Stoner 63 - History - Trials

Trials

On March 4, 1963, the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency made the first purchase of the Stoner 63, ordering 25 units in various configurations. In August and September 1963, the Stoner 63 was sent to the Marines Corps Landing Force Development Center at Quantico for evaluation, where it made a positive impression with its light weight and high ammunition capacity; the Marines favored the rifle and light machine gun configurations. Trials were performed by the Army Material Command (responsible for logistical support for the Marine Corps) at their own test facilities.

Many bugs affected the outcome of the Army trials of the gun: the ammunition requirements proposed were unrealistic and the weapon was expected to perform with an extremely wide range of port pressures, leaving very little power reserve with some ammunition types. For instance, the tracer ammunition used in the Stoner 63 was of such low pressure that it even failed to function reliably in the M16.

These factors severely affected the weapon's reliability. After several months of testing, the Stoner 63 system was ultimately deemed to be unacceptable for service use. The Army submitted recommendations for improvements to the design—these included a stainless steel gas cylinder, a two-position fire selector with separate safety, ejection port dust covers and modifications to the belt feed mechanism. The upgrades resulted in the improved Stoner 63A, which began production in 1966. Only about 2,000 examples of the initial version were manufactured before the transition to the model 63A.

Read more about this topic:  Stoner 63, History

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