Reviewed By: mark s on 02/28/2016
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
This is my first Bushmaster that is made under the Freedom Group name in Ilion, New York. They also own Remington and DPMS just to name a few. I've had 2 others XM15s' manufactured by the original owners of Bushmaster in Wyndham and they were always flawless in every way. I'm not sure if all of the negative things I had read about the newer ones was true at all, but I can tell you this new model is just as good as the original. I've had it for a few weeks now and have put around 500 rounds through it. I've fired Lake City XM855, Federal XM123 and some IMI 855 that someone at the range wanted me to try because it wouldn't cycle through their rifle (an HK no less...). It has run everything without issue. It is also very accurate except for the IMI which was an ammunition problem and not the rifle.
There are some things I have found in the description of this rifle I would like to clarify... This weapon does NOT have a rifle length gas system. The dissipator style that Bushmaster makes does have the fixed front sight post, but it is not being being used as a gas block. There is a low profile gas block hidden under the hand guard at the mid-length position. That is what you want... if it were a true rifle length gas system, the dwell time would be very short and it might not be as reliable. This rifle does have staked bolts on the gas key. It is a true AR style bolt carrier, meaning it is relieved on the bottom side of the carrier so as not to function an auto sear. This is not a problem at all, in fact Colt AR's have a bolt carrier that are completely cut out on the bottom for the same reason and they function just fine.
The fit and finish of the rifle is great. The upper fits on the lower just fine with no play at all, however the two take down pins are still able to be used without tools or a cartridge. It does have M4 feed ramps in the chamber, but it is a heavier profile barrel than the M4. To me this is the best of both worlds. This barrel will have a longer life than an M4, and the feed ramps are the most important part any way. It is a 1:9 twist barrel, which I like. This twist was originally developed to stabilize the XM855 in 62gr, however it has a hard time stabilizing tracer rounds, which is the only reason the Army uses a 1:7 twist.
All in all I would definitely recommend this rifle to anyone looking for a reliable AR platform. It's a very competitive market with lots of manufacturers that cost much more, but I'm not sure where that extra money goes as this rifle seems to function flawlessly.
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