If you’re reading this piece, the thought of purchasing an AR-10 has clearly crossed your mind. But why are so many shooters, hunters, and collectors gravitating to that specific semi-automatic modern sporting rifle these days? Here are a half dozen reasons along with a quick definition of the potent AR-10.

What is an AR-10?


The Ruger SFAR is a popular – although smaller-framed – AR-10 chambered in .308 Win. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Before we delve into the laundry list of reasons many folks pull the trigger on an AR-10 purchase, it’s important to define the term. An AR-10, by description, is a semi-automatic modern sporting rifle with Armalite roots. In simple terms, the AR-10 is commonly considered the big brother of the AR-15. To be clear, the “AR” in both cases represents Armalite Rifle, not assault rifle or automatic rifle as commonly misrepresented by the uninformed. 

When compared to the AR-15, which is commonly chambered in .223 Rem/ 5.56 NATO, the AR-10 family fires larger calibers, reaching greater distances with theoretically increased potency. That advantage generally means a heavier firearm, and in most cases, significantly increased recoil. AR-10s are commonly used for competition, hunting, longer-range shooting, or just range-time plinking. 

Reasons to Snag an AR-10:

Common chamberings on semi-auto repeaters


Most AR-10s are chambered in in 7.62 NATO/.308 Win, with .308 bullets shown here. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)

The standard AR-10 chambering is 7.62x51mm or 7.62 NATO, making it direct kin to the .308 Winchester. While that’s by far the most readily found chambering, the AR-10’s design allows it to host many similarly sized rounds, including mainstream choices like the 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Winchester, .338 Federal, and .300 Winchester Magnum. 


Like a standard AR-15, whereby multiple uppers can be attached to a single serialized lower frame, most AR-10 variants allow the same modularity. For instance, once you have a common AR-10 lower, you can theoretically have multiple uppers in .308 Win, 6.5 Creed, and even .300 Win Mag that interchange quickly with only a couple pins. 



You can spot an AR-10 by the chunky magazine, as with this .308 Dark Storm Industries DS-25 rifle. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)

Like the AR-15, the AR-10 offers serious firepower, whether for competition shooting, hunting, or range time. The typical magazine capacity is 10 rounds, with both five and 20-rounders commonly available as well. 

Reduced Recoil

Certainly, the AR-10 houses fairly potent centerfire rounds. However, given the semi-automatic action driving the rifle, recoil is usually less. Compare perceived recoil from a single-shot .308 Win rifle against an AR-10 in the same round, and with the same barrel length and similar weight, the AR-10 will feel better on the shoulder. The action essentially eats up some of the “kick” that is normally absorbed by the shooter. 



AR-10 rifles share much of the same customization abilities as the AR-15. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Like the AR-15, the AR-10 often uses adjustable and modular furniture, meaning shooters can tailor the rifle’s fit to their specific build. Need a shorter length of pull? Push the button to compress the six-position buttstock. Prefer a higher comb height? Opt for a buttstock design with such adjustment. 

Often, the forward rail is configured to accommodate accessories like lasers or lights. Most AR-10s come standard with a threaded muzzle, so adding a brake or suppressor is a snap. Not only that but swapping parts – from triggers to sights to even chamberings, can be accomplished easily by an informed owner. 

Not Just Rifles?

Though not technically an AR-10, that platform lends itself to shotgunners as well. Ever heard of the AR-12? That’s essentially a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun built around the AR-10. The same features, controls, modularity, and firepower apply, but in a scattergun. 

Final Thoughts

No matter the reason you choose for owning an AR-10, the benefits are ample. The AR-10 is user-friendly, practical, and comfortable for a wide range of shooters’ body types and uses. From hunting to competition shooting to tactical work, and everything in between, these customizable, adjustable, durable rifles continue to show steady sales year after year. 

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