An In-Depth Look at the Anderson Manufacturing AM-10 Semi-Automatic Rifle
The Anderson Manufacturing AM-10 has made quite the splash in the world of modern sporting rifles. This American-made semi-automatic rifle packs impressive power and reliability into a surprisingly affordable package.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the key features and performance of the AM-10 to see what makes it stand out in the crowded AR-10 market. Whether you’re an experienced shooter looking for a new range toy or a first-time buyer seeking a versatile rifle, the AM-10 deserves a close look.
Overview of the AM-10 Rifle
The AM-10 rifles are built by Anderson Manufacturing, a relative newcomer to the AR scene based out of Hebron, Kentucky. Founded in 2013, Anderson aims to provide affordable AR-style firearms without sacrificing quality or reliability.
The AM-10 brings this value-focused mission to the popular AR-10 platform, known for its hard-hitting 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) chambering. Let’s take a high-level overview of the AM-10’s key specs:
- Caliber: 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester)
- Action: Semi-automatic, direct impingement gas system
- Magazine: Detachable box, 20 round capacity
- Barrel Length: 18″ or 22″
- Weight: 8 lbs or less unloaded
- Made in USA
With a classic AR-10 design, standard AR-style controls, and chambered in the versatile .308 cartridge, the AM-10 brings formidable power in a familiar shooting platform.
AM-10 Receiver and Controls
The AM-10 receiver set mirrors that of its smaller AR-15 cousin. Machined from hardened 7075 T6 aluminum forgings, the upper and lower receivers are finished with a hard coat Type III anodize for durability.
All standard AR-style controls are in their usual locations, including:
- Ambidextrous safety selector
- Magazine release button
- Bolt catch and release
- Brass deflector
- Ejection port dust cover
This allows the AM-10 to handle smoothly for those already accustomed to the AR platform. The beefed up .308 size of the components adds heft, but the muscle memory carries over nicely.
Gas System and Bolt Carrier Group
The AM-10 uses a direct impingement gas system like most AR-pattern rifles. Gas tapped from the barrel cycles the action, pushing the bolt carrier rearward once pressure reaches the gas key.
The bolt and carrier themselves are machined from 9310 steel and coated in nickel boron for smoothness of operation. The bolt features 7 locking lugs to securely lock into the barrel extension when in battery.
The carrier includes a properly staked gas key and carved gas vent holes to bleed off excess pressure. Together, the bolt carrier group provides reliable cycling and extraction even with sustained rapid fire.
The AM-10 comes standard with an 18” chrome moly vanadium steel barrel finished in a nitride coating. The nitride provides excellent corrosion and wear resistance. A decent medium-weight contour strikes a good balance between weight savings and stiffness for accuracy.
A 22” optional barrel is also available for those wanting to squeeze every bit of velocity from the .308 cartridge. Either way, the barrels sport a 1:10” twist rate ideal for stabilizing heavier .308 bullets up to 175 grains.
A low-profile gas block and carbine length gas system round out the barrel assembly. Overall it delivers good life and performance expected from a quality AR barrel.
Handguard and Furniture
AM-10 rifles ship standard with a 15” free float M-LOK handguard, allowing ample room for accessories like lights and lasers. M-LOK slots run the length of the handguard for flexible mounting options.
The handguard secures to the upper receiver with a low-profile barrel nut built into the handguard design. This creates a rigid interface while keeping weight down.
The pistol grip and buttstock provide practical and comfortable ergonomics. Both the grip and stock are made from durable polymer and include storage compartments for small items. Sling mounting points are also standard.
Magazines and Ammunition Compatibility
The AM-10 feeds from standard DPMS pattern .308 AR magazines. The included 20 round magazine provides for decent capacity without unwieldy bulk. Lower capacity 10 round mags are also available to comply with state/local restrictions.
When it comes to ammo, the AM-10 digests most commercial .308 loads without issue. Match grade and higher pressure ammo work reliably as well. Since .308 Winchester and 7.62 NATO cartridges share the same dimensions, both function fine in the AM-10.
Accuracy and Range Performance
Accuracy is always a priority for the AR-10 platform. The AM-10 holds its own here, delivering good practical precision right out of the box.
With decent ammunition, groups of 1-2 MOA are commonplace, yielding ~2” groups at 100 yards. Capable of consistent hits on man-sized targets out to several hundred yards, the AM-10 provides real reach on the range or in the field.
The crisp single stage trigger breaks cleanly around 4 lbs to aid shooter accuracy. Combined with the ergonomic controls and solid free float handguard, the AM-10 enables the shooter to realize the rifle’s accuracy potential.
Reliability and Durability
Any defensive, sporting, or duty rifle must demonstrate total reliability under adverse conditions. This is an area where the AM-10 shines for its price point.
The AM-10 reliably cycles a wide variety of factory loads, from bulk 55gr ball to 175gr match ammo. Properly gassed with quality internals, misfeeds or extraction issues are rare. Anderson also rigorously tests the AM-10 with various environmental conditions and popular accessories.
Excellent fit and finish provide real durability. With proper care and maintenance, there’s no reason the AM-10 wouldn’t provide decades of loyal service. For a sub-$1000 AR-10, the AM-10 delivers above-average reliability.
Customization and Accessories
One of the AR platform’s biggest strengths is the level of customization available. This holds true with the AM-10. As a standard DPMS pattern AR-10, a huge variety of aftermarket parts and upgrades fit the AM-10.
Almost any AR-15 part, like triggers, grips, and stocks also work thanks to the shared receiver dimensions. Whether enhancing ergonomics, functionality, or aesthetics, you can tailor the AM-10 to your exact needs and style.
Common AM-10 build options and accessories include:
- Scopes/Optics – Add magnification for longer range accuracy.
- Muzzle Devices – Compensators, brakes, flash hiders. Increase control.
- Triggers – Drop-in units with adjustable pull weight and overtravel.
- Lights/Lasers – Illuminate targets or aid aiming.
- Magazines – Higher capacity options like 25 or 40 rounds.
- Stocks – Adjustable, folding, or fixed stock styles.
- Grips – Enhance comfort and ergonomics to fit your hand size.
- Rails – Extended rails and mounting solutions for optics and accessories.
The list goes on and on. Suffice to say, the AM-10 makes an ideal foundation for a fully customized modern sporting rifle.
AM-10 Rifle Models and Configurations
Anderson offers the AM-10 in a few distinct models to fit various shooter needs. These include:
- AM-10 Base – Entry level standard model with nitride barrel.
- AM-10 Optics Ready – Same as base model but with no sights, optimized for adding optics.
- AM-10 S – Upgraded model with stainless steel barrel, PRS stock, and Cerakote finish.
- AM-10 Patrol – Law enforcement/SHTF oriented variant with longer handguard and improved furniture.
There are also options for California compliant builds, left handed models, and different color Cerakote finishes. Whether seeking a low cost training rifle or fully tricked out performer, the diverse AM-10 line has an appropriate model.
Pricing and Value
Considering its quality and features, the AM-10 offers exceptional value in the AR-10 market.
Street prices for the base models sit around $900. This undercuts competing rifles significantly while maintaining consistent quality and performance. Even the upgraded AM-10 S models cost hundreds less than most comparable alternatives.
With many budget AR-10s sacrificing critically on parts quality to hit low prices, the AM-10 stands out by maintaining where it counts. Anderson’s manufacturing scale keeps costs down, passing the savings on to customers seeking the venerable .308 AR platform.
Ideal Uses for the AM-10
Thanks to the potent .308 cartridge and accuracy potential of the AR-10 design, the AM-10 serves well in a variety of shooting applications.
Hunting – The AM-10 has the power and precision for taking virtually any game animal at reasonable distances. Combined with a hunting optic, it’s more than capable for deer, hogs, black bear, and similar medium game.
Target Shooting – From the bench or prone, the AM-10 can produce tight groups out to several hundred yards. It works great as a range toy or competitive target rifle.
Home Defense – The .308 has excellent stopping power and barrier penetration. The AM-10 provides semiautomatic firepower in a reliable, ergonomic package.
Tactical – Law enforcement and military users may appreciate the AM-10 in patrol carbine or designated marksman applications. It can also serve as a more affordable SHTF/civil collapse rifle for civilians.
Of course, it also makes for a fun modern sporting rifle to enjoy recreationally. The AM-10 really provides capabilities for almost any application where the potent .308 cartridge makes sense.
Final Thoughts on the AM-10
The Anderson Manufacturing AM-10 rifle delivers .308 punch and accuracy at a budget-friendly price point. Well made where it counts, the AM-10 proves you don’t need to break the bank for an AR-10.
Whether a working rifle or recreational shooter, the AM-10 combines versatility, customization potential, and power in one appealing package. It carries on the Anderson tradition of value focused AR offerings, proudly American made.
For shooters seeking an affordable .308 semi-auto, the Anderson AM-10 earns a close look. Just be sure to budget a little extra for ammo – with the AM-10 on hand, you’ll want to spend as much range time as possible!
The Anderson Manufacturing AM-10 rifle in 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) offers an attractively priced AR-10 for the budget conscious. Reliable, accurate, and including most key features shooters expect, the AM-10 punches above its class.
Anderson has succeeded in bringing the AR-10 platform into financial reach for many. Without serious compromise on quality either – impressive for a sub-$1000 AR rifle.
Considering the sky high prices AR-10s can command, the AM-10 stands out in terms of value. While unlikely to satisfy the most demanding enthusiasts, it should prove a solid, affordable .308 semi-auto for the rest of us.
Anderson continues expanding their catalog as well, so expect even more AM-10 options ahead. For now, the core models fill the sweet spot – an American made .308 AR-10 at just the right price.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What separates the AM-10 base and optic ready models?
A: The only difference is the optic ready model comes without iron sights pre-installed. This lets the user install optics without dealing with front/rear sight removal. Aside from lacking sights, the optic ready model is identical.
Q: How difficult is the AM-10 to clean and maintain?
A: Cleaning and maintenance are quite straightforward, mirroring any normal AR-15. There are just a few extra parts, notably the heavier bolt carrier group. Follow standard AR cleaning procedures, lubricate key spots, and replace worn parts for reliable function.
Q: What magazine brands work reliably with the AM-10?
A: Most quality .308 AR mags work fine, including Magpul PMAGs, Hexmags, Daniel Defense, and various mil-spec designs. Some cheaper options struggle with feed lip strength over repeated use. Stick with reputable brands for best reliability.
Q: Does accuracy suffer from the AM-10’s budget friendly price?
A: Surprisingly, accuracy remains quite good for an affordable AR-10. Around 1-2 MOA is typical with decent ammo. The trigger and free float handguard in particular help wring extra precision from the platform. Don’t expect match grade results, but hitting man-sized targets is very achievable.
Q: What sling options exist for the AM-10?
A: There are QD sling swivel sockets built into the lower receiver and stock. So quick detach (QD) slings simply snap on and off. You can also run more traditional two-point slings through the rear stock sling loop if desired. Lots of single point sling mount options for the handguard too