Unveiled: Bushmaster ORC .308

Note: any technical terms I use in the following is strictly used on a "book knowledge" basis.  This is my first AR style rifle, and indeed could be argued to be my first Evil Black Rifle of any sort. I am most definitely a neophyte when it comes to these things, and I welcome anyone with more/other knowledge to share.

As some of you may have guessed/put together the pieces for, the rifle I ordered via Davidson's (great service, by the way, everything worked wonderfully, three days and it was here) was a Bushmaster ORC (or "optics ready carbine"--which means "we are keeping it low cost and not even putting on iron sights") in .308 Winchester. It comes with a 16" barrel w/A2 flash hider, a bit of nylon strapping, a couple of rail risers, one 20 rd magazine, and a rather ridiculously oversized hard plastic case.

Thoughts and observations:  The handguard feels a little sloppy; reading around on teh interwebs this seems to be how it is.  It appears that it is easy enough to come by aftermarket handguards, however, with some reporting success with using the MagPul MOE, which I don't think is specifically made for the 308 AR's.  I would, however, like some more rail somewhere for mounting some iron sights out front--perhaps changing the gas block to one with a rail built in, or a gas block with the sights built in?

I have also been reading that, as Bushmaster is part of the Freedom Group, their guns are made by DPMS.  Indeed, though it says "Made in Windham Maine" on the side (despite Bushmaster relocating), it also says "Mod: LR-308", the name DPMS uses for their AR-10 style rifles.  I am not sure what those two things together are telling me, but I am assured by the internet that the Bushmaster can use anything made for the DPMS style guns.  Such as some o' those slick MagPul PMags, a major consideration for me.

Some day I think I would like to get a longer barrel, however the 16" does feel rather handy, and the gun comes to the shoulder nice.  Perhaps I am going to start diving into the madness of having multiple builds of rifles... not that I could afford that, right now. 

However, the very first thing I need to do is get some optics of some sort.  Since it is a carbine, was sort of thinking about a red dot... but since it is a .308, was thinking of an actual-by-golly rifle scope.  This is probably the area that I would welcome the most suggestions.  Would like to keep it somewhat reasonable for my bank account, $300 at the very most--for now anyway.

Looking out there at the myriad of aftermarket parts and gidgey-gadgets has made me almost giddy looking forward to taking it all apart and putting it back together again.  Better faster stronger, right?

I've been wanting a 308 "Battle Rifle" (though not sure if a carbine counts for that or not) for some time, and between saving up for it a little bit at a time over the past 6 months, Christmastime coming, a nice deal from Davidson's, and the way the economy seems to be shedding parts as it careens towards the ground, now seemed to be the ideal occasion. It may not have all the features, and it will require more money to get to where I want it, but this way I at least have my foot in the door. Oh, and I also bought this rifle to learn reloading with--when Mr. R offered to bring down an extra press the next time he comes through town that he just has lying around and that "is nicer than the one your dad had here," who am I to refuse?

And lastly, for doubletrouble, who really wanted a pittcher last night, this is the best I could do:

P.S. FCC FTC FAA FGH FAC F ET AL.: You'd think you guys would get the idea that blogger write about stuff for the simple reason they like to show off their cool toys, not because there is some sort of grand conspiracy of being bought out by the companies who make the products they write about.  But, I guess not.  Go soak your fat heads.

Added: Link to what was done next.


Butch Cassidy said...

Do you want irons as a back up, or a regular sighting system?

For optics, what do you plan to use the rifle for? Range toy? Actual working gun? If so: vermin, defending the homestead for ne'r do wells?

If cash is tight, I would honestly start at a good hand-guard, a set of decent BUIS, and a few Pmags. Then you could at least get a feel for the gun and better decide what you want in an optic more exactly. A loose/sloppy/doesn't-feel-comfy hand-guard is a waste of a scope, in my opinion.

Also, 7.62x51mm was designed with a 20" barrel in mind. The average shooter won't notice the loss of performance in a 16 inch, but the added ease of handling will be noticed.

Nice rifle, by the way.

Butch Cassidy said...

Forgot to mention: Add a good sling to the list of things to get right after hand-guard, sights, and mags. Unless you actually like the one it came with.

bluesun said...

Iron: Backup, I think. Though there is nothing stopping me from using them at longer ranges, I suppose.

Use: Sport Utility Rifle. I don't see why a gun set up for varmints/bad guys couldn't be used as a range toy, too.

Oh, and just so I make sure I was clear, the handguard doesn't have any rails on it.

The sling it came with hardly counts, it's just a single strap of nylon webbing with two double-feed fasteners. It would be easy enough to take the green cotton GI sling off the 10/22 and put it on this gun, though.

doubletrouble said...

Check out Optics Planet for scopes; their prices are pretty good, but the selection is huge. I've been hearing a lot of good stuff about the new Redfields, made in Oregon.
I'm not an AR kinda guy, so I can't help there, but Butch knows that stuff, I'm thinking. Shoot(!) Jay G. @ Marooned an email; I'm sure he'd be happy to help and/or solicit help from his readers.
Nice rifle, congrats.
AND, thanks for the pittcher- wiseass...;^)

Linoge said...

Big fan of the Millet DMS line, especially for their affordability.

That said, nice rifle, and I just have to love the name...

bluesun said...

Redfields, Millet. To the interwebz!

Anonymous said...

I can personally attest that MOE handgaurds and stocks are pretty comfy, but since you have an AR-10 variant you might want to go with a stock with a more solid lockup.
In terms of slings, I like my VTac sling, it's very quickly adjustable and I just like 2 point slings.

Lokidude said...

Magpul is your friend. I absolutely love my MOE handguards (on a .30 cal AR-15, they work fine). Magpul MBUS sights are as good as any other "irons" I've seen, at least to my bad eyes. And you already know about PMAGS.

As for optics, I like my Vortex Strikefire, out to about 100 or so. If I had the 3x magnifier for it, I could probably make 200. If you want a standard scope, you'd be hard-pressed to beat a Burris Fullfield for the money.

Oh, and nice rifle!

Matt W said...

I love my Bushmaster ORC AR-15. It is definitely a basic AR and I have upgraded some parts like the pistol grip and the handguard. I am interested to see how you like the AR-10 version. I have been wanting an AR chambered 7.62 for awhile now.

bluesun said...

Anon: I've been reading of people putting the MOE stock on the ORC, and they are all saying that it is very tight, sometimes even needing a bit of dremel work.

Loki: I've been looking at that Stikefire, and it looks kinda nice. Cheaper even than what I've been able to find irons for, but not so cheap that you hear tons of horror stories. I've some friends who swear by Vortex--that may be a good place to start.

Matt: I'll try to keep everyone appraised of the situation as it progresses!

Wally said...

Stock AR handguards are not exactly firmly located in place. Be sure your replacement is a "free float" and not a "drop in". A drop in will give you the rails, but not necessarily any more secure mounting, which is really useless if you mount a sight to the rail.

As to the town listed on the receiver, it's an old receiver...

Sorry I cant give you much insight on the optics needs - but I will say that you want to pay attention when getting irons. I am certain on the Armalite-platform AR10, the difference in height between the sight bases is 0.1" different than on the AR15. Running AR15 sights would give you a significant issue with elevation adjustment .

bluesun said...

I think that's why DPMS lowered the rail on their receivers.

alcade said...

Sounds like a great gun!

I don't have an AR-10 (I've got an SR556), but I really like my Troy folding iron sights. I dunno how expensive they are, they came standard on the gun.

I'm like you, in that I primarily use mine as a plinker but see no reason not to use it as a "social" gun. In that regard, I bought a riser and attached a 4-12x Redfield scope, which I think has excellent quality for the price and it's American made. When I'm done target shooting, I simply detach the riser (with attached scope) and I'm back to short range business with the irons. (Will be getting a red dot or something later.)

Maybe that is something that would suit you well?

My rail covers jiggle around a bit as well. At first I thought it would annoy me, but I got used to it.

Kristopher said...

A sloppy fore-stocks say to me that the gas block was pinned in place a hair too far out.

You may be able to tighten it by pulling the gas block, and put a shim washer on the barrel just inside that block.

Anonymous said...

@bluesun: by less solid lockup I mean that the MOE stock rattles just a bit when locked into place.
That's why the higher end stocks have friction locks as well as locking into the standard divets on the buffer tube.
It's not a big problem, just something to think about.

bluesun said...

alcade: That is exactly what I am thinking about doing, eventually, at least.

Kristopher: all the reading I've done indicates that this is just the way the stock handguard (which is essentially a snap on part) is on the ORC.

Anon: I think I'm going to try the magpul for now and save up for a railed handguard. Or maybe just try the railed gas block. It's not like I need another four feet of rails...

Blue said...

You can always add Magpul rails to a MOE handguard.

Nice rifle. :)

bluesun said...

I haven't been able to find if you can add a rail to the very top of the Magpul MOE handguard or not... if you can that would be pretty nice.

Lokidude said...

The MOE guards can mount rails at roughly 10, 2, and 6 o'clock.

bluesun said...

So more for lights and things than sights.

Lokidude said...

Yup. I'd replace the gas block, either with one with a fixed sight, or a railed unit you can put a sight on.