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Brownells Retro Rifles, back to the future

Is it possible to manufacture rifles that are new and old at the same time? Brownells did it, introducing its Retro line of AR-15 and AR-10 rifles that replicate Eugene Stoner's iconic designs, the first complete firearms ever produced by this well-known company. Brownells had been selling “retro” AR15 furniture sets for some time now, so the transition to complete guns was already in their minds. 

Brownells Retro Rifles, back to the future
The Brownell's booth at the SHOT Show.

The new-old rifle series – which is made of entirely newly-made products, of course – already includes two 308/7.62 variants and four 5.56mm variants. The latter include the M16, M16E1 and M16A1 replicas, respectively with correct slab side, partial magazine fence and full "magazine fence"  lower receivers. The flash hiders are the correct ones too, from the first 3 prong models to the “birdcage” flash hider of the M16A1. The fourth 5.56mm AR-15 replica is nothing less than the rare and sought-after Colt CAR-15 Commando (XM177) assault carbine. 

Brownells Retro Rifles: the .308 AR10 models

The BRN-10B and BRN-10A rifles by Brownells showcased at SHOT Show 2018.
The BRN-10B and BRN-10A rifles by Brownells showcased at SHOT Show 2018 in Las Vegas.

Even more exciting are the two rifles chambered in 308/7.62, since they replicate the early AR-10 models, with the typical trigger style charging handle underneath the carry handle. One of the replicas sports the brown furniture of the “Sudanese” AR-10As and the original 3-Prong, “Dutch style” flash hider, while the other variant mimic the details of the “Portuguese model” AR-10Bs.

Brownells XBRN177E2 Carbine
The Brownells XBRN177E2 Carbine is an homage to the classic carbine used by US troops in Vietnam.

Brownell Retro rifles shares some features like the 20” barrel (12.7" for the carbine model) and are compatible with standard modern components. The effort put in reproducing the old designs is praiseworthy, even if the level of detail is not “philological” - e.g., the AR10 front sight assembly and windage knobs are modern components, different from originals. There are also some lovely touches, like the AR-15s manual reproducing the illustrated US Army manual created back in the '60s by cartoonist and graphic artist Will Eisner.

Retail prices for the Brownells' Retro AR-15s are the same for all versions - 1299.99 USD. The Retro AR-10s are at 1699.99 for the brown furniture version and 1599.99 for the other one. All Retro rifles are already available on Brownells website.

The Brownells Model BRN-601 Rifle
The Brownells Model BRN-601 Rifle recreates the classic design of the original AR-15 issued to the United States Military in the early 1960s.

Brownells Retro rifles - available models and specs

Model:BRN-10A
BRN-10B
Caliber:
308/7.62mm
308/7.62mm
Barrel:
20 in / 508 mm heavy contoured with aggressive fluting underneath the handguard
20 in / 508 mm lightweight barrel in 308 with 5/8"-24 threads & 1-10" twist, nitride finish
Flash hider:3-prong, Dutch style with nitride finish
Portuguese-style closed-prong with nitride finish
Furniture:
brown 
black  
Receivers:
billet 7075-T6 aluminum
billet 7075-T6 aluminum
Charging handle:trigger style underneath the carry handletrigger style underneath the carry handle
Price:1699.99 USD
1599.99 USD
Model:BRN-601 Rifle
XBRN16E1
BRN-16A1
XBRN177E2
Caliber:
5.56mm
5.56mm
5.56mm
5.56mm
Lower receiver:
Model 601 Style with slab side
XM16E1 Style Lower Receiver with partial "magazine fence"
M16A1 Style lower receiver with full "magazine fence"
M16A1 Style Lower Receiver with full "magazine fence"
Upper receiver:
slickside
XM16E1 Upper Receiver
M16A1 Upper Receiver
M16A1 Upper Receiver
Barrel:
20 in / 508 mm with 1-12 twist & chrome bore
20 in / 508 mm with 1-12 twist & chrome bore
20 in / 508 mm with 1-12 twist & chrome bore
20 in / 508 mm with 1-12 twist & chrome bore
Flash hider:
duckbill 3-prong 
3-prong 
birdcage A1
XM177 flash hider with grenade ring (pinned and welded to meet legal length)
Buttstock, pistol grip & handguard assembly:
green
black

black

black, with CAR buttstock
Notes:
includes 20rd magazine, GI Operations Manual & chamber flag
includes 20rd magazine, GI Operations Manual & chamber flag
includes 20rd magazine, GI Operations Manual & chamber flag
includes 20rd magazine, GI Operations Manual & chamber flag

For more information please visit Brownells website.

All news from SHOT Show 2018 you’ll find on all4shooters.com. 

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