by NRA Staff - Thursday, September 20, 2012
Although the name “Windham Weaponry” may be new to the AR rifle market, the company’s factory, equipment, staff and management had previously distinguished themselves under the well-established Bushmaster name. Despite the new name, the same level of quality control and commitment to downrange performance is evident in the company’s offerings.
The Windham Weaponry SRC is an optics-ready semi-automatic carbine with a direct-gas-impingement system chambered in 5.56x45 mm NATO. The upper and lower receivers are made from forged 7075 T6 aluminum with a hardcoat black anodized finish. The upper receiver’s flat-top design features a Picatinny rail but lacks indexing marks, so care should be taken when removing and replacing optical sights in order to maintain proper zero. There is also no front sight; instead, there is an additional length of Picatinny rail atop the gas block that can be equipped with a back-up front sight or left bare to avoid obstructing lower-powered optics.
The 16-inch chrome lined-barrel is made from 4150 chromoly vanadium steel and features a 1:9-inch twist rate for stabilizing a wide range of bullet weights. The use of chromium and molybdenum in steel barrels increases their strength and durability. The barrel is threaded and includes a removable A2 bird cage flash hider. Windham Weaponry includes many other Mil-Spec features in the SRC as well, such as M4 feed ramps at the back of the barrel extension where it meets the lower receiver. The cuts, which are wider and lower than those found on a typical AR rifle, are designed to improve reliability with which rounds are fed from the magazine into the chamber.
The carbine-length, black plastic hand guards feature double aluminum heat shields to protect the shooter’s support hand. The bolt and M16 bolt carrier are both phosphated and chrome-lined. An M16-style bolt carrier has more mass than a commercial carrier, providing added strength and longer, more reliable operation. The added mass also helps prevent bolt bounce and provides more force going forward to firmly chamber a round. The gas carrier key is also properly staked onto the bolt carrier group to reduce the risk of separation during operation. The carrier key screws are properly staked to ensure that it does not come loose from the carrier.
The controls—forward assist, bolt release, magazine release, charging handle and safety selector—are all located in their familiar places and none are ambidextrous. The trigger guard is also the fold-down aluminum type, which allows use with heavy gloves if needed. The collapsible polymer buttstock features the Windham Weaponry logo and offers six positions of adjustment, allowing it to be shortened or lengthened—changing the length of pull—to accommodate shooters of different stature or those wearing heavy clothing.
The lower receiver also features Windham Weaponry’s distinct cursive logo as well as a standard pistol grip with finger groove and a slightly flared magazine well. The single-stage trigger exhibited a small amount creep, no stacking or overtravel and a clean if somewhat heavy break. The upper and lower receivers fit tightly together with only the slightest amount of play between the two and the finish was well applied and smooth, exhibiting care in manufacturing.
Range testing included a variety of ammunition, and evaluators shot from both the offhand position and from a benchrest to evaluate the guns’s handling and accuracy. No malfunctions were noted during two range sessions, and no maintenance was conducted between them. Average accuracy at 100 yards from the bench using an optic was comparable to standard AR carbines, with groups measuring around 2 inches. As there are no sights provided with the SRC, shooters will have to add their own based on preference and intended use.
Windham Weaponry does include with all its rifles a black, plastic hard case, one 30-round magazine, a sling and a well-illustrated operator’s manual. Rifle selection is somewhat limited and includes a standard AR carbine with front sight and removable carry handle/rear sight, the SRC optics-ready carbine and a heavy-barrel model. While additional models will be forthcoming, the company currently produces several state-compliant offerings specifically for New York and California residents.
The SRC’s short length and light weight make it handy and comfortable, and the carbine offers reliability and accuracy in a versatile package. Its many military-specification features also add to the SRC’s value and are sure to be appreciated by users seeking a higher standard. In the end, we feel that with the value-priced, yet feature-filled, SRC, Windham Weaponry is destined to make a name for itself in the realm of AR-type rifles.
Manufacturer: Windham Weaponry, Inc.; (855) 808-1888; www.windhamweaponry.com
Caliber: 5.56x45 mm NATO (.223 Rem.)
Action Type: direct-gas-impingement, semi-automatic center-fire rifle
Receiver: machined aluminum
Barrel: 16" chrome-lined chromoly
Rifling: six-groove; 1:9" RH twist
Magazine: 30-round-capacity detachable box
Sights: none; M1913 Picatinny Rail rear/front included
Trigger: single-stage; 8-lb. pull
Stock: black polymer: length of pull, adjustable; drop at heel, 13/4"; drop at comb, 13⁄4".
Overall Length: 361⁄4" stock extended, 321⁄2" collapsed
Weight: 6 lbs., 5 ozs.
Accessories: magazine, sling, case, owner’s manual
Suggested Retail Price: $1,040
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