Lucky we don't issue kevlar helmets except for operations and displays then...
Lucky we don't issue kevlar helmets except for operations and displays then...
BCM 14.5″ Midlength Upper Receiver Group w/ Permanent Flash Hider
May 17th, 2010 | Photo Recon Product Announcement Review | Posted by Stickman
Bravo Company MFG (BCM) is well known in the weapon community for their solid weapon components, and we recently had a chance to grab one of their newest 14.5″ barreled upper receiver groups. Below are a list of the specs, and a pictorial guide to illustrate them.
Why are these specs important? Guys are carrying these into harms way overseas, and throughout the US in patrol cars. Right now, I’m one of them.
How well do I think the BCM uppers hold up? I’ve run a few thousand rounds through it (roughly 2,800 not counting what other guys have fired using this upper), and it has been flawless. In general, I don’t consider an M4/ AR15 upper worth looking at it if I can’t run a thousand rounds through it without malfunction. Reliability of a weapon is always my number one concern when I carry a weapon into harms way, and I’ll bet its yours as well. Its probably worth mentioning that all firing that I have done with this weapon has been using Magpul PMAGs. Some of the other guys using it had some older USGI mags, but for the most part, everyone I know is using PMAGs now. Its a moot point as far as I’m concerned as even the old beater aluminum mags had no feed issues. Ammunition fired was a mix of Q3131 (55 grain fmj), M855, M856, and a bit of M196. Some of the older ammo was dented up, but it still had no problems feeding, firing or extracting.
The hardest part of this review isn’t shooting the pictures, pointing out the specs, or talking about the reliability of the weapon. The hardest part is talking about the feel of the weapon when running shooting drills. This is by far the smoothest shooting AR15/ M4 that I have ever fired. With a few decades of weapons work, LE and MIL experience, combined with being a firearms instructor, and armorer, I don’t make that comment lightly. I attribute this to a few particular things. Starting with the muzzle device, BCM has chosen to use the Primary Weapon Systems FSC556, which is both a flash suppressor and compensator. While the PWS FSC556 kills flash a little less (to my eye) than a standard A2 flash suppressor like the ones on most M4s, it does a very good job on recoil reduction and muzzle rise. The side blast found on many compensators is diminished, and through the use of curved ports, pressure is directed upwards. The next piece of the puzzle is the midlength gas system. Unlike the gas system on the M4, the midlength gas system picks up an extra 2 inches of length. This decreases peak pressure, slows gas port erosion, and gives a longer sight radius when using irons. If you have ever fired a M16 (A1/A2/A4) and then fired a carbine, you probably felt a difference, with the rifle being smoother. The midlength splits the difference between the two. The last piece is the use of a heavy buffer in my carbine. The sum of the parts is greater than the individual pieces in this case. It truly is a fantastic shooting weapon. This sentiment is not solely my own, but has been repeated over and over as friends, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Police and instructors have taken it out to put a few mags through her. My favorite comment was from a Ranger who did hammers from the 50 yardline without ever losing a sight picture. With a big smile on his face he yelled “Holy S%%* thats nice”. Yeah, I’ve got to agree.
Below are a list of component features, many taken from the Bravo Company MFG website. BCM takes great pride in the items they manufacture, and it starts with the materials used. The Military has taken a lot of time, testing, and experience in developing the current issue weapons. To replicate Military Specification takes quite a bit of effort, and its neither cheap nor the easy way of doing things, but it creates components that last under harsh use.
The M16 Bolt Carrier Group is setup as shown below.
•Milspec Carpenter No. 158® steel
•Chrome Lined Carrier (AUTO)
•Milspec Carpenter No. 158® steel
•HPT Bolt (High Pressure Tested/ Proof)
•MPI Bolt (Magnetic Particle Inspected)
•Shot Peened Bolt
•Key Staked Per Mil-Spec
•Tool Steel Extractor
•BCM Extractor Spring
•Black Extractor Insert
•Mil-Spec Crane O-Ring
•Chrome Lined Gas Key
•Gas Key Hardened to USGI Specifications
•Grade 8 Hardened Fasteners
•Key Staked Per Mil-Spec
You can see the PWS FSC556 has been pinned and welded into place in the below image. This is done to keep the 14.5″ barrel a legal overall of 16″, which is what the law requires for civilian weapons. The weld has been left obvious in case there are any questions when you are out at the range and you run into a range staff member who is a little curious.
Military specifications require that barrels undergo a High Pressure Test, which is more commonly known as “proof firing”. The BCM barrels are fired using the M197 proof load, which is overpressured and rated at 70,000 psi. The BCM barrels are then Magnetic Particle Inspected to check for any flaws. Any detection of abnormality means the barrel is pulled. BCM states their barrels are Magnetic Particle Inspected “with both circular and longitudinal magnetic fields per ASTME1444-01 (current Mil-Spec) to assure a high quality finished product”. BCM barrels are marked to show this is done, and in the case of this barrel, it is done under the rail.
The USGI 1/7 twist rate of all of the BCM barrels is perfect for the longer and heavier 77 grain ammunition being used by some. This faster barrel twist works fine with the generic and cheaper 55 grain ammunition as well. Being chambered in 5.56, you are able to shoot 5.56 or .223 ammunition without any trouble. BCM uses barrel steel which is Mil-Spec per MIL-B-11595E. This grade is higher quality than many of the barrels that are found on the market. Stronger steel lends itself to a longer life.
“F” marked Front Sight Bases are standard on BCM barrels, which is a welcome change from some other manufacturers who use the M16A2 FSB. This can result in problems trying to zero the weapon. BCM has it done right. You may also notice the taper pins instead of roll pins. These are firmly installed, and do not protrude unduly. There is a Milspec for taper pins, and BCM is using the right ones here. While that may seem like a small thing, it makes a difference if you ever need to pop the pins. The cheaper versions have a habit of mushrooming. The sling swivel is coated, and held in place with a tubular rivet. The gas tube roll pin is perfectly centered, and there is no deformation.
Barrels are finished with a manganese phosphate finish (Mil-Spec A-A-59267). The barrel is phosphate coated before the FSB is installed, meaning that there is no bare metal, not even under the FSB where you wouldn’t see it.
The Daniel Defense 9.0 LITE rail is installed on this upper, and creates a rock solid upper receiver platform that won’t wobble, and doesn’t leave a gap between the upper receiver and upper rail. The Daniel Defense LITE rail is based on the SOCOM RIS II rail. The notable difference is that the LITE rail is a one piece rail, unlike its RIS II counterpart which has a removable rail so the M203 can be mounted. While you can use a grenade launcher with the LITE rail, you will have to go with a rail mounted version. Other features of the DD LITE rail include that it is machined from Aircraft grade 6061 T-6 aluminum, and hard coat anodized to Milspec Type III. The rail is also welded to its core, instead of being fixed in place through the use of chemical adhesives as some other companies do. Heat and solvents won’t affect welds, so throwing a weapon in the dunk tank after getting it hot and dirty won’t be a problem.
Checking the inside of the upper receiver reveals a gas tube that is in perfect alignment. After several thousand rounds, there is no sign of wear on the gas tube or carrier key.
The M4 feedramps are well machined into the upper receiver, and blend smoothly with the feedramps on the barrel extension. In using my careful fingernail test, I noted no protrusions or gaps. Since the upper has never had a failure to feed, I’ll say these are as good as it gets. M4 feedramps were an upgrade which enhanced reliability under full auto firing with the M4. While this may or may not be of concern for you, its better to have than have not. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t buy a carbine that didn’t have M4 feedramps, there just isn’t a down side to them.
It may be difficult to tell in this picture, but the barrel and chamber are chrome lined for durability and ease of cleaning. While chrome lining is said to give slightly higher velocity, the longer barrel life and peace of mind it brings is more important to me.
BCM flat top uppers feature T-marks that are laser engraved, which provides ready reference points when removing and replacing equipment. I’ve heard people comment that this isn’t needed, but for shooters who are setting up multiple weapons, or for guys who switch equipment back and forth, it makes sense. Shown below is the BCM rear folding sight, which is a nice option. Manufactured by Troy Industries for Bravo Company MFG, these are one of the most popular Back Up Iron Sights on the market.
Here is the BCM 14.5″ Midlength upper receiver broken down into its main parts. I know that looks, fit and finish are important to some people, and this upper doesn’t disappoint in those areas. The finish on the aluminum is deep, dark, and black. There are no dents in the aluminum, and all parts are correctly assembled without marking or scratching anything. The barrel and steel parts are free of scratches, and the parkerizing is even and of good color. All screws were checked for tightness, and were found to be in good order.
If you noticed the charging handle looking a little different, you noticed right. The BCM “GUNFIGHTER” Charging Handle is something we talked about a few months back. This Charging Handle (CH) isn’t a simply another tactical latch thrown on the market. Its a redesigned piece that removes the pressure from the roll pin, which becomes important if you use your off hand to slap the CH and chamber rounds. Instead of rehashing the entire article, check out the link and see why I use one on my duty weapons, as do many of my friends.
People are finding BCM to be the best weapon company that they haven’t heard of. To put it simply, these are AR15/ M4 uppers you can rely on.
The 14.5″ midlength Bravo Company MFG upper is worth a good look. We’ll be checking out some of the other BCM offerings in the near future, until then, here are some links for additional info.
The darkest hour of Humanity is upon us. The world
shall meet it's end and we shall be submerged into a
new dark age. Repent your sins, for the apocalypse,
and the end, is extremely f@#king nigh!
They're probably the same person who puts the sight on backwards anyway.
I actually had a record last year when one of my recruit managed to put both his sight and his NAD on backwards. It always scared me when we gave these people live ammunition. As a civilian they wouldn't be trusted with a pair of scissors.
that's a pretty good effort raven, hope he/she was buying the beers after that one!
Rainier Arms XTC – Xtreme Tactical Compensator
May 24th, 2010 | Photo Recon Product Announcement Review | Posted by Stickman
Rainier Arms has their new Xtreme Tactical Compensator (XTC) hitting shelves as we speak. I first spoke with John Hwang, owner of Rainier Arms, over a year and a half ago while they were in the R&D stages, and I’ve had the opportunity to shoot with these as they have gone through a few minor changes. Click the below image to find out why this things works so well, and what its good for.
The concept of a compensator or muzzle brake is well understood by anyone who has fired a weapon that has a high amount of felt recoil. Often over looked however are the lower recoiling weapon systems like the M4 and AR15s, with some less informed people saying you need to hit the gym harder if you can’t shoot with 5.56. Rounds on target count, and the more the weapon recoils, and the higher the barrel raises, the longer you are off target, which slows down your follow up shots. Any of us can “handle” the recoil of a M4 or AR15, but the smart ones prefer to use the weapon system as effectively as possible. Good stance and grip on the weapon are aids in shooting, but without question, compensators reduce felt recoil and muzzle rise.
So whats the catch and why aren’t we all shooting with comps? Compensators tend to have a very large muzzle flash, and are much louder due to their nature of redirecting the blast to control recoil. Rainier Arms jumped into the XTC design knowing that there were plenty of compensators on the market, but wanted to have an item which truly had a more “tactical” approach to things. To gather the most flash suppression, they went with an open ended four prong design. The four channels break up and reduce the muzzle flash, and when compared to a standard compensator or muzzle brake, the results are impressive. Will this beat out a dedicated flash suppressor in terms of flash reduction, no. What it will do is beat out dedicated compensators in flash suppression, and will reduce muzzle rise substantially, which translates into more rounds on target in less time. This piece will also extend a 14.5″ barrel into a legal 16″ if pinned and welded or silver soldered per BATF spec.
The Rainier Arms XTC flat out works, and Rainier Arms offers Military and Law Enforcement discounts. Check them out, let them know Military Times sent you.
Check out the 28 second youtube video from Nickdrak below to see the XTC getting put through its paces. Nicks comment at the end sums it up nicely.
Related to the above, a special offer for readers...........
*** UPDATED WITH SPECIAL PRICE FOR MILITARY TIMES VIEWERS ***
Use coupon code GEARSCOUT in all CAPs and the Military Times viewer price will be $49.95 instead of the $79.95 normal price. The length of time this deal runs is based off amount sold and current inventory, so there is no expiration date listed. I’ll update this when its over.
M4 Grip Pod Popular in the Field
by christian on June 2, 2010
Got a note yesterday from a reader who was wondering what the latest impressions were of the Grip Pod Systems-made M4 Grip Pod – you know, that forward vertical grip that hides a retractable bipod in its internals.
I will say that it was by far the most popular accessory of its category in the field that I saw. Soldiers generally liked the system and used it not just for a comfortable and stable rest for shooting, but also for keeping their weapon at the ready when not in their hands. It essentially acts as an efficient rest for the weapon when it’s not being used.
Now, the only problem I see with the system comes from the critiques of hard core competitive shooters — whose techniques are infiltrating themselves into the training of regular military units — that are preaching the gospel of the Magpul Angled ForeGrip system and the thumb-over-the-barrel grip. But it seems to me that’s still a bit on the boutiquey side of things and the vertical fore grip is here to stay.
We’d be interested to see what our readers think of the Grip Pod…
Read more: http://kitup.military.com/#ixzz0pkPOpc2b
We were using grip pods on Para-Minimis instead of the crappy harris bipod a couple of years ago. There were pretty good pieces of kit. Cheap as chips at the PX too.