Bushmaster Firearms International
|Headquarters||Madison, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Jim Marcotuli (CEO)|
|Owner||Franklin Armory Holdings Inc.|
Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, based in Madison, North Carolina, United States, is an American manufacturer and distributor of firearms. The company's product line revolves around semi-automatic pistol and rifle variants of the M4/AR-15 design.
Bushmaster was the successor of Gwinn Firearms founded by Mack Gwinn, Jr upon his return from the Vietnam War. Bushmaster Firearms was located in Bangor, Maine, that went bankrupt and was purchased by Richard Dyke in 1976 and moved to Windham, Maine. According to a Maine newspaper, it was later sold by Dyke to Cerberus while Krause Publications says it was first acquired by Quality Products Company, in 1990.
In 2002, Bushmaster and a Bushmaster dealer were the subject of a civil lawsuit brought by two survivors and six families of victims of the October 2002 D.C. sniper attacks which resulted in the deaths of ten and injures to three people. On September 8, 2004 Bushmaster agreed to pay $550,000 of a $2.5 million settlement in the lawsuit and Bull's Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma, Washington, the Bushmaster dealer from whom one of the perpetrators said he had shoplifted the rifle, paid $2 million. The company cited mounting legal fees and compassion for the victims and their families as the reason for settling.
Dyke sold the business in 2006 for 70 million dollars to Cerberus Capital Management. The company became part of the Freedom Group, owned by Cerberus Capital Management, in April 2006. In December 2010, Freedom Group announced that operations at the Windham, Maine, facility would cease as of March 2011. Windham Weaponry was founded by the former Bushmaster owners in 2011 in Windham, ME in order "to put Maine people back to work who lost their jobs" when Bushmaster moved out of state in March 2011.
In December 2012, Cerberus Capital Management announced its intention to sell Bushmaster's parent company, Freedom Group. In a press release, Cerberus stated that they would "retain a financial advisor to design and execute a process to sell [their] interests in Freedom Group" (Freedom includes the former Bushmaster company). Cerberus indicated that the decision to sell the company stemmed from publicity surrounding the use of a Bushmaster rifle in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. According to the company: "It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level."
Cerberus announced in late 2013 that it had failed to deliver on its promise to divest itself of the Freedom Arms group and has come up with a plan to buy out some Cerberus investors. Those who chose to give up their shares would get paid off by an unidentified lender.
In January 2020, parent entity, Remington Outdoor Company, announced that it would be focusing operations on its core hunting and shooting brands: AAC, Barnes, Remington, and Marlin. It also announced that as a result, Bushmaster, TAPCO, DPMS, and StormLake Barrels would no longer be produced.
Bushmaster's firearms, such as the XM-15 line, are typically offered in a 5.56 NATO chambering with forged aircraft-grade (7075-T6) aluminum receivers. Most Bushmaster barrels are 4150 steel, offered in 1:9 twist rate, and chrome-lined to increase durability. Some barrels are available with 1:7 rifling, on special order. Stainless steel or chrome molybdenum barrels are available on certain models. Their name is not related to the Bushmaster autocannon. Bushmaster Firearms originally produced their 'First Generation' rifle using an aluminum lower receiver paired to a stamped steel upper receiver. This first generation model used the AK-47 gas system and the recoil spring is located within the upper barrel gas system as compared to the AR-15/M-16, where the recoil spring is located within the butt stock. Originally marketed for police and the military, Bushmaster later changed its unique hybrid version AR-15/M-16 to the standard Colt/Armalite design. The First Generation rifles were chambered for the 5.56mm round. Bushmaster First Generation rifles are very rare and are collectables.
In late January 2008, it was announced that Bushmaster had signed a licensing deal with Magpul, granting Bushmaster the rights to produce and distribute Magpul's Masada rifle, renamed the Bushmaster ACR. According to the company in 2010, Bushmaster began making the ACR available to the civilian market, posting it on its website.
Carbon 15 is a lightweight AR15 available as rifles or pistols. It saves weight by using polymer instead of the traditional steel or aluminum in the upper and lower receivers. Some models also remove the forward assist and the dust cover, and use a thinner barrel design to save additional weight.
The Bushmaster Dissipator combines a longer sight radius with a shorter barrel to allow more effective use of the iron sights. Similar modifications sometimes suffer from reliability problems due to the close proximity of the gas port to the muzzle, which throws the timing of the weapon's gas system off and makes it more sensitive to gas port diameter and port pressure variables introduced by the ammunition. Bushmaster's solution was to use a low-profile gas block in the normal position for carbine-length barrels and fit the front sight tower/gas block, which is not connected to the gas system, further forward to create the longer sight radius.
The Bushmaster Arm Pistol was produced from 1977 to 1990. The Bushmaster M17S is a semi-automatic bullpup rifle that was manufactured by Bushmaster from 1992 until 2005. The BAR-10 was meant to compete in the .308 market against Armalite's AR-10 series rifles and Springfield Armory's M1A Rifle by offering a .308 rifle that could accept the relatively inexpensive metric and inch pattern FN FAL magazines. In 2005 Bushmaster discontinued the BAR-10 line of rifles.
- Singer, Natasha (November 26, 2011). "How Freedom Group Became the Big Shot". The New York Times. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
- John Walter (25 March 2006). Rifles of the World. Krause Publications. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-0-89689-241-5. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- Butterfield, Fox (September 10, 2004). "Sniper Victims in Settlement With Gun Maker and Dealer". The New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
- Jackman, Tom (September 10, 2004). "Gunmaker, Store Agree To Payout in Sniper Case". The Washington Post. p. 1. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
- Manning, Stephen (September 10, 2004). "Families of sniper victims reach settlement". The Washington Times. Associated Press. Retrieved April 18, 2007.
- Balentine, John (April 21, 2006). "Dyke sells Bushmaster Firearms". Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- "Bushmaster closing facility in Windham". Wlbz2.com. 2010-12-10. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
- Hall, Jessica. "Owner seeks to sell rifle maker Bushmaster" Portland Press Herald December 18, 2012.
- "Cerberus to sell gunmaker after massacre". CNN. December 18, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- "Cerberus Capital Management Statement Regarding Freedom Group, Inc". Prnewswire.com. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
- Reaction to Newtown Shootings Spreads to Corporate America The New York Times - December 18, 2012.
- Foley, Stephen (2013-12-09). "Cerberus offers investors way out of gunmaker Freedom Group". FT.com. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
- "Bushmaster Firearms: Press release". Bushmaster.com. Archived from the original on 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-02-01.