Bushmaster is one of the most popular consumer choices among firearms manufacturers for the AR 15 rifle. In this Bushmaster AR 15 review, we will discuss the specs, pricing, and how the rifle compares to other similar products from other manufacturers. If you’re looking for an accurate, easy-to-use, quality firearm from Brownell’s, it’s only natural that you start here with Bushmaster.
What Is the Bushmaster AR 15?
The first thing you may notice about the Bushmaster AR 15 rifle is that it isn’t flashy, and it doesn’t have to be. Bushmaster has been in the game for decades, and their longevity is because of their commitment to providing consumers with accurate, dependable, durable rifles, and the subject of this Bushmaster AR 15 review fits the bill perfectly.
The technical specs include a 16-inch barrel length, 32.5-inch overall length, 35 inches when fully extended, 5.56 NATO/223 Remington caliber, 3.5 MOA/RT5 mini red dot sight, 30+1 magazine capacity, and an overall weight of 6 lbs.
The Bushmaster AR 15 rifle features several upgrades over those issued to the US military. It uses a 16-inch barrel that is hammer-forged and chrome-lined, which you won’t find on standard-issue military weaponry; and, it uses a 1 in 7 twist, which is the military standard. Its chrome-lined barrel makes the weapon ideal for short-range shooting, but if you’re more interested in long-range shots, look elsewhere.
Inside, the rifle uses the same bolt carrier as the M16 and the same feed ramps as the M4. That being said, military-style bolt carriers and feed ramps don’t mix well with steel-cased ammo, so if you pick one up after reading this Bushmaster AR 15 review, be sure to grab some brass-cased ammunition while you’re at it.
The rifle features a fixed sight upfront with a removable carry handle and rear sight. So, if you’re a shooter who likes to have a red dot sight to co-witness with your front sight, you’re in luck. However, the removable carry handle and rear sight do not make this rifle great for those who like scopes or other types of magnified optics. The bolt carrier and feed ramps are not the only parts of this rifle that come from the M16 and M4, respectively. The AR 15 includes a 6-position adjustable stock and standard M16/M4 pistol grip and handguards.
Ultimately, the durability, ease-of-use, standard furniture, and iron sights make Bushmaster’s AR 15 a fantastic rifle for a beginner or for someone who prefers to purchase upgrades separately to further specialize their rifle.
The Bushmaster AR 15 was designed to be a high-quality rifle at an affordable price. It can be purchased for around $770+, depending on the specs, location, dealer, and other variables. A price point in this area makes it one of the more affordable rifles on the market.
How It Compares
We’ve picked a few similar products available on the market to show you how the Bushmaster AR 15 compares in terms of price point, specs, ease of use, features, and design quality.
Bushmaster AR 15 Review
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
If we can say anything in this Bushmaster AR 15 review, it’s that this rifle is easy to use. It’s shipped ready to shoot. No need to put anything together. With quality Bushmaster engineering and Mil-Spec flash suppressors, this rifle is as accurate as it is user-friendly. It can fire 45 rounds per minute, which is very nice, and it has been designed to reduce the recoil felt by the shooter.
The rifle features a standard AR 15 design; It is gas-operated and has semi-auto carbines with high-grade aluminum receivers. They craft the barrel from 4150 steel with its durability further increased because of chrome-lining. The manganese phosphate finish, rare among similarly priced rifles, significantly increases the firearm’s resistance to rust and corrosion, which is necessary since gas-operated weapons generate a lot of heat and are highly susceptible to rust and other types of corrosion.
Don’t let the 3-star feature rating fool you. This Bushmaster AR 15 review is about a gun specifically designed to be simple, and therefore it doesn’t include a lot of the bells and whistles that more specialized rifles do. That being said, the features it includes are impressive: quick response carbine, contour chrome-moly barrel, polymer stock, forged, lightweight 7075 T6 aircraft-quality aluminum receivers, cartridge case deflector, last round bolt hold-open, raised ridges for magazine release button protection, anodized corrosion-resistant hard coat, reversible rotating selector safety feature, and a six-position handgun grip type.
- Quality construction
- Smooth shooting performance
- Reputable manufacturer
- The rifle doesn’t have the best sights and doesn’t fit scopes or other magnified optics well.
Bravo Company Manufacturing RECCE 16 Carbine AR 15
The Bravo Company Manufacturing RECCE 16 Carbine AR-15 was developed for Navy SEAL teams. Specifically, it provided them with a lightweight, modular carbine that had enhanced ballistic performance and utility over the standard-issue M4.
While Bushmaster follows a time-honored tradition of quality firearm engineering and manufacture, Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) is also dedicated to providing firearms that work the way they’re supposed to. BCM’s quality control team tests every single firearm they produce for function. They also test the gas system and bolt carrier group, ensuring the rifle you get is one that works.
The rifle’s technical specs include direct impingement action, a 16-inch barrel, 30+1 round capacity, 5.56 mm NATO cartridges, 32.5-inch to 35.5-inch length, flash suppressor on the muzzle, and a 6.3 lb. weight. The lower receiver is made from forged 7075-T6 aluminum and features BCM Gunfighter upgrades in the trigger, trigger guard, grip, and stock.
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
A rifle made for SEAL teams, whose purpose is to get in and get out quickly and efficiently, should be easy to use; and, this one is. However, it does not have a front or rear sight, meaning the owner will need to purchase their own. On the plus side, you have a lot of options. On the down-side, you need to know exactly what you’re intending to use.
While Bushmaster follows a time-honored tradition of quality firearm engineering and manufacture, Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) is also dedicated to providing firearms that work the way they’re supposed to. BCM’s quality control team tests every single firearm they produce for function. They also test the gas system and bolt carrier group, ensuring the rifle you get is one that works. The rifle is forged from high-grade materials which increase its price point but also its durability and quality.
One thing that comes with a rifle at this price point is quality features. A forged upper contains a 14 and ½ inch barrel with a pinned Mod 1 Compensator; chrome-lined barrel for increased durability, mil-spec twist rate of 1:7, an M16 bolt carrier coated in Ion Bond Flat Dark Earth, which is easy-to-clean. A 13-inch M-LOK Compatible Modular Rail (MCMR) surrounds the barrel, and the MCMR provides for a multitude of mounting solutions to make up for the lack of sights. Each rifle passes rigorous BCM quality control testing. They are lightweight and slim, and it is composed of premium Bravo Company parts.
- Test-fired before sale
- Premium furniture
- Premium BCM bolt carrier
- Slim handguards
- Lightweight–only .3 lbs heavier than the Bushmaster AR 15
- Does not have a cold hammer-forged barrel
- Does not include a quick detach sling mount receiver for the keymod and rail
- Requires the separate purchase of sights
Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II AR 15
The M&P 15 Sport II AR 15 by Smith & Wesson is a basic rifle with a solid platform. It’s lightweight, reliable, and versatile. It comes standard with a Magpul MBUS rear sight, a 30 round Magpul PMAG M3, and a forward assist and dustcover with a 6-position collapsible stock. The M&P 15 is covered by the Smith & Wesson Lifetime Service Policy. The technical specs include a 16-inch barrel with a 1:9 twist, A2 front sight, folding Magpul MBUS rear, aluminum alloy 7075 T6 receivers, a weight of approximately 6.44 lbs., removable magazine, and a length of 33.5 inches to 36.75 inches.
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
The accessory rail on top of the receiver makes installing optics a breeze. Most firearms at this price point aren’t all that difficult to use, but it requires proper care to keep the M&P 15 Sport II AR 15 in good working order.
To get a quality rifle down to this price point means you’ll be making some sacrifices, and this rifle is a perfect example of that. The handguards are unlined, meaning there is no heat shielding. If you’re the person who likes to dump magazines, upgrade to an aftermarket forearm protector. Also, the gas system is carbine length, which can cause additional recoil. However, whether this is a deal-breaker will depend highly on what the user prefers.
The upper has M4 cuts that match with the feed ramps on the barrel; the A2 front-sight is F marked and comes with a bayonet lug and a sling swivel; the end is threaded and comes with an A2-style flash hider; and the bolt carrier is phosphate-finished on the outside, with chrome lining in the interior
- Has improved features from other, similarly priced rifles
- Covered by Smith & Wesson Lifetime Service Policy
- Easy to accessorize
- Engineered for a wide variety of uses
- No chrome-lined barrel. Instead, it is finished with nitride both inside & out
- Unlined handguards
- Carbine-length gas system
Radical Firearms RF 16
The final rifle on our Bushmaster AR 15 review is the Radical Firearms RF 16. It’s a fully complete, mil-spec, AR 15 rifle that uses a law enforcement grade upper receiver and a mil-spec grade lower. The barrel is crafted from 4150 Chromoly Vanadium steel and is Melonite treated for a harder-than-chrome finish that won’t decrease the rifle’s accuracy. To increase reliability and decrease receiver wear, the same finish is applied to the bolt carrier groups.
The technical features include a 16-inch 458 SOCOM Vanadium Steel Barrel, 1:14 twist rate, 5/8×32 TPI, 458 SOCOM Chamber, HPT/MPI, low profile .936-inch micro gas block, stainless carbine-length gas tube, direct gas impingement, Radical Firearms Panzer 49/64-20 Brake, a 10+1 round capacity, a length of 36.75 inches, flash hider on the muzzle, and a weight of 6.9 lbs.
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
Like many AR 15 style weapons, the Radical Firearms RF 16 doesn’t require a lot of know-how to use. Its intuitive design and detachable magazine make it great for anyone looking for a rifle that packs a punch but won’t break the bank.
The RF 16 has a full-length, free float handguard that will protect your hands from the heat of the barrel while also providing you with plenty of room for accessories. The Radical Firearms 12-inch forward guard shield allows for Magpul Moe attachments, RF rail sections, and the capability to add attachments other than the top of the Picatinny rail.
If you want features, this rifle’s got them. It has a 16-inch SOCOM 4150 Vanadium Steel Barrel, 1:14 twist rate, 5/8×32 TPI, 458 SOCOM chamber; HPT/MPI, Low profile .936 inch micro gas block, stainless carbine-length gas tube, direct gas impingement, and a Radical Firearms Panzer 49/64-20 Brake.
- Lots of room for accessories
- Quality guard to keep your hands cool
- Excellent price point
- Small magazine
- Room for accessories because it needs them
As you can see, the Bushmaster AR 15 rifle holds up very well against its competition both at its price point and above. We rate it at 5 Stars because it’s exactly what it’s intended to be, an accurate, no-frills rifle which is reliable and easy-to-use. Whether you’re a seasoned gun owner looking for something to have fun with, a homeowner wanting something for home-defense, or someone looking for an entry-level rifle that hits what you point it at and won’t kill you with recoil, the Bushmaster AR 15 will meet or exceed your expectations. Whatever you do, make sure you stop by Brownell’s and see what we have to offer.