I feel a bit remis that I have not covered some of the more basic information for collectors on the Armalite AR-180 serial and production numbers.
I have been trying to verify this information through other sources but so far I have come up empty handed, so here is what I have been able to find.
Production began in July 1969 in Costa Mesa CA and continued till 1972. Howa production was from 1970-1974. Sterling production was from 1979-1985.
Costa Mesa rifles
S0001-S0012 July 1969 12 rifles
S0014-S0050 no date 37 rifles
S0030 no date 1 rifle
S0077 no date 1 rifle
S0101-S4067 no date 3967 rifle
TOTAL 4018 rifles
X000001-X000012 Oct 1970 12 rifles
S000001-S001000 no date 1000 rifles
S10001-S12915 Feb 1974 2915 rifles
TOTAL 3927 rifles
S15001-S27363 1979-1985 12,362 rifles
The first 1000 Howa rifles had the serial number on the upper and the flash hiders have matching serial numbers on them.
Total production was 20,307 not all of which were imported to the US. Some were also exported to Ireland and there has been some attrition as well. I estimate something like 15,000 to 17,000 left in the US.
Quite rare when you compare them to even Colt SP1 numbers which approach 225,000 not to mention the number of M16’s made.