VERY RARE COLT/CIENER SEMI-AUTO BELT FED AR-15.
Cal. 223. S# ST012421. Bbl. 20″.
In the late 1950’s Eugene Stoner & his engineers at ArmaLite had the idea to try a belt feed unit chambered in 308 on 1 of his AR-10 designs. While the system indeed worked & the US was actively searching for a new system of this type, the idea was never actually brought into production. The Dutch AR-10 programs experimented further w/ the belt fed AR-10. A few years later, the Colt Firearms experimental group worked again w/ the idea, this time scaling the system down to 5.56×45 to be hosted on 1 of the early AR-15 platforms. Under the supervision of Rob Roy, they produced less than a dozen prototype guns, all slightly different, but the project was eventually abandoned while designs went in the direction of the traditional magazine fed guns that we’re familiar w/ today. The AR-15 & its variants ended up becoming the primary weapon system for the U.S. military for over 50 years. There is a lot of speculation, and many theories why the belt fed AR-15 never took off in those early days & most revolve around the deep interest in “upgrading” to the more potent & powerful 7.62×51 NATO cartridge. In the late 1980’s, then well known suppressor mfg. Jonathan Ciener, based in FL, picked up the design where Colt left off & along w/ his own improvements introduced a belt feed conversion for owners of Colt rifles.
Eventually, he started mfg. them as complete guns in both semi & fully automatic configurations. Unlike most traditional belt fed systems there is no top cover nor standard shuttle feed mechanism. The gun harnesses its energy from the rearward motion of the bolt carrier which transfers its energy to an exterior drive unit that utilizes a spring loaded pawl lock. Internally, the function is almost identical to it’s normal mag. feed due to the presentation of the rd. The belt drive assembly may be removed at any time & the gun will feed from standard box mags. w/ no modification.
This example utilizes a 1-in-7 bbl. marked “CMP 5.56 NATO 1/7” terminated w/ an artillery style brake. Traditional A2 rifle length handguards w/ tapered delta ring. Colt dark gray carry handle upper receiver w/ windage & elevation adj. rear sight, brass deflector & rnd. forward assist. The light black slab side lower receiver is a sporter target model Colt. Full length A2 trapdoor buttstock. Sling swivels front & rear w/ an additional swivel typically used as a Harris bipod adapter at 6 o’clock on bottom handguard. Belt drive mechanism marked “JONATHAN ARTHUR CIENER CAPE CANAVERAL, FL”. Feeding by belt utilizes a modified SAW type link which is collected upon firing when utilizing the factory segmented feed box through a chute that coincides w/ the link ejection port.