AR-10 and Boston's Gun Bible - Opinions Sought


February 13, 2006, 12:01 PM
Hello Everyone,

For quite a few months I have been planning to have an AR-10 built to my specifications and then Saturday I got a copy of Boston's Gun Bible and read his views on the various .308 Battle Rifles. In the span of two editions of this book he goes from passionately in love with the AR-10 to one of its biggest detractors.

To be honest I was rather surprised as it was my understanding that a properly built AR-10 needed about the same amount of cleaning and maintenance as a normal AR-15 to be utterly relabile. As I already have a heavily used Colt AR-15 from the early 1990s this did not bother me.

So now I have a gunsmith who has built several excellent guns for me telling me the AR-10 and AR-15 he builds are about the same in relailibity and maintenance requirements versus a well respect book and author claiming the opposite.

In all fairness, the author's comments are based only on the Armalite version of the rifle while the rifle my gunsmith and I are discussing would be built from the ground up by him using a Krieger match grade barrel and the highest quality parts. Further, the specific problem areas the author points out are weak extraction and ejection, including chronic bolt carrier to receiver galling. Parts Breakage occurs frequently with the gas rings, firing pins, and extractors. The hammer spring is too weak and the AR-10 simply burns its ammo dirtier than an AR-15 even though they both used the direct gas impingment system. He suggests that many of these problems do not show up for awhile, but eventually do.

That said, has anyone here really shot any make of AR-10 (Armalite, KAC, DPMS, custom shop guns, etc.) extensively for several thousand rounds that can comment on the gun's reliability, ruggedness, and the author's comments?

How does its relability and routine maintenance compare to a well made AR-15?

Thank you for your time and attention.

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February 13, 2006, 12:26 PM
From everything I've read the general concensus is that the AR-10 and copies makes one fine target/hunting rifle. A full blown battle rifle it is not, too finicky and maintainence intensive.

Molon Labe
February 13, 2006, 12:30 PM
A buddy of mine bought a new Armalite AR-10 last year. After all was said-and-done, he had over $2K in it. :(

His rifle is like a Corvette... it's a high performance machine that is constantly in the shop. Something is always wrong with it (spring, seal, etc.). In fact, I think it's in the shop more often than not. :uhoh:

I've heard similar stories on-line.

Yea, it might be an accurate rifle. But it's too finely tuned to be a real battle rifle. I'll take my $600 FAL over it any day...

February 13, 2006, 12:32 PM
Hi SnakeEater and Molon Labe,

I have seen this as well, but then again the U.S. Army and Navy SEALS have adopted Knight's SR-25 (an AR-10 clone) with a 20-inch match grade barrel as a semiautomatic sniper rifle.

So apparently it is good enough for this specialized use.

Perhaps this is an Armalite quality control issue and not the design itself.

February 13, 2006, 01:24 PM
I've never read Boston's Gun Bible - I thought he recommended M14 clones?

The AR-10s I've seen have been pretty much all tricked out target rifles. Methinks most people going for a defense-oriented .308 get one of the big three - G3, FAL, or M14 clone. Of course, that might just be because the AR-10s are so expensive.

February 13, 2006, 02:19 PM
Keep in mind that Rock River Arms will begin producing their version of the .308 AR (they are calling it the LAR-10) this year (it's already in their current catalog)...

And it's designed to take cheap FAL mags...

And it's designed to sell for quite a bit less than the Armalite .308 ARs...

Guess what I'll be purchasing later this year?


Zak Smith
February 13, 2006, 03:10 PM
AR10's are over gassed.

Every AR-10 I saw being used at RM3G-2005 (for He-Man division) took a major dump during the match.

Leitner-Wise has an interesting piston conversion.

The SR25's I have seen have been reliable.

I know a guy with a bone stock Armalite AR-10 with the light barrel. It runs 100% as far as I know.

In talking with some other 3Gun guys this last weekend, we concluded that the AR10, as it is today, is not reliable enough for practical shooting.

For a 308 rifle outfitted with practical optics and good ergonomics, I have high hopes for the Leitner-Wise AR10's and the SCAR-H.

ETA: The AR10 has a lot more recipriocating mass than the AR15. The only positive effect of this is that it can truck through a lot more fouling/gunk than an AR15 can.


February 13, 2006, 07:29 PM
The AR-10 outshoots every other .308 semi auto out there accuracy wise.

Stick a match chamber on there and you start having problems.

Even the stock rifles can be finicky, and magazines are a royal pain in the rear. Dealing with Armalite is also a royal pain in the rear.

I keep hoping that Armalite will shape up, but I suspect aftermarket manufacturers will have to carry the load.

That said, I have hope for the platform, at least until some real competition comes out.

I still prefer the AR-15.

February 13, 2006, 07:46 PM
I purchased a stripped Eagle lower, stripped Eagle upper, bolt and bolt-carrier group. Gunsmith bought and installed all the little parts.

My gunsmith machined a barrel in 260 Remington from a 6.5mm Lilja blank.

I agree AR-10's are typically overgassed. I'd intended to run an extra-long gas tube, but wound up with with a smaller gas hole in the barrel instead.

The only problem that really stands out in my mind is that some of my 20rd magazines, when loaded to 20rds, tend to load the 1st round OK, then barf on the 2nd round, and then run fine through the rest of the magazine.

It groups great, and makes nice little piles of brass, just to the right of me.

The amount of reciprocating mass always surprises me. With the Bennie Cooley tactical comp, the recoil is negligible but you really notice that bolt carrier group moving around.


Zak Smith
February 13, 2006, 07:52 PM
The AR-10 outshoots every other .308 semi auto out there accuracy wise.

That said, I have hope for the platform, at least until some real competition comes out.
Agreed about accuracy. It has good ergonomics and the best optics mounting platform vs. the other 308 semis out there too. Trigger options are many.

But all that's pointless if you can't grab 10 of the rifles and have them all run reliably.

With regard to the platform.. I would like to see a LOT of reciprocating mass removed from the system. There is no necessary need for it, just look at the Garand or M14. With the regular gas impingement system, there needs to be less gas, and possibly move the port forward. If the L-W system runs as well as they say, it would be the way to go.

February 13, 2006, 10:17 PM
Boston's main recommendations are the FAL and M14. Personally, I'd look at the FAL as a MBR. If you want a highly accurate rifle, you may be better served by a bolt gun.

February 13, 2006, 10:54 PM
I've got 4-5k rounds through my AR-10 16" carbine and the ONLY problems I've had with it have been magazine related. Once I got those straightened out - with Armalite's help - it has run great. I shoot mil-surp almost exclusively out of it and it still groups fairly well. When I shoot some Fed GMM, it groups even better. I took a small buck with it this past season, using iron sights and 150 gr ballistic tips.

Maybe I got one of the "good" ones...? :scrutiny:

February 14, 2006, 07:37 PM
Some magazines work OK, some do not.

Or it could be a problem with the rifle.

Really do not know, and there are not many AR-10 shooters around here to ask.

I put my AR-10 project on the back burner anyway, due to financial reasons.

February 14, 2006, 10:14 PM
The way i read it(Bostons Gun Bible) he liked the idea but reliabilty was not very good.
I was also under the impression that he has shot all of the guns he rates, or has extenisve knowledge of them.
I don't agree with him on all of the things but thats understandable,i do feel that he is fairly honest about his ratings, i bought my FAL based on his recomendation and i have shot an M1a and it was ok but when i shot my FAL i was hooked:D

Zak Smith
February 14, 2006, 10:52 PM
The way i read it(Bostons Gun Bible) he liked the idea but reliabilty was not very good.
I was also under the impression that he has shot all of the guns he rates, or has extenisve knowledge of them.
Where can we find a shooting-related curriculum vitae for Mr. Boston?

February 15, 2006, 08:30 PM
Zak i don't understand greek to well sorry, could you please explain.

February 15, 2006, 09:35 PM
Zak asked where we can read about Bostons shooting related resume.

February 16, 2006, 08:57 AM
I'm still convinced Boston T. Party is actually Timothy Mullins,,,,,

Weird reading and quite entertaining.
Good advice in some areas and a lot of personal opinion in others,,,,
(I personally prefer Glock 9mms to any and all .40 caliber pistols!):)

February 16, 2006, 01:39 PM
After sitting down and talking with my gunsmith my confidence is restored. He patiently explained the difference to me and I will trust him as he has never steered me wrong in the sixteen years we have done business together.

Essentially it boils down to the quality of the parts being used to assemble the rifle, the care with which they are assembled, and the ammunition used while testing the rifle. It is these same reasons that the KAC SR-25 captured the U.S. Army and Navy SEALS semiautomatic sniper contracts and the Armalite did not. It is also the reason why my rifle will cost more than an Armalite rifle off of the assembly line.

The interesting part of Boston's AR-10 experience is that he never mentions consulting a knowledgable gunsmith before throwing the idea out of the window. With the many AR savvy and highly experienced gunsmiths out there this is something of a surprise.

February 16, 2006, 03:57 PM
Perhaps at some point having custom work done makes the rifle cost prohibitive. It seems like Boston wants something that is reliable and field functional without needing extensive modification.

February 16, 2006, 04:07 PM
Stinky i don't know where you can find his shooting resume, it was more from reading his book that felt that way i dunno?

I interpet things a little differently sometimes, but the good thing is everyone is entitled to their opinion and disscusion is good because you can learn something some times:D

Harry Tuttle
February 16, 2006, 04:29 PM
How do JPs 308s survive competition shoots?

February 16, 2006, 04:29 PM
That is true, 1911Ron.

Discussion is a good thing. I have learned more about guns and shooting in discussions with knowledgeable people in and out of the firearms business.

February 16, 2006, 04:56 PM
My understanding is that RRA has slightly redesigned (enlarged) the rear of the AR-10 bolt to prevent some of the problems that have been reported in the Bushmaster BAR-10s...

I've also heard that they will produce a bolt that can be retrofited into the BAR-10s...

Off the top of my head, I can't remember where I "heard" all this, so it's probably all just internet BS (rumor) :)...


February 16, 2006, 08:15 PM
Discussion is a great thing. That's why I love THR, and about 6 other awesome forums. I find BGB a constant source of information and a great reference for 'streamlining' and planning ones purchases.
Having met and shot with Boston, he does have extensive knowledge of the various weapon systems. He is a good shooting instructor and a true patriot.

February 16, 2006, 10:29 PM
So far, so good. Stock "preban" AR10, 20" barrel. Well, OK, it's not totally stock, I did put in a RRA NM trigger.
But otherwise, plain jane. Shoots great, runs great, feels great.

It likes fully loaded cartridges, the hotter the better. All that mass can cause it to short-cycle on underloaded rounds.

I actually prefer it to the AR15 because I enjoy the gentle shove in the shoulder more than the sharp pop.

It has taken deer at 225 yds and maybe it'll reach out and touch a hog this weekend.:rolleyes:

Headless Thompson Gunner
February 16, 2006, 11:04 PM
A good AR-10 is a thing of true beauty. The AR-10 has better ergonomics, sights, trigger, and shootability than any other military grade 308.

All rifle designs can have problems if they aren't built correctly. How many people have seen a Century Arms FAL or G3 that won't work properly? It doesn't mean that all FALs and G3s are unreliable. It just shows that they have to be built properly in order to work properly.

The AR-10 is the same way. The AR-10 design is perfectly reliable. But ARs are unforgiving of manufacturing flaws. If any parts leave the assemply line out of spec there's a good chance to gun won't work.

Buy the AR-10 from a reputable manufacturer. If it doesn't work, send it back to the factory and tell them to get it right. There's no reason a good AR-10 can't be as reliable as any other quality semiauto rifle.

February 17, 2006, 06:20 AM
When Boston taught me how to shoot; AR-10's were 3rd on his list, after the M1A and FAL.

A good AR-10 is great, the problem is getting a good AR-10.

February 17, 2006, 01:51 PM
any thoughts as to reliability ? I know they aren't exactly ar-10 but similar..

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