The AR10: the Great Compromiser

The AR10: the Great Compromiser

The AR10 is a rifle that's often overshadowed by its younger sibling, the AR15, even though the celebrated three-oh-hate packs a punch like a sledgehammer while the AR10 maintains the accuracy the platform is known for.

Between the two ARs, only the AR10 has seen any military service. Troops on three continents have adapted the long-barreled large caliber as either a service rifle or a DMR. Unlike its little 5.56 brother, the AR10 has seen some real action in wars like the Portuguese Colonial War, the Sudanese Civil War, and the Indonesian Invasion of East Timor.

An early Portuguese contract AR-10.


The Older AR Brother

Now, what sets this rifle apart from the AR15? Well, first and foremost, it sports a larger caliber, the .308 Winchester. That means when you're out hunting for deer or hogs, this rifle unleashes a wallop that leaves its smaller caliber counterparts in the dust. It's like the difference between a firecracker and a thunderstorm - the .308 packs more stopping power and has an impressive range.

The AR10 also seems to be the great compromise in the age-old debate between the AK-47 and the AR15. The argument about the two rifles has been long and heated, with the AK-47 being known for its power and the AR15 for its precision. Enter the AR10, a perfect blend of both worlds. The AR10 has more power than the AK-47 thanks to its larger round and more range than the AR15.

So why is the 5.56 variant more popular? The AR10 faced a hurdle on its path to military service, all thanks to a fateful blunder by George Sullivan, who was then president of ArmaLite. Against the wishes of Eugene Stoner, the rifle's creator himself, Sullivan insisted on a prototype with a composite steel and aluminum barrel. The barrel exploded during testing, forcing officials at Springfield Army to choose the M14 as America’s next service rifle instead.

2nd Infantry Division soldiers with an SR-25 (a military version of the AR10) and a Mk14 EBR.


Of course, modern AR10 manufacturers have learned from past mistakes. Nowadays, these firearms flaunt nitride or chrome-lined barrels that ensure top-notch corrosion resistance and improved barrel life, making catastrophic explosions a thing of the past.

Besides that, another reason why the military was hesitant to embrace the AR10 was its excessive full-auto recoil. However, civilians mostly shoot in semi-auto anyway, so that's not much of an issue for us!

Many cite the AR10’s size and weight as reasons for their reluctance to buy. Older models were indeed bulkier, but thanks to innovations and the wonders of lighter materials, some AR10s are now as svelte as ever, sporting lightweight magnesium alloy receivers and barrels with the same lengths as their AR15 counterparts. A modern AR-10 can either be a lightweight room-sweeper or a long range gun, depending on how its owner mods it.

The AR-10 and DPMS LR308

When it comes to purchasing parts for the AR10, in one's research, one might come across the issue of platform compatibility, with many AR10 owners asking if the parts they're getting are for an LR308 or an actual AR10.

To understand the confusion, we need to delve into the history of these rifles. The AR-10 was originally developed by Eugene Stoner in the 1950s for Armalite. This design was the precursor to the smaller AR-15. When Armalite sold the rights to Colt, the AR-10 design continued to evolve independently.

DPMS (Defense Procurement Manufacturing Services) later developed the LR-308, which is heavily based on the original AR-10 design but with several modifications. These changes were made to simplify production, reduce costs, and improve functionality, leading to the emergence of a new standard that has become more common than the original AR-10.

AR-10 parts and LR-308 parts are not 100% compatible. The two rifles have different upper and lower receiver designs. The AR-10 typically uses Armalite's proprietary design, whereas the DPMS LR-308 follows its own pattern. This affects the fit and function of parts such as the takedown pins and the height of the receivers.

While the BCGs of both platforms are similar, there are differences in the dimensions and the way they interact with the barrel extension. A DPMS LR-308 BCG might not function properly in an AR-10 and vice versa.

However, in the civilian market, there are far more LR-308 parts than actual AR-10 parts, yet they are still labeled "AR-10." This is because many manufacturers adopted this pattern due to its popularity and the broad availability of compatible parts and accessories.

The AR-10 name is more recognized term among consumers, despite the parts being specifically designed for the DPMS LR-308. This can lead to confusion, but it also ensures that parts reach a larger audience.

Buyers should always check the specifications and compatibility notes from the manufacturer. Look for mentions of "DPMS pattern" or "AR-10 pattern" to ensure the part matches your rifle.

A versatile rifle like the AR-10 is not complete withhout a versatile optic. The Citadel 1-10x24 CR1 riflescope from Sightmark is a perfect scope is a Low-Power Variable Optic (LPVO) tailor-made for short and long-range encounters. It's the perfect partner for your trusty AR10, completing your arsenal and making you the envy of your fellow shooters.

The AR10, often overshadowed but never outshined, is a true beast of a rifle that can handle anything from hunting to room-clearing to combat. It's the embodiment of power and precision, a true masterpiece in the world of firearms.

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POSTED BY Jacky Rankin ·
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