Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bushmaster ACR Observations, Part 2

Other ACR Entries:
Some Bushmaster ACR Observations (Part 1)
ACR Review, Part 3

I had the ACR out for some more live fire.  I discovered that the Bushmaster-branded Flambeau case that the rifle comes in is big enough to hold the ACR with a Millet DMS scope mounted, and a WASR-10 with a Primary Arms Micro red dot sight mounted on an Ultimak gas tube.

I noticed it the first time, but confirmed it this week; there’s no change in sound when the bolt locks open on an empty magazine.

Speaking of magazines, I’ve still not had any form of malfunction.  I was switching off between one of the windowed PMags that my AR-15s don’t like, and a D&H brand aluminum G.I. magazine with an orange (Gen 1?  Gen 2?) Magpul follower.  The bolt has locked back every time when the magazines are empty.  The bolt catch seem to be breaking in a bit, and is not quite as hard to release as it used to be.

I even tried some odds-and-ends reloads, some pretty soft-shooting ammo, and still couldn’t get the rifle to choke or short-stroke.

I pulled out the Lyman digital trigger gauge to check the trigger pull.  In the center of the trigger, I get about eight pounds.  At the tip of the trigger, it takes about six and a half.  The pull is pretty smooth, and there is minimal overtravel, but definitely some creep and slack.  For a service rifle trigger, it’s not too bad, but it’s not a target trigger by any stretch of the imagination.

I moaned when I found out that the ACR was being released with a one-size-fits-some integral pistol grip.  I have Magpul MIAD modular grips on my ARs and I like them, and I find it odd that the Magpul rifle has no modular grip.  I guess it would have made the mold for the lower more complicated, but I would have liked to have the ACR lower compatible with MIAD interchangeable backstraps.

CR123A Battery Core, Batteries Not Included

That said, I guess I can live with the lower as is.  I wear a man’s size large glove.  With a good grip, my index finger hits the trigger just past the first joint, the “power crease.”

I guess most of you have little interest in the fixed stock of the Basic model, but this may be of some interest to those of you in states with “assault weapon” bans.  I measure the length of pull, the distance between the center of the trigger and the center of the butt pad, to be 12 3/8”.  I would have probably adjusted it longer if I could have, but I never had the rear sight smack me in the face under recoil or anything, so I guess I can live with that too.  I’ve read several places that there are spacers available to increase the length of pull of the fixed stock, but I tried to find them on the Bushmaster and Magpul websites, and came up with nothing.

Basic Stock Details, Sling Mounting Points

The Basic stock has sling loops on the top and bottom.  For single point slings, there is a rectangular ring on the left side of the stock, just behind the receiver.  It looks like the single point sling loop could be moved to the right side for lefties.

There is a single QD sling swivel socket in the top rear of the left side of the stock, which can be moved to the left side, if desired.  I’m pretty sure that the ambi socket kit for the Magpul UBR could also be used to put a second QD socket on the other side.  The Magpul and ACR swivels do not have any stops to prevent the swivel from rotating all the way around and tangling up your sling.

The cheekpiece is easy to adjust.  Just pull it back to unlock it, and then you can lift the front end and push it forward again to lock it in place.  I have it adjusted all the way up for use with the MBus sights and the DMS scope on an AR-15 mount.

There is no place to store anything in the Basic stock.

The pistol grip is textured on the sides, but not on the front or back, or on the bottom of the trigger guard.  The grip is compatible with MIAD grip cores, and comes with a core made to hold two CR123A batteries.

I actually like the plastic Basic handguard better than the Enhanced quad-rail handguard.  I’d still like the polymer handguard to be a few inches longer, but it is a couple inches longer than the Enhanced handguard.  The Basic handguard is compatible with the rails and other accessories available to fit the Magpul MOE AR-15 handguards.  The Enhanced handguard has a forward sling swivel, but the Basic handguard does not.

Top/Inside View of Basic Polymer Handguard

I'd prefer one of the longer polymer handguard seen on the ACR designated rifleman prototype rifles.

Room For Improvement
I’d like to see magazine funnels available in a couple different sizes, a medium size for defense/duty use, and a larger one for 3-gun competition.  An ACR equivalent of the AR-15 ASAP plate, an ambidextrous single point sling loop would be an obvious accessory.  It looks like Remington is offering their ACR with an aluminum lower that accepts AR-15 pistol grips, which may add some to the already fairly heavy weight of the ACR but would allow tailoring the length of pull of the pistol grip.  I like the 12” handguards on a couple of my AR-15 uppers, and I consider both of the Bushmaster handguards currently available to be too short.  The QD sling swivel sockets should have stops to keep slings from getting tangled.

A lot of this stuff are things that Magpul has already offered for AR-type rifles.  Sort of aggravating that a $2000 Magpul rifle still needs some improvement.

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