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Gordon Ingram’s Westarm .308 Battle Rifle

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In the late 1970s and early 80s, Gordon Ingram came close to producing a military rifle in one of the most convoluted international arrangements I’ve yet heard of. Prototypes were made in Italy using British raw castings, to be tested in Somalia as part of a project to build a rifle factory there with Dominican Republic expertise from the San Cristobal armory. Somalia actually ordered a large quantity of rifles in 7.62x39mm, but Ingram prototyped the design in .223 and .308 as well.

Mechanically, the rifle was essentially a scaled-up M1 Carbine with a long stroke gas piston instead of a gas tappet. The production guns were select-fire, but the handful or prototypes brought into the US were semiautomatic only, to meet import requirements. In .308, the rifle used FAL magazines, while the .223 ones used AR magazines and the 7.62x39mm ones AK magazines.

Unfortunately for Ingram (but predictably), the project fell apart as the result of financial corruption among the many interested parties. The Somali government ended up payout out something like $5 million US and all they got for it were 10 unreliable prototype rifles.

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