For more than 79 years, Brownells has been one of the firearm industry’s foremost retailers of firearms, accessories and tools, acting as a go-to source for consumers looking for all manner of gun products. Now, in 2018, Brownells joined the firearm world as a manufacturer in its own right, thanks to the company’s new Retro Rifles collection.
In this new lineup, the company harkened back to the early days of the AR platform, providing consumers with six classic rifles that are faithful to the original designs that would eventually become the modern-day AR-15 and AR-10 platforms, now the most popular rifles in America.
The collection features four rifles chambered in the 5.56 NATO, while two guns are faithful to Eugene Stoner’s original rifle chambered in .308 Win. All of the rifles chambered in 5.56 NATO are styled to match the early rifles fielded by militaries in the 1960s, including the iconic M16 that armed American troops in Vietnam. The .308-Win. rifles are designed to pay homage to the initial, lightweight design built by Stoner for military trials.
In the 5.56 NATO lineup, Brownells offers its BRN-16A1, which is nearly an exact reproduction of the M16A1 rifle carried by U.S. troops in the ‘60s. The gun features a receiver with a gray-anodized finish that accurately reflects the finish used on these early guns. All the rifles are also equipped with black furniture built to the same specs and contours as the furniture used on the M16A1.
The Brownells BRN-16A1 also features a full-fence lower receiver, along with a 20-inch M16A1-profile barrel, complete with chrome-lined interior and a 1:12-inch twist rate. The rifles also come equipped with M16A1 flash hiders, bolt-carrier groups and charging handles. Each gun ships with a single 20-round aluminum magazine.
The other models in the company’s 5.56 NATO lineup include the BRN-601, which replicates the original contract rifle issued to the United States Air Force, complete with green furniture, slabside receiver, three-prong flash hider and the triangular charging handle unique to the 601. The XBRN16E1 is also available, paying tribute to the transition model offered between the issuance of the USAF 601 and the widely used M16A1. Finally, Brownells offers its XBRN-177E2, a faithful replica of the early carbines issued to U.S. Special Forces units.
In the Brownells BRN-10 lineup, the company offers two faithful reproductions that closely resemble the initial Eugene Stoner design of the 1950s. The first rifle is the BRN-10A, designed as a near-copy of the early rifles used by the Netherlands. The gun comes equipped with a 7075 billet-aluminum receiver, as well as custom bolt catch, takedown pins, selector switches and magazine releases. The rifle also uses a retro bolt-carrier group that’s faithful to the original BCG design used on these early rifles. The brown furniture is also accurate to these early guns.
Finally, Brownells offers the unique BRN-10B, providing consumers with a reproduction of the late-model designs adopted by Cuba and other countries. This gun features all-black furniture, as well as a Portuguese-style closed-prong flash hider and a retro bolt-carrier group.
The two BRN-10 models cannot be used with .308 Magpul Pmag magazines, due to the unique design of the lower receiver. The suggested retail price on the 5.56 NATO Brownells Retro Rifles is $1,299.99. The BRN-10 models start at a suggested retail price of $1,599.99.