Will your vehicle continue to run if you happen to miss your recommended oil change after 3,000 miles and wait until 5,000 miles? Yeah, I think it is safe to assume it would (I know I have done it). But, would the vehicle still be running if you didn’t change the oil after 10,000 miles? No, probably not and you would likely be wishing you would’ve just changed the oil. Your AR-15 needs basic maintenance just as a vehicle does. Keeping up on it assures that your rifle performs reliably and will be around for generations.
One area of upkeep that some shooters overlook is the gas rings on the bolt. Gas rings are cheap, readily available and easy to maintain. If you don’t keep an eye on them and replace them when needed, you may be finding yourself in a situation where your AR-15 does not perform when you need it the most.
In the video above, you will find my tutorial on how to change the gas rings on an AR-15 bolt. Hang on for a second though—before you rush to buy some gas rings (they are pretty cheap anyway) thinking that you need to change them, I suggest that you test your BCG to see if they are ready for replacing. I also demonstrate this test in the video, but here are the directions:
- Field strip your AR-15 and remove the entire bolt carrier group.
- Extend your bolt out of the carrier all the way.
- Flip your BCG vertically with the bolt facing down towards a flat surface.
- Place your bolt face on a flat surface and allow gravity to put the weight of the entire carrier on the bolt.
- If you carrier falls and your bolt closes on itself, then you could use some new gas rings. You do not need to replace the gas rings if the bolt does not close/collapse from the weight of the carrier.
Did your gas rings fail the test? Replacing them takes just a couple minutes and is as simple as removing the old ones and installing the new ones (see above video). As I stated previously, gas rings are cheap and plentiful. You can order them from almost any AR-15 related online store or check with your local gun shop. I ordered mine from Bravo Company USA. I always have extra ones available and keep some in my range bags too. Have you ever checked to see if you need to replace your gas rings?