Not to be confused with the KAC SR-25, LMT MWS, LR-308, LAR-8, or other 7.62 AR variants.

Country of origin

United States of America


Armalite, Artillerie Inichtringen


Eugene Stoner, George Sullivan

Production began


Production ended

1960 (original AR-10; newer AR-10s still in production)

Weapon type

Battle rifle, Precision rifle


7.62x51mm NATO


Gas operated, Rotating bolt

Overall length

40 inches (1016 mm)

Barrel length

20 in (508 mm)


9.482 lbs (4.31 kg) empty

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

5, 10, 15, 20, 25 rounds

Cyclic rate

700 rounds per minute

The AR-10 rifle is an AR-style rifle which fires the 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester round. It was designed by Eugene Stoner while he was with the Armalite division of the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation.


Originally building firearms as a hobby, Eugene Stoner and George Sullivan, Chief Patent Counsel for Lockheed, began drawing up designs for a rifle that differed significantly from the conventional rifles of the time period, which used predominantly wood and steel for construction. The rifle was to use aircraft-grade aluminum alloys and aeronautic plastics in place of standard wooden furniture.[1]

The original design featured an integral carrying handle and a slot for the charging handle, mounted underneath the carrying handle.

The design caught the attention of the Army in 1955, and was submitted for trials. The AR-10 failed, however, when the aluminum/steel composite barrel burst (the aluminum barrel was included, over Stoner's objections) during a torture test, and the T-44 was chosen over it. However, the rifle left a good enough impression that it was remembered when the Army decided to find a lighter rifle chambered in an intermediate caliber.

A manufacturing license for the original AR-10 was sold to Artillerie Inrichtingen (A.I.), a Dutch arms manufacturer. Several nations (Sudan, Cuba, Portugal, among others) put in orders for the weapon, intending it to be issued to their respective militaries in limited quantities. However, there were several delays in getting the tooling and production set up at A.I., and Fairchild/ArmaLite did not renew Artillerie Inrichtingen's license to manufacture the AR-10. A.I. ceased production, discouraged at the lack of sales and restrictions on exports imposed by the Dutch government, and left the arms manufacturing business altogether. At this point, there were only around 10,000 AR-10 rifles made, most of them select-fire rifles. Remaining parts and literature were sold, scrapped, or simply discarded.[2]

Years later, Eagle Arms bought the name and rights to Armalite, and began manufacturing their own variant of the AR-10 rifle. This AR-10, however, while visually similar to the original, was more of a scaled-up version of the AR-15 rifle (more specifically, the A2 variant).

Design details

The AR-10 is a lightweight, magazine-fed, gas-operated, air-cooled, shoulder-fired weapon chambered in .308. Like the AR-15, it features a gas piston system which operates on expanding gas, using the pressure to cycle the weapon. Many parts are interchangeable with the AR-15, including the receiver extension, the action spring, the buffer, and most other small parts. The upper receiver, the magazine well, and the magazines themselves are longer to accommodate the longer .308 Winchester cartridge.

The old AR-10 waffle magazines and the newer AR-10 magazines (which are modified M14 magazines) are not interchangeable.

Operating system

Unlike the original AR-10, the new AR-10 is a semi-automatic rifle; it lacks an auto sear and other components that would make an AR rifle fully automatic. The gas system is the same length in a rifle as it is in an AR-15; a carbine AR-10 gas system has a length equivalent to a mid-length AR-15. The AR-10 has a spring-loaded firing pin, instead of a free-floating pin like other AR rifles.

For more information, please see AR-15.

Manual of arms

This section discusses the 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester AR-10s. For other calibers, simply adjust the magazine capacity as needed; everything else is the same.

The AR-10 and its variants are lightweight, gas-operated, magazine-fed, air-cooled, shoulder-fired weapons. They feed from box magazines, with a capacity of 20 rounds.

AR-10s feature a bolt catch mechanism that holds the bolt open upon firing the last round in the magazine.

The magazine is inserted straight into the magazine well, and firmly pushed until a "click" is heard. Give the magazine a slight tug to make sure it does not come out. If the bolt is locked open, simply press the serrated "paddle" portion of the bolt catch in with the thumb to close the bolt and chamber a cartridge. If the bolt is closed, pull the charging handle to the rear and let it slingshot forward. The forward assist should not be needed unless the weapon isn't properly lubricated and is dirty.

At this point, turn the selector switch to FIRE, and fire the weapon.

Once the magazine is empty, the bolt will lock open. It is good practice to always check the chamber for any obstructions prior to reloading.


There are several variants of the AR-10 rifle.


The AR-10A is the AR-10 model modified to take 7.62x51mm NATO PMAGs. It is otherwise identical to the AR-10A4.


The AR-10B is more or less a copy of the original AR-10, with similar brown plastic furniture and the shorter A1 (AR-15A1) buttstock.



AR-10A2 rifle

This model looks like a scaled-up M16A2 derivative. It features the same A2-style furniture and sights, and a slightly up-sized charging handle to accommodate for the larger gas key on the bolt carrier.



AR-10A4 rifle

The AR-10A4 has the "flat-top" A4 receiver with a rail instead of the carrying handle. May feature rails in place of the handguards for mounting of optics, lights, backup iron sights, and other accessories.


Armalite AR-10(T)

AR-10(T) rifle

The AR-10(T) is a match-grade rifle, with match barrel, the Armalite two-stage trigger and A4-type flat-top upper receiver.

AR-10 derivatives

The following rifles are derivatives of the original design:



  2. Pikula, Sam (Major), The ArmaLite AR-10, pp. 88-90