch the gas assembly back into action after you fired so you could go back to ball rounds.
No jump pay for me...you lucky dog!