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Old March 22, 2015, 09:57 AM   #1
KZMAN
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Older Bushmaster questions

I have a Bushmaster 20” AR from the late 1990’s. It’s one of the Clinton ban rifles sans flash hider and bayonet lug. I purchased it because at the time, AR’s were becoming hard to get and nobody really knew what the future would bring. So here are my questions. Are Bushmaster AR’s from this era considered to be a quality rifle? I’m interested in getting a 16” (M4 style) upper so I can mount some optics. I’m a bit confused (PSA site) as to all of the available options. If I purchase one, will the bolt carrier group and charging handle from my Bushmaster work without any issues in the new upper, or should I buy one complete? Lastly, with the price of entry AR’s at $600.00 and lower (M&P / Ruger) am I better off just purchasing a second AR? I don’t shoot all that much, but I do like a quality product. Thanks in advance for your comments.
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Old March 22, 2015, 03:14 PM   #2
AKexpat
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1990's Bushmaster Post-ban

If the rifle was built by Quality Parts Co./Bushmaster, then it's the same company that had the largest military contract for M-4 rifles in that time period.

IIRC, when the Clinton 1994 AWB was passed, QPC stopped producing rifles and concentrated upon making 30-rd. mags and threaded-muzzle barrels until the law went into effect (so they could sell said items as pre-ban parts for pre-ban rifles), and then started production of post-ban parts, and then uppers/complete firearms.

The current Bushmaster company is not the same: many of the original QPC folks are now making/marketing rifles under the Wyndham Weaponry company.

I built 2 1992 stripped lowers into complete rifles before the ban went into effect. They were very good quality rifles.

Hope this helps.

Jim
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Old March 22, 2015, 03:59 PM   #3
KZMAN
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Well, it sounds promising that my AR might be one of the "good ones". However, it only says Bushmaster with the Wyndham address, so I'm not sure about the Quality Parts Co. association. So, if I proceed to purchase the M4 upper assembly, will my bolt carrier and handle work OK? Going this route is still half the cost of a new inexpensive AR.
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Old March 22, 2015, 05:38 PM   #4
amd6547
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Should work just fine.
I bought a ban era 16" HBAR bushmaster upper a few years ago for cheap...nobody wanted it because it didn't have a flash hider.
It has been a fantastic shooter. I've occasionally considered getting it threaded, but at this point, it seems cheaper to just buy a barrel and switch it out.
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Old March 22, 2015, 05:57 PM   #5
damienph
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As far as for using your old BCG and charging handle, you shouldn't have any problems using them in a PSA upper, or any brand upper. ARs are so cheap right now you should consider buying a complete rifle. I also have an older Bushmaster from the ban era; mine is a 16" A2 and is an excellent shooter. If you don't think that you will shoot your old upper much then buying a PSA upper with no BCG and CH and using your old lower and BCG and CH is a cheap way to get into a 16" rifle.

I bought one of the PSA stainless 16" mid length gas uppers when they were on sale in December for $199. I am very happy with it.
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Old March 23, 2015, 08:48 AM   #6
Kaylee
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FWIW, in the late 90's ban era, Bushmaster had a great reputation. A lot fewer players in the market those days. (barrels were truck axles under those handguards though)

Oldie but a goodie - Oleg Volk's "Post Ban Generation"

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Old March 23, 2015, 10:58 AM   #7
KZMAN
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Yep, that looks just like mine! Thanks everyone for your replies. I do have another question. I've been researching the carbine vs mid length gas system for a 16" barrel. It seems that most prefer the mid-length, but there is also nothing wrong with the carbine length. Do any of you have any opinions on this? I will most likely be going with PSA, as their pricing is in line with what I want to spend. Any more and I would just invest in a new rifle.
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Old March 23, 2015, 11:30 AM   #8
G.barnes
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If you go for a new upper I'd recommend a new bcg. The lugs can wear into the old receiver extension.
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Old March 23, 2015, 12:47 PM   #9
Road_Clam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KZMAN
Yep, that looks just like mine! Thanks everyone for your replies. I do have another question. I've been researching the carbine vs mid length gas system for a 16" barrel. It seems that most prefer the mid-length, but there is also nothing wrong with the carbine length. Do any of you have any opinions on this? I will most likely be going with PSA, as their pricing is in line with what I want to spend. Any more and I would just invest in a new rifle.
I have the most versatile setup. I bought a slightly used Bushmaster Varmint (1-9" twist, 24" fluted barrel). Came with a Harris bipod and a decent Swift 3-12x scope. This was my first gas gun. Could not have been happier VERY good shooter. About 1.5 MOA with Black Hills 55 gr ammo, and sub MOA with my 69 gr SMK handloads. Then I wanted to get into some recreational tactical type training so I purchased a nice used Bushmaster M4 upper (carry handle) for short money , and converted it to a flat top, and now I have the best of both, midrange precision (I frequently take my 24" out to 600 yds), and the M4 upper for CQB capabilities as well.
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Old March 23, 2015, 07:44 PM   #10
AKexpat
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^^^^+1

From an old original QPC/Bushmaster owner. The 1-9" twist is the best all around barrel.
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Old March 24, 2015, 12:17 AM   #11
JohnInLa
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My go to sources in the 1990s were ShotGun News, Quality Parts, Brownells and Fulton Armory.
IMO, It's better to build a complete rifle or purchase another rifle than to rely on one lower and switch uppers, parts, etc. Each rifle should be a dedicated work of art.
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Old March 24, 2015, 06:12 PM   #12
nemesiss45
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I just put a PSA flat top upper on my pre-ban bushmaster this morning. I just transferred all my original equipment to the stripped upper and swapped in a low pro gas block so my optic was not blocked. I have not had a chance to take it to the range, but everything mated up cleanly... ill see how it handles on the range sometime in the next few days.

Last edited by nemesiss45; March 24, 2015 at 06:23 PM.
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Old March 25, 2015, 07:45 AM   #13
Mobuck
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"If you go for a new upper I'd recommend a new bcg. The lugs can wear into the old receiver extension."

I'd suggest getting a new BCG to go with the new upper. Prices have gone down considerably and frankly, re-using the old BCG is not a good idea. Actually considering the low cost, I recommend owning a complete spare BCG as a hedge against unacceptable downtime should your AR be a key component to your well being.
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Old March 25, 2015, 07:59 AM   #14
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Psa uppers are good to go, not sure about ptac tho, I haven't used their ptac stuff so I can't comment.

It is said that a carbine gas system will increase wear, I don't really buy it... Maybe, maybe not.... It does result in a bit more thump to the shoulder. Shorter site radius.

The carbine gas length tends to be cheaper. So if your gonna put an optic and not shoot the volume to wear out a gun, then you should be fine
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Old April 6, 2015, 11:13 PM   #15
nemesiss45
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just wanted to post an update. I got out to the range today to put my new PSA upper through its paces. I ran 60 rounds through it without a hitch, posted 2 10 rnd groups a hair over 1 moa (at 100yrd), 2 groups a little bigger, but one of them was spoiled by my buddy shooting at least one bullet into my group because he got on the wrong sheet during one of his strings. that group had 6 shots at .4 moa.... damn shame I couldn't score it cleanly.

anyway, I am supper happy with my PSA upper
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Old April 7, 2015, 09:50 PM   #16
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Owned both 20" and 16" post ban AR's from Busmaster, I bought them around 2000 - 2001. Both were excellent rifles.
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