Rifle RobArm M96 with the top location of the store. Pay attention to the gap between the butt and the store. Photo: Gun Rights Media
M96 Top Fed Carbine: Imitation of the Bren Machine Gun
The design of the bolt box M96 allows you to rebuild the rifle and get an imitation of a Bren machine gun. To do this, the forend, pistol grip and butt are mounted above the slide box. And the rifle itself is turned upside down. In this version, we get very miserable weapon, without sights and prone to rapid clogging. Of course, after rearranging the butt, the M96 will not become a light machine gun, since this is still the same civilian self-loading rifle.
Rifle Robinson Armament M96 in the style of "Bren". Pay attention to the trunk, in which the fly is located below
Robinson Armament M96 Store Receiver Mine
Looking at the photo above, you can make sure that even large debris can easily get into the slot above the handle. And the lack of sights makes the shooter unable to conduct accurate fire.
In order to increase the reliability of the mechanisms, as well as provide the shooter with the opportunity to conduct accurate shooting, the manufacturer developed a kit for converting a rifle into an imitation of a Bren machine gun (Bren LMG Conversion Kit). This term is not official, but for convenience it is used often enough. The manufacturer calls it “top fed kit”: a kit for the top feed.
The M96 top fed kit consists of the following parts:
- trunk with a displaced front sight;
- gas tube;
- U-shaped parts to protect the button to disconnect the barrel.
Bren kit for RobArm M96 rifle. Converts a civilian rifle into a machine gun simulation. Photo (here and below): GunBroker
A barrel with a front sight from the Bren kit for the RobArm M96 rifle. Due to the specific location of the store, it is shifted to the left
Entirely from the Bren set for the RobArm M96 rifle. This module closes the gap between the butt and the magazine
Entirely from the “Bren” set with the eyes of an arrow. Also shifted left due to the front of the store
In December 2019, at a GunBroker auction, this conversion kit (not a rifle) was sold for $ 2,995. The seller indicated in the description that such kits are very rare.
In March 2020, the manufacturer’s website launched a page for pre-ordering M96 rifles. Robinson Armament indicated the price for a set of $ 1,495. For a rifle with a top store location, the price was set at $ 3,995, and for a rifle with a "classic" store location, only $ 2,495.
Upgrade RobArm M96. One of the fans managed to mount the LCC
M96 with tape
The author did not believe the rumors that in nature there are M96 and with tape power. However, in 2012, at a foreign forum, a site user posted a picture with an M96 in an unusual configuration.
The user claimed that the weapons company Arms Tech from Arizona developed and even patented a similar conversion kit. According to him, the product was called Revere 96A1. Allegedly made in a single copy, an alteration for tape power (with the replacement of some parts) would cost $ 13 thousand. Any mention of it was deleted on the Arms Tech website. It also states that the company was founded in 1987 to develop in favor of the US Army Special Forces and law enforcement agencies. It specializes in the development and manufacture of special weapons and accessories for it.
By the way, on the Robinson Armament website it is said that, perhaps, the company will offer M96 rifles, including those with tape power. They do not promise, but they assume. Agree that such products are designed for a very rare lover. Is it that collectors are interested.
Carabiner M96 Recon
In addition to the “expedition rifle,” Robinson Armament developed a shortened version called the M96 Recon. Judging by the specifications from the user manual, the M96 Recon differed only in barrel length, total length and weight. Due to the shorter barrel, this modification was called a carbine.
Rifle (carbine) special purpose SPR-V
In 2001, Robinson Armament announced that it plans to enter the arms market segment for the army and law enforcement. For this purpose, versions of rifles and carbines with the ability to conduct automatic fire have been developed. Modifications were also provided with a folding butt. To this end, the manufacturer provided a sample M96 for 5.56x45 mm cartridges for testing at Picatinny Arsenal (a research organization under the US Department of Defense). Later it was reported that 15 thousand rounds of ammunition were shot from a rifle without a single breakdown.
In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States and NATO allies launched Operation Enduring Freedom. Military operations were planned not only in Afghanistan, but also in the Philippines, Somalia, and other hot spots. The US Special Operations Command was confronted with a situation in which soldiers in the indicated hot spots experienced a lack of 5.56x45 NATO ammunition. At the same time, a significant amount of captured ammunition was captured. Mostly Soviet cartridges 7,62 × 39. The special operations command was considering the option of using captured Soviet-style ammunition. However, for a variety of political and economic reasons, the command did not want their soldiers to use Russian-made captured weapons. There was a need for weapons of American manufacture, but capable of shooting captured ammunition.
Already at the end of 2001, the Robinson Armament company provided for testing 6 units of automatic weapons for 7,62x39 mm cartridges. The weapon was developed on the basis of the M96 Recon civil carbine. To avoid additional funding, the modification of the M96 automatic carbine was carried out according to the Special Purpose Rifle / SPR program (rifle for special purposes) and received the designation V ("Option"). So from a carbine a rifle was born Robinson Armament SPR-V.
An early version of the Robinson SPR-V rifle. Externally, it stands out from the store from AK-47 and DTK from the SOPMOD set
The Robinson Armament SPR-V rifle was powered by standard Soviet AK-47 stores. It was equipped with a muzzle brake from the SOPMOD set with the possibility of mounting a silent firing device (BSS), manufactured by Ops Inc and Allen Engineering.
(SOPMOD is a set of additional equipment for weapons intended for special forces of the NATO countries. Knight's Armament, already known to us, as well as Insight Technology, Trijicon and several others, are engaged in the development and production of kit elements.)
A little later, the manufacturer proposed an upgraded version of the SPR-V rifle. It was equipped with a folding butt, Picatinny rail (for the entire length of the slide box), and also included elements of the “SIR” mounting system from ARMS and the Aimpoint CompM2 collimator sight.
An updated version of the Robinson Armament SPR-V rifle. Pay attention to the fastening system and folding butt
Updated rifle RobArm SPR-V, a different angle. The SIR mount system (seen from the side) and another pillar shape are visible
In the competition for a new special forces rifle, the competition was Knight's Armament with the AR-47 rifle, created on the basis of the M4 carbine. However, none of the rifles was selected for mass production. Reason: The contest has been canceled. But during the tests, the rifle from Robinson Armament attracted the representatives of the private military company Blackwater, and they ordered a batch of SPR-V for their training center. Details of the transaction are unknown. The competing rifle AR-47 from Knight's Armament also did not disappear without a trace. Its civilian version (semi-automatic) is produced by Excalibur Arms (Florida, USA).
Carabiner RAV 02 MC
After the cancellation of the competition, in which the SPR-V carbine participated, the Robinson Armament continued to work on improving this weapon. Another modification was designated RAV-02. Some sources mention RAVE-02 and RAV 02 MC. The term "Subcarbine" is also sometimes used.
David Crane of Defense Review back in 2002 had a telephone conversation with the owner of Robinson Armament. At that time, Alex Robinson said that work on the new modification is in full swing. He emphasized that the RAV 02 carbine continues to develop the idea of a weapon designed to solve all the problems that the M2002 / M4A4 carbine is currently facing (1). Including problems with the quality of the used ammunition.
Like previous models of the company, this complex is also multi-caliber. Most likely, the same conversion kits are used as for the previous modification. Its power is provided by both 5.56x45 NATO cartridges and Soviet 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 cartridges. Moreover, the system allows the use of not only standard box magazines from AK / AKM, but also drum. The weapon works perfectly with cartridges with both steel and brass sleeves. According to Mr. Robinson, the RAV 02 is superior in terms of reliability to the M4 carbine.
Shooting from an automatic carbine RobArm RAV 02. Almost the only video on the web
For mounting the body kit on the weapon, the Picatinny rail and elements of the “SIR” mounting system are provided, thanks to which additional equipment can be fixed at angles of 3, 6, 9 and 12 hours. Externally, this is a smaller version of the SPR-V carbine. Barrel length RAV 02 is about 12 "(30 cm.), And it is equipped with a muzzle brake in the style of AK-74.
There is evidence that Robinson Armament also offered a civilian version of the RAV 02 carbine, in which only single shots were possible. The civil carbine was equipped with a fixed butt, while the automatic (for the army and law enforcement) - folding. The further fate of the Robinson Armament RAV 02 carbine is unknown.
Robinson Armament XCR
In August 2004, RMDI (owned by Alex Robinson) filed a patent application, and it was not until October 6, 2009 that patent No. 7596900 for the Multi-caliber ambidextrously controllable firearm was received. In other words, to the next weapons system, the hallmarks of which are multi-caliber and ambidextral. That is convenient for both righties and lefties. In one of the previous parts of the article, a lightweight LAMG assault machine gun from Knight's Armament was described, which could also be used for including left-handed people.
Many agree that the new weapon was developed on the basis of the Robinson Armament M96 rifle, which, in turn, was a development of the Stoner 63 system. In the "Background of the invention" the applicant notes that the weapon can be adapted for firing ammunition of various calibers. The invention relates to modular firearms with improved performance. In addition, some controls are duplicated.
On modern serial RobArm XCR rifles, the fuse box and magazine latch button are double-sided. (In the automatic version, the fuse box is combined with the fire mode translator.) The shutter delay button is made under the index finger, is located in front of the trigger guard and is convenient for both right-handed and left-handed people. While the cocking handle is located on the left.
RobArm XCR: Fuse and Shutter Delay Buttons
It is worth noting that a preliminary patent application for the invention was filed on August 4, 2003. Under US law, the applicant has 12 months during which he is entitled to file a patent application.
When filing a preliminary application is not required to submit the claims and the declaration of the inventor. Examination of preliminary applications is essentially not carried out, information about them is not published. Submission of a preliminary application is convenient when negotiating with potential partners, customers, as well as when searching for sources of financing. As a rule, during these 12 months the applicant assesses the situation and decides whether to invest in the invention or not.
The manufacturer claims that in order to avoid misfires (stovepipe), an adjustable ejection system has been developed. The sleeve removal mechanism has also been improved. In particular, the ejector window and reflector (ejection port and a deflector).
A year later (in 2005), without waiting for the publication of the patent, Robinson Armament already completed the development of the new XCR rifle (Xtreme Combat Rifle). This designation has an alternative decoding: Xchange Caliber Rifle (rifle with interchangeable caliber). The rush was due to the fact that the company wanted to take part in the “SCAR” contest for a modular assault rifle for special operations forces, which was announced by the US Special Operations Command.
On March 20, 2002, the SPR (Special Purpose Rifle, Special Purpose Rifle) program was announced. The main reasons were:
- Positive feedback on the new Mk 262 (5.56 mm) ammunition with a heavier bullet, which was tested by the US military in Afghanistan. It is produced by Black Hills;
- Development of a special-purpose cartridge with improved ballistics and lethal force, as well as moderate returns. The new cartridge was created at Remington. As a result, the manufacturer offered the market a 6.8 × 43 mm cartridge, which is known as 6.8mm Remington SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge), or 6.8 SPC.
Given these events, and not only, the command announced new requirements for an assault rifle. Initially, the program was called SOFS-CAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle). Then the abbreviation was reduced to the SCAR known to us.
The SCAR program resembled another project of the same US agency. The project was called the Enhanced Carbine Program and was initiated to modernize the M4A1 carbine. The modernization of the M4 carbine was to create a modular system based on it, with a high degree of unification of components. Depending on the task at hand, a set of interchangeable barrels of various lengths, as well as a conversion kit for various ammunition, should be provided for the modular system. The following ammunition was listed: 5.56 × 45 mm NATO, 7.62 × 51 mm NATO, 7.62 × 39 mm (Soviet), 6.8 × 43 mm SPC and others.
In addition to interchangeable barrels and the ability to use ammunition with improved characteristics, the M4 carbine modernization program provided for a wide range of sights. It required the ability to mount from the simplest mechanical to optical, for conducting sniper fire.
A key requirement was the presence of an M1913 Multi-Rail Handguard (Picatinny rail) mounting system. The fastening plate should occupy the entire length of the upper surface of the bolt box, while the barrel should be freely hung. This requirement led to the creation of the “SIR” fastening system, which was mentioned above.
The author believes that both projects are a continuation of the Special Purpose Rifle / SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) program, which started after the September 11 attacks. We all already know that Robinson Armament participated in it with the SPR-V rifle.
Over time, the SCAR requirements regarding ammunition changed, leaving only 5.56 × 45 and 7.62 × 51 mm NATO in the list. However, it was decided to provide a conversion kit from several quick-detachable parts in the basic configuration. 5,56 × 45 mm cartridge rifles were presented by Cobb Manufacturing (bought in 2008 by Bushmaster), Colt's Manufacturing Company, FN-USA Herstal, Heckler & Koch USA, Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), Knight's Armament Company, Robinson Armament and several others. As a result, FN signed a contract for further testing. It is noteworthy that Colt products immediately took 3 places: 2nd, 3rd and 4th. We are talking about Colt SCAR Type A, Type B and Type C rifles. The main difference between the Colt SCAR Type C is a gas engine with a piston. The Small Arms Review reported that the Type C is the first rifle built to Colt’s unconventional design.
One of the configurations of the Robinson Armament rifle for the SCAR competition. Apparently produced in a small batch
Instead of multi-caliber, the US Special Operations Command stated that weapons should be equipped with a grenade launcher. This requirement was announced two months before the submission of samples for the competition. Alex Robinson is still outraged about this.
It was insulting and unfair, because otherwise our rifle met all the requirements.
After all, the XCR rifle from Robinson Armament has long been brought to mind, the weapon has been tested many times. Mr. Robinson continues to suspect that there was a case of corruption during the SCAR contest.
Regardless of the SCAR program, Colt was working on an IAR (Infantry Automatic Rifle) rifle. This weapon was planned as a replacement for the light machine gun (SAW), adopted by the US Marine Corps.
It is customary to compare new samples with already known systems. For example, locking the trunk by skewing it according to John Browning's scheme (M1911). Another example: this product was developed on the basis of the AR platform. Or, conversely, with an eye on AK.
When developing the RobArm XCR rifle, both the solutions of Yu. Stoner and MT T. Kalashnikov were partially used. So, in XCR, the automation is based on a gas engine with a long stroke (AK). The barrel is locked by turning the shutter 3 combat stops. In their form, they simulate the shutter of the Stoner system (AR). When disassembling weapons, the upper part of the receiver with the barrel leans down on a hinge and breaks (AR). The ejector window is implemented without a curtain, in the style of AK. The general scheme of the product allows you to use a folding butt, or not to use it at all (AK).
(Everyone is free to compare anything with anything: even MAS-49/56 with FN-49 and so on. The main thing is that both samples correspond to the same class and that both of them are well known to the interlocutor / reader.)
Another configuration of the RobArm XCR rifle for the SCAR competition. The weapon is equipped with a folding telescopic butt
It is well known that the competition was won by the complex, which was proposed by the American division of FN Herstal. There is evidence that the Robinson Armament XCR rifle was not allowed to participate in the SCAR competition for a trivial reason. According to the official version, the candidate 20 minutes late delivered muzzle attachments for blank firing (blank firing adapter). The photo below shows the product, due to the lack of which the RobArm XCR rifle was allegedly excluded from the SCAR competition.
History 20 minutes late could well have happened. At one time, the author of the article was the head of corporate projects and took part in fairly large tenders. Therefore, the author knows for certain that they tried to get rid of competitors even before the announcement of the tender and until the announcement of the decision of the tender commission. There were cases that even the commission’s decision was disputed or intrigued by the winning competitor during delivery. Everything happened. They tried to cut off at least one competitor just before the start of the competition. For this, the “earlier” bidders were waiting for their opponents at the entrance to the secretariat with almost a stopwatch in their hands. A participant who was just a minute late had every chance not to be allowed to the competition for violation of the procedure.
Other photos of the automatic version of XCR SCAR could not be found. Therefore, I will provide images of the civil (semi-automatic) version below. The manufacturer claims that he did not make radical changes to the design.
Civilian version of Robinson Armament XCR-L
After failing in the SCAR competition, Robinson Armament decided to release a civilian version of the XCR rifle. So, weapons without automatic fire received the designation XCR-L (Light). According to a statement on the manufacturer’s website, in 2020, the civilian version of the XCR-L will be 10 years old.
For firing with cartridges of a different caliber, you need to install a barrel, piston and gas pipe that are compatible with this munition. You also need to replace either the entire valve or disassemble the valve and replace two parts in it (Extractor & Carrier Tail). The return spring is universal and does not require replacement. For some types of ammunition, an appropriate store is also needed.
At the time of work on the article, the manufacturer offered rifles XCR-L (Light) for the following ammunition:
.224 Valkyrie (5.6x41);
6.8x43 Remington SPC;
.300 AAC Blackout (7.62x35).
Trunks for RobArm XCR for different ammunition. Pay attention to the different location of the vent unit. Photo: Small Arms Solutions
Over time, the manufacturer has expanded its range so much that almost every rifle can be considered unique. Only barrels of different lengths for one rifle configuration can have up to 8 units to choose from. The shooter can even choose the pitch of the rifling for his barrel (twist). On the Robinson Armament website, using the configurator, you can select most of the components and parameters for your future rifle. Up to the color of the rifle and the shape of the butt.
Configurator for RobArm XCR-L Standard Exposed Gas Block
Gas pistons for RobArm XCR for different ammunition. Note the difference in length
Replacing the barrel is quite easy and quick. Of the tools you need only a 6-sided key. The barrel fixes the screw, which is located in front of the receiver shaft of the store. Some experts argue that the screw connection is not the most successful type of fastener for the weapon barrel, especially for special forces. It is believed that sooner or later the thread can be torn off, with all the consequences for the weapon and the shooter.
To disassemble the weapon, press the spring-loaded lever, which is located in front of the butt on the left. A light touch is enough, and the upper part of the receiver, along with the barrel, leans down. The author believes that the latch lever is also not the most reasonable solution for fixing parts of the slide box. The latch lever can be accidentally pressed or hooked with clothing elements. And then the box “breaks up” into 2 parts, and shutter parts and a return spring can fly out of it. And they usually fall into the mud.
The author had doubts about the reliability of the latch bolt box. At the end of the article, a video clip of testing a rifle with severe pollution is laid out. To do this, the tester bombarded the weapon with sand, and then (without shaking) fired a single shot. As a result, the upper part of the receiver with the barrel leaned down. This defect manifested itself repeatedly.
The upper and lower parts of the receiver are held together by a connecting pin (pin). In one of the previous parts of the article, my reader recalled a case involving a quick disassemble pin. On the Stoner 63 system, due to vibration loads, this pin tended to fall out. As a result, the SEAL fighter was killed by accidentally firing a machine gun burst in his chest. After that incident, the smooth pin was replaced with a screw lock. A quick disassembly pin was left on the RobArm XCR. The intensity of fire in a rifle and a machine gun, of course, is different, but we are dealing with a modular system. In addition, the kit for switching to tape power is mentioned above.
Civil version of RobArm XCR-L, left side view: 1 - reload handle, 2 - magazine latch button, 3 - shutter latch button, 4 - fuse box
The reload handle is located on the left side of the bolt box, above the receiver shaft of the store. At least for the right-hander this is a big plus. After all, the shooter holds the weapon with the prevailing hand for the pistol grip and controls the trigger with the index finger. A change of the store and the sending of the cartridge produces a free left hand. In the photo below - a visual demonstration.
A cutout is provided in the bolt box to guide the movement of the reload handle. The cut-out covers a metal strip which prevents internal mechanisms from pollution. During reloading, the bar moves backward, along with the handle. And during firing, the handle with the bar remain in the extreme forward position.
The gas regulator in position "7" is used for heavy contamination of weapons or for low-power ammunition. Position “S” (in other versions “0”) applies when using PBS. In the "S" position, the automatics is turned off and the sleeve is not ejected. The remaining provisions are for ammunition of various capacities. The weaker the ammunition, the larger the number.
It is believed that Alex Robinson collaborated with Bushmaster. As a result, Mr. Robinson allegedly took part in the development of the Bushmaster ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle) rifle. The author could not find evidence of this version. But in the public domain published documents testifying to the lawsuit. Essence: violation of the rights of the patent holder.
So, the company RMDI LLC (founder Alex Robinson) brought to justice several manufacturers of firearms for the use of intellectual property:
- Magpul Industries, in the modular Masada system;
- Bushmaster Firearms, in the civilian version of the Bushmaster ACR semi-automatic rifle;
- Remington Arms, in a Remington ACR automatic rifle;
- Rock River Arms, in the LAR-8 rifle.
Some time later, the manufacturer developed and offered the market a heavier rifle XCR-M (Medium). At the time of work on the article, the manufacturer offered XCR-M rifles for the following ammunition:
.308 Winchester (7.62x51);
.243 Winchester (6,2 × 52);
RobArm XCR-M (Medium) complete with two trunks. Photo: Extreme Range Outfitters online store (Canada)
In the photo above, a used rifle with a set of interchangeable barrels for 6.5mm Creedmoor and 7.62x51 cartridges (.308 Winchester). The kit includes 5 stores for 10 rounds and 4 stores for 5 rounds. The cost of the kit: 2,850 Canadian dollars.
Barrel for cartridges 7.62x51 (twist 1:10). At the barrel under 6.5mm Creedmoor rifling pitch 1: 8
The cost of the XCR-L rifle starts at $ 1,995, and the XCR-M version costs from $ 2,495 and above, depending on the configuration. According to data for 20017, the company has 25 employees and produces about 5000 weapons per year.
XCR Rifle Party for Germany
In Europe, Robinson Armament rifles were represented by EL BE tac from Germany. The office of EL BE tac was located in the town of Gluzing, with a population of about 120 people. It was precisely “represented” and “located”, since with the beginning of COVID-19 the company suspended its activities and even turned off its website.
The journey of RobArm rifles from the USA to Germany was long and difficult. Alex Robinson met a guy named Lars Bruggeman in 2013 in Germany at the IWA OutdoorClassics exhibition. By that time, Lars Bruggeman had mastered the profession of a gunsmith at Sport-Systeme Dittrich and at the same time received a license to trade in arms. During the exhibition, the gunsmith from Germany carefully studied the XCR system and was impressed. Later, Lars Bruggeman traveled to the United States several times to get acquainted with the production on the spot. Finally, the parties agreed and set about importing Robinson Armament rifles into Germany.
The process dragged on for 2 years. At the SHOT Show 2015 (Las Vegas, USA), Lars Bruggeman told Deutsches Waffen-Journal that the first batch of rifles will arrive in Germany in mid-summer. However, the batch of weapons was only cleared by customs in February 2016. So the XCR rifles went on sale only closer to the spring of 2016.
Rifles for Germany practically did not differ from those that were sold in the US market as standard. Unless the pistol grip A2 was replaced by Ergo Grips. The XCR-L rifle for Germany comes with a 30-round magazine from C-Product Defense, and the XCR-M with a 20-round magazine from ASC.
On the left is the 20-round magazine for the XCR-M from ASC, on the right is the 30-magazine for the XCR-L. Photo: Kalashnikov magazine
Rifles for Germany were marked additionally. The first thing that catches your eye is the added year of production, the abbreviation of countries (manufacturer and importer), as well as the name of the seller company “EL BE tac”. However, there are other marking differences on the slide boxes.
In Germany, the XCR-L rifle was offered under the following cartridges: .223 Remington; .300 Blackout; 6.8 Remington SPC; 6.5 grendel; 7.62 × 39 and 5.45 × 39. Trunks: 10,5 "(26,67 cm); 14,7" (37,33 cm); 16,75 "(42,54 cm) and 18,6" (47,24 cm).
And the XCR-M was offered for .308 Winchester, .260 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 mm Creedmoor and 6 mm Creedmoor cartridges. Could be equipped with trunks from 9,5 "to 20" in length (24,13 - 50,8 cm).
The XCR-L version as standard in Germany cost 2999 euros, and for the XCR-M they asked for 3499 euros or more. The seller provided a lifetime warranty (for the first owner) on all parts subject to wear, with the exception of the bolt and barrel.
At the end of my article, I traditionally cite shots from video games in which Robinson Armament rifles lit up.
RobArm rifles in video games
Alliance of Valiant Arms (2007)
Grand Theft Auto V / GTA5 (2011)
Righteous Slaughter 7 (Jimmy)
Righteous Slaughter 7 (Jimmy)
Robinson Armament XCR in CQB configuration
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (2016)
That's all I wanted to tell you about the Eugene Stoner system, as well as the development of his idea. I hope the series of articles turned out to be quite informative and interesting.
Thank you for attention!