Gene Stoner: Legend vs. Reality


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Badger Arms
May 24, 2009, 09:48 PM
Don't get me wrong, the AR-10 was a really great design, as was the AR-16. The problem is, that virtually everything BAD about the AR-15 (later M16) was contributed by Stoner and everything GOOD was contributed by others. Let's run down the features Stoner patented:

1) Gas system: This was purely Stoner's design. It piped the gas along the side of the barrel... Stoner didn't think of putting it on top. The gas system is the most criticized feature on the AR-15/M16. Though it allows a free-floated barrel and is almost half the weight of competing piston designs, it was also finicky with the type of powder used, clogging with powders that traditional pistons didn't skip a beat with. It heated the bolt and bolt carrier excessively and led to premature failure of extractor springs, extractors, and ejector springs.

2) Aluminum magazine: Originally intended as disposable magazines to hold only 20 rounds, Stoner took the logical approach and created a straight-body aluminum magazine with waffle-reinforcements. This didn't last, but the straight mag-well DID last and is the current source of many problems getting magazines that just work.

3) Triangular handguards: Fragile, complex, these had two different halves and, though they had a neat flat surface for shooting off of sandbags, they had tabs around the cooling holes that constantly broke. Of course, they lasted a while and hindsight is 20/20.

4) Trigger mechanism: Somewhat derivative, the narrow receiver in this area made later burst mechanisms more difficult to implement. The 180 degree rotation of the safety is unnecessary and awkward.

5) Cartridge: To be fair to the late Gene Stoner, he never expected the cartridge to be adopted as is, with no further development. His designs were an expedient to prove the concept and meet the specs required by the Army, nothing more. The case is straight, the base too small for good extractor bite, and to meet velocity requirements it operates at too high a pressure.

If you're looking for more Stoner features... uh, sorry. Here are the features that other designers contributed to the AR-15 design.

Mel Johnson:

1) Rotating bolt with multiple lugs. To be fair, though Stoner used these features, Johnson borrowed heavily from the Remington model 8 rifle. First used in the Johnson M1941, the bolt is simple and fairly straightforward to manufacture.

George Sullivan:

1) Foam-filled fiberglass stock. This allowed the rifle to have a strong buttstock with mass that was tough and stiff on the outside but lightweight on the inside. It also provided a cavity for the recoil spring and buffer.

2) Barrel extension. I would argue that this is the true genius of the Armalite rifle. It allows a lightweight aluminum receiver that can be forged, drilled, and tapped, quite simple operations on 7075 T6 aluminum but not good for locking lugs. The lugs need to be hardened. This is a separate sleeve or "barrel extension" that is attached to the soft barrel by means of a pin that also served to index the three parts together. This is a simple, elegant solution to various engineering and production problems

There are others. Fremont contributed the 30-round magazine, Jerry-rigged to work with the straight magwell. Sturtevant contributed the dreaded 3-round burst mechanism and forward assist. Waterman developed the EXCELLENT M16A2 stock that was many times stronger than the original buttstock.

Stoner is on record as saying various things in defense of his work on the AR-15 over the years. Notably, he distanced himself from the magazine. The army specified 20-rounds. Stoner would have designed a fully-curved magazine if he'd had a 30-rd requirement. Also the cartridge. He complained that he didn't expect his design to be a fully-developed production design.

Part of the problem was that other forces were at work. McNamara wanted the M16 and loved Stoner. A bit of hero worship ensued in which if it was Stoner's design, it must have been done right and anybody saying otherwise was a heretic. Sure, there was enough UNFAIR criticism of the M16 out there that there was reason to suspect ALL criticism as unfair. In the end, an underdeveloped and unrefined prototype was put into production with little change from the prototypes. This, also, Stoner criticized. Had 1/10th of the development effort for the M14 or 1/100th that for the Garand had been lavished upon the AR-15 from the onset, the M16 would have been a viable production model without all the difficulties that ensued over the years.

Again, don't get me wrong. Stoner redeemed himself with his later designs and was, in fact, a brilliant designer by all accounts. I have enough respect for some aspects of the AR-15/M16 that I own at least one, I just think the record needs some straightening.

And don't get me started on Kalashnikov.

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dscottw88
May 24, 2009, 10:17 PM
That seems like a rather particular run down. I found it interesting.

On another note, if you wanted to "get started" on Kalashnikov, I'd be just as interested to read that article as well. I find it interesting to see where people got their inspiration from.

JHansenAK47
May 24, 2009, 10:27 PM
The 180 degree rotation of the safety is unnecessary and awkward.
I actually prefer that feature it is made for muscle memory.

FlyinBryan
May 24, 2009, 10:30 PM
the wright brothers first plane was rediculous looking, not to mention painfully slow, but you gotta admit, it was a one heck of an idea.

i think even if the design was improved upon by many, the basic overall design, i.e. lowered bore axis with elevated sights, and everything in a nice straight line is the core reason that its the model still carried by the most awesome fighting force on the face of the earth.

to me all those things are just better wheels on henry's ford.

freakshow10mm
May 24, 2009, 10:43 PM
I don't think the trigger housing is the issue I think the stupid ass burst mechanism is the issue. Mechanisms tried to replace training and this proved it's better to train than to mess with a design.

arizona98tj
May 24, 2009, 11:02 PM
It always seem easier to come along afterwards and make mods to someone's work. It happens in firearms, vehicles, etc. The challenge is, in my opinion, coming up with the original idea.

TeamRush
May 24, 2009, 11:05 PM
Most of the 'Facts' stated above are not correct.

The AR-15 first presented to the military were very much like the M-16 first adopted.

Very early prototypes had some 'Issues', and like all things were worked out with time.

Very early patents were applied for mostly to protect the base designs, and the manufacturing processes that it would take to make these rifles.

The direct impengment gas system with gas tube on top was there from the very first submission to the military,
Along with aluminum heat shielded and reinforced hand guards, and the standing front sight/gas block.

The first stocks were WOOD,
And the first forends grips were Bakelite, a high temprature material mostly used in electrical ovens at the time.

HOLLOW plastic was adopted to save weight and increase serviceability since the wood would swell and distort in humid/wet weather, and Bakelite was fragile.

All this happened BEFORE the military ever saw the first prototype for inspection,
And the early VERY THIN barrel versions with Bakelite for end and wood stocks are worth over $1,000,000 each...
Since there are exactly THREE left in existence, (and only THREE were made as patent models) it's not likely you will ever get your hands on one to find out if it's 'Durable' or not.

VERY LITTLE was changed by the military...
Some of the suggestions the military 'CAME UP WITH' were actually recommended by Stoner and AR before the rifle saw service...
Things like integral cleaning kits,
Chrome lined chambers,
Anti-rattle swivels,

The subject of forward assists didn't come around until the military decided to use NATO ammunition that liked to SWELL in the humidity of jungle enviorments.

That 'FIX', the forward assist, to force the round into the chamber and get the chamber closed,
Is probably the most enduring 'Military' recommended upgrade...
And totally unnessary if the correct ammo had been used in the first place!

And just for the record, I have a couple of the orignal 'Waffle' mags made by AR for the military.
They are STEEL, not aluminum, and they were never intended to be 'Disposable' or there wouldn't be stripper clip loading rail mounts on the mags...

I have NO IDEA why you want to detract from one of the 5 greatest firearms designers in the past 150 years,
But Eugene Stoner was dedicated to making an infantry rifle to save our troops weight, aggravation, and keep them ALIVE!

I personally think Eugene Stoner is right up there with John Moses Browning, The Mauser brothers, John C. Garand, Mikhail Kalashnikov and the other firearms designers that made HUGE STRIDES in firearms technology...

And personally I'm not interested in seeing someone that CAN NOT keep up with that pack cast dispersions on him.

I carried both the AR-10 and AR-15 in combat, and I can tell you first hand I NEVER had a moments hesitation wondering if my rifle would let me down!

FlyinBryan
May 24, 2009, 11:20 PM
personally think Eugene Stoner is right up there with John Moses Browning, The Mauser brothers, John C. Garand, Mikhail Kalashnikov and the other firearms designers that made HUGE STRIDES in firearms technology...

i would tend to agree that he should be right there with them, if not trump them in a few ways.

the design was so radically advanced, and unlike anything that came before it.

if im not mistaken, it has had a longer service life than any 2 other rifle designs combined, and no immediate sign of being replaced as the standard action of all the united states armed forces.

i love my garand, but i cant ignore the greatness of the basic stoner design.

HorseSoldier
May 24, 2009, 11:22 PM
The subject of forward assists didn't come around until the military decided to use NATO ammunition that liked to SWELL in the humidity of jungle enviorments.

There was no such thing as NATO 5.56mm ammunition until a couple decades after the forward assist was added to the rifle.

Badger Arms
May 24, 2009, 11:29 PM
And personally I'm not interested in seeing someone that CAN NOT keep up with that pack cast dispersions on him.

I carried both the AR-10 and AR-15 in combat, and I can tell you first hand I NEVER had a moments hesitation wondering if my rifle would let me down!

***, dude? who are you responding to? You carried the AR-10 in combat? Where? On what do you base the term "Dispersions". On what do you base the phrase, "CAN NOT keep up with the pack"? Did you bother reading my post or are you just picking apart, uh, nothing?

FlyinBryan
May 24, 2009, 11:47 PM
The problem is, that virtually everything BAD about the AR-15 (later M16) was contributed by Stoner and everything GOOD was contributed by others.

i think the single most revolutionary feature of the ar15 was the fact that it was made of such lightweight components as aluminum and plastic (hence the name "armalite") . who thought that part of it up?

Badger Arms
May 24, 2009, 11:50 PM
The problem is, that virtually everything BAD about the AR-15 (later M16) was contributed by Stoner and everything GOOD was contributed by others.

i think the single most revolutionary feature of the ar15 was the fact that it was made of such lightweight components as aluminum and plastic (hence the name "armalite") . who thought that part of it up?

George Sullivan... Not to be confused with Jim Sullivan, the guy who actually designed the AR-15 by scaling down the AR-10.

FlyinBryan
May 24, 2009, 11:57 PM
i believe sullivan actually had his moments too.

he was actually the reason the first prototypes were rejected

Over Stoner's vehement objections, various experimental composite and 'Sullaloy' aluminum barrels were fitted to some AR-10 prototypes by ArmaLite's president, George Sullivan. The Sullaloy barrel was made entirely of heat-treated aluminum, while the composite barrels used aluminum extruded over a thin stainless steel liner.

of the two rifles sent to springfield for testing and trials, George Sullivan had insisted that both prototypes be fitted with composite aluminum/steel barrels. Shortly after a composite barrel burst on one prototype in 1957, the AR-10 was rejected.

this was a huge hurdle to overcome that could have been avoided had stoner had his way with those two trial rifles.

maskedman504
May 24, 2009, 11:58 PM
An inventor is a person who creates or discovers a new method, form, device or other useful means. The word inventor comes form the latin verb invenire, invent-, to find.[1][2] The system of patents was established to encourage inventors by granting limited-term, limited monopoly on inventions determined to be sufficiently novel, non-obvious, and useful. See Inventor (patent).

An innovator or pioneer (pronounced /ˌpаɪəˈnɪər/) in a general sense is a person or an organisation who is one of the first to do something and often opens up a new area for others and achieves an innovation.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Main Entry: im·prove
Pronunciation: \im-ˈprüv\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): im·proved; im·prov·ing
Etymology: Middle English improuen, emprouen, from Anglo-French emprouer to make profit from, from French en- + pru, prou advantage, from Late Latin prode — more at proud
Date: circa 1529

1archaic : employ, use
2 a: to enhance in value or quality : make better b: to increase the value of (land or property) by making it more useful for humans (as by cultivation or the erection of buildings) c: to grade and drain (a road) and apply surfacing material other than pavement
3: to use to good purpose
intransitive verb
1: to advance or make progress in what is desirable
2: to make useful additions or amendments

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was Stoner's concept/design. Then, progress was made in something that was desireable.

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 12:00 AM
wikipedia actually refers to the alloy design as stoners though

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 12:33 AM
wikipedia actually refers to the alloy design as stoners though

Wikipedia is not what I would consider a source let alone a reliable reference.

of the two rifles sent to springfield for testing and trials, George Sullivan had insisted that both prototypes be fitted with composite aluminum/steel barrels. Shortly after a composite barrel burst on one prototype in 1957, the AR-10 was rejected.

Yes, Sullivan was in charge and pushed his ideas (duh).... don't know if Stoner really objected, but the composite barrel was a good idea, just not well developed at that time.

the basic overall design, i.e. lowered bore axis with elevated sights, and everything in a nice straight line is the core reason that its the model still carried by the most awesome fighting force on the face of the earth.


In-line design was part of the design Sullivan pitched to Fairchild as was the aluminum receiver and foam-filled plastic stock... all before Stoner came along with his gas operation system. The in-line design was borrowed from previous designs and reflects the strong Johnson influence; the Johnson LMG had an in-line design as did a few other contemporaries like the German FG42.

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 12:37 AM
Wikipedia is not what I would consider a source let alone a reliable reference.

lol, ok, i told you mine, now you tell me yours.

im not right, im curious, so show me.

im all for learning the subject.

i honestly dont know, thats why i told you my source.

i would be educated to see yours.

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 12:40 AM
lol, did you know that eugene stoner was born in a town named "gasport"

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 12:54 AM
im not right, im curious, so show me.

About four or five secondary sources, patents as primary sources, various interviews and tidbits. If you want a good breakdown of the development, read "The Black Rifle" by Ed Ezell. He also did a book called "The Great Rifle Controversy". For patents, do a patent search on Google Patents for Gene Stoner and George Sullivan.

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 12:58 AM
lol, did you know that eugene stoner was born in a town named "gasport"

Gosport, not Gasport. Close enough for irony, though.

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 12:59 AM
well, just in short research, i do see that he used the bolt design of the johnson rifle.

that is certainly noteworthy, as i cant count the times ive heard others refer to the bolt design as being one of the main advantages of the platform.

very interesting indeed.

about that for sure, you aint wrong.

on a funny side note, i bet the sullivan grandkids are mightry ticked off that knights armament doesnt build a sullivan sr25 rifle, lol.

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 01:01 AM
Gosport, not Gasport. Close enough for irony, though.

really?

i got that from this eugene stoner biography page. it must be a typo.

its in the second little paragraph there.

http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/eugene-stoner/

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 01:05 AM
well, just in short research, i do see that he used the bolt design of the johnson rifle.

Don't fret about that, Johnson borrowed it from Browning and Browning might even have gotten the idea from somewhere else.

on a funny side note, i bet the sullivan grandkids are mightry ticked off that knights armament doesnt build a sullivan sr25 rifle, lol.

Stoner worked for and with Reed Knight. Sullivan was a lawyer, I believe, when he patented his ideas. They were just ideas. It took proper designers and engineers to put them to palastic and metal. Gene Stoner, Jim Sullivan, Art Miller... these guys had more to do with the actual guns.

theotherwaldo
May 25, 2009, 01:22 AM
I always thought that the original AR design was intended as an Air Force survival rifle - kinda like an AR-7 for war zones.

The .22 rimfire had to go, since it is soft headed. That's against the Geneva Convention of some year or other. So he modified a varmint round a little bit and made it a military round.

Then the survival design had to be able to break down - without tools - to fit in a survival pack. It had to be light, corrosion resistant, and simple to use. It was never intended to be an automatic weapon or to be fired a lot.

I think that the original AR design makes sense as a survival tool.

As a main battle rifle, well, not so much.

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 01:25 AM
Don't fret about that, Johnson borrowed it from Browning and Browning might even have gotten the idea from somewhere else.

lol, i would never fret over learning something new. to be honest i thought when you first mentioned the johnson, that you were talking about that strange looking rifle that fired the 30-06 rounds from a strange looking rotary magazine.

this one:

http://i680.photobucket.com/albums/vv162/flyinbryan_photos/m1941Johnson.jpg

http://i680.photobucket.com/albums/vv162/flyinbryan_photos/e70-9.jpg

but i dont think its the same johnson that you have referred to, because that one had the buttstock inline with the bolt and elevated sights oddly similar to an ar15, and this one i posted pics of doesnt.

but i did see a pic of the johnson you were talking about, and it truly did resemble the ergos of an ar.

amazing info. i had no idea.

Ian
May 25, 2009, 02:30 AM
The Johnson rifle and light machine gun both use the same sort of many-lug rotating bolt as the AR-15 later did.

The Johnson-inspired Israeli Dror light machine gun also used that style of bolt.

The most novel thing about the AR was its use of lightweight materials. All the other major design components, like the rotating bolt design, direct impingement gas system, and ergonomic setup had been around before in other successful guns.

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 03:34 AM
The most novel thing about the AR was its use of lightweight materials. All the other major design components, like the rotating bolt design, direct impingement gas system, and ergonomic setup had been around before in other successful guns.

It's really common to say that the direct impingement system Stoner designed was derivative of the Sweedish Ljungman. This is only partially true. While both channel combustion gas to the bolt, the Ljungman uses the end of the gas tube as a piston and a depression the front of the bolt carrier as a gas cylinder.

The AR-15 channels the gas through the gas key into a space behind the bolt itself. The bolt acts as the gas piston and the bolt carrier acts as a cylinder. This is more complex than the Ljungman though since the Ljungman was patented in 1945, it would have been, well, shall we say Patented and therefore Stoner could not have used it. Instead, he used the much more complex system. Go figure. See the patent here:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=4z9-AAAAEBAJ&dq=2388396

RockyMtnTactical
May 25, 2009, 03:43 AM
I don't think Stoner gets ENOUGH praise for his work. That's just me.

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 03:50 AM
My comment about the gas system begs the question... Why not adapt the AR-15 gas key and gas tube to just use the Ljungman system.

I don't think Stoner gets ENOUGH praise for his work. That's just me.

You're absolutely right about the work he did AFTER the AR-15. Not going to minimize that any.

max popenker
May 25, 2009, 09:33 AM
Why not adapt the AR-15 gas key and gas tube to just use the Ljungman system
IMO it all boils down to the effective area of the gas piston. To get the bolt operated you need enough force, which equals pressure multiplied by piston area
I believe the gas key area is simply not sufficient to provide enough operating force at working pressures of .223
the inner bolt / bolt carrier area is much greater and thus operating force at same pressure levels is much greater too

Just my 2 cents.

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 01:33 PM
IMO it all boils down to the effective area of the gas piston. To get the bolt operated you need enough force, which equals pressure multiplied by piston area

Max,

Thanks for chiming in. You are correct that it's unworkable with just a modification of gas key and gas tube. To clarify, though, there are three factors that operate on the bolt carrier:

1) Area
2) Pressure
3) Time

Area is limited by the interior design of the upper. Time is limited by the pressure curve of the gas impluse and by the short camway in the bolt carrier.

HorseSoldier
May 25, 2009, 03:08 PM
but i dont think its the same johnson that you have referred to, because that one had the buttstock inline with the bolt and elevated sights oddly similar to an ar15, and this one i posted pics of doesnt.

but i did see a pic of the johnson you were talking about, and it truly did resemble the ergos of an ar.

Johnson designed both a rifle and a light machinegun (automatic rifle, really), the LMG was the design that featured an inline stock and such. Both weapons saw a bit of use here and there during WW2 but failed to win any major government contracts with the Garand and BAR already being established.

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 03:51 PM
if i owned the johnson rifle i posted pics of on p1 of this thread i would name it "the guppy"

Double Naught Spy
May 25, 2009, 05:05 PM
Well, I am glad the whole Legend v. Reality issue has been so clearly settled with all the incorrect "facts" meant to correct the legends of which some turned out to actually be correct, LOL.

Badger Arms
May 25, 2009, 06:36 PM
incorrect "facts"

What are you talking about?

FlyinBryan
May 25, 2009, 08:31 PM
i actually entered this thread with pre-conceived malicious and angered feelings about the thread starter, as could probably be detected in my posts.

but before i got too terribly defensive i started doing some research, just scratching the surface, its pretty surprising just how many of the things i thought were the brilliance of stoner were in fact around beforehand, on other rifles already being used or tested elsewhere.

the biggest of these really, at least in my mind, was the whole "everything in a straight line" concept, not to mention the overall bolt design.

im normally not exactly what you would call open minded, and for the most part, set in my beliefs, but i guess i was caught offgaurd, and have accidentally learned quite a bit from trying to challenge this thread.

amazing, especially for me, lol.

ParaElite
May 26, 2009, 02:30 AM
I don't think that you can compare Eugene Stoner to John Moses Browning though. Browning was original and innovative and designed everything from the single shot 22 lr rifle to the 37 mm (I think) automatic canon. He had no higher than an 8th grade education (if my memory of his bio is correct) and he often times presented his designs to the engineers at FN in complete form - the firearms themselves were the templates. No drawing unless someone else drew them up. Talk about genius. The FN engineers called him "The Master".

WNTFW
May 26, 2009, 09:18 AM
I'm not sure what is fact, fiction or opinion. I was obviously not there. I do find it interesting. I love the AR. That said I want to bring an AK to a 200 yd reduced range match just to see what happens. Maybe the SKS which incidently came out a year before the AK as far as I know. I also want to bring an M4gery to a 200 yd match and compare it to the match rifles.

Quoting Flyin Bryan
"i think the single most revolutionary feature of the ar15 was the fact that it was made of such lightweight components as aluminum and plastic (hence the name "armalite") . who thought that part of it up?"

Wasn't Armalite in existence before the AR's making other products. Stoner had some patents for other things. One being an aluminum hull or something of the sort. I think the company was into building lightweight war products. Or was Armalite was a division specializing in rifles.

I do think he was a bit ahead of his time and some of the technology wasn't up to producing the ideas. I've read of weaponry facing political opposition for various reasons. I've seen accounts of that about the AR15 / M16. There were also some uninformed decisions that were alledgely made by people who should not have been making them.

From what I've heard Garand designed the rifle as well as the tooling and production processes and some procedures as well. That in itself is pretty impressive.

Browning, Garand and Stoner all had to face challenges. I'm sure they all had to compromise at points also.

Badger Arms
May 26, 2009, 09:53 AM
John Browning is absolutely unmatched in his ability to design firearms. The volume of his productivity is undeniable. Were he to have designed any one or two of the groundbreaking firearms he designed, he would have been considered a genius. Let's see, Auto-5, M1894, M1900, M1897, Superposed, M2 .50 cal, BAR, 37mm Cannon... Stevens 520, Ithaca 37, M1887 lever-action shotgun, M1895 lever action rifle, Model 8 semi-auto rifle (from which spawned key features the Garand (trigger group), AK-47 (trigger group and safety), and M-16 (Bolt - Look it up). I'm going to stop there, but there are several other production firearms left to mention and I didn't even start with pistols because this is a rifle forum.

Stoner was a brilliant designer, yes. In order of 'brilliance', I would put Stoner somewhat down the list of mentioned, and some unmentioned, firearms designers:

John Browning
John Pedersen
Hiram Maxim
Jim Sullivan
James Paris Lee
CC Loomis
John Garand
Gene Stoner
Mel Johnson

TeamRush
May 26, 2009, 11:21 AM
Anyway, just to set the record straight,
Eugene Stoner designed the AR-10, which was used in a total of 37 countries, either by the main military, or as 'Special Operations' firearms.

The US military used Modern AR-10 Rifles as 'Designated Marksman' rifles with special operations troops from the late '70 until the current issue of the 'M110' rifle.
Mostly so the 'Sharp Shooters' could have Sniper accuracy and still defend themselves in a close range fire fight...

The 'AR-15/M-16' is a down sized AR-10...
So the entire basis for bashing the M-16 is void.
If there were any arguments for 'Faulty' design or parts, that should have been addressed to the AR-10...

No other rifle has the reputation the AR-10 or M-16 has around the world...
Only AMERICANS complain about the early problems...
(That were mostly with ammunition)
Every contingent that could procure an AR would do so at all costs, from the IRA in Ireland, to the Viet Cong in Viet-Nam, to the 'Palestinians' (no actual country affiliation), to the Rhodesians in Africa, to half a dozen jungle wars in central and south America...

Having actually been a soldier (Marines, then US Army) I can tell you my AR was a real comfort to me knowing I could effectively reach out and target enemy personnel before they were in effective range for their weapons,
And knowing I could lay down superior suppression fire in the event of ambush or close in fire fight was (and still is) considerable comfort to me.

I've carried FN/Fal, G-3, AK, Carl Gustaf, and Browning P-35 as 'Mission Specific' issue, and as far as I'm concerned, NONE of them compairs to the AR series of rifles for reliability, accuracy, rate of fire and mission adaptability as the AR family of rifles...
-----------------------------------------

Personally, I'm of the opinion that Eugene Stoner did more for me as a soldier and as a civilian marksman than "Badger Arms" ever did...

Nit-Picking a design that has served the free world for 45 years is pretty shallow footing... He better hope someone doesn't flush above him!

When I see some of the world wide rifle designs produced by "Badger Arms",
When his rifles are the right arm of the free world like Designs from Browning (M-2/1911), Garand (M-14), Stoner (M-16/M-4/SPMOD) are,
I will give a few minutes consideration to his 'OPINION' of things...

Until Then, I will just have to agree with actual historians, military arms specialists, and gun smiths around the world when they say that Eugene Stoner was a design genius, and in a class that is VERY SMALL!

W L Johnson
May 26, 2009, 11:33 AM
Wasn't Armalite in existence before the AR's making other products.

The original Armalite founded in 1954 was a divison of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation and yes they designed/made firearms before and after the AR-10/15 and all were known as AR-something or another. The current Armalite keeps the same naming pattern, not all are rifles.

WNTFW
May 26, 2009, 11:51 AM
I wonder how much is being in the right point in history. For example Thomas Edison had an impressive run. The latter part of his career was not so productive. A lot of what he is credited for was developed by people under him. Assigning credit can be like assigning blame - sometimes its not so simple.

Now people are concentrating in more specialized niches. I do find the guys that wore more than 1 hat make for better stories. I tend to be friends with people that can do many things.

For me everything is a trade off on guns. Part of the genius of the AR is part if its drawback. Badger Arms OP puts better than I could.

Kudos to the posters here. I find reasonable discussion way more interesting than bashing each other.

Badger Arms
May 26, 2009, 12:08 PM
I've carried FN/Fal, G-3, AK, Carl Gustaf, and Browning P-35 as 'Mission Specific' issue...

No, you haven't.

Art Eatman
May 26, 2009, 03:26 PM
The "ammo thing" -- or my understanding of it, anyhow. Various articles over the last 30 years or so...

The original ammo used IMR powder, and the cyclic rate of fire was some 750 rounds per minute. Olin got into the lobbying act for an ammo contract, got a contract, and used ball powder. The cyclic rate of fire increased to around 900 rounds per minute, and there was more residue at the front of the chamber.

This residue is claimed to be the cause of the famed jams, and led to the addition of the forward assist. If this is anywhere near fact, it could also be the reason that the leade of a 5.56 chamber is a tad longer than for the commercial .223 chambers -- but that's just my own thought.

FWIW, Art

Badger Arms
May 26, 2009, 05:25 PM
Art,

There were several primary problems with the ammo, most stemming from the unwillingness of the Army to or unwilling to address glaring issues. Some issues were

1) the case was designed with very little taper. As taper decreases, required extraction forces increase exponentially.

2) the chamber of the AR-15 and early M16's was not plated and poor maintenance practices combined with a harsh, corrosive environment led to corrosion in the chambers. This caused rough and pitted chambers that only exacerbated issue 1.

3) the long gas tube of the M16 allowed solids to condense and deposit in the tube. Powder standards developed for artillery and 'larger' small arms did not consider this and gas tubes began clogging and deposits on the bolt and bolt carrier built up rapidly.

3) pressure limitations were very narrow to allow the velocity desired by the Army and the rate of fire. Many ammo manufacturers who had bid on contracts earlier realized this and refused to bid on later contracts. The situation was so dire that the Army agreed waivers.

4) Colt was allowed to test their rifles with older lots of ammo with IMR powder to meet the rate-of-fire (ROF) requirements, but in the field the troops were being issued ammo with ball ammo that ran the ROF up, clogged their tubes, and fouled their bolts and bolt carriers at alarming rates... as was duly reported early on.

This is off the top of my head. The general impression is that Colt and Olin were both being their evil "military-industrial complex" selves and meddling. I'm sure they were up to no good, but McNamara was also playing their hero-worship and trusting that Stoner had designed the cartridge and weapon and they were good, then he rested on the 7th day. Anybody that doubted it was a heretic. They were sticking with unrealistic requirements left and right for all things, the primer sensitivity, powder type and composition, pressure, port pressure, rate of fire, etc. All were highly unrealistic and, of course, were loosened gradually as that fact came to light. Had the .223 been given more case taper and capacity, none of these problems would have developed.

Really cool of me to sit here in my easy chair and regurgitate what others have said over the years with hindsight, but I'm speaking in generalized terms about the root causes... the blame does not lie with Stoner for most of the problems with the M16 over the years, it lies squarely on McNamara and Army Ordnance. Colt and Olin deserve some of the blame, but they were reacting to what the Army and McNamara were doing.

Big pissing match, everybody got wet, soldiers died. The M14 was an even worse acquisition problem. The bottom line was that the Army needed (and got despite all this) a small caliber assault rifle. The AR-15 was the only game in town. Johnny-come-lately's were all, ironically, STONER's DESIGNS! Both the Stoner 63 and AR-18 had the potential to be better rifles had they been developed. The M16 won because it was in production, not because it had more potential. The AR-18 was cheaper, Stoner 63 more 'modular' and both less sensitive to ammo. Neither of them was developed far enough to compete with the M16A1 with all the TCC improvements. Had either the Stoner 63 or AR-18 been given the same funding for development, either would have been a fine weapon... but again, the Army need something good enough and they GOT good enough. They need it NOW and they got it now (uh, then). Better or Best were not yet or would never be available.

Badger Arms
May 30, 2009, 05:28 PM
TeamRush,

1) where did I attack Stoner?

2) where dd I appoint myself an expert?

3) why did you say you carried an AR-10 in combat?

I've asked these questions before.

Kernel
May 30, 2009, 06:08 PM
While there's a short lull in the action, let me add....
http://www.olive-drab.com/images/firearms_mg_m1941johnson_800_2.jpg
M1941 Johnson Light Machine Gun.

Internally, very similar to the Johnson rifle, except it used a 20-round horizontal single stacked magazine (sort of like a STEN gun). IIRC the NRA's American Rifleman magazine did a short article last year about another Johnson prototype that was smaller than the LMG and without the bipod. Looked even more like what we would call an "assault rifle" today. But only 3 or 4 were ever made (though, some speculate that 1 or 2 of these Johnson "assault rifles" made it unofficially to the Pacific Theater and were thus use in WWII).
http://www.johnsonautomatics.com/boltface.jpg
Boltface of Johnson rifle/lmg.

Look familiar?

FlyinBryan
May 30, 2009, 06:17 PM
While there's a short lull in the action, let me add....

M1941 Johnson Light Machine Gun.

yes, thats the one i saw, not that one i posted pics of earlier.

i must say, that pic is worth a thousand words when it comes to the question of whether stoner pulled the idea out of thin air like browning and garand did with theirs.

make no mistake, im still a stoner fan, but i do believe now that there are tiers of genius, and in my opinion now, hes not quite up there with browning, garand, and maybe now, even this johnson.

that is indeed impressive.

just look at the buffer tube that facilitates the lowered bore axis. then the elevated sights, the pistol grip, and if my eyes serve me right, it even looks like the upper and lower split similar to and ar rifle.

inmformative indeed.

i had no idea.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 30, 2009, 06:54 PM
Team Rush also carried Carl Gustav into battle. He must be very old to have done that and been very persuasive to get Mr. Gustav to agree to allow himself to be carried. I'm wondering how exactly Mr. Gustav was wielded as a weapon - must have utilized the jaws & teeth of the man out front, I'm guessing.

FWIW, I don't think anyone, but ANYONE, can hang with JMB as the all-time best gun designer. He's the Great One; the Gretzsky of guns.

BA, thanks for the info on the AR15 - interesting. I wonder if your statement is really true though, that the AR18 or Stoner 63 would have been better weapons, had money / development been thrown at them early on - do you really suppose that today, there'd be 400 companies selling AR18 variants or Stoner 63 variants, rather than 400 companies selling AR15 variants, had that development been done? IOW, the AR15 would not have eventually ended up as it did (extremely popular among military and civilians alike) standing on its own merits of features & benefits, in the altered history hypothetical where one of the other two was developed, then adopted by the US military? If so, which do you think would be the ubiquitous variant right now, the AR18 or 63?

Art Eatman
May 30, 2009, 07:00 PM
BA, per your point 4, I wasn't horribly far off, looks like.

One thing I learned from messing around with race cars is that a designer can always figure out some better way to do something. The problem is, quite often, that you just don't have the time to make changes when facing a deadline, and you then "gotta dance with who brung ya".

No disrespect to Stoner or Browning, but if you want to see other examples of mechanical genius, go to the old original building of the Smithsonian. The "mechanical marvels" of the 19th century. Typewriters, calculators--and then do some look-up on "Babbage".

Badger Arms
May 30, 2009, 07:27 PM
I wonder if your statement is really true though, that the AR18 or Stoner 63 would have been better weapons, had money / development been thrown at them early on - do you really suppose that today, there'd be 400 companies selling AR18 variants or Stoner 63 variants, rather than 400 companies selling AR15 variants, had that development been done?

This is my expert (self-proclaimed of course) opinion... The Stoner 63 was more the 'style' for the US Army and Marines being chunks of steel. The Army at the time was spinning their wheels trying to find a "one gun for everything" solution to various problems. They wanted a super-gun that fired flechettes and grenades at the same time. Stoner rightfully saw that what was NEEDED was one gun that could be altered to do everything much like the SOPMOD and SCAR rifles today. Soldiers can tailor their guns to their own individual needs.

The Stoner 63 was and still is unrefined. Problems such as runaway full-autos and parts breakage plagued the SEALs when they fielded Stoners, but they were able to adapt through training. The fixes, if desired, would not have been that difficult. When it was fielded by the Marines, they found it inferior in its then-current form to the M16. And for good reason. The initial problems with the M16 had been largely mitigated through engineering and/or training and the M16 was in full production with HUGE contracts being issued. To waste money on another rifle in the middle of the war would have been ridiculous and wasteful...

Think back to the Beretta 92. In my opinion, it was a mediocre weapon and I believe history has shown that it was not as good as the SIG it beat out... but what HAPPENED in the public was an obsession with the Beretta 92. Hollywood put Beretta's in the hands of Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson and everybody had to have one. It was the Bees Knees. There was a halo effect and other similar designs were suddenly in vogue.

Much the same with the AR-15. Popularity surged right alongside an severe uptick in movies with M16's in them. That's what the Army was using, it must be good. Combine that with enough soldiers and Marines coming back with experience and knowledge and, boom, it's popular.

So, YES, I think whatever gun the US Army or Marines eventually selected WOULD have been as popular as the AR-15 is today. The AR-15/M16 was "good enough" and remains so. As it turns out, the AR-18 was widely copied and all variety of its unique features live on in production today.

TeamRush
May 30, 2009, 11:15 PM
Obviously, what ever I comment on is going to be deleted.
Seems I'm missing TWO posts already on this thread....

Anyway, MISSION SPECIFIC TO&E has had unusual firearms for many years, and anyone that was ever in the military knows that...

From trainers/aggressors using AK's and Russian looking uniforms to special operations units working outside the country.

European, especially Eastern European operations used Belgium Brownings (P-35) instead of US Military issue 1911 or M-9 US Issue.
They often carried M-45 Sub guns
(we called them "Carl Gustav's" because M-45 meant something else to US forces)
And P-35 pistols instead of MP5's and M-9's marked 'US ARMY'... Since often times the special operations teams weren't supposed to be where they were working, it was a REALLY BAD IDEA to be carrying weapons marked 'PROPERLY OF US GOVERNMENT'

That also doesn't cover the Carl Gustav designed recoilless rifle we used in Operations all over central and north Africa and the middle east...
Still being used by US Rangers, Marines and Special Operations.

As for AR-10, I carried one for the first time training with NATO troops from Finland.

I carried one in Pakistan and Afghanistan the FIRST time we were there...('82-'85)

And I carried one in Egypt and Israel both during 'Training' in both countries.
I was 'Designated Marksman' in the unit we were training with for the operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Egyptians and 'Palestinians' are scared to death of the AR-10 in Israeli hands, and for good reason.
It's a solid 800 yard rifle, and can service most needs out well beyond that mark.

If you were in the military during the FIRST trip to the middle east, Pakistan, Afghanistan, an ill fated rescue attempt in Iran in the early 80's,

Or do even a little bit of research,

You will find out there were 'US ADVISERS' in most of the Central & North African countries,
And in much of the middle east at that time.

Arma-Lite made a 'Rhodesian Special' AR-10 intended for 'Desert Warfare' that was a real gift to AR fans in the 'Dry Places'...
A quick check of the map will tell you where 'Rhodesia' was, (renamed Zimbabwe now).

In Central/South America operations, special operations troops and 'Training/Advisers' often carried FN/FAL rifles.
Personally, I prefer a G-3 over FN/FAL, but that's my personal preference.
I saw too many of the FN's fail in service in the dusty places, so I wasn't about to carry one in jungle conditions.

Many of the special operations troops in the middle east carry FN rifles right now.
It's VERY HARD to see any of the 'Operator' teams that aren't carrying a variety of rifles, including FN/FAL and others.

The FN has been called "The Right Arm Of The Free World",
But that line was lifted from a Canadian reporter in 1985 and was used to describe the M-16, or in most African or European countries, it's called 'Arma-Lite', not 'M-16'.

Personally,
I prefer something larger in a handgun than a 9mm projectile.
I still use a .45, but I use a Glock like the special ops guys often do...

Most 'Sand Box' hunters dislike the M-9 or USP.
Double stack .45 ACP, like Glock or sandbox version of Springfield Armory .45 ACP,

And for Jungle, nothing beats a 14" or 16" M-16 Carbine and a Glock in .45 ACP.

For open sand box operations, the AR-10 works just great, and a .45 ACP for side arm.
M-4 or MP-5 make for good House to House clearing weapons.

And just for reference, I was military for 16 years,
And I work for Crane Navel Surface Warfare Operations Center.

Right now, my job is evaluating the latest version of the AR-10 rifle, and other small arms, for Naval Special Operations troops.
I'm an engineer/machinist by trade, and an armor/gunsmith by choice.

If you would care to take some classes with me,
http://www.copperheadroaddft.com/home
We can teach you the same firearms training as the 'Special Operations' units use...
If you have enough money for the classes...

Now, go ahead and edit/delete this post also...
Obviously, someone here with 'Moderator' powers doesn't want a rational conversation or opposing view points, no matter who it's from...

ArfinGreebly
May 30, 2009, 11:34 PM
TR,

You've had one short, signal-free, argumentative post removed.

Nothing else.

Passion is fine. Personal attacks and all-noise posts are not.

Present the facts, argue the facts, and your posts will stay.

Sling mud, make personal accusations, foment emotional static, and they'll be deleted.

Carry on.


P.S. -- "Navel" is a belly button. "Naval" has to do with navies and things at sea.

FlyinBryan
May 31, 2009, 12:38 AM
this has been a funny thread for me.

on one hand, it hasnt set well with me that the way i thought things were, was not exactly the way things were.

on the other hand, to be honest, i have learned more about the birth (or adoption) of some of the design features on one of my favorite rifles.

although,,,,,i think the fact that i own firearms from the brains of john browning (my 1911) and my garand (see my signature) helps me to view the subject with a little less bias than i might otherwise.

i said it earlier, and i will admit it again, when i first read this thread i felt like badger just ran over my new puppy, but the more i looked into it, the more i realized, he aint really off base with his opinion. there was indeed a system very similar.

do i think stoner probably played a very big part (if not the biggest) of improving it, and more importantly putting it at the forefront of the united states military? ya probably.

the politics of such an undertaking really should be viewed as a comparable accomplishment as the rifle itself, even if he did have friends in high places.

Badger Arms
May 31, 2009, 12:49 AM
If you would care to take some classes with me,

I decline. Thanks for the offer. To be taught by somebody unwilling to learn is an exercise in futility. Good day.

BA

Art Eatman
May 31, 2009, 08:15 AM
Looks like a closing statement to me.

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