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Bushmaster AR-15: Everything You Need to Know

What you need to know about the Bushmaster AR-15.

Bushmaster Firearms International produces one of the most popular sporting AR-15 platform rifles in the United States. It remains to be seen if the rising consumption of this product is due to its jaw-droppingly low price point, clever marketing or citizens' fears that the AR-15 will eventually be banned by law.

Regardless, Bushmaster is one of the largest sporting-rifle manufacturers in the U.S., and it looks like it is here to stay. The company also makes its own variants of the classic F.N. SCAR, called the ACR, as well as the Barrett 82A1 .50 BMG, called the BA50, and even AR-style pistols.

The holiday shopping season is upon us. Is a Bushmaster AR-15 worth a buy for that outdoorsman on your shopping list? Keep reading to learn why it might be.

First, nowhere on Bushmaster's website is there mention of the buffer tube diameter. The diameter of a commercial buffer tube is approximately 1.78 inches versus a mil spec buffer tube, which is approximately 1.48 inches. The benefits of mil spec components versus commercial components is an eternal debate in the gun community, one that includes some misconceptions and has been the subject of many marketing campaigns.

What all this means for holiday shoppers is that the rear buffer/stock assemblies come in two distinct sizes. If you buy a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle for a loved one and purchase an after-market stock, you should make sure the stock is fitted for a commercial buffer tube, otherwise the stock won't fit properly.


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AR-15: Gas vs. Piston System

In recent years, Bushmaster has partnered with Magpul Industries to create the MOE series of rifles. Magpul is one of the most popular sporting rifle accessory manufacturers among hobbyists, as well as military personnel, in part because it offers an affordable rifle and dependable extras. The MOE line has swapped the Bushmaster grip, forearm piece, magazines and sights for Magpul variants.

Another product to look to is the Bushmaster Carbon-15. This is not your typical AR-15. The upper and lower receivers (the pieces that contain all the moving parts) are made of a hard polymer. Some forums claim Bushmaster changed the type of carbon polymer it uses, and that the newer version is far more reliable than previous installments of the model. But it's still basically plastic. As a shopper, you may want to ask yourself whether the owner will shoot this gun enough to exceed the round-count lifespan or whether an all-metal rifle is a better option.


Bushmaster knows their products and their market very well. But they are not Colt, Daniel Defense, Noveske, Viking Tactics, Salient Arms International or Knight's Armament. Bushmaster Firearms International produces lower-tier rifles for the budget-conscious shooter, and there is nothing wrong with that. Your XM-15 Cerakote is not a Daniel Defense M4V1, but it is only half the cost.

If you're shopping for the shooter who will fire 200 rounds a month at the range, they don't need a $2,500 Noveske National Match. Buying anything, not just guns, involves realizing what you need, what you're going to use it for and getting the best price-to-performance ratio. The choice is yours.

What would you use your Bushmaster AR-15 for? Hunting? Range time? Competition? Self-defense? Fighting for humanity's freedom against an alien invasion? Leave a comment below.

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Bushmaster AR-15: Everything You Need to Know