It has been several years since I first wrote
then-new Varminter AR-15 rifle. I received one of the
first ones built, and it proved to be everything that I ever
wanted in an AR-15 varmint gun. The trigger pull was great, and
the accuracy outstanding. I liked it enough to send a check to
Bushmaster instead of their rifle back.
Since then, I have received emails from numerous
readers who have read the review, purchased the Varminter, and
found it to be everything that I said it was.
With the Varminter, Bushmaster got everything
just right. It is well-balanced with a heavy, but not too heavy,
twenty-four inch barrel. Most AR builders get their varmint
hunting rifles too heavy. The Varminter is not. Another feature
that I love is that it does not have a chrome-lined bore. If I
was using the rifle for social work in a remote South American
jungle, I might want a chrome-lined bore, but I am not, and do
not. The Varminter is all about accuracy. If chrome-lined
bores were more accurate, every bench rest and Olympic target
rifle would have a chrome-lined bore. They do not. Thankfully,
Bushmaster realizes this fact. I wish that others would also.
The Varminter trigger is adjustable, and is an excellent unit
for accurate target and hunting work. I detest a heavy trigger
pull on a hunting rifle. I like the trigger on my Varminter. It
is a two-stage unit, and works very well. Without going into
every detail of the Varminter, I refer the reader to that
The rifle featured here is, basically, a
Varminter with a shorter barrel. Some hunters prefer a shorter
tube, and this new Predator has a twenty-inch barrel that is,
thankfully, the same profile as the Varminter. It is
free-floated in the aluminum handguard, and fluted to promote
quicker cooling, reduce weight, and just plain look good.
Bushmaster also gave the Predator a rifling twist on one turn in
eight inches, instead of the one-in-nine of the Varminter, to
better stabilize long, heavy bullets. I am also thankful
that the handguard of the Predator and Varminter rifles are not
cluttered with chunks of Picatinny rail all over it. The
Predator comes with no sights, but a flattop Picatinny rail
makes mounting a good hunting scope easy. The shorter barrel
makes the Predator handier than the Varminter to maneuver in
brush or woods, and it results in only a marginal loss of
velocity compared to the Varminterís twenty-four inch barrel.
The Predator weighs in on my scale at 7 pounds 14.7 ounces.
The overall length is 38.25 inches, and the trigger pull
releases cleanly at 4 pounds 1 ounce. Most of the trigger pull
weight is in the take-up, making the actual release feel much
lighter. It is a good trigger.
The finish on this camo Predator sets it apart
from the standard Predator. The receiver, stock, pistol grip,
and forend are all camouflaged in a very effective pattern for
varmint hunting in various terrain. The steel parts such as the
barrel and gas block are a matte black. Overall, it is a very
unique and good-looking rifle.
I mounted a Leupold 8.5 to 25 power Mark
4 scope atop the Predator using Leupold rings, and it made for a
very effective and accurate package. The optics are superb, and
clearly seeing the target was easy to do. I fired the Predator
using a variety of ammunition, and accuracy was very good,
ranging from just over an inch with Lake City ball, down
to just over one-quarter inch with Winchester Supreme 55
grain Ballistic Silvertip, as can be seen in the picture. That
Winchester load would duplicate that group all day long in that
Thereís not a lot more to say about the
Predator that I have not already said about the Varminter. The
camo finish on this Predator makes for a very good-looking
rifle, and the four inches shorter barrel makes the Predator a
little handier than my Varminter. I love my Varminter, but if
there has ever been a .223 rifle that just might could take its
place, this new Predator would be it. There are many good AR-15
rifles now on the market, and choosing one out of the many can
be difficult. This Bushmaster Predator excels in so many ways,
it is easily one of the better choices. If you want to hang a
lot of flashlights, lasers, flip-up sights, particle beams, and
other gear on your rifle, there are better choices.
However, if you want a superbly accurate,
perfectly balanced, good-looking AR with a great trigger, the
Bushmaster Predator might be your best bet.
Check out the Predator and other Bushmaster
products online at www.bushmaster.com.
For the location of a Bushmaster dealer near
you, click on the DEALER FINDER icon at www.lipseys.com.
|For a list of dealers where you can
buy this gun, go to:
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