Sub-600 Serial Colt 601 For Auction At GunBroker

Have you ever wanted a major piece of Armalite/Colt history? Then the rifle for you is up for auction at GunBroker: A low serial Colt 601, the first AR-15 variant manufactured at Colt.

Still marked “Armalite”, this rifle’s serial number is 00059X:


Serial number highlighted by author.




The Colt 601 still retained Armalite roll marks, and “patents pending”.





Note the early duckbill flash hider, indicative of the 601. Also visible is a small remnant of green paint on the forearm.





Note the early triangular charging handle, changed with the Colt 603.



The Colt 601’s early chromed bolt carrier group; these were replaced with phosphated units in the middle of 602 production.





The 601 was the first production variant of the AR-15, and the beginning of Colt’s long legacy producing AR-15s for military and civilian customers. Aside from unattainable prototype rifles, this is the granddady of the modern .22 bore AR.

Buy It Now on the rifle is $25,000, so it’s an auction not for the faint of heart – or light of wallet.

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


  • Esh325

    Do you think the parts are 100% compatible with a modern AR?

    • There is some variation in the AR-15’s design which means some components may not be, but generally speaking, yes it’s parts compatible with modern ARs.

  • jamezb

    I would just love that. So sleek. I wish some manufacturer would make a “historically-correct out-of-the-box” very early model AR 601 clone. I know it;s possible to assemble something very close, but you wind up with finish variations and locating some of the more esoteric parts is a nightmare.

    • iksnilol

      I agree with you, would be nice if there was some manufacturer making retro ARs. In regards to the finish variations; isn’t it common to refinish when you have assembled all the part?

      • jamezb

        TRUE, but then the parts are refinished. The receivers and other metal on the old guns had a unique look. i’d REALLY dig green stocks…

        • MR

          The finish on military rifles often showed variations between the upper and lower receivers, cosmetics were low on the list of priorities. Check out Arfcom’s retro AR15/M16 section, and their “real deal” retro picture thread.

    • James

      Fulton Armory makes one that is similar, it has a Teflon finish and a regular charging handle instead, but you can get the “Duck bill” for a $20 upgrade.

    • Leigh Rich

      CAI C15a1 Sporter is a good copy M16a sold for only $550 a few years back. It has a used Colt upper and BCG. The carrier has been machined to AR-15 dimensions. The bolt is marked MPC. The new barrel has no markings and has a chrome lined chamber. The FSB is pinned in place with roll pins instead of taper pins. The LPK is used. The CMT lower receiver is new manufacture and looks pretty good. If you can find any get one.

  • Vinicius

    I wish i was from USA so i could buy it and put some nice rails and lasers in it, then shoot it in a hyped overstretched arm stance hehee

    • Budogunner

      You would also need to send it to Nutnfancy for his trademark Duracoat “upgrade.”

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Does it come with cleaning rods to push out cases?

  • WFDT

    Not too much different than my SP1.

    • Well, it has the fun switch…

      • MR

        And apparently isn’t on the registry. Making it as unobtainable as the preproduction units, for a vast majority of the population.

        • You have to be a Type 3 SOT, i.e. Class 3 dealer.

          • MR

            I haven’t seen the census data, but I would imagine that rules out a vast majority of the U.S. population. Of course, the inflated price tag and artificial scarcity of a registered MG does the same.

          • milesfortis

            “I haven’t seen the census data, but I would imagine that rules out a vast majority of the U.S. population”

            Surprisingly not so.
            More states than not allow ownership of mgs and other NFA firearms.
            Some states have very strict statutes on how that is done, some don’t mention it at all, some are someplace in between.
            Now, you are correct about price being a factor on buying one though.

          • MR

            If it’s on the registry, which for machine guns was closed in 1986. Since Nathaniel says you have to be an SOT to buy this, I’m Assuming that it isn’t on the registry. Could be wrong, maybe it is on the registry, and you just have to have it shipped to a class 3 dealer if you’re out of state. The auction site says it’s on a Form 3 for immediate sale, going to Form 4 would likely add time and hassle if it’s even possible in this case.

          • I’m actually not sure. Originally I thought it was not fully transferable. Frankly, the language used in the listing is pretty ambiguous to me, who is not educated in NFA law.

          • milesfortis

            One thing I’ll point out. Knowing the seller, if it was a pre, or post sample, Frank would have advertised it as such as he has done in the past.

          • OK, so you believe it’s fully transferable and on the registry? I will clear that up in the article, thank you.

          • milesfortis

            Best person to ask is Frank himself, but I’ll bet you lunch on it and if you win, contact Frank and tell him to contact the man who sold the Fleming AK last year.

          • milesfortis

            Only to have the rifle transferred to you if you live in another state.
            If you live in the same state as where the rifle is located, the transfer (unless to another SOT) would be tax paid.

          • Right. Though I was under the impression this was not a fully transferable example.

        • milesfortis

          I fail to see where it’s not on the NFRTR. It’s not listed as either a pre, or post ’86 dealer’s sample either.
          A dealer with a SOT would have the rifle transferred to them tax free
          If that SOT was the receiving dealer for a buyer, that transfer would be tax paid.

      • MR

        And Mil-spec pivot pin, most SP1s seemed to have the “two screw” set up, up front. Not sure when the odd sized hammer and trigger pins were introduced.

  • Uniform223


  • JR

    Notice the lack of a forward assist and unstaked gas key.

  • Marty Ewer

    I’d love to purchase this–and slap an Ares Shrike upper on it. 😉

    • iksnilol

      I’d rather have a Stoner 63… or more realistically, the Stoner LMG thingy that KAC is selling.

  • Core

    Stoner recommended the gas key to be staked on at least two locations on each bolt. Colt fail. I cant see the cam pin in the photo, maybe its the lighting? Otherwise don’t fire unless you want a catstrophic failure.

  • No such thing, huh?

    Now, I admit, Alex is our resident expert on the NFA, not me, so maybe he’ll chime in, but “Class III SOT” is right there on the government form.

    • Gunnit Live

      A Class III is not a licence, nor something that you should be spouting for NFA devices as a media outlet.

      Class III, is an SOT bracket. It does not mean what you think it does. Title II, or NFA Item is what you want to use. Or, just keep perpetuating incorrect term usage.

      • “Are you a Type 3 SOT?”

        That is what I said.

        Now, like I said, I’m not an expert on NFA by any means. Is this a fully transferable firearm? I was under the impression it was not.

        • Gunnit Live

          No one is a Type 3 SOT, a say FFL02 that has an SOT would yes be in a technically a classification of 3, however it is not required or the end all statement. It is not a thing to “be”. Do you also believe that FFLs need to have an SOT to deal in NFA?

          Stop saying class 3, just say SOT if you want to refer to that. Don’t call them “Class 3” items. They are Title II firearms.

          I am just trying to help you be correct in your articles. Sorry.

          • I never used the term “Class 3”, mate.

            I don’t see the problem with saying someone is a Type 3 SOT, in the same way you might say someone is an FFL. If we’re being pedantic, someone has an FFL, but it’s common to say they “are” one.

          • Gunnit Live

            Because you are saying ONLY a “Type 3” SOT can have this.

            That is incorrect. Incorrect is bad in articles.

            I was just trying to give you the most correct answer. I do yield you DID use “type” instead of class. However it is still just as incorrect.

          • I was originally under the impression that this firearm was not on the registry. Other commenters have cleared up that it is.

          • Class 3. Class 3. Class 3.
            You shouldn’t take such trivial colloquialisms so seriously dude.
            Class 3.

          • Gunnit Live

            No, it is NOT trivial to constantly use something incorrect. There is already enough “mystique” behind NFA. Media outlets using the wrong terms are just compounding the problem.

            It is the same as MSM using the term Assault Rifle. It is wrong, and not correct. However, we can go ahead keep perpetuating incorrect information, its cool.

            Clipazines work best!

          • So why are you grilling me over a term I never used?

          • Gunnit Live

            You said “Type 3 SOT”. I have long since stopped saying you said “Class”, the last one to mention it was Alex.

            However, in what you said you were implying that was the only way to get it was being a “Type 3 SOT”. (As you believed it being Post Sample). Yes this is transferable, but you still assigned it some arbitrary limit that was not correct with what knowledge you had at the time. I thought the entire point of discourse was to teach and learn.

            Type 3 SOT literally means nothing. Just say SOT. It is like saying, you have to be an FFL01 to order this from this distributor! Its perpetuating the use of incorrect nomenclature, in an already INCREDIBLY confusing subject.

            I am asking that you not ADD to this confusion by using silly phrases like that. Is that too much to ask?

          • “Class 3 SOT” is right there in the ATF tax form, bro.


          • Gunnit Live


            Really? I never saw that! Or, you know you can look next to there and see other classes on that list. Perhaps they too can partake in SOT funness, and you shouldn’t say things like “Type x”, and instead EDUCATE your readers.

            Or, just keep digging a hole in the comments section. That works too.

          • Didn’t you just say this?

            “Type 3 SOT literally means nothing.”

          • Gunnit Live

            In the context of your article? YES. Yes it means nothing.

            I am commenting on your article. About the misuse of a phrase… IN THE ARTICLE.

            So, context clues lead me to understand that I was referring to your use in your article. I am trying to educate you, as you said you “Don’t know much about NFA.”

            So when referring to an SOT, the type/class does not really matter to the conversation when you are talking about the acquisition of existing NFA regulated, title II firearms.

            Does this make sense? I do not know if I can make it any flatter without a steamroller.

          • Here’s my advice, man: Don’t ever become a teacher, if you think browbeating people about how stupid you think they are is “educating” them.

            Please, think of the children.

          • Gunnit Live

            I only returned the favor, when you tried to “browbeat” me with a link to an ATF PDF, even though you said you were under educated in NFA.

            So… I don’t know what you are getting at. However, ad hominem attacks are cool and all, especially in your own articles comment section.

            I am sorry I am not an echo chamber for you. Enjoy your night.

          • Cheers!

          • You should like, chill out man. And I don’t think I have ever heard the media use the term “class 3”.
            I do it all the time though. Customers call all the time asking “are you a class 3 dealer?”. And no, I do not say “actually sir, I hold an 07 federal firearms license and pay for my yearly type 02 special occupational tax stamp”.
            It is easier to say “yes, what are you looking for?”.

          • Gunnit Live

            That is there, this is a public forum used to educate the masses.

            Why would you not just drop the first portion and help redirect them to the correct term?

            I mean, its so incredibly simple to not say “Class 3” “Type 3” or anything silly like that, and just say SOT… Isn’t it? On this non private phone conversation that you are having in your shop that you are trying to make a sale one?

            Do you SEE the difference?

  • Buk Lau

    You expect a trust funder like Alex to understand the difference? Daddy paid for his SOT.

    • …What? I have neither an SOT nor a trust fund.

      • iksnilol

        I think he meant Alex.

        • Why would he mean Alex? Alex didn’t write the article.

          • iksnilol

            “You expect a trust funder like Alex to understand the difference? Daddy paid for his SOT.”

            -Buk Lau

            And like you said, you don’t have an SOT nor a trust fund. Who does? Alex does (I know about the SOT but not sure about the trust find). + he mentioned Alex by name, so I dare assume he meant him.

          • He edited the comment, iks. It did not originally say “Alex”, I’m pretty sure.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, I was not aware of that.

    • Gunnit Live

      I mean, if media outlets keep using bullshit like “Class III” it is easy to understand why people like him don’t understand how these things work.

      • Buk Lau

        Did the media originate that term? I thought it was something gun owners came up with.

        • Gunnit Live

          Well, I am sure gun owners just took it and ran with it. However it does not help when our own media keeps using the wrong term. Its really fracking annoying.

          • Buk Lau

            Indeed, but you know Title II has always been the “dark arts” of gun culture. Can’t expect most people to know much about something that to outsiders looks like magic being preformed.

            It’ll get better with time if the trusts are left alone and NFA items remain within the reach of your average consumer who doesn’t feel like getting finger prints or dealing with a sheriff sign off to get a gun that has a barrel 6 inches shorter than one he or she can walk out with the same day.

  • J.T.

    Buy It Now on the rifle is $25,000, so it’s an auction not for the faint of heart – or light of wallet.

    That’s actually about half of what I was expecting.

  • Leigh Rich

    BFD Gunnit Live. Some one call a WAAAMBULANCE,