Founded in 1978 in Windham, Maine, from the remnants of the even older Gwinn Arms company (see the Arm Pistol), Bushmaster was one of the first makers of AR-style firearms outside of Colt. Its line included the lightweight Carbon-15, the massive .50-cal BA50, the seriously weird M17S Bullpup rifle, the XM-10, the XM-15 rifles, and others. Importantly, the firm was one of the first to market flattop optics-ready ARs and AR pistols, beating many of its competitors to the punch.
Then the Cerebrus Group/Freedom Group came along and upset the whole apple cart. They closed the Maine factory, moved operations to North Carolina and later Alabama under Remington’s umbrella, and just generally traded the company’s rep in for poorly QC’d guns without further innovation. Then, in 2019, Remington snuffed the brand out to try to exit the black rifle verse under legal pressure.
Well, Bushmaster is back, now owned by Franklin Armory, so stay tuned.