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The Importance of a Reliable Bolt Carrier Group

The Importance of a Reliable Bolt Carrier GroupIf you have served in the military or spent any appreciable amount of time with an AR platform weapon in another capacity, you already know that cleaning your weapon is of paramount importance. It’s like having a baby. Babies get dirty. They WILL poop - all the time - and their diapers must be changed. If you don’t change them, well…all sorts of awful things can happen. The baby could get sick and eventually die, that is if you aren’t found out by social services first. The point is, to be a good parent, you have to change diapers. You have to look out for the wellbeing of the baby. You have to keep your baby healthy; it’s part of the responsibility that comes along with having a baby. If you want the baby to grow into a well-rounded, mature adult who will someday take care of YOU when YOU need to be taken care of, this is a necessity that cannot be ignored.

In many ways, your rifle is the proverbial “baby”, and while allowing your weapon to get dirty won’t get it taken from you by social services, it will prevent it from being reliable when you need or want it to be next time you go to the range, on a hunt, or need it to defend yourself. And yes, if it gets dirty enough, some of its organs will “get sick and die”, thus making it ineffective for the purposes of its very existence.

So, you have to clean your weapon, that’s a given, but are there ways to make it easier to clean? The good news is yes, there are ways to make it easier to clean.

When rounds are sent downrange, carbon buildup accumulates in every nook, cranny, and surface inside the weapon. Typically, scrubbing with some sort of gun cleaner/carbon solvent is in order. Depending on what the guts of the weapon are coated with, more or less scrubbing will be needed. Aside from the obvious importance of cleaning out the barrel, trigger group, star chamber, etc…the bolt carrier group must be broken down and cleaned ad nauseam. This is important because an AR 15 bolt carrier group is what holds the round, extracts it, grabs the next round, and oh by the way – houses the firing pin that is responsible for setting off the primer, which in turn makes the round go off (or not) in the first place. The bolt carrier group is also usually the part that fails when an AR weapon platform “jams”.

Now that we’ve established the importance of the bolt carrier group from a sheer mechanical standpoint in its relation to the overall system, it’s easy to see why it needs to be clean. Now back to the concept of making it easier to clean. The way to do this is to get a bolt carrier group that is coated in a material which repels carbon build up from sticking better than most.

With a nickel boron bolt carrier group or a phosphate-coated BCG, carbon build up literally wipes right off, no solvent needed. This is particularly advantageous when dealing with a suppressed weapon as the carbon build up in the guts of the rifle is that much greater due to a number of factors that we won’t go into here.

So, who makes this wonderful, easy-to-clean, ar15 bolt carrier group? A number of companies actually. Some of the foremost manufacturers of these BCGs include Spike’s Tactical and Fail Zero. Popular BCG models from these companies include:
Fail Zero Basic Bolt Carrier 009-FZM16/4-01 (treated with EXO technology, decreasing the amount of lubrication needed)
Yes, these bolt carrier groups are more expensive than basic ones, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you don’t do a lot of shooting and cleaning doesn’t feel like a chore, then spending the extra money may not make sense to you. However, if you shoot a lot and get OCD over your “baby’s” cleanliness, then one of these BCG’s is a no brainer.