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View Full Version : Why did the AR-180(B) not take off?


drclark
10-15-2009, 10:41 PM
With the recent interest in 5.56 rifles that are piston driven and use AR-15 mags (Sig 556, RUGER SR556, XCR, SCAR, SU16, HK416 to name a few) why was the Armalite AR-180B not more popular? Was it ahead of its time, using a composite/plastic lower when the gun owning public wasn't ready for it? Did its stamped-steel upper construction turn off potential buyers? Did it suffer from poor timing due to the federal AWB not having expired yet? Were there QC or reliability problems? Or did Armalite not market it properly fearing it would cut into its own AR-15 sales? Granted, it did not have all the tacticool goodies to go with it but it seemed like a solid rifle that blended the best of "piston reliability" with AR accuracy/mag compatibility with reasonable cost that should have competed fairly well with the mini-14.

Could such a rifle be competitive now? Would Armalite be served well to re-introduce the AR-180 type rifle updated with A top rail and/or forearm rail system in a 6.x caliber? Would it be worth considering developing and marketing a 180 derived upper that could be installed on and AR-15 lower receiver if "piston-guns" are not a simple fad and the market really starts to go away from the direct-impingement operating system.

I had really considered one when I was first thinking about buying my first rifle (which ended up being a mini14) but it was before the OLL movement started. Does anyone have one and care to offer up their opinion about the rifle?

Just curious,
drc

DREADNOUGHT78
10-15-2009, 10:52 PM
I dont know but I like it! I was watching a show on the SLA takedown and the cops were using AR180s and Ar15s. while the Patty hearst kidnappers were using full auto M1 carbines and they even had a BAR.

jfk
10-15-2009, 11:02 PM
With the recent interest in 5.56 rifles that are piston driven and use AR-15 mags (Sig 556, RUGER SR556, XCR, SCAR, SU16, HK416 to name a few) why was the Armalite AR-180B not more popular? Was it ahead of its time, using a composite/plastic lower when the gun owning public wasn't ready for it? Did its stamped-steel upper construction turn off potential buyers? Did it suffer from poor timing due to the federal AWB not having expired yet? Were there QC or reliability problems? Or did Armalite not market it properly fearing it would cut into its own AR-15 sales? Granted, it did not have all the tacticool goodies to go with it but it seemed like a solid rifle that blended the best of "piston reliability" with AR accuracy/mag compatibility with reasonable cost that should have competed fairly well with the mini-14.

Could such a rifle be competitive now? Would Armalite be served well to re-introduce the AR-180 type rifle updated with A top rail and/or forearm rail system in a 6.x caliber? Would it be worth considering developing and marketing a 180 derived upper that could be installed on and AR-15 lower receiver if "piston-guns" are not a simple fad and the market really starts to go away from the direct-impingement operating system.

I had really considered one when I was first thinking about buying my first rifle (which ended up being a mini14) but it was before the OLL movement started. Does anyone have one and care to offer up their opinion about the rifle?

Just curious,
drc



The AR18 was Eugene Stoner's work after the M16. The AR18 was designed to use simple equipment (sheet metal stampings) and fairly simple welding/assembly techniques. The US government as well as other countries by this time already invested in large number of M16s.

I believe the AR18 was popular in UK as well as Ireland and Japan. I believe the AR18 was ahead of its time. If the AR18 were built today with readily available parts, I'd pick one up to add to my .223/556 rifle collection.

JeffM
10-15-2009, 11:07 PM
Lack of military adoption, politics, the '94 federal AW ban, proprietary parts, and poor marketing.

Pvt. Cowboy
10-15-2009, 11:26 PM
The plastic lowers on the 180B were cheapo and were non-standard to the original Armalite/Costa Mesa/Howa rifles. There were reports of them breaking.

At the time it was sold, it wasn't much cheaper than an AR and wasn't anywhere near as robust. Not modular at all: The way the 180B came out of the box was basically all it was ever going to be. It also had post-ban features and no Armalite support, sort of like the AR17 Bullpup monstrosity which was a huge piece of trash.

Basically, the AR180B was a cheapened reminder of why the original AR-180 didn't exactly set the small arms world on fire. After all, the whole reason the AR-180 even existed was for licensing the manufacture to third world nations that didn't have the ability to produce M16s with complex machinery.

Also, these things shot about as well as a Mini-14.

I guess that if a collector had some perverse fascination with small arms of the IRA, the AR-180 would be an attractive addition.

Pvt. Cowboy
10-15-2009, 11:31 PM
... also, if you're looking for a non-AR gas piston 5.56 rifle, you need to get a Daewoo of some kind. Those are lots better than just 'good'.

bondmid003
10-16-2009, 12:39 AM
Arnold uses an AR-18 in the original Terminator, unique because it featured no stock

JeffM
10-16-2009, 1:03 AM
... also, if you're looking for a non-AR gas piston 5.56 rifle, you need to get a Daewoo of some kind. Those are lots better than just 'good'.

+1 I love my DR200

The plastic lowers on the 180B were cheapo and were non-standard to the original Armalite/Costa Mesa/Howa rifles. There were reports of them breaking.

At the time it was sold, it wasn't much cheaper than an AR and wasn't anywhere near as robust. Not modular at all: The way the 180B came out of the box was basically all it was ever going to be. It also had post-ban features and no Armalite support, sort of like the AR17 Bullpup monstrosity which was a huge piece of trash.

Basically, the AR180B was a cheapened reminder of why the original AR-180 didn't exactly set the small arms world on fire. After all, the whole reason the AR-180 even existed was for licensing the manufacture to third world nations that didn't have the ability to produce M16s with complex machinery.

Also, these things shot about as well as a Mini-14.

I guess that if a collector had some perverse fascination with small arms of the IRA, the AR-180 would be an attractive addition.

I'll have to disagree with you on the M17 bullpup being trash. I've handled several and they all seemed robust and well made. And ever one of the owners have had nothing but glowing reviews for the rifle, including one owner who actually uses his on a two way range.

NSR500
10-16-2009, 1:07 AM
Two Words...

Carrier Tilt


:hide:

BHPFan
10-16-2009, 7:57 AM
Arnold uses an AR-18 in the original Terminator, unique because it featured no stock

It had a stock, a folding stock.

Olav
10-16-2009, 8:01 AM
... also, if you're looking for a non-AR gas piston 5.56 rifle, you need to get a Daewoo of some kind. Those are lots better than just 'good'.

Also a Robinson Arms XCR is an excellent choice.

The Director
10-16-2009, 8:17 AM
Any pics of an AR180?

69Mach1
10-16-2009, 8:28 AM
http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/1882/ar15ar180bet4.jpg

Pvt. Cowboy
10-16-2009, 8:47 AM
I'll have to disagree with you on the M17 bullpup being trash. I've handled several and they all seemed robust and well made. And ever one of the owners have had nothing but glowing reviews for the rifle, including one owner who actually uses his on a two way range.

Owners of these like to pretend that they didn't waste their money. :rolleyes:

They have a trigger break that feels exactly like a Swingline office stapler. They also weigh a ton.

bondmid003
10-16-2009, 5:53 PM
It had a stock, a folding stock.

You're absolutely right, I forgot. Arnold was firing it with the stock folded in the police station scene

The Director
10-16-2009, 6:50 PM
Oooh. It's kinda fugly compared to the AR15.