Bushmaster Firearms International
|Parent||Cerberus Capital Management|
Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, was an American firearm manufacturer and distributor. The company's product line revolved around semi-automatic pistol and rifle variants of the M4/AR-15 design. The company is currently defunct; it merged with Cerberus Capital Management on July 1, 2011.
Bushmaster was the successor of Gwinn Firearms, founded by Mack Gwinn, Jr upon his return from the Vietnam War. Bushmaster Firearms was initially located in Bangor, Maine. It went bankrupt, was purchased by Richard Dyke in 1976, and moved to Windham, Maine. According to a Maine newspaper, Dyke later sold Bushmaster to Cerberus, while Krause Publications reports that Quality Products Company first acquired it in 1990.
In 2002, Bushmaster and a Bushmaster dealer were the subjects 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 injuries 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 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 "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 successor 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 merged with 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 divest itself of the Freedom Arms group and planned to buy out some Cerberus investors. Those who chose to give up their shares would be paid by an unidentified lender.
In January 2020, the parent entity, Remington Outdoor Company, announced that it would focus operations on its core hunting and shooting brands: AAC, Barnes, Remington, and Marlin. It also announced that it would no longer produce Bushmaster, TAPCO, DPMS, and StormLake Barrels.
In August 2021, Bushmaster Firearms Industries, Inc. revived the brand name with a new business headquartered in Carson City, NV. The new Bushmaster business revived XM15-E2S, 450 Bushmasters, ACR, and BA50 brands.
Bushmaster's firearms, such as the XM-15 line, were offered in a 5.56 NATO chambering with forged aircraft-grade (7075-T6) aluminum receivers. Most Bushmaster barrels were 4150 steel, offered in 1:9 twist rate, and chrome-lined to increase durability. Some barrels were available with 1:7 rifling on special order. Stainless steel or chrome molybdenum barrels were available on certain models. Their name was not related to the Bushmaster autocannon. Bushmaster Firearms originally produced their 'First Generation' rifle using an aluminum lower receiver and a stamped steel upper receiver. This first-generation model used the AK-47 gas system. The recoil spring was within the upper barrel gas system compared to the AR-15/M-16, where the recoil spring is 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. Bushmaster chambered the First Generation rifles for the 5.56mm round. Bushmaster First Generation rifles are scarce and collectible.
In late January 2008, Bushmaster signed a licensing deal with Magpul, granting Bushmaster the right 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 was a lightweight AR15 available as rifles or pistols. It saved weight by using polymer in the upper and lower receivers. Some models also removed the forward assist and the dust cover and used a thinner barrel design to save weight.
The Bushmaster Dissipator combined a longer sight radius with a shorter barrel to allow more effective use of the iron sights. Similar modifications sometimes suffered from reliability problems due to the proximity of the gas port to the muzzle, which threw the timing of the weapon's gas system off and made 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 was not connected to the gas system, further forward to create a longer sight radius.
Bushmaster produced the Bushmaster Arm Pistol from 1977 to 1990. The Bushmaster M17S was 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.
- "Is Remington Leaving the MSR Market? DPMS, Bushmaster and TAPCO Sites are Shuttered - The Truth About Guns". www.thetruthaboutguns.com. Archived from the original on 2020-02-18.
- https://cdn0.thetruthaboutguns.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/27092020123649821_1231_20202709124853872.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- "Bushmaster Firearms is Back!". AmmoLand.com. 2021-08-04. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
- "Bushmaster Firearms: Press release". Bushmaster.com. Archived from the original on 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-02-01.