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Which parts on my Bushmaster are most likely to break?

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by Dizzy Beaver, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Dizzy Beaver

    Dizzy Beaver

    Jan 27, 2013
    I owned a 20" Bushmaster with an A2 upper in the late 90s. It shot everything I put through it and was a great rifle. I ended up selling it and bought a new 16" Bushmaster with A3 upper in early 2009.

    Back in the 90s when I did my research, Bushmaster seemed like a quality gun, especially for the price. I neglected to do my research when buying the most recent 16", assuming (my fault) that Bushmaster was one of the better brands. Now that I'm doing some reading, I realize that there are a lot of brands that are much better quality out there.

    Now, I really like my Bushmaster - it shoots great and has been reliable, though I only have about 500 rounds through it and none of that is 5.56 (all .223 soft point). From what I've read, under heavy use the internal parts have a tendency to break as the rifle just isn't mil spec.

    My questions are:

    1.) What parts are most likely to break, especially if I do a lot of shooting of 5.56? I'll probably want to get some spares of these parts.
    2.) Are there parts that should be replaced up front because they're just not all that reliable? Any "fragile" parts that might break from a lot of use or if it gets dropped?

    Thank you for any help you can provide. :)
  2. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005

    Chances are you will never need any of it. I am not a big fan of Freedom Group, and have good reason not to be. I have personally experienced their lousy customer service twice.

    However, I have shot quite a few Bushmasters and never seen a problem with them.

    Edited to add:

    Sorry, didn't realize it was out of stock when I posted the link, but you get the idea atleast.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

  3. WinterWizard


    Jan 17, 2012
    Regardless of the "quality" of your rifle or the mil-spec-ness of it's materials, one should keep a few things on hand. And extra bolt (complete with extractor, extractor spring and gas rings), a cam pin (bolt is probably the most common part to break). And perhaps a spare spring kit, including at least one firing pin retainer spring (more likely to get lost than break).

    Don't fall for the hype that if your gun is not one of the "top-tier" ARs, that it will crack into a thousand pieces under heavy use or only last half as long. Pure horsecrap. If you have 500 trouble-free rounds through your rifle, then it sounds like you got a good one and you can rest easier.

    Good luck finding any spare parts right now, though. If you hadn't noticed, the sporting rifle world is upside down right now and getting parts, complete guns or ammunition is about as easy as finding gold. Good luck.
  4. bmoore


    Jan 15, 2006
    Under a regime.
    I would keep some good quality mags around, buy a full auto BCG like BCM, LMT or Daniel defense(challenging right now). Keep your bushy BCG as a backup, maybe drop an H buffer in it and keep on rocking. Or just shoot it, but trying to buy AR parts after they break is not a good idea right now. If you can, have some things on hand to fix/replace.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  5. yellowhand


    Feb 1, 2012
    When it gets back to normal,
    All of the parts that go into the bolt, gas rings wear out, ejector and springs break, wear out, a gas key and NEW screws, complete spring kit, complete pin kit, they get lost in the carpet or grass, and a complete lower parts kit and a buffer.
    Should keep your weapon running for 10,000 plus rounds, enjoy.
    Or just buy an AK and carry no spares:rofl:
  6. LA_357SIG

    LA_357SIG Milspectacular

    Aug 28, 2006
    Not Los Angeles.
    You may find some good info in this thread.

    This is more along the lines of surviving a carbine class, but it may or may not give you some ideas on dealing with heavy usage.
  7. Dizzy Beaver

    Dizzy Beaver

    Jan 27, 2013
    Thanks for the suggestions. I had a spare bolt for my previous Bushy, but I fear that I left it inside the stock when I sold it (bangs head on desk). I'll keep an eye out for a BCM or DD BCG. They're understandably both out of stock at the moment.
  8. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    Rather than worrying about parts breaking you should worry about losing parts. I saw WAY more guns in the Army go down for lost parts than for parts breaking (though that happens as well) Think small springs, pins and detentes... Easy and relatively inexpensive to stock spares....
  9. DrtyHarry


    Sep 26, 2007
    Replace everything but the magazine. LOL.

    Honestly, I have a few friends with Bushmasters....I don't own one. But, from what I see and what they tell long as you keep it clean and LUBRICATED, I wouldn't replace anything. If you want more out of the rifle, buy a new upper from Noveske, LaRue, Knights, DD, etc...IMHO.

  10. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005
    Whenever the madness settle down I'd grab a new bolt. Carpenter 158, HPT/MPI. Check the staking on the gas key and castle nut, and stake them yourself if necessary. Run the bolt wet. Get a set of all pins and a set of all springs, gas rings, cam pin, firing pin. This is as much for losing parts, or damaging something when tinkering with it, as anything. Extractor and spring as mentioned above.

    If you've only put 500 rounds through it in 4 years then unless you plan to change the way you use it I doubt you'll have much to worry about.
  11. NEOH212

    NEOH212 Diesel Girl

    Mar 25, 2008
    North East Ohio
    I've had a fair number of Bushmasters and other AR's over the years and I haven't ever had a major failure of any kind. I've put tens of thousands of rounds through those rifles.

    Parts breakage is rare and yes, even with how lousy some tote Bushmasters to be.

    I've had gas rings wear out and I had a extractor break (on a Colt of all things!) but I haven't had any major failures that weren't readily repairable.

    I've lost more parts than I've ever had break. All the AR's I've had were far more durable and reliable than what some people claim they should be, and not all of them were Colts! :tongueout:

    The OP would do well to get a small parts kit and a spare complete bolt to keep on hand. A couple extra sets of gas rings and extractor springs would hurt either. Lastly, a few spare magazine springs and followers are probably a good idea.

    It takes a long time to wear out a mag spring but it does happen if you use that mag a lot.
  12. Cole125

    Cole125 Silver Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Far West, USA
    If your rifle has worked for 500 rounds that means you got a good one and should be fine.

    When they are available again, I would replace the bolt carrier group with a BCM and keep the old one as a spare. Having a quality bolt carrier will lesson the chances of failure.
  13. Deployment Solu

    Deployment Solu Kydex Crafter

    Jul 18, 2007
  14. TunaFisherman

    TunaFisherman Halibut Hunter

    Dec 10, 2009
    West of the East coast
    Break? Maybe wear out or loosen up. Buy a lower parts kit, and a spare spring kit. I keep spare Bolts and firing pins. Never replaced anything yet on my rifles but a couple dropped and lost springs.
  15. wespen125


    Feb 6, 2009
    I had my magazine catch break on my bushmaster. Slammed home the mag, gave it a tug and out it came along with the mag catch. Called bushmaster and had a new one within a couple days. So ya might think about that as well.
  16. DAIadvisor


    Apr 24, 2004
    Kettering, OH
    I had my Bushy for over 10 years and nothing ever broke. Had a key on a bolt carrier loosen up once, and that was the extent of the issues. Otherwise a perfect rifle. Manufacturer will always have spares, but if you're concerned get a spare lower parts kit. Maybe another firing pin and some springs. That's the only thing I can see going bad.
  17. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    I seem to remember a test Luckyguner did with 4 Bushmaster carbines running steel vs. brass ammo....It appears that nothing broke in 10K rounds, but one gun needed to have the barrel tightened.

    As far as parts breakage, that doesn't seem to be an issue for most people. Yes, there is the odd occasion or event, but if you ran a questionnaire and everyone was honest....most people just don't shoot enough and the parts are good enough if they fit to run for as long as the shooter wants them to. The durability of firearms is one of the issues with the industry. If they broke like cars every couple years...there would be a lot more manufacturers and dealers.

    The best backup to a rifle is another rifle.
  18. conpro


    Mar 21, 2009
    All of them. The best back up is an AK.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  19. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005
    How many rounds?
  20. jay1975

    jay1975 Ultra Master

    Feb 3, 2012
    Just keep a spare extractor pin, firing pin retaining pin and keep her clean. No worries about breaking, just losing small parts.

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