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SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1780
Bushmaster Predator AR

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.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1780
Oh,

The glass I put on it is a Redfield Revolution 2x7. I don't like using a higher powered variable on this gun due to losing some coyotes when they popped up close, really, really close, on some sets and I couldn't get my 4x12 on em quick enough just seeing flashes of fur with my old AR. A lower powered scope allows me to get on em quicker if their close and I didn't feel like toting the shotgun with me. For long range sets I have my Savage Predator with a Nikon Buckmaster 4x14

BleuBijou's picture
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Location: Loveland , Colorado
Joined: 03/22/2010
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Price

What does that set up run?

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1780
Bleu,

Buds Gun shop has em for 1,038 which is the best price ive found that model locally or online. You just need to pay a ffl fee to a local shop they can ship it to. The gunshop i use charges 25.00 bucks. The scope ran me about $200.00. A year ago this and other models were running 1300 to 1500 but that has leveled off and prices have come done.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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Posts: 1780
Finally broke in the Predator

This morning. Walking into the flats to  set up a call stand I spot two yotes running full blast. I thought I had blown it and they spotted me and hauled. Then I saw them running back in a big circle and realized they were playing chase. I dropped to a seated shooting position and deployed my sticks. I guessed em to be between 200 to 250 yards and waited for one to give me a shot. After a few minutes of them doing their circles and stopping where I didn't have a shot they circled closer and one gave me the broadside. I crushed the trigger and heard the thwack and it started spinning. I ran a few yards trying to get a bead on the other one and finally got of a desperation shot around 400 yds moving and surprise surprise missed......Walked out where I saw the first go down and found it piled up at a walked off 220 yds. That 50 gr Vmax was pretty destructive as seen in the pic. I'm really digging my Bushy Predator couldn't be happier with it!

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5-13-14 Bushy Pred control 002.JPG1.61 MB
BoneCollector's picture
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Location: Ohio woods
Joined: 02/01/2011
Posts: 277
Nice

Nice gun and nice shot!

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1780
Another for the Bushy

Bone Collector, thanks! Got this one today on the last stand right before dark. Called four others in I didn't even get shots at. Flubbed a double after getting up after sitting about twenty minutes thinking that stand was done and seeing two charging in about a hundred yards off. We saw each other at the same time and they turned and were gone before I could do anything. The one I shot popped up forty yards away and I didn't pack the shotgun with me on that stand so it got AR'd.

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5-17-14 coyote 001.JPG
5-17-14 coyote 001.JPG1.48 MB
SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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Got

some 400 yd shooting in the other day with both Predators, the Bushy 223 and Savage 22-250, and was pretty impressed with the results. Both guns are sighted about 1 inch high at 100 the 223 with the 50 gr V max American Eagle factory chronoed at 3200. The 22-250 is running the Sierra 55 gr SBT  reload with 36.1 grs of Varget at a chronoed average 3550 fps. The 22-250 has a Nikon Buckmaster 4.5 to 14 power with a duplex reticle. The AR has the Redfield Revolution with the Accu-Range Reticle. I was able to test my hold points with both rifles to 400 yds. They are both dead on at 200 yds with the cross hairs. The redfields hold points are pretty much matching what is outlined on the reticle pic below. It is actually slightly high with the 400 yd hold. I hadn't shot either one at the range before as I've always considered my coyote hunting to be limited to 300 and under. This range time has boosted my confidence for shots to 400 provided the wind is calm and I can get solid on my sticks. On my last hunt I passed on a broadside yote at 400 yards which gave me ample to shoot with no wind. I wasn't sure the hold so I passed hoping he'd come in but he didn't. I will take that shot now provided conditions are right. The Bushmaster Predator is one accurate rifle! I did try the Hornady 53 gr Superformance in the 223  which my other AR loved but this one didn't like about 10 inch groups at that range. I shot both guns holding dead on with the cross hairs on the bull to see if the drops corresponded with the ballistics calculator and they actually dropped slightly less even with the one inch high at a 100 figured in. The 223  was dropping about 17 inches and the 22-250 14 inches

1st pic: accureticle

2nd pic: 400 yd target

3rd pic: first 400 223 group with 10 to 12 mph wind to left

4th pic: 22-250 with 8 to 10 mph wind to right 2 groups finding 400 yd hold

5th  and 6th pic: 223 2 groups one mild to no wind the one to right winded kicked up to 8 to 10mph group size

7th pic: 22-250 group size 400 yds

Definitely a confidence booster to see what these rifles are capable of with ammo they like.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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More action for the Bushmaster

Got out out for some more coyote culling for my rancher friend this morning. Hit my first stand right as the sun was rising and did a total of seven stands. My last ending around 11:30 am as it was getting to darn hot. Called a total of four coyotes in and killing three. The one I didn't get, I didn't even get a shot at as he was circling and dropped into a gully about 80 yards from me. Must have got behind me and caught my wind. The first one I did get was at 150 yards facing me. One shot into the chest exiting the brisket ran thirty yards and dropped, was running dead on it's feet, a young male. The second was an old male who snuck in on me. I was getting ready to end this set and glanced back to my right before getting up and to my big surprise he was 20 yds ahead of me staring at the tree the call was under. I swung up fast and drew down on him and let one fly. From the snap shot I hit him bad breaking a front leg but not killing him and he spun and I instintively (which surprised me) got the crosshairs on him and pumped 5 more rounds into him. A bit of overkill but at the moment I thought he was running off I just hit him till he was down. I got a graphic (for those that don't want to see) pic of the damage to show what a 50 gr V-Max does at close range. Very nasty. The third was a young female who popped up from a gully on the seventh stand about 160 yards away and walked up to me and I popped her at fifty yards ending it instantly. I also dropped a couple of prairie dogs I came across at about 220 yards off my shooting sticks. This Bushmaster Predator is a deadly accurate and dependable AR, I am extremelly pleased with it and the Redfield scope. A deadly combo for predators and varmints. Oh, the moo pics are three amigos who thanked me as I passed by and said they'd save me a steak for my effort.

: WARNING GRAPHIC PICS OF COYOTE KILLS:

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3971
It looks like you are

It looks like you are stacking them up there, and that rifle is doing a number on them. 

It is too bad that Colorado doesn't have a bounty on them like Utah does.  At $50.00 a head over there you would have some nice change in your pocket.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Wow

Critter wrote:

It looks like you are stacking them up there, and that rifle is doing a number on them. 

It is too bad that Colorado doesn't have a bounty on them like Utah does.  At $50.00 a head over there you would have some nice change in your pocket.

Wow, no chit! If we had a bounty like that I could work on buying another gun, or bow, or components! I did hear of one Colorado Eastern County last year which was offering 2 dollars for  a set of ears.

Regarding the Bushie, I was hoping it would like the 53 gr Superformance ammo which my old AR did as that bullet is screaming fast. But, as often is the case this gun doesn't care for it but loves that American Eagle 50 gr VT which is fast enough and pretty much half the price.

This trip was good got a few predators cleaned out for the rancher and helped with my elk hunting jones. I'm like a drug addict craving a fix waiting for Sep elk to roll around and this helped to take a little bit of the edge off. Going to chase some speed goats with the bow once that opens a couple times before elk and that will help to.

Good luck on your muzzleloader hunt and I truly hope you call in one of those 350 to 400 class bulls and lay em down good!

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