Magpul Masada. Remington ACR. Bushmaster ACR. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the hottest new rifles-category”>rifles on the market. And for good reason. First shown in 2007 at the SHOT Show in Florida, the Masada promised improved ergonomics and an incredibly versatile weapons platform with a quick-change barrel that would allow the rifle to quickly be converted to fire other calibers.
Enthusiasts waited for a year while Magpul struggled to put this revolutionary firearm into production. Unable to overcome the hurdles of a small company mass producing a supremely reliable rifle, Magpul negotiated a deal with Bushmaster and Remington, both owned by Cerberus’ Freedom Group, and sold the design. It took another two years of collaboration between Bushmaster and Remington, but finally in 2010 the first fully functional production models of the newly renamed Bushmaster ACR were unveiled at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Designed as a replacement for the M16/M4 platform, the Bushmaster ACR improves on the direct impingement system found on Eugene Stoner’s famous design. Critics often blame this system for malfunctions, citing the fouling caused by hot gases that are blown directly onto the bolt face. Magpul instead designed the rifle to use a hybrid indirect gas impingement system. Instead of blowing directly onto the bolt, the ACR system utilizes a tappet rod that is blown back by the expanding gases. That rod then strikes the bolt face and cycles the action. The gas block includes two settings, “S” for use with a suppressor, and “U” for normal operation while unsuppressed.
The elimination of the M16/M4 style buffer system allows for the integration of a folding stock. Instead using spring in a long buffer tube, the Magpul design incorporates an action rod fitted with a recoil spring and a white polymer tip which guides the bolt along U-shaped rails as it reciprocates.
There are two versions of the ACR available: the Basic model, pictured on the left, and the Enhanced version shown below. Both the Basic and the Enhanced ACR have adjustable cheek pieces and come equipped with Magpul MBUS flip-up sights on the flat top rail, but the Enhanced version adds an integral Picatinny rail system as well as a collapsible folding stock. Both ACR models are also available in desert tan and all of the models have a quick-detach style sling swivel set into the side of the stock that is easy to swap from left to right.
One of the most interesting features of the Bushmaster ACR is it’s ability to quickly change between multiple calibers. The quick-change barrel is easy to remove by locking the bolt back and then taking out a single pin on the bottom of the aluminum foregrip and then pulling it off. After that a hinged barrel wrench is pulled down and the entire barrel nut assembly is rotated to the left before being pulled forward to unseat the barrel. The gas block and tube are attached to and removed with the barrel. When changing calibers the bolt and magazine must also be swapped out.
Remington actually has their own version of the ACR customized for police and military applications. 10.5″ and 14.5″ barreled select-fire rifles are currently being considered for use in the military by the US Department of Defense. The Remington model will also have a stronger aluminum lower receiver with a replaceable pistol grip.
Where the ACR really shines is the ergonomics. Long ago Magpul made a reputation for themselves as a company that produced superior products with excellent ergonomics. This commitment to intuitive use and fitment is evident in the ACR. It features a large and easy to reach ambidextrous magazine release along with a bolt release similar to that found on the XCR. The safety/selector is activated with the thumb and has positive engagement as it rotates so that the user can feel it click into position without the need to look. Bushmaster changed the Magpul designed charging handle by placing it farther forward so that it is easier to use without interfering with any optics on the top-mounted rail. Built to accommodate left or right handed shooters, the charging handle is reversible. It also doubles as a forward assist if needed to push the bolt into battery. All Bushmaster ACR rifles some from the factory with three of Magpul’s “bullet proof” magazines.
One of the most revolutionary aspects of the ACR is the rustproof coating that Remington developed. This proprietary new finish is also impregnated with a dry-lube and is used on the bore, bolt, trigger group, and all other moving parts of the rifle. Use of this new coating allowed Remington and Bushmaster to have the increased accuracy of a non-chrome lined barrel but still retain a high level of rust resistance while reducing the need for dirt and dust attracting oils.
Few modern rifles come close to matching the performance, adaptability, and reliability of the Bushmaster ACR. While the retail price matches it’s high level of performance, we feel it’s money well spent to have such an incredible weapon.
|Caliber:||5.56mm NATO / 6.8×43 SPC II|
|Overall length:||36.75″, extended|
|Trigger Pull:||6 lbs|
|MSRP:||$2,600 – $3100|