Robinson M96 Coming Back?

This was sent to us by a reader. A member of the Robinson M96 Facebook page posted a email from Robinson Arms stating that the management was considering bringing the M96 rifle back into production.

E-mail Posted from Robinson Arms about M96

E-mail Posted from Robinson Arms about M96

For those not familiar, the M96 is a modern take on the original Stoner 63 used by the Navy SEALS during the Vietnam War. While not an exact copy, the M96 does give the civilian user a fairly close copy.

Original Stoner 63 Machine Gun. Very Rare.

Original Stoner 63 Machine Gun. Very, Very Rare.

Like the original Stoner, the M96 was user configurable. Besides the quick-change barrel feature, there were plans to release a belt-feed kit and a top-feed kit like the Bren-gun. To my knowledge, neither of these kits actually were made for mass production before the line was closed.

Robinson M96 Right Side

Robinson M96 Right Side. The magazine catch system is different.

Why did Robinson shut down the M96 to begin with? I believe it was a couple of reasons. The first being the Robinson rifle did suffer from some significant teething issues. Off the top of my head, I recall there being broken firing pins and other breakage problems.

The second reason, IMO, is Robinson made a big play for the new Service Rifle Contract and they put all their energies towards that end. Many of you have heard of their submission, the Robinson XCR. Yes, we are talking about THAT Robinson. Same dude. Same company.

The service rifle contact has gone nowhere, and the XCR has meet with tepid commercial sales. But I am sure they have noticed how many inquires they get weekly asking about the M96 rifle sales, parts, upgrades and production.

SEAL Team 1. Vietnam. Notice the Stoner 63's

SEAL Team 1. Vietnam. Notice the Stoner 63’s

I’ll be the first to admit that if the M96 comes back, I would jump all over the conversion kits. Especially the top-feed configuration. Why? Well…we have a unfired M96 still in the box. Somewhere in the back of the armory. Maybe I’ll dig it up and show our readers what it’s about.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

  • Mikial

    When I first enlisted, waaaaay back at the end of the Viet Nam escapade, I did four years in the Navy before crossing over to the Army. At my first duty station, I worked for an E6 Seal named Jack (I won’t mention his last name out of respect). Jack had at one time, or probably a couple of times, been higher on the E-trail but Jack was a bit of a loner in every way. But, despite his lack of respect for higher ranks, he took a great deal of responsibility toward the men under his leadership. For example, he never wrote anyone up in the years that I knew him, but he did conduct some very private counseling sessions with sailors who needed some serious professional development. Some of the sessions got a bit physical at times.

    Jack had been through some pretty heavy crap in his time, and talking to other senior Petty Officers who knew the deal, especially guys in the Diver’s Locker, we found out that he had had a VC price on his head more than once during his several deployments. If we ever had any doubts about the veracity of these “war stories,” they were completely erased the first time we saw Jack in his dress blues with all his ribbons. We all stood there, as young sailors, with our mouths hanging open at the sheer number of ribbons on this man’s chest. Along with the usual “Gedunk” ribbons for time in service, and various campaign ribbons, there was an amazing collection of awards for valor with Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Hearts and a Navy Cross. He had more ribbons than any four of the officers had added together.

    I tell you all this to set the stage for the part of this story that pertains to the article. After you got to know Jack, and earned his respect, he would talk to you. One blustery November night while crossing the North Atlantic as the ship was rolling through the waves, Jack told us a story about a mission he had been on in Nam. They had been taken to a river delta in a Swift Boat and dropped off to slog for miles through the swamps to intercept and neutralize a Viet Cong tax collector who had been squeezing the villagers for a large portion of their rice harvest to feed the VC troops. As you can imagine, all us 19 to 20-something punk kids were pretty wide eyed as he told us of standing in muddy water full of snakes and all sorts of nasty parasites for hours with a Stoner cradled in his arms waiting for this guy that Intel had assured them was going to come down the river with boats full of commandeered rice. And when he showed up, they opened up on him, killing the VC, his guards, and sinking their boats full of rice so it wouldn’t be available to feed their guerrilla troops.

    I hadn’t thought about this in a long time, but your article on the Stoner brought it all back as if it were yesterday. If these guns become available again, I will buy one just out of respect for the memory of a man who I have never ceased to admire in all the years since I knew him. I have been a Combat Arms Army officer, I have deployed to Iraq as a DoD private security operator, been shot at, hit with IEDs, been hot, tired, sore, scared, thirsty, lost friends in war, etc. . . and I am nothing compared to Jack. I can see his face even now and I will never forget him and the things he taught me about being a man. How sad it is that in today’s America so many young people are caught up in the millennial entitlement mode, but there are still those who are brave and true and who Jack would be proud of.

    • Amen.


    • Scott Mayer

      “Mitchell.” Just guessing, but sounds like the Jack I knew.

  • Wally Holmesly

    Awesome recollection. Thank you.
    US Navy