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Author Topic: Article on the M17s and Charles St. George  (Read 6369 times)
Sgt_P
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« on: October 21, 2011, 09:59:21 AM »

Cheaper Than Dirt article by Oleg Volk (with a shout-out to Ken-K&M Aerospace!):

http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/?p=12991

Quote
In Bushmaster’s product line-up, the M17-S bullpup was always the odd one. It shared a few components with the AR-15 rifle, but remained more of a low-volume curiosity for its entire 13-year product run. This rifle has its origins in the Leader T2 rifle mentioned last week. In 1986 the Australian Army invited bids to replace the L1A1 rifle. Charles St.George submitted an improved select-fire version of the Leader T2 designated the M18. The M18 used a short stroke piston and a gas regulator, with the non-reciprocating charging handle, bolt carrier and two action rods of the T2. The plunger ejector was changed to a fixed ejector like the Stoner 63. A folding stock was added. Beta light sighting system was to be standard. The Australian army eventually adopted the Steyr AUG instead and produced it under a license as F88.

Charles re-designed the trigger mechanism and converted the M18 into a bullpup rifle named the ART30. Once fully developed it was licensed to Bushmaster as M17-S. Probably to make use of more common parts, the U.S. version used AR-15 type plunger and a further altered trigger mechanism. A heavier extruded receiver added noticeable extra weight. The lower receiver was also altered  in a way which made stripping and removal of the bolt carrier assembly more difficult. Rudimentary emergency open sights were built into the “carry handle”, but it was expected that an optical sight would be used. At the time, the reliance on optics for a defensive rifle was considered a flaw by most.

Partly as the result of those changes, the rifle came out somewhat heavy, with a spongy trigger and tended to retain heat. The heavy weight was mitigated by the excellent balance and very low felt recoil. With right-hand only ejection, it was also an awkward fit for left-handed users. Since bullpups were new, few training materials existed and most shooters viewed the manual of arms as awkward. One major plus of the M17-S was its use of the standard STANAG magazine. During the ban years (1994-2004), AUG magazines were extremely expensive, while AR-15 magazines remained at least somewhat affordable. The rifle itself cost about two-thirds of an AR-15 because the design allowed cost-effective manufacturing.

Recently, I test-fired an M17-S modified by K&M Aerospace. The modification started with ventilating the receiver to reduce weight by half a pound and to improve air flow. Combined with the already thick barrel, the ventilation greatly improved the sustained fire capability. Use of a vertical foregrip further insulated the support hand from the barrel heat. The “carry handle” was removed and replaced with two rails, permitting the use of standard AR-15 optics and other accessories. The longer rail also provided useful separation between the front and rear backup sights. Because of the central balance of the original rifle, addition of accessories didn’t make the gun too front heavy. Fired with GRSC 1-4x scope set to 4x, this modified rifle shot at 2MOA from prone with plain American Eagle 55gr ball. Surprisingly, the mechanical noise of the operating parts was not noticeable at all.

The major issues with the M17-S —weight, trigger quality and awkward take-down—have been addressed in the next rifle designed by St.George. I will cover it in the next chapter of this tale.



picture from Oleg Volk article in Cheaper Than Dirt blog
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 10:45:47 AM by Sgt_P » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2011, 04:08:52 PM »

Nice to see Ken's work mentioned.

Didn't the gov't make Bushmaster make some of those changes?  that was during the AWB!
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2012, 10:40:13 AM »

Sgt_P

Upon reviewing this article, I was reminded to my own experience with an early Bushmaster M17s and was prompted to research some of my old files on Bullpup rifles.  That effort brought back some fond memories.  I now share with BullpupForum.com Members and Guests the following:  1, An October 15, 1987 letter-response from ARMTECH LIMITED Managing Director, Keith Greenwood, re the plan to offer their ART 30 Bullpup Sporter to the U.S. market (IMG_3466.JPG);  2, Enclosed, therein, the ARMTECH LIMITED brochure on the ART 30 Bullpup Sporter (front & back covers, IMG_3468.JPG, centerfold, IMG_3470.JPG);  American Rifleman March, 1994 Dope Bag review of the Bushmaster M17s Rifle (IMG_3473.JPG).

The early example of the Bushmaster M17s I owned proved to be quite accurate and functioned, flawlessly.  I found the trigger pull to be about as heavy, as that reported in the American Rifleman 1994 review: about 10 lbs.  A shooter, who shoots a rifle from the left shoulder, I had to fashion a snap-on rubber extension to the rear of the butt stock to avoid being hit by ejected cases.  Though mine was not equipped with a flash hider/muzzle brake, recoil was never a problem.  Some years later, after parting with my M17s, I came across a Bushmaster M17s at a Denver Gun Show.  I was quite impressed with the trigger pull on that particular rifle: rather light pull, with crisp let-off.  I considered buying it, but decided not, due to having to extend the butt stock, for safe shooting.  Overall, I'm happy to have had the experience with an M17s.  Though not the best choice for all Bullpup shooters, it represents an important chapter in the continuing Bullpup story.  And, I share with others the regret that Bushmaster chose to drop the M17s from its line, in 2005.


* IMG_3468.JPG (2691.21 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 416 times.)

* IMG_3466.JPG (2456.31 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 401 times.)

* IMG_3470.JPG (2813.72 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 403 times.)

* IMG_3473.JPG (3523.3 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 384 times.)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 10:46:41 AM by SHORT-N-SASSY » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 12:19:32 PM »

Great attachments!!

I love the history stuff!!

 not worthy
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2012, 06:32:31 PM »

nice  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 09:23:29 AM »

For you M17s history buffs. Researching my old Bullpup files, I came across some photos on the ARMTECH LIMITED ART 30 Bullpup Sporter I had received from Australia, back in 1987 (See IMG_3493.JPG). The note on the back of the color photo states, "2 AUG '87, Downey Park, Windsor, Brisbane. ARMTECH stall at ARMS FAIR '87. Right, QLD. Distributor, Bob Oldfield. Left, ARMTECH Rep."   


* IMG_3493.JPG (2450.69 KB, 4000x3000 - viewed 443 times.)
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 12:05:46 PM »

thanks for sharing sns! i may get some posters made up someday..glad im loving mine and not like the folks who had nothing but back luck with them..mine runs so good i cant imagine any of them that dont! i think some folks didnt give it a chance and didnt like the appearance till now they see what can be done to them Cool
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