Firearms

Windham Weaponry: “We’re Putting The Band Back Together!”

Windham Weaponry MPC

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!”

Windham Weaponry SRC
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Comments (28)

  1. I bought a WW SRC AR-15 from a dealer in Tulsa. Shot it 3 weeks and couldn’t get it to manage open sights. Took it to another dealer with a gun smith. He put a pair of levels on the gun and told me that the pica tinny rail on the gas block was not set correctly.

    I checked it myself and after leveling the rifle with a level I placed another level on the P-rail of the gas block. It was not aligned with the rear P-rail and the rear sight had to be adjusted to the far right to align the sights. Having to send it back to the factory to let them adjust it.

    I would think that if I have to pay $800+ for a damn AR that the WW factory would make certain that the blasted thing would be PERFECT before it left the factory.

  2. I finally got financially able to buy me an AR15 and I went to shopping. I had friends who told me that the Bushmaster was one of the best AR’s on the market. I had settled on buying a Bushmaster when another friend told me Windham Weaponry was supposed to be a good rifle just in a passing conversation. I got on the internet and went to their website. I read their story on how they came to be and it immediately sealed the deal for me. I ordered me a MPC model and I feel like I got the best AR15 rifle money can buy. I’ve put it up against other brands and it shot harder than the others. That is, we shot 2 rounds each into a piece of military grade armor plate and my Windham put both rounds completely through while the other brand did not. Windham Weaponry firearms are second to none and that goes for their Customer Service also. Buy yourself one, you won’t regret it. They are like George Jones used to sing, “There’s nothing better once you’ve had the best”.

  3. I am the proud new owner of a Windham MPC. Having only put a couple hundred rounds down range, I can only give initial reaction and thoughts. 1st, I’m getting on in years, (early 60’s), 2nd, I grew up with and around guns, I don’t and won’t claim to know everything. As a PROUD American, I think it great what Mr. Dyke has done for America, the economy, and us 2nd Amendment people. Getting back to basics and buiding a SOLID tried and true platform with minimal options, (Just like Henry Ford did in the begining). heck there are thousands of “accessories” if someone wants to “trick out” or “personalize” their weapon. Now down to the weapon itself…. Fit and finish is flawless, (up there with some of the finer weapon mfgr’s in the business) It runs like a fine swiss watch !.. I cleaned and lubed the rifle 1st, before firing. Then after 1 30 rnd mag of 55grn fmj, I cleaned the rifle again. I really cannot say I have any real reason for this but I was taught as a youngster to “season” or “break in” a new barrel, and to err on the side of safety surely won’t hurt any new or old weapon. Next accuracy. Since I’m not rich, I haven’t added optics yet, just using plain old standard issue iron sights. Firing off sand bags @ 50yds. I was doing 1″ – 1.75″ grps. @ 100 yds, 2-3.5″ grps. For me, that’s not too bad considering my visual abilities and iron sights. Next, controls, mags slid in like butter, locked solid, and ejected readily. Charging handle is smooth and positive. Fire control selector/safety is easy to use but with good detent. Had no need to use forward assist, but operated it during cleaning of weapon and function tests on reassembly. So far, on my limited use of approx 500 rnds, of various brands, (mostly off the shelf lesser priced) I’ve had no failures to feed, fire or eject. The overall finish on the reciever seems to be a “darker” black, and the barrel finish is a very fine type of “parkerizing” So to anyone considering or asking if these are good weapons, I say NO, THESE ARE FINE WEAPONS !. My hat is off to you Mr. Dyke and company. Keep up the fine work you are doing for all of us in America. Thanks.

  4. “Now is that the only deviation from “milspec”? Let’s look. Are the barrels and bolts high pressure (HP) and magnetic particle inspected (MPI)? Are they using the proper steel for the bolts and shot peening them? Are they still using the silly commercial buffer tube (lower receiver extension) instead of the military dimension tubes?”

    Yes… the barrel is the only deviation. go to the Windham Weaponry website… all of your wuestions would be answered.

    the barrel and bolt carrier are MPI tested (not batch). they use higher quality 4150 steel chrome lined barrels. The carrier is shot peened (very well deformed)… the reciever is forged… ect… look it up before you draw uneducated conclusions. It’s like assuming VW and Porsche are the same because they have similar roots.

    I own the WW HBC 5.56 rifle and it’s an amazing gun.

  5. Is everyone aware the George Soros is behind “FREEDOM GROUP”? Thats right the socialist puppet master that needs to get control of the guns and the ammo manufacturing, control those two and gun control and our second amendment rights are much easier to control. Leave it to old soros to figure out that the AMERICAN PEOPLE will never willingly surrender our second amendment rights so what to do….Form a company with unlimited cash and hey let’s call it FREEDOM GROUP so we can sneak up on all those unsuspecting gun totein bible thumpin bible belt people, yea that’s it , they will never see us coming. BULL SH-T IT IS SOROS, OBAMA, CLINTON AND THE UN COMING FOR OUR GUNS AND THANK YOU RICHARD DYKE FOR FILLING THE GAP CREATED B Y THE SOCIALIST PIG AND MANUFACTURING A BETTER RIFLE FOR US TO SHOOT AND PROTECT OUR RIGHTS AND OUR COUNTRY.

  6. Hello, I live in California, I know. I want to purchase one of your 77544 rifles. Here in Ca. we have to have “bullet buttons”
    and we are restricted to 10rnd. mags…. I spoke with a FFL dealer and he said as long as they install the bullet button and pin the mag to accept 10rnds max before shipping, then they can ship to me.
    Please reply back if this is possible and with a complete total for shipping to Glendale Ca. Thanks, James.

  7. Chris,

    I’ll just close the argument by saying this. Bushmaster has never made an M4 for the U.S military for issue to personnel- not even when they first were type classified. There was a contract issue at one point some years back and it was immediately rescinded. No one has ever been able to show any concrete proof either. Everything has been rumor control spread by the internet or by those who think that all M4’s are the same. The only Bushmasters ever to be seen or used were the air blowback trainer guns used in basic traning before personnel attended BRM.

  8. Brother, you can believe what you want, but the 1/7 came about to stabilize the new longer tracer that was developed to burn for more than about 400 yards, as the old Vietnam era one did, not the M855/SS109. The 1/9 will stabilize the M855 just fine. The SAW was the weapon that this tracer was to be used in for the most part, so why put the same twist in the service rifle? No good reason, even going with your statement that the 1/9 won’t stabilize bullets over 69gr. There is no bullet issued to U.S. troops over 62gr for general use. BTW, if the threads are different on a commercial tube as opposed to mil spec, why will they both thread into the same hole?

    Anyway, the issue here is civilian & LE use of the M4/M16 platform. & I stand by my earlier statement that it is too fast for anything other than FMJ rounds & no LE agency of which I am aware uses ball ammo for serious social work. For that matter, neither does any knowledgeable civilian for hunting or self defense. And, just so you know, I too have put a few rounds of 5.56 into people who were trying to kill me & my brothers in arms. Apparently, they (they bad guys) failed. My work was done in Latin America in the so-called “War on Drugs”, which also failed– Too many DEA & CIA types taking payola from the cartels, in my experience. So I believe I DO “have a clue” as to that about which I am espousing. I don’t say (or type in this case) anything about anything unless I absolutely KNOW it to be a fact. I learned that from my Dad & the U.S. Army.

    You may be right about Bushmaster cutting corners with bolt & barrel testing. I have no knowledge of this & that is why I didn’t mention it earlier, but they DID have the contract to make U.S. Military M4’s when they first came out. Perhaps the corner cutting came about at a later date, as I don’t think Uncle Sam would tolerate corner cutting in the then SOF-Only primary weapon.

    Again, I’m not bashing you or anything. I just think you don’t know as much as you think you know. For that matter, I probably don’t either. If you served this country in uniform, then you are my brother in arms, as are ALL veterans, so we have a certain bond, even though we’ve never met. For that, you have my undying respect. I’m done with this discussion & will let you have the last word if you want, but I stand by every statement I have made here & will continue to do so. I’m sure you will do the same.

    Goodonya, Brother…
    Chris (the crusty old Sergeant from 5th SFOD 1982-1991)

  9. Chris,

    Commercial tubes are not stronger than “milspec” tubes and that has been seen over and over. Even the threads are different- take a look some time. You apparently have no idea about Bushmaster and their cutting corners- so I will fill you in. They in fact DO NOT individually test their barrels and bolts and I believe that it was made public that they batch test them.

    The 1/7 twist selection had nothing to do with the M16A2 originally. It came about because of the selection of the M249 SAW and the selection of the M855 round. Might want to check your facts. Yes, I have seen what a 62gr. round does to the human body because I actually put rounds into someone in Iraq using an M16A2 with M855 ammunition. The reason may manufacturers use 1/7 is so that they can reasonably stabilize 55gr. ammunition which it will and also use the heavier rounds up to 77gr. Some 1/9 barrels will not reliably stabilize heavier rounds past 69gr.

    Apparently you have no clue as to what you are talking about. Most all common lower receivers use .155 inch pins. This is also the “milspec” standard. Colt has been using them in the 6920 for the last few years across the board. So your assertion that you have to buy “special” colt stuff.

    Just a little something from someone who has been using and working with the M16 platform since 1986 and who has carried one overseas in crappy places.

  10. @ WKL:
    What’s silly about a Commercial Spec Buffer tube? It’s slightly larger diameter than a Mil-Spec tube & uses the same buffer & spring, thus meaning the wall of the tube is slightly thicker, making it minimally stronger. “Silly” is hardly a good description. What IS silly is the fact that there were ever two different types of tubes to begin with– Actually just plain “stupid” is the word that comes to MY mind.

    To address your concerns about the barrels & bolts being MPI & shot peened to relieve stress, those are valid concerns. But, I would bet money that the folks who have been making Bushmasters for over ten years would not cut corners(as is stated in the above text about the new company) on things as important as that.

    Now, on to twist rate: 1 in 7 SUCKS out loud. Have you ever seen a wound produced by a FMJ from a 1/7? It looks like an icepick wound unless it strikes bone or non-elastic tissue, such as a liver. That twist rate was chosen for the A2 rifle to stabilize the 64(?) grain TRACER round & since this projectile is not filled with lead, but much lighter “flammable” metals, it is quite a bit longer than even a 62gr NATO standard M855/SS109 bullet. How many times are you or anybody else anyone else going to use tracers in a rifle? I read an article a year or so after the 1/7 became standard that stated that if you fire a HP or SP bullet at 3000fps or more from a barrel with that twist rate, especially with new, sharp rifling, the bullet will try to spin itself apart in flight. A few months later, I was using a then-new Bushmaster M4 (1/7) with 55gr soft points & at a mere 25 meters, I noticed grey swirl marks around my bullet holes on white paper targets. This was vaporized lead from the bullets trying to spin themselves apart. I have never had this problem with 1/9 twist barrels. BTW, how many Law Enforcement agencies, whether local, state or Federal use ball ammo for serious work? They ALL use HP or SP rounds when they might have to shoot real bad guys. Hell, even the military is using hollow point bullets in Afghanistan, they just don’t call them that. In military parlance, they are called “OTM” or “Open Tip Match” bullets & they are much heavier than 62gr– up to & including 77-80gr (they seem to knock down the bad guys better & make them stay that way).

    And there is such a thing as over-stabilization. The reason all those makers you named use the 1/7 twist is so they can call their weapons “Mil Spec”. Look at the lower receivers– They are NOT Mil Spec, or they would not have the rear end of the channel where there would be an auto-sear on an M16 narrower or even filled in or not machined out at all, such as is the case with Colts made in the last few years, than the front where the hammer & trigger are. As for the Colt you mention, the hammer & trigger pins are larger diameter than Mil Spec. You can’t even use standard hammers, triggers or disconnectors in them. You have to buy more expensive “Colt Spec” parts for this application.

    One more thing about the “Mil Spec” craze that bothers me is the aluminum trigger guard. It doesn’t bother me that much, since I have replaced all of mine with Magpul polymer ones. Have you ever seen an AR that has been dropped on the (aluminum) trigger guard or had something heavy dropped on one? It bends & binds the trigger, rendering the weapon useless until the trigger guard is swiveled down into the “Winter” position. Not easily done when you are taking not-so-friendly incoming fire.

    Please do not take this post as me bashing you or your opinion, just trying to “educate” you on a few things! ;>) Mil Spec is NOT the be-all, end-all of weapon design & specification. As a lady mechanic/fabricator once said of cars in general, & I think it applies to just about anything you might want to discuss, “No matter what the platform, stock still SUCKS!”

    Chris Farrer http://www.customconcealmentsystems.com
    Just a guy who has been playing with, building, carrying, shooting & modifying AR15’s & M16’s, among other firearms, for 30 years…

  11. My hat is off to Dick Dyke and his crew…. I’m willing to bet with the knowledge base between them all they will be creating a TOP OF THE LINE AR platform rifle. The quality control that the old Bushmasters had was second to none. Good Luck WW cannot wait to own one of these top quality weapons.

  12. Apparently whomever wrote this article isn’t very familiar with the AR platform. All internet assertions aside, 1×9 may be the most requested in their minds, but when you look at the current crop of quality and leading AR manufacturers, i.e.- Colt, Daniel Defense, LMT, Noveske, Bravo Company and a few I am forgetting, they are all using 1/7 as the standard.

    Now is that the only deviation from “milspec”? Let’s look. Are the barrels and bolts high pressure (HP) and magnetic particle inspected (MPI)? Are they using the proper steel for the bolts and shot peening them? Are they still using the silly commercial buffer tube (lower receiver extension) instead of the military dimension tubes? There are all kinds of details being left out. Why spend money on something that is inferior when you can get a known quality AR for around the same price? What good is a “lifetime warranty” if the company isn’t around to honor it? What good is a warranty if you are using the weapon for serious business and it goes “click” instead of “bang” when you need it to?

    Before anyone purchases an AR take the time to educate yourself. Don’t look at the price per se. Look at what is being offered and compare the specs. Use the Colt 6920 as a baseline and compare the features.

  13. Bullet button is a modification to the mag release, such that it requires a tool (a bullet/cartridge counts as a tool) to detach the mag. This then makes your gun incapable of accepting a detachable magazine (don’t ask, that’s the terminology in the law).

    For more resources, check out calguns.net. I’m not an owner or a moderator, just a user of the forums and a contributor to the CGF.

  14. Sounds like the Phoenix has risen !!! Don’t really have the details of the Bushmaster deal/move. It’s cool that the former owner decided to start a new company with his former employees. Looking forward to hearing more from Windham Weaponry

    Rob

  15. i live in california, & i must admit that when you don’t think the shit can’t get any dumber on a law abiding citizen to legally purchasing a gun here, you find out it does get worse…..anyway, i’m getting very interested in getting my knowledge base up on the kind of long gun i want. i have a way of getting pass the califonia droconian gun laws by me haveing a residence in illinois/chicago to be exact which does’nt make it all that much easier, but it does. i’m fairly sure i wan tto go with a heavier caliber like a 5.62 or 308. maybe a FN or larue/ar-15 platform. but if you have any suggestions, please feel free to offer them. but can someone explain to be what a “bullet botton” is in terms of the california law ?

    lamont

  16. I will buy one as soon as you tell me if I can get one via direct sales or do I have to go through a retailer? If there is a direct sales option for retired military with an appropriate pricing, you have a market that would be envied by other manufacturers. I reside in Arizona and we have quite a few AR manufacturers here and none offer an individual discount to veterans. When you reply, I shall buy! Now get back to work an offer a delayed impingement piston upper. 🙂 Thank you for doing the right thing! Keep Americans working!

  17. It nice to see a company going back to original configuration. All the bells and whistles on some models detract from the original. I like a weapon I can operate, not some kind of ‘Robo-cop’ add on. Just plain old, tried and true, milspec rifle. Got and prices?

  18. @ Pete

    NY has had a lot of gun manufacturing in the past and continues to do so. Remington is the largest NY manufacturer, they have been active in Ilion, NY producing firearms and parts since the Revolutionary War. New manufacturers like ATI have also sprung up as well as smaller manufacturers. NY used to host Savage Arms in the past prior to their moving out of the state.

  19. awesome story. what are the price points? when will they be available to the public? help me sell these rifles! a lot of people are looking for simple M4s/ARs!

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