Will bring two 223 AR-15s to a shooting school, want to also accumulate and bring spares to keep my weapons online in event of breakage, etc.
Question: will most any aftermarket bolt fit in my RRA bolt carrier assemblies and uppers, or do they have to be fitted in some way? Recommendations for top of the line bolts?
Also, when I was in the Army the armorers made a big deal about not mixing up the bolt carriers as they were fitted to specific rifles for correct headspace, or something. If you want to have an extra complete bolt carrier assembly for your weapon, what is involved? Does a gunsmith have to fit it, or is it simply a case of drop-in but checking to ensure that headspace is correct???
Any other recommendations on types of parts, and/or specific brands, to keep in the spares kit, would of course be appreciated.
I want hear this too.
I keep extra bolts but had never worried about mixing and matching parts.
Perhaps Tweak*, mongo*, CJan*, Forest* or other will chime in.
If are taking two AR-15s, you should be fine...
I've never had a parts breakage, let alone 2 rifles down at one time...
Yes, any quality bolt should fit in you RRA and should not have to be "fitted".
As long as you get decent parts from: Colt, Bushmaster, Armalite, RRA, LMT, CMT, etc. you should have no problems.
Headspace is not an issue when installing a NEW bolt as it would only improve headspace.
It would be more of an issue if you were installing a bolt that was well worn with unknown thousands upon thousands of rounds already fired.
Installing a new bolt is simply a drop in process and then firing to ensure that everything works as advertised...
The main reason for not mixing parts around is increased wear. Whenever parts move they form wear patterns. If you are swapping bolts back and forth all the time you are merely increasing wear upon the pieces. IMHO
small parts you might want to keep on hand:
firing pin retaining pin (several)
Not a bad idea at all to keep a complete spare bolt and or carrier assy, all the springs in the weapon, and lower parts kit, etc. laying around.
One train of thought is that if you have all the pieces that might break then you can immediately repair weapon and simply order another spare part...
Just remember use QUALITY parts...
Most "field repair kits" contain parts you can't replace "in the field". If you can't change the part with nothing more than the items in your pocket, sitting around the campfire after supper, it is not "field repair".
100% in agreement with Nate above.
Military armorers do not have time to "fit" parts. The M16/AR-15 is designed to work with the parts as-is. If anything needs fitting, something is out of spec.
A complete new bolt is good to have, is quick to change
I keep in the trapdoor grips of my AR's:
Firing pin & retainer ("cotter pin")
Extractor, pin, spring (make sure you have the silicone rubber insert)
Gas Rings (or 1pc McFarland) (2 spare sets)
Disconnector and spring
Hammer/Trigger pin (same pin fits both)
Most of these parts seldom break, but they are small, light, cheap, easy to replace.
A bullet tip, nail, small punch, are all you need. I keep my "universal field armorer's tool" with my AR's... an ordinary Stanley carpenter's nail set. You can adjust front sight post, swing down the trigger guard, push out trigger and hammer pins, remove mag floor plates, etc.
Having good mags is numero uno. USGI's, black or green followers, I don't care. Good springs a must. If you bought the mags used, replace with fresh springs, preferably +10% springs, but good GI replacement springs are OK.
A GI cleaning kit, patches, and a 4 oz bottle of Break Free, a can of Gun Scrubber, and you can clean your rifle in no time flat. At the least, you can flush and reoil the upper and bolt carrier.
Lay in some spare chamber brushes. They are cheap, buy $10 worth. Cleaning the chamber is more important than cleaning the bore. At worst, a dirty bore is less accurate. But a dirty chamber will cause stuck cases.
Bushy spare parts kit (all springs and pins in the rifle)
Extra Colt M16 Bolt carrer group.
Batteries for any optics.
More magazines than you will need for class. (all tested)
I bring my complete armorers box when I shoot. It contains everything to build a AR except a bench vise. (If I have to re-barrel in the field, I did something VERY wrong)