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I have to start this post with an apology to FailZero: I did many bad things to your bolt and you aren't getting it back. I hope that’s okay. Back in April I received a FailZero AR15 BCG with no hammer. Their products come with a Nickel Boron coating, which they call their EXO Coating. You can view the product here on their website which retails for $185. The included EXO coated hammer version retails for $200. They also offer M16 bolts that are full auto rated as well as offer their coating services for other firearm products. Complete listing of all products can be found here.
A video review of this bolt has been long overdue. I hope to record a full review on this bolt shortly, but I wanted to give an update on the BCG as it has broken the 2,000 round count. And those 2,500 rounds have been a brutal 2,500 rounds of steel cased ammo with no lubrication, ran with all sorts of dirt and sand through it from our Hexmag Torture Test, been thrown down range, poured soda on it, used it in all my local competitions, and I am sure more things have been done to it that I can’t even remember at this point.
The only issue I have with the bolt is this: I have NO video evidence of any malfunctions nor witnessed any evidence of failures while I have been shooting. So now I can’t make a popular YouTube video trashing this BCG, my fame will have to wait for another day. The real fame should go to this bolt as it has been 100% reliable and functioned through the hell we have put through this BCG. The FailZero BCG has just ran and ran no matter what is run through it.
As some might know, I work at a gun shop that has a shooting range. One of the most common AR15 failures that I see at the range are bolt carrier group fails (other than people building their own rifles and not install a gas block – yes, true). A reoccurring issue often seen are the extractors breaking and bolts (not the carriers) breaking or failing beyond any repair. Most of the people who come to shoot at the range generally don’t put too many rounds down range with their firearms compared to very active shooters who like to train, so I can only imagine that these “economically priced” BCGs are lacking more than just in price. That is why using quality parts, such as FailZero, is critically important to having a firearm remain operational.
Here is a video of the initial reactions on the FailZero Bolt Carrier Group along with just how easy this bolt makes cleanup:
In the video, you do see me mention that the firing pin was tight in the bolt but seemed to get better after firing it. I have never had any issues with the pin nor bolt and now there is no tight “sticking”. FailZero offered to replace it for me, but I have declined so far as I have never had an issue with it. Also in the video you see me cleaning the bolt with no solvent or cleaning products and the carbon buildup just flaking off. That performance still holds up to this day. The bolt doesn’t have the same shine to it as when it was brand new, but it still has the exact same performance as when it was brand new.
Here is a picture of the inside of my upper. You can see little to no wear on the inside. While 2500 rounds is not a dramatic amount of rounds, I think it offered a good baseline of just how the friction reducing coating FZ offers works.
Below is a slideshow of pictures when I first received the bolt carrier from FailZero. The finish was fantastic, had a nice shine to it, and it definitely looked great in my AR, while not a big deal, it never hurts to have a good looking gun!
FailZero uses a Nickel Boron coating but what makes it different than other NB coatings is it’s proprietary chemical compound. Now, they wouldn’t tell me the exact recipe (a guy has to try right?) as they seem to keep it sealed up tigher than KFC and their secret recipe. They did offer up some more information on the coating:
EXO Technology Features:
• A proprietary inter-metallic nickel based coating. • Unique combination of properties ideally suited for abrasion/wear protection, friction reducing applications for firearms, pump, tooling and industrial machinery wear parts. • Hardness • Toughness • Lubricity • Low coefficient of friction • Surface topography
Here is a supplied coating comparison for common coatings. I would like to point out two specific points of interest: Rockwell hardness and melting temperature. The rockwell hardness should be the biggest standout of this chart. This is where you can truly see the longevity of the of the bolt because in order to damage the coating, you need to have something with a greater rockwell hardness scale, which inside of an AR15 is highly unlikely. In regards to the melting point, some might say that “OMG, my coating is never going to fail, wtf that is stupid!.” That is correct, I am not worried about my coating or bolt melting, however, what I am interested in is the heat required to make any sort of damage. I don’t want a low heat to where it might soften and reduce that hardness on the bolt. This chart really shows what I have been talking about in this bolt, the longevity of the product.
I will be publishing a YouTube video with a full review on the BCG, but this will be my final thoughts and review unless something drastically changes: This bolt is legit when it comes to coated bolt carrier groups. It does what it says and it does it reliably. The coating makes it far easier to clean than standard bolts and, most importantly, it is reliable as hell. So whether you have an AR15 just to plink with, you are a competition shooter, or someone who uses their AR to defend their home, I would highly recommend a FailZero BCG as your bolt carrier group.
For our listeners out there, do you know of a company that should be featured on Practically Tactical: On Target? If so, email me email@example.com with your suggestion! Until time, thanks for listening!