I need AR advice(Bushmaster related)


April 2, 2003, 06:23 PM
Hey Guys
Well I just sold my Century rebuild because the AR smith said that it had a bunch of problems with it(unusual bolt wear due to hammer, tight bolt carrier in reciever, 8 lb trigger pull, jamming when cocking). I was able to get most of my money back out of the deal.
I was planning on buying a Bushmaster next. I have heard many good things about them. Please make a suggestion if their is a better brand out there for the money.
#1) How signicant is the accuracy going to be between a floated and non floated barrel?
#2)I am looking to have a "Battle gun" with the ability to hit targets like a coyote or praire dog a ways away with a scope. I was considering either the 20" A3 or the V Match. The advantage of the free float is increase accuracy. But I loose out on the front sights ruggedness and fixed nature(compared to the $100 add on flip up). Between the A3 and the V match what would you get and why?
#3) What about using the same lower and adding on a different upper for a different shooting types? Can this be done without damaging the upper and lower. I am assuming using the same bolt for two different uppers is a no no.
#4) Is a two stage trigger and significant advantage for the A3? I would probably only notice a difference off a bench. What kind of groups are typical with good ammo from and A3?

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rock jock
April 2, 2003, 07:24 PM
1. I am not sure, but I have heard that free floated barrel heats up much quicker. This is not good for a "battle rifle".
2. How far is "a ways"? A 16" AR will get good accuracy out to 300 yds. Past that your 20" barrel is good for shots out to 450 yds. Past 450, go with a varmit rifle.
3. I have used the same bolt for different uppers, although some would argue against this.
4. For a battle rifle, I recommend a single stage trigger as there is no need for a "buildup" in tension to the final release. For a benchrest AR, go with the single stage.

April 2, 2003, 07:25 PM
I purchased a Bushmaster pre-ban upper with 14.5" barrel and was quite impressed with it's quality. I put it on my Colt M16A1 lower and it functioned flawlessly straight from the box.

Mr. Chitlin
April 2, 2003, 07:47 PM
My $.02 worth:

1 - I have floated and standard uppers. As far as heating goes, my floated uppers have ventilated FF tubes on them. I can't really see a problem, unless you are shooting many rounds, maybe a group of attacking coyotes or something. As far as accuracy, you take some of the variables out with a free floated handguard, ie: sling tension, bipod, etc. My 24" FF upper gives superb accuracy, but the standards are no slouch, either (using good loads).

2 - As rock jock said, you can get MOC (minute of coyote) with a standard 16 or 20 incher as far as you care to shoot. Then, you also get the standard front sight. You will not see the front sight in your scope, trust me. As far as what I would get and why, that is probably a decision you have to make. I have several of both type, and like 'em all.

3 - The nice thing about the AR platform is that you can have one lower (the serial numbered "firearm") and then you can have several uppers in different configurations. With this scenerio, you can have your free floated upper for coyotes, and build a 16 inch M4 style upper for "War Games". It is generally suggested not to use the same bolt on different uppers. If you really need to save pennies, you can use the same bolt carrier, and have a dedicated bolt for each upper. This would save you about $75 or so for the extra carrier.

4 - As for the 2 stage trigger, there again it is up to the buyer. I can do good with the standard trigger, but the 2 stage is NICE!! You might not notice it hunting, probably not in gun games and just blasting ammo, but for those really long shots from a rest or bench, it is the way to go. Now realize, this is just one man's opinion.

As for groups, with good ammo and a good shooter, your AR should be able to get under 1.5 inches easily. It really should be able to do an inch or less.

See ya, good luck with your decision, and hope I didn't confuse you too much.

April 2, 2003, 08:44 PM
i would go w/ the dissapator. 16" BBL compact w/ full lenght sight radius.

April 2, 2003, 09:54 PM
I love my Bushy 16" A2 shorty. Although I can't say I like the Bushy factory 10 round magazines - too tight for ten rounds (nine are okay).

Bushy's are robust, accurate as heck, quality, mil-spec Nato, and just plain cool rifles.

Armalites are good too, but most have compensators welded to the barrel making them very loud shooters.

April 3, 2003, 08:42 AM
I went the Bushmaster 16"A/3 with break route.This is my gun games set-up.
For the long range competitions I went to a 24" V-match,FF, fluted barrel upper.With a flip up front and rear sights,I shoot long range (500 yards) NMC.
Fluted barrels reduce weight by upto 20%,and add total surface area by upto 180% through the grooves,thus providing a more rigid barrel.
The sights show a great picture at 500 yards.Now if I could work out the bugs on my techniques.
I just shot my 1st match this past weekend 3x500 prone.
With each upper I use the matched bolt that came with that upper.(another $100) Bolt break-in matches chamber break-in.
Shooting off the original lower.
1 lower, 2 uppers= 2 different cofigurations.
I shoot the A/3 with iron sights or through a 3x9x40 Nikon scope.
The NRA added a new class also it is F class shooters,scoped or iron sights also on bipods.
The configurations are endless,buy the basic set-up,build on that,shoot the configurations your comfortable shooting.

rock jock
April 3, 2003, 10:16 AM
and add total surface area by upto 180% through the grooves,thus providing a more rigid barrel
Rigidity has nothing to do with surface area. Given similar strength steel, it is a function of the cross-sectional geometry. Increased surface area will only help with heat dissapation. A lot of folks recommend against the fluted barrel. I happen to be one of them.

April 3, 2003, 10:39 AM
Rigidity has nothing to do with surface area. Given similar strength steel, it is a function of the cross-sectional geometry. Increased surface area will only help with heat dissapation. A lot of folks recommend against the fluted barrel. I happen to be one of them.
The wording is a bit misleading, for sure.

BUT, in barrels of THE SAME WEIGHT, a fluted barrel will be more rigid than a non-fluted barrel.

I have a 14.5" fluted HBAR Bushy, and I get the same accuracy as my friend's 16" M4 profile barrel, with (IMHO) more even weight distribution, rather than the "heavy out front" feel of the M4 profile. Plus, I can proudly say that I do NOT HAVE an M4gery like everyone else :)

So while all is personal preference, I would say that, if you want a lighter weight barrel, but don't want an A1 or skinny profile barrel, get the fluted barrel. If you want the stiffest, most rigid barrel available, get a non-fluted HBAR.

rock jock
April 3, 2003, 11:24 AM

Yes, for the same weight, the flexural rigidity (EI) is greater due to the greater barrel thickness across the non-fluted portions. The cons of a fluted barrel do not justify them though, IMO.

April 3, 2003, 11:26 AM
The cons of a fluted barrel do not justify them though, IMO.

Which cons are those? (seriously). I haven't noticed a single drawback as yet to having the fluted barrel. What am I missing?

Which barrel have you chosen instead?

rock jock
April 3, 2003, 12:25 PM
I have read, though I cannot confirm myself since my specialty is not in metallurgy, that the fluting process can affect the bore. That having been said, perhaps I should qualify my remarks by saying I don't know if there are any particular negatives to fluted barrels, but I am also not convinced that the single known advantage, i.e., heat dissapation, justifies its extra cost.

April 3, 2003, 12:36 PM
I would DEFINATELY get a free-floated barrel. If you use your sling at all while shooting, it will help eliminate zero fluctuations due to differences in sling torque. (Which can be sunstantial), and if you use a bipod, will help to do the same with forend pressure. I have a 20" Armalite now, and I cant wait to get a match, free-floated bbl. on it, as I see big differences in zero shift, after I get cinched up in my sling, and my sling tightness varies by a slight amount. Im used to a M1A with a Oversized stock, that would be MUCH more forgiving of this. Good luck!

April 3, 2003, 12:44 PM
Look into Armalite, Colt and Rock River Arms as well.

1) I can't say i see the difference yet for the shooting i do. One advantage to FF is that you can add and take off accesories to the front end without changing your POI. Without knowing what kind of shooter you are i would say if you're just starting out you won't see a difference, if you're a good shot you probably will.

2) I'm not sure your point with this question since if you're using a scope you probably can't use the irons anyway unless you have see through mounts and a neck like a giraffes. However you can use fixed sights with a FF tube if you don't have a brake permanently attached. I'm not a big fan of flip up front sights for the reason you mention.

3) No problem with switching uppers but i always figure its a good idea to keep the bolt with the upper so i buy bolts for each upper. You can keep the same bolt carrier if you want to save bucks.

4) I have a two stage MKII on my target gun which i really like. However for my social guns i use single stage accuracy speaks triggers. The advantage of the 2 stage is a lighter percieved letoff (like you said mostly for bench shooting) the advantage of the single stage is more reliability by virtue of no screws etc. to come loose at a bad moment. I don't know if there is such thing as typical but from my homebuilt flatop i shot a honest 5 shot 0.86 inch 100 yard group with black hills blue label match ammo first time out with it (badger FF tube, blackstar 20" bull barrel, bushie upper and lower, MKII trigger and a big leupold scope).

April 3, 2003, 04:05 PM
Thank you everyone for the replies. I am still having a hard time balancing the advantages of certain features over the disadvantages. For example, if I want to limit my rifle to a single lower and own different configurations of uppers, I have a problem. In my mind, two stage triggers in the lower belong on match or varmint quality uppers. A single stage belongs on a 16" and 20" A2 or A3 upper. So I am almost forcing myself at this point to own just get one or the other. I am almost leaning toward the two stage because I don't "need" a battle tough gun were weigh and size is an issue. I am not trained as a soldier so the benefits or ruggedness might not be a concern. I think I am probably obsessing on this and getting a bit too analytical. It would be ideal for me to own a two stage lower and a single stage lower. Then I could have a match quality capability and also a field tough version. The only thing is the money and need factor. If I were rich and frivolous, I would probably own one of every configuration possible with all the bells and whistles. But I realize to achieve better shooting skills I probably need to get to know one rifle. Also, in a SHTF situation (not to ever pretend for a moment that I would even survive very long) having ONE gun I gravitate to because it is because suited for the situation. Eventually I would like to get Eagle Arms AR-10 in the mix, but for right now I will focus on replacing my old AR. My focus is adaptability and versatility. Potential accuracy is important (in other words, as I become a better shot, I want me to still be at fault when I don't hit the X). Here are some hypothetical options I can think of and possibly justify....
Buy a Bushmaster V-match w/ 2 stage and purchase the flip up front sight, removable carry handle, and removeable scope mount. Then also buy a 16 inch A3 upper to mount the removable carry handle onto when not using it on the V-match. I don't know how the 2 stage would affect use on the 16" upper and for the kind of shooting I would so with that.
Get the 24" bushmaster varminter, the Ar-10, and then just separately buy a complete carbine. The disadvantage here would be owning more lowers than really necessary.
Buy a 20" A3 upper and and then 16" carbine upper. Maybe I should save the long range shooting for something like a bolt action rifle.
Essentially what I am trying to do is figure out what I want now, but keep in mind how I could diversify my capabilities in the future. I think part of my problem is a really don't know what I think I need :) I think what I am trying to do is figure out a cheaper way of getting everything I want.) I like the compactness of the 16 inch carbine but the decreased sight radius bothers me. Maybe getting a 16" upper with the same sight radius as the 20" would be a good option (although I hate the way it looks). Heck I dunno, Maybe I should just save my money and invest in it the stock market. :D
In a match grade gun, it seems to make sense to have a full stock. In a field grade gun, it seems to make sense to have to lighter non collapsible collapsible. But for field use, I think the storage feature in the full stock would be of paramount importance.
In closing, I like how the 16" handles and can be moved around. But if I were to have only one gun right now I think I would rather have the increased sight radius. I am 6' 4" and 18 years old so maybe I should just buy the v match 20" because the additional weight isn't going to bother me that much and it would be better proportioned to my size. I think my current decision is probably between the 20" v match and the 20" A3. Is the accuracy difference between the two going to be significantly different? I think I would shoot about the same if I shot them with open sights. I think I would only notice a difference with a scope and at 300 yards. Does any of this make sense to you guys?
Thanks again

April 3, 2003, 04:39 PM
I have read, though I cannot confirm myself since my specialty is not in metallurgy, that the fluting process can affect the bore.
I read that too, after I got mine. It was on the Fulton Armoury site, I think. I can say that I have not experienced any of those effects mentioned... and all I have to go by is accuracy.

I am also not convinced that the single known advantage, i.e., heat dissapation, justifies its extra cost.
If that were the only advantage the fluting offered, I would never have forked over the extra $50. For me, the biggest single advantage that fluting had was lighter weight than the HBAR, but a stronger, more rigid barrel than the M4 profile.

What I'd like more than either of those is a barrel with a .750" diameter all the way through, rather than 1" under the HG's and .750 after. That would probably save almost as much weight as the fluting.

As for your last set of questions, Stinkyshoe...

It has been my experience over the last 10 years of owning an AR15 that, if I could afford multiple uppers, I could easily afford more than 1 lower. A complete lower is around $250, while you an build your own for less than $200. The uppers are by far the bigger expense, and I still only own one... (I sold the first one to afford the current one.)

I have a friend with a 20" V-match type rifle. It's a Rock River, with a weaver rail gas block and the flat-top. He's still trying to justify the extra $250 to put iron sights on it.

Meanwhile, I have never PERSONALLY needed the front sight "gone" from my rifle. The one piece scope mounts like Armalite and Rock River offer get the scope up high enough that you don't see the front sight in your scope. And if you use a red-dot, you can use one or the other without removing the red-dot.

Heck, you could have a flat-top upper with a FIRSCH or similar 4-weaver rail forend, and put a red-dot on the forend and a scope on the flat top... :)

At any rate, I'd get the one that was going to be most functional for my intended uses. I like my single stage trigger. I don't like AR's over 16" because of the caliber. If I want a 700meter rifle, you bet your patootie it'll be 7.62. My AR is fine under 300 meters, and realistically, I won't shoot at anything past 200. Although... one last fact that I can share... it is possible to repeatedly engage targets at 600 meters with a 16" barrel... You just need a really good spotting scope to see the hits :) And it takes a couple seconds for the bullet to get there.

Nero Steptoe
April 3, 2003, 06:41 PM
You can get a V-Match with the standard gas block/front sight. Free-floating the barrel does increase accuracy and certainly doesn't cause the barrel to heat up quickly. If anythng, a ventilated free-float tube will facilitate barrel cooling much better than "standard" handguards.

Bushmaster HBAR's don't have 1" under the handguards; they're .750", reduced to .700 at the muzzle.

You don't need both a two-stage and a single-stage trigger. I prefer the JP Enterprises single-stage, as it behaves much like a Remmy 700 trigger....light pull; no overtravel or creep.

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