Armalite AR-10 [Automatic Rifle]:

Original AR-10


The AR-10 was developed by Eugene Stoner working at Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corp in the Armalite division. The AR-10 was developed for the US Army trials for a new battle rifle and intended as a replacement for the World War Two Era M1 Garand. Other weapons involved in the Trials were the Springfield’s M-14 rifle (Known at the T44) and FN’s FAL. The AR-10 came late into the competition, was too unconventional for the conservative minds in the US Army, and needed a bit more development. As a result, the AR-10 lost out against the M-14, which was adopted in 1957.

While the AR-10 was ready for production in 1960, very few of the rifles were manufactured in the United States. A manufacturing license was sold to a Dutch Company named Artillerie Inrichtingen. Production was still limited with only udan and Portugal purchasing AR-10 rifles for their militaries. Production of the AR-10 ceased during the early or mid-1960s and only around six thousand military AR-10 being made.

Even though the Rifle was not produced in large numbers, its story did not end. The AR-10 became the basis for the M-16, which was later adopted by the United States Military. The earliest AR-15 prototypes were no more than scaled-down AR-10 rifles.

The AR-10 combined a number of previous features of Armalite designs with several new features including a new new gas system developed and patented by Stoner. In the Stoner gas system, the gas is ported from the barrel and travels down a tube back into the upper receiver, and into the bolt carrier. The gas then enters the expansion chamber, where it expands and drives the carrier to the rear. This rearward movement of the carrier transferred by a cam pin riding in a curved path and engaging the bolt, forces the bolt to rotate to unlock.

AR-10 Rifles became collectors items and the fame of the rifle grew to take the Armalite rifle to cult status. The Rifle was, after all, the more powerful and rare precursor to the AR-15. Civilian shooters took great pains to recover used AR-10 Rifles from the military surplus market and convert the weapons to civilian rifles by means of new receivers which were semi-automatic only. There was also a semi-automatic 7.62 rifle known as the SR-25 which was manufactured by Knight Manufacturing. The SR-25 uses as many parts from the AR-15 as could be used.

Armalite had a large amount of financial problems and was sold several times. In the early Nineties, the company Eagle Arms purchased the rights to the name Armalite. Eagle Arms produced parts for the M-16 / AR-15 rifle. They decided to manufacture a .308 (7.62 x 51 mm) version of their rifle. This became known as the AR-10B. The modified rifle was designed for civilian and police markets and unlike the original AR-10 is semi-automatic only. The AR-10B is available in four basic versions. The AR-10B is simply an improved version of the original AR-10 with a similar brown plastic furniture and short buttstock, and with the trigger -like charging handle mounted under the carrying handle. The other three AR-10B models look more like the scaled up M16A2 derivatives. They have M16A2 A2-style furniture, sights, and M16-type charging handles. The AR-10A2 has all the standard A2 furniture and options with the AR-10A4 has the "flat-top" style receiver with the Picatinny rail instead of the carrying handle. The AR-10(T) is a target grade rifle, with a match trigger and heavy barrel with an A4-type flat-top receiver. The AR-10 uses far fewer parts from the M-16 / AR-15 than the SR-25. The AR-10B uses uses a modified version of the magazine used in the M-14 rifle as is more reliable than the previous magazine.

Weight:9.5 lbs (4.31 kg)
Caliber:7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester).
Barrel Length:20 inches (50.8 cm).
Overall Length:40 inches (101.6 cm).
Action:Gas Operated.
Mode of Fire: AR-10: Fully automatic, AR-10B: Semi Automatic only.
Range:1800 feet (539 meters).
Magazine:AR-10: 20 round box magazine, AR-10B: 10, 20, or 30 rounds.
Cost: $800 to $2,000.
Made in: USA (Netherlands for the Original AR-10 Rifle)
Special: Powerful yet relatively lightweight rifle. Various accessories for the M-16 / AR-15 are available for later models. Stocks are sythetic.

[ FN-FAL, M-14, M-16, AR-15, AR-10, AR-10B, Stoner, Armalite, Colt, Olympic Arms, and Remington are copyright of their respective owners. ]

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa ) and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2004, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.