http://www.johnsonautomatics.com/History.htm . a fascinating page, one which i visit periodically just because it is so enjoyable.
http://www.aresdefense.com/?page_id=729 . this page gives a nice overview.
in issue 16 of recoil magazines, page 38, you will find an article entitle "the ares defense scr takes ar mags and ar uppers--and is new york legal," by peter palma. (you can also view the recoil web link above.) the article describes a rifle made by ares defense to be compliant w/ new york state law proscribing the legalities of semi auto rifles in that state. the authors conclude that the ares rifle is compliant with new york law, ... , as for myself, i am not so much interested in that topic, as i am with the fact that the new rifle is the spitting image of a rifle designed by melvin johnson in the late 1930's as a rival to the m-1 service rifle designed by mr. garrand, and as adopted by the u.s.a. as the m-1 rifle.
this is the ares defense rifle, the image taken from the web link given above. in essence, ares has fashioned a lower receiver compatible both, with the standard ar-15 upper with the substitution of a special bolt carrier group and mechanical link, and with the laws of the state of new york governing semi automatic rifles. (in the opinion of the recoil magazine authors, i pass no opinion on the subject.) the ares scr lower receiver, consisting of magazine well and fire controller system, e.g., the trigger. if you look with care, you will see where the strut/linkage from the bolt carrier inserts into the wrist of the stock, just like the johnson.--
caption: image from the "recoil" magazine website. the magazine well is pure ar-15, as in the captive pins used at the front & back of the receivers which secure the upper receiver when attached. the trigger group appears unique. and, finally, at the right bottom of the mortise cut for the trigger group, you can seen a round plug assembly against which the strut from the bolt carrier fits, and acts upon the spring. just like the johnson semi auto, model of 1941.
what ares has done is to put a mechanical strut on the bolt carrier, which passes down into the butt stock of the rifle to impinge on an operating spring contained therein. and, this is precisely the arrangement used in johnson's semi auto rifle, model of 1941.
the johnson was a "short recoil" operated rifle, meaning that the barrel and bolt carrier operated together in recoil for about 1/8" or so, at which point the barrels movement was arrested, and the bolt carrier continue moving backwards in recoil from the inertia imparted it by the barrel and residual pressures from combustion still remaining in the barrel. this is a bit different from the ar-15 rifles, whose bolt group is moved solely by gas pressures tapped off the barrel.
other than that, the rifles are extremely similar in function, (as is the ar-15 in general to the johnson semi auto rifle.) both rifles have multi-lugged bolts which engage in battery to a barrel extension fastened to the barrel at the receiver; both rifles have an upper receiver which detached from the lower receiver; and both rifles have the fire control system housed in the lower receiver of the rifle.
historically, the ar-15 bolt carrier has acted directly upon the action spring in the butt of the ar-15, with no mechanical linkage between them. now, with the ares defense contrivance of a mechanical linkage from the bolt carrier to the operating spring, this difference has been removed.
the johnson rifle was designed for the main battle cartridges of the day, to include the .30-06 springfield, and the 7x57mm mauser. the ares defense rifle is built around the 5.56mm nato/.223 remington cartridge, e.g., it has been downsized considerably to handle the smaller intermediate infantry round favored in today's battle doctrine.
but, given the design similarities, these two rifles may be regarded as father and son, so close are the designs. i am a big fan of the johnson, considering it a better design than the m-1 garrand. i think the ares defense scr is probably a better rifle in most respects than the ar-15/m-16/m-4 family of rifles.
i hope it sells. if i can figure a way, i will purchase an ares defense scr in .223, and would consider it superior to the ar-15 and the ruger mini-14, both of which i consider fine rifles. you can have your ak's.
john jay @ 03.09.2015
p.s. some photos, taken from the web.--
caption: an ar-15 of some sort at the top of the photo, fitted w/ a suppressor. beneath it, an ares defense rifle with a "standard butt stock." (and, if it looks familiar, say similar to the butt stock used by remington in the model 870 shotguns, and the 760 pumps & 740 semi autos, that is because it is one and the same.)
caption: this is a johnson semi auto, model of 1941 with a box magazine used to hold the cartridges. it is very similar to the ares defense rifle. in my opinion, this is very good, as the johnson was, imho, a very fine rifle.
caption: this is the johnson as more usually seen, equipped with a 10 shot rotary magazine that could be loaded via a gate just under the bolt, either with single rounds or with a clip, even while the rifle was charged and loaded. this is something that the m-1 garrand could not do, and as a matter of fact, the ar-15 cannot do to this day. whether or not this is a tactical superiority in the johnson as opposed to the other rifles of its day is a matter of some debate.