View Full Version : Just picked up my first AR-15

February 21, 2000, 12:52 AM
Did a little shopping this weekend and picked up a couple of handguns. While I was at it, I figured in a for a penny, in for a pound, so I purchased my first AR-15 NIB. A Bushmaster w/detachable handle. Shot it this morning and was amazed at the accuracy -firing it with little effort given to trying to hit the target yielded several holes w/in 3-4" of center at 100 yds, and this considering I was playing around with the elevation adjustment and am sure I screwed up the zero setting.

Four questions. First, did I get a good deal at $825? Second, I bought 2 plastic 30-rd magazines from the dealer - Thermold, made by (D&D?) - and wanted to know if these are conseidered any good? Third, I thought 30 rd magazines were banned, but these looked new - were they made before the ban and are only now being sold? Finally, where can I find good quality .223 Rem. ammo at a decent price?

Jeff Thomas
February 21, 2000, 02:11 AM
rock_jock, congratulations. Fun to shoot, isn't it? Did you get the 'shorty', or the 'AK' muzzle brake style?

Regarding mag's, rep's at Bushmaster told me the Thermolds might not be the best for their rifle. But, give 'em a good workout and see for yourself. Check out http://www.ar15.com for lots of good info - their magazine data is at http://www.ar15.com/products/magazines/information.asp

The folks at Bushmaster told me the Colt 20 and 30 round mag's are best, but at least get mil-spec mag's. Others here on TFL can give you more direction as well. Buy quite a few - the rifle isn't worth much without good, dependable mag's to go with it. 20 round mag's are handy for prone position, so don't ignore them.

Take a class if you're not familiar with the rifle - most schools will call it something like 'Tactical Carbine'. Helped me out quite a bit.

Gun shows are often good for case pricing on target ammunition. Lots of folks out here use PMC.

Full capacity mag's are perfectly legal (today) for use in a 'post-ban' rifle. Just make sure they don't say 'For Law Enforcement Use Only' on them - full capacity mag's produced after the '94 Crime Bill's effective date are the ones you and I can't have. They are 'evil', don't you know? ;)

You bought a great rifle. Congrat's.

Regards from AZ

February 21, 2000, 02:36 AM
Good choice for a first AR.

$825 BM A3 isn't the best price I've seen, but it's not the worst. There were some folks at the last Mesquite show selling them for around $750, I believe, but before the big Y2K scare, I saw them for as much as $1100.

Since this is your first AR, one thing you might want to do, to help you better understand how the thing works, is to get a U.S. Marine Corps M-16 manual (usually $8-10). There are many places that carry them, but one that comes to mind is www.cheaperthandirt.com (http://www.cheaperthandirt.com) in Fort Worth.

As far as the elevation setting goes, assuming you were only screwing with the rear elevation knob, your zero should be okay, as long as it's in the same postion in which you zeroed it.

Thermold magazines are okay. The Canadian government used them for their M16s, but they later opted to go with standard USGI (U.S. Government Issue) magazines due to some reliability/durability issues.

30 round magazines, or any high-capacity magazines for that matter, are perfectly legal to use as long as they were manufactured prior to 9/13/94. If they don't have a date stamp after that date, or if they aren't marked "Law "Enforcement/Government/Export only," they should be okay. (This stuff applies to U.S.-made firearms - It's another story when talking about things like AK-47s and the like.)

For more magazines (You do want more don't you?), I can only recommend USGI surplus magazines that have base-plate markings such as Colt, Center Industries, O-Kay, Sanchez, Universal Industries, and Adventureline. You can shop around and find them at surplus stores, pawn shops, and gun shows. New or like-new USGI 30-rounders will usually cost you around $20-25, but the 30-rounders made by USA Magazines are generally crap. Deals can be found, however: I found 8 USGI 20-round magazines at a pawn shop in Durant, Oklahoma for $10 a piece, but I got lucky on that one. I've never paid more than $18 for a decent (sometimes new) 30-rounder at a gun show.

For ammo, I usually go to Cheaper Than Dirt (an advantage of living pretty close to them - their shipping is pretty high from what I hear). They usually have Sellier & Bellot .223 for around $174 per case of 1000 rounds ($135/case this month only though). A lot of folks get their ammo from www.ammoman.com (http://www.ammoman.com) , www.natchezss.com (http://www.natchezss.com) , or www.cole-distributing.com (http://www.cole-distributing.com) , and they are generally happy from what I have heard.

Since you got a flat-top model, you might want to top it off with a nice optical sight. If so, I'd recommend www.swfa.com (http://www.swfa.com) for Trijicon's Reflex or ACOG, or an Aimpoint red-dot sight.

And finally, an owner of a brand-spankin' new AR-15 must pay a visit to www.ar15.com (http://www.ar15.com) . They have just about everything you'd want to know about ARs there. While you're there, make sure to check out the topics relating to legal issues so you'll know how to stay legal should you decide to alter/modify your rifle. They also have sections pertaining to building, stripping, and sighting in, as well as discussion forums (similar to TFL) so you can discuss various aspects of the AR-15.

Bulldawg: NRA, GOA, TSRA, Shiner Bock Connoisseur.
Bulldawg's Firearms Page (http://www.geocities.com/shootinbulldawg)

[This message has been edited by Bulldog (edited February 21, 2000).]

February 21, 2000, 02:37 AM
Well shoot! Jeff beat me to a lot of the subjects. Oh well. :D

February 21, 2000, 02:30 PM
Your U.S. made Thermolds are just fine for your Bush. I have three and wish I had three-dozen more. They're very well made mags. The Canadians didn't give up U.S. made Thermolds; they gave up Canadian-made Thermolds, which were made of an inferior plastic. Don't, under any circumstances buy the Thermolds with the maple leaf.

February 21, 2000, 04:33 PM
Learn something new every day. Thanks Walter!

February 21, 2000, 09:23 PM
Congrats on your purchase.

Now you will want 5 of them before you know it. :)

Bushys are well made rifles $825 not a bad price. I paid $750 on the low end for one and $830 on higher end for one.

Thermolds work, Israeli Orlites have worked well for me.


Of course G.I.s work best.

Also, I bought some old promag 20 rounders and they worked real well for me. Maybe I got lucky w/ them because their pre ban high cap pistol mags are garbage IMO.

Put about 2000 rounds through it to break it in real nice.


February 22, 2000, 07:54 AM
Congrats Rock! I only one piece of advice for you concerning the AR, CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN! Clean it with a passion! Yes there's a lot of parts and it seems like no matter how many times you run a swab through the barrel, it still looks dirty. In order to keep your AR running smoothly, clean it after every firing!

Gopher a 45
February 22, 2000, 07:57 PM
Love my Bushy! After a few hundred rounds of break-in, the thing has performed flawlessly with every type of ammo (haven't tried any steel-case stuff though). The USA mags are crap. They work OK for a while, but if you get any, plan on them not working for very long. The Thermolds are great, I've never had any problems with them. I like them cause the feed lips don't bend. I have some steel US GI mags and they're good too, I just can't bang them around as much as the plastic ones. Congrats on your new purchase and have fun! Oh yeah, and I second Svt on the cleaning deal. Gotta do it every time you shoot. No fun, but it beats having it cake up on you.


[This message has been edited by Gopher a 45 (edited February 22, 2000).]

Sea Bass
February 22, 2000, 09:54 PM
Good purchase! I love my Bushmaster.