One of the first products to enter the market from the new Bushmaster Firearms is this bad boy, the BA30 straight pull bolt action rifle. Dan and I visited their booth at SHOT Show’s Range Day and sent some rounds downrange.
Without a doubt, the rifle appeared to be at least decently accurate (we were only able to shoot it at 100 yards). I was shooting at a steel silhouette and, while I wasn’t able to shoot for actual accuracy groups here, putting hits in precise locations on the target was easy as pie.
The BA30 was smooth, with a decent trigger and AR-10 ergonomics.
Functionally, it appears to be a manual action AR-10 with a recoil spring mechanism contained inside of the upper receiver (there is no buffer tube). The shooter reaches forward to the front of the upper receiver to grab the bolt knob (which can be switched from the right to the left side), pulls the bolt to the rear, then lets go, sending the bolt home under its own spring power.
Running the action is effectively the same as running a side-charging AR action. Well used during Range Day, empty cases were a little sticky to pop out of the chamber but nothing that made operation difficult. It was fast and smooth.
Bushmaster mentioned that they’re playing with different bolt handle styles, including one that sticks straight out to the side instead of hooking downward. While the normal, downward turn makes sense, it was done a bit close to the receiver and this caused shooters to drag their knuckles along the gun. The shooter before me required a bandaid, and all of the skin scuffed onto the anodizing isn’t exactly a sexy look.
So maybe a few kinks left to iron out, but overall the Bushmaster BA30 appears to be a very solid gun.