The M16 is one of the most recognizable firearms in our recent history. In the 1950s, a new select-fire rifle was developed by an engineer named Eugene Stoner known as the AR-10, chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. Shortly afterwards, Armalite introduced a modified design that was more compact and chambered for .223 Remington known as the AR-15.
The AR-15 became the basis for Colt’s M16. This military rifle, chambered for the 5.56x45mm intermediate rifle cartridge, saw its introduction during the Cold War, more specifically Vietnam. Between its introduction in the 1960s and the end of the Vietnam War, Colt produced millions of these firearms.
This M16 is different in appearance than the standard issue rifle. It’s a factory cut-away. Cut-aways have been developed for both marketing and training purposes. And they’re dream artifacts for curators because they provide insight to the visitor on the inner workings of these firearms. This particular firearm, made in 1967, was a gift from Colt to Mr. Fred Palmer in appreciation of his service as a military inspector at Colt during the Vietnam War.
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