Technical clarification

Both Pennsylvania rifle and AR15 were used for hunting in advance of combative use. AR15 was sold to civilians from 1963, a year before the Army adopted it for special operations. Both were much lower in power than typical hunting or military rifles of the day, both for portability and to lower the the cost of powder and lead consumed. At the time when a typical musket was around .70 caliber, hunting rifles hovered between .32 and .45 calibers, with the bullet weight being 1/6 to 1/8 of those used by the military. Likewise, AR15 used 55gr bullets when military .308 and 30-06 used 145gr to 158gr projectiles.

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21 Responses to Technical clarification

  1. Kelly Harbeson says:

    I have to take issue with the AR being designed as a hunting rifle. Eugene Stoner designed the AR-10 for military contracts and the 5.56 guns at the request of the US military

    • Oleg Volk says:

      Yeah, I did a little more research and found that it was sold as a hunting rifle in advance of the army adoption but not designed as such from the start. Will revise the text.

    • David W. Loeffler says:

      You are correct but there is no firearm type that has not had military application and shown similar acceptance by civilians. As one who had some Army training I saw little or no difference in the application of any firearm. As a hunter my Army trainers/leaders were happy to use my experience. Dad had a 1903 Springfield he used for hunting, it’s also what he trained with in the Army though he ended up with a BAR for his walking tour of Europe. The M16/AR15 was designed in response to a military request, yes. That it was available to the civilian market prior to acceptance by the military is merely a break in tradition.

    • PavePusher says:

      To be fair, EVERY common modern hunting rifle was derived directly from a then-current or former military design. It’s axiomatic that a militarily useful rifle will be good for hunting game. (And vice-versa.)

      • LarryArnold says:

        To be fair, EVERY common modern hunting rifle was derived directly from a then-current or former military design.

        Other than those military rifles derived directly from civilian designs. It’s a two-way street.

  2. Dave Willard says:

    It was my understanding that the initial military contract was from the Air Force for base security personnel. Is that not correct?

  3. Hal says:

    In its current form, the AR is an AWESOME hunting rifle. Anything from .22 lr to big brush busting calibers are available with just a quick parts swap.

  4. Ray says:

    I hunt with a 30.06. I HATE the 5.56 for hunting. I have shot deer with standard state mandated soft points in the heart and both lungs and had the 90 pound doe run for a mile. I NEVER have that happen with my 30.06 “banner Mauser”. (another “military” rifle built as a sporting/hunting rifle) Even the 1960’s Mauser 2000-3000 series sporting rifle was briefly used as an unofficial “sniper” weapon by US solders in Vietnam. I doubt that any “common use” firearm in history hasn’t seen military service. Mr. Lindberg NOTHING about the AR series is original in any way. EVERY feature of the “Stoner system” was copied from other FAILED firearms designs. He never did anything original in his life. The thing that has always fascinated me is that every weapon he ever designed failed in the military market with the exception of one. The AR; The weapon that even he considered defective by design (The “Stoner 63” and the AR180 were both MUCH better than the AR-15/ M-16/M-4)

    • LarryArnold says:

      I HATE the 5.56 for hunting.

      Depends on what you’re hunting. Feral hog, coyotes, javelina, for instance.

      • Ray says:

        I’ll give you that one Larry . With some small (< 75lb.) game the 5.56 preforms like a .22-250 or 25.06. I wouldn't take ether one on an eastern hog hunt though. I popped one of them with a .58cal. Minnie ball a few years ago. I got a clean heart shot and it still ran 200 yards. "Feral" hogs have become a real problem. Kentucky has no season and no bag limit . I really don't have much interest in killing Coyotes or ground hogs. Don't eat it so I don't kill it. so the 06 works just fine for me. I can load for anything I might encounter that I'll shoot. From 110 gas check "hard cast" "varmint" loads to 220grain "elk" loads. Its pretty much all I use anymore.

        • LarryArnold says:

          Not criticizing your choice, my hunting rifle is a .308. But there are too many folks saying “You don’t need an AR-15 for hunting.” I also read someone recently who said the .22LR wasn’t legal for hunting.

          We need to remember that “hunting” does not equal “deer hunting.”

  5. Eric says:

    Where did the wood on that AR come from?

  6. BF Caffrey says:

    Correct. General LeMay had been shown the AR-15 in 1960 at an informal picnic by Colt representatives (Colt having purchased the rights from Fairchild-ArmaLight in 1959). LeMay had used the rifle to “slay a number of rogue watermelons” and was impressed with the rifle. As Chief of Staff of the Air Force, he ordered 80,000 AR-15s in 1961 but the request was rejected over concerns about 2 different calibers in the logistics chain.

    IIRC, between 1961 and 1962, the Air Force was allowed to purchase a smaller number of AR-15s (about 3500 I think) for protecting the “ready fleet” of standby nuclear bombers (in CONUS) rather than being issued to every Air Force security policeman. In 1963 the Air Force was allocated 19,000 M-16 rifles while the US Army was to get the XM-16E1 rifle with the then-new bolt foward-assist feature, which the USAF rifles lacked.

  7. The Kentucky Rifle was very accurate since it used a rifled barrel. It had a long barrel because the blackpowder back then was not up to high standards so a longer barrel was needed for full and complete combustion. When the powder quality increased-barrels became shorter. A longer barrel gives a longer sight radius which also benefits accuracy. Most deer hunting calibers were from .40 to .45 and some to .50. With proper shot placement, it does not take much to kill a deer. I use a .54 cal muzzle loading rifle and it is as effective as a .308 within its effective range. I have never killed a deer over 65 yards with most being taken well within 50 yards in the deep and thick Florida woods. I regularly hunt with a Colt AR-15 Carbine but use a 65 gr Sierra bullet that has a thicker jacket and harder lead for controlled expansion and better penetration. Never allow someone to tell you the 223/5.56 is not deadly. I select my shots well and I am an accomplished shooter and hunter…all game taken with the 223 were one shot kills. The airport animal cullers-that you never see or hear about–use a Remington M 700 in 223 for killing deer and hogs. Their contract states that the cullers have to take the animals with one shot. They use the Sierra bullet or one similar in function.

  8. Ray says:

    Yeh . Ted. I had that same 65 grain Sierra go side to side with little damage done. It left a tiny tiny pin hole when it drilled the off side rib. As in NO expand. That’s what happens when you fire at game more than 65 yards away with a 223 (my brother dropped that one with a single shot from his 6.5X55 range 350 yards) On the other hand my brothers son dropped a ten point buck last year with a single shot from my .308 M-40 clone at 700 yards using my 168 grain Sierra hand loads. I guess hunting in shotgun country (Fla.) at shotgun ranges wouldn’t be that much fun for me. You kids like poodle shooters and that’s OK. But I never found the “good” in the mouse gun. I have five NM or “sniper” grade rifles and fifty years trigger time. That limits MY “shot placement” to whatever my old eyes can still see.(20/15 corrected) That and I’m kind of a traditionalist. I still take my pre 1976 TC .45 cal. “Seneca” to the woods. And my flint lock. And My self bow, bamboo arrows with stone tips & flint knife. I’m thinking about hunting with an Atal-Atal this year. Damn. All this hunting talk makes me want to go around Big south fork and hog hunt. With my Mauser.

  9. BLADE says:

    I believe this stock came out of Tennessee, when I first saw this photo I contacted Oleg and he told me who made it, (Dan I believe was his name) . Did some knife trading for the stock and then some more knife trading for the rifle. The wood is AAAA Walnut and absolutely beautiful, but does make for a hefty rifle.

    • Will says:

      If the butt stock wasn’t hollowed out in addition to the bore for the recoil setup, then someone isn’t doing it properly.
      Beautiful wood.
      I’m thinking it might look better if the fore end was done in the triangular profile of the original (60’s) issue rifle. No grooved sides would be needed. Those detract from the good looks, in my opinion.

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