It’s been around for a while and has received a bit of a tepid reception over the years, but the Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle is a good option for shooters looking for a piston-driven AR variant.
The rifle was designed in collaboration with Magpul Dynamics several years ago when the company built what they considered the perfect AR. Dubbed the Magpul Masada, the rifle’s main selling point was the fact that it enabled the user to quickly switch between calibers and barrel lengths using a quick change lever that reportedly held its zero going from one chambering to another. The bolt and carrier group is housed as one component that easily slides out for caliber changes as well.
Not long after the Masada was launched, the design was purchased by Remington/Bushmaster and launched onto the market as the Adaptive Combat Rifle, or ACR. Remington makes the military and police version and Bushmaster makes the civilian version.
Maybe one of the reasons it didn’t catch on was the price. At an MSRP of $2,343, the ACR was was not an insignificant investment for a shooter and since Remington/Bushmaster launched the rifle without any of its caliber conversion goodness, many customers wondered what the big deal was. The rifle also came out about the same time as the FN SCAR, and though some reviewers have weighed in on both, more people may have flocked to the SCAR given its special operation lineage.
No matter the background, the Bushmaster ACR is really a great rifle. It performed well on our tests, with hundreds of rounds through it in tough conditions. We never cleaned it, never babied it and tortured the heck out of it and it kept going and going. It felt good in the hand and was fun to shoot.
Of course direct impingement ARs far outnumber piston ones (and carry a much lighter price tag), so most consumers are going to default to the lighter, cheaper design. But if you’ve got clients who want a piston gun that handles suppressed fire better and gobbles up whatever ammo comes its way without a hiccup, it’s worth considering the Bushmaster ACR as a solid option.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A YouTube viewer corrected me regarding the availability of aftermarket triggers. The Bushmaster ACR does take aftermarket triggers and this viewer says he runs Geissele triggers on his ACR.