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Yup the early civilian Colt ARs were the large pin variety.

I believe this was originally done on the thinking that folks couldn't mix-n-match "borrowed" mil-spec full auto M16 parts onto a civilian model. Not positive on that though.
I don't remember when Colt went away from the large pin setup. Maybe around the time of the '94 bill or maybe before ???

Pretty much all of the current "generic" ARs out there that I've looked at seem to follow the mil-spec sheet pretty close and use the same pin size as the military variants.
 
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