In the gun community, the words “bargain” and “carbine” when buying a new rifle often lead to disappointment, poor quality and more money spent over time on upgrades to make your rifle shoot the way you want. We often find ourselves in a predicament where buying parts and assembling a modern sporting rifle or splurging and dropping the cash on a “high end”, factory product would have been less invasive on our pocketbooks. To everyone who has made those self-correcting mistakes…or climbed that learning curve; Richard Dyke, the founder of Windham Weaponry told the industry to hold his beer.
Where It Started
In 2006, Dyke sold the Bushmaster brand to Cerberus Capital; a group of industry outsiders [rumored to be funded by George Soros and his socialist cronies] who subsequently bought a number of industry-leading companies including Remington Arms Company.
[Editor’s Note: Latest news reports of Remington going bankrupt…We have confirmed that they will be keeping their doors open. Being forward thinkers, this could send Cerberus Capital packing]
In typical business fashion, the purchase of Bushmaster left hundreds of hard-working “Down Easters” out of a job. Cerberus backed Mr. Dyke into a corner, requiring him to sign a non-compete clause in order to close the deal. Translation: He couldn’t manufacture similar products for a period of time that would compete with Bushmaster products.
Be that as it may, Mr. Dyke’s non-compete clause expired, and he was already thinking of his next move, and since he owned the land where Bushmaster was, and his Rolodex of former Bushmaster employees was still full, he took to the phones, knocked on doors and solicited all of their expertise. From there, Windham Weaponry was born!
A few years later, the very first Windham Weaponry rifle was brought to market. The same work ethic that re-established the Bushmaster brand in 1976, and for 30 years; made in Windham, Maine by his loyal and longtime employees produced reasonably priced black guns with unsurpassed quality.
The Choice Was Simple
For me, a carbine chambered in .308 had been on the horizon for quite some time. In the modern market, most .308 gassers sell for 3k or beyond, if we’re not willing to compromise quality, aesthetics, and functionality. We researched, and to no surprise [knowing what we do now] Windham Weaponry was the obvious choice.
Due to locational restraints and geographic residency, the hard-hitting and reliable 150-178 grain bullet would be considered “excessive” by some…but for us, it’s what we wanted. Of course, firearms aren’t always an instance of necessity, rather than wants and what is pertinent to our 2nd amendment rights! Knowing what I wanted, and a budget in mind; Lou’s Firearms in Raritan, NJ had a Windham WW-308 in stock. The price tag was sub $2k and after doing the paperwork and for $1645 street price, we carried the rifle out the door for $1550.
After compiling a list of “must haves” and “wants”, the WW-308 checked out across the board, as I went down the features list. The fact that we had some periphery of the company behind the affordable and reliable bang stick helped too. If you’re anything like us, when spending $1500 on anything, there is a level of remorse that comes with the purchase. Once we handled the rifle, we felt none of what we would call remorse. We had an idea of what we wanted to customize in the future but wasn’t anything that we would consider urgent; mainly…optics, paint, and furniture…the typical AR customization features.
What You See Is What You Get
When you are at the gun shop, the WW-308 could be looked over as “just another black gun”. There isn’t a variety of Cerakote colors, no ambidextrous controls, or nickel or stainless bolt carriers. The WW-308 is a direct gas impingement, hard coat anodized rifle that has a Midwest Industries 15” Key-Mod handguard to accommodate bipods and Magpul “furniture” and Hogue ergo pistol grip.
The WW-308 is manufactured in-house. Living in New Jersey, and in order to be compliant with state laws, we installed a Magpul MOE Fixed stock instead of the standard 6-position carbine stock that comes from the factory.
What you will get with the WW-308 is a DPMS style, forged receiver set that will accommodate MAGPUL, LANCER or any other mil-spec magazines. Functionality is made possible by the standard controls that you find in most other AR platforms.
While at the range the WW-308 hosts a 16” chrome lined barrel that is rifled with the standard [.308] 1-10 right-hand twist. Virtually the same specs as most high dollar platforms. Coming from the military, we appreciated the ample quick detach swivel points that are placed within the MI handguard. In total, there are 7 points where the end user can attach their favorite sling device.
Another feature that Windham Weaponry took account of during the design and outfitting processes; its end user experience. While having all the points to accommodate your method of carrying and employment, the rifle is not a tank, a feature that many other 762’s cannot relate to. The WW-308 tips the scales at 7.65 lbs unloaded. There is enough “ass” behind the gun that short to medium range shots are rigid and accurate.
Out of the box, and on the range, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the receiver fitment and present [not annoying] tolerance between them. We did not see it as a show stopper and did not appear to have any direct impact on our shot placement throughout testing. IF you are one where tight tolerance and tight fitment is an issue, Brownells has a plethora of receiver fitting devices for sale for a minimal cost.
Out of the Box
What you get when purchasing the WW-308, is both standard and unique; what you would expect with a company like Windham Weaponry. The rifle comes secured in a hard-plastic case protected by eggshell foam. This is notable because this allows the end user to spend their money on ammo or optics instead of a high dollar weapons case. Windham includes one 20-round Magpul P-Mag and a black web sling with one QD swivel.
At The Range
Once we finally got the WW-308 to the range, our intent was to test its accuracy and reliability; the cornerstones of gratification with firearms. Again, living where [during the winter months] shooting is hit or miss (pardon the pun), loaded up and began our quest to for the gun to put our money where Windhams mouths were.
Sticking with the theme of affordability, we paired the WW-308 with a Nikon P-308 4-12x40mm scope, glass that was adequate for the rifle. The Federal Premium 7.62 x 51-149 Gr FMJ ammo was what we had immediate access to so we had to make it work. We ranged our targets to 100 yards, an industry standard for “full length” rifles. Our zeroing process had begun.
We began with a controlled 3 shot grouping effort that impacted close to nine total inches from our point of aim. We adjusted the Nikons turrets and ended up with groups of about 1.25”. We know that this rifle has a sub 1” ability, but given our ammo situation at the time, 147 grains may have been a little on the light side to support the groups we were after.
The trigger on this rifle is mil-spec as mentioned but not disappointing. From the factory Windham installs a standard 6.5lb trigger which is not unreasonable, and while on the topic, totally adequate for most end user’s needs. If we were to make a suggestion to those looking at the WW-308, it would be to outfit the system with an SK10 or a Calvin Elite from Timney, or a Geissele G2S if the funds are there to do so! From the factory or gun shop, the standard trigger is smooth and crisp, again, adequate for most end users.
Once zeroed, we employed the WW-308 in various shooting positions, similar to what we were required to do twice a year in the Marine Corps. We mixed up our rhythm in shooting slow and multiple shots in rapid succession. Throughout all of our iterations of fire, our rounds found themselves placed within a simulated 9” vital zone of our target…from 100 yards away from the muzzle. Our biggest takeaway aside from the quality and reliability [while shooting] was the fact that the WW-308 dispersed heat efficiently and didn’t throw a debilitating mirage after heating up the barrel. As far as consistency, durability and comfort are concerned, the WW-308 is ahead of the curve.
After our initial outing with the WW-308 at our local outdoor range, we brought our newest addition to our collection to RTSP Firearms and Training. A gun shop and indoor training facility located at in Randolph, New Jersey. While shooting at RTSP, we utilized their fully automated indoor facility to transition between targets and truly put the WW-308 to the test as a scoped carbine. From our testing results, the gasser out of Maine will hold its own for not only distance shooting but up-close engagements.
After shooting the WW-308 for the first time, we put together a list of “do differently’s” for the next outing. Overall, we were not disappointed in the rifles performance more, so we were disappointed in the ammo that we put through it. We still experienced no buyer’s remorse whatsoever, and we were not left with the un-scratch able “tacticool” itch that we as gun people are commonly left with. In a subsequent trip to the range we upgraded the trigger to a Geissele G2S trigger, a better bipod, Burris P.E.P.R. optic mount and yielded substantially better results.
The WW-308 doesn’t come with a preconceived notion of earth-shattering accouterments and accessories. The WW-308 stayed within a 1.50 group at 100 yards with light ammo and average optics, with heavier and quality ammunition we consistently hit sub 1″ groups.
Our rifle was modifiable and going into purchasing it, doing just that was [and still is our intention]. The WW-308 has lived up to our expectations and we will continue to build upon the rock-solid platform. To sum this model of Windham’s arsenal in a few words, we would classify it as “The Swiss Army knife of AR10 platforms”. The key components of the WW-308 perform well but leave room for improvement.
If you are expecting everything that goes into a $2600 [or more] rifle with WW-308, you will be disappointed and have the buyer’s remorse we wrote about. Knowing that a price tag of $1645 will allow you to customize to your personal needs and wants with quality behind the product and a transferable lifetime warranty you will be very happy with this purchase.
Windham Weaponry is truly an American success story and proof that loyalty in the workforce still exists. When Richard Dyke asked his former employees for his trust (again) to make great quality rifles at an attractive price point, their response was astounding.
Windham Weaponry WW-308 Vital Statistics
|Type||Direct Impingement, Semi-Automatic|
|Receivers||Forged, 7075 T6 Aircraft Aluminum|
|Finish||Hard Coat Anodized|
|Barrel||16” 1-10RH Twist|
|Weight||8.45 (w/Magpul fixed stock)|
|Length||38” (16.5” barrel”|
|Capacity||20 round P-Mag (included|