One of the most recognizable names in the AR-15 game is on the way back to the American consumer firearms market, but it's now under new management.
The social media page for Bushmaster on Sunday announced the looming return of the company, saying simply "Bushmaster Firearms is proud to announce that we are back under new ownership! Stay tuned for more to come." Prior to this week's post, the last time the page was updated was August 2019. Likewise, the company's once-vanished website now reads "Under Construction. No Step on Snek!"
The metadata for the site reads:
Bushmaster Firearms International based in Carson City, Nevada, United States, is an American manufacturer and distributor of firearms. The company's product line revolves around semi-automatic pistol and rifle variants of the M4 / AR-15 design. Now made with 100% US materials and parts.
The Bushmaster Story
Founded in 1978 in Windham, Maine, from the remnants of the even older Gwinn Arms company, Bushmaster was one of the first makers of AR-style firearms outside of Colt. Its line included the lightweight Carbon-15, the .50-cal BA50, the M17S Bullpup rifle, the XM-10, the XM-15 rifles, and others. Importantly, the firm was one of the first to market flattop optics-ready ARs and AR pistols, beating many of its competitors to the punch.
In 2006, the Cerberus Group purchased the company, then later, while under the banner of the Freedom Group, it was moved from Maine to Madison, North Carolina, where it endured as a subsidiary under the Remington Outdoors umbrella. It was while part of Remington that Bushmaster began making the Adaptive Combat Rifle, or ACR, an evolution of the Magpul Masada concept rifle.
However, as Remington Outdoors tried to distance itself from the black rifle market, the brand, along with sister companies DPMS and Panther Arms, quietly disappeared in late 2019 after being targeted in an industry-specific lawsuit. The Bushmaster website, which had been online since December 1996, just redirected after September 2019 to Remington's, and the parent company rebranded the BA-50 as the R2Mi.
As part of an industry-wide feeding frenzy on the carcass of Remington Outdoors last summer, Nevada-based Franklin Armory was the successful high bidder of the Bushmaster brand at a federal bankruptcy auction. For the cost of $1.7 million, Franklin acquired a dozen registered Bushmaster trademarks in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico; the related social media pages and websites; historic sales, vendor and customer data; and the technical data packages for numerous Bushmaster-branded firearms.
These packages included all computer models, part drawings, and CAD files. Among the guns listed in court documents were the Arm Pistol, Carbon 15, Carbon 22, and M17S. Sadly, it doesn't look like the data package for the ACR was included in the deal.
Other companies with a slice of the old Remington Outdoors pie include Vista and Sierra, who purchased the concern's assorted ammo businesses; Ruger, who purchased the historic Marlin brand; Sportsman’s Warehouse, who acquired TAPCO; and JJE Capital, which picked up more than 80 patents and trademarks associated with the AAC, DPMS, H&R, Parker and Storm Lake brands.