Robinson Armaments M96 Expeditionary
The M96 is a
semi-automatic riflemade by the Robinson Armaments Company of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The M96 is chambered for the
.223 Remington/ 5.56 mm NATOcartridge, and uses STANAG 4179 AR-15magazines. Barrels have 1-in-9 twist ratio as is common for .223 Remington semiautomatic rifles. The M96 is gas operated, with a fixed gas cylinder and moving piston connected to the operating rod and bolt carrier. All variants are equipped with a gas regulator, which allows fine-tuning for low or high powered cartridges, outside temperature, etc. and is probably unique for a civilian rifle in this caliber. The bolt carrier has been specially designed for strength and slow cyclic rate for improved reliability. The M96 bolt is a six-lug design somewhat similar to an AR-15 bolt but with larger, stronger lugs. The M96 receiver is stamped stainless steel with a special blackening treatment. The barrel is parkerized chromolysteel and the stocks are molded plastic. Incidentally, the buttstock is the one part of the M96 that is interchangeable with the Stoner 63. The M96 has adjustable military-type sights (rear aperture and front protected post) and does not have a standard scope mount or Picatinny rail.
The M96 has been offered in a 20" barrel rifle version (the "Expeditionary Rifle"), a 17.5" barreled
carbine(no special name), a 16" barreled carbine (the "Recon Carbine"), and a 17.5" barreled top-feed carbine (" Bren" configuration). The M96 is nearly identical in external appearance to the Stoner 63rifle/light machine gun, and was designed to be modular and configurable like the Stoner. However, the M96 has a somewhat different internal mechanism and is semi-auto only. No internal parts exchange between the M96 and the Stoner 63.
In the mid-1990s an US-based Class-III manufacturer (Arms-Tech Ltd. located in
Phoenix, Arizona) offered the "Revere" M96-A1 weapon system on the Law Enforcement market. It was basically a selective-fireconversion system that turned the standard M96 rifle in either a "Commando" 16" barreled STANAG magazine-fed carbine or a 20" barreled, belt-fed Squad Automatic Weapon.
The M96 has a relatively small following, probably due in large part to its high price, new manufacturer, and no relationship to any military weapon. There do not appear to have been any military or law enforcement sales of the M96, probably for the same reasons.
* [http://thekaiserworks.com/products/m96.php M96 picatinny rail scope mounts]
* [http://www.robarm.com/RA_US_Firearms.htm Robinson Armament M96 webpage]
* [http://world.guns.ru/assault/as77-e.htm Modern Firearms Page]
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