“While its selection of rifles and carbines was limited at first, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, introducing new models each year and showing something that isn’t easy in the AR world—a penchant for innovation.”
Windham Weaponry 300 Blackout
Windham Weaponry Carbon-Fiber SRC
Windham Weaponry Way of the Gun Performance Carbine
Windham Weaponry RMCS-4
Windham Weaponry R18FSFSM-308
I have had the opportunity to test several rifles from Windham Weaponry, and they have all performed in an exemplary fashion in terms of reliability and accuracy. Sure, anyone can build an AR, but not everyone can consistently build them right, something Windham Weaponry has definitively achieved.
While its selection of rifles and carbines was limited at first, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, introducing new models each year and showing something that isn’t easy in the AR world—a penchant for innovation. Even if the name of Windham Weaponry still strikes some as unfamiliar, its heritage should not. The company and its employees have decades of AR manufacturing experience under a previous and very well-known name in the industry.
- RELATED STORY: Gun Test – Windham Weaponry’s SRC-308 Carbine in 7.62mm
Currently, all of Windham’s rifles are built to meet or exceed mil-spec requirements with chrome-lined, 4150 chrome-moly-vanadium steel barrels and hardcoat anodized upper and lower receivers forged from 7075-T6 aluminum. Windham Weaponry also provides one of the strongest transferable warranties in the industry, guaranteeing against any defects for the lifetime of the firearm. That’s pretty hard to beat in a crowded market. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of Windham’s best AR-platform rifles.
If you’re looking to get into the 300 Blackout game, Windham’s got a rifle for you. The aptly named 300 Blackout rifle features a 16-inch, medium-profile barrel with a 1-in-7-inch twist rate to better stabilize the heavier .30-caliber bullets. The barrel also features M4 feed ramps for improved reliability and a Diamondhead T Brake. This hardened-steel compensator features a triangular shape to redirect gases and substantially reduce recoil and muzzle rise. The shape of the muzzle brake also matches the free-floating, 13.5-inch-long Diamondhead VRS-T handguard, which extends almost to the brake itself.
Made from 6061-T6 aluminum, the handguard offers a full-length top rail, and the sides and bottom are grooved for a comfortable grip. These areas are also drilled and tapped so shooters can add accessory-mounting rails where needed.
The ergonomic Hogue pistol grip adds an extra bit of comfort and control, and its beavertail helps keep the trigger finger in proper alignment. The stock is also a six-position-collapsible Hogue model with a comfortable cheekrest. There are multiple QD sling-attachment points on the handguard and stock, and the rifle also includes a Magpul enhanced triggerguard for easier access with gloves.
Another interesting rifle from Windham is the Carbon-Fiber SRC. It’s a standard M4-style, direct-impingement carbine chambered for the 5.56mm NATO, but its use of carbon fiber is what really sets it apart. Here the upper and lower receivers are made from a carbon-fiber composite blend that allows them to be a full half-pound lighter than their aluminum equivalents. This carbon fiber/polymer composite also has natural lubricity, which means the rifle needs less lubrication and there is less friction, improving reliability and reducing wear and tear on moving parts.
Polymers also act as thermal insulators and resist heat, like wearing gloves. Aluminum acts as a heat sink and absorbs and dissipates it. The practical effect is that both do a good job of keeping heat away from the user, but if both were left lying in the sun for a while, the polymer gun would feel cooler to the touch. The receivers on the Carbon-Fiber SRC are also completely corrosion resistant, and they won’t scratch like aluminum. Since there is no finish to speak of, any scratches that do occur will not expose bare metal underneath. The material is also more malleable and less likely to break from a sudden shock or strike, which makes it more durable in that sense. The rifle also uses all standard AR-platform parts with the exception of a slightly modified barrel nut.
Way Of The Gun
Windham Weaponry is now offering the Way of the Gun Performance Carbine to meet a growing demand for factory-made tactical rifles. This rifle is based on the shooting principles of Special Forces veteran and instructor Frank Proctor and includes a “Way of the Gun” logo on the magazine well.
This 5.56mm NATO carbine uses a mid-length gas system and features all of the standard Windham Weaponry parts, including a mil-spec barrel and Carpenter 158 steel bolt. But a few extra features are included, like a BCM charging handle that makes it easy to run the bolt with just one hand while keeping a firm hold on the pistol grip. Another upgrade is the crisp and lightweight CMC trigger. Each rifle ships complete with a Way of the Gun CD and manual.
Windham’s new Multi-Caliber System rifles are designed to quickly change calibers in the field, and the RMCS-4 can be transformed from a 5.56mm to fire 300 Blackout, 7.62x39mm and 9mm ammunition. And this innovative system is designed to switch calibers while retaining most of the traditional AR components, including a direct-impingement gas system. Everything you need to switch calibers is included in a Plano hard case, including caliber-specific magazines.
The barrel assemblies—including the barrel and gas system—are removed and attached to the upper receiver via a bail clasp on the underside of the handguard that, when flipped outward, allows a retaining block to slide toward the muzzle, exposing two barrel-retaining arms. The barrel-retaining arms are rotated 90 degrees outward, allowing the barrel/gas tube assembly to be pulled out from the handguard. When you switch between 5.56mm and 300 BLK barrel assemblies, you can look through the well-ventilated handguard to see that the gas tube is properly aligned. The handguard also has a notch inside to aid in alignment. Of course, switching from 5.56mm to 300 BLK and vice versa is the easiest caliber swap, since these chamberings share the same magazines and bolt carrier group. Switching over to the 7.62x39mm and 9mm chamberings requires a few more parts and steps.
- RELATED STORY: Windham Weaponry’s RMCS-4 – One AR with Multiple Chamberings
To switch to the 7.62x39mm, you need to separate the upper receiver from the lower receiver. You then need to compress a small retaining pin at the front of the triggerguard—Windham supplies an orange-colored tool for this purpose that also acts as a chamber flag—and pivot the triggerguard away from the magazine well. Press the magazine release button and the magazine well slides up and off of the lower. You then attach the magazine well that is compatible with AK-style magazines. AK magazines are inserted in the same roll-and-lock method used on a typical AK-platform rifle.
The next component to swap is the bolt carrier group. Windham makes it easy to identify the three bolt carrier groups in the system. The 7.62x39mm version is marked “AK” on the side. The bolt head also has three rings milled into it to separate it from the other two bolt carrier groups. Like an AK rifle, the bolt does not lock back after the last round is fired.
Switching to the 9mm follows a similar process of changing out the barrel, magazine well and bolt carrier group. The dedicated 9mm magazine well is flared so you can quickly insert the skinny Colt-style magazines. The 9mm conversion uses a blowback operating system, so there is no gas tube and its bolt carrier group is noticeably heavier.
Other than the caliber-conversion aspect of the rifle, the RMCS-4 is similar to Windham Weaponry’s other AR carbines with forged 7075-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum upper and lower receivers. The lower features standard AR furniture.
While there is no mil-spec .308 Winchester/ 7.62mm NATO AR just yet, there are plenty of manufacturers making these rifles to meet growing demand from hunters and tactical shooters alike. The new R18FSFSM-308 rifle from Windham Weaponry strives to balance the needs of both types of shooters.
The 18-inch barrel is made from 4150 chrome-moly-vanadium steel with a 1-in-10-inch twist rate, and it’s topped off with an A2-style flash suppressor. The barrel is fluted to improve heat dissipation and reduce the rifle’s overall weight, and to help improve accuracy. the barrel floats freely thanks to the aluminum, 15-inch Midwest Industries KeyMod handguard. This handguard features a full-length Picatinny top rail that melds almost seamlessly with the flattop upper’s rail, and multiple ambidextrous QD sling mounts are included from the factory.
The lower receiver features all of the standard AR controls as well as an integral triggerguard. The Hogue pistol grip features rubber overmolding with pebble texturing and deep finger grooves for a very secure hold, even in inclement conditions. The fixed Magpul MOE fixed buttstock offers a solid cheekweld and includes an internal storage compartment. This Windham rifle also ships with a 20-round Magpul PMAG. This is an optics-ready rifle and does not come with iron sights, although these could be easily added.
As you can see, Windham has a rifle to suit every need. For more, call 855-808-1888 or visit windhamweaponry.com.
This article was originally published in ‘Gun Buyer’s Annual’ 2017. For information on how to subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com
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