Leader Dynamics T2 MkV video

Today we have a video on the disassembly and operation of the Australian Leader Dynamics T2 Mk V rifle. These are fairly rare in the US, as not many were imported before production was shut down in Australia. It is a very simple rifle to make, with many elements of the AR-18 and a simplified triangular bolt face.

Leader rifles were also produced by Australian Automatic Arms, and you’ll fine photos of an AAA rifle on the Leader Dynamics/Australian Automatic Arms page in the Vault.


  1. Extremely simple, but effective I guess. Did it function well and was it really a cheap alternative to say the AUG and AR18?

  2. Hi,
    I am Charles St George the designer of the Leader T2. Enjoyed your video and presentation. Just a few comments I wish to share with you. The Winchester bolt is not actually a triangular bolt but more of a three lobed bolt. Further, a triangular bolt provides more lock up and allows a greater delay in the unlocking cycle. The Leader was not developed to replace the L1A1 but rather for export as a low cost semi auto rifle. I in fact, developed an improved version of the Leader with a folding Stock called the M18 which was officially submitted to replace the L1A1 during the 1986 RFT, issued by the Australian Defence Dept.

    Is the sample you have available for sale?

    Best regards,
    Charles St George

    • Charles………you certainly designed one beautiful and practical firearm.

      I myself own the SAP model which is a cut down version (without stock) of the SAC. I broght it brand new in its original box and remains unfired to this day. I am advised this is a very rare model and indeed many renowned Australian Gun Dealers did not even know of its existance. Firearms Catalogues only ever show the SAC or SAR models, there is never any mention of the SAP.

      I firmly beleive that Aust Auto Arms firearms will become heritage items in Australia.

      I beleive it was disgraceful the way the Federal Government effectively forced the closure of Australian Automatic Arms.

      Best Regards,

      Tony Dee

    • Dear Mr St George,

      Could you forward the specifications on the T2, I have a historical interest from an Engineers perspective. I would like to know what type of springs you used and there specs please.

      thanks IK

  3. Thanks for another awesome video !!!!
    This simple gun must be really easy to manufacture ! It ‘s commercial semi auto only version could be very popular in many countries where most of people have low incomes!
    Despite of being “AK simple” it has a lot of nice (modern) features – short stroke gas piston, huge locking lugs (at least I like them),very nice and compact bolt carrier assembly etc.
    I didn’t like the way of forearm disassembly (by allen screws)…especially not a good idea for military guys !
    I doubt that the front trunion is rigid enough with all that holes drilled in it (but who knows ?).
    If it has a non reciprocating cocking handle, I think it would be better to have something like AR15’s forward assist…or have a charging handle attached to the bolt carrier.
    Is that carrying handle a needed thing? …or maybe it also provides a base for scope mounting ???
    Waiting to see this “tool” at range !!! Thank you 🙂

    • I’ve heard some reasonably knowledgeable individuals suggest that if you have to use the forward assist on an AR15 you’re more likely to worsen a problem than fix it.

      Considering the wall thickness of the AK and HK G3 trunnions, I’m sure the Leader’s is more than sturdy enough.

  4. Ian,

    For those of us still in the dark ages of dial up connectivity is there a transcript available?
    [A 14 + minute video will take approximately five hours for me to download and then I can “Replay” it and view it as intended.]

    Since I am unable to download anything over 3 minutes in length I don’t even know what caliber this rifle is using. {5.56 , 7.62 , 223? }
    [Did I miss it above? goes back to search … Nope]

    Sorry to be such a drag.

    the unintentional Luddite

  5. Wow,
    Very interesting information on another rare model of gun,
    I cureous where you finding all of those artefacts from??
    Still i confused about Frachi LF57 submachine gun,I wonder how its trigger mechanism works???
    I know about beretta M12,spectre M4,Socimi seems understandable and hybrid between Uzi and Ingram Mac 11..
    Franchi LF57 looks identical to Walther MPL series submachine guns but internal components differant..

  6. Regarding the way the handguards are attached, there is no reason to remove them. The gas system is self cleaning. I was with a guy some tears back who bought one at a gun show. The gas cylinder would not budge, but once taken to the range, it fired flawlessly and has continued to do so. I picked one up on Gunbroker early this year and it also fires nicely, looks and feels great even if I say so myself. There is no reason to install a bolt assist either. As we all know that appeared on the AR15 to overcome a design flaw. I have also seen a Leader T2 bolt carrier with an AR189 bolt inserted into it, rather odd unless it illustrates that the bolts have the same body diameters which they do.
    The comment about the action springs of bothe Leader and the AR 180, they may look similar but the sizes do differ, so you may experience some cycling hickups.
    Appreciate the comments and inputs and thanks to those responsible for this forum.
    God bless America. Charles St George.

  7. Great looking design. Hats off to the designer. Much of my interest in guns is how someone took design criteria and came up with a design that met or exceeded those requirement. It certainly looks like this is what happened here. I certainly like the triangle bolt. I’d love to have one. I might look at making it a shop project, but without blue prints it would be a slow process.

    Also, thanks Ian for all you do.

  8. I am planning to re introduce the Leader T2 next year and it will be manufactured in the US with a very attractive Price. Thos interested, please feel free to comment.

    Thanks all for your interest.

    • Mr. George,
      If you do redo the leader – go to the ar 15 fire control group by making your crosspins to match them (0.170 in if you use the “large pin” older one or the more common small pin (0.154) I think). Your current leader fire control group is essentially identical except for the wider pins (due to the wider receiver).

  9. George, as I’ve mentioned in the firearms blog before, I love the T2 and would like to own something like that if it was priced in my budget.

    I’m not sure how you’ll regard this but besides you, only George Kellgren of kel-tec seems to be designing simple robust firearms that are designed for low cost production. I realize some people want a gun that looks like it belongs in a video game but I like the fact that you’re designs (while they do not look ugly to me) seem to prioritize functionality over flashy looks.

    I do like your triangle bolt design a lot more than Stoner’s 7 lobe design, especially considering all 7 lugs do not take a even load, a point that the Israeli’s have taken to heart and redesigned their modern weapons with a asymmetrical 4 lug version. The simplicity and elegance of you’re 3 lug bolt should be functional for just about any caliber, Ronnie Barrett can make a .50 BMG work with that same bolt design I can’t imagine anything else would be a problem.

    Anyway, Good luck with your future endeavors!

  10. Charles
    At the right price I would defiantly be interested.
    Some features I would like to see on the new t2:
    picatinny rail in place of a carrying handle
    arm guard rails
    folding stock

  11. Mr. St George,

    It is good to hear that you intend to put the T2 back into production. I think that your design held a lot of promise.

    I own one of the early rifles and would like to be able to find a recoil buffer for it as the original one deteriorated long ago, a source of new parts would be a nice thing for us T2 owners and shooters to have.

  12. I bought one of these at a gun store in the 90’s – when AR15’s were costing an arm and a leg, and this one was just an arm.

    I particularly like the single lever to open the upper and remove the bolt, and the one screw to remove the stock, thereby shortening it a gread deal for storage.
    The carry handle is very close to picatinny and it sure looks like you could mount a scope on there, although I have never tried.
    I would change the upper/lower separation mechanism to be simpler, or captive. Losing that E-clip in the woods would be problematic.

    All that aside, mine would be for sale if the price was right.

  13. I need the “C” or “E” clip that holds the bolt and guide rods captive, mine is missing, although it still functions. I’m also missing a shim for the left guide rod that sits next to the barrel. Any parts availability?Mine also has a scope platform that attaches to the carrying handle that looks original. Bart

  14. Ok, I got a small “C” clip with ears to use as a retainer for the bolt on the right hand guide rod . I had to grind the ears off so that the assembly fit , and the bolt assembly fit far enough forward for the gun to close. There is not one on the left hand rod even though there is a slot for it. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that since you can get a generic AK for under $500, generic AR under a grand, a Leader should be $1200-$1500. Any dissenters???

  15. I have seen them advertised for sale at $5500 USD in Australia.
    Mine is listed at $5750 on http://www.texasguntrader.com.
    Search for “Leader Mark”, and you will find it.

    It’s a rare gun, and I have been told that there are collectors
    willing to pay a premium to get them.

      • Looks like they lowered the price a bit. Now it’s $5100 USD.

        Here it is: http://tinyurl.com/79zqo77

        This rifle isn’t priced based on what it can do. It’s priced
        on what it’s worth to a collector. If this guy actually puts
        this rifle back into production as he claims he wants to do,
        the value will obviously drop.

  16. By the way, if you can show me a link where this rifle has sold in the $800 – $1200 range, I would love to see it. I have searched all over, and have rarely seen them listed for sale at all.

    Only 2000 ever made it into the US. I don’t know how many are in Australia, but my guess is only a few thousand. That’s why they sell for so much. I was once approached on a rifle range by an FFL who told me he could get me whatever I wanted for the rifle. Obviously, he knew somebody who wanted it.

  17. wow, i hope Mr. St.George does start producing these again, and i hope he exports them to other countries too, i’d love to have a t2 semiauto rifle as my very first rifle.

    • George Bush Sr. banned the importation of assault rifles. I believe his intent is to produce them in the US to get around the ban. I don’t know if he has succeeded at doing this, however.

  18. I have serial # 1999

    Thanks so much for all the info on the leader. This is a wonderful source for hard to find info!

    I would be willing to sell it for $1500.

    • I have serial number 1705. But I wouldn’t part with mine for less than $3500.
      I think I paid $525 for it new back in 1986 or around that time.

  19. Leader Questions: Does the attachment at the end of the barrel qualify as a flash hider or a muzzle break? Is it removable? It’s important that I know because I’m trying to comply with California’s oppressive laws—already removed the pistol grip. Also: Did the rifle originally come with only one snap ring on the bolt guides? BTW, I can also use a bolt damper if anyone knows where to get one, or a good substitute. Would anyone be interested in legally purchasing this rifle? Excellent (NRA), serial number 15XX.

    • I own this rifle. It’s illegal in California. That’s
      why I live in Texas.

      If you look at http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/regs/genchar2
      I think you will find that the flash suppressor is just
      one of several things that qualify the Leader Mark V
      as an assault rifle.

      The only way to remove the flash suppressor is to saw
      the barrel off.

      If you do a Google image search on AR-180, you will
      find some striking similarities to the Leader Mark V.
      And yes, the AR-180 is illegal in California.

  20. I have the original owners manual, and I couldn’t find anything called a “bolt damper”. Or a “bolt guide”. I can photograph the manual and post it somewhere
    if you want to look at it. When you say “bolt damper” I think you are referring to
    what they call a “buffer” in the manual. Mine wore out years ago. Some people actually are able to make new ones at a machine shop. What I did is use some JB Weld to glue a rubber washer to the inside surface of the “action rod plate assembly”.
    Anyway, those are the names they use in the manual.

    I looked for the snap rings on my rifle. Surprisingly, there is only one snap ring. I would have thought they would have put two, because there is an indentation on the other “bolt guide”, as you call it. I believe they call it a “retainer action rod”.

  21. Thanks you for the info and for correcting my misnomers of Leader internal parts. Didn’t have a parts list so I called them as I saw them. I envy my fellow Americans who live in pro 2nd Amendment states but after nearly 60 yrs of living in California I’ll make my stand here, it’s still a beautiful state. Unfortunately the changing demographics of the voters (east coast and south-of-the-border transplants) have ruined it for us freedom-loving natives. There are still plenty of us here though as evidenced by the fact that only 10% responded to the Kali commissar’s call for AW registration.

  22. Actually, I was wrong about the flash suppressor. The manual says it can be unscrewed.
    And in the manual, they do call it a “flash suppressor”. Beats me if you will ever successfully make this rifle legal in CA. I think most certainly you would need to find a smaller magazine. The only way I think you will figure out if you successfully made it legal is to get arrested with it, and have a California judge look at it. And I don’t think you want to bother with that. You probably ought to drive to Arizona or Nevada and sell it. Get a nice pistol instead.

  23. Since the Leader isn’t listed by name on the DOJ’s 3 appendices of banned rifles,it comes down to to a generic description of “evil” features to determine the rifle’s status in Cali. Remove the pistol grip and flash suppressor and, viola ! A legally owned rifle. What’s the big crime? I would hope Cali LE have bigger fish to fry than little ol’ me. That being said,I am trying to sell it,but by my choice. Just don’t need it and don’t want to burden my wife with it when I belly up. Besides, had enough 556 fun in the Army. 12 GA Defender is my first line of home defense. BTW,hi-cap mags owned prior to 2000 are legal to have,but any transfer other than giving them to a LEO is illegal.I thought the flash hider was suppose to be removable but damn that thing’s on tight. Thanks again.

  24. Don, thanks for the offer. I’ll see what I can do with it first. I checked your ad out on Texasguntrader. Think you’ll fetch the price you’re asking? Had any offers?

    • No, I haven’t had any offers. I think about 350 people looked at it. I saw one of these listed in Australia for $5500 some months ago. I have also seen them listed in the $500 – $1000 range.
      In 1985, I think I paid $525 for it.

      About 15 years ago, I was on a rifle range and an FFL approached me and said he knew a wealthy Australian collector that would pay me whatever I wanted for it, but I declined the offer. I guess it’s just a matter of finding the right person that really wants it. The economy isn’t helping out much either. The moderator of this group thinks I put too high a price on it. But we will see. I am not in a big hurry to sell it.

      If you search for this rifle on Wikipedia, they claim only 2000 made it into the US.

  25. Looks like masterpiece is releasing the mpar 556 in 2013. I don’t know if Charels St. George is involved with company but the rifle looks to be an updated T2 with the charging handle moved back.

  26. is there any place i can go to get the blueprints of this rifle or of the ar18?

    either there isn’t or my googlefu is broken

  27. Pretty good presentation. I have a few questions. How do you disassembly the bolt? I noticed your T2 Mk5 did not have the lock washers present on the handguards. Are they missing or just removed for the video? Why are they necessary? Finally, my rifle’s flash hider is solid without the holes I’ve seen on others. Why is that? Thanks Shannon

  28. Update: sold mine out-of-state for 650.00. It sold pretty fast once I listed it and the buyer didn’t haggle over the price so they’ll probably fetch more with a patient seller. I’m legal again until the Kali gun grabbers decide to ban my other weapons, in which case I will have to leave my beloved California desert. A sad day that would be.

    • Phil, my uncle just sold his for $1200 in Arizona. His was in great shape but God only knows how many rounds had been through it. Still worked flawlessly as it was always kept clean and oiled.

  29. Ray, your uncle got a decent price for his. I was OK with what mine sold for, exactly what I paid for it many years ago. Anyway, it was time to let it go. Still miss that mean-looking little orphan though.

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