The M242 Bushmaster 25mm chain-fed autocannon has become a mainstay of a variety of modern AFV's since it was first used in the production version of the M2/M3 Bradley in 1981. It is a multi-use gun capable of engaging light armoured vehicles, aerial targets, and a variety of other ground targets with at least six different types of rounds.
The M242 itself can be mounted on a great number of platforms and it is currently in use in some form with the military forces of multiple nations.
Over the course of time the M424 has evolved and received updates to enhance performance. An enhanced version of the M242 first began back in 1990 and eventually began replacing the original M242 barrel. The enhanced M242 has several visible external changes such as the change from a smooth tapered barrel to a fluted tapered barrel. This change was the most obvious and model producers and aftermarket companies quickly updated their barrels to offer modellers a current barrel.
A less obvious yet very distinct change was the addition of a high efficiency muzzle brake. The original muzzle brake had an inverted flare and was slightly wider at the muzzle end. It has two rows of eight vents slits. The enhanced muzzle brake used with the fluted barrel is shorter and does not have a taper. The vent slits are now set up in three rows of four. This feature was missed by producers until recently. Trumpeterís barrel in their ASLAV 25 kit does include a fluted barrel with a separate muzzle brake with the correct three rows of four vent slits. The problem is that Trumpeterís muzzle brake is not correct. It is too small in diameter.
So, what is a modeller to do in order to get an accurate current M242? Arms Corps Models comes to the rescue with their new 1/35 M242 25mm Bushmaster barrel.
The barrel is cast in resin with a brass rod core to reduce warping. The barrel flutes are sharp and nicely defined. A separate resin muzzle brake is supplied to attach to the barrel after a small amount of prep work. There is a single page of instructions explaining how to prep the barrel and the muzzle brake for fitting. The barrel can be used to replace any M242 barrel.
The barrel I received did have a slight warp in it despite the brass rod core. I think with a quick dip in hot water this can easily be sorted out. The barrel taper is very good and both the taper and the barrel flutes appear very consistent and accurate when compared to actual images of an M242 barrel.
The muzzle brake for sure looks the part with a larger and consistent diameter when compared to the Trumpeter version. Modellers will have to take care, a sharp knife, and some patience to open up the three rows of vents to give the muzzle brake the proper look. A pin vise drill bit will take care of hollowing out the muzzle brake.
I did a quick comparison of the resin Arms Corps Barrel, the plastic Trumpeter barrel, and the metal Barrel Depot barrel. Individually they pretty much all look the same but putting them side by side starts to show the differences in the barrel tapers, the barrel lengths, and the flute pattern. Modellers will have to decide if they are satisfied with a kit barrel, or resin or metal aftermarket barrels.
In my opinion the Arms Corps Models barrel is both economically and detail orientated towards a modeller wanting to improve any kit fluted M242.
It is great to see a company like Arms Corps Models taking the time to pay attention to the little details. The enhancements made to the M242 Bushmaster barrel over the years are for sure reflected in this small yet detailed aftermarket item.
While the overall size of the M242 is overshadowed by vehicles it is mounted on it is another detail that should be correct from the start and Arms Corps Models M242 barrel will definitely assist the modeller in detailing a project.
I would certainly recommend this barrel as a replacement to any kit M242 fluted barrel.
Arms Corps Models products can be purchased through Mouse House Enterprises.
Highs: Excellent value for the price and an accurate current muzzle brake.Lows: Slight warping of the resin barrel.Verdict: Well cast and an easy update to AFVs using the current 25mm Bushmaster