The AR 15 platform can be adapted into a rifle for almost any purpose. Adding and swapping parts yourself is easy and can be performed endlessly, which is why some call these rifles “Barbies for men,” although I think of them as “Adult Lego.”

Whatever the term, the end result is a rifle personalized to suit the whims and needs of its owner. Today we have two fine examples facing off: Gunfight Friday veteran Tim Flannery’s mostly-Bushmaster is chambered for .450 Bushmaster, one of several big-bore cartridges available for the versatile AR. Jerry from Fargo’s Rock River Arms rifle is a fairly stock 5.56/.223 with a couple of additions.

Here they are:

Tim Flannery’s .450 Bushmaster


This .450 Bushmaster 16″ version of the AR15 is a step up in power. The .450 is fairly close in performance to the 45-70. The stocks are Mako with a spare magazine in the buttstock. On top is an Eotech 512. The upper is entirely Bushmaster and the lower started as a stripped Aero Precision with an ALG kit. I haven’t been able to do much with it other than sight in the Eotech but I would like to use it hunting. Ammo is about as available as most any other caliber which is I buy it as I find it.

Jerry from Fargo’s RRA 5.56/.223


I bought this rifle shortly after I left the Minnesota army guard. It’s a Rock River Arms Elite Operator model with a muzzle brake/compensator. It wears a Troy Alpha Rail to lighten up the front and has a Nikon M-223 mount with a Leupold 3×9 Mark AR scope. I use it for coyotes, deer, varmints and range time in North Dakota. My favorite load is the Fusion 62gr soft point or the Winchester 64gr soft point.

It’s worth noting that Jerry’s service rifle in the MN guard would have recognizable to guardsmen in that same unit a full 50 years ago, as the services began adopting the M16 in 1964. At any rate, here’s your choice: both have 16-inch barrels, but one has a much bigger hole in the end. This is the first time we’ve featured ARs in this space, and I am bracing for a pile of votes and comments. And remember to send your gun pictures to