Posted: 1/18/2014 2:08:30 AM EST
Eugene Morrison Stoner
"Creator Of Rifle Dies At 74
Eugene M. Stoner, who developed America's classic assault rifle, the M-16, while tinkering at night in his garage, died on Thursday at his home in Palm City, Fla. He was 74.
The cause of death was cancer, a spokesman for the family said.
While he had no formal engineering education, Mr. Stoner was widely regarded as one of the world's foremost designers of and experts on small arms. His M-16 has been standard issue for the United States armed forces since 1963, and he designed a wide range of weapons of various types and caliber as well.
He held some 100 patents on his inventions, and was a co-founder of Ares Inc., a weapons research and development company based in Port Clinton, Ohio. He was the company's chairman until he sold his interest 10 years ago and moved to Florida. There he continued working on small-arms design and development at the Knight Manufacturing Company, completing a longer-range, .50-caliber semiautomatic rifle within the last few months.
His role in the development of the M-16 was similar to that of Mikhail Kalashnikov in designing the Soviet counterpart, the AK-47. Mr. Kalashnikov also had no training when he pieced together gun parts to build a first version.
The two inventors of the world's leading small, rapid-fire assault weapons, met at conferences, became friends and compared notes.
But Mr. Stoner said that while the AK-47 was less complicated and tended to break down less often, the M-16 was lighter and fired more accurately. Mr. Kalashnikov said of his initial work on the weapon in 1947, ''When I was lying wounded during the war, I heard the other soldiers complaining about how the German weapons were better than ours,'' he said. ''So I was determined to invent something for the ordinary soldier -- a weapon that would be simple, tough and better than any other in the world.''
Their life styles were not comparable. Mr. Stoner's inventions made him a millionaire. He was also a pilot with his own plane. Mr. Kalashnikov, a tiny white-haired man three years Mr. Stoner's senior lived on a state pension in a small apartment east of Moscow. ''Stoner has his own aircraft.'' he once said, ''I can't even afford my own plane ticket.''
Colleagues of Mr. Stoner said he began his work in the early 1950's because military studies showed that soldiers in World War II and Korea, under the pressure of combat, were not pulling the trigger on the weapons. So Mr. Stoner tried to develop a rifle that would fire repeatedly with a single pull of the trigger.
Eugene Morrison Stoner was born in Gasport, Ind., on Nov. 22, 1922, the only child of Lloyd and Britannia Morrison Stoner. He moved to Long Beach, Calif., where he graduated from a technical high school. After the Depression there was not enough money in the family for him to attend college, and he went to work in 1939 for Vega Aircraft, which later became part of the Lockheed Corporation. He served in the Marine Corps in World War II in the South Pacific and northern China. After the war, he was employed by the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation.
Hearing about his work, Army experts sought out Mr. Stoner in the mid-1950's to help develop automatic rifles using smaller, faster bullets. Later, in the early 1960's he invented what came to be known as the Stoner 63, an automatic weapon using interchangeable parts that could be converted from a light rifle into a rapid-firing gun to conserve ammunition.
Mr. Stoner is survived by his wife, Barbara Hitt Stoner, whom he married in 1965; his first wife, Jean Stoner Mahony of Newport Beach, Calif., from whom he was divorced in 1962; four children from his first marriage, Patricia Magee of Alpine, Wyo., Susan Kleinpell of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Deirdre Elmore of Tiburon, Calif., and Michael, of Minneapolis, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren."
Designer Of M-16,Eugene M.Stoner,74
E.Stoner Development List
From he's early designs one can see that Stoner had some possible work around the centralized operation,as we can see later on with the M8 (X01 AR-10 prototype).
M3-1944-Short-recoil operation inspired on the Johnson rifle-In this one,one can see the first attempt using a possible 8 lug bolt,as used on later prototypes.
M4-1945-Primer-actuated-In this one,one can see another attempt for a centralized operation.
M7-1954-In this one,one can see the 8 lug rotating bolt mechenism,it used a Fiberglass but conventional stock and a aluminium receiver,two signature features for the future AR-10,this one used a M1 Garand conventional gas-piston system.
M8-1955-This one was the first one to use some of the principal signature features,the 8 lug rotating bolt using the patented Direct-impingement system (the patent was filed in 1956) and the inline stock.
In 1955,as the M8 was made,the M7 was tested at the Springfield Armory.
E.Stoner went to work for ArmaLite in 1954,the M7 was made in the same year at ArmaLite as it was a M5/M6 but using the ArmaLite signature Fiberglass stock and plastic foam technologie.
He started working for ArmaLite in 1954,but the M8 was done on his own garage in 1955,using wood stocks,was it a side project that he made on his own as a way to protect and keep the patent for him self?
As a employee for Armalite (incorporated as a division of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation in 1954) wasn't he legally obliged (forced) to share the patent?
But the M8 gas system even as his start idea was not the all mechenism patented later on,this was a mix of his idea and of other existing ones,i think that Melvin Johnson shered his patents with ArmaLite when he worked as a consultant (?),the patent shoes drawings for two diferent ways of using the gas system,one is of the one first used with the M8 as the next one is of the one that was used with the AR-10 prototypes,the idea that E.Stoner had for and used in the M8 was then furder engineered (so it would not infringe on existing patents) and then used ithe George Sullivans patents to later become the ArmaLite AR-10.
"...The toughest job for Sullivans team developing the AR-10 was to design a new bolt assembly that would not infringe on existing patents and also,where possible ,improve on existing designs..."
E.Stoner had the idea for the gas system on his own with the M8 (X01) but the bolt assembly was furder engineered by the team,in to a one patent.
Melvin Johnson had a injuction action brought agains him from United States Automatic Rifles Inc. "The firm had contended it had a proprietary right in the weapon on the ground that Johnson developed it while in the firms employ"
I always enjoy the stuff you post and the bonus for me is the cool old ads with stuff like this
That's the best picture of the M8 prototype that I've seen.
I'd still love to know how that thing works...
Melvin Maynard Johnson Jr,a Harvard-educated lawyer by training,was also a garage tinkerer,the influence of his work is is visible in the M8 (X01) made by E.Stoner.
The M8,as the Johnson lmg,as a reised front sight and a colapsible rear sight as the in line stock.
The bolt mechenism and recoil spring in the M8,as in the Johnson,assembles/disassembles in/out from the rear.
That's the best picture of the M8 prototype that I've seen.
I'd still love to know how that thing works...
The M8 bolt carrier as only one gas hole on the left side of it,the receiver tube as one hole to vent in the gas inside the receiver tube welded "gas key" and one hole exposed in the receiver tube at the rear of the receiver tube "gas key".
When the gas vents in to the carrier single hole it vents directly horizontally in to the inside of the carrier piston chamber,as the gas expands inside the carrier it slides the carrier back so the carrier shuts off the receiver "gas key" hole it exposes the carrier hole to the second receiver hole (at the rear of the "gas key") so the gas can vent out.
I still have some doubts with the all bolt operation in the M8,i dont see in it a way to hold the cam pin in the unlocked position the the head is unlockes as this is needed so the bolte head does not rotate to lock as it starts to strip a case out of the magazine as this jams the all mechenism,in this case there is the possibility that the gas stays inside the carrier as it cycles only to came out when the recoil spring moves the carrier font to cam the head to lock so the trapped gas can be forced to vent out,in this case the cam pin could stay inside the carrier as to exposed.
In the M7,the bolt as a hole on the side so the gas piston charging handle can fit in to it,this could have been the basis for the M8 system as a change from the charging handle to a gas tube that vented the das direcly inside the gas piston chamber would make the system simpler to use and make and the all weapon unit could be lighter.
In the Hollywood AR-10 the system worked with a slight difference from the M8,it used a two pice gas tube conected by a gas transfer bracket.
The longer tube came out the front sight to the receiver to fit in to the gas transfer bracket on the left side.
The gas transfer bracket guided the gas coming out the out gas tube in to a shorter gas tube placed inside the receiver.
The shorter second pice gas tube comes out the gas transfer bracket,inside the receiver,to fit in to a slut on the left side of the bolt carrier.
The gas tube fits inside a slut in the carrier,the gas comes out and it vents in to the piston chamber so it expands to slide the carrier back so it cams the cam pin so it can rotate the bolt heat to unlock.
The gas vents in to the piston chamber from the left side and vents out the chamber from out vent holes in the right side of the carrier so excess gas can vent out after expanding inside the piston chamber.
Whit this system,as with the Johnson,there is no slow initial extraction as with a conventonal gas system as the M7,the gas only slides the carrier back so it can unlock the bolt head,from then on it is inertia force that operates the rest of the system.
Unlike the Hollywood AR-10 that uses the bolt assembly and the recoil spring buffer assembly as two individual pices,the M8 (X01/X02/X03) uses the bolt and recoil section as a individual pice,as the receiver is a one pice tube and the all assembly is assembled/desassembled in/out the rear by removing the butstock.
This is another characteristic that comes out of Johnson.
The M8 uses the wood forearm to keep tha gas tube in place,in the Hollywood AR-10 the same is done by the barrel nut,one more characteristic that was used first in the M8 prototype.
Originaly,the M8 had a wood tube covering the rear section of the receiver tube,between the welded "lower" receiver and the butstock.
From what we can see with the M7,E.Stoner new that the alignment between the carrier and cam pin was needed to keep the head in unlock position when using a rotary bolt head,the same thing with the Johnson system.
As we can see in the M8,the receiver tube is just a tube as it as no place to let a exposed cam pin fit,so that the case in the magazine does not stop the bolt head and force it to cam to lock as the carrier is forced from by the recoil spring,one way to make the system work may be to keep the gas trapped inside the piston chamber as the bolt cycles.
1-As it fires,the gas vents to the gas tube.
2-Gas vents out the gas tube from the side directly in to a hole in the side of the carrier.
3-As the gas vents inside the chamber it slides the carrier back so it cams the head so it rotates to unlock.
4-When unlocked,inertia moves the bolt back to extract/eject and recoil,as this action is fast,the gas inside the carrier piston chamber is trapped inside.
5-As it gets back,the recoil spring forces the bolt front,as the bolt contacts the case in the magazine (and so it can strip it) it faces resistance,the gas trapped inside the piston chamber keeps the head and carrier apart so the bolt can strip the case and chamber it.
6-As the bolt moves all to the front,the gas port hole in the carrier matches with the gas port hole in the receiver and as the trapped gas vents out,the recoil spring slides the carrier front so it can cam the head to lock.
One thing about this is that the carrier and receiver tube have to work using a very close fit,so gas cant vent out of the carrier chamber in to the inside of the receiver,or maybe the intention was to keep gas inside the piston chamber and vent it out as the bolt striped a case out the magazine...
...what ever the real operation was...the one used with the M8 X01 was also used with the X02 prototype,the X03 used the more conventional cam pin exposed out the carrier in a upper receiver with a space to keep the cam pin in,this X03 prototype used a two pice receiver that slided ou/in and was also known as AR-10A.
The X02 and X03 prototype units used the same gas venting system used with the M8 X01 prototype,it was whit the next unit that the gas tube changed as it fited in to the carrier from a slut cut on the left side of the carrier,this was the AR-10B (Hollywood).
From the instmiltech FaceBook page.
"Mr. Knight holding one of Mr. Eugene Stoner's prototypes"
Note that in this one,one can see what seems to be a hole in over the right side of the carrier,this could be to vent out the gas from the right side or the pin to hold the firing pin.
From the construction of the X02 (AR-10-1001) one can see the structure of the M8 X01.
Note that the X02 as a single tube receiver "upper" and a "lower" receiver section welded to it,the trigger box fits to the "lower".
The M8 as a simple tube,it as the ejection port and charging handle guide machined over the right side,it as a gas venting hole drilled over the left side and a structure welded over it (to hold the gas tube)
The lower is a folded sheet metal pice welded to the receiver tube,with a hole for the fire selector.
The trigger box is a folded sheet metal pice that is pinned to the lower,it as the trigger mechenism and the wood pistol grip.
When the trigger box is in place,in the lower,it leves a space in front of it so magazine can be loaded.
The M8 receiver structure as some folded sheet metal pice in shape to the early AR-5 receiver.
If he was born in 1922......he was older than 74.
holy pic thread. Thanks for this man been saving all the pics and info, will give me something to leaf through when this snow finally starts falling.
"Throughout 1957, Armalite designed and tested two prototypes to submit for trials by the Infantry User Board at Fort Benning. The first, which Armalite designers called the Stopette, had a traditional rifle appearance. It featured a traditional type of drop heel stock,but used the same lightweight alloys and plastics as the AR-10. The Stopette used the Stoner type method of direct gas impingement operation, also borrowed from the AR-10.
However, the Stopette suffered from poor performance in fully automatic mode,since the high cyclic rate of fire, combined with a drop heel stock, caused excessive muzzle climb and poor controllability."
" The second was an AR-10 scaled down to chamber the commercial 222 Remington cartridge. This layout proved much more stable and possessed a lower cyclic rate of fire."
"...The Stopette used the Stoner type method of direct gas impingement operation, also borrowed from the AR-10..."
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