Sunday, January 16, 2011

ACR Review, Part 3

Previous Entries
Some Bushmaster ACR Observations (Part 1)
Bushmaster ACR Observations, Part 2

(I updated them, so that you can blow the photos up to fill the screen with a click.  PITA, because Blogger still isn't user friendly when you try to post photos with captions.  The line-spacing goes all wonky.)

Rapid Fire Testing
I've had the ACR out for a couple of rapid fire sessions.  The rifle continues to impress me.

The first session, I had the ACR out along with my WASR (7.62x39mm Romanian AK).  The ACR definitely has less recoil than the 7.62mm AK, even though the AK has a recoil buffer and muzzle brake.  The second session, I had the ACR out along with my LMT M4, with both rifles having essentially the same barrel profile and flash hider.  I still don't think that the recoil of ACR is different enough to even be noticeable when compared to a similarly equipped AR.

The heat-shielded polymer handguards seem to do a really good job.  After a 3 magazines, the gas block was HOT, but I could only feel a little warmth coming through the handguards.  There is a Magpul MVG mounted on the handguard of the rifle I'm testing, as well as a Magpul MOE short rail for mounting a weapon light.  I still think the handguard is a bit short, but it's significantly better than a 7" AR handguard.

The Recall
The rifle did double on me, once.  I was shooting Wolf steel-cased ammo, and this particular ACR hasn't been sent in for the recall service yet.  I have noticed that the primers aren't seated as deeply in the steel cases as they usually are in brass cases, which I believe is part of the problem.  I've put several hundred rounds of brass-cased ammo through the ACR without any issues whatsoever.

I had said that the issue that caused the recall was likely not due to the firing pin.  As it turns out, I was wrong.  Return spring or not, for whatever reason, the firing pin seems to be the issue.  There were several reports of Acres slam-firing in the days prior to the recall.  The original firing pin/return spring combo will leave a fairly significant dent in the primer after chambering a round; even more of a dent than a AR-15/M-16 will leave.  I guess I was wrong about the Lancer Magazines, and I was wrong about the ACR firing pin.

Although I have primarily used PMags, I've run a couple more D&H brand G.I. aluminum mags (with Magpul followers), and the ACR continues to run just fine.  I even loaded the G.I. magazines to the full 30-round capacity, and was able to get the magazine locked in, and the bolt stripped the top round with zero hesitation, both of which are sometimes an issue with AR rifles.  The magazine well is fairly loose and everything is dropping free.

I still think the stock and pistol grip feel a bit small, but when I actually shoot the rifle, I don't notice it.  I have the same issue with the finger grooves on the Glock 19; just holding it, it feels a bit off, but I don't notice it when actually using the pistol.  I'm going to call this a non-issue, on both cases.

Price and Model Availability Update
Pricewise, there have been some new developments.  Bushmaster has lowered the retail prices for the ACRs, and I'm hearing that you can find the basic model for as low as $1500 if you look around.  The price from Cheaper Than Dirt is somewhere around $1800, if memory serves.

Not sure if the ACR is available yet with the basic polymer handguard and folding/collapsing stock yet, but this configuration is shown in the new Bushmaster catalog.  Bushmaster reps are telling people that 10.5", 14.5", and 18" barrels should be available by the end of the year, along with 1 turn in 7" twist barrels also.

What's Next
Next up for my ACR testing is some 100 yard accuracy tests, but that will take a little while.  I'll try out some 75 and 77 grain bullets to see how the 1 in 9" twist barrel will do with those.

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