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View Poll Results: Why the split decision on Bushmaster carbon 15?
Fanboys vs trolls- the discussions have more to do with brand loyalty and hearsay than reality. 22 44.90%
Poor quality control- a lot of lemons have slipped through the cracks. 18 36.73%
This particular one I got to shoot is an exception to the rule- Carbon 15's are generally crap 0 0%
other 9 18.37%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 16, 2013, 11:46 PM   #1
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Why all the hate for Bushmasters?

So, I'm particularly new to AR's and semi-auto rifles in general, but I got to shoot a few hundred rounds through a friend's new Carbon 15 the other day. It seemed great, **really light**, nice, light trigger pull, decent 6 inch groups at 100 yards. At any rate, it was a heck of a lot nicer than the WASR I finally managed to get rid of (I didn't need pliers to get the magazine to eject) , and much more reliable fresh out of the box.

I did get a couple double feeds with it, but to be fair, that that seemed have more to do with a crappy steel "promag" magazine . The follower tilted and flopped around in the case. It didn't have any issues with the stock steel magazine or 4 other polymer pmags.

So what's the deal? It seems to be one of the few AR platforms under 1k in the panic market and I might consider one (mainly because it's so light) But every forum I read is just 50/50 love and hate. Is it just a matter of fanboys and trolls? Is it a history of poor quality control and a lot of lemons falling through the cracks? Or, contrary to the overall level of finish and functionality and this particular one, are they really just garbage in general?
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Old April 16, 2013, 11:58 PM   #2
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My WASR is a heck of a lot better than my buddy's C-15 and he agrees! But that's apples to oranges, more to the point my $700 PSA is a far better AR than a $700 C-15. Compare with a good AR and you'll see.
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Old April 17, 2013, 12:54 AM   #3
Tom Servo
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I've seen two different specimens that were incorrectly crowned, leading to baffle strikes. In one of the cases, the rifle was returned to Bushmaster, who sent it back saying it was within their specs.

I've also seen a couple of badly-cut chambers.
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Old April 17, 2013, 07:49 AM   #4
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When BM changed hands a few years back quality control seemed to slip. Today you can build a mil-spec AR cheaper than buying a commercial spec BM.

That said, I own two older BM's, ten plus years old, and they have been 100% GTG. I'm not concerned about the 4140 barrel in 1-9 twist. They digest M193 just fine, also M855. I'm about due to change the BCG in my M4gery and I'll go with a mil-spec BCG, probably NiB. I have about 8k rounds on the original BCG and I have changed the extractor one time.

If you do a Google search you can find problems with every manufacturer out there. Considering BM sells more AR's than any other manufacturer it only stands to reason they would have more reported problems. I think if you broke it down to percentage of bad guns produced, it would be similar with all manufacturers.
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Old April 17, 2013, 09:30 AM   #5
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I don't like Bushmaster AR-15s for two reasons:

One: Like madcratebuilder said, their quality went down a bit the last time the company changed hands.

Two: After December 14th, the media decided that all AR-15 rifles were called "Bushmasters" and it seems that much of the country went along with it. I can't count how many times since then people have come in to my LGS, looked at the wall of black rifles, and asked, "Those are Bushmasters, right?" I'd say that, sinced December, about 90% of the people at our shop requesting Bushmasters don't realize they're just one brand among many, they think all black rifles are called "Bushmasters".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not being an elitist or criticizing these people. But things like this just show how much the mainstream media is ignorant about guns, and that ignorance helps fuel popular support for ridiculous laws like the "assault weapons" ban.

(Sorry, got off-topic there!) To sum it up: there are better manufacturers out there for less money; right now if you get a Bushmaster you're paying extra for the name and not much else.
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Old April 17, 2013, 09:47 AM   #6
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Yes, Mine is 16-17 years old and 100% as well.. If you want the Bushy of old, Go Windham..
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Old April 17, 2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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We do have Bushmaster to thank for breaking the Colt Monopoly on AR15's. Colt is flush with Government money for M16's/M4's and uses that money to sue competitors out of business.

I found from the Springfield Armory company that they built and put on the market the first civilian AR-15. They were a small company at the time, received a “cease and desist” order from Colt. Colt had so much money to pursue legal cases and was suing SA into the ground . SA had to agree to never, ever, make and introduce an AR15 or they would have gone bankrupt due to court costs.

While such lawsuits are anti competitive and immoral, they happen all the time.

Bushmaster took Colt on for AR15’s and the M4 copies, and won. Without Bushmaster , Colt would have retained a monopoly on the AR15 in the marketplace and things would be just that more expensive for all of us.

I have older Bushmasters and they are a fine rifle. Just when did the company change hands?
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Old April 17, 2013, 10:07 AM   #8
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If memory serves, Safety Hammer/Remington took them over then shut them down and relocated, This is about the time Remington
Introduced their rifles. Put a lot of folks out of work till Mr.Windham put down money and opened the factory back up.
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Old April 17, 2013, 10:27 AM   #9
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All of my Bushmaster ARs were at least 10 years old and all of them functioned flawlessly.
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Old April 17, 2013, 11:06 AM   #10
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Memory Not serving too-Good, SafeTHammer was Smith and Wesson.
So, I guess it was Freedom Group.
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Old April 17, 2013, 11:07 AM   #11
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I voted for "other". The reason is that I don't think Bushmaster has poor QC, it's just that they don't set very high standards from the start. Personally, the 1:9" barrels they use doesn't really bother me. As far as the lower, well, I believe that a lower is a lower is a lower and there really isn't much of a difference between makers here and I've even used a couple of their lowers in builds I've done as well. However, the staking jobs I've seen on gas key screws was sub-par and to me, that's a major issue for a rifle coming from the factory! MPI testing and high pressure testing of various parts in batches rather than other makers that test every part is another problem I have with Bushmaster's manufacturing standards.
I really think it boils down to what you are planning to use their weapons for. If it's a range gun or a gun you are planning to use for hunting where failure can mean either an early day at the range or a hunting trip cancelled early and you are on a budget, sure a Bushmaster AR will fit the bill for you. However, I also call on my ARs for defensive purposes where failure is a matter of life and death so a Bushmaster complete AR rifle from the factory as-is, is not an acceptable rifle IMHO. Will it work and put the bullets where they need to go? Most likely it will. But there is a higher probability of failure of the rifle to function correctly when needed and that is not acceptable to me so I build my own rifles with the higher quality components than what Bushmaster puts out.
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Old April 17, 2013, 11:42 AM   #12
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you are comparing a cheap romanian copy of an AK47 to a brand new rifle derived from the AR15 but with light weight materials substituted. of course a carbon 15 is not going to be up to the same standards as a milspec AR15 but it isn't designed to be, it's designed to be light.

6 inch groups at 100 yards is horrible. unless you were shooting free hand while standing that's a serious problem.

double feeds are not a magazine issue. double feeds are a problem with failing to extract the previous round, an extractor issue, not magazines is the cause.

bushmaster was once the cream of the the crop. they were one of the first besides colt and armalite to make an AR15 but nowadays they are owned by cerberus, along with remington and DPMS. a bushmaster X15(or whatever they call them) is the exact same thing as a DPMS A15 and both of those are identical to a remington R15. they are made in the same factories, to the same specs... the only difference is bushmaster is a name brand so the different stamp on the side of the receiver dictates a $250+ price hike depending on model. there is nothing special about bushmasters, the carbon is a nice concept but in your own experience it has poor accuracy, and a roughly 1% chance to fail. some people wouldn't even accept those stats in a Ruger 10/22, no less a para military patterned centerfire rifle.

as for only rifle under 1K right now, my local sportsmans warehouse that just went up has a Colt 6920 for less than a grand and another LGS has a colt target model(don't know the number) for $1,050. if your budget is $1000 then there are plenty of better fish in the sea.
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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Old April 17, 2013, 12:28 PM   #13
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The Bushmaster that I own is fine little carbine. Rugged and reliable by most standards.

But It is most certinly not the equal of my Colts.

Perhaps one should compare the Bushmaster to other brands in it's price range.

A Vokswagen is not of the same quality as a Mercedes, but that does not mean it isn't a solid reliable vehicle.
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Old April 17, 2013, 12:51 PM   #14
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Don't have anything bad to say about Bushmasters, and I have never shot one. But when I was building mine, I simply found that there were more appealing firearms for the same price.
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Old April 17, 2013, 01:34 PM   #15
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A Carbon 15 would be a total non-starter for me. I can't imagine having a polymer AR as a long term firearm and there are way too many stories about quality issues. Having a polymer .22, I can tell you that it's about as powerful as I would want to get.

I just passed on 2 ARs today at Walmart. Went to get some Musinex for a neighbor with a cold and strolled by to check on ammo. Ammo case was empty but they just put out a Bushy Patrol and a WW optics ready. The WW was about $50 cheaper at $829 but I didn't want to deal with not having an out of the box shooter with no sights to start with. I would have picked it over the Bushy though.
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Old April 17, 2013, 01:57 PM   #16
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Well like I said, i'm not really well versed in semi-auto rifles. Unfortunately the only thing I have to compare it to is the WASR, which generally has far more consistently positive reviews than the Bushmasters, but (mine anyway) turned out to be a total piece of crap. from what I can tell the AR platform is easily the most complicated, option laden path, which I guess is nice for customization purposes but may be more of a time investment than I'm interested in for a semi-weekly fun rifle.

I wish there were an "other: please describe" option for the poll.

Last edited by Evan Thomas; April 24, 2013 at 09:35 AM.
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Old April 17, 2013, 02:17 PM   #17
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The Bushmaster that I own is fine little carbine. Rugged and reliable by most standards.

But It is most certinly not the equal of my Colts.

Perhaps one should compare the Bushmaster to other brands in it's price range.

A Vokswagen is not of the same quality as a Mercedes, but that does not mean it isn't a solid reliable vehicle.
^This... And how they took Magpul's Masada and flubbed it up into what is today the ACR. For the money Colt seems like a better buy, not a whole lot more expensive and you can be fairly certain the level of quality you're getting.
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Old April 17, 2013, 06:49 PM   #18
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i have a old bushmaster (1995) and i love it
looking at new ones today im not interested in anything bushmaster is making
nuf said
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Old April 17, 2013, 07:01 PM   #19
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My Bushmaster is about 5 years old and I've never had any problems with it of any kind.
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Old April 22, 2013, 02:36 PM   #20
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Like others have said the proper Bushmasters made by Bushmaster are good guns. they used to be our work issue (and still many are). Once Remington took over Bushmaster a lot of bad reports started coming in. you're basically buying a Remington marked Bushmaster. We have switched to replacing our old rifles with Colt or Rock River, depending on what's available.
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Old April 22, 2013, 03:14 PM   #21
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The OP asked about one particular Bushmaster firearm, the Carbon 15.

Not their aluminum receiver rifles.

Not their corporate history.

He asked about Carbon 15's.

And he particularly asked if they represent a good value in the sub-$1000 dollar AR-15 marketplace.

Addressing his question, I cannot answer for a Bushmaster manufactured Carbon 15, but I own and have shot for many years the rifle that became the Carbon 15 when Bushmaster bought the design, which is the Professional Ordinance Carbon 15 made in Lake Havasu AZ. These differ in details from the Bushmaster ones, which also vary in details from early to later production. They are good rifles for their intended purpose, which is to be carried a lot and shot now and then. Frankly, this describes an awful lot of recreational shooting. Mine has been reliable, adequately accurate, easy to carry all day in the desert, and has been my go-to rifle for a long walk in the woods for many years. If used with sanity, and not abused, they are a good reliable rifle at a fair (todays version of fair anyhow) price point. Really, if you can find a Pro Ord one, buy it: They are unique, interesting, and VERY VERY light.


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Old April 22, 2013, 10:11 PM   #22
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After shooting my neighbor's new BM last year, I wouldn't trade my WASR for a crate of Bushies. Had to be one of the worst triggers I've ever pulled.
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ar 15 , bushmaster , carbon 15 , hate , love

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