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Book Review: V21N10

By Dean Roxby

The ArmaLite Story, Finely Researched Tome Chronicle’s AR-10’s Origins

Collector Grade Publications is well known for producing high-quality firearms books, and this title does not disappoint. Author Joseph Evans does a fine job of detailing the history of the AR-10 from the earliest days of ArmaLite, through to its use in actual combat in various hotspots.

From the formation of the company S-F Projects by brothers-in-law George Sullivan and Charles Dorchester in Hollywood, CA, through to its acquisition by Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation—not to mention the chance meeting of Eugene Stoner and Sullivan at a local gun range—the history of ArmaLite is well documented.

Sullivan and Dorchester’s pre-ArmaLite design is covered; the S-F Para-Sniper rifle was a bolt-action firearm that employed an aluminum barrel with a stainless-steel liner and a fiberglass stock. This construction was quite revolutionary in the late 40s and early 50s.

Several early prototypes from the fertile mind of Eugene Stoner are also profiled. The M-5, M-6 and M-7 semi-auto rifles each earn several pages. These rifles are fairly traditional in appearance, with a drop-heel wood stock. They did, however, use a rotating bolt and barrel extension, along with an aluminum receiver. Chapter One ends with the Stoner M-8: “the first AR-10.” While it is far removed from the final product, the origins of the AR-10 family can clearly be seen in this prototype.

Chapter Two starts with a description of the various ArmaLite AR-prefix firearms released by the newly formed ArmaLite division of Fairchild. The Para-Sniper bolt action sporting rifle was now known as the AR-1. The AR-5A was a single shot bolt-action survival rifle for USAF aircrew, while the somewhat similar-looking AR-7 Explorer semi-auto .22 rimfire was marketed to civilians. A closer look at the early prototype versions of the AR-10 then follows. The M-8 (Also referred to as the X-01), the X-02 and X-03 (Later named the AR-10A) are detailed. It is interesting to see how the lineage progresses toward what we all recognize as the typical AR-10.

Chapter Three covers the testing of the AR-10B rifles submitted to Springfield Armory in 1956/57. As the...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N10 (December 2017)
and was posted online on October 20, 2017

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