Review: Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15

While it’s true that there are a lot of AR-15 offerings on the market, it’s also accurate to state they’re not all created equal. This is especially true when it comes to the more affordably priced guns, many of which don’t even perform within their price point.

However, the latest offering from Acme Machine stands out for being both affordably priced and a rifle capable of outperforming its price point (which is always welcome). We put the Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15 through its paces and now we’re going to fill you in on how it did. And, of course, we’ll go through its many great features.

acme machine 25-216 flagship
The Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15 is a great rifle that outperforms its price point. (Photo: Kat Stevens)

What’s the Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15?

The Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15 is a complete AR-pattern rifle, chambered in 5.56 NATO. Yes, Acme also sells complete uppers and lowers, as well as components, but this is one of their complete rifles. It’s designed to be versatile, reliable, and durable. Of course, that requires it to offer certain features, which it does.

hive handguard
The Hive handguard is made by Acme Machine and includes M-LOK slots and a Picatinny rail at the muzzle end. (Photo: Kat Stevens)

Features of the Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15

This rifle features a 16-inch barrel, putting it firmly in carbine-length territory. A 15-inch Hive handguard with M-LOK compatible slots along either side makes it easy to add aftermarket accessories as needed. Ample Picatinny rail space on the upper receiver and at the muzzle end of the handguard offers plenty of space to add optics, iron sights, tactical lights, and other tactical accessories as desired.

The upper receiver, lower receiver, handguard, and other parts are machined by Acme themselves in-house. The exception is the barrel and stock, which are from outside, respected companies. This gives Acme the ability to keep an eye on quality control like never before and also means the guns are truly American-made.

The gun has a standard pistol grip with texturing for a secure hold during live fire. It does have a forward assist, which I prefer, and the charging handle is ridged and ambidextrous. The standard stock is an adjustable Magpul MOE, meaning the length of pull can easily be adjusted as needed for the shooter. Thanks to the lever on the stock that’s accomplished fast and easy on the fly. The rifle’s safety is one-sided. An Acme Machine compensator comes standard and the trigger is MIL-SPEC.

Overall, the fitment of the rifle is solid. There’s no play or shifting between the receivers or at the handguard. They fit cleanly and neatly together. This is relevant because many budget-friendly guns do have some wiggle to them, but this one does not. It’s actually quite well done and deserves a tip of the hat to Acme considering they have not always machined their own receivers, but are clearly doing a great job.

How does the Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15 shoot?

At the range and hunting a lot of different ammo has gone through this gun. Some loads used include Hornady Superformance 5.56 NATO 55-grain CX, Sinterfire Greenline .223 Remington 55-grain Frangible, Federal Power-Shok .223 Remington 64-grain Soft Point, and Federal 5.56 NATO 55-grain FMJ. Throughout testing and hunting the rifle cycled reliably and experienced no failures. Optics used included an ATN Thor thermal scope and a Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7×33 Hunt Plex. In addition, I ran the gun with and without a suppressor, using the SilencerCo Omega 36M.

magpul moe stock on rifle
The stock is an adjustable Magpul. (Photo: Kat Stevens)

The gun shoulders well and although the Magpul MOE stock isn’t one with a significant pad, it’s comfortable and works well. This is a fairly hefty rifle, although it isn’t excessively heavy considering its components. That means it’s not one you’re going to shoot off-hand at considerable length although you can make it easier on yourself by adding a sling (and using that sling correctly during live fire).


Accuracy on target was solid with shots taken from the bench at 100 yards, averaging 1.5 inches for a five-shot group using 5.56 NATO. Switching over to .223 Remington produced five-shot groups that hovered close to 1 MOA. Firing offhand the groups spread out as expected but remained more than accurate enough for hunting purposes. As a 5.56 NATO chambered rifle, it doesn’t produce much recoil anyway, but adding the SilencerCo suppressor took it down even more. It’s a good, flat-shooting rifle without any excessive muzzle rise.

Like with any AR, you want to run this one wet. Of course, I did not lube it before putting the first mag through, because I wanted to see how it would do. It did fine and cycled the first 30 rounds smoothly, but I still always recommend keeping your rifle lubed.

acme machine trigger
The gun comes standard with a MIL-SPEC trigger. (Photo: Kat Stevens)

The one thing I’d change about the 25-216 Flagship AM-15 is the trigger. I readily admit to being a trigger snob, though. The factory MIL-SPEC trigger does exactly what you’d expect a MIL-SPEC trigger to do, meaning there’s some stiffness and grit in the trigger pull. The break is clean, though, and the re-set is short, meaning it is not a bad trigger at all. It’s perfectly usable and you don’t need to change it if you don’t want to, but if you dropped something like a Timney Triggers model in there it would take precision up a notch. The gun can do it, it just needs a little boost from a smoother trigger. However, I wouldn’t expect Acme to put a high-end trigger in a gun they’re trying to make accessible to a wide range of shooters.

Should you get an Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15?

I’m reasonably hard on rifles, especially those I hunt with, and the Acme Machine 25-216 Flagship AM-15 is standing up to the abuse. It outperforms its price point, which is fantastic, and the fact that it’s a gun made to be run rather than function as a safe queen is great. This is a solid rifle whether you’re looking for your first AR-15 or just expanding your collection. It’s done well at the range and performed beautifully on quite a few hogs hunts. On one hunt I ended up running it in the rain and that was no issue at all (there are rifles out there that show the aesthetic aftermath of being rained on quite fast, but this one was fine).

This is a great rifle for hunting, home defense, plinking, or use as a truck gun. It cycles reliably, is accurate on target, and seems like it will be durable. Acme Machine built this gun to be used and it’s doing well.

If you hadn’t heard of Acme Machine before, well, now you have—and you know they machine parts in-house and produce solidly made rifles. Check it out. I think you’ll be pleased.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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