Letters to SAR: August 1998

By Dan Shea

Dear SAR

I’m not basically machine gun oriented, and as far as owning and shooting one, were I able to afford it, I would still be prevented from it by legal reasons: South Carolina is not permitting its citizens to do so. But I am interested in a few specific firearms on the technical and historical level (Armalite AR-10 and colt AR-15 series by extension; M-1 carbine and the M-2 by extension; FG-42) who, being selective fire, fall in the “machine gun” category.

So, not too long ago, I accidentally saw a “Machine Gun News” magazine ad in Shotgun News showing the front page of one of their issues, with the picture of an Armalite AR-10 on it, and containing Dan Shea’s “Stoner Chronicles” article. Since the AR-10 specifically, Armalite and Stoner in general, are a prime area of my interest in firearms, I soon had ordered the pertinent back issues, unaware that this magazine was about to cease publishing. By sheer accident, again, I then spotted your magazine ad with the front page showing articles on Eugene Stoner. Again, I ordered back issues as I discovered more articles i would be interested in, to finally subscribe to your new magazine. Your magazine is well put together and of first rate quality, and I find many interesting articles even though they don’’ relate to my primary field of interest.

I particularly enjoyed the January 98 issue (Vol. 1 No 4), presenting a chronological display of Eugene Stoners work. There is other printed material around with much the same information, but your article is presented in such a way as to make for easy comparison. Unfortunately, on page 26, things got a bit garbled; the lower AR-10 is in fact the transitional model; the middle one is the Portuguese (also known as the NATO) model, as evidenced by the new two piece hidden operating/charging handle, the new front sight pedestal with the left side mounted gas adjustment, and the bayonet lug on top of the barrel. To those of us who are in the know, this is a minor mistake as we recognize that the pictures have been accidentally inverted. But for those who only now are getting interested in the subject, this will eventually lead to confusion. But all in all, an excellent article?


Dear Tony,

You are absolutely correct. These photos were transposed in the printing process. You have a sharp eye and we are pleased that you are enjoying the magazine.


Dear SAR,

Just a quick note about the “Mystery Gun” section of SAR. (May 98, Vol.1 No.8) Here’s my best shot. The gun in question appears to be a Beretta “Super Sport” .22 cal. Rifle. (There was also another model - the Olympia, a modified version made for use by the Italian National Rifle Association).

I don’t think it’s a factory gun. It’s had the barrel shortened, and the stock and trigger mechanism has been replaced with what appears to be a home made setup. I’m guessing it’s the work of a class 2 (or someone on a Form 1 before ’86) here in the U.S.

This would explain why Mr. Beretta himself was unable to identify it? How’d I do?

P.S. Keep up the great work, the magazine is looking great!


Dear Mike,

Yours is the best guess so far. We are still soliciting input on this gun as we have not gotten any decisive answers yet. Thank you for the good words on the magazine. It is still our goal to make it better each month and we need input from readers like you to gauge our progress. Thank you for taking the time to write.


Dear SAR,

I want to congratulate you and the writers of Small Arms Review for putting together an excellent publication that provides the class three and military styled small arms shooting community with accurate, comprehensive and informative articles. I especially enjoy the articles on semi-autos because I am an avid collector of these weapons and because Massachusetts is not crazy about the private ownership of NFA weapons. I hope to see some articles on some of the older and more exotic semi-autos like the HAC-7 and other semi’s that were not copies of military weapons.


Dear Brian.

You will be pleased to know that we will indeed be covering semi-auto firearms in SAR. We have lined up photo shoots with some of the major manufacturers already, and we will be covering their product lines with the same detail as our M-16 ID Guide (SAR Vol. 1 No. 5 through Vol. 1 No. 9) and the Stoner Designs (SAR Vol. 1 No. 4) Without losing sight of our obvious content, we do feel it is important to cover the many aspects of small arms when they may be of interest to our readership.


This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N11 (August 1998)
and was posted online on February 10, 2017


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