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Bushmaster .223: Accurate, inexpensive


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Graphic: Bushmaster .223 

(CNN) -- The Bushmaster .223 rifle is less popular among game hunters than its name suggests.

But, like the venomous snake for which it is named, the high-powered rifle is deadly.

The gun, according to Eric Haney, a retired U.S. Army sergeant major, is "for those who want the general feel of a military weapon." It's the semi-automatic version of the civilian model of the U.S. military M-16 manufactured by Colt.

A Bushmaster weapon, according to a law enforcement source, was found inside the car of the sniper suspects arrested October 24.

The weapon is sufficient for target shooting long distances, said Haney, who served with the U.S. Army's elite Delta Force in the 1970s and 1980s and was one of its founding members.

"I would have been very surprised if they had not found a scope on that weapon," Haney said. With a scope, the shooter is able to find targets at night more easily, he said.

The Bushmaster make is one of the less expensive models of the of the semi-automatic rifle, usually costing between $500 and $600, he said. "The Bushmaster is known as a cheap gun," Haney said.

Nor is it hard to operate.

"[It's easy to use] for the type of shooting we saw in the Washington area," Haney said. "Almost an 8-year-old child can be taught to do that in an hour, and hour-and-a-half."

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