Okay, don’t hate on us too much but a couple of these rifles are 2013 mid-year introductions or just too
Posts Tagged ‘Windham Weaponry’
Here is a compilation of the most-read Shooter’s Log articles by all-time rank. Ranging from No. 11 to No. 20, the articles cover a range of topics, from exercising good manners at the gun store to the provocative question, “Will you turn over your guns” if the government demands them? Click the headlines to check them out for yourself.
Windham Weaponry’s attention to detail and the care that goes into each rifle pays off at the range in accuracy and dependability. It also pays off in the pocketbook because it does not come with a hefty price tag like other manufacturer’s offerings.
Editor’s Note: Prices noted in this article are as of July 26, 2013, and subject to change without notice.
Aftermarket options for the AR-15 and its variants are legion. I don’t think it’s possible for a single human being to scratch the surface of all the available handguards, optics, mounts, suppressors, and other geegaws out there, some of which can be quite spendy. However, I’ve recently bought a handful of inexpensive items for my AR that have delivered a lot of bang for the buck. Some have been mentioned in previous posts, but they’re worth a few more words to explain why you might consider them for your own rifle.
We often field questions about which AR-15 is the best. In my experience, if you ask ten different firearms enthusiasts about the best AR-15, you are likely to get ten different answers. Aside from some fundamental specifications, which at this point most manufacturers meet or exceed, most AR-15s you buy off the shelf work perfectly well for range time. Rather than searching in terms of the best AR, you might consider what the most popular AR is. We ran a report of the top selling AR-15s of 2012 to see which black rifle could be crowned king. Some of the answers might surprise you.
Whether or not you could be considered an AR aficionado, Windham Weaponry would not likely be the first manufacturer that comes to mind. In fact, I would suspect most are searching their memory banks trying to recall if they have ever even heard of Windham Weaponry. Rest at ease, the name is not as important as who is behind it and the quality of workers building the guns.
When I wrote “We’re Putting the Band Back Together” in October 2011, Windham Weaponry was just getting started. Here’s a quick recap: former Bushmaster owner Richard Dyke came out of retirement and put together a team of talented gun builders who had been left jobless after Freedom Group’s surprise consolidation nearly a year ago. After purchasing Bushmaster, Freedom Group shut down the factory in Windham, Maine, and moved all the equipment away, lock stock, and gun barrels too. The Remington plant in Ilion, New York now builds the rifles engraved with the name Bushmaster. Instead of just giving up and going home, the original Bushmaster crew decided to go back to the basics, building high quality, old school configuration AR-15s at a great price point.
Freedom Group continues to acquire major firearms manufacturers at an astonishing pace. Earlier today they announced the acquisition of Para USA.
Windham Weaponry R16M4FTT SRC Rifle
In the spring of 2010, the Bushmaster plant in Windham, Maine closed, and Bushmaster’s tooling moved lock, stock, and barrel to New York, where the “Freedom Group” would assemble new Bushmasters alongside Remington rifles. The move was a surprise to the Windham employees, many of whom had been building rifles together there for over a decade. Although they knew how to build high quality guns and had great connections in the firearms industry, they now faced unemployment and an uncertain future. Then some employees started getting phone calls from their old boss. Richard Dyke, the former owner of Bushmaster Firearms Inc. until 2006, was unhappy with how things had turned out for the Windham crew, and had decided to come out of retirement at age 77 and start a new AR-15 manufacturing company right there at the old Bushmaster plant. As he put together investors and former employees, the word began to spread around; “We’re putting the band back together!”
Freedom Group now owns the rights to all the Bushmaster rifle’s specifications, so Windham started with a clean slate and drew up their own specifications for three new rifles. They decided to go old school, as close to military specifications as possible on metal choice, fit, and finish, because they knew if they did their rifles would work. Windham has released three AR-15 carbine models so far, featuring little mil-spec details like an aluminum trigger guard instead of plastic, hard-coat anodizing on aluminum and manganese phosphate coating on steel, and chrome lined barrels. They designed the three initial rifles to appeal to a wide variety of civilian and law enforcement shooters. Instead of trendy “flavor of the month” guns, they are basic carbines with features that are tried and true, despite being drawn up on new specifications and having a new name attached to the guns.
The Windham “new old-school” approach shows up in the details of the guns. The Windham “SRC,” or Sight Ready Carbine, is the least expensive version and comes with no sights, just a plain A3 flattop style upper receiver and Picatinny railed gas block. The buyer saves the money that would usually go into the standard detachable carry handle, and then can spend it on whatever custom sights he prefers instead. Picatinny gas blocks are common now and several other manufacturers offer similar configurations, but look closely! The gas block is a critical part, it must line up exactly with the barrel’s gas port or the AR-15 will fail to cycle. Nearly all the Picatinny gas blocks on the market use two set screws to hold them in place, and if these set screws back out (barrel temperatures can melt Loctite by the way) the block may move around, losing its alignment and turning your semi-automatic carbine into a single shot. Even though the Sight Ready Carbine is a new design, they went old school with their gas block, using two taper pins going through the block and barrel the military way.
Windham’s two other carbines are the “HBC” Heavy Barrel Carbine, featuring a heavy barrel underneath the handguard, and the “MPC” Military Preferred Carbine, a classic M4-style featuring a “government profile” barrel with the famous M203 barrel mount cut out. One departure from military specs, in a concession to the civilian market, is that all three rifles use a 1/9 twist rate instead of the military issue 1/7 twist rate. Windham explains that despite a push by some law enforcement and commercial customers to standardize on the 1/7 twist rate, the 1/9 twist is still the most requested and the most common twist rate, so that’s what they went with for their initial offerings.
Windham doesn’t plan on standing pat with these three rifles. They have an aggressive plan to offer more variants in the near future including different barrel twist rates, ban-state compliant models including a California “bullet button” model and a dedicated varmint hunter configuration, and add more calibers next year. They will also start making runs of accessories and spare parts. One thing that Windham hopes will set them apart from the competition is their transferable Limited Lifetime Warranty, which follows the gun and not the owner. A Windham Weaponry gun bought on the used market at a gun show will still enjoy the same excellent warranty and customer service access as a new-in-box gun delivered from the factory straight to your dealer. A buyer who gifts his rifle to his brother knows that Windham still backs up their product. The fine print shows the Windham Warranty to be one of the best in the industry.
It seems like everybody is making an AR-15 these days, and with only three products and a brand new company name, the crew at Windham Weaponry have their work cut out for them. However, they are working together, doing what they do best, and they have faith that their products will speak for themselves. As Mark Eliason, Windham’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing told me, “the name is not recognized, but the experience behind the name is tremendous!”