Keep your AR-15 Running Smoothly: BCG Maintenance

If you own an AR-15 you may have had a similar thought process: “Hmmmmmmm…. why is my AR-15 jamming/malfunctioning all of a sudden?”. I recently had an AR-15 start misfiring (light strikes) and after considering the primers I had loaded with and other factors I decided to disassemble, clean and lubricate the Bolt Carrier Group (BCG). Well, after that my AR-15 was running perfectly. The point is: before you start blaming your AR-15 or ammunition for reliability issues, give your gun a good cleaning!

Recently on the Accurate Shooter Daily Bulletin, Paul’s team published a great BCG maintenance overview with a ton of links to great info on the topic from the Top Quark Blog.

AR-15 BCG components - Image from
AR-15 BCG components – Image from

If you are needing a refresher (or first time guide) on how to work on your BCG, you should check out this great blog post. I’ve also posted some tech info on the assembly and disassembly of the standard AR-15 BCG during the AR-MPR rifle build project right here on Ultimate Reloader. Here’s a link to that post, and the corresponding video:

This will be one of my projects coming up this weekend- another BCG maintenance session. Should be fun!

Safe shooting, and keep those AR-15’s tuned up!


3 thoughts on “Keep your AR-15 Running Smoothly: BCG Maintenance”

  1. Excellent review! I wasn’t aware of that spring assembly before, I’m wondering if that area of the bolt can become gummed up with carbon deposits too? Maybe you could also cover the topic of cleaning the blow-back tube assembly and share some points on how to throughly clean the chamber of the AR as it’s really difficult to get a brush in there for deep cleaning!

    Any additional recommendations on how to properly lubricate the bolt assembly to prevent excessive accumulation of carbon deposits and reduction of potential jams would be GREATLY appreciated!

    One more request, have you thought about doing a performance comparison between a standard bolt versus one of those high-priced aftermarket ones? What’s the difference?

    As always, Thanks Gavin!

  2. Well there is one point that I see as a common problem with those with AR feeding/running issues….most people run their AR’s way too dry. I’ve never been afraid to use oil/lubricate more than many believe should be used….but I do not have AR running issues either.

    One lube I started using is Mobile One 0W-30W. Seven dollars for a quart and it seems to stick better…at any rate my AR’s run smooth as do my Glocks and CZ’s and Berreta’s and Keltec’s. And I’ve been using this synthetic oil to clean the bores with lately. Time will tell on the bore swabbing/cleaning but so far it looks promising.

    Another lube I use now is grease sold by Wally World….”Super Tech Extreme Preasure Multi Duty Complex Hi-Temp Grease”…a mouth full of words for a really smelly purple grease I use on my pistol slides nowadays. The grease off gases after a few days but talk about slides being smoooooth! Q Tips are one of the best tools for lubing by the way.

    I’m a cheap skate mostly…I prefer the term frugal…but if this lube combo didn’t work I certainly wouldn’t use these lubes. I used BreakFree CPL (This and a product called Tri-Flow) for a good while and there is not a thing wrong with BreakFree or Tr-Flow….I wanted more product for the money that worked and Mobile One and the purple grease works really well. So far anyways.

    As far as the gas tube goes….those pipe cleaner styles seems to remove the carbon residue…this area is just plain not easy to get at or clean (Gez my VEPR AK47 was a snapped to break down and clean…maybe I should have held on to that one!) but the tube must be cleaned periodically.

    As I said…far too many people run their AR’s too dry…use amble lube loosely. I’ve found that cleaning is easier as well when amble lube is used.

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