Today’s Armalite AR-10 Battle Rifle – Gun Review

We were sent the AR-10 A4 flattop in green for our review. The 1” or 30mm mounts are available on the Armalite website
We were sent the AR-10 A4 flattop in green for our review.  The 1” or 30mm mounts are available on the Armalite website.
The AR-10 mounted with our Vortex Razor HD for accuracy testing out to 500 yards.
The AR-10 mounted with our Vortex Razor HD for accuracy testing out to 500 yards.
100 Yard groups came in under 1.5 inches consistently with Hornady Superformance in the 165grain GMX bullet. This one is 1.33 inches.
100 Yard groups came in under 1.5 inches consistently with Hornady Superformance in the 165grain GMX bullet.  This one is 1.33 inches.
Our resident US Army Sniper Ben Becker did the accuracy testing with the AR-10 and he had some interesting results.
Our resident US Army Sniper Ben Becker did the accuracy testing with the AR-10 and he had some interesting results.
This 2.03 inch group at 300 yards was surprising for the gun and makes you wonder if with a little tuning it could be an under MOA gun for not a ton of money.
This 2.03 inch group at 300 yards was surprising for the gun and makes you wonder if with a little tuning it could be an under MOA gun for not a ton of money.
A bigger surprise was this group at just over 2 inches at 500 yards. Unfortunately we won't be able to go back and test this rifle again as it was sent to to Teludyne Tech for a Straightjacket. At least we probably have a best case scenario for the gun without the Straightjacket
A bigger surprise was this group at just over 2 inches at 500 yards. Unfortunately we won’t be able to go back and test this rifle again as it was sent to to Teludyne Tech for a Straightjacket. At least we probably have a best case scenario for the gun without the Straightjacket.
A bigger surprise was this group at just over 2 inches at 500 yards. Unfortunately we won't be able to go back and test this rifle again as it was sent to to Teludyne Tech for a Straightjacket. At least we probably have a best case scenario for the gun without the Straightjacket
The competition for the AR-10 in the market mostly consists of one of these three battle rifle configurations. The top is the M14/M1A in the Springfield Armory SOCOM 1 configuration.  The second one down is the CETME, which is the progenitor of the HK91/G3, and the FN-FAL, the rifle that used to be called the right arm of the free world. I feel the AR-10 outperforms all of them for various reasons. Possible the one rifle left out is the SAIGA in .308 which is an AK-47 knockoff. I don’t feel it’s a battle quality rifle..
Our test gun came with a forward assist, which can be very important in a battle situation if the gun fails to lock up
Our test gun came with a forward assist, which can be very important in a battle situation if the gun fails to lock up.

Armalite Inc.

As battle rifles go, probably the most misunderstood of them all is the AR-10.  It almost beat the M-14 in replacing the M1 Garand, and its design was actually copied for the AR-15.  Made by Armalite in 1956, when the company was owned by Fairchild Aviation and Eugene Stoner worked there, the Armalite AR-10 has a long and storied history. Fidel Castro even bought some. Today’s AR-10, brought back to life by Armalite Inc., is a more mature rifle than the guns of the  ‘50s and ‘60s.

Even though the AR-10 was Eugene Stoner’s original design for a battle rifle and pre-dated the AR-15, today we think of it as a  version of the AR-15 beefed up for the 7.62×51 NATO cartridge (.308 Winchester). There are now a number of other .308 versions of the AR-15 out there, but there is only one AR-10 based on the original AR-10 design and it is still made by Armalite.

There are two questions you have to ask yourself when it comes to purchasing a battle rifle. The first has to be, to AR-15 or not to AR-15.  That rifle has taken over the battle rifle market in NATO, police and civilian use for a reason.  In 90% of the situations in which you could find yourself, the AR-15, firing the .223 Remington ( 5.56 NATO), cartridge is adequate.  The platform is reliable, accurate, light, ammo is readily available (and even inexpensive for surplus ammo), and the bullet tears a heck of a hole in whatever it hits.

Two panes of safety glass between you and your target, however,  will slow down the .223/5.56, and possibly take it out of the game.  Likewise some house shingles, studs and sheetrock of an outside house wall, or the door of a vehicle with the window rolled down where the bullet has to penetrate both the door and the window.  And forget about shots over 300 yards, which is the theoretical limit of the .223/5.56.

At 300 yards the .223/5.56 is about 20% above the muzzle energy of point blank out of a 9mm pistol with a 5 inch barrel (90gr. bullet in the 9mm compared to a 55gr. bullet in the AR).   At 400 yards the energy falls off to 20% under this comparison.

If your rifle is the only thing standing between you and harms way, you have to think about the possibility of encountering situations that the AR-15 cannot handle.  You can only shoot one rifle at a time.  When faced with a real gunfight, the decision to make that rifle an AR-15 might be something you’d regret.  In other words, your decision to AR-15 or not to AR-15 should be based on the probability of encountering  a situation that the rifle can’t handle, against what makes the AR-15 such a strong rifle to begin with.

NATO chose the M-16, what we now buy as the semi-auto AR-15 platform, basically because:

  1. The gun is light.
  2. The magazines of ammo are light meaning you can carry a lot.
  3. The kick of the small cartridge is light
  4. The bullet is light, fast, and has a flat trajectory.
  5. The cartridge has enough force for most post-Korean War/Vietnam battle scenarios.

The effectiveness of the AR-15 round is a book in itself. There are many folks who love it, but the .223/5.56 round has also been much maligned throughout its history. Even today in the battle environments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cartridge, little more than a woodchuck round, is thought to be underpowered for long range desert and mountain fighting.  It was picked for jungle fighting, not open field combat and urban environments.  And though the low recoil is ideal for “room clearing,” in other aspects of urban fighting, like shooting through walls and doors,  it comes up short.

The AR-10 is bigger, two pounds heavier, somewhat front heavy, and somewhat more unwieldy than an M-4 sized AR.   If you can handle the physical size and 9 lb. weight of the rifle, the field of battle benefits of the larger, more powerful round would tend to favor the AR-10.  The ammo, of course, is also heavier, but in a home defense scenario, or even a police scenario, how much ammo do you think you need to carry?  Nobody is humping a pack, body armor and 300 rounds of ammo besides the rifle here.

Just to compare ballistics, an M4 length AR-15 shoots a 55 grain bullet at about 3100 feet per second muzzle velocity (I recently clocked some Hornady TAP out of a 16” M4). This equates to about 1200 foot pounds of kinetic energy at the muzzle. The .308 Winchester, also Hornady TAP, fires a 168 grain bullet at 2700 feet per second out of a 20” barrel. That is over 2700 foot pounds of energy, and the .308 is extremely flat shooting as well.

At 500 yards the .308 has roughly one and a half times the energy of a .44 magnum at the muzzle. I’d call that apples and oranges.

We are framing this in the question of “battle rifle” but we aren’t really talking about actual battle rifles, which are for the most part selective fire and capable of fully automatic, or at least 3 round burst fire.  The weight of the rifle and cartridges, unless you are a very slight person for whom the gun is unmanageable, doesn’t pose a huge difference between an AR-15 and an AR-10. It comes down to a matter of preference.

The Competition

The second question you have to ask about choosing a battle rifle (after to AR-15 or not to AR-15), is which of the .308 platform rifles is best for you.  Part of the decision on the AR definitely involves recoil.  The kick of an M4 size AR is almost negligible.  It certainly doesn’t hurt your shoulder, and shot to shot in rapid fire the muzzle climb is easily controlled.   All of the .308 battle rifles available kick more than the AR-15, but some are better than others.  The AR-10, with its gas system similar to the AR-15, is definitely the best.  Here are the other .308 contenders and some aspects to consider if you are thinking about a .308 battle rifle:

1. The FN-FAL – The gun that used to be called the right arm of the free world can longer count itself among the most popular battle rifles on the planet. You still see them in service on Animal Planet where the guide usually is carrying one in Africa, and some African and South American nations still count them as their main national arm, but the day of the FAL is dwindling as it cedes its place to the ubiquitous AR-15.

I have been a fan of this rifle since I began shooting, and I haven’t ever shot one that didn’t go boom every time you pull the trigger.  The gas system is adjustable on them so you can lighten the kick some to where the gas is mostly bleeding off and less force is being directed backwards.  Combined with it’s weight, generally over 9 lbs., this brings down recoil substantially.

But not as much as the AR-10.  Not even close.  And if you back the gas down too much, you get failures to feed if you limp hold the gun.  Controlling recoil with the FAL this way is tricky.  I’ve always considered the punch of the cartridge worth the extra thump, and an FAL for sure  thumps you.

The biggest downside to the FAL is considered to be the heavy, unwieldy and lanky nature of the rifle itself.  This gives you a distinct disadvantage cornering with the gun, and I wouldn’t want to rely on it for quick room clearing type of work.

The advantage of the FAL is price.  When we aren’t in a political black rifle boom, an FAL can usually be found for under $600.   What you’re buying is generally a parts kit that has been deconstructed out of country and rebuilt here in the US by a private gunsmith with an Imbel receiver.  Not a bad option on a budget.  They are generally ugly and dinged up, but otherwise perfectly reliable rifles that shoot into 2-3 inches at 100 yards.

DS Arms also offers a professional version of the FN-FAL called the SA-58, however I have not reviewed one to date. They are comparable in price to the AR-10 or a little higher.

2. M-14/M1A Family – History buffs have a warm and fuzzy for the successor to the M1 Garand in US Military service, and many M1A rifles are still proudly serving their country today over in the sandbox.  As .308 battle rifles go, the M14 is extremely reliable and effective.

The problem is, it is also extremely heavy and the muzzle tends to climb when you shoot it fast.  Even my 16” Socom comes in well over 9 lbs and it has a plastic stock.  And it kicks pretty hard for a .308 gas rifle.  Don’t get me wrong, the M14 is great rifle and I love it, but compared to an AR-10, out of the box, I don’t think it is as good a rifle.

If you check out the Wikipedia page on the AR-10 it has an interesting explanation about why the M14 beat the AR-10 for the military contract back in 1957.  It seems that Eugene Stoner and his crew decided to send an experimental aluminum alloy barrel with the test gun, and it subsequently blew up. If they had sent the steel barrel who knows what would have happened.  All of our affections might be directed to the old reliable AR-10.

Lately M1A rifles have been easier to find than they were even a year ago. Springfield has been putting out more of them and the black rifle frenzy has calmed down.  The price is now comparable to AR-10.  An effective battle rifle, yes.  A practical purchase as your main battle rifle, I don’t know.  I’ve never met an M-14 I’d throw out of bed for eating soda crackers, but given the choice to work rooftops in Fallujah with one or the other, all factors  considered, I’d take the AR-10.

3. The CETME/HK91/G3 Family – Among all of the .308 family of battle rifles, I find the HK91 to be the least practical. Even though the gun is steel and over 9 pounds, it kicks like a mule. What many people don’t know about this gun is that H&K didn’t design it. It started its career as the official rifle of Spain, called the CETME, and the HK91/G3 became clones of it. The magazines and most parts are interchangeable.

About 20 years ago, Century Arms brought in truckloads of CETMEs from Spain as surplus. These guns are still on the market and still work perfectly. Most are clean as a whistle on the used market and you can find them at gun shows and on GunsAmerica for around $500. Sometimes you even see them being fire-saled for $400.

I would argue that the CETMEs on the market are the best value in a battle rifle that you can buy.  They kick, but they are clean, work perfectly, and are fairly accurate.  They don’t have rails or widgets, but Leapers does have an aftermarket kit for the CETME, though I haven’t tried to install one yet.

The PTR-91 is a modern US made version of the CETME/HK-91 that I have not reviewed.  The prices  are generally under the AR-10, in the $1,000 range, with tactical rail models in the $1,400 range.  It is a formidable battle rifle, but I don’t believe the recoil issue would be any different, and at full price it would be my last choice.

The Armalite AR-10

Writing about guns is sometimes like writing about hammers. If it does what it is supposed to do you don’t have much to write about. This green AR-10A4 version that Armalite sent us to review is as good an argument for the AR-10 as any example you could find. The trigger is superb and it shot easily into 1.5 MOA at 100, 300 and 500 yards.  We had no feeding problems with several hundred  rounds of ammunition ranging from the high end Hornady Superformance to white box Olin to steel cased Tula. The action is so strong, positive, and I would even call it violent, that  when you drop that bolt on a full mag, you feel like the gun could never fail you, like you’re holding a world class rifle.

Recoil is not painful shooting the  AR-10.  It still kicks of course, but it is nothing like the rifles above.  I found it extremely manageable.  Shooting the rifle in rapid fire is different in a hard to describe way. It isn’t like shooting an FAL or an M-14 where the bolt comes back exactly timed with the recoil. The recoil on the AR-10 is spongy, like you can feel the slight delay from the gas system.

The weight, length and front heaviness of the AR-10 are definitely downsides. It just doesn’t come around, up or down as quickly as an M4. Unless you’re a big and strong man, the weight will make you feel sluggish with the rifle, whereas with an M4 you will feel quick and reactive. It is also harder to hold on target off hand because of the heaviness of the barrel vs. the lightweight aluminum receiver and upper. If you are not a big man, or, like me, you’re a big man in all the wrong places, you should feel the weight of the AR-10 before deciding on it above an M4 sized AR-15.

Our test gun came with the “forward assist” option, which is that little button for your thumb that you also see on many AR-15s.  This is so that if you limp hold the gun and the action doesn’t fully lock up  with the bolt, you can force it forward manually with your thumb, allowing you to fire.  I tried to limp the gun to get it to need the forward assist but I was unable to get it to fail. That bolt is downright violent and I can’t see it failing to lock up unless you dunk the gun and have some seaweed stuck in there or something. Nonetheless, the forward assist option is available.

Whether to buy a genuine Armalite AR-10 or one of the many copies out there these days is really up to you.  Some of the copies are coming from top notch companies and may be great, but I can’t say because I haven’t shot any of them.  The way I see it,  Armalite is the only company legally allowed to use the AR-10 moniker, so  if you want a real AR-10, you buy the Armalite. If you just want a .308 battle rifle in the AR pattern, do your homework on the other options.  At some point I expect to get some of them in for review.

Today’s Armalite AR-10 is at the top of its game and should be a serious consideration if you’re shopping for a battle rifle that won’t let you down. You can get them with match triggers, match barrels, M4 buttstocks and with just about any rail pattern you could want.  In the AR-10T version, the gun is also available in several hunting calibers.  MRSP ranges from about $1,500 upwards, and street price is generally in the $1,300 and up range, depending on options. I don’t feel you could buy a genuine Armalite AR-10 and lose money on the gun, and you definitely won’t have buyers remorse when you get it.  They are really nice guns.

Armalite Inc.

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  • David Major November 22, 2016, 8:40 am

    Can’t read right side of acrtical due to right side adds. See no way to remove

    • Matthew Groom December 13, 2016, 7:37 pm

      Same here. No ads, but last word/words of ever sentence is truncated.

  • taylor April 4, 2016, 4:55 pm

    If you can’t hit the target-bad guy enemy- with 600 feet between you maybe you run-run fast!

  • carl March 11, 2016, 2:30 pm

    I bought a AR 10 aero persion i really like the gun from the day i bought it had jamming problems took it to a gun smith he had to polish the side of the bolt said there were some burrs on the inside so the gas rings were getting hung up so got it back took it out put 70 rounds through it no problem after that another 20 every other one jamed tryed a heaver lube it did great for the first 60 rounds after that started jamming again now put a new buffer spring in it have not taken it out. No time right now any help out there would be great if any one can get back to me at my email thanks Carl

  • Scott February 1, 2016, 8:22 pm

    I just purchased the Armalite AR-10 VSR. I topped it off with a Leupold AR mod-1 with mill dot scope. I have only put 20 rounds through it. The first Ammo used was the cheap PMC FMJ 148 gr. I adjusted the gas block per instructions. The PMC ammo did well. But , very shocked that the Wolf 147 gr. SP did even better. Same hole with five shots @ 100 yards. It will be interesting to see what I can reload. However, I was super impressed with the accuracy of this weapon. I really don’t think it matters what you feed it. It will perform with amazing results (accuracy). BTW I know the AR mod-1 is made for the 223. However, you can order .308 or any other cal. dials for the AR MOD-1 scope for $60.
    This Armalite AR-10 VSR is the most accurate gun I’ve ever shot, right out of the box.
    FYI go to Armalites web page to see a 1960’s film on what they put the weapon through. Pretty cool!

  • kevin December 16, 2015, 8:22 pm

    Hi, Good article and will consider an AR10 for my next discretionary rifle. I would like to disagree, however, with your statement about .223/5.56mm reaching only 300 yards. I load and shoot thousands of rounds of .223 every year, 77 grain SMK’s over 24.4 grains of Reloder 15 across the course. That hand load is the same as the Black Hills manufactured Mk262. 600 yards is no problem unless there’s a very, very heavy cross wind. .223 is a laser accurate cartridge and easy and cheap to load and shoot, easy to keep your eyes open and follow through – something hard to do in a bigger caliber. Plenty of High Master marksmen shoot it despite the availability of more advanced calibers like 6xc and 6br etc. Effective energy is still about 500 ft lbs at longer ranges. 55 grain ball is probably limited to 300 yards, as you say, but it’s an obsolete loading now.

  • RF February 14, 2015, 5:08 pm

    What’s the knockdown power of non-ball, 5.56 ammo?

    • AmmoXpert September 15, 2016, 1:19 pm

      Over 9000

  • Allen Hill September 3, 2014, 11:52 pm

    If you are interested in using military sighting options then there is no choice when it comes to comparing these older rifles with a modern well appointed AR 10. I am thinking about getting one but question whether I will use it for hunting due to the weight. I am glad to see that there are some good options. It would be great if I could handle and ever fire the choices out there.

  • mark tercsak August 25, 2014, 5:25 pm

    The weapon you are showing is not a true AR-!0.
    It is an enlarged copy of the AR-15 and M16.
    True AR-10’s do not have the (T) shaped charging handle, they had a finger lever that sat inside the carrying handle, True AR-10’s also do not need a bolt assist, for they ejected the cartridges out at a 45 % angle. AR15’s and M16′ s also would not need a bolt assist if they also ejected the cartridge cases out at a 45% angle or the bump that has been built into the receiver so as to deflect spent casings away from a shooters face.
    There was a book I read many years ago it claimed Eugene Stoner never intended the Ar15 system as it was originally known for the U.S. Military, it was intended for the South Vietnamese Army who were carrying M1 Garands, they were to small for such man guns.
    The Air Force had replaced the M1 carbine and M2 carbine with the para-trooper version of the m14, and they thought that was to two heavy a system for their security personnel, they got wind of the Ar-15 program ran some quick tests it was claimed and adopted it. Robert MacNamria sec. of defense forced the Army and marine Corps to adopt the Ar15 as well, and that is when it became known as the M-16. The fact is Stoner at some point in time began work on a weapon system known as the M63 stoner, you could convert the receiver assembly into the battle rifle, or a para trooper rifle, or change the upper and the barrel and now have a belt or magazine fed squad automatic weapon, it is said to have seen limited use in Vietnam, than there was the Ar-18, which corrected all of the Ar-15 and M16 faults. As I said the rifle pictured is not a true Ar-10.

    • Edmund February 6, 2016, 2:47 pm

      Your comment is correct, yet the argument for a true post-WW II Main Battle Rifle (MBF) goes back to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the USSR, Greta Britain and the USA all did studies into the infantryman combat engagements that occurred during the war and it was found that a great majority of infantrymen on all sides did not fire their rifles at ranges longer than 400 yards/meters and in fact many never fired their rifles at all for lack of having a viable rifle target to engage. The Soviets wisely concluded that a weapon not fired in combat is a weapon that is not worth having in battle, as it neither engages the enemy or distracts the enemy. The typical ‘stick-in-the-mud’ US and Great Britain Ordnanace officers (many officers should never be assigned to this branch unless they have a proven desire and love for small arrms and all other things that go ‘boom’), refused to adopt or consider any small arms infantry weapon that could not engage a target at 1,000 yards/meters, despite the fact that target engagement on the modern battlefield (aside from snipers) is at 400 yards/meters or under and despite all the evidence gathered from the German Wehrmacht and the MP43./44 assault rifles. So while the US and UK went with the traditional full sixed MBR, the Soviets went with the assault rifle in the form of the AK-47; they learned from WW II expereinces the vaule of a medium sized cartridge and of psychological benefit of full auto firing. The Soviets were engineering their battle doctrine and weapons for the 20th century, not the 19th century; they were going to have their infantry motorized and mechanized with vehicles loaded down with thousands of rounds of ammo with regiments following regiments and armies following armies into a massed attack on Western Europe. The doctrine of spar and fire would overwhelm any NATO forced placed before it out of the quantity of sheer overbearing logistics. TheUSA and the UK always believed in amied rifle firepower and concern to carry only the ammo that one soldier could manage.

  • Kevin May 20, 2014, 2:41 pm

    I have owned both the AR-10 and the M14. I like the AR-10 style weapon, but I believe the M14 battle rifle and it’s clones including the M1A are better rifles for general purpose use. Also, parts interchangeability is better with the M14 platform.

    • Edmund February 6, 2016, 6:49 pm

      The pistol gripe and in-line buttstock make the AR10 more superior over the old fashioned wooden stock MiA/M14, which is essentially a glorified M1 Garand. I too own both firearms and I can attest from personal experience that the AR10 is more modern and advanced design of the two firearms. I also get better accuracy out of my AR10 and it is easier to accessorize and configure, whereas the M1A is limited to its inherent wood stock design.

  • Luke January 28, 2014, 4:46 pm

    just built a DPMS AR-10 I took it out shooting for the first time last weekend. the first shot it fired perfect, but when I loaded the second round it was giving me a light primer strike, when I ejected that round it would fire the next round then would do as the second round did light strike no fire….anyone have any suggestions on what might be causing this?

  • James September 5, 2013, 12:50 am

    Nice article. I own both an Armalite AR10A4 and a Springfield M1A. First I must say that shooting both rifle is a pleasure, although I enjoy owning my Armalite I find more pleasure shooting my Springfield. The M-14/M1A has such a smooth action to it that it is hard to match. But that being said I will never get rid of either.

  • Skillshot July 1, 2013, 7:11 am

    Right fine review, as a long time hunter untill this past year i had not ventured into the ar world but a few months back I decided to the the 30-06 verision of the ar-10 from 2′ moa at 500 yds im amazed, with a bit more work im hoping to get it down to sub moa.

  • Pocono Shooting March 27, 2013, 6:32 pm

    I would have liked to hear what you had to say about the AK Vepr .308. I bought one with a 16 inch barrel for $600 new from Centerfire System. Reliable as any AK I ever shot. Accurate as an AK gets. Lots of fun to shoot. Great value.

  • JBev November 29, 2012, 9:08 pm

    – Armalite was a division of Fairchild Aircraft Company, the name was bought out. The new Armalite AR-10 is not the same manufacturer or the same design.

    – All of the comparison rifles fall within the 9 lb. weight range, the felt recoil is more attributable to the recoil pad, offset of the recoil center-line/butt geometry, and the flash hider’s design…

    – While the M-16/AR-15 is a combat rifle, it is not a Battle Rifle, as it does not use a full-power rifle cartridge. So it is not appropriate for comparisons regarding handling, accuracy, or power with actual Battle Rifles.

    – Lengths are: M1A – 44.3″, FAL – 43″, AR-10 – 41″… now, the reality is this: You CAN fold the M1A/M-14, CETME, the FAL, or most any of the other piston designs… but, due to the buffer tube design inherent to the AR platform, you cannot fold most of the AR designs, so they ultimately, have to be longer.

    – The FAL and M1A both are considered by small arms experts to be more rugged than the AR-10, while the AR-10 is intrinsically more accurate due to the direct bolt lock-up, which, at the intended range for use is less important than reliability and practical accuracy. I have two friends currently in the Sand Box who have requested replacement of their M-110’s by M-14s.

    The Armalite AR-10 is a fine rifle, and, if you like it, you should save your pennies and buy one. Likewise, the versions made by many of the other reputable manufacturers are just as good… keeping in mind, when you pay more, you typically get more. However, the platform is not perfect, and is not “superior” to the other weapons, each of which were designed with their own unique set of priorities. Ultimately, a firearm merely launches a metal projectile at high velocity with the intention of hitting a target. The cost of the rifle determines how wide the range of circumstances can be under which that pellet will hit the target. Some eighty year-old bolt guns are more accurate than brand-new production match ARs, a Garand can still register more hits faster, off-hand at long-range than about anything due to the length of its sight base, field of view of its iron sights, and balance, but, the AK may handle the most neglect.

    But, in the end, I’m sorry, this article is replete with errors, and misleading. – JB

    • ed December 3, 2013, 2:03 pm


      This article IS NOT misleading! I own all the rifles mentioned and the critique on each of them is valid from my persona experience. It is true that the new AR-10 is different from the 1950’s version, however, this does not render it inferior, in fact, it makes the weapon even more superior in term of manufacturing tolerances and metallurgy. To take the argument another step forward,the renowned AR-15 IS NOT ORIGINAL as per its original genesis, in fact, it too is greatly superior in design, function and fit. As the author portends, every weapon is a compromise in terms of engineering variable trade-offs, so every weapon makes ‘sacrifices’ to one variable or another.

      I love the M1 Grand, however, it suffered from Day #1 in terms of its parochial eight block, all in one clip system! As a minimum, it should have had a integral 10-round internal magazine fed via the existing r-round stripper clips so prevalent in the inventory from the Springfield rifle or as a optimal solution- fed from a detachable magazine system.


    • Edmund February 6, 2016, 6:54 pm

      True, the origianl AR10 was a mere albs, but the recoil was more felt in the origianl design than in the modern day version. I would have wished that the new model had the adjustable gas feature found on some original AR10 rifles. The new rifles are 3 lbs heavier, yet with the new rail system, improved charging handle location and advanced plastics, I’d take the new AR10 any dday over the origibnal model, of which no production contract version ever incorporated the space-age design of the huge aluminum miuzzel brake/flash hider.

  • shane November 22, 2012, 8:50 pm


    • Edmund February 6, 2016, 6:55 pm

      You can get a 11 ounce heavy AR10 metal buffer that will greatly ease any felt recoil and this will put it back into the AR15 recoil range.

  • Mitchell Tuckness November 18, 2012, 10:00 pm

    I think you’re off on the PTR91 mark. As an owner of one, and a shooter of all the above except the FAL. I have to say, the PTR91/G3/HK91/CETME Rifle is heavy (depending of course, but still not ‘light’), but recoil is nothing. Plus you can purchase enhanced recoil buffers, springs, pads for stocks, different degree lock pins, bolt rollers, all of which can be used to mitigate recoil and the list goes on. Not only that, but they even have mods on the market to use AR stocks, trigger assemblies and grips on these rifles. No longer is the G3 just a rifle you have to be stuck with. As with most firearms today, you can get stuff to mitigate recoil down to levels even our 90 year old Grandmothers could shoot.

    You sure the order from CETME to HK to PTR91 is right? and not HK, Protugal, PTR91?

    Curious 🙂

    Might not be ‘out of the box’ .22LR level recoil, but you can get it down pretty low.

    Thanks though, the article was informative in letting us know that Armalite is the only maker of an AR style .308 after the true fashion and not a Rock-River or other ‘almost, but not really’ model.

  • Rod Ollila February 25, 2012, 10:49 pm

    After much research on which ar rifle to buy and cartridge choice I decieded on the Armelite AR-10 CAR. After one year of ownership this rifle has exceeded my expectations and would recomend this to anyone considering buying a AR that can do double duty such as home defense and hunting.

  • Kyle Flanders January 19, 2012, 5:28 pm

    As the owner of one of the briefly-mentioned PTR-91 rifles, I wanted to throw in a bit of info. I’ll try to be objective.
    The PTR-91 is US made on HK-licensed tooling bought from Portugal. All moving parts are dimensionally correct and interchangeable with HK parts. The non-GI models have heavy match barrels. The chambers on some do not match original HK flute dimensions, making them intolerant of some types of milsurp ammo.
    As delivered, triggers are fairly heavy with long travel, and the recoil impulse is an uncomfortable two-part affair. Controls are awkward for smaller hands, and useless for the left-handed.
    However, the trigger and recoil issues can be remedied easily and fairly inexpensively. The iron sights are excellent, IMHO. Magazines are currently available for as little as $1. My rifle, with custom trigger and PSG-1 recoil buffer, is soft-shooting and as accurate as i am, grouping around 2.5-3 MOA with 145gr FMJ and iron sights, for about $1500 total investment.

  • Ben January 16, 2012, 2:35 pm

    I recently purchased a Rock River AR-10A4 and zeroed it to hit right on at 100 yards. It is the best AR type platform that I’ve ever owned and I have owned some of the best on the market: DSA-Fal, FNAR and a few others that don’t come to mind. Even without bore sighting it I was on the paper and it was just a small matter of adjusting after each shot.

    I hunt in Alabama and there are two weeks left in the season that I intend to test it out in. I hope that I won’t be disappointed as I was with the 6.8 SPC that I started the season with.

  • Hans Slobbe December 28, 2011, 9:16 am

    I am very sorry to see that no mention is made of the AR-10, manufactured by the Dutch Artillerie Inrichtingen.
    Without their work in getting the original rifle ready and faultless, there would not have been a M-16, nor the AR10 of now.

  • Bob Howe November 26, 2011, 6:43 pm

    I have one of the very first AR-17 Semi Auto 12G. Shotgun that came out. The story behind my Shotgun is that it was given to Eugene Stoner when he retired as the CEO of Armalite, Cost Mesa, Ca. I cannot find a serial number anywhere on the gun. Mr Stoner lived in Yuma, Az where he was diagnosed with terminal cancer by my Doctor Ellis Browning. Mr Stoner and the doc were very good friends. When he was diagnosed, he gave the gun to Dr. Browning. When Dr. Browning died in 2005, he left the gun to his son and that’s who I bought it from. His son wasn’t the best person to give it to. A five letter word: Drugs. He had no idea what he had. This shotgun has never been fired. There are a few smudges on the stock. Probably just buff out. This would be a great gun for a collector. I want to sell it or maybe make a trade. This gun was actually made for the U.S. Military for use as a survival weapon. The Military in turn opted for the AR? The gun that the whole thing fits into the stock. Can’t remember the name. From what I’ve found on the internet, this gun sold for $5800.00. Seems pretty high priced to me. If anyone is interested in owning this shotgun, let me know. Make me an offer or a trade and I’ll get back to you asap.

  • dave November 26, 2011, 3:05 pm

    picked-up an A.R.10, patriot ordnance factory, about a year ago. shoot with two partners who shoot 10″s, one armalite, and one DPMS. both are heavy barrel. My m-4 stays with both and surpasses at the long ranges. nothing but happpy with this product. I shot an m-14 in 1969 in the delta with the 9th infantry division, And the 10 shoots better.

    • Bob Howe November 26, 2011, 6:55 pm

      Where were you when you down in the delta? I was in Cat Lai. South of Saigon and West of Long Binh. I was the R.T.O. then. Bob

  • 2011 Silverado November 13, 2011, 7:52 pm

    I am one of those tweeners from the sixties/seventies. I finished college first then joined the guard in May, 1969. My unit still had the M1 while I was making drills waiting to go to Basic and AIT. At Fort Leonard Wood from November, 1969, through Basic and AIT, we were the last cycle to go through training with the M14. Then back to the home unit home in Oklahoma where we still had the M1 but got the M16 within a year. So I had the privilege of training with all three and truly enjoyed firing them all. In Oklahoma during my childhood, most of us grew up with a .22 in our hands and we could all shoot so we all did well qualifying with any weapon. Of the three I trained with, I enjoyed the M14 the best. I think it is one of the finest personal weapons the U.S. military has ever used. Now, retired at age 64, I have come full circle back to my youth and no longer feel the need for my .30-30 and 7mm Rem Mag Browning High Wall with the 28″ bbs. All I want is a good personal defense weapon for 50 to 500 yards. The choices were the M1A SoCom 16 for the Ruger Gunsite Scout, both in .308. Not being an 5.56mm fan at all, I was thinking maybe of a Ruger 6.8mmSPC ranch rifle, to accompany the bigger gun. Now, because of your article, I will seriously consider the AR10, too. Thanks for the insight. Bruce

  • Roy November 12, 2011, 8:28 am

    Great article. I have owned and own all of the above mentioned rifles including the AR-10. I like them all, but if I had to pick one it would be the AR-10 simply because I carried an M4 for many years that I am familiar with the design. As for Ar-10 mags being hard to find, this is a fallacy. You can get them directly from Armalite and for not a lot of money and they work excellent and are brand new not 50 years old like my FAL mags. You can also get 25 rounders fairly cheap unlike the dpms style mags. Dont turn down an AR-10 because of magazines since that is pure bunk. As for my favorites. I would say the M14 is the sexiest of all the 308’s. The FAL is the beast of the bunch and the AR10 is the precision scalpel.

  • J.C. September 24, 2011, 4:49 pm

    OK this is the best writings and replies I have ever read regarding battle rifles. I am retired Navy and have used M-14s in Guam back in the early 80’s and M-16’s in the late 80’s in Pax River as part of an anti terrorist group. So I can echo the fact the M-14 thumps a little but shoots very well and accurate using iron peepers. I also shot the M-16 very well after many forced runs and then firing practice with a high heart rate. I have never benched the 16 but stayed in the black at 100… so shoot-ability was OK with both platforms.
    I have wanted, for a log time, to own my own my own AR style platform, something i can use for a few matches and maybe some hunting, and also if needed when all hell breaks loose (one can never be to prepared)… So in short I have gotten allot of advice telling me that the AR-15 is the way to go. Seems folks are recoil sensitive and claim that an AR-10 can not be fired accurately because of felt recoil and muzzle blast. I have a hard time thinking this because I have a six pound .308 bolt that is just fine to shoot with out issues.
    So the main problem is all the choices. I have read allot about DPMS, Rock River, and Armalite… All seem to be very well liked platforms. So when uncle Sams poops some tax returns next spring I think I am inclined to give an AR-10T a try.

  • Carson September 2, 2011, 9:44 am

    My first gun was an Ar15. I always felt it was like shooting a tricked out..pellet gun or something. Even my dad said it was not a “real” gun in a very limited sense of the word(west point grad). I bought an ar10 and man…talk about a real rifle. A .308 cartridge is a jack of all trades caliber, master of none. It will take an enemy out @ 800 yards, and violently dispose of anything within 300 yards w/ 1 shot authority. It might not be the best paper puncher @ 1k, or room clearer, but you can shoot through the walls instead of going inside, and w/a SASS system you can most likely make the 1st or 2nd shot make contact @ ranges past 800 meters, and its still a heavy bullet at those ranges even w/ the loss in velocity and kintetic power. True carrying 200 rounds around on you w/ a decked out ar10 is a little heavy, but rather have 1 bullet that can do most things than 2 bullets that can do a limited amount.

    • blue November 24, 2011, 9:58 pm

      i have owned an armalite AR-10A4C for two years and have never regreted the purchase and the article was great covering all the bases of the various choices out there many of which i owned in the past.
      my experience with the AR-10 can be summed up this way,the armalite AR-10 is a damn fine rifle!

  • sansone August 23, 2011, 2:11 pm

    I just started stocking Armalite rifles and so impressed with the quality that I really want one for myself. Thanks for the great review

    • Administrator August 23, 2011, 9:29 pm

      List them for sale here! Not enough people do and they really are the cream of the crop.

  • David August 19, 2011, 7:58 pm

    I apologize for not mentioning how good the guns from DPMS, Rock River Arms, Bushmaster, Ruger, Para, Stag, JP, Colt and HK, and the FN-Scar are nice too. Now that Remington has bought up some companies, the collaboration insures we will have a lot of nice stuff to play with for a long time. Armalite did it long before these guys came on the scene. There are so many AR15 manufacturers out there it is hard to pick one. I had a heck of a time deciding,Armalite, LWRC, LMT, POF, JP, SIG, yikes!! DSA makes a neat FAL, and for my first choice, that is it. A good M1A with a rear lug, will be next. Sig has a 308 coming too. We have it made in this country. We have choices, thanks to VETS, thanks guys.

  • David August 19, 2011, 7:45 pm

    I own a DSA Spartan tactical with ACE folding stock, I had some modifications done at the factory which includes their extended safety, a folding charging handle, and addition of para night sights, and their excellent scope mount. I put a $80 Bushnell 4×12 scope on it when I got it, broke in the barrel, and have consistently shot 3/4 to 1.25 inch groups at 100yards with Federal premium 168grain Sierra boat tail hollow points and have had good results with Hornady ammunition. I had to specify the lightest trigger pull they could obtain with their trigger job. This gun has a 16 inch fluted barrel which is more accurate than the other lengths, perhaps due to better harmonics. Velocity about 2550fps. I kept the hand guard as the stock green one, no aluminum rails to heat up. It is coated with black duracoat. It has the sands cuts on the carrier and its insides are NP3 coated. This gun is what the FAL should have been. I have learned to live with any other issues, like how fast I can load a magazine into the gun. It is not a cheap gun, well over $3000 with accessories, five magazines, and a Vickers Blue Force sling, but if you have the money, it is neat, reliable, and accurate enough, that it rebukes any b.s. about FALs not shooting under 3inches. I have yet to get a 2 inch group from any good ammo. I like LMT and Armalite in 308’s too. POF makes a good gun I hear. None have all the features in one package. I try to avoid too much polymer and aluminum. I have heard all sorts of concerns about wear associated with piston ARs in the rear buffer area and about barrel to reciever fit getting sloppy, hot when a rail is used on an aluminum gun without proper heat sinking. The LWRC, and HK guns may be a good choice too, and I would watch for SIG to make a good 308. If you cannot hunt with it, why buy it? How many bad guys are you going to shoot? At least with a 308 you can deer hunt. Either way do not buy what everyone in a magazine review tells you. Heat, aluminum, and steel do not expand at the same rates, so a good strong barrel nut makes sense, why the POF is a good gun. LMT knows what they are doing, I guess they did not feel a piston was warranted on a 308 that was not going to see high rates of fire. I do let my gun cool between shots to get those groups. I swabbed the barrel three times, between every shot for the first 100 rounds during break in, and it paid. I tried a lot of expensive ammo during that time. It all shot very well, Hornady, Winchester, Remington, and Federal. Did not try Black Hills yet. I50 grain to 168 grain all worked well with the 1 in 10 twist barrel. I would love an M1A1 too, made this the first choice, since I like steel recievers and steel barrels mated together. The trick to an FAL is getting it to lock up properly, head space, and it is not cheap to make one accurate. DSA does that on their top of the line gun. I think from my limited knowledge, it is much easier to make a rotating bolt assembly and use a barrel nut then the dated design of an FAL especially when you are trying to arm an army and do it cost effectively. This gun is cool, and does not kick at all nor does it have much muzzle rise. It in the shorter barrel is better balanced. If you test a DSA gun, ask them for the Spartan Tactical, with the ACE stock and trigger job. The only complaint is if you are going to shoot it, a higher mount on the scope may get your head tilted a little more naturally. The stock sight and stock are hard to shoot from if your head is fat. Mine is not so I can shoot it. It is a straight stocked gun in line with the barrel without the rise of a M16 with carry handle sights. I will put a riser on an Aimpoint when I get some more money to blow. So many nice guns nowadays, so little money. Oh and the trigger pull is not the 13 lb standard, mine is around 4lbs and pretty good for a military trigger. It is very user friendly.

  • CavScout62 July 17, 2011, 8:41 am

    I bought my AR-10A4 from Bud’s Gunshop online and paid just over $1200 for it. I can’t tell you how much I love this rifle! As a disabled veteran I have to be very careful with my $$$ and it took me awhile to save up for this purchase but, well worth the wait. Compared to every other brand I han dled it just feels the most well made. After break in following Armalite’s instructions for thier match barrels my standard SPR is shooting 1 ragged hole @ 100M. I wrote to Armalite and told them of this and they replied that they get stories like this all the time! Good marketing strategy, claim 1.5-2MOA accuracy for your rifles and then they come in well under that, Mark Westrom knows what he’s doing. More power to him. I own .556 cal AR-15 clones from DPMS & RRA and they are fine weapons but Armalite in my opinion is just a cut above.

  • Dan slocum July 13, 2011, 3:51 am

    Definitely second the caution regarding aftermarket mags for the AR-10. I picked up an AR-10A4 a while back and learned early on to stick with the factory Armalite magazines. My A-4 has a detachable carry handle. I bought it second-hand, but it looked like new when I picked it up. Got it for around $1,200.00. I’ve owned an M-1 Garand (still my sentimental favorite), and an M-1 carbine in the past, and currently also own a Colt AR-15. My son owns a PTR-91 and vehemently agrees about the recoil issue. I haven’t been able to shoot my AR-10 as much as the -15; .308 ammo right now runs between $28-$32/box of 20, here in the Honolulu area. But, if I were forced to defend me and mine in some future SHTF scenario, I would definitely feel quite comfortable about doing it with My AR-10.

  • Darius Rucker June 29, 2011, 2:56 pm


  • Headhunter June 20, 2011, 2:23 pm

    I’m a Retired Force Recon Marine Scout Sniper. I’m 50, 6′, 200lbs, and in reasonable shape for an old war horse. My Marines got me a match grade Armalite CAR 10 as a send off gift. I wanted the carry handle With the stock IRON sights cuz I know they are TOUGH. I always favored the CAR15 with M203 grenade launcher whenever I could get one for general purpose work, but always wished it came in 7.62×51 so I could load Lake City Match ammo in it to streach it’s legs and add stopping power when desired. I wanted the collapsible stock knowing I sacrifice some stability in hasty shooting positions but gain maneuverability in close quarters as a trade off. My boys finally gave me my wish to send me off to First Civilain Division.

    There were traces of residue on the weapon from the factory so I cleaned her up good and I broke her in pretty hard and she did nothing but get tighter and smoother. With the stock iron sites and match ammo I zeroed at 1000 inches then went back to to each yard line ending up holding pie plate sized groups from the prone supported position at 600…yes you read right, 600 yards. It’s not because I’m such a great shot either. Even with the collapsible stock; the match barrel, bolt and trigger, along with the buffer all work with basic marksmanship skills (BRASSF) to make this rifle one of the best all purpose weapons I have ever owned.

    When I put the ACOG on it and zeroed at 100 I was SUB MOA and stayed that way all the way back. I was a like suprised how solid and realiable the piece is. If I could find a range LONGER I think, with a high power scope on it, I could hold man sized groups back to 800 yards with decent match ammo…Unfortunately I have yet to find a place with that kinda distance to try it out.

    No, It’s not comparable to my bolt action M40A3 but then it’s not supposed to be; any more than one should compare it to a belt fed medium machine gun of the same caliber. A more fair test is having fired it alongside a collapsible stock bushmaster, colt, or other brand in the same model and caliber. I Tightened the stock by adding set screws, pussy padded the butt and built a movable cheek pad. All fairly simple things to make the rifle more comfortable to tote, shoot and scoot with all day and night.

    I DO carry 300 rounds. I keep 150 on my combat vest and the rest on my pack. Yes it’s heavier than 5.56 but well worth it since I no longer have to carry much in the way of other war gear such as radios, demo or the like. After I added the pussy padding and such to the stock the weapon balances better and maneuvers just fine in tight quarters. I actually LIKE the extra weight in the offhand position because it seems to stabilize better than my old M4 or even the m16s.

    I have the factory 25 round mags and like em well enough. Course I riggers taped 550 cord to the bottoms for quick pull from my mag pouches. I have never tried magpul or similar things. But if you gave some some magpul magazines I’d try em out. I DO know for a fact that riggers tape and 550 cord are light, easy to apply, easy to remove, and reliable. I hear good things about mag pul but this old poor grunt lives offa uncle sugars pension and can’t afford such luxuries.

    In a rapid fire and movement course (in the rain and mud by the way; NOT that I planned things that way) the rifle performed even better than my m4. My groups and scores out of the gate were great and the extra weight not even noticable until I actually started firing and didn’t have to wait as long for the rifle to settle back after each shot. Theres another benifit to a lil extra weight. Over penetration is something to keep in mind if fielding the weapon in combat conditions as is richocete but then these are almost always considerations unless using frangible or other specialty ammo and weapons.

    One correction to the article above by the way, the Forward assist IS NOT a push button…Pressing it with your thumb might be ok but the BEST way I have ever found to use it, is to WHACK that mother humper with the heel of your hand a couple times after loading each new mag just to make sure the first round is seated. Especially when you got mud and rain in the thing from flopping on the ground with it repeatedly. Yes the feed IS aggressive and my shoulder WAS a lil sore after 150 rounds, but damn that gun performed flawlessly and was a pleasure to clean afterword.

    The cam was tighter than a teenagers twat and the spring on the firing pin a lil hard to get clean to Marine satisfaction but all in all I wish I had had a match grade Armalite CAR10 when I was on active duty. I can’t think of any higher praise than tha,

    • richard hanson May 29, 2015, 5:06 am


      • John April 11, 2016, 11:26 am

        Richard you are a piece of shit and a racist one at that.

  • Chuck Shaw June 17, 2011, 8:23 pm

    I have been purchasing extra mags for about a week after seeing the factory Armalte mags that came with the AR-10, I had seen that they were genuine Armalite made mags not aftermarket ones. I hope Armalite keeps the reduced prices on their mags. If they do that will lead to more mag sales and more satisfied customers that desire genuine quality factory mags and parts from armalite.

  • Arthur Steadman June 17, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Jack, here do you live? There are some web sites that can tell you where the closest ranges are.

  • jack foraker June 17, 2011, 11:56 am

    Iam sold on the story all I need is the cash give me time ,I would love to get one,where can i shoot one.

  • Tom Michnay June 16, 2011, 12:55 am

    I am in the market for a .308 rifle. Springfields’ M1A1 (M14) is a consideration since prices are a little lower at the National Matches at Camp Perry. I’ve also considered the AR-10. Having been in the U.S. Army, I am aware that if sand or enough dirt gets in the bolt a quick field strip is necessary. I would like your honest opinion on what you feel regarding Rugers’ Gunsite Scout Rifle. I am aware it is a bolt action and recoil will be higher. It has a good price point and the solid Mauser style bolt action which is reliable. Would you invest the extra money for the AR-10 in light of problems with debris in the bolt of an AR-15? Thank you, All the Best,

  • Rodgers June 16, 2011, 12:13 am

    Great Article! I was considering a different 7.62X51. Could you in the future do a comparison between the “Armalite AR-10 Battle Rifle” and the “Rock River Arms – LAR-8” ?

    • Jim June 17, 2011, 11:27 pm

      I can’t compare the Armalite to the Rock River because I only own the Rock River. I have shot an Armalite, but not under precise conditions. However, maybe this will give you half the comparison. I have a RRA LAR-8 in the standard 20″ rifle configuration. RRA guarantees this model at 1″ (they do have models with a 3/4″ guarantee), and every ammunition I have fired through it was well under this, including Wolf brass. It’s favorite load, which oddly enough is a 168gr molycoated bullet loaded by CCC ammo, consistently achieves groups less than 3/4″, they are closer to 1/2″. I do have an M1A loaded package that shoots this well, but it cost me $400 more, $1650 compared to $1250. This doesn’t include the expensive scope mount for the M1A (RRA rings are $60). I love my M1A, but if I could only have one, I think I would go with the RRA and put the extra money into ammo.

  • Jim Fulton June 15, 2011, 6:47 pm

    I really enjoyed the articles and comments, and I would like to have an AR10, but I would consider a 243 Winchester
    caliber. I don’t like and lot of recoil and the 243 is not a bad round ballistically. Also no one has bought up the 6.5 Grendal
    which is a consideration in a M16 platform. I have one and it’s not bad to shoot, but it is a fairly potent round and has some
    impressive long range capabilites. In closing the AR10 and the M1A are both ok and one day I like to have one of each.

  • Sanders June 15, 2011, 3:47 pm

    The only thing that really made me take pause on getting one of these, years ago, was availability of spare magazines. How is that availability now?

    • Administrator June 15, 2011, 4:33 pm

      Armalite has sales on 5 packs on the website. They have plenty, but they still aren’t cheap.

      • Arthur Steadman June 15, 2011, 5:15 pm

        We reduced the price of ALL of our individual AR-10 magazines about a week ago. We heard our customers loud and clear that the mags were too pricey. Check out the new prices at this link:
        The price drop is about 10 bucks per mag.
        Arthur Steadman
        ArmaLite Communications Director

  • John June 15, 2011, 3:44 pm

    Enjoyed the article. I have to agree that the M1A can be a thumper, but not to the extent of a FAL. While this may be somewhat off the subject line; I suffered a neck injury some years back that took the joy out of shooting my M1A Loaded and not wanting to let it sit in the safe and collect dust I researched recoil reducers. I decided on the Edwards Recoil Reducer “” and sent my stock off on a Monday and got it back on a Friday, all that was left for me to do was tune it when I got to the range. I am not in any way affiliated with Edwards, except as a customer, but I like to share information about good products and this one works!
    I also have a DPMS LR 308 that I have yet to break in. Does anyone have suggestions for a proper break in? DPMS is recommending shoot a round, clean. Shoot a round, clean, and so on. Any info would be appreciated.

    • Mark June 15, 2011, 11:07 pm

      Recently broke in my AR-10 following the ArmaLite® break-in procedure. You can download their Owner’s Manual from the ArmaLite® website. Their procedure sounds similar to what you describe from DPMS. It took me about 2.5 hours to do the entire break-in. The following is the ArmaLite® procedure:

      “For optimum accuracy and barrel life, ArmaLite® recommends the following break-in procedure:

      1. Fire 9 single shots. After each shot, push a cotton patch wet with solvent through the bore. Then wet a bronze brush with solvent and stroke the barrel five to ten round trips. Follow with another wet patch and then a dry patch or two. (We do NOT recommend nylon or stainless steel brushes.) After you finish, wash the solvent off your brush so that the brush won’t deteriorate.

      2. From 10 to 30 shots, clean as above after each five shots. Initial break-in should now be complete.

      For subsequent, normal cleaning, it is suggested that you clean after each range session. It is often suggested that the barrel be brushed one stroke for each shot fired.”

      • Ed January 6, 2015, 10:49 pm

        Armalite in their manual and website clearly state that for home-lined barrel AR-10s, no break-in period is required; only stainless steel barrels require a break-in process.

    • Archie June 16, 2011, 1:53 pm

      Olympic says basically the same, but longer. I basically do the same thing (below) to every rifle I buy new or used:

      Shoot 1 and clean 20 times
      Shoot 3 and clean 20 times
      Shoot 5 and clean 8 times

      I usually run out of patience at the 3x, so then I figure that you rarely need more than 5 shots while hunting, so I hunt with them and make sure to dump the 5 through the barrel after the hunt if not during, then I clean as I would anyway. A piece of paper in the gun cabinet makes sure I remember to do all 8 over time. It is a drag to shoot a battle-proven semi-auto one round at a time for hours, but when you are done with that procedure, you can’t say that you are not familiar with the gun.

      After I get to the 3 round bursts, I do start the scope sight-in. The gun will still tighten up, and might even walk around a little yet (though rare), but it puts me on the paper with the same bullets as the break-in. The results of those next sixty rounds is what determines if I can go hunting when I hit the 5 round bursts, or must continue at the range. In the case of an AR or any semi-auto, at the end of those hundred rounds is the perfect time to break it down completely and check for proper wear and CLEAN EVERYTHING.

      You would not believe how many “problem” guns I buy used that are dirty along with complaints that it is “not accurage enough for me”. I clean them thoroughly and then do the above break-in – resulting in a gun that shoots sub-MOA after doing nothing other than that cleaning and “break-in”. If I do that and don’t get sub-MOA for a bolt or other expected accurate gun (including any of my AR’s) I throw the scope in the dumpster, and start with new glass. I have never had to spend any more money than that…

      • Edmund February 6, 2016, 2:58 pm

        Most people do not have the patience to break-in a barrel as you have just described and there is a great debate within the firearmns community itself as to whether or not this process needs to be done and in what specific manner for every given barrel. Armalite itself issues instruction with each rifle that ‘barrrel break-in’ for moly-chrome lined barrles is not necessary, that barrel break-in need only be followed for stainless stell barrels. I am not sure if the military breaks in its barrels, I have never witnessed this. Also it might be possible for a barrel manufacturer to perform this barrel break-in at the factory before a barrel is shipped to a customer, however, I know of no barrel maker who goes through this process.

  • Randy Larsen June 15, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Great article & comments… Good advice from all, especially “consider your needs”. Mine being limited funds, initial cost, ammo cost & availability are factors. I prefer the 5.56 for these reasons & also familiarity, (former M16 toter) weight, & recoil for extended time on the range. Should I find myself in a situation where I need a .308 I would prefer an escape route over stand & fight. The lighter weight, & recoil of the 5.56 would be more than efficient to cover my exit. I live in Arizona & pass through some areas where care & caution, along with a fully functioning accelerator pedal are also a good defense…
    I really like Ruger’s new .308 bolt action Gunsite rifle for the long power shots… Need $$$…

  • Scott HETHERWICK June 15, 2011, 2:58 pm

    I am left handed do you make a true ar 10 for lefties with ejection port on the left side and the safety, charging handle
    and mag release all on the appropriate side for lefties. How much does a bare bones AR10 cost from you
    guys mailed to my local ffl dealer. Thank you for you time

    • Administrator June 15, 2011, 4:36 pm

      We don’t sell anything but you can use the system to find one. There is no lefty .308 AR that I have seen. Stag arms is the only maker of lefty ARs at all and they only make the standard .223 version.

      • 1LTLos September 15, 2014, 3:14 am

        If you are a lefty, I recommend the PTR 91 — It requires that you operate it totally with your left hand anyway – The bayonet, removing and inserting a magazine and especially, charging a round is all with your left hand as your right holds the handgrip — I love this PTR as I got it early this year and now doped in, hits everything I aim at with iron sights. Incidently, the same goes for my SOCOM 16 which I doped in after owning it for 4 years — again anything I aim at – POW!!
        I enjoy both if these rifles and wouldnt want to be on the receiving end either one of them.

    • JLA June 16, 2011, 3:30 am


      Unfortunately there is no dedicated left hand version of the AR10 or any other 7.62mm AR platform gun. If you want to stay with the AR platform your best option is to get an AR15 in 6.8mm SPC. They can be had in Southpaw versions from either Stag Arms or DPMS, and can be easily built on upper receivers from either manufacturer if you can’t find what you’re looking for in a factory gun. While the 6.8SPC is definitely not the equal of the 7.62mm/.308 it does have many of the same benefits but in a lighter AR15 package.

      Another option, and a superior one to standard patter AR10s from an ergonomic standpoint (especially for a lefty), is the Rock River Arms LAR-10. It is both reliable and accurate, with many versions being reliably sub-MOA right out of the box, and sports a completely ambidextrous mag release & bolt release. It is also uses widely available FAL magazines, although, unlike in an FAL, they do not have to be rocked into place. They insert the same way as any other AR magazine in the RRA LAR-10.

      Generally speaking I really like the Armalite AR10. The only problem I have with them–and it’s not really a problem with them per se–is the lack of quality aftermarket magazines. The Magpul P-Mag has taken the AR world by storm recently and for good reason. The work, and they’re damn near indestructible. Unfortunately though, at the current time, they are only made for Knight’s Armament/DPMS pattern rifles. Which is the primary reason that almost all new 7.62mm AR platform guns use that magazine (POF-USA, LMT, LWRC, Les Baer, etc…)!

    • Lori March 9, 2015, 2:48 pm

      S&W makes one. Same issue with me.

  • Chuck Shaw June 15, 2011, 11:28 am


    Sorry to hear about your injury I’m in the same boat. I finally after years of trying to purchase a AR-10A2 when they were on back-order I finally found one and bought one weeks ago. During that time I alomost bought the DMPS LR-308 rifle but thought that I will wait for the real AR-10 from Armalite. The two rilfes you mention I too would like to have but I did choose the Armalite AR-10A2. Maybe someday I will be able to purhase a M1A or a M-14 because I like military looking rifles. I’m very satified with my purchase of my AR-10A2 from Armalite and if you want accessories from Armalite they do ship fast. Make sure if you purchase one, oil the rifle first as explained in owner’s manual they ship almost dry. I use the LSA oil that I use on my Colt Ar-15. I had no porblems with my AR-10A2 at all good luck.

  • Matthew Shipton June 15, 2011, 10:33 am

    Great article! I am currently in the market for a 7.62 (.308) “battle rifle” and this helps with my decision. I am curious, have you tested the new H&K MR7.62A1? It’s based off there MR5.56A1 platform. It is about $3K and I am wondering if it’s worth it. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Administrator June 15, 2011, 10:59 am

      No, we haven’t seen one, and I don’t see them for sale around. Just from a parts perspective I would say the AR-10 and DSA FAL are better candidates. If this is a new design there is no guarantee it’ll be supported later.

  • Jeffrey S. Elwood June 15, 2011, 9:09 am

    I have recently had the unfortunate instance to be injured on the job at work and will be receiving a sizable settlement soon for pain and suffering, loss of future wages, etc. I plan to get some items right off the bat that I have always wanted but never had the money for. I have picked out a very nice Cockpit Antique Lambskin A-2 Leather Jacket from “” and a nice, reliable .308 rifle. I have been torn between purchasing the Armalite AR-10A2 or the Springfield Armory M1A. Both are fine weapons but I happen to like the magazine well on the AR-10 for the fast and no fail insertion of the magazine versus the “find the peg and rotate backwards” type of well on the M1A. Being a paratrooper and a disabled veteran I am familiar with the M16 (with and without the M203 grenade launcher), the BM-59 from Pietro Beretta, the M1 Garand and the M14. I have found that on the AR-10, the bolt carrier is the only part involved in the recoil versus the rotating bolt and charging handle on the M1A. (This provides less felt recoil and faster follow up shots) I will let you know how it goes.

  • Carter Leffen June 15, 2011, 8:43 am

    Dear Sir,

    Great article. I’ve had owned ARs in 5.56 and 6.8SPC, as well as M1As, civilian AKs and surplus SKS’, and bolt action CZs in 7.62X39. Currently, I have a PTR-MSG 91 and a PTR32 KFR. The first is called a Perimeter Sniper Rifle, in 7.62X51. The PTR32 is a scaled-down version of the PTR91, in 7.62X39. When you pointed out the ability to carry only one battle rifle at a time, you nailed what many of us see as a necessary evil. For certain scenarios, only a 7.62X51 will do… For every day carry, as in a truck gun, the weapon of choice for many might be the ubiquitous 5.56, or, for me, the better short range round, the 7.62X39. I’d like to see you evaluate these rifles, as viable alternatives to sub-.308 caliber “battle” rifles. When examining semi-auto 7.62mm class weapons vs. AR15s, in civilian hands, in situations that are life and death, I only see “positives” when going with the larger, much more capable rounds, be it short, or medium range.
    Again, great article. Hope to see your response here, via GUNSAMERICA.

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