Thread: Bolt Swap
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Old September 20, 2012, 07:59 PM   #2
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Join Date: September 9, 2008
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Yes... oddly enough, it is common. Doing so however may not be very good for the locking lugs of the guns and bolt you are switching around with.
Locking lugs will "break in" and develop light wear patterns. You start swapping things out and back and forth, and you may not get a good, square and true lock-up of the bolt and barrel extension lugs. Doing so may also be detrimental to the guns accuracy and may accelerate wear on the measured chamber length.

In a high end match target AR, the bolt is matched and lapped in to the barrel extension and barrel to ensure 100% square and true lock-up... much like a 'smith would lap in the locking lugs of a bolt action target rifle. There is one that I'm aware of, and possibly more AR barrel makers, who actually sell their barrels with a new, matched bolt included in the deal.

IMO... I would suggest, at least, having a bolt for every upper assembly or barrel you use. But then of course, you now have wear issues between bolt and carrier... so where does one draw the line eh?

If super accuracy is not a concern, and you tend to replace bolts as a wear item anyway... nothing I've said really matters all that much.

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