Pat’s Product Review: Windham Weaponry M4 Clone

I hear from SurvivalBlog readers daily. I enjoy hearing from you all, and many of you want me to do test and evaluation on “Whatever” firearms, knives or other survival gear. I wish I could test everything you all want me to test, but it is impossible for a number of reasons. First of all is the expense involved, and secondly, the time involved in doing a round of test and evaluation – there’s not enough hours in the day. I constantly get SurvivalBlog readers asking me to test various AR-15 style rifles on the market. Honestly, there are so many different manufacturers and makes of guns, it’s impossible. If I have first-hand experience with a certain gun, I’ll certainly let the readers know if they have some questions. However, I can’t test all the various ARs on the market.
Now, if you’re like me, you probably never heard about a “new” company called Windham Weaponry. I wasn’t aware of them until the manager at my local gun shop told me about them. I use the term “new” only because the name of the company as an entity is new, but the folks who run it aren’t new. Several years ago, Bushmaster Firearms was bought out, and the previous owner had to sign a non-competition agreement for five years. This meant that he couldn’t make any AR-15 style rifles.
I don’t know about some of you, but in my humble opinion, and based on some of the recent Bushmaster ARs I’ve run across, I’m not very happy with the way the guns are turning out. I had a polymer Bushmaster AR, and it wouldn’t group – it “patterned” like a shotgun at 25 yards. And, once again, in my humble opinion, the overall quality of Bushmaster ARs have gone down, and it’s not just me – the manager at my local gun shop, and some of the employees feel the same way that I do.
Enter Windham Weaponry. This is the old Bushmaster AR maker, except they are making the guns even better than they were originally mad. These guns are a lot better than the old Bushmaster ARs were. A large number of those involved in Windham Weaponry are prior Bushmaster staff– including the owner — who used to own Bushmaster. I’m here to tell you, these folks are putting a lot of pride in their new ARs. Their new web site says their goal is to build finest AR type rifle in the country – a lofty goal, to be sure.
I traded into a Windham Weaponry Model R16M4A4T “MPC” – don’t even ask what all the numbers mean, I don’t have a clue. Basically what I have is an M4-type AR, with a removable carry handle, and standard front sight/gas block. Okay, so I’m a bit ol’ fashioned, I have a soft spot for a plain ol’ M4 style of AR. I can remove the carry handle, should I desire to put a scope or red dot sight on the upper receiver – it’s there if I want to do it. We also have the M4 style oval handguards, with excellent double heat shields.
The “MPC” is in 5.56mm NATO and, of course, it will also handle standard .223 Remington rounds up to 62 grain bullet weight.  The barrel is 16″ long, with a 1 turn in 9″ right hand twist, pretty standard on this type of civilian AR. The barrel is also 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium steel, and the barrel is chrome-line for easy care and extra long life, too. The bolt is Carpenter 158 Steel – MP/HP tested – another nice touch. There is also a 6-position telescoping butt stock. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation – once you set the front sight post during zeroing – and the adjustments on the rear sight go from 300 to 600 meters. There is the standard flash suppressor on the end of the M4-style barrel, too.
The “MPC” has a very rich, dark black anodized coating on the upper and lower receivers – much nicer than is seen on most ARs, and much nicer than the old Bushmaster ARs had, too. The barrel coating almost perfectly matches the coating on the upper and lower receivers, too – again, a nice touch. The upper and lower receivers are anodized – the barrel is parkerized. The rifle weighs in at only 6.9-lbs – just about perfect for an M4 style AR. The gun comes in a hard plastic carrying case, with one magazine, instruction manual and sling. There is also a lifetime warranty on all Windham Weaponry firearms – the the warranty can be transferred to a new owner, should you sell or trade the gun.
Any more, I’m not impressed with many of the new ARs that come on the market. Sure, some are better built than others, some shoot a tad more accurate than others, some have more accessories and features than other similar guns have. Some ARs cost an arm and a leg, some are dirt cheap – and paying a lot more doesn’t always mean you are getting a lot more, either. The Windham Weaponry AR I have, is one of the best built ARs I’ve ever run across – bar none! And, I will tell you that this is probably the most accurate AR I’ve ever shot, and it is also the most consistently accurate AR I’ve shot with all the various ammo I tested in it – and I tested a lot of rounds in a month through this baby. I know, many firearms will be more accurate with certain brands of ammo than others – that’s usually the way it is with most firearms. However, the sample Windham Weaponry AR I have, had very consistent accuracy with all the loads I tested – there simply wasn’t a stand out – and that, my friends, is very rare. If I did my part, I was getting 100 yard groups in the 1.25″ range – with open sights. I’m sure I can do better with a scope mounted on this gun.
Okay, speaking of ammo, I tested the Buffalo Bore Ammunition 69 grain Sniper load – which has proven very accurate in my testing over the past year or so. Buffalo Bore also produces three other bullet weights in their Sniper load, too. I highly recommend you test their Sniper loads, and find one that shoots to your liking. Tim Sundles, who owns and operates Buffalo Bore takes a lot of pride in developing his various loads, and it shows. I also tested Winchester‘s USA brand .223 55 grain FMJ load – which is always a good shooting round for me – and I use this load a lot for function testing. Winchester also sent me their new PDX1 Defender 60 grain HP load – which was designed for personal defense, as well as law enforcement use. I only had two boxes of this new ammo, so I couldn’t do a lot of testing with it – but I was impressed with the accuracy as well as the destructive power when fired into water-filled milk jugs. Long-time buddy, Jeff Hoffman, who runs Black Hills Ammunition sent me a variety of .223 Remington loads for testing. Jeff always manages to bury me in ammo when I ask for it for testing in various firearms – he’s kept my ammo locker full for 20+ years now.  From Black Hills I had their 55 grain FMJ load – in both new, first quality and factory seconds. I also had their 55 grain soft point, as well as their 60 grain soft point loads. The really new 62 grain Barnes TSX bullet – all copper hollow point, was a real eye opener in the “destroying” department and penetration testing. I also had Black Hills 60 grain Hornady V-MAX load – great varmint round – and I’m gonna nail that coyote across the road from my place one of these days. I also had the 68 grain Heavy Match HP and 69 grain Sierra Match King loads from Black Hills. Like I said, Jeff Hoffman keeps me well-supplied…and this isn’t all the loads that Black Hills produces for the .223 Remington caliber – check out their web site.
I wish I could report that one load shot worse, or better, than another. However, as I mentioned, this Windham Weaponry “MPC” is the most consistently accurate AR I’ve ever fired. There were no bad loads – they were all outstanding loads, with most printing groups in the 1.25″ neighborhood. Of course, some loads shot higher than others, and other loads shot lower – but they all grouped in a nice little three-shot cluster if I did my part. I fired more than 1,000 rounds in my testing – very little of the testing was in the functioning area – the gun always went “bang” when I pulled the trigger – no hiccups of any type. Most of my shooting was in the accuracy area – I just kept going out and doing more and more shooting because I didn’t believe this AR could shoot groups like it was shooting. Maybe I’m just getting to be a better shot in my old age, or maybe it’s the gun making me a better shot.
Right now, Windham Weaponry firearms are a bit hard to come by. (But for that matter, most AR and AK style rifles are hard to come by). My local gun shop sells ARs and AKs as fast as they come in the door – ditto for their respective ammo. Folks see the handwriting on the wall, and know that the President is gonna lower the hammer on guns and ammo in very short order – gun and ammo sales are soaring these days. However, Windham Weaponry ARs are even a bit harder to find – they are just getting up and running. They are now producing nine different models – when I got my sample a little over a month ago, they only listed four different models. So, they are already expanding and growing.
I like the “forever” warranty – that says a lot in my book, when a gun company is so sure of their products, that they are willing to back them up forever against defects in materials and workmanship. I also like that they have taken the old Bushmaster AR, and made it even better than it was before. Full retail on the sample I have is $1,086, and it would be a bargain at that price if you ask me – considering the high-quality of the parts and care in fitting – not to mention  the accuracy. My local gun shop had my sample marked at $829 – and I didn’t complain one bit about their asking price. They have since received several more Windham Weaponry rifles, and sold ’em right away. I was standing in the gun shop one morning, when a fellow was looking at a Windham Weaponry AR – and the manager was pointing out all the nice features – the manager asked me to tell this customer my findings and opinion. I flat out told him that my sample is the most consistently accurate AR I’ve ever owned. He soon bought the sample he was holding. And, no I don’t get a commission when I help sell a gun.
I certainly hope that Windham Weaponry keeps up the high-quality build, and continue using the best materials possible to build their ARs – if they do, they are gonna have a hard time keeping up with supply and demand. I like to see a company rise from the ashes, and the old Bushmaster Firearms is back, and better than ever in my humble opinion. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio