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Old January 4, 2014, 02:42 PM   #1
SocialAnarchist
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Bushmaster Carbon 15

My local Fleet Farm store has a Bushmaster Carbon 15 for $719 with a red dot sight and collapsible stock. Is this a good rifle? A good deal? Looking for some help, advice, knowledge from your AR-15 owners out there.

Thanks.
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Old January 4, 2014, 03:06 PM   #2
CTS
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You can do better for that money in my opinion. Bushmaster is a decent rifle, not real crazy about the carbon part but should be fine if you don't try breaching any doors or anything with it. PSA is my go to for a quality rifle at a reasonable cost, then S$W, DPMS etc.
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Old January 4, 2014, 03:11 PM   #3
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Most will say no, because it's not mil spec etc. However the current trend is light-weight ARs. If you like the configuration, it doesn't get much lighter than the Carbon15. It's not a precision rifle and you'll spend 100's on it trying to make it into one, but for what it is, if you like that configuration go for it. I think they would be better served putting irons on it instead of the cheep optic. That optic just gets it off the shelf.
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Old January 4, 2014, 03:27 PM   #4
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I am not an AR-15 guy so the only way for me to know is to ask. If this is just an average rifle then I will wait. Patience can be a virtue. I have other rifles to shoot in the mean time!
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Old January 4, 2014, 04:33 PM   #5
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Old January 4, 2014, 05:04 PM   #6
SVTCobra306
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I wouldn't even consider it an average rifle. I am pretty sure they used to go on specials at Wal Mart for like $550, that's about what they are worth.
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Old January 4, 2014, 07:38 PM   #7
bcarver
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what you got there is an all plastic AR. upper and lower. I have a Gwacs poly lower that is light but the upper is mil spec. We gun people are slow to change. I built an AR for 560 bucks this year.
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Old January 4, 2014, 09:52 PM   #8
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I used to own one for a few weeks. I bought one used at the height of the scare from a guy I knew for $400 just to have a 5th or 6th AR at the time. He gave me two mags with it and 100 rounds of ammo so I got a deal specially given the times.

I will Try to be Subjective....

Pro's

It shot well for me.
Accurate
Not a lot of recoil impulse
light weight which makes it handy
I even put a friends suppressor on the end of it and everything went fine through a few hundred rounds of it being suppressed.
It never jammed, though I used Pmags not the factory mag.

Cons.
Its cheesey plastic receivers. They are not carbon fiber in its true form, more plastic than anything. Not a deal killer for me, but you must be careful if you remove and change a barrel.

To be honest the receivers didn't bother me, its the internals that did. Before you buy one, open it up and look at the trigger group. The components inside look like Bushmaster got them out of a vending machine. I was pretty shocked to say the least at how bad they were, the hammer isn't even a solid.

I ended up trading it for a brand new Saiga 12 and the parts needed to do a conversion to the Saiga. I drilled the rivets and converted my Saiga 12 back to an original state... enjoyed it for awhile, and turned and sold that for close to $2000 during the scare. That was the best thing the C-15 did for me.

For the same money or maybe an extra $100 buy a Stag Model 3, you wont regret it.
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Old January 4, 2014, 11:56 PM   #9
Fishbed77
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I wouldn't even consider it an average rifle.
This. After seeing photos of Carbon-15s with receivers broken during shipping, this has become obvious (though I'm sure some Bushy owners will chime in soon to inform me of the errors of my ways).

That money will buy you a mil-spec (aside from 16" barrel and lack of select-fire trigger group) rifle from PSA that will be much better made.
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Old January 5, 2014, 01:14 AM   #10
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Thanks guys. Like I said I am not an AR-15 guy but well, ya know, I figure I just gotta have one!
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Old January 5, 2014, 08:55 AM   #11
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That price is way off. You can get a solid AR for $600 these days. I wouldn't consider a plastic AR at that price ever.
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Old January 5, 2014, 08:59 AM   #12
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I think you'll see a lot of anti-polymer bias here. A lot of the "pictures of broken ones" are of the previous iteration. The new ones are more sturdy. If you look around the web, you'll also find pictures of aluminum receivers that have cracked and broken. **shrug** There are also other polymer manufacturers out there now as well and the original pre-Freedom Arms Bushmaster people are now making their own polymer rifle (Wyndham Weaponry) . They've been getting good reviews.

I bought a Carbon-15 a few months back for my wife (she's quite petite and wanted the lightest AR we could find). So this is hands-on experience with the rifle, not regurgitated web-wisdom.

Now, to actually answer your questions:

1. That price is a little high. If you shop around, you can find them for low to mid $600's.

2. The red dot that comes with it is OK. Nothing to write home about, but it's plenty accurate at the ranges I've been shooting (no more than about 75-100yds). I can put 5 rounds into about 3-4" which is pretty much my limit without magnification (sucks to get old). The brightness of the dot is adjustable, battery life seems good, and it uses standard CR2032 batteries. I was going to stick a Nikon P223 scope on it, but the wife likes the red dot. It's her gun so...

3. I've put about 800 rounds through it so far and haven't had a single malfunction. Used Federal and Eagle 55gr FMJ, Federal 62gr penetrators, handloads with Nosler 55gr balistic tips + 19gr H4198 + CCI small rifle primers. It also got a box of range mystery ammo that looked pretty ratty...and it worked fine. My reload brass was a mixture of the above plus some range brass that I picked up and some Remington brass that I bought at Cabelas. The fit and finish is fine for a rifle at this price point. If someone wants Mercedes quality, then buy a Mercedes. There are PLENTY of other manufacturers out there to scratch that itch if you want to spend 2-5X more.

I'm pretty happy with the purchase and would buy another one if the criteria were: cheap + light + reliable

Best,

Last edited by Ritz; January 5, 2014 at 09:10 AM.
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Old January 5, 2014, 02:46 PM   #13
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Like I said, mine ran fine, however I don't think it is tough enough to last for any decent round counts, but some people will never shoot that much.

I recommended the Stag, but like others said.. you can piece together a PSA or other make for around $600 and have a much better gun.

I don't care if its aluminum or plastic, the internals still need to be well made, and opening up the C15 it is VERY evident that the internals are no where near the quality that I think they should be. Granted not everyone uses a carbine as a defensive tool, but for me in the country when cops are a lovely 30-45mins response time, I rely on mine mainly for protection.

97% of people buying AR's these days will probably never shoot one enough to wear one out, if you fall into this thats fine, I just think for what they are asking for the C15 right now, there are much better rifles to be had.

Quote:
The fit and finish is fine for a rifle at this price point. If someone wants Mercedes quality, then buy a Mercedes. There are PLENTY of other manufacturers out there to scratch that itch if you want to spend 2-5X more.
http://grabagun.com/stag-arms-llc-st...o-16-10rd.html

Math was never my strong suit but I don't think the Stag I mentioned earlier is 2x-5x more expensive vs the C15. You can build one even cheaper these days as well and still get a better gun, so unless you needed the absolutely lightest rifle (which the first real Carbon-15's were extremely light) I fail to see the point in buying one. This is coming from a person who DID own one, but I got it for $400 and used as a bargaining chip, however I shot over 1000 rounds through it, suppressed and non-suppressed.

Last edited by HKFan9; January 5, 2014 at 02:55 PM.
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Old January 5, 2014, 03:10 PM   #14
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I don't have any experience with Stag AR's. My previous AR was a classic Colt Sporter. The Stag you cite is about 0.6lb heavier, but I'll take your word for it that the "internals" are of better quality. I note that the one you listed is priced at $763 and that's without any iron sights or optics and only a 10 round mag. I haven't had any issue with the internals of my C-15, nor a single malfunction.

*shrug*

Best,
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Old January 5, 2014, 03:47 PM   #15
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Sorry I might have linked the compliant one, however you can walk into most gun shops and see them from $750-$800 with the appropriate 30 round mag. Also has a railed aluminum fore-arm so the price different really isn't all that surprising but is worth it purely based on the parts used vs the Bushmaster.

They also come with a lifetime warranty and are the ONLY AR mfg. to lifetime warranty their barrels.

Also Stags parent company CMT makes internal trigger components and receivers for a large portion of the AR industry including Colt.

Your Bushmaster as a 1-year and 10 day warranty for defects in materials and workmanship only.

Trust me I ship guns back and forth to them and others for a living.

Like I stated it would be heavier, but half a pound isn't an issue unless going for the absolutely lightest build.

As far as the red-dot... The cheap one thrown in with the Bushmaster is just that. It functions don't get me wrong, but its a toy at best. If it is just going to a range toy and you need the lightest rifle I get it, however like I said for a general purpose carbine or anything for protection I would look to a better brand.

I know you stated your wife is petite that's why you bought a light weight gun and that is fine I am not knocking your choice, but I am just letting you and the OP know what the rifle really is. They have their place, but recent price marks of them are too high for what that rifle really is. They used to sell $500 on sale at the big box stores, still including the red-dot. For the past few months Bushmaster was even running a rebate trying to push their rifles where you got a free cleaning kit and 4 extra magazines, that ended on the 1st of this year. You have to know they are cutting corners.

Lightweight barrels and plastic receivers I could look past, but when I opened it up to clean it I was shocked at how cheaply made the parts were.

I have owned more expensive Bushmasters in the past, along with Stags and Colts, you name it. Right now I currently have 4 AR's. My main one is a BCM HSP Jack, then I have two I built myself using mostly BCM parts. Last I have 1 Stag left over its the 3-Gun model I use for mid range shooting fun at the range with a scope on it.

Bushmaster makes decent guns, the C15 being the exception in my opinion due to its internals. If they were still $500 I'd say sure, but they are starting to price themselves to obsolete.
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Old January 5, 2014, 04:48 PM   #16
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Re: cleaning kit + 4 mags

DPMS (also owned by Freedom Group) is also offering that same deal for folks that bought an AR in 2013. I sent my form in. It's like an additional $50-60 discount. I'll take it.
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Old January 6, 2014, 05:03 AM   #17
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Yea, it's a good deal. I bought a SW MP 9mm when it first came out and got 2 extra mags on rebate.
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Old January 6, 2014, 08:14 AM   #18
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Before Christmas, my local Cabelas had a rack full of Carbon 15's at $799. After Christmas, they were gone. But there was a carbon (plastic?) M4-ish carbine from Windham on the rack. Don't remember the price ($719?) but the light weight almost tempted me to buy my first complete AR in a long time.
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Old January 6, 2014, 09:14 AM   #19
Jim243
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Quote:
I wouldn't even consider it an average rifle. I am pretty sure they used to go on specials at Wal Mart for like $550
Between $599 & $649 is the usual sale price. It is a little above average but most are hesitant because of the carbon fiber upper and lower. Those are the only parts that are not standard alum. I spent another $179.00 for parts that I wanted on it and am very happy with what I got. Very accurate.

Jim

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Old January 6, 2014, 09:36 AM   #20
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$700+ is a little too high. That said, the upper receiver will not break, and neither will the lower. I have an older Professional Ordnance AR pistol (predecessor company). I like to take it out to the plinking range and blast away with it. It can be finicky with the wolf steel ammo I like to use in it, but I can make it work. It does eat brass ammo like a champ. Accuracy? Who knows, the dang thing is a pistol - good enough at 30-40 feet.

Last edited by Skans; January 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM.
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Old January 6, 2014, 10:10 AM   #21
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Polymer AR's are going to be increasingly common. If Glock is any indicator, polymer will become the standard, not the exception. It's already used in a number of other assault rifle designs (correct nomenclature) which are being reduced to single shot and marketed now, like FN or Beretta.

Another: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/201...ower-receiver/

And a lower in 2014: http://www.americantactical.us/page/hybrid.html

They aren't going away. If anything, like Glock, it's going to drop the price of a rifle same as it does for a pistol, about $150 -200. That will eventually make the polymer rifle sell for $700 and be equal to a $900 near milspec version.

As for milspec, it's the government's idea of what to use to get to a certain level of service life, it's not the ultimate. There are better parts out there, and some study of materials and testing methods show who make them. The Army doesn't buy them - they are more expensive and they don't want them.

The gun you go to war with is built by the lowest bidder - not the most expensive, toughest, or best. There is no best. There is what the contract specs require to achieve what the owner wants, just like building a house. If they don't want heated floors or triple pane windows, they don't pay for it, and the contractor makes no effort to squeeze them into the project.

The issue M16 and variations are just that - built to a price. For that matter, what the parts look like won't make much difference after a few months spent lowcrawing under barb wire or having your teammate stand on it getting a boost into a window. Since FN and Beretta ARE building polymer guns that CAN do that job, lets not assume the material is the problem - it's substituting it in a design where it was never intended, like casting an aluminum block motor from the exact same plans intended for cast iron. Therefore, I would consider a polymer lower if it's 1) cheaper, as it should be, and 2) looks like it's been engineered for polymer use, not a slavish copy of the AR. The holes and stuff have to be in the right place, in consideration of being somewhat interchangeable, but that doesn't mean they are exactly optimum for polymer. Hence, the metal insert in the lower for that last link, to reinforce the design. Note that FN and Beretta avoided that design feature in their guns, apparently for good reason.

Also note there are a lot of polymer lower 1911's coming on the market, the legendary "Glock" .45s, and they are going to have the same impact on those sales, too.

There may have been issues with carbon or polymer in the past, as the technology of design gets around to the engineer's working on the plans, we are going to see more and more and more of it. Why? Because we want the Low Price Guaranteed, which drives a lot of marketing in the US. Not "quality." That's something the makers have to try and squeeze into the product where they can, which Colt and FN do quite well for the $680 contract price. But - they don't go one step further, because Uncle Sam doesn't want it and won't pay for it.
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Old January 6, 2014, 11:49 AM   #22
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Thanks for the link to the ATI hybrid. Looks very interesting.

I have a couple of New Frontier lowers of which I am very fond, but I don't use any of my firearms as clubs, shovels or crowbars.

EDIT - I just read a scathing review of the ATI hybrid on The Firearms Blog. The thrust of the review is that the ATI product is so out of spec that it did not permit safe operation.

Last edited by zukiphile; January 6, 2014 at 12:12 PM.
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Old January 6, 2014, 03:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
It's already used in a number of other assault rifle designs (correct nomenclature) which are being reduced to single shot and marketed now, like FN or Beretta.
Just keep in mind that those rifles you mention (as well as Glock and other polymer-framed pistols) were designed from the start to use polymer receivers, whereas the AR-15 was not. Thus, the dimensional qualities, forces present, and tolerances inherent in their design are just fine with that material. This has not been proven to be the case with many polymer AR lowers, especially when those lowers just replicate the shape of a traditional aluminum lower.

That is not say it is impossible to reverse-engineer a polymer AR lower receiver to a similar level of durability by beefing up critical areas with extra plastic or metal inserts, but considering the negligible weight savings, and how inexpensive and proven 7075 forged aluminum AR lowers are, you have to ask: why bother?

You need to realize that the reason companies like Bushy and DPMS are promoting polymer receivers is because they save a few bucks in manufacturing, which translates into a few more bucks of profit for their Cerberus/Freedom Group overlords. Notice how none of the more "serious-use" AR manufacturers (Colt, BCM, DD, LWRC, Spikes, LMT, etc.) are using polymer lowers. Even those makers who are not shy to progress beyond the limitations of "mil-spec/TDP" (Noveske and KAC, for example) are not using polymer for those components.


.

Last edited by Fishbed77; January 6, 2014 at 03:17 PM.
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Old January 6, 2014, 07:16 PM   #24
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I don't care what the reasons of the manufacturer are. The end result is a lighter product that still meets the original design goals. If they make more profit and can meet price points that the market will accept, more power to 'em.

*shrug*

My wife and I just returned from shooting another 200 rounds from our C-15 without a single misfire (testing 55gr nosler ballistic tip boat tails + 18gr H4198 this time). That's 1000 malfunction free shots down range and counting with a wide variety of ammo.

Best,
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Old January 6, 2014, 11:15 PM   #25
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My brothers biggest regret ever buying a gun was choosing the Carbon 15 over the standard AR 15....For the same amount of money he could have had a much more realistic example of what an AR 15 should be. Find something of better quality for the same money.
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