After really desiring a "Predator" model Bushmaster AR for coyote hunting I finally pulled the trigger and ordered one from Bud's Gunshop online back at the end of March. I had to part with my first AR, another Bushmaster in the V-Match configuration which I wrote about here a few years back. That was a great gun which I used succesfully to take a few coyotes, jackrabbits, and prairie rats, with. It's accuracy was more then good enough for it's purpose, 3 shot groups within an inch sometimes under at hundred, but did not have that 5 shot one ragged hole accuracy I've read these guns are capable of with certain models. I first read of the Predator model years and liked what I read but being in a hurry I bought my first one from a friend without taking the time to shop around. I did make out pretty good in selling my V Match getting half the funds for my new predator and a pretty much brand new Taurus Tracker in 357 Mag which I will do a review on in the handgund section.
The promo line for the Predator is this "Built as a result of numerous request by the hunters who wanted a slightly shorter barrel and lighter swing weight in a carry rifle for predator hunting/calling, this 20 inch barreled version of our Varminter will deliver all the accuracy you have come to expect from a Bushmaster. The 20 inch Barrel is fluted 4150 ChroMoly Vanadium Steel with sharp 1 x 8 incn twist rifling for heavier bullets typically used on bigger varmints and predators. Predator features include a hybrid SAAMI Spec. chamber, Two-Stage Competition Trigger (3 1/2 lb. take-up and 1 lb let-off); a Vented Aluminum Free-Floater Forend with Bipod Stud; B.M.A.S. 1/2" Mini-Risers for optimum scope positioning and cheek weld; Hogue ergonomic, ambidextrous pistol grip;"
Now, I prefer to use the mid range bullet weight in both my 22-20 and 223's to get that balance of velocity and weight so I pretty much stick with pills in the 50 to 55 gr range. But, if I do decide to try the 60 to 70 gr weights it's nice to have that 1x8 twist rate. So, I went out on my first shooting excursion with my new rifle armed with American Eagle 50 gr Varmint tipped pills, 53 gr Hornady Superformance, 55 gr Ultra Match Nosler BT's, 55 gr Hornady Custom Varmint, and a few different reloads with 55 gr Nosler BT's. Right out the gates it shot everything within an inch at 100 yards after sight in. The best surprisingly were the American Eagle 50 gr Varmint tipped which is economy priced ammo at around $11.00 bucks a box plus tax. These chronoed out of my gun at 3200 fps. The problems I had were with my reloads which while shooting accurately were stove piping and or failing to feed another round. I believe this is a problem due to not using small base dies on my part. The accuracy is great but obviously I couldn't hunt with these. I had this problem with my first AR and plan on purchasing some small base dies and seeing if this takes care of the problem. So factory ammo for now which works since were finally getting to a point where it can be bought. The other issue I had was with the Hornady Superformance which gave me the best performance in my old AR. It grouped great but as I shot more groups they would open up and the deviation on the chrono was pretty wild from 3400 fps to almost 3500 fps. Don't know it that was a particular box causing that or not. I will try more thru it because the good groups were great and it hardly dropped out to 300 yards. I will include some photos of my groups that day below. Right in I'm using the American Eagle VT for my outings and hope to see some terminal ballistics soon with it.
In summary, the wait wait was worth it, this gun locks up tight between the upper and lower and the accuracy is everything you would want in a predator hunting rig out to standard 300 yard hunting ranges and further for those qualified, which ain't me. I love it and it will be my go to gun until I get a Rock River in the next year or two my next AR goal.