AR15: One bolt group between multiple uppers


November 21, 2004, 12:29 AM
Is there a hazard in using one bolt/carrier/ch between different uppers? My Bushy has about 1500 rds through it, and I plan on using the bolt group with an as-new Colt upper. I recall reading about potential issues with such a swap, but can't remember the details, or find the references.

Primary concern is safety issues, then reliability, then accuracy.

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November 21, 2004, 03:10 AM
One word:


As well, the locking lugs wear with the barrel mating lugs. To swap the parts means that new surfaces will constantly contact/miss differently on every switchover, never getting a chance to seat, and thus it will stress the bolt.

Just not a good idea.

Quintin Likely
November 21, 2004, 08:58 AM
I've never tried it; a bolt and carrier isn't but another $80-100 or so if that much when buying a new upper, so there's no real reason not to have a bolt and carrier dedicated to a specific upper. Safety is the biggest concern. To be sure it'd work, I suppose you could buy a set of headspace guages and check it with your Colt upper/Bushmaster bolt and carrier.

Badger Arms
November 21, 2004, 05:43 PM
You can freely change the bolt carrier and all of the parts, but I'd at least get a new bolt bolt body group. Should be able to get a decent one for less than $50 almost anywhere. Maybe you can get a Chrome Plated bolt so you don't confuse them.

Phil in Seattle
November 21, 2004, 06:37 PM
A bolt being swapped between barrels will have the locking lug wear accelerated, the lugs on the barrel extensions will also wear faster.

Steve Smith
November 22, 2004, 10:48 AM
It is very common for competition shooters to carry a complete bolt/bolt carrier group in case of a mechanical issue during a match. The only thing you need to do is to use a set of headspace gauges and make sure the new bolt group headspaces properly.

Now, that said, it isn't something you want to do all the time because of the odd wear issue, but if you want an emergency repair kit, it is a fine idea.

Harry Tuttle
November 22, 2004, 11:18 AM
i have read that when President Clinton visited a military base

all the AR-15 bolts went in a bucket

November 22, 2004, 12:23 PM
why would they put all the bolts in a bucket?

November 22, 2004, 03:11 PM
I had a similar question. I have a post-ban AR and I just ordered a Pre-Ban barrel for it. The current bolt/barrel have about 1300 rounds through them. I guess I can't use the current bolt in my new rifle? Man that sucks. :(

Oh well, I'll have to wait a bit before I shoot it. I am really pissed right now. I wanted to throw the new barrel on and go. kjdfhdjkfnluiyuqv45789-213902\'q3jq3iuqytahfjklanwy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :cuss:

November 22, 2004, 03:35 PM
Bolts into a bucket as a security measure to prevent shootings like that of the Gunny in Full Metal Jacket or Platoon or whatever movie. There was a general dislike of the CIC at that time, as far as the reports I've read and heard go.

Harry Tuttle
November 22, 2004, 03:37 PM
the bolts went in the bucket to disable the rifles

they randomly re-aquired bolts randomly from the pile

November 22, 2004, 04:50 PM
Just get a bolt and check for head spacing. Bolts are cheap. You do not need to get an additional bolt carrier or bolt carrier assembly.

November 22, 2004, 05:06 PM
I have my eye out for a bolt assembly, and since my budget has just changed for the better, I may pick up a complete bolt/carrier group, anyway.


November 22, 2004, 05:35 PM
I routinely use a single bolt/carrier assembly with at least 3 different uppers on my 16s. All my B/C assemblies and uppers are Colt, if that matters.

No problems (case separations, etc.) over tens of thousands of rounds with this one B/C. Someday I'll unwrap one of my spares, I suppose. My understanding is that the armed forces don't make a fuss over this issue, either.

But then, I shoot Wolf polymer or whatever inexpensive blasting ammo is available.


November 22, 2004, 07:11 PM
Hi, I'm Bulldog, and I'm a bolt swapper.

No problems here, but that doesn't mean one of my rifles isn't about to blow up on me.

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