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Which bolt for the AR?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Rabbi, Mar 10, 2005.

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  1. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    I am anticipating building an AR upper. I want an accurate 16" carbine type, sort of like B'master's.
    I see standard bolts and carriers. I see hard-chromed versions. I have seen some coated with TiN that look cool. I have seen low-mass and I have seen stainless steel.
    HELP!
    And please dont send me to ar15.com.
     
  2. Duke of Lawnchair

    Duke of Lawnchair Member

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    Try here:

    here


    Actually, don't click that link it'll just take you to ar15.com. :evil:

    Do you want a hard-use gun, or an accurate range gun?

    If it's hard-use, I strongly advise to go with a Colt bolt. If not Colt, then LMT, Bushmaster or RRA. The carrier I would choose would be Colt, LMT, Bushmaster or RRA.

    However, if it's a range gun (no classes, etc.) I would strongly advise you to get the Colt, LMT, Bushmaster or RRA Bolt/Carrier.

    IF it's "both" then go for the Colt/LMT/Bushmaster/RRA bolt and carrier.

    Fellows like Zak Smith, who do use their guns quite often use other setups. However, I feel that the standard, tried and true AR15 bolt/carrier combination is all that is needed.

    -Jim
     
  3. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Ditto. Just get a regular "stock" bolt carrier group from one of the top tier mfgrs.

    I've also had good experience with the following: LMT "Enhanced" bolts, LBC hard-chrome carriers, hard-chrome Young/NM carriers, JP SS carriers, Relieved hard-chrome MSTN/Young carriers. In reality, there is so little difference the extra cost isn't worthwhile.

    -z
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Stock bolt, all the way. The rest is bling.
     
  5. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    So whats the problem with bling?

    Seriously, the hard chrome version tout their easy cleaning virtue, which sounds reasonable to me. Why isnt it that way?
    Thanks.
    I'll be asking about barrels next.
     
  6. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I realize you don't want to be pointed to AR15.com, but you need to read all the tacked threads and FAQs they have compiled there, as background info.

    A hard-chrome bolt carrier might wipe down easier, but does that really matter very much? You can take a toothbrush and brake cleaner to either, and neither will malfunction with any amount of fouling that can be simply wiped away.

    If you want bling, look at the Young NM or LBC hard-chrome carriers. If you simply want extra mass, get an M16 carrier (yes, it's legal). The JP SS ("Tactical") carrier is slightly lighter than a stock carrier and will cycle fractionally faster.

    Don't mess around with wierd bolts, stick with one of the top-tier mfgrs.

    For barrels, volumes have been written and most of the questions answered, here and on AR15.com....

    -z
     
  7. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    The ones Zak Smith listed are good quality parts you can trust. There are other hard-chromed parts out there whose reputation isn't as good. If the chroming isn't done right, the steel becomes brittle and those parts break - particularly the chromed or TiN bolts.

    I use SLIP 2000 Carbon Cutter and its pretty effective. I can't imagine the chrome would make much difference besides making it easier to see the fouling.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Something has to wear. A rifle is not like an engine and the carrier does not always ride on a "cusion" of oil. If the coating on your carrier is harder than the upper itself, you'll wear the upper instead of the carrier. Now, it can be argued that the carrier can cost as much as the upper (the actual hunk of metal that is the upper) but it takes about 30 seconds to change a carrier, whereas it takes about 2 hours to change an upper, if you are really good and you have the tools lying around.

    I know you don't know who I am, but since you aren't really heeding Zak's advice I'll pitch in too. Between he and I we probably wear out two or three AR barrels a year, year in and year out. The AR is a good machine, and I would say they are at their best with the standard bolt/carrier group. I always carry an extra b/c group to matches, though I have never needed it. I beleive the things you gain with the TiN and other coatings are miniscule. You will be MUCH greater served with the standard carrier and use that money for practice ammo.
     
  9. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    I'm nobody when it comes to ARs, but I built my AR using the RRA "enhanced" bolt/carrier from eaglefirearms.net.

    It works fine.

    Chris
     
  10. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    Steve Smith,
    There is no reason to get defensive. I am trying to learn here.

    You say, rightly, that because of the metal to metal friction between the b/c and the upper there is wear on one part or the other.
    But one of the claims of the chrome-plated b/c is not that it is harder (altho it is),but that it is smoother. Smoother should mean less friction and thus less wear. I have seen this argument advanced on the site that cannot be named.

    The difference in price between the two is not that great, AFAIK.
     
  11. Darkside

    Darkside Member

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    I gonna through in my 2 cents.

    The bolt carrier is steel. Steel, plated or not, is harder than the aluminum upper receiver. As I see it, the upper receiver is a "Wear Item" and will wear out eventually.

    On standard rifles a new bolt carriers cost $100ish, new stripped uppers cost $100ish. The only real savings between the two, is the time it takes to replace the worn part.

    That said, I can not wait for the day that I have to fork over the money to replace the "worn out" part and can lay claim to my achievement.

    Darkside
     
  12. Rexrider

    Rexrider Member

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    I will second the RRA enhanced Bolt Carrier Group (BCG= the whole thing, bolt carrier, mounted and staked gas key, assembled bolt, firing pin)

    I am planing to buy a new upper for my post ban colt. I have since purchased the RRA BCG and have tested it in my Bushy. Works great. My was ordered from Eagle Firearms as well. I paid $110 shipped to the door.

    Colt, Bushmaster, and LMT are good choices too. However the Colt and LMT are much more expensive.

    I will also second that there really is no need for a chromed plated bolt and carrier. The standard or "enhanced" work just fine.
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm not defensive at all. :)

    Darkside is completely correct, I can't imagine having the time to wear though the receiver. Yes, the coated ones do clean up faster, but realistically, how clean is clean? Most competitive shooters don't have their guns as spotless as the non-competitives, from what I've seen. I think we allow a certain (and sometimes considerable) amount of dirt because it "will always be there" and we know better than to ever expect the gun to stay clean. Also, most of us have driven our guns to the point of failure due to dirt contamination, and we know what is really allowable and where. After you clean it, the first time you fire your rifle it's dirty again. What's the point? If you shoot it a LOT, as I do, there isn't a point of making it spotless. If you want it to look spotless, the coated carriers help, but it's not neccessary to the reliability of the gun, nor the accuracy.
     
  14. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Perhaps this is more of a question than a statement, since I'm here to learn also.

    It seems to me that the most wear is going to be on the bolt and not the carrier. As Darkside stated, the receiver is softer than the carrier. The bolt doesn't contact the receiver, but it does wear against the carrier and the barrel extention. I'd say the highest wear points of the assembly are the locking lugs (which are very robust by design in the AR), the extractor, the bolt cam pin and the gas rings. It seems that common sense would dictate buy the strongest bolt, and stock spare parts for wear items accordingly.

    If you are worried about wear on the carrier or receiver, get a brand new one with fresh parkerizing and coat it with a moly coating such as Gunkote, etc to "slick" it up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2005
  15. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    How many upper receivers have you seen "worn through" to the point that they didn't work anymore?

    How many bolt carriers have you seen "worn" such that they wouldn't work anymore?

    For myself and the competitors I know, the answer is zero.

    When I compare the amount of anodization worn away in upper receivers using the LBC hard-chrome carrier vs. a stock AR15 carrier, the difference is negligible. (Of course, this is a high quality HC carrier.)

    Contrary to popular belief, the AR15 runs fine when fouled. The action's enemy is sand or dirt coming in from the environment, and that is true for virtually any autoloading rifle. If you don't allow that to happen, an AR15 will run thousands and thousands of rounds before it requires cleaning.

    -z
     
  16. Darkside

    Darkside Member

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    The more I study Mr. Stoners rifle, the more respect I have for the design.

    All of the parts in this rifle are easily replaced with a minumal amount of effort. As a bonus, any part that has a high percentage of failure, due to wear or breakage, is not only easily replaced buy fairly inexpensive as well.

    I have one that I am refusing to clean, other than a wipe with an oily rag. It is not any kind of "official" experiment, just wanted to see how long it will run with out cleaning. I have not be keeping an exact round count, just a running guess in my head. It is going near 1000 rounds without any problems. We will see what happens after a few thousand more.

    I still can't wait to wear out one of mine. :D

    Darkside
     
  17. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    Someone here posted that he had an AK-type rifle. He cleaned it between cases of corrosive Soviet ammo, whether it needed it or not. It was still going strong with its chrome lined bore intact after many many rounds.
     
  18. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I thought we were talking about AR's?
     
  19. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    Sorry, a little thread drift. Normal at my age.
     
  20. buttrap

    buttrap Member

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    the important part is the fit of the bolt in the barrel extention. If you want to spend extra money spend it on a matched bolt and barrel and a good trigger set. Most everyting else in a AR is like chrome valve covers on a engine..looks nice but it dont work any better. Spend money on the things that make it shoot well before the Bling Effect.
     
  21. N3rday

    N3rday Member

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    RRA's bolt carrier has a little more beef around the firing pin area, more closely resembling the original m16 bolt, which is supposed to be a little more reliable. Just what I heard (I have one for an AR-15 project that unfortunately didn't get completed). They cost what a normal one would cost.
     
  22. P0832177

    P0832177 member

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    What is funny here is that there are no National Match Specs for the M16/AR15 platform. Whereas there were for the M14/M1 Garand. With that said companies offering said items are just buffing up their product line!

    I just attended an AR Armoring course that is endorsed by several of the larger purveyors of AR platforms. And, the instructor had noted nothing that detracted from using plated carriers. But, it was related that there was a bad batch of chrome plated carriers sold a while back.

    I have RRA stuff in my uppers. They function well. I do not see the need to try and "code" this subject. Buy a brand name and that will serve you well!
    I would save the extra money and put into glass or other "tactickewl" hardware!
     
  23. 1911user

    1911user Member

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    When people like Zak and Steve together are firing 10,000-20,000 rounds a year, every year, through AR-15 type rifles, I'd be tempted to listen when they say what works and is important; kind of like the old E.F.Hutton financial commercials.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2005
  24. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I don't really keep close track, but for the record I was probably closer to 8000 223 rounds fired in competition and practice for 3Gun/practical rifle in 2004, with full-auto fun on top of that.

    -z
     
  25. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I have less than 1000 rounds of full auto experience, spread between an Uzi, an MG42, and an M16. I shoot roughly between 5000 and 7000 rounds through an AR annually, between Highpower practice, matches, NTIT, and training new shooters.
     
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