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That picture was probably taken at Camp Lejeune during the Service and Troop Trials in 1964. That was the only time Stoner rifles were issued to troops.

Other than the belt fed LMG used by SEALs the Stoner system never was used in combat.
 

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My dad was in the Air Force. He was in Vietnam twice. Once in 67, then again in 70/71.

He told me that the second time, at Cam Ranh Bay he told me he was issued an M16. He told me he used to fold the stock sideways under it every night and stick it under his pillow on the bunk he slept on.

I know the butt stock on an M16 doesn't fold sideways. I tried to tell him they didn't. He swore it was an M16. What full auto rifle/carbine that fires 5.56X45 has a butt stock that folds sideways? We "argued" about it a couple times over the years. When I finally got an AR15 and took it home he told me that wasn't what he had, he had an M16. We just stopped discussing it.
 

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I don't know where the photo was taken, but I don't believe it was taken at Camp Lejeune. These Marines are wearing jungle utilities and we were forbidden to being them back with us, so they would not have been wearing them at Lejeune. And too, Marines were not in a location in 1964 where they would have been issued jungle utilities. Second, 1/3 is a 3d MarDiv unit and would not have been at Lejeune. Lejeune is the home of the 2d MarDiv and in 1964 the 3d MarDiv and 1/3 were on Okinawa. The locale and uniforms appear to me to more likely actually be 1967.
 

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My dad was in the Air Force. He was in Vietnam twice. Once in 67, then again in 70/71.
What full auto rifle/carbine that fires 5.56X45 has a butt stock that folds sideways?
AR-18?

Or maybe he misremembered folding the stock "sideways" and it was an XM-177?

M1A1 Carbine?
 

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My dad was in the Air Force. He was in Vietnam twice. Once in 67, then again in 70/71.

He told me that the second time, at Cam Ranh Bay he told me he was issued an M16. He told me he used to fold the stock sideways under it every night and stick it under his pillow on the bunk he slept on....
Hey, my pop was certain he saw Johnson LMGs in US infantry combat shortly after Normandy, so it's entirely possible that they either "mis-saw" something that looked similar, or maybe everything that WE think is so, isn't...
 

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Has anyone bought one of Brownell's Retro Rifles?
What is your opinion?
Didn't know Brownell's had even done that. I think that system was ahead of it's time and forward in the thinking. Too bad it wasn't used/adapted more and refined. I know they're temperamental, but what a great concept!
 

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Didn't know Brownell's had even done that. I think that system was ahead of it's time and forward in the thinking. Too bad it wasn't used/adapted more and refined. I know they're temperamental, but what a great concept!
I never knew it until chatting with a member via PMs about Armalites and he mentioned it, about a month ago.
Well guarded secret?
Wish I could find more info on them from owners who bought.
 

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Well, here I sit behind my computer thoroughly corrected.

Yes, in March - May 1967 one rifle company (L/3/1) and two reconnaissance platoons (one from 1st MARDIV's Recon Bn, and one from the Force Recon Company) were issued Stoner 63As configured as rifles, carbines, automatic rifles, and light machine guns, (the magazine fed automatic rifles were withdrawn very early) for combat evaluation. Of all of the troops questioned, only 4% didn't like it.

Aircraft Airplane Monoplane Propeller Aviation

(Marines really liked the M1/M14 safety!)

46/3B/WLS:jmw
9 November 1967
046A31467​

THIRD ENDORSEMENT on CG 1st MarDiv (Rein) FMF ltr 3:ERW:kgb 1500 of 30 August 1967

From: Coordinator, Marine Corps Landing Force Development Activities, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia 22134
To: Commandant of the Marine Corps (Code AX)

Subj: CMC Project Directive 44-66-13 A04F of 22 December 1966, Stoner Weapons System Evaluation, Final Report

1. Readdressed and forwarded.
.
.
.
4. The basic report indicates:

a. That the family of weapons concept provides distinct tactical and logistical advantages.

b. That the Stoner Rifle is superior to the M16A1 Rifle in reliability, accuracy, and compatibility with other weapons. It should be noted that although the basic report indicates that the Stoner Rifle is less reliable than the M14 Rifle that the difference is not significant considering overall advantages offered through employment of the Stoner Weapons System.

c. That the Stoner Rifle and Carbine with certain modifications are suitable for Marine Corps use.

d. That the Stoner Automatic Rifle is not suitable for Marine Corps use.

e. That the Stoner Light Machine Gun with certain modifications is suitable for Marine Corps use in the automatic rifle role.

f. That the Stoner Medium Machine Gun with certain modifications is suitable for Marine Corps use.
.
.
.
5. In regard to other items noted in the basic report, the following comments are offered:
.
.
.
c. Reference (g) requires the evaluation by CMCLFDA of the experimental 68 grain 5.56mm bullet which offers the potential of improving the terminal effectiveness of all Stoner Weapons as well as all other 5.56mm weapons.

6. In regard to the First and Second Endorsements, the following comments are offered:

a. Both endorsements noted that the Stoner field evaluation did not include the monsoon season. On the other hand, it should be noted that the Stoner Weapons Family has received world-wide environmental testing in temperate, arctic and tropical climates as shown in references (h), (i), and (j).

b. The Stoner Rifle can be provided with a grenade launching capability by employing standard rifle grenades, a detachable launcher similar to the XM148, or the MECAR family of grenades, of which the latter appears to offer great potentiality. Reference (k) required CMCLFDA to evaluate the MECAR grenades to determine their suitability for Marine Corps use.

c. Test reports indicate that the present finish of the Stoner Weapons System resists rust as well as the M16A1 or M14 rifles, however programs are currently underway to develop improved rust-resistant finishes at USAMC and by private industry.

d. As directed by reference (1), work is in progress to modify two Stoner 63A Medium Machine Guns for confirmatory testing. These modifications will eliminate openings through which dirt enters moving parts of the system. All other deficiencies noted in the system by III MAF could be concurrently corrected under this project.

7. It is recommended:

a. That CMC Project 44-66-13 be terminated.

b. That no further environmental or service testing be conducted.

c. That the Stoner family of weapons except for the automatic rifle be adopted by the Marine Corps as follows:

(1) That the Stoner Rifle replace the rifles in current use on a one for one basis.

(2) That the Stoner Carbine replace the submachine gun in current use on a one for one basis.

(3) That certain personnel, to be determined by further study, presently armed with the Ml91lAl .45 caliber pistol be armed with the Stoner Carbine.

(4) That the Stoner Light Machine Gun replace the automatic rifle in current use on a one for one basis.

(5) That the Stoner Medium Machine Gun replace the M60 machine gun on a one for one basis.

d. If the above recommendations are approved, it is recommended that:

(1) An interservice agreement be developed with the U. S. Army to provide necessary service and facilities incident to the procurement and technical support of weapons and ammunition, including belted ammunition.

J.M. Master, Sr (signed)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

8/cgg
3560
16 Oct 1967​

SECOND ENDORSEMENT on CG 1st MarDiv (Rein) FMF ltr 3:ERW:kgb 1500 of 30 Aug 1967

From: Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
To: Coordinator, Marine Corps Landing Force Development Activities;

Subj: Stoner Weapon System Evaluation

1. Forwarded.

2. The very favorable tenor of the test report has been noted. The following recommendations are made:

a. That the discrepancies/deficiencies noted in the report be corrected, and appropriate confirmatory tests be conducted.

b. That the Stoner Rifle be provided with a grenade launching capability.

c. That the full expertise of U. S. technology be brought to bear to provide a weapon finish that will not easily rust under field conditions.

d. That devices be incorporated to reduce the common problem of ready access of dirt and grit into moving parts.

e. That the complete Stoner Weapon System be further tested and evaluated under all possible climatic conditions, including controlled environmental testing.

3. Subject to the successful fulfillment of the objectives of the above recommendations, the Stoner Weapon System could be considered as the eventual replacement for the current M16 Rifle, M60 Machine Gun family of weapons.

V.H. Krulak (signed)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

3D/RWO/lka
1500
Sept 13 1967​

FIRST ENDORSEMENT on CG, 1st MarDiv (Rein), FMF ltr J:ERW:kgb over 1500 of 30 Aug 67

From: Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force
TO: Coordinator, Marine Corps Landing Force Development Activities
Via: Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific

Subj: Stoner Weapon System Evaluation

1. Forwarded.

2. It is noted that the test did not include evaluation of weapons during the monsoon season, nor in any periods of sustained heavy combat. Nevertheless, test conditions were such that fair judgement can be made of the combat effectiveness of this family of weapons. The system merits consideration for adoption by the Marine Corps.

3. The original test questionnaires from which the data in this report were compiled are being forwarded under separate cover directly to the Coordinator, Marine Corps landing Force Development Activities.

R. E. Cushman, Jr (signed)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
HEADQUARTERS
1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF
FPO San Francisco, California 96602
3:ERW:kgb
1500
30 Aug 1967​

From: Commanding General
To: Coordinator, Marine Corps Landing Force Development Activities
Via: (1) Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force
(2) Commanding General Fleet Marine Force, Pacific

Subj: Stoner Weapon System Evaluation

Ref:
(a) CG, III MAF Itr 3D/LB/lka~ 3960 or 14Mar67
(b) CG, III MAF Itr 3D/LB/lkaj 3960 of 22Mar67
(c) CG, 1stMarDiv 090917Z Aug67
(d) CG, III MAF 210816z Aug67

Encl:
(1) Summary
(2) Analysis of Test Objectives
(3) Stoner Questionnaire Summaries
(4) Ml6El Questionnaire Summaries
(5) Photographs (One (1) Copy to each Adee)
(6) Questionnaires (One (1) Copy to Coord, LFDA)

1. References (a) and (b) directed and provided guidance for the subject evaluation. Reference (c) requested extension of the submission date of the final report. Reference (d) approved reference (c).

2. The enclosures constitute the final report addressing the test objectives.

3. The basic conclusions of the evaluation are that the stoner family of weapons provides substantial tactical and logistic advantages. There are some relatively minor modifications required prior to acceptance but none of these appears to create any problem. The system received a high degree of acceptance from personnel involved.

4. The Stoner Weapon System is strongly recommended for adoption.

James C. Short
By Direction

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

SUMMARY

1. The evaluation of the Stoner Weapons System was conducted during March, April, and May. A comparative phase of the evaluation utilizing the Ml6E1 rifle was conducted during June and July. For the purpose of the evaluation, one rifle company, a platoon of the division reconnaissance battalion, and a platoon of the force reconnaissance company were armed with the Stoner family of weapons.

2. Early in the evaluation the Stoner Automatic Rifle was withdrawn because of its unacceptability. The reason for this was that since the weapon is magazine loaded from the top, every time i.t was loaded any sand or dirt from the magazine poured directly into the receiver. Many stoppages resulted.

3. The weapon system was well received by using personnel and the final questionnaires showed overwhelming approval and acceptance of the system. This is particularly true of the Stoner Machine Guns. The Stoner Carbine was overwhelmingly selected over the .45 caliber pistol.

4. The Stoner Rifle has the advantage of weight, accuracy, improved ammunition and compatibility with other weapons, in comparison to the M14. It is at a disadvantage only in the area of reliability. In comparison to the M16E1 it has the advantage of reliability, accuracy, and combat compatibility with other weapons.

5. There are some deficiencies that should be corrected prior to the possible adoption of the Stoner system. These are as follows:

a. Change the openings where the operating rod rides above the barrel extension to prevent sand and dirt from entering.

b. Better adhesive for the butt stock pad.

c. Strengthen the plastic pistol grip.

d. Improved covering for the butt stock group, strengthened at the neck.

e. Improved roller on the standard cap carrier assembly.

f. Strengthened link retainer on the feed tray assembly.

g. Enlarged gas port for the rifle.

6. The ammunition used should have the following improvements:

a. Tracer ammunition improved to provide increased gas pressure.

b. Hard primers eliminated.

7. The weapon system has distinct tactical and logistic advantages. Genera11y, the weight, increased firepower, accuracy, and simplicity of maintenance are the main advantages. The on1y obvious disadvantage is the lack of a rifle grenade capability.

8. The basic weapon has shown itself to be a good sound piece of ordnance. It has acquitted itself well in combat. There are many qualities about it that make it preferable to any other weapon.

(From "Stoner Weapon System Evaluation", 1st Marine Division (Rein), 30 August 1967)
 

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Oh, there is a persistent myth that the Stoner 63 was difficult to maintain. Well, let me quote a few report finding from the users in the above evaluation:

"The [Stoner 63] is easier to clean than the M14 or M16E1 because of the ability to remove the barrel. Additionally, this feature permits better cleaning of critical areas such as the chamber, gas system, and receiver."

"All the Stoner weapons are functional and simple to operate. The over-all feeling among personnel is that the Stoner rates well above the M14 and M16E1 in this category."

Question 16 from the questionnaire: "Did you have any disassembly or assembly problems with your rifle?" Yes - 3, No - 89

I think this myth stems from the mid 1970s, twilight years of the Stoner's service, when spare parts became impossible to procure.
 

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4. The Stoner Rifle has the advantage of weight, accuracy, improved ammunition and compatibility with other weapons, in comparison to the M14. It is at a disadvantage only in the area of reliability. In comparison to the M16E1 it has the advantage of reliability, accuracy, and combat compatibility with other weapons.

...4. The Stoner Weapon System is strongly recommended for adoption.
...yet that didn't happen (aside from Navy SEAL adoption). Thanks for that analysis. Interesting history.
 

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Hell, even the AK needed fine tuning over the years, Ivan couldn't get the stamped receivers to work correctly at first and it took a number of years to refine that process. I think, if given the time, the Stoner would have been a very fine combat weapon, the SEALs seemed to love the SAW version. The "Gun Jesus" video I think does a good job detailing all that.
 

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It’s an amazing history and I would love to see a company pick up the ball and make a reasonably accurate clone. So many possibilities. A company like PTR who stamps out G3…
 
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