Prototype AR-10 Up For Auction

Weaponsman reports that a fully transferable prototype AR-10, serial number 1038 (that’s the thirty eighth AR-10 ever produced) is up for auction at James D. Julia, Inc. This rifle, undoubtedly one of the most important firearms of the second half of the twentieth century, represents the first “finished” iteration of the US lightweight rifle family that would beget the .22 caliber M16 and M4 service rifles, and their commercial siblings. The weapon was made in Costa Mesa, California, most likely in in 1956 or 1957, as part of the original batch of Armalite test guns.

The weapon is in incredible shape; when I first saw the article I thought it had to be a replica. If you have the bank account to do so, you could own a piece of history that most firearms museums, let alone collectors, would drool over.

It was formerly a part of the Evergreen Ventures Class III Collection, owned by Captain Michael King Smith.

…So, does anybody want to buy me a Christmas gift?


Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • USMC03Vet

    Made in occupied territory. That irony.

    Is that a bullet button on it?

    • SP mclaughlin

      Well it wasn’t so occupied in 1956.

  • An Interested Person

    Interesting charging method. A very pristine piece, I would imagine it might be worth a couple bucks!

    Is that a suppressor on the end?

    • Yellow Devil

      I think it’s just the original flash hider/suppressor. Supposedly, U.S. Army testing and reports from Portuguese Army units that used it in combat said it helped reduce recoil tremendously, when compared to the M14 and the FAL. Automatic fire was even somewhat manageable with the Armalite AR10s.

    • It’s a ginormous muzzle brake.

      • afdfsd

        It’s also a booster. Doesn’t look like blast would be an issue with the thing, either.

  • ChuckyTee

    It looks so,,,so,,, toy like.

  • Harrison Jones

    Knights Armament will probably buy it. Unless someone wants it more than they do. They already own most of them if I’m not mistaken. It’d be a great peice of history to own.

    • RD

      I’d almost bet my paycheck on that ending up in Reed Knight’s collection. Considering what he’s spent on building up his collection, I doubt anyone is gonna want it more.

    • Anon. E Maus

      I’d ask why they do that, but I guess if they actually take care of those rifles and preserve them, I can’t complain.

  • Randomdomran

    Always wondered why the AR-15 had that oddly tall ‘carry-handle’ originally, but never looked it up before.

    • Gun Rights Alert

      Has more to do with the straight back movement of the buffer dictating a higher comb on the stock, thus pushing the sights up above the bore. It created a handy place for the charging handle though. In testing they found it got too hot and switched to the current detached charging handle.

  • Zachary marrs

    And it will probably work, unlike modern ar-10’s

    • MclarenF1Forever

      Yep, this is an actual Armalite made AR-10, rather than the current Eagle Arms made AR-10s. Eagle Arms bought the rights to use the name Armalite and AR-10 (and other Armalite product names/marks). Note that this AR-10 has the waffle mag as well, which is the mag well that KAC, LMT, Larue and others (quite sensibly) used in their 308 AR type guns.

      • Fred Johnson

        But, but, but . . . I can afford a Mark Westrom ArmaLite. The Lion is affordable. The Pegasus, not so much.

      • Fred Johnson

        Since you brought up AR10 magazines, check this out.

      • Al

        “Note that this AR-10 has the waffle mag as well, which is the mag well
        that KAC, LMT, Larue and others (quite sensibly) used in their 308 AR
        type guns.”
        Also note that the final 1959 version of the Hollywood ArmaLite AR10 furnished to Colt by ArmaLite when they sold the rights was the AR10-B, and featured a re-designed magazine very similar to the modern Westrom M-14 mag modification, but in aluminum. I can only suspect that Gene Stoner found the original waffle design lacking.

    • Schlomo

      Modern AR-10s work if they’re made by companies who make them to work.

      If you buy an LMT, KAC, H&K, LaRue, PWS etc., the thing will run like a top(even if it’s not the same exact design as the original).

    • Anon. E Maus

      What about the M&P-10? I haven’t heard anything bad about those.

      • Zachary marrs

        They are heavy, but its a problem with the ar10 platform in general, it hasn’t had the amount of development the ar15 has

  • Anonymoose

    Time to fap.

    • Guest


  • Hudson

    From the Evergreen Collection, 1st the Airline did a crash and burn, now the owner is doing a crash and burn and selling off all his toys.

    • tt_ttf

      pity – that was a nice collection on display at the museum.

      Hate to think what this might mean for the museum itself…..

  • Let me tell you boys, I have 21 machine guns and have fired a hundred or so, and these early AR10s are the only ones I have fired that arent fun. The high cyclic rate and light weight makes them absolutely brutal.

    • Don’t the Portugese ones lack the muzzle brake? I’m thinking that has a lot to do with it, too.

  • Giolli Joker

    Made in Hollywood makes me smile… sci-fi movie gun.

  • Mechman13

    Captain Michael King Smith has been dead for a long time. His dad is selling off the collection.

  • AmmoralDeviant

    So sexy…Iweep that I cannot afford this.

    • ratbone

      surely just a matter of rejiggering priorities