Those looking to go “premium” when building or finishing an AR-15 often look at an upgraded bolt carrier group. The primary functioning part in that group is the bolt assembly. The carrier body, as long as it is true USGI-standard specification, will give reliable and correct service. Sure, plated premium carriers are nice, mostly because they clean up much easier. Likewise, a higher-dollar carrier won’t make or break your gun, but a sub-standard bolt might.
I recently inked an article for these pages on the AR-15 bolt assembly—all the pieces-parts, watch for it over the next couple of weeks. Two of those pieces-parts can be problematic, especially with particular AR-15 platforms. Extractors. Ejectors.
Given that most of us don’t always have perfect access to truly “genuine” mil-spec, mil-standard parts (those actually used in issued fighting tools), we’re shopping based on a little part trust and a bigger part knowledge. The trust part is accepting claims of “USGI-spec” parts actually being done to not only blueprint dimensions, but also made from the correct materials treated to the same processes. That’s receivers, bolts, and on down the list of the 100 or so parts that can make up an AR-15.
In my estimation, a two-stage trigger in any rifle offers the most secure, precise, and safest function. Two-stage triggers appeared in U.S.-issue service rifles, such as the 1903, M1, M14. But for the AR-15/M16, it took the civilian-side aftermarket to create the two-stage trigger. The main reason other military-use rifles carried two-stage triggers is, primarily, because they are safer. There are other attributes to discuss, but safety is the main point in favor of a two-stage.
AR-15s are pretty much pinned together. While a staple for many AR-15s, roll pins are not hard to work with, but a misstep could be catastrophic enough to permanently damage your AR-15. Here’s how to perform the essential construction operations associated with roll pins—the professional way.
When something goes wrong and the rifle won’t fire, the first question should always be, “What changed?” Before answering that, we have to determine—or at least I determine—whether we’re talking about a “fresh” rifle going through its shakedown period, or a (previously) trusted gun that’s suddenly decided to stop running. If it’s the first scenario, there’s a longer list of possibilities that include original parts, conditions, and installation quality. This article will focus on the previously-functioning rifle that’s taken a vacation from operation.
We’ve chosen the sometimes twisting path to becoming handloaders because we want to improve on-target results. The difference between a handloader and a reloader? My wise-crack answer, which is honest, is that handloaders start with new brass… We’re not about to shoot factory ammo.
Don’t short-change a short gun! When you spec a carbine, think about shooting it! Simple? Yes. But don’t adapt to the carbine; make it adapt to you. Here are a few thoughts on how to get the most utility from your carbine.
The magazine is a part of the rifle, and it’s a moving part. The magazine feeds the daggone thing its rounds so it can fire its bullets. That’s how important the magazine is.
Bear with me! We’ll get started on the process of handloading next time when I talk about setting up a sizing die. But before that, it’s good to keep in mind what we’re dealing with, and that is a cartridge case, and also what happens to it during firing, which is what we’re setting out to remedy when we reuse it.
Semi-automatic rifles and bolt-action rifles are related but far from the same. When handloading, it’s helpful to realize they are not to be approached the same way.
A barrel-twist rate is expressed in a chain of numbers that reflects on how far down the barrel a
In Part I, I wrote about barrel essentials, mostly manufacturing methods and materials. This time I want to cover other considerations in choosing
The barrel is truly the make-or-break accuracy component in any rifle. There are contributing factors that
Barrel twist rates and chambering nomenclature confuse many AR-15 shooters, but understanding how different
Most shooters are gearheads. That’s not a bad thing. I’m one too. The ultimate goal of raising all that gear,
In Part 1, I described the path the AR-15 took to become a viable longer-range rifle, and