ArmaLite has been in business developing and
producing weapons for the military and civilian markets since the mid-1950s. While going
through a few changes in both management and location, ArmaLite has survived to become one
of the best manufacturers of the most prolific rifle design in the free
world: the AR-15.
Developed within the fertile mind of ArmaLite's
Chief Engineer, Eugene Stoner, in the late 1950s, the AR-15 has evolved into a family of
superb weapons serving the U.S. military and many of its allies for the last 35 years, including,
but not limited to, the M-16, M-16A1, M-16A2, and the latest M-4.
What many shooters do not know is that the
AR-15 was developed at the request of the U.S. military after ArmaLite's submission of an earlier
rifle into the Army rifle trials of the mid-50s. The Army was seeking a replacement for the M1 Garand, and ArmaLite's entry was the AR-10. The Army ended up adopting
the Springfield T-44, giving it the designation of M-14. Had
ArmaLite been able to convince the Army brass of the advantages of Stoner's design, we might
have never seen the M-14. The original AR-10 was lighter and made from
modern materials, but was most likely too advanced for the military mindset at the time.
The current AR-10 is offered in both .243 Winchester caliber and the original 7.62 x 51,
also known as the .308 Winchester. ArmaLite offers the AR-10 in
several different configurations. They have rifles built specifically
for hunting, target, and social work. The version received by Gunblast for review in this article
would serve well for all three purposes.
Upon opening the package, the most striking
quality of this rifle is the finish. It is finished in Realtree's
"Advantage" camouflage pattern, which has been expertly applied to the entire rifle, with
the exception of a few small parts. The way in which the finish is applied gives a continuation
of pattern over the complete rifle, with no change in pattern between the various parts of the
assembled gun. In other words; the weapon was finished as a complete unit. As can
be seen in the photos, the Advantage pattern works quite well to camouflage the weapon. ArmaLite also
offers the rifle in the Realtree "Hardwoods" pattern, which has more gray in the finish, as
opposed to the greens and browns of the Advantage pattern. For an all-around camo
pattern, I think that the Realtree Advantage is the better of the two, at least for my area of the
world. The way in which the finish is applied, even to the smallest of parts, is absolutely
flawless, and greatly exceeded my expectations.
The version of the AR-10 which I received is
referred to as the AR-10A2, meaning that it wears a twenty inch heavy barrel (HBAR), and
has the non-removable carry handle with the excellent A2-style adjustable battle sights, and
the standard trigger. The fit between the upper and lower receivers was
tight and well-fitted. The AR-10A2 is a good general purpose rifle,
weighing in at nine pounds and thirteen ounces, and an overall length of 44 inches. The rifle
balances well and is easy to carry with the built-in handle.
The AR-10 was fired with both military and
civilian ammunition. Functioning through the entire test was flawless. The rifle fed, fired, and
ejected all ammunition without a hitch. The ejection pattern was consistent and did not
damage the cases in any way, making it easy to pick up the fired brass for reloading. Felt
recoil was very manageable due to the excellent muzzle brake and weight of the rifle.
For accuracy testing, I mounted a 4 to 16 power
Tasco target scope onto the rifle with a handle-mount Picatinny rail and Weaver-style
rings. All testing was done in hazy, humid weather with a temperature of 86 degrees, at an
elevation of approximately 600 feet. Accuracy with Lake City Arsenal military ball ammo
grouped into the two-inch range at 100 yards.
The best groups fired were with Federal Gold Match ammo, consistently producing groups of
three quarters of an inch. This is great accuracy for rifle of this type. Bear in mind that this is not
ArmaLite's dedicated target rifle, but a rugged and reliable tactical weapon. A
weapon of this type capable of shooting 3/4 inch groups, with a cartridge that can penetrate hard targets, has a
real future as a police tactical or military sniper rifle. The AR-10A2 is also capable of serving as
an excellent hunting rifle, that will give the local game warden nervous ulcers when you pull the
rifle from its case. The AR-10 also has the accuracy and speed to perform well in target
matches of the tactical variety.
Overall, we were very impressed with the
ArmaLite rifle. The list price on the AR-10A2 with the Realtree finish is approximately $1535
and comes with two ten-round magazines and a lifetime warranty. While not cheap, the weapon
is still priced well below its nearest competition.
For an accurate, reliable, and
well-built rifle that can reach out and penetrate both hard and soft
targets at long range, the ArmaLite AR-10A2 can fill the need, with durability and fast repeat
shots. The ArmaLite can also use modified military M-14 twenty-round magazines for a
Check out all of ArmaLite's products on the web
at: www.armalite.com, or call them toll free at:
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