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.