Armalite and Artillerie Inrichtingen (AI) experimented with a number of different belt-fed machine guns / auto-rifle versions of the AR-10. The photo above and below are of different prototypes. In the below photo the rifle is fed from a 250 round belt fed from a backpack. This concept was invented decades before the ammunition belt backpack which was featured in the movie Aliens (1986).

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None of the AR-10 LMG prototypes functioned well and it never went into production.

Thanks to Chris for sending in the photo.

Submit photos you have taken to TFB’s Photo Of The Day.



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  • Ratcraft

    Hey….. I thought that douche on sons a guns invented that? I suppose he was a pioneer of inventing the already invented.

    • Chavan

      He also “invented” a Browning M1919 with a buttstock.

      • Ratcraft

        Phucin Genius he was.

        • Sam Schifo

          Neva been done befo.

      • And he invented an underbarrel mounted shotgun called a “Masterkey” for opening doors. . . No, really, he actually called it a “Masterkey” and said it had never been done before. . .

  • Bibi

    I’m sure you meant to say ammunition belt backpack which was featured in the movie Predator(1987).

    • Avery

      Yeah, the Aliens smartguns were fed through side-mounted drums. Ol’ Painless was fed with a backpack can.

      Though, the backpack can here looks pretty sweet and would make sense with an AR-based squad auto platform.

  • It would look nice in a movie. But I’m sure thats it; considering I’ll most likely never get to touch one to decide myself.

    • Fred Johnson

      I can see it now. It looks like it would be perfect in a 1960s sci-fi movie against aliens, zombies, or even Godzilla. Gonna need white gloves to fight Godzilla, though.

  • guest

    Historically assault rifles never converted too well into LMGs. The other way around works somewhat better.

    • 1leggeddog

      mostly because of barrel issues. but if they were used sporadically, without long bursts, they are usable.

      • Paul Epstein

        Without long bursts, they’re not nearly as useful at suppression, so they can’t really be issued in place of a machine gun, they’re really just an automatic rifle that doesn’t need to reload as often.

      • guest

        I was mostly thinking of weight vs controllability/recoil mitigation. Given a good barrel thickness (sufficient enough to take the heat and cool ASAP), plus the quick change barrel, this little LMG-wannabe did it quite well. But it’s stuff like weak belt feed mechanism, too low weight, etc that kills it. In this case the added nuisance would be the DI system which is absolutely unsuited for sustained full auto, open bolt or not.
        That being said the RPK does quite well even with a fixed barrel and a nearly identical layout, so in a sense this concept does live on trough its main competitor.

        And speaking of barrel change – the best way to deal with that is to do away with barrel change all together, and instead trough better metallurgy, better cooling solution, symmetric expansion of hot barrel etc allow the LMG to operate with nothing else but reloading for extended periods. A LMG gunner does not need more “dead weight”, and would appreciate that dead weight replaced by something much more useful like extra ammo.

    • mechamaster

      Well, as long the rifle has easy and practical quick-change-barrel capability, it can slightly remedied the overheating problem in long firing session. Ares Amg and HK21 is the example. ( they use closed bolt too, unlike open-bolt mechanism that commonly found in machine-gun )

    • dp

      You are right. The prime hurdle is mode of fire. For rifle it is impractical to have built in 2 modes of fire – from closed and from opened bolt (although it is doable as Germans confirmed on FG-42).
      True light machine gun needs to operate from open bolt only. Then the issue of cook off is not so critical. consequently even barrel does not need to be interchangeable. In opposite case it needs to be massive or at least substantially thicker than at rifle. Heat sink can alleviate problem but it adds complexity.

  • LCON

    And Ares Defense has not produced a new Version of this Why? It would be perfect for the next step in there AMG family.
    The Ammo pack dates back to at least Vietnam, possibly even World war 2. used most visibly in in Predator and Terminator 2

    • mechamaster

      ARES AMG in 7,62 x 51 mm and Ironman 500 Round Ammunition Backpack combo, hmm… Cool idea.

      • I don’t think mating a sustained fire ammunition feed system with a gun not designed to handle it is a great idea…

        • mechamaster

          Oh no..

          • TC3Scott

            If using belted ammo on an AR-10, is the standard M-60 link the way to go? Or another one?

          • mechamaster

            Well, (maybe) it seems they use M13 link as the standard ammo link to simplify the logistic.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M13_link

          • TC3Scott

            Sounds reasonable. But then most things do until they blow up on you.

          • mechamaster

            Lol, it’s true and very bad idea, my mistake. ^^

  • TDog

    EDITORIAL NOTE: The possessive “it” in the article’s title should be “its” without the apostrophe, not “it’s.” The latter is for “it is”.

    • dan citizen

      Your splitting heirs. While its true theres alot of spelling and grammical error’s nowadays, there usually quiet readable.

      • TDog

        Readable, yes. Acceptable, no.

    • Content content content

      • Zachary marrs

        Quality quality quality

        • Julio

          Is it too much to ask for both? (Burger *and* bun? Maybe even a little relish too?)

      • dp

        …don’t let them tease you, you do fine. Yes, it is the content which counts.

  • USMC03Vet

    I want to see Jerry Miculek shoot one.

  • Ckh88

    You’re welcome.

  • Me

    There, their, they’re nobody likes a grammar nazi! Shut the f#*k up Carl!

    • Julio

      Don’t use a chisel as a screwdriver.
      Am I being a tool-Nazi?

  • Ken

    Interesting, those links feed into the gun open end up. I suppose that makes sense because the rounds must feed upwards into the chamber in the AR-10. So you’d essentially load the belt into the gun “backwards” compared to an M60 or M240.

  • me ohmy

    yeah but notice the duckbill style comp..way cool

    • Not a duckbill — that’s just what a three prong flash suppressor looks like from the side. The prongs are thinner than they are wide, so the fact that the bottom one is viewed from the side while the upper ones are viewed from a 60 degree angle produces the illusion, just like an M16 (not “A1”. . . the original XM16 and M16).

  • Lance

    Bad side of the AR-10 is that on full auto ordnance test showed the barrels easily overheated and blew up. one of many reason no one out of Sudan and Portugal adopted the infantry AR-10.

    • Those were experimental composite barrels. Production AR-10s had conventional steel barrels that worked fine.

      • noob

        I wonder, what if the AR-10 had won instead of the M14?

        Would it have served for decades like the AR-15/M-16 has?

        would 5.56 even be a thing?

        • dp

          It is mystery why AR10 was not widely adopted. M14 was not capable of aimed sustained fire like AR10. I suspect if it did get adopted, there may not had been need for lesser calibre. It all went somehow ascrew. McNamara would be able to tell us.
          At last we can see now that the direct descendant being SR25 has enjoyed some limited use with US forces and with British armed forces. So, you can say that research which went into AR10 was not in vain.

        • n0truscotsman

          I believe 5.56 would have still been created, because by then the Army was already flirting with the idea of smaller cartridges.

          The only disadvantage of the AR10 was that it was chambered in 7.62 and full sized battle rifle cartridges were already on their way out with the intro of the AR15.

    • dp

      They actually did adopt them, in limited quantity.

  • James

    Bet that charging handle got nice and warm hahaha

  • Marvin Grady

    This is the original Armalite video with gene Stoner the belt-fed footage is toward the end enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lap8cmxJHTU&index=18&list=PLB85347764B46F322

    • gunsandrockets

      I’ve always been curious about that big can muzzle brake of the AR-10, as seen in the opening credits of your video clip.

  • claymore

    Notice how the photo caption says the AR-15 version has 500 rounds of .222 ammo.

  • Diver6106

    Instead of this, the Stoner Machine Gun was developed and used by SEALs in Vietnam. Firing the same 556 round as the M-16, but linked with a feed tray mechanism just like in the M-60.

  • n0truscotsman

    I have always had a love affair with the original AR10. Sexy.

    Its interesting how many times the belt fed, assault rifle combo has been attempted and has always ended in failure for the same reasons.

    Anybody ever mess with the Ares Shrike? I cannot imagine it being the paragon of reliability either, but I could be mistaken.

  • marathag

    Heinrich Vollmer patented a beltless feed system in 1918 and a backpack setup shortly afterwards

  • Chuang Shyue Chou

    I wonder as to the reliability of the feeding mechanism. I do wonder if it were viable today.

  • Gregory Allard

    250 rounds??? Whats he gonna do when he needs to reload???

  • J.K.

    Funny, in this age of technology; how flawed you guys historical facts are on this subject and how well this ‘dirty little secret’ of the US gun-industry has been kept ‘hidden’ and how the general shooting public has been well and truly ‘kept in the dark’ of the actual truth surrounding the AR10-Stoner project?
    The actual first 7000 plus working model prototypes were developed and manufactured in The Netherlands and not in the US. A firm called A.I. had been given the initial contract; unknown to the Dutch public, their own government partnered up with AI to act as their ‘silent’ financial backer. With this new financial injection they were able to gear-up for this initial first and the next much more substantial bigger follow-up contract by re-investing in new Machinery/Tooling. As the first test-model didn’t work; next they had to invest about a year and a half of their own companies time to work out the severely flawed interior design of the drawings as supplied by Stoner to make it into an actual working design!
    Once all the faults were worked out, while relying on the principle of “honest gentlemans business dealings”, they informed the US based company of these design faults and were stupid enough to sent the actual new re-designed ‘blue-prints’ back to the US. Subsequently, these were directly passed onto Colt, who were given what looked like an already pre-arranged final contract!
    As a result: not wanting to risk exposure of involvement and failure of this project to the Dutch tax-payers, their Government pulled out as the majority share-holder of the company, cancelled additional financial support to be able to continue this gun-making venture and try to re-coup this substantial fiancnial loss and seized its partnership with AI, after which they went ‘belly-up’!
    *In the true ‘political correctness’ fashion of the Dutch Government: instead of trying selling-off some of the new tooling/machinery to cut their losses, they ordered all gun-making tooling/machinery to be ‘scrapped’! At the time, this included one of the latest technology ‘high-tech’ Swiss barrel-forging machines: all paid for by the Dutch tax-payers! Truth be told!

    • JK

      Dutch “Oude Delft” (the NV-mfg. of the time), even made their own rifle scopes to go with this rifle as an accessory. As neither the purchase of this first production run wasn’t honored and to re-cover some of the loss, they ended up selling their products not only to Dutch shooters, but also to various countries around them, from Germany as far as Australia/NZ!

  • buzzman1

    They did make an M-16 belt fed MG to be used on tanks but it lost out to the M-240.

  • TC3Scott

    I recently saw a video of a belt fed AR-10 with a slide fire adaptation. The claim was that it could fire 600 rpm. Anyone try that? Any idea of what type of links would be used? M-60 links?