Notes: Groups are the product of 3 shots at 100 yards. Chronograph screens were set 15' from muzzle. CCI BR-4 primers were used in Remington brass.

Notes: Groups are the product of 3 shots at 100 yards. Chronograph screens were set 15' from muzzle. CCI BR-4 primers were used in Remington brass.

of .223s as light big game rifles, with bullets designed specifically for the job. Bullets like the 53-grain Barnes Triple Shock X-Bullet and 60-grain Nosler Partition work very well on deer and similar game, but they also are longer than a typical softpoint bullet of the same weight.

Twist Issues

A too-steep twist supposedly can create problems with lighter bullets. This may have been true decades ago, but has largely disappeared due to the superb balance of modern bullets. Sure, grandpa's .30-06 didn't shoot 110-grain bullets very well — but the problem was the quality of the bullets, not their weight. I've obtained superb accuracy, for instance, from 95- or 100-grain 6.5mm bullets in a 1:8" twist .260 Remington. While it's true an "over-stabilized" bullet, shot from a twist too steep for its length, tends to ride nose-up, thus reducing ballistic coefficient at longer ranges, that's mostly a problem for long-range target shooters, not most hunters.

My early experiments with the Bushmaster were beyond encouraging. Of course, the Bushmaster did not make it to the firing line unmodified, first by making it scope-friendly by replacing the handle/rear sight with a Brownells

1-/4" Riser Mount and Mount Rail Base. Several scopes were tried, but eventually a Burris 4-12X Laser scope stayed put. Eventually I also installed a new Timney trigger, and in a matter of minutes.

The standard advice for loading any autoloading centerfire is to use small-base sizing dies, since autoloaders don't have the camming power to chamber tight cases. Over the decades, however, I've only run into one autoloading rifle, a Browning BAR .270, requiring small base dies. The rest have worked just fine with standard full-length dies, and they also worked in the Bushmaster. Redding Competition Dies made precise ammo that functioned perfectly.

For several years my standard loads for prairie dog shooting with the .223 have used Ramshot TAC or Hodgdon Benchmark, and 40- or 50-grain Hornady V-Max or Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets. Both TAC and Benchmark are modern, small-grain powders that not only meter very well but burn cleanly. The plastic-tipped bullets cost a little more than tradition soft- or hollowpoint varmint bullets, but they fly noticeably flatter and open a lot easier, greatly extending the range of moderate-power cartridges like the .223.

I went ahead and tried my "standard" .223 loads in the Bushmaster. Both grouped well under an inch at 100 yards.

Rigid steel receiver


Exceptional Performance and Reliability!

Mini Red Dot Sight included

Rigid steel receiver


Mini Red Dot Sight included

Varmint Upper Reciever For Bushmaster

Full length gas piston m$k.

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The SIG556 rifle delivers unmatched reliability with virtually no cleaning or maintenance. At the very core of SIG556 is a stainless steel upper housing that completely encloses a hardened steel monoblock. Threaded to a cold hammer forged barrel, this unique design provides an ultra rigid platform delivering unparalleled accuracy and performance. Gas volume is regulated by a two position valve that practically eliminates carbon build-up and firing residue, insuring reliable function under the most extreme conditions.

Desert Eagle Buttstock


Folding buttstock

for portability and


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