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The Truth About Guns has been investigating the Bushmaster ACR recall. As you know, a small number of examples were going fully auto. According to Bushmaster customer service, the rifle’s firing pin was the problem. “It was too heavy for certain types of ammo where the primer stood proud,” the agent told us. “We’re putting in a lighter pin and a stronger spring at no charge to the customer. Our current turnaround is two weeks.” So, the question is this: why didn’t Bushmaster test the ACR with all types of ammo before they sold the gun? The answer may be simple enough . . .

The ACR was a military-spec weapon first, a civilian gun second. In the Cerberus era, where cost cutting is king, what’s the bet they skipped that ammo testing part of the process? And here’s something else we noticed . . .

Check out the image of the firing pin above and this one from the manual [click here to download the pdf, page 29].

Notice that these firing pins have a little “shelf” at the top. Presumably, that would stop the pin from releasing forwards after firing, preventing the gun from going full auto, no matter what the ammo.

An ACR owner tells me their pin (from a gun well along the production run) was shelfless. (If anyone has an image, please send it to [email protected]).¬†What happened? Why the change? What type of pin does the military spec ACR use, and when did it use it?

More to the point, I’d like to see some proof that a lighter firing pin—rather than a return to the original design—is the answer to this problem.

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  1. In all fairness to Cerberus and Bushmaster, gun recalls in the last few years have become all too common. There was the Sig P238 "Mandatory Safety Upgrade" because the safeties didn't work. The Ruger LCPs and SR9s were recalled because — whoopsie-daisy — they might fire when dropped . The tried and true Walther PPK and PPK/S were recalled because of a major convenience built into the pistols — you didn't actually have to pull their triggers to make them go bang. Glock had a problem with cracked frames. How that for "perfection?" There was a recall on Colt 1911s. I lost track of all the S&W recalls, and so on and on. It's seems like there is an industry epidemic of substandard engineering, manufacture, or both, by the finest gun manufacturers in the world.

    In the immortal words of Vice Lombardi, "what the hell is going on here?" Whatever it is, I don't like it

  2. I'm not sure it's possible to test with every brand/model of ammo in existance, or to know in advance who's going to be using tall primers two years from now.

    The issue is being handled professionally, lets let things run their course.

  3. I am in the last moments before I buy my first AR. I was looking at the ACR, ( Bushmaster),, LWRC M6A2,, adn the SCAR 16, ( FNH usa) What do you think is the best for the money.

    • I have a bushmaster carbine model and fired a lot of ammo through it with no problem save for the ammo. I found out why I got such a deal on Wolf ammo. After firing about 400 rounds in a four hour period, the build-up from the lacquer case coating (Wolf ammo that I got was steel case with lacquer finish) combined with the fouling ended up causing a hot round to stick in the chamber. I did get it out and spent hours cleaning the weapon out. However I have found it to be very reliable and besides that issue, it has fired all ammo I sent through it (Federal, Remington, UMC, American Eagle, Wolf, Federal Lake Arsenal). There are many good companies out there but I can only speak to the experience I have had with my Bushmaster. I know other folks that have them too and love them. BTW, my Sig P238 had many problems following the firing of a Corbon round. However, I sent it back to them and in less than two weeks it was back with many upgrades and shoots perfectly. At 25 feet, I can hit the x ring which is good enough for me for a pocket pistol. I was shocked to have a Sig problem but like another poster mentioned, many firearms makers are having quality issues these days. Mass production, JIT manufacturing and problems with raw materials sourcing along with third party vendors from abroad are all adding to the issues.

  4. My thoughts exactly, why did they go with a lighter pin? Yes I know slam firing. I have an ACR with a little bit over 1000 rounds and that rifle (a small % of them) are destroying the titanium firing pin, I have gone two of them it seems that going this route is a band aid fix and not part of the original design, and why they didn’t go with a standard AR15 firing pin, instead of their proprietary design confuses me. Bushmaster is just giving me lip service and not taking care of me… horrible communication with the factory after I spent $1,800…NOT GOOD and NOT HAPPY being part of their test program and not getting paid for it

    I wonder is the ACR that Remington is trying to sell the GOV has a steel pin or titanium?

  5. Well, I have put off sending in my ACR for a while now. I’ve decided to go ahead and send it in but now I’m having a hard time getting the “shipping label email” from Bushmaster.

    I’ve put around 600 or so rounds through it with no problems related to the rifle. Of all the black rifles I own, AR-15s (3- Colt, Bushmaster & Rock River Arms), AK-47 (2), AK-74 (1), Ruger Mini-14 (1) and Springfield M1A, I would grab the ACR if I could only take one. It would be hard to leave the M1A I must admit… In my experience the design and materials used in the ACR all together produce a much more reliable and maintainable rifle. Once you factor in the modularity of the rifle there is really no comparison. Of course you could cry SCAR but that’s easy another $1000.00 and then you have to always watch out for that design flaw of a reciprocating charging handle! I’d be closer to investing in a Robinson Arms XCR before I forked over the house for a SCAR.

  6. I have two ACR’s now . I liked the first one so much .I bought a second.
    No problems after several thousand rounds.
    I agree with the posting about Bushmasters e-mail very slow if at all ?
    also as of today 12-22-2011 TRY to buy another barrel of any length ?
    This rifle is a different breed altogether different than the AR’s we are used to
    operating. Try an ACR out you will see. One fine design.

  7. I bought my ACR in 2010. Have dumped several thousand rounds trough it with no problems. How do I know if mine needs the upgrade or if it already had it done???

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