January 12th, 2018

Father of all ARs — The Original Full-Auto AR-10

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

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 in at around 7 pounds. Some folks might argue that the original “old-school” AR10 is actually better that 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 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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July 26th, 2014

Jerry Miculek Shoots Original, Full-Auto AR-10 from the Fifties

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. Invented by Eugene (‘Gene’) Stoner for the Armalite company, this is the father of all of today’s AR-platform rifles.

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 in at around 7 pounds. Some folks might argue that the original “old-school” AR10 is actually better that 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.

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

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 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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November 27th, 2013

Strategic Armory Corps Acquires McMillan Firearms Mfg., LLC

McMillan will still be making stocks and other components. However, it is selling off its gun-building business. Strategic Armory Corps (SAC) announced it has acquired McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, LLC. McMillan produces quality hunting and tactical rifles including the highly-regarded TAC-50, TAC-416, TAC-308, TAC-300/338, and the new Alias modular rifle system. McMillan produces a full line of hunting rifles, including the Custom Collection, Mountain Extreme Series, and Long Range Hunting Series. McMillan also builds competition and target rifles.

McMillan Firearms Mfg acquired by Strategic Arms Corps

McMillan Firearms Mfg acquired by Strategic Arms Corps

The McMillan Firearms acquisition carries out Strategic Armory Corps’ strategy of acquiring premium firearms manufacturing companies (SAC has previously purchased ArmaLite Inc. and Surgeon Rifles). “The acquisition of McMillan Firearms is consistent with our focus on acquiring the highest quality manufacturers of premium firearms,” said Mark Johnson, Strategic Armory Corps CEO. “This transaction provides the perfect product line complement to the ArmaLite and Surgeon Rifles product lines and will allow us to more effectively serve the needs of the custom bolt action rifle enthusiast.”

Kelly McMillan stated, “Both Ryan and I will continue on as long term consultants with McMillan Firearms. We are proud of our heritage and are confident that Strategic Armory Corps will continue to build the highest quality firearms for our valued customers”.

Strategic Armory Corps is based in Phoenix, Arizona and is a fast-growing firearms and ammunition company that serves the needs of the high end firearms enthusiast. In July of 2013, the company acquired ArmaLite, Inc. one of the oldest names in the AR-style sporting rifle segment of the industry.

Story lead from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 5th, 2012

New AR30-A1 from Armalite in .300 WM and .338 Lapua Magnum

ArmaLite has just introduced its latest bolt-action rifle, the new AR-30A1. Armalite’s AR-30A1 is available in .300 Win Magnum (24″ barrel) and .338 Lapua Magnum (26″ barrel). Both the .300 WM and .338 LM are offered in two versions: Standard and Target. The Target versions feature an adjustable stock, plus an extended Picatinny rail running forward of the action.

Armalite AR30-a1 rifle

On the surface, the AR-30A1 bears a family resemblance to its predecessor, the AR-30. But, the AR-30A1 actually shares few components from the AR-30: grip, buttpad, trigger, and a few small parts. All other components are new and/or improved. Armalite claims that the new AR30-A1 has better ergonomics, versatility, reliability, and ease of use.

Armalite AR30-a1 rifle

Features of all versions of the new AR-30A1:

  • Muzzle brake threads are suppressor industry standard (5/8 x 24 for the 300 WM and 3/4 x 24 for the 338 LM). Many suppressors can be attached without an adaptor.
  • The bolt-mounted safety mechanism locks the firing pin to the rear. This design is stronger and more secure than a sear- or trigger-blocking safety.
  • Cheek-piece supports contain integral cleaning rod guides to prevent bore damage.
  • Multiple sling installation locations allow simultaneous use of a sling and a bipod. Rear sling swivel can be moved to either left or right side.
  • The entire buttstock assembly can be quickly and easily removed with only one allen wrench. Standard and target buttstocks are interchangeable on any receiver.
  • Steel single-stack magazines. Ambidextrous magazine release.

Features specific to the AR-30A1 Target version:

  • Target rifles feature 18″-long, +20-MOA Picatinny rail over the receiver and barrel, plus rails on both sides of the forearm.
  • The buttstock can be adjusted without tools for lengths of pull from 13.6″ to 15.6″. Buttpad adjusts for height and cheek-piece offers 1″ of vertical adjustment.
Specifications — .300 WM Standard
Caliber: .300 Winchester Magnum
Barrel: 24″ Chrome Moly
Rifling Twist: 1:10
Muzzle Device: Muzzle Brake
Trigger: Single Stage
Stock: Standard
Fixed — nonadjustable
Overall Length: 46.0″
Length of Pull: 13.5″
Weight: 12.8 LBS
Accuracy: 1/4 to 3/4 MOA at 300 Yards
Included: One 5-Round Mag, Detachable Sight Rail, Hard Case, Sling, Manual
Price: $3,264.00
Specifications — .338 LM Target
Caliber: .338 Lapua Magnum
Barrel: 26″ Chrome Moly
Rifling Twist: 1:10
Muzzle Device: Muzzle Brake
Trigger: Single Stage
Stock: Adjustable Cheek Piece (height) & Buttstock (length)
Overall Length: 48.1″ – 50.1″
Length of Pull: 13.6″ – 15.6″
Weight: 15.3 LBS
Accuracy: 1/4 to 3/4 MOA at 300 Yards
Included: One 5-Round Mag, Detachable Sight and Accessory Rails, Hard Case, Sling, Manual
Price: $3,599.00
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September 17th, 2010

Armalite Rolls Out 10th Anniversary Limited Edition AR-50A1

To celebrate 10 years of AR-50A1 production, ArmaLite offers a new, Limited Edition of its metal-stocked .50-caliber rifle with bundled hardware including scope mount, scope rails, bipod, and monopod.

The total production run for the Anniversary AR-50A1 is just fifty (50) rifles. All will have a custom, silver-black crackle powder-coated finish. The anniversary dates are laser-etched on the upper receiver. Each Anniversary AR-50 is part of a special package including an ArmaLite 30mm scope mount; Armalite +15, +30, and +50 MOA scope rails; a bipod, a monopod; 100 rounds of once-fired USGI 50 BMG brass; and a certificate of authenticity. For more information, visit Armalite.com. The base-model Armalite AR-50A1 (without the Anniversay upgrades) has an MSRP of $3,359.00.

Armalite 50 BMG

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May 28th, 2010

Armalite Now Offering AR-10s Chambered in .243 Win

For the first time in six years, Armalite is producing a special run of semi-auto AR-10 rifles chambered in .243 Winchester. The .243 Win chambering is excellent for long-range target shooting as well as hunting most North American deer species (you want a bigger round for Elk). The new Armalite features a 20″ barrel, 2-stage “tactical” trigger, and a flat-top receiver with Picatinny rail. Units should start shipping in late July, with an MSRP of approximately $1600.00.

Armalite .243 Winchester AR10

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