Bushmaster ACR: New DMR, PDW, and New Barrels | SHOT 2017

In this episode of TFBTV, James’ visits Bushmaster at SHOT to get the scoop on long-awaited modifications to the ACR, including a designated marksman rifle version, a PDW variant, and (finally) available swappable barrels for the ACR.





James Reeves

• NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
• “Co-Director” [air quotes] of TFBTV
• Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
• Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
• GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
• Lawyer
► Instagram: jjreevesii
► Twitter: @jjreeves
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► YouTube.com/c/JamesReeves


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  • KestrelBike

    $600 is kinda pricy. $400 would have been a lot more attractive, considering you’re going to need another $200 for the SBR stamp (remember: the Upper on the ACR is the serialized “firearm”) Oh and the 8-12mo wait to get the f’in stamp back.

    • TheMaskedMan

      It wouldn’t be an ACR product if it wasn’t made ludicrously expensive for no discernible reason.

      • lowell houser

        $50 for the barrel. $75 for the little parts that come attached to it(little parts SUCK to manufacture). The rest is markup, assuming you’re buying straight from the website. And the ACR owners out there will totally do that because this is the entire point of this design.

        • Sam

          I have never heard of a $50 barrel.

      • Lupinsea

        Well, the barrel kits come as a unit that includes:
        – Melonite treated barrel
        – Ratcheting hardware and lever system
        – Gas block
        – Piston system
        – Muzzle thingy

        All fully assembled. So . . . . yeah, its expensive but I can see why.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Sooooo… Better late than never?

    I mean, come on… We were expecting this crap like 5 years ago.

  • USMC03Vet

    2017 is becoming legendary.

    A Trump, Sig Sauer standard issue US mil contract, $850 Arsenal Bulgarian AK, ACR is back, and soon to be tax free suppressors.

    • Sam

      Kinda hesitant to say the HPA is going to pass, but I’m also pretty optimistic. I’ll get a refund for the Saker 7.62 that’s been in jail since May 2016!

      And the ACR barrels… finally. FINALLY.

      • USMC03Vet

        You gotta believe! – Lucio

  • Just say’n

    “2017 is going to be the year of the ACR”. I thought 2007 was supposed to be the year of the ACR? The way things are headed, 2017 will be the year of the HK416 and its variants.

    • Joe

      So they couldn’t move forward with this because… Obama was in office? The timing is suspicious…

    • Dave D

      Just wondering if this is a a Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me moment.

      I never got a ACR because I was waiting on the Remington variant that never came. Now if the ACR is finally taken seriously, I might join the club. Just still not sure the support is really there.

  • Big Daddy

    I followed the Magpul gun closely and was all in on getting one. As soon as I saw Bushmaster took over the design I was like oh well. It’s a great idea for a rifle but I just do not trust them after all the wait, I’ll pass. I am very invested in the AR platform and it works for me. They all have pretty much the same manual of arms and interchangeable parts on my 308, 556, 7.62×39, 9mm & 45ACP versions.

  • Blackhawk

    I bet Alex C. is going to be happy about these things finally coming out.

  • Matthew

    I’m gonna hold out for the Polish MSBS, might have .300BLK or 6.8 before Bushminor in 10yrs

    • andrey kireev

      wont see it for another year probably.

    • Amplified Heat

      You should start stretching your arms, now; that MSBS looks to have the longest length of pull of any bullpup ever offered –and it is adjustable to be even longer!

      • Chris22lr

        Haven’t you got it mixed up with HS VHS-2, the Croatian bullpup? That’s the one with adjustable LOP.

        • Amplified Heat

          You’te right; one too many acronyms

      • Adamn

        You’re talking about Croatian VHS-2. MSBS has one of the shortest LOP’s – similar to the X95.

    • Chris22lr

      While .300BLK MSBS probably won’t happen (we’ve got proper tool for this job – 7.62x39mm and FBR already did MSBS prototype firing this cartridge), the chances of civilian legal rifle are getting higher.MOD recently bought 80.000 of Beryl rifles (5.56 AK variant that’s already in use – wise decision since getting new rifle with new mags/accesories is the last thing our army needs now), and FBR (with years of investment in MSBS program) seems to be focused on getting this rifle out no matter what.

      Some time ago (last month?) they did a show-and-tell event for Polish gun writers and members of several gun clubs/gun owners organisations, and main star was MSBS and PR-15 pistol. There was no mention of Radom Sport (civilian Beryl), so this may be a hint that MSBS can find it’s way to the civilian market before military/LE. But getting it to the US is another story.

  • TangledThorns

    Little late Bushmaster. Bullpups are the future, not the ACR.

    • forrest1985

      Ewwww “bullpups” hoping for sarcasm here

  • Shayne

    Did a great job on the video, I would have been laughing in his face. “2017 the year of the ACR” I would have laughed then asked him what type of drugs was he on.

  • Amplified Heat

    “YEEEEOWWWW! We won’t get fooled, again!”

  • Kyle

    They really took their sweet time on that. I bought and sold an ACR back in 2011. The design itself is cool but Bushmaster build quality was spotty.

  • Mack

    did they hint at other caliber conversion kits? 6.8 or .300?

  • Greg

    Only took Bushmaster 5+ years for barrrel exchange kits, I’ll believe it when I can get one in my hands.

  • ??

    Please tell me they don’t still have a 1 in 9 twist.

  • Lupinsea

    Well this is good news.

    I understand the sour attitude about the ACR but I think it deserves a re-evaluation. Hear me out on this. What were the big complaints about it when it was released?

    1. Sky high price tag, ~$1k over expected cost
    2. Some quality / reliability teething issues
    3. No swappable calibers / barrel options

    And you know what? All of those have been addressed. Street prices are in the $1500-1600 range right now for a brand new ACR. The quality issues were sorted out after the first couple years and the rifles are now damn solid and reliable. And while the caliber conversion and barrel options have been glacial to show up, they are now starting to come out. However, forget the conversion stuff. If you look at it as just a .223 rifle, it’s still a damn fine piece of equipment.

    The ACR compares well to what I’d consider it’s peer rifles (SCAR 16, CZ Bren 805, Robinson XCR). All four of these rifles were (are) considered the next evolution beyond the AR era of rifles. They offer:

    – Monolithic upper receiver
    – Side charging handle (vs. AR location)
    – Piston operated gas gun
    – Folding and telescoping stock
    – Largely AR style control layout (which is excellent)

    And the ACR is now doing so $200 – 400 less than the next cheapest rifle and about $1k less than the SCAR 16.

    Some specifics that I think the ACR has going for it in particular:

    – It does use AR-15 trigger components and there are a number of AR trigger packs that can be swapped in. And Geissele even makes ACR specific triggers if you want to upgrade (though I found the trigger just fine).

    – It has a great, ambidextrous bolt release at the bottom of the trigger guard, no need to break your shooting hand grip.

    – Non-receiprocating charging handle (can be swapped to opposite side).

    – Among the best of the telescoping folding stocks, real solid lock-up.

    – Fit and finish on the ACRs are excellent. Very clean and precise.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, you can tell I’m a new ACR owner. I didn’t expect to be but when I started researching the rifle I ended up deciding to pass on the Sig MCX in favor of the ACR. That it was cheaper than the MCX was simply a bonus and there are zero regrets about that decision.

    So go ahead and take another look a the ACR with fresh eyes and an open mind for what it is today, not what it could have been or should have been.

    • Mmmtacos

      If they’ve addressed the reliability issues then it probably would have been wise for them to come out with an ACR “v2” or something of the sort. Slightly updated look, but marketing reliability and what not.

      It’s hard for people to overcome reliability issues. The Mini 14 is still haunted by them, as is the Beretta 92 and to some extent people still think the AR as well. The best thing they could have done is given it a face lift to say “Hey, we’re new and we’re better”, visuals go a long way. Hell, branding goes a long way, they could have rebranded it the “Masada”, which would have gotten people thinking serious about it like they want to live up to the name that Magpul touted so many years ago.

      Just my two cents.

      • Lupinsea

        I tell ya, I get the reticence in the firearms community over some of these things but then I also don’t get it.

        Time marches on. Companies make missteps and then improve products and processes. And yet how many people are stuck in the past? This is why I think people should reconsider the ACR and judge it for what it is now instead of what it was over half a decade ago.

        And you have good points about the AR and Beretta 92. Two fantastic firearms that had their own teething issues in their day but are now solid firearms. Yet some people can’t let the past go.

        Yes, Bushmaster should have announced an ACR v2.0 or something. However, I love the design and looks of the rifle as-is. But definitely a marketing push would have helped.

        For what it’s worth, Bushmaster has a modest but decent ACR eco system. There are no caliber conversions but there are a number of options:

        Stocks:
        – Fixed
        – Folding / telescoping
        – DMR adjustable

        Hand Guards:
        – Basic
        – Enhanced tri-picitinny rail

        Barrels (5.56mm):
        – 10.5″
        – 14.5″
        – 16.5″
        – 18.5″

        Colors for all furniture:
        – FDE
        – Black

        All these can be changed out in a matter of seconds without tools, even the barrels, for those that want to play that way.

        And with new ACR rifles selling in the $1550 – 1600 price range on the street? Wasn’t that what everyone was expecting (7 years ago)?

    • Tucson_Jim

      For $1600, I bought a Swiss redesign of the AK-47 chambered for the longer-reaching and more accurate 5.56 X 45 round (up to 77 gr.), it field strips in seconds and is a snap to clean. It has a great two-stage trigger, came with a red dot sight, co-witnessed diopter/peep iron sights, AND a folding BUIS… has a folding, adjustable stock, takes ANYBODY’s STANAG (AR-15/M16) magazines, holds about 1-1/4 MOA; mine has never had a FTF or FTE.

      But, even though it is an Americanized version of what is largely considered by small arms experts to be the world’s finest assault rifle, after only 8 years, it went out of production . I own two and am looking for a third, they are fabulous rifles.

      • Scott P

        You mean the 556 Classic?

        Yea I love mine.

  • Why is it the “other non AR” gun platforms are just coming into the “new” cheese grater heavy arsed quad rails when the AR15 manufacturers have finally figured out that no one uses most of the rails and hate carrying the extra weight around.

  • Lee

    Man, if they would come out with a better lower… maybe go back to the original design that accepts standard AR triggers… I bought a geiselle trigger for mine, and its horrible.

    Bushmaster butchered the Masada…. Was such an awesome concept…

    • lowell houser

      The whole point of the current lower with the removable trigger box was to allow for the use of a single trigger-pack when swapping between stanag mag lowers and AK mag lowers for the 7.62×39 version that was demonstrated on Future Weapons but Bushmaster has never mentioned even once, making the feature into a bug.

  • lowell houser

    I’m sitting here dumb-founded. I’m a fan of this gun and the only announcement I ever expected was that it would be canceled.

    • lowell houser

      No mention of a 7.62×39 conversion kit -which Magpul had working before Bushmaster even entered the picture – but it’s a start.

      • Lupinsea

        Not getting any hopes up over conversion kits but . . . I would think it would be nice to see a 7.62 x 39 for some cheaper ammo. And .300 blk for a nice subsonic suppressor friendly caliber.

        That said, you could probably buy a lot of cheap-ish .223 for the cost of an AK barrel kit and lower receiver housing given the prices of what we’re seeing here.

        And, I almost think a .300 blk would be easier to develop given how much it has in common with and how much it can use the .223 components. No need for a different lower receiver or bolt. Just change the barrel.

  • forrest1985

    Haha James’ face when he says “year of the ACR” lol i like this rifle but they have really missed mark!

  • Invisibledecoy

    SHOT Show vaporware. I have one of the very first made, bought right when it was released, and what wizz bang calibers and barrels do I have for it? one.

    I have no faith in Bushmaster to fulfill anything for the ACR in this year, or the next, or the following… Why not keep the trend going? They already lost fans and reputation over this.