When you travel abroad, there’s no telling what you might find. Tim of the Military Arms Channel was visiting the MKE factory in Turkey, when he stumbled upon an extremely rare original Stoner 63 rifle sitting in an arms locker. The very short video he made to document the encounter is embedded below:
The Stoner 63 was one of the early competitors to the AR-15, and the first serious competitor chambered for the .223 Remington/5.56mm cartridge. Previously, the AR-15 had competed against the Winchester LMR and a Springfield lightweight rifle design, neither of which were chambered for the .223 Remington*. The Stoner 63 saw action in Vietnam, and was nearly adopted by the United States Marine Corps. However, standardization of the AR-15 rifle eventually went forward, and the M16 became the US standard rifle in 1970.
The central design feature of the Stoner 63 is the ability to convert the rifle into a belt-fed machine gun. The purpose of this was not so much to enable to user to convert from one configuration to another, but to reduce the cost of the light machine gun variant because so many parts would be mass produced for the rifle variant weapons. However, the weapons could be configured by the user, and in that respect they are a 1960s-era example of the modularity that has become so popular today.