A Nutshell History of the AR-10 & The Rise Of The DPMS Profile .308

Blogs have been written, Internet forums have been founded and populated, opinions have been opined. Everyone talks about building an AR platform .308 rifle... all the way up to the point where they start trying to get all of the parts together. Then come the questions, and then the questions multiply like breeding rabbits. The thing is that building your own custom AR platform .308 rifle isn't as easy as building an AR-15 where the biggest common considerations are mil-spec vs. commercial spec, to free-float or not to free-float, barrel length & twist rate.

"Why is that?" you may ask. What is it about the .308 AR that makes building one from parts so much more difficult? The answer is multi-faceted but can be simplified as follows; historically, lack of general (civilian) interest (or exposure) created a lack of standardization. Where there is no interest there is no market and where there is no market there is no need for standardization.

"NO MARKET???", "What the heck man?"...             Read on.

It all began in 1955 when the U. S. Army went looking for a lighter weight alternative for the M1 Garand and Eugene Stoner, machinist and chief engineer for Armalite (then a division of Fairchild Engine and Aircraft Corporation), designed the AR-10 rifle as Armalite's submission. 

Looooong story short; the U. S. Army didn't see the value of Stoner's radical new design opting instead for the more "conventional" T44 design submitted by Springfield Armory which would go on to become the infamous M14 Battle Rifle. 

Between 1955 and 1959 Armalite produced less than 10,000 "original design" AR-10 rifles, most of which were sold by contract to foreign militaries making an "original" AR-10 one of the most sought after and prized additions to some of the more "well-heeled" collections today.

What caused the most significant change, why I am writing these words and why you are reading them, was Armalite's 1957 re-design where they substantially modified and re-scaled the AR-10 to fire the .223 Remington. Armalite gave their new creation the designation AR-15 (Armalite 15, not Assault Rifle 15!), some licensing agreements happened, some high dollar contracts were signed and the result is what we now know as the M16 and modern AR-15.

So what happened to the AR-10 design after 1957? We're still talking about it today so something must have happened right? Well, kind of... With it's design licensed and re-licensed all over the world the AR-10 just kind of plodded along for a long time seeing action with several foreign militaries and having slight design modifications made, most of which were never seen on U. S. soil. It continued to just sort of plod along right up to 1996 when Mark Westrom, a former Army Ordnance officer, purchased the Armalite brand and formed Armalite, inc. Seeing an opportunity Armalite, Inc. introduced the AR-10B which they'd designed not based on the original AR-10 but instead on a more popular and more modern version of the AR-15. 

Enter 'the market'.

While Armalite, Inc. continues to hold the U. S. trademark on the name "AR-10" a growing number of companies produce rifles based roughly around the AR-10B design. 

Enter lack of standardization.

Lack of standardization left the market wide open for interpretation and firearm manufacturers large and small have filled it with proprietary components in attempts to carve out as large a share of the market for themselves as possible. There have been some good concepts that made it to market and there have been some bad. The voice of a free market spoke, market share was divided and at the end of the day two similar but different platform configurations stood clearly above all of the others. The Armalight AR-10 and the DPMS LR308. 

Standardization? Almost.

Powered by the Freedom Group, part of Cerberus Capital Management, DPMS grew quickly through mergers and acquisitions to become an industry powerhouse which gave the company a significant advantage over many of the smaller companies competing for .308 AR market share.

Adapt or die.

What we're essentially left with is the "AR-10 profile" and the "DPMS profile" .308 rifle designs with the DPMS profile commanding a reported 87% of the market.

87% of the market isn't too shabby and that's why you'll find that our .308 AR product line and all of our .308 project kits are geared generally toward the "DPMS profile". Are there some variants of each profile we need to address? Yes, and we will address those variants as clearly as possible in the product's description.

Are there some parts that are common between the AR-10 profile and the DPMS profile? What about common parts between the AR-15, AR-10 profile and/or DPMS profile??? Yes and Yes. We've addressed those as well and even custom tailored our search function to make viewing those common parts as easy as a mouse click.

Thank you so much for reading! Now get to shopping!

Y'all take care,

Philip Bennett, President & CEO, Ground Zero Precision