Bolts & Carriers
AR-15 Bolts Carriers Group
Are you a gun enthusiast? If so, we’re willing to bet you eagerly devour all the knowledge you can get your hands on about guns — how they’re constructed, what makes them tick and how they can be improved. As a passionate student of this fascinating piece of equipment, you probably also know quite a bit about the AR-15, one of the most widely recognized guns around.
Today, we’re going to spend some time talking about a specific part of the AR-15 — the bolt carrier group, what might well be called the heart and soul of the gun. If you’re already familiar with it, some of this information will simply be a refresher course, although we hope you learn something new as well. And if you’re new to the gun scene, then consider this your introductory class on all things related to AR-15 bolt carrier groups.
Before we get into the finer details, however, let’s all take a minute to get on the same page by talking about what the bolt carrier group actually is and why it matters for your AR-15.
What Is the Bolt Carrier Group?
The bolt carrier group is a crucial piece of the gun’s anatomy. While some pieces of the AR-15 are simply in place for extra comfort, speed or style, the bolt carrier group is absolutely necessary for the gun to function correctly. Without this piece operating as intended, the gun will not fire and will be largely inoperable.
The AR-15 bolt carrier group are often referred to as the “action” of the AR-15 rifle. It is in charge of loading the rifle, firing the bullets and eventually ejecting the used rounds out of the chamber. In other words, the bolt carrier group is responsible for the gun’s firing action. If there is no bolt carrier group, your gun won’t fire.
The AR15 bolt carrier not only houses the bolt, but it also resets the hammer as it moves back and forth within the upper receiver. These essential AR-15 parts take quite a beating, and heavy use can subject them to extreme wear. Worn-out bolts and bolt carriers are problematic, as they will significantly reduce the reliability of your AR-15 rifle.
You can acquire a bolt carrier group for your AR-15 in one of two ways. You can buy the entire piece pre-assembled and simply drop it into your upper. Or, if you like a challenge and are interested in the finer inner workings of your gun, you can also buy the individual components of the bolt carrier group and build this part yourself before installing it to your rifle. Neither way is better than the other, and it all depends on what you want, what you need and what is best suited for you.
What Does the Bolt Carrier Group Do?
We’ve mentioned this, but it’s worth talking about in more detail. In an AR-15, the bolt carrier group is responsible for most of the firing action that occurs in the gun. It’s what controls the loading mechanism, fires the bullet and spits out the used cartridge. But how exactly does this work? How do all these little pins and pieces work together to complete these tasks? Let’s take a closer look.
The basic mechanics work like this: when you pull the trigger on an AR-15, the hammer strikes the firing pin causes the bullet to fire. As the bullet continues traveling down the barrel, the building gas pressure behind the bullet enters the gas block. As this gas circles back around through the gas tube, the increasing pressure enters the gas key, which then unlocks the bolt and pushes the bolt carrier rearward. As this happens, the extractor pulls the shell out of the chamber and the spring-loaded ejector kicks the spent cartridge out through the ejection port and making space for the next round to slide neatly into place for the whole process to begin again.
Different Types of AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups
With a basic understanding of what the bolt carrier group is and how it functions, the next question is this: are all bolt carrier groups the same? Are there different types, or is it a one-size-fits-all solution? And if there are different varieties and variations, what makes them different?
The short answer is "yes" — there are many variations among types of bolt carrier groups. There are slightly different configurations that offer different advantages and disadvantages. One of the big ways in which bolt carrier groups are distinguished from one another, however, is in terms of their weight and material composition.
There are two basic bolt carrier configurations: an AR-15 style (AKA Semi-Auto) and an M16 style (AKA Full-Auto). The M16 style has full mass at its tail while the AR-15 style’s bottom is cut out. One thing to keep in mind is that although the M16 bolt carrier has been referred to as “Full Auto,” it doesn’t actually make your AR fully automatic.
The M16 style bolt carrier is slightly heavier than its AR-15 counterpart. Since the M16 style bolt carrier is heavier, it has a slower cycling rate, which helps your rifle function more reliably and reduce felt recoil. The AR-15 style bolt carrier is lighter, which increases the cycling rate. This will benefit someone who wants to have a “racegun.” A “racegun” is usually modified for speed in competition, but it might require some gas tuning to make it function reliably.
Beside the two basic bolt carrier group profiles. There couple other features that you can look into when choosing your bolt carrier group.
1. Advance Coating on AR15 BCG
In today's market, there are many types of coatings for bolt carrier group you can choose from. Many newer generation bolt carrier groups are coated with an extra layer of protection such as Titanium Nitride and Black Nitride. These coatings will help the BCG better withstand corrosion, dirt and general wear-and-tear. Because this is a component of the rifle that frequently undergoes quite a bit of battering, these advance coating can be extremely helpful. It can be the difference that helps your bolt carrier action enjoy a longer life before it eventually breaks down.
In addition to this, some advance coating like the nickel boron has the extra advantage of requiring less lubricant. The parts slide together smoothly and result in a decreased risk of jamming or other similar types of malfunctions. When you opt for the nickel boron coating, you’re taking a big step towards increasing both the overall reliability and the general durability of your bolt carrier grip.
2. Lightweight/Low Mass AR15 BCG
The lightweight profile option is slightly different than the AR-15 and M16 profile. It does not benefit from the extra weight that the standard M16 profile bolt carrier group does. However, it has a different advantage — its extremely lightweight nature. This makes the rifle faster, smoother and overall less felt recoil. When it comes to deciding between the two, you’ll need to think about what you’re looking for and what’s most important to you in your bolt carrier action.
What Are the Benefits of Upgrading Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group?
As with almost any part of any gun, there is so much more that can be done than simply the base component. There are countless ways to upgrade, improve, experiment and make your gun more personalized and individually suited to your tastes.
Keep in mind that every modification and upgrade will be different and each one will bring a different advantage. As you think about what upgrades you might be interested in, spend some time contemplating where you feel your rifle is lacking and what places you’d like to see improvement.
With this in mind, here are a few of the specific benefits of you might experience when you decide to upgrade your bolt carrier group.
1. Increased Reliability
There’s nothing more frustrating than a gun that fails just when you’re counting on it to get the job done. While there are numerous reasons a rifle might jam or fail at the last minute, there are luckily also plenty of upgrades you can look for that will decrease the odds of this happening. While it’s impossible to guarantee 100 percent reliability 100 percent of the time, there are certain steps you can take to make your bolt carrier action much more reliable.
2. Increased Durability
Guns don’t last forever — and bolt carrier groups especially don’t last forever. The more you use your gun, the more wear it will take and the faster it will break down. Your bolt carrier group, in particular, is especially susceptible to wear and damage. This is because while other parts of the gun are less integral to the firing action, the bolt carrier group is always working. It will degrade before too long no matter how careful and responsible you are.
No bolt carrier action will last forever, but you can help it to better withstand the wear and tear of usage and better stand up to longer spans of usage. By purchasing and installing upgraded parts, it’s entirely possible to extend your bolt carrier group’s lifespan.
3. Increased Speed
Dissatisfied with the speed of your rifle’s firing action? Not to worry. There are different upgrade options that can help increase the speed at which your bolt carrier group releases rounds. Assorted upgrades can result in this particular benefit to your rifle.
4. Increased Ease and Smoothness
Do you ever feel that when you pull the trigger of your rifle, the action isn’t quite as smooth as you’d like? Maybe it’s difficult to cycle or maybe you feel the shot isn’t quite as fast as you like, or you can feel the parts sticking and rubbing. By upgrading to higher-quality parts, it’s possible to improve this kind of performance.
Wing Tactical Is Your Source for Durable AR-15 Bolts and Bolt Carriers
If you’re excited about building or buying the best, fastest, most durable and most reliable AR-15 possible, then you’ll be curious to know who is crafting these bolt carrier groups. What companies manufacture them and which companies are widely known as the best and most reliable?
While there are many companies out there, a few specific manufacturers are widely regarded as the best and most reliable. If you’re in the market for an AR-15 bolt carrier group, we would recommend buying from one of the following manufacturers:
- Fail Zero
- JP Enterprises
- Black Rain Ordinance
- Aero Precision
- Iron City Rifleworks
- Master of Arms
- WMD Guns
- Spike’s Tactical
- Rubber City Armory
All of the companies listed here are known for crafting solid and reliable parts that will serve you well. No matter what specific type of bolt carrier group you’re looking for, you should feel confident that you’ll be able to find something from one of these companies.
On the other side of the equation: What if you’re in the market for a bolt carrier group and happen to stumble across a model that looks promising, but you aren’t entirely certain? There’s one way to gain certainty, and that’s too look at who the manufacturer is. If it’s one of these respected and well-known companies, then you should feel confident in buying the part.
If, on the other hand, it was crafted by a different company, then you’ll need to think carefully. It’s possible the part is still of high quality and will serve you well, but you will be taking more of a gamble when you buy from a less-well-known company. Take a moment to do some research on the company and learn what their reputation is. Decide if you feel comfortable buying from them and then proceed as you decide. When purchasing a piece as crucial as the bolt carrier group, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Shop AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups Today
With a basic understanding of bolt carrier groups, the next step is to start shopping. Are you looking for an entire pre-assembled bolt carrier group? Would you prefer to buy your bolt carrier replacement parts separately so you can enjoy the challenge of assembling them yourself? Are you looking for a basic model to simply replace one that has worn out or are you looking to upgrade to something a little more efficient and a little slicker? At Wing Tactical, you can find all these and much, much more.
Here at Wing Tactical, our goal is to provide each and every customer with high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and real value. We do that by selling products that are always new and never used, and we pride ourselves on stocking products created by some of the biggest names in the business so you never have to compromise on buying the best when you shop with us.
We also understand that things go wrong. Whether you accidentally bought the wrong item or have simply decided that the item you purchased isn’t for you after all, we get it. Sometimes things need to be returned — and you deserve a speedy and efficient process that makes this easy for you to do. That’s why we offer the option for hassle-free returns within 30 days of purchase, so you can stop back in and buy the product you’ll be truly happy with. And so you can get your order as fast as possible, we also provide next-day shipping on all orders.
Ready to shop Wing Tactical today and give yourself an edge? Browse our full catalog of bolts and carriers today. If you have any questions or are interested in chatting more about this and other topics, don’t hesitate to contact us.