Those who are serious about self-defense understand the importance of keeping their firearms in peak functioning condition. Keeping your AR-10 clean and replacing inexpensive parts like your 6.5 Creedmoor bolt carrier groups, for instance, may extend the life of your weapon for years.
|Brownells 308 AR Bolt Carrier Group|| ||$139 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Aero Precision AR 308 Bolt Carrier Group|| ||$182 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|PSA Nitride Gen 2 6.5 Creedmoor BCG with Double Ejector|| ||$150 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Faxon 6.5 Creedmoor Bolt Carrier Group|| ||$219 Shop NowClick to read my review|
This article will also talk about why a 6.5 Creedmoor round is a good choice, as well as what makes a good bolt carrier group. We’ll also go through the most critical aspects to think about when choosing the best 6.5 Creedmoor bolt carrier group for your AR-10. Without further ado, let’s get started.
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Why Go With A 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10?
Before we even begin our discussion of bolt carrier groups, it’s worth answering this question: why even go with the 6.5 Creedmoor round in the first place?
The 6.5 Creedmoor was introduced in 2008 and rapidly became one of the most popular centerfire rifle rounds. It is safe to say that the 6.5 Creedmoor is the most widely used round in the 6mm series in the United States.
6.5 Creedmoor is a shorter, more dependable cartridge for semi-automatic rifles derived from the.260 Remington round. In comparison to the.308, it exhibits improved terminal ballistics across longer ranges, kicks slightly less, but hits harder and flatter throughout the whole range.
The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge in an AR-10 makes it a powerful weapon. The 6.5 Creedmoor is an excellent round for hunting large game, including deer and elk, in North America.
6.5 Creedmoor AR-10s are a good option for a tactical rifle since they are semi-automatic and magazine-fed. For home protection, or as a general-purpose handgun, it’s an excellent choice.
What Is a Bolt Carrier Group?
The bolt carrier group is the beating heart of your AR-10. Without the bolt carrier group or BCG, your AR-10 literally would not be capable of firing.
As you may already know, you can locate the bolt carrier group on the upper receive part of your AR-10. To use it, first, take your 6.5 CM upper receiver. Then slide the entire bolt carrier group through the rear of the receiver until it locks. Afterward, you can merge the upper and lower receiver together to create a complete rifle.
When you fire your AR-10, the gases created from the fired 6.5 Creedmoor round will be redirected back down through the gas tube to the bolt carrier. The gas then fills up the chamber in the bolt carrier group, forcing the carrier group back against the recoil spring of the rifle. Speaking of recoil, a great way to limit the felt recoil of your rifle is to install a 6.5 Creedmoor muzzle brake.
The more the bolt carrier travels backward, the more it twists until it unlocks from the chamber. The entire action of the rifle is then permitted to cycle back rearward until it ejects the spent shell out of the rifle. Then a new round is inserted into the chamber.
If the bolt carrier group did not exist on your AR-10, the firing pin could not strike the primer. Therefore, the rifle would not be able to fire in the first place.
Parts of a Bolt Carrier Group
Here are the primary components that make up each bolt carrier group:
Some folks confuse the terms “bolt carrier” and “bolt carrier group,” thinking that both refer to the same thing. However, they do not. It’s because the bolt carrier is a part of the overall bolt carrier group or BCG. On the other hand, the bolt carrier contains the pieces necessary to allow the bolt carrier group to operate.
The bolt carrier works by contacting the spring and the buffer. Then it absorbs the force and gas from the fired round. The best bolt carriers are built out of 9310 steel, 8620 steel, or 158 steel for durability and longevity.
Carrier Key or Gas Key
On the other hand, the terms “carrier key” and “gas key” refer to the same thing. You can find the carrier key on the top of the bolt. In addition, it resembles little more than a small protrusion. Moreover, its primary purpose is to absorb the gas that travels down the gas tube of the AR after firing the rifle.
The carrier key permits the gas to travel through it and then into the rest of the carrier. Without the carrier key, the bolt and extractor would not be able to rotate.
Bolt Gas Rings
The bolt gas rings trap the gas of the spent round as the gas expands, allowing the bolt to work. Without the gas rings, the gas would disperse into the rest of the upper receiver, causing the weapon to malfunction.
Bolt and Extractor
The bolt and extractor are the same unit but serve two different purposes. The bolt looks like a star on the front and allows the bolt carrier group to lock or unlock within the chamber. When it comes time to unlock the bolt carrier group, the bolt will rotate at fifteen degrees.
On the other hand, the extractor hooks onto the outer rim of each 6.5 Creedmoor round. It also holds the shells in place to load them into the chamber. Once the gun cycles, the ejector’s spring forces the casing to exit the receiver through the ejection port before cycling a new 6.5 Creedmoor round from the magazine to the weapon.
The firing pin strikes the primer of the 6.5 Creedmoor round when you pull the trigger. Without the firing pin, the weapon would be incapable of firing. You can find the pin at the head of the bolt.
Lastly, the camp pin stops the bolt from rotating too far once it unlocks. You can find the camp pin in the carrier through a hole located next to the bolt. Another hole in the middle of the pin permits the firing pin to slide through it, allowing contact with the round’s firing pin.
How Does the Bolt Carrier Group Work?
When you fire your AR-10, a little amount of the compressed gas from the expended cartridge is transferred down the gas tube to the carrier key on the bolt carrier. Exhaust from the expended cartridge causes a pressure buildup that causes a rearward movement in the BCG. The Bolt Cam in the BCG is triggered by this backward movement, freeing the bolt from the rifle chamber and enabling the whole system to move backward, compressing the buffer spring of your weapon.
Extractors attached to the rim of the cartridges draw the spent casing into the ejection port as the bolt carrier advances backward. As part of the BCG’s action cycle, the hammer cocks on the backward stroke.
As soon as the magazine is removed, the compressed buffer spring propels the whole BCG into a forward motion. The Bolt removes a cartridge from the magazine and places it in the chamber as the BCG returns to its starting position. When the cam pin moves forward, it turns the bolt and locks it into the chamber, forming a gas seal.
Your AR-10 will no longer work as a semi-automatic rifle if it doesn’t have a fully functional bolt carrier group. The inability to extract, a typical AR stoppage problem, may be traced back to problems with the BCG.
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Why Upgrade Your BCG?
In general, the bolt carrier group is exposed to a lot of wear and strain. Every time your AR-10 fires a cartridge, the BCG needs to tolerate a variety of physical stresses, including friction from forced movement, intense heat from gas pressure, spring compression, and more.
It’s inevitable that your BCG will degrade with time as a result of frequent motions and tension. As the springs are subjected to repetitive compression, heat, and cooling, they ultimately degrade or break.
You can avoid most rifle stoppages with appropriate cleaning, components maintenance, and quality improvements. So it’s helpful to know that this is possible. Inexpensive, simple, and quick to replace, bolt carrier group components and modifications are readily available.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best 6.5 Creedmoor Bolt Carrier Group
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new bolt carrier group for your 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10:
Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI)
Always make sure that your bolt carrier group is magnetic particle inspected or marked as MPI. MPI means that the bolt carrier group has been placed into a magnetic field created by two electromagnetics. It uses a liquid solution of magnetic particles to cover the steel. This will identify any cracks or fissures in the steel. It also ensures that the bolt carrier group is safe to use over the long term.
You can guarantee that any bolt carrier group that is MPI-inspected will last for several rounds of sustained firing. Also, keep in mind that when you shoot your AR-10, the bolt carrier group is literally subjected to tens of thousands of pounds for each square inch.
High Pressure Testing (HPT)
In addition to MPI, your bolt carrier group should also come with HPT or high-pressure testing. HPT means that the bolt carrier group can fire high-pressure cartridges, including rounds above SAAMI specifications. Additionally, getting a BCG that is capable of handling such ammunition is your choice. However, it’s always a good idea to get one to make your bolt carrier group last long.
The metals used can affect the durability and weight of your BCG. Most BCGs you’ll find in the market will most likely be made of some sort of steel construction, more specifically, military-grade steel. For years, this has been the standard metal used for military firearms.
Nowadays, aluminum and titanium are starting to gain popularity and are metals you’ll probably run into when looking into BCGs. Although both significantly more expensive than steel, they make great lightweight alternatives for low-mass BCGs often used in tunable gas systems or competition rifles.
You might be able to find lightweight versions of mil-spec steel BCG but chances are they’ll have a lot of lightning cuts, a process, or removing large sections of metal to reduce weight. This might give you a cheaper lightweight steel BCG but you’ll also be sacrificing durability.
It’s best to get a drop-in bolt carrier group to quicken the installation of your bolt carrier group in your AR-10. Getting one means easy installation of the BCG into your AR-10 without the aid of any extra tools or a gunsmith.
Manufacturers add finishes to their BCG to enhance durability. However, a good quality finish will also improve inherent lubricity, require less maintenance, and can also add a nice look to your BCG. Consider how often you’ll be using your AR-10 before deciding on an expensive BCG finish that you might not even need.
There are 4 common finishes that you’ll most likely encounter when looking for a new BCG. Phosphate finishes are the common military standards, however, they are rough and will require a lot of lubricant. Nitride finishes dark in color, smoother, and better for wear and tear, however, it’ll cost more.
Nickel boron finishes are considered premium finishes, so expect to break your budget on nickel boron finished BCGs. Nickel boron finished BCG will have a stainless finish, requires very little lubricant, and is significantly more durable than standard phosphate finishes.
Finally, Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) finishes are the creme-de-la-creme of finishes. It’s smooth and extremely durable so expect it to last a long time with very little required maintenance outside of standard cleaning. It’s also one of the most expensive finishes on the market, but for me, the quality justifies the price.
Last but not least, don’t neglect the price. The reason to get a bolt carrier group assembled rather than buying and putting the parts together on your own is to save money. With that in mind, bolt carrier groups aren’t cheap. The best advice is to buy the highest quality bolt carrier group that you can afford.
Best 6.5 Creedmoor Bolt Carrier Groups
We covered why you need to upgrade your bolt carrier group for your AR-10. Now, let’s discuss the best 6.5 Creedmoor bolt carrier groups:
This bolt carrier group was originally made for the .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO cartridges however, it will work just fine for the 6.5 Creedmoor as well.
Even though the Brownells 308 AR Bolt Carrier Group is one of the most affordable bolt carrier groups on the market, it doesn’t sacrifice its build quality and performance. This exceptional bolt carrier group is made of hardened steel with a black nitride finish for great rust and corrosion resistance.
Each element of this bolt carrier group has undergone MPI Tests to ensure that every square centimeter of the bolt carrier group is durable and safe before shipping out of the factory. In addition, Brownells built the bolt of this carrier group with stronger steel than the rest of its parts allowing you to get over 10,000 rounds before needing replacement.
- Made of hardened steel with back nitride finish
- Excellent durability and corrosion-resistance
- Pin is a little short
If you’re looking for the highest quality bolt carrier group and don’t mind spending a little money to get it, then check out the Aero Precision AR 308 Bolt Carrier Group. This is another BCG originally made for the .308 Winchester round. However, similar to the Brownells BCG, you should be able to run the 6.5 Creedmoor without issue.
The Aero Precision AR 308 BCG is a high-end bolt carrier group made of high-quality case hardened 8620 steel. For added longevity and reliable performance, this bolt carrier group features a properly staked chrome-lined gas key, forward assist serrations, and Mil-Spec Phosphate coating to keep it protected from rust and corrosion. The actual bolt itself is machined from 9310 case hardened steel and can run just about any .308 based cartridge design.
As a premium BCG Aero Precision spared no expense when it comes to quality control, ensuring that the AR 308 BCG is both High pressure and MPI-tested for safety before shipping to your doorstep.
- Premium quality finish
- Can run any cartridge based on the .308
- Extra durable and very reliable build
- Easy to install
- Bolt is can be a little too tight on the carrier
The PSA Nitride Gen 2 6.5 BCG with Double Ejector is a great workhorse BCG made of durable 8620 steel with a black nitride finish for excellent weathering resistance. The entire unit is very heat resistant and can handle sustained firing for longer periods than other BCG on our list.
This bolt carrier group features double ejectors that enable a smooth and seamless ejection action for spent casing, an ideal feature to have if you’re looking to go full auto. Just make sure to properly size your AR-10 since the firing pin on this unit can be a little small for some configurations.
- Made of durable materials
- Has a steel bolt assembly
- Comes with dual ejectors
- Firing pin is small
The Faxon bolt carrier group has set the bar for quality and value. The next BCG on this list also works with both the.308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor calibers. Moreover, this bolt carrier group is MIL-Spec and improved to be a long-lasting bolt carrier group.
Faxon enhanced this bolt by using 9310 high-quality steel. This material is substantially stronger than conventional bolt materials. Additionally, it is corrosion-resistant and MPI-tested. Furthermore, it features a chambered 45-degree bolt lug which enables a reliable action under extreme pressures.
In addition, Faxon added a nitride finish to its bolt carrier groups to reduce friction and improve function. Unfortunately, there is only one ejector on this unit. However, it still allows for full auto firing, which is an excellent choice for full-auto weapon users. Gas keys are completely anchored and feature grade 8 fasteners for long service life.
Unsatisfaction is not an option with this product because of its heat-treated, MPI-tested bolt and extractor. In terms of quality and reliability, the Faxon bolt carrier group is a good choice.
- Works with borth .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor
- Extremely durable coating
- Full mil-spec heat treatment
- Some buyers report issues with the gas key
The Aero Precision AR 308 Bolt Carrier Group BCG is a heavy-coated bolt carrier group that is meant to minimize the requirement for lubrication and cleaning. Its sturdy design and the black nitride finish promise years of reliable service and excellent rifle performance.
Even though it’s a little bit on the expensive end, it’s well worth the money. Also, it should last you through the lifetime of your rifle, with proper maintenance, of course.
The Final Word
The 6.5 Creedmoor is an excellent rifle round, thanks to its outstanding ballistics and trajectories at long ranges. An AR-10 chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor would be a superb rifle for big game hunting, tactical use, or as a general-purpose SHTF weapon.
Remember, a bolt carrier group is what enables your AR-10 to function in the first place. The bolt carrier group is perhaps a vital component to invest in, especially if you want to upgrade your existing AR-10 or build a new one from the ground up.
Any of the bolt carrier groups we discussed in this article can be a worthy option for your AR-10. Alternatively, remember the buyer’s guide that we have covered earlier as well. Likewise, always ensure that you find a high-quality bolt carrier that matches your preferences.
A few reminders before you go. There are a lot of large rounds made for the AR-10, not just the .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor. Not every bolt carrier group is compatible with every cartridge or built to handle the most powerful AR-10 rounds. Also, not every rifle upper will be compatible with every BCG. So remember, it’s your responsibility to get a BCG that will work for your vision, your usage, and your set-up.
Interested in learning more about 6.5 Creedmoor? Take a look at the following articles: