29 Comments

  1. Considering the big bureaucratic mess, I don’t blame the West Germans for adopting the G3. What would happen if a bunch of East German conscripts with Kalashnikovs were to jump over the Berlin Wall and into this guy’s firing zone in an attempt to bum-rush him?

    • They did, but are difficult to find, now. A few others were built from parts kits on semi-auto receivers. I had a Portuguese kit built on a Sendra receiver (semi-auto only) some years back. It was fun to shoot, but I wound up trading it for a Sig PE 57. I wish I still had it. It was an interesting design and very “modern” for its time. Overall, the AR-10 was the “shape of things to come,” especially with the introduction of the 5.56 version. (Let’s be honest, having shot M14s, G3s, and FALs, none of the 7.62 battle rifles are pleasant to shoot in full auto.) Oddly enough, 7.62×51 ARs are really popular right now. My father (who hated “assault rifles” just bought a POF for deer hunting, due to its light weight and low recoil.) I also have to agree with the caption. I get a kick out of people getting a “lightweight AR” with enough rails to set up a model train set and hang 10 pounds of gadgets on it. The older I get the more I admire simplicity when it comes to lugging a rifle around.

    • The “new” Armalite is the AR-10B. You can still find them from time to time. They have a one-piece charging handle like the transitional or Sudan version, but none of the parts interchange with the original AR-10.

      The Knight’s SR-25 actually has more original AR-10 DNA in it (prototype was a hacked Dutch AR-10), but uses all AR-15 lower internals.

      The original AR-10 parts are all similar to the earliest AR-15 parts, but larger. ISTR that the pivot and takedown pins are 0.300″ vice the -15’s 0.250″ for example.

      The semis that are around are mostly built on Porto kits. Most of the Portuguese guns were used very hard and a lot of them had wood replacement stocks. There were at least two makers of lowers, used in the 70s and 80s to make semis on original parts kits. Sendra made steel lowers and H&H made billet aluminum ones (not forgings). The H&H ones have a tendency to bow out a little as there’s really not a lot of material in the magwell area. It hasn’t seemed to affect function, but makes me suspect they used 6061 and not 7075 alloy.

      The Sudanese style charging handle can get too hot to handle. I haven’t had that problem with the very clever Portuguese one. The Portuguese uppers were serial numbered, the Sudanese were not. Both Sendra and H&H made lowers numbered to the kit upper so you have faux-“matching” guns.

      Accessories, are rare, parts nonexistent, and magazines, once common, are now pricey. So are the guns. You can get a full-auto AR10 for well under $20k but budget $3-4k for a good semiauto, and $100 per extra mag. You might be able to adapt SR-25, Magpul, or DMPS mags to the original AR-10 — I haven’t needed to as I have enough mags for now.

  2. I owned a Portuguese pattern of the AR-10. It was a very well-made rifle and as stated, amazingly light in weight. But, that translated into a miserable weapon in F/A fire. I recall being very excited to bring it to the range in Mesa, and firing the rounds in semi, and then rotating the selector to F/A at the 90o, yes, its straight up to fire, different from our AR-15s, and blasted a burst of 3 rounds, with the second and third rounds missing the target set at 20meters! It wasn’t a fun gun in auto. I kept it for another decade,and sold it to a collector, out of state.
    I really don’t see any reason to own it other than for a cool Barbeque gun, to show off to friends, and I’ve become much more selective on which firearms are investments, and which belong in a museum.
    Its definitely, a Forgotten weapon of notice, in regards to development of almost all American small arms, we’ve used for the past 60 years.

    • I gather that Stoner considered forward assists to be a thoroughly bad idea – how to get a mis shapen round well and truly stuck in a hot and dirty chamber.

      • There were also issues with the retaining latch on the cocking lever. The first AR 15 prototypes had a similar setup, but it was a weak point in the design. I have a photo of an early AR 10 somewhere that has a rear-mounted cocking knob. One can find photos from the C. Reed Knight collection all over the internet. He has managed to acquire most of the AR 10 and AR 15 variations, including numerous prototypes. Some of the variations, particularly the muzzle brakes/moderators are particularly interesting.

    • Awkward to use, requires tilting the rifle top inboard for most people of normal strength to get that heavy bolt to move against the recoil spring. Also a long slot which facilitates mud/dirt/dust intrusion.

      However, it is fully ambidextrous and doesn’t snag on clothing or anything else. No latch required, just a ball/detent arrangement to keep it from flopping around.

  3. Interesting to see that this particular AR-10 is an early original model from Artillerie Inrichtingen of Holland, complete with top-mounted charging handle within the carrying handle, and 20-round stamped-aluminum “disposable” waffle-style magazine. It is definitely not a Portuguese model as those had the later forward bolt assist device, as Richard has pointed out. I also believe Denny is correct in saying that the top-mounted charging handle resulted in a lot of heat transfer from the bolt / bolt carrier underneath, making it distinctly uncomfortable to operate after prolonged firing. One by-product of this lesson in design was the relocation of the charging handle in the later M-16 / AR-15 to the familiar center rear location on the upper receiver ( apart from considerations concerning ambidextrous use ).

  4. In the Netherlands itself, the FAL remained favorite as well for many more years until the US turned up the pressure, But even now, the Netherlands never bought a US made AR or derivative.

  5. From a German standpoint an extremely rare photo. Thank you for sharing it. (I assume it is from a Dutch source.)

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