Installing an AR-15 Bolt Catch

In this segment of our continuing series on building your own AR-15, we cover how to install the bolt catch. If you’re like me, you’ve mangled half a dozen bolt catch roll pins over the years and put more than a few dings into your lower receiver. But it does not have to be that way.

Note: This entire installation is much easier if you have a bench vise and AR block, and you can do without if you have a solid workbench. Positioning that little roll pin is always a pain. It’s darn near impossible to hold it by hand and still be able to strike a square blow with a punch. Here’s a tip: tape the roll pin to your punch.

  1. Tape up your lower receiver to prevent an errant strike from marring your finish.
  2. Position the roll pin over the hole.
  3. Start it with a few taps from your hammer onto the hardened steel punch. Be careful not to drive the pin too far or you will not be able to install the bolt catch.
  4. With the roll pin started, insert the bolt catch spring and the bolt catch plunger into the receiver.
  5. Insert the bolt catch.
  6. Line up the bolt catch using a second punch.
  7. Drive the bolt catch roll pin the rest of the way in.
  8. Check for any binding and ensure that the bolt catch moves properly.

And you’re done.

Have you built your own AR-15? Share your experiences with getting that done in the comments section.

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Comments (3)

  1. I cannot install this roll pin – I taped it tightly, and took the grease off of it even before I came here. I am certain I am using the right pin. I even bought a jewelers hammer to help. I bought a higher quality parts kit – I thought about usint a dremel to polish it down just a touch on the leading edge. Any thoughts?

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