Gimme a weapon's system that's affordably built and performs in the harshest of harsh conditions-and I will show you a weapon that is loved by millions of operators.

Did a famous person once say that?

No, I just did.

The AK47 and Kalashnikov's other brilliant gun inventions come to mind.

Just ask millions of Red Chinese, Russian, Asian and African combatants.

No, the M63 Stoner Machine Gun will never be compared to the AK47.

Indeed, the Stoner had fewer than several thousand copies made.

American gun designer Eugene Stoner and engineer Jim Sullivan brought us the M63 Stoner Machine Gun, a rarely used weapon that enjoyed slightly more than its 15 minutes of fame. The Stoner is a light machine gun chambered in 5.56mm NATO.

It came in a carbine, assault rifle and (several) light machine gun configurations.

The M63 found its way into USMC and U.S. Special Forces hands, but due to the gun's complicated design and high maintenance operability, the Stoner M63 never became a household name-much less an American standard-issue combat weapon.

To be fair, as a belt-fed or magazine-fed squad assault weapon (SAW), the Stoner got high marks, especially from U.S. Marines and Special Forces-notably Navy SEALs.

But it saw limited use and Colt's M16 won out over Stoner's ill-fated design.

The M63 is a gas-operated, rotating bolt LMG that is fitted with a bipod for squad assault weapon (SAW) applications. It utilizes a top-mounted carrying handle and is fed ammunition by way of 30-round box magazines or 100- or 150-round belts. It is capable of cycling 700 rounds plus per minute at 3,200 feet per second muzzle velocity.

In addition to the light machine gun version, Stoner adaptations came in medium machine gun and fixed machine gun. The M63 light machine gun weighs approximately 11.5 pounds and measures about 40 inches in length. Using a 20-inch barrel and iron sights, the Stoner has a respectable maximum shooting range out beyond one-half mile.

Few Stoner's remain; most were destroyed. If by the most unlikely of circumstances, you have an M63 Stoner Machine Gun in your collection, hold onto it.

It is no doubt worth a fortune!