- 1 What is an AR-10 Rifle?
- 2 What are the key features of the AR-10?
- 3 AR-10 Pricelist
- 4 What are the top brands or manufacturers of AR-10 Rifles?
- 5 Which AR-10 would suit my needs the best?
- 6 How is the AR-10 operated?
- 7 What are the AR-10 variants?
- 8 What makes a good AR-10?
- 9 Performance Quality
Top AR-10 Rifles Review, Price List, and Buyer’s Guide
Whether you are looking to buy an AR-10 for your security operations or for hunting expeditions, the AR-10 is surely a precision rifle worth investing in. However, since there are many arms manufacturers that produce the rifle model, it can be quite hard to decide which makes the most reliable AR-10 that fits your needs.
This review aims to discuss what makes a good AR-10 rifle and the features that some of the top manufacturers produce their AR-10 models with.
What is an AR-10 Rifle?
The AR-10 is a rifle platform developed in the late 1950s for ArmaLite by Eugene Stoner. It was used as a battle rifle in the service, but only a few were produced at the time it was developed. Today, the AR-10 is a choice rifle for long-range shooting and sniper support in law enforcement service, security service operations and hunting sports.
What are the key features of the AR-10?
The key features of the AR-10 rifle are bulleted below:
- Lightweight construction
- Magazine-fed ammo
- Gas piston operated
- Air-cooled hardware
- Chambered in .308 and 7.62×51 NATO
- Spring-loaded firing pin
As indicated above, the AR-10 is gas-operated, which means that it is cycled by a gas piston system that uses pressure from expanding gas to fire each shot. It is semi-automatic because it lacks components like the auto sear, which are found in fully-automatic rifles. And because it is chambered to accommodate the .308 Winchester cartridges, it uses a longer magazine well, longer upper receiver, and longer magazines.
Many of its small parts like the buffer, action spring and receiver extension are also interchangeable with the AR-15’s similar parts. The AR-10 is actually customizable and can be built using parts from different manufacturers.
What are the top brands or manufacturers of AR-10 Rifles?
Because the AR-10 has different variants and different manufacturers, determining which and where to buy the right AR-10 for your professional or personal needs can be quite challenging. The AR-10 review below lists 5 of the most noted models and manufacturers of different sorts of AR-10 rifle configuration:
Daniel Defense DD5 V1 and V2 Review
The DD5 series is produced by Daniel Defense, a top-quality manufacturer of modern rifles. The DD5 series consists of professional-grade rifles that feature the following:
- Cold hammer-forged free-floating barrels in 16 inches (DD5 V1) and 18 inches (DD5 V2)
- KeyMod Handguard
- Geissele two-stage trigger
- PMAG accommodation
- Adjustable stock
- Ambidextrous controls
- Extensive top rail (runs from charging handle to the flash suppressor)
The DD5 series models are considered by most to be the best AR-10 rifles based on their feature specs and shooting capabilities.
ArmaLite AR-10 Tactical Review
ArmaLite is the original manufacturer and developer of the AR-10, so we can expect their modern AR-10 rifles to have top of the line quality. ArmaLite usually produces their rifles using exclusive proprietary parts, so most of their rifles’ parts and accessories may not be interchangeable with parts from other manufacturers.
Their AR-10 (T) features the following specs:
- Stainless steel, match-grade, free-floating barrel in 20 inches
- Flat-top upper receiver
- ArmaLite handguard
- Precision two-stage trigger
- Comes in two configurations—A (can use third party magazines) and B (only uses proprietary ArmaLite metal mags)
ArmaLite’s latest Tactical series comes with new features like:
- MAGPUL flip up sights
- Chrome-lined barrels in 16, 18 and 20 inches
- Pistol grips
Windham Weaponry SRC-308
Windham Weaponry is known to produce affordable but high-quality rifles. It was founded by former Bushmaster firearms owner, Richard Dyke. He works with some of his former Bushmaster employees in developing modern weaponry innovations. One of their best rifles is the SRC-308, which is an AR-10 variant that features the following specs:
- Chrome-lined barrel in 16 ½ inches
- AR handguards
- Standard AR trigger
- Optics-ready upper receiver and gas block
- Stock and grips
The SRC-308 is also the favorite among AR-10’s as a base AR-10 for piece by piece upgrades and customization.
Ruger SR-762 Review
The SR-762 is a piston-driven AR-10 variant with the following features:
- Fluted chrome-lined barrel
- Two-stage Ruger Elite 452 AR trigger
- Chrome-plated bolt and bolt carrier
- PMAG accommodation
- Adjustable stock
- Extensive top rail (runs from the upper receiver to the handguard)
DPMS Oracle 308 Review
DPMS produces high-quality parts and highly-capable entry-level rifles. Their Oracle 308 is a simple AR-10 base with the following basic specs:
- Chrome Moly barrel in 16 inches
- Optics-ready upper receiver and gas block
- Standard stock
- Standard trigger
- Standard handguard
- Basic grip
The Oracle 308 is the most preferred base AR-10 rifle platform for customization and upgrades because it’s more affordable than other AR-10’s but has great quality.
Which AR-10 would suit my needs the best?
Your choice of AR-10 will depend greatly on how you intend to use the rifle. If you are a professional who needs a highly reliable rifle for security and defense service operations, the Daniel Defense DD5 is your best choice. If you are an experienced hunter who prefers a heavier rifle that will withstand pressure, the Ruger SR-762 is what you might need. If you are a newcomer to shooting or if you like customizing base rifles, the DPMS Oracle 308 would be the rifle for the job.
Careful assessment before buying must be practiced to ensure that you don’t end up using the wrong rifle for your shooting venture. Also, rifles are big guns that are dangerous around civilians; choosing the wrong sort of AR-10 might lead to untoward and unpleasant accidents that can cost your life or others’ lives. The AR-10 rifle is a well-performing hunting and defense service companion, but you should always take extreme precautions in buying, storing, and handling the rifles.
How is the AR-10 operated?
The AR-10 is a .308 Winchester or 7.62×51 NATO caliber rifle that feeds from box magazines with a 20-round capacity. Its variants are operated similarly but may have different calibers.
The magazines are securely inserted each into the magazine well by pushing them up until it clicks. Each cartridge is chambered when the bolt lock is closed and the charging handle is pulled back so it can slingshot forward.
The AR-10 has a bolt catch mechanism that keeps the bolt open after firing the last round from the magazine. It should close when a new magazine is inserted, but if it remains open, you just press the bolt catch’s paddle in with your thumb to close it and chamber the cartridge.
To fire or shoot, just switch the selector to FIRE. And when the magazine is emptied, the bolt lock will open again to accommodate the next magazine.
What are the AR-10 variants?
The AR-10 rifle has several variants that mainly include the following:
- AR-10A – this is the modified model that accommodates the 7.62×51 NATO PMAGS.
- AR-10B – almost identical copy of the original AR-10, including the use of brown plastic furniture.
- AR-10A2 – looks similar to the M16A2 and features a similar furniture style. Its charging handle is subtly up-sized so the bolt carrier can accommodate a larger gas key.
- AR-10A4 – features the flat-top A4 receiver instead of carrying handle and mounting rails instead of mounting handguards for the optics and sights accessories.
- AR-10(T) – the match-grade rifle that features match-grade barrel, 2-stage trigger, and flat-top receiver.
The original AR-10 and the variants share the same base design, so they all work within Stoner’s design trademark, the principle of direct impingement. This principle is affirmed in gas rifles; when a round is fired from them, hot gas emits from the cartridge. Some of the gas is emitted through the rifle barrel and some through the rifle tube, which helps with the quick recoil of the caliber compartment into position to accommodate the next round.
Unlike piston-powered rifles that use the mechanical piston for recoil, gas piston reacts quicker, so gas rifles can readily shoot the next round in less time. This means that gas rifles can shoot more rounds within a certain period of time compared to piston-powered rifles. It also makes the AR’s shots more accurate.
These characteristics make the AR-10 a preferable choice in sniper operations and complex long-range shooting exercises.
What makes a good AR-10?
It is important to note that professional shooters and hunters root for AR-10 over AR-15 because it can be customized with parts from the AR-15 so the AR-10 will have the combined power of the AR-15 and AR-10. Some shooters who are capable of building their own guns prefer to build their AR-10’s, but there are plenty of manufacturers that build high-quality, customizable AR-10’s.
Whether you choose to buy a well-manufactured AR-10 from a dealer or order a custom-built AR-10 from capable shooters, it is important to always check the quality of your purchased item. The following are the primary things to consider in buying a good AR-10:
Quality of Parts
- Trigger – long-range rifles require high-quality triggers that will not fail under the firing pressure. Triggers can be single-stage or two-stage. Though two-stage triggers are what most professionals prefer, a single stage trigger is adequate enough for entry-level models.
The difference of the two-stage trigger from the single stage is that it has the slack phase and the break phase. The slack is the start of the trigger pull and the break is the firing of the shot, where the trigger spring of the rifle breaks.
- Barrel – Long-range accuracy can be affected by the quality of the rifle barrel. Both the material and barrel length play important roles in ensuring shot accuracy. Chrome-lined barrels are more long-lasting than stainless steel, but they are not match-grade or optimally accurate. Stainless steel barrels, on the other hand, are match-grade but last shorter and the accuracy fades when the stainless steel starts to rust. Nitrided steel is the combo of the features of chrome-lined and stainless steel barrels. Nitrided steel barrels are match-grade and last long.
When it comes to barrel length, longer barrels ensure better accuracy than shorter barrels for long-range shooting. A barrel length of 20 to 24 inches is recommended for long-range shooting, 16 inches for close-range shooting, 18 to 20 inches for middle-range multi-purpose shooting.
- Scope – Optics are essential for long-distance shooting accuracy. There is a wide variety of scopes available for equipping the AR-10, but only a few works best for shooting the .308 rounds. A high-quality rifle requires a high-quality scope to maximize its long-range performance.
- Accessories – Most parts of the AR-10 are replaceable and customizable. Though you can obtain parts from different manufacturers, it’s important to note that there are models or variants that may require proprietary parts for them to actually work. These parts may be more expensive than others, so you must always check for the availability of small replaceable parts or their alternatives on the market.
- Weight – the rifle’s weight affects the shooter’s level of comfort throughout the shooting course. Usually, lighter rifles are more preferable than heavier rifles to avoid or delay muscle strain. Gas rifles are generally lighter than piston rifles, but the weight is predominantly determined by the material quality of the rifle’s parts.
- Range – the marketed shooting range of rifles may vary from the actual achievable range. This is because the shooting range achievable by rifle also depends on how well the parts work together. For example, as mentioned above, a shorter barrel has a shorter range accuracy compared to longer barrels. Also, the quality of ammunition used for your AR-10 can also affect its actual performance. There are powder ammunitions that may leave hard-to-clean residues that can make the rifle perform sluggishly and inaccurately.
- Accuracy – the rifle’s accuracy actually depends on the rifle’s achievable range. If a target is over 500 yards away, you may not hit it if your rifle doesn’t achieve an effective 500-yard or more range. Also, the optics used with the AR-10 can also directly influence the shooting accuracy. Some scopes work better with some models or variants, while some can only provide mediocre aim no matter what model or variant you use it with.