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Old February 28, 2013, 02:55 PM   #21
Join Date: September 18, 2010
Posts: 49
Get a good bolt. Don’t choose the cheapest option. If your bolt breaks, your gun goes down. Bolts are subjected to the highest amount of stress in your AR. Carpenter 158 steel is mil-spec should be considered minimal for any service level grade AR. Bolts are relatively cheap. It is only $50 for a good one. Please don’t skimp on this part. MP/HP testing should be a requirement for everyone’s build. Chromed or coated bolts and BCGs are nice but not necessarily needed. Coated units definitely make cleaning easier, but won’t necessarily make your bolt any more reliable than it already is. A regular parkerized bolt will do the job just fine. I would also recommend that you get a spare bolt, extractor, extractor spring and firing pin in your bag of tricks.

BCG (bolt carrier group) is the term for the whole assembly which includes the firing pin, bolt, and housing. The carrier usually doesn’t wear out and can be reused. When deciding between a semi auto (SA) and full auto (FA) carrier for semi automatic applications, either one will do the job. FA carriers are made heavier because more mass is needed to slow the cycling rate of full auto applications. Heavier does not necessarily mean better in this instance though. FA carriers also have a small shroud that protects the firing pin from hitting the hammer when the BCG cycles back and resests the hammer. For SA guns, this difference is negligible and in some cases unwanted. There are applications (mostly for competition guns) where some users actually want the fastest cycling possible and opt for light weight BCGs. My personal opinion is that since most factory guns are overgassed, I would prefer a full auto carrier for the added mass and for the shroud protecting the firing pin. Interestingly enough, having a FA carrier doesn’t make your gun automatic nor is it really necessary for all FA guns.

Insist that the gas key bolts of your BCG are properly staked. It’s added insurance to keep your gas key secure, thusly preventing any stoppages. Some manufacturers insist that staking is not needed (i.e. Young’s) but it’s really not too difficult to do yourself if needed.
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