A soldier with the 4th Mechanised Brigade is pictured engaging the enemy during Operation Qalb in Helmand, Afghanistan – 4 January 2013.
Soon after leaving ArmaLite, Eugene Stoner devised a concept for a weapons platform built around a common receiver and interchangeable components that could be configured as a rifle, carbine and several machine gun configurations by simply fitting the appropriate parts to the basic assembly. He even initially designated the concept the M69W becuase that designation looks the same upside down as it does right side up – reflecting the invertable receiver at the heart of the system.
Illustration of the full Stoner 63 family of weapons from Stoner 63 sales brochure (hat tip to ForgottenWeapons.com)
My own interest in the Stoner 63 system started in the latter half of the 1970’s as a teen-ager – when I discovered a lengthy article about the Stoner 63 family in an old copy of the Feb. 1965 issue of Popular Mechanics in a box in my step-father’s attic. I still remember sitting up there one sweltering hot summer afternoon reading the article from start to finish by the light of a single low-watt light bulb dangling from the rafters. There’s something about the Stoner 63 that just grabs you like that…
(hat tip to ‘Armeiro’ on AR15.com for the scans from that old Popular Mechanics article)
Best known for playing legendary bad guys on screen – from Dracula to ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ to a turn-coat wizard in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy – Lee was actually a rather legendary Good Guy in real life.
Christopher Lee was born somewhere in England in 1922. His mother was an Italian Countess who was actually descended from the line of Charlemagne, and she was so important that she was allowed to wear the royal seal of Frederich Barbarossa. Lee’s father, meanwhile, was a distant relative of Robert E. Lee and was multi-decorated war hero who’d served as a Colonel in the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps during World War I and the Boer War. Growing up, Lee studied Classics at Wellington College, where he was also a champion squash player, a badass fencer, and spent his spare time playing on the school hockey and rugby.
In commemoration of the airborne forces who led the way in the invasion of Normandy seventy-one years ago, The Liberty Jump Team performed an airdrop of paratroops from a WWII-era C-47 aircraft at Amfreville.
Photos copyright John Bessems, via Liberty Jump Team