Before we dive into the subject of differentiating different style of AR10 patterns — first, let’s make sure we all know what an AR10 actually is. The AR10, or ArmaLite 10, is a rifle designed around the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.
Developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950’s, the AR10 is a stronger, more powerful, older sibling to the AR15. And while everyone calls the AR style .308 chambered rifle an AR10, this isn’t actually always accurate. For instance, the DPMS’s version of this rifle is referred to as the LR308. It’s probably the most widely technically misused term in our industry, but nonetheless it’s good to know your facts and what it is you're actually looking at.
DPMS LR308 vs. AR-10?
Long story short, DPMS Gen1 is what our 80% LR308 lower receivers are but they are colloquially called AR10 (although it's technically not an AR-10, is the point). Now that we understand the basics of the AR10, let’s compare between the two main configurations of the firearm: the DPMS LR308 and ArmaLite AR10.
An Aero Precision M5 LR308 rifle in FDE.
What is the DPMS LR308?
As previously stated, though the model is technically an LR308, it is commonly (and incorrectly) referred to as an AR10. This is also probably what you see at the range 99% of the time. In fact, if you are reading this article in hopes to help you decide on which design to buy/build: I would absolutely recommend this one. Here’s why:
Advantages of the DPMS LR308
- Compatibility. You can easily find compatible parts for this model at virtually any halfway decent sporting goods store in America
- This model gives you the ability to interchange magazine types, brands and styles
- Generally less expensive, you still can get a high performance shooter for less than the AR10 will run you
- Quality. With some extremely reputable companies manufacturing the LR308, you'll have no shortage of high quality parts or complete rifles available at your fingertips
What is the ArmaLite AR10?
Stoner SR-25 AR-10 platform. If you absolutely, positively, have to burn as much money as possible
The ArmaLite 10, or AR10 for short; came into existence about 30 years before the LR308; however, it's much less popular today. Easily differentiated from the LR308, the AR10 has an angular cut on the upper receiver's lower right side before the buffer tube housing, where the LR308’s is rounded.
Really serving no functional purpose, this was the patented design by Eugene Stoner in 1958. Once the patent expired, various companies took to the market and designed a universal “milspec” configuration; which is why the AR15 and LR308 are so universally interchangeable UNLIKE the original AR15 and AR10. The AR10 is a fine, still considered to be a modern designed rifle. But when compared to the LR308, it doesn’t have many advantages.
Advantages of Armalite AR 10
-Gives the shooter the ability to say they own an “actual” AR10
Compatibility Between DPMS & ArmaLite
The easiest way to visually identify the difference between the two
Though strikingly similar to the untrained eye, the LR308 and AR10 are functionally very different. Basic critical-to-function parts that are not interchangeable are as follows:
- Upper and Lower Receiver
- Buffer Assembly (tube, buffer, spring)
- Gas tube (The AR10’s is too long)
- BCG (Head spacing differences)
- Barrel nut
- Magazine catch
So if you’re ever in a critical situation and need some very essential parts for your AR10, you’re probably out of luck. However if you need to swap some less important parts, you can swap the following between both platforms:
- Dust Cover
- Charging Handle
- Gas Block
- Trigger Assembly
- Takedown springs and detents
- Pistol Grip
- Trigger Guard
- Castle Nut
- Safety Selector Lever (my finger is my safety)
The parts aren’t vastly interchangeable and quite honestly, AR10 kits are hard to come by even in brick and mortar stores.
Without going into too much detail, (as this could be a whole other conversation in itself) the LR308 is the clear and undisputed winner between the "AR10" configurations. The LR308 can boast just as good if not BETTER accuracy, all while giving the shooter better accessibility to stock or aftermarket parts at a fraction of the cost of the AR10.
Start Your Next DPMS Build with 80% Arms!
To reiterate, 80% Arms supplies only DPMS Gen 1 compatible parts; because well, who is honestly looking to build a true ArmaLite 10 (that would be an expensive clone)… BUT we do have a large variety of high quality parts, 80 lowers and magazines ready to be bought for your next build!