March 8th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Original 1950s AR-10, Father of All ARs

Armalite AR10 AR-10 rifle army 7.62x51 .308

Today, AR-platform rifles are hugely popular. Dozens of manufacturers sell AR-type rifles, in a wide variety of configurations and calibers. But before there were M16s and AR-15s, ArmaLite produced a 7.62×51 caliber rifle, the AR-10. Yes before there were millions of 5.56 black rifles, there was a .30-caliber big brother with reddish-brown furniture. Invented by Eugene (‘Gene’) Stoner for the Armalite company in the late 1950s, this is the father of all of today’s AR-platform rifles. Way ahead of its time, this remarkable, select-fire battle rifle weighed just 7.25 pounds as first developed.

If you’re curious about the AR-10, in this video, Jerry Miculek puts an original 1957-vintage AR-10 through its paces on the range. This extremely rare, early-production rifle was provided by Mr. Reed Knight and the Institute of Military Technology. (The gun in the video was actually produced in the Netherlands under license, see video at 4:40.) This AR-10 is the direct ancestor of the AR-15, M16, and many of the modern sporting rifles that we use today.

The AR-10 was slim and light, weighing around 7 pounds. Some folks might argue that the original “old-school” AR-10 is actually better than some of today’s heavy, gadget-laden ARs. The AR-10’s charging “lever” was under the carry handle — that made it easier to manipulate with the gun raised in a firing position.

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

You’ll notice there is no “forward assist”. Inventor Gene Stoner did not believe a separate “bolt-pusher” was necessary. The forward assist was added to solve problems encountered in Viet Nam. Some critics say the forward assist “only takes a small problem and makes it a big problem.” For today’s competition ARs (that are never dragged through the mud) the forward assist probably is superfluous. It is rarely if ever needed.

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

Note also that the handguards are fairly slim and tapered. Today, six decades after the first AR-10 prototypes, we are now seeing these kind of slim handguards (made from aluminum or lightweight composites) used on “full race” ARs campaigned in 3-gun competition.

History of the AR-10
The AR-10 is a 7.62 mm battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. When first introduced in 1956, the AR-10 used an innovative straight-line barrel/stock design with phenolic composite and forged alloy parts resulting in a small arm significantly easier to control in automatic fire and over one pound lighter than other infantry rifles of the day. Over its production life, the original AR-10 was built in relatively small numbers, with fewer than 9,900 rifles assembled.

In 1957, the basic AR-10 design was substantially modified by ArmaLite to accommodate the .223 Remington cartridge, and given the designation AR-15. ArmaLite licensed the AR-10 and AR-15 designs to Colt Firearms. The AR-15 eventually became the M16 rifle.

AR-10 3D Model Shows Internal Parts
If you want to see more close-up details of the AR-10, computer artist Stefan Engdahl has created a very detailed 3D model of the AR-10 for use in computer simulations. This computer model features 18 separate objects so you can look at details of frame, barrel, trigger, sights and more.

Armalite AR10 AR-10 rifle army 7.62x51 .308

Here are some additional images of early AR-10 models, with various configurations. Multiple handguard and muzzle options were employed during early development.

Armalite AR10 AR-10 rifle army 7.62x51 .308

Armalite AR10 AR-10 rifle army 7.62x51 .308

Armalite AR10 AR-10 rifle army 7.62x51 .308

Armalite AR10 AR-10 rifle army 7.62x51 .308

Color AR-10 photos from Arms Izarra, a Spanish company specializing in de-militarized, collectible firearms. Interestingly, this particular AR-10 was produced in the Netherlands under license.

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March 8th, 2020

Firearms Sales Rise Dramatically in USA

2020 Gun sales President Donald Trump

As we draw closer to the 2020 Presidential election, we are starting to see an upturn in U.S. firearms sales, which had slowed somewhat after President Trump’s 2016 election victory. Combined firearms sales are up 17.3% compared to February last year. We are guessing that folks are getting a bit nervous about restrictions on firearms in the event President Trump doesn’t win a second term.

Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF) estimates February 2020 U.S. firearms unit sales at 1,357,643 units, a year-over-year increase of 17.3% from February 2019. Handgun sales (793,301) increased year-over-year by 19.5% whereas single long-gun sales (441,516) increased year-over-year by 12.4%. All other likely background check-related sales (122,826) increased year-over-year by 22.1%. This includes so-called “multiple” sales where the allocation between handguns and long-guns cannot be determined from the data record.

SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer comments that “it appears as if firearms owners are casting early votes in the upcoming presidential election this year: Unit sales in both, January and February 2020 have been at their highest levels since 2016.”

2020 Gun sales President Donald Trump

SAAF’s firearms unit sales estimates are based on raw data taken from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), adjusted for checks unlikely to be related to end-user firearms sales. For example, the FBI’s raw numbers (for February, some 2,776,380) cannot be taken at face value as very large numbers of background checks are unrelated to end-user sales. As a case in point, in February the state of Kentucky conducted about 368,000 so-called permit checks and rechecks alone whereas end-user checks at firearms retailers likely amounted to about 30,000 checks. SAAF makes certain other adjustments to the data based on retailer reports and other information; nonetheless, the estimates still likely understate the “true” number of unit sales.


Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF) is a research consultancy focusing on the business & economics of the global small arms and ammunition markets. Politically unaffiliated, SAAF is an independent resource for industry, advocacy, research, and policy-making, as well as for financial analysts and the media.

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March 8th, 2020

Stuck Case Remover Kit — You’ll Need One Sooner or Later

Lyman Case Stuck Remover tool

Sooner or later, every hand-loader will get a cartridge case stuck in a die. Perhaps you forgot to lube a case, or maybe you even ran the wrong cartridge into the die. Thankfully, there are affordable solutions to the problem. Lyman offers a very handy Stuck Case Remover Kit. This compact Kit ($23.95 MSRP) contains ALL the tools you’ll need to remove most stuck rifle cases and pistol cases. (No separate tap holder is required.) Basically you drill and tap the stuck case, insert a cap screw, then use the wrench to remove the case from the die through a camming action. The Lyman kit, part #7680350, includes a unique, dual-purpose threaded cap that screws over the end of the die. This cap acts as both a drill guide and a guide for the pulling screw. An extra-long hex wrench is included which provides plenty of leverage when removing stuck cases and also doubles as a handle for the tap wrench.

How Stuck Case Removers Work — Video Shows Process
The new Lyman Kit isn’t the first stuck case remover device on the market. RCBS also offers a Stuck Case Remover Kit that costs just $16.14 on Amazon.com. The RCBS unit works fine, but you will need a separate tool handle to hold the tap. This video shows how to remove stuck cases with the RCBS tool. The operation is similar with the new Lyman tool.

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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