Good question, right? Probably not something that conjures up images of AR-15 glory days, law enforcement or military contacts or anything like that. Windham Weaponry sounds a little bit like a wizards shop that may be found in a World of Warcraft level or something where you buy potions and special creams for spells to turn your arch enemies into a skink. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if that was your first impulse. I also wouldn’t blame you if you slapped me for the W.O.W. reference, but hey we’ll get past it. Windham Weaponry is old Bushmaster. Seriously. 5 years ago when Remington bought Bushy from Richard Dyke, there were understandings that led Dick to believe Remington would continue producing Bushmaster rifles as well as the new Remington models at the Windham, Maine plant (see where the Windham part comes in?). Well, a little over a year ago Mr. Dyke got wind (no pun intended) that the FINE folks at Remington were moving all Bushmaster products to their Ilion, NY plant to be made along with the rest of their line. The problem with this? Richard Dyke had a pocket full of cash from the sale of his baby and a dirty conscience (using that phrase liberally) with a whole plant full of “HIS” people out of work. Feeling a moral obligation to his people, Richard Dyke (now 77 years old and with his non compete contract having run out with Remington) decided to come out of retirement to start up Windham Weaponry where the people he loved for 30+ years could get back to work doing what they loved. The result has been Bushmaster reborn with a new energy, small company pride and workmanship, and a lineup of AR-15 spec rifles that will rival even the biggest names in the industry. The company is family run, both in blood and relationships and is quickly gaining steam all over again.
We got a chance to catch up with Mark Eliason, the Senior VP of Sales representing Windham at the SHOT Show 2012 and it was an absolute pleasure. Mark was very warm, descriptive and patient with a rookie in the game even as an experienced member of the firearm company having to start all over. He was unassuming and humble and I appreciate his cordiality. I even got to shoot the bull with Richard Dyke who is essentially a legend and he proved to be just the same. He was a gentleman with a good sense of humor and a story to tell. There’s something refreshing about a rich man with a moral conscience, or as he described, “a moral obligation to the people of Windham, ME.” Our favorite upcoming release for Windham we got to fondle is the Varmint Exterminator. Take my Remington R-15 rifle I love dearly, amp of the precision, accuracy and some individual accessory tweaks and you’ve got the Windham Weaponry Varmint Exterminator in .223. It’s got a precision free floated barrel and handguard. A bead blasted stainless steel finish, full fluted barrel and a competition crown on the barrel which looks FINE. The grip is a Hogue AR-15 aftermarket and the stock is an ACE style skeleton stock, which is a drastic improvement to a target rifle over the standard A2 rifle stock. They’ve even added scope mount risers so you don’t have to buy them after you purchase the rifle. Simply put, I’m drooling to get my hands on one for a full hunting rifle review. It’s screaming for a Nikon M223 scope and some prairie dogs to destroy. The folks at Windham are the best kind of story in any industry. Compassion, appreciation for each other and a fantastic product at a fair price. Did I mention with all the extras the Varmint Exterminator has an almost identical retail price point to the Remington R-15? AND, there’s a fully transferable lifetime warranty on ALL their rifles. As long as it’s got a serial number, it’s covered. Don’t worry either, we don’t have to wait long for the Windham Weaponry Varmint Exterminator .223, it’ll be out next month!