Those of us who have been in the shooting business long enough certainly remember when the only ARs worth buying were made by Colt and Bushmaster. A lot has changed since then; the AR has a ubiquitous presence in the gun world. It is manufactured in scores of configurations by countless vendors.
When Bushmaster was sold to a large conglomerate, their new owners eventually shut down their old factory in Maine putting a lot of hard working people out on the street. With his non compete clause running out, the former owner bought his manufacturing equipment and hired his old people back forming Windham Weaponry. How is that for inspiring? That’s what makes Windham Unique. While it’s a new name; the heart of the company, its employes, have been around. Rather then having to deal with new personnel and the associated learning curve, Windham is staffed by experienced and eager Americans who are happy to be back at work. Take a look at the staff, its a who’s who of the people that made the original Bushmaster great.
Our test rifle (part number: R16M4FPT-NY) is a ban compliant, flat top model that was purchased through a commercial vendor by one of my friends. No cherry picking here. In fact, I hadn’t planned on reviewing it, but was so compelled by the story and inherent quality, that I whipped out my iPhone and started taking pictures.
This is a stock rifle, right out of the box. My initial impression matched that of the dealer who sold it- the cleanest AR either of us have seen out of the box. The fit and finish for this type of rifle are superb. To quote the dealer: “they stole the good looking AR award from Rock River. They are obviously really happy to be back at work making rifles and it shows”. I couldn’t agree more.
Take the gas block. In this case, it is equipped with a picitinny rail that is the same height as the flat top upper; it is a work of art. Absolutely flawless. Everything, even the way the roll pin is set, is perfect.
The gas key is incredibly well staked as well, you cannot help but be impressed. Worthy of note to those of you that reside in states that still have the assault weapon ban; the compliant muzzle brake on the end of the chrome lined barrel is pretty cool looking.
We equipped it with a set of Micro Troy BUIS and VTAC sling and headed to the range with a few hundred rounds of M193. First up was zeroing at 25-yards; windage was perfect and POI a little low- so far, so good. We pushed our 5-circle target back to 50, got prone and fired 5- more. 1″ low, windage was perfect. That’s right; with mechanically zeroed sights, the rifle is basically dead on out of the box.
Since we forgot our sight tools, we quickly decided that fighting with the tip of the round to adjust POI on the front sight wasn’t worth the time and got to shooting. The rifle ran flawlessly for its new owner. At the 150 round mark I grabbed the gun and began shooting CSAT Standards from 50-yards in. Everything worked as advertised. The mini Troy BUIS were lower then I liked, but they worked well. From low-ready (we keep muzzle below the belt, safety engaged, eyes on CSAT target, I was putting 2-rounds in the center box in .79-82 seconds at 7-yards (CSAT Standards 1 and 2). I had a personal best on standard-3: 5 to the body (inside the CSAT scoring zone) and 1 to the head with a time of 1.81 seconds.
In summary: it is a very well-built rifle with a transferable lifetime warranty. It’s from a company with an inspiring story and it functions well. All of this for a reasonable price… what more could you ask for?