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Thread: AR Stoner/Bear Creek Arsenal 243 upper fist group tests.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    AR Stoner/Bear Creek Arsenal first test groups

    Well I finally got around to it and went out to try some group tests for the first time with my AR stoner 243 upper. I found out the other day that my AR Stoner was manufactured by Bear Creek Arsenal and rebranded...which I cringed since Bear creek Arsenal has had a lot of mixed and bad reviews in the past along with recent bad luck with their hiring sting(and the fact that I overpaid a $120 for the same rebranded item I bought from Midway USA). Well, the stoner had nothing but great, sub MOA , Five star reviews so it put me back at ease a little bit like stem on midways feedback. Itís the first gas AR Iíve had in about 20 years. The last...and only one before it I owned was a bushmaster targeter vaminter that wouldnít cycle and jammed every other round. Iím sure it was a gas issue now that look back and have more knowledge on how an AR functions now.

    Before my group session I took it to the range a couple times and put 43 rounds through it to make sure if functioned. Itís been running smooth as silk after I checked the correct Cartridge OAL and loaded them shorter. I did have dents in the middle of alot the cases along with paint chipping off my shell defector. I fixed the issue by taking the soft side piece of Velcro that had two way stock tape on it and stuck it on my shell defector. The fired cases look literally perfect now.

    I cleaned it the barrel the night before and had no bluing come out it. I had previously loaded up some 55 grain nosler ballistic tips to try with three different powders For my little Remington 600. Sorry, no cast tried in it yet, but Someday soon. I donít know if my gun would like the light, little, short bullets but I wanted to give them a try. I made sure to check the OAL so they werenít to long in my AR chamber and also dropped every one in my Lyman case checker being paranoid as I stuck one in my AR the first trip out because my ammo I tried was load for my Remington 700 and the AOL was too long.

    All 55 grain ammo shot and functioned fine. The three powders I tried were H380, H4895(my favorite power for 243ís), and Varget.

    I first tried the first five H380 loads and wasnít expecting great results since every time Iíve used H380 in anything Ive never had acceptable groups. It shot just as I expected. I never measured the groups being they werenít expected. Only one of the h380 groups shot MOA and all others were approximately 1.25Ē to 1.5Ē.

    I then grabbed the five H4895 loads. Four out of the five shot SUB MOA with the best being .3Ē from 45.5 grains...a load one grain over max. I was hoping for a nice little cloverleaf from one of the loads with this powder like I normally get from most 243ís with H4895 but it didnít happen. I normally load in .2 grain increments for ladder testing so I plan on loading up some 45.3, 45.7, and a few more 45.5 grain loads to test again to see if it tightens my group up. I was looking in my book on velocity to check my 45.5 grain load. After did the math it looks like Iíd be around 4030 FPS with my 22Ē barrel. Which was my original have a coyote lazer that I put my crosshairs directly on a coyote out to 400 yards without worrying about the drop.

    I then tested my five Varget loads. I had two shoot sub MOA with the tighest measuring.4Ē using 46 grains...a load .5 grains over max. Like all my 243ís I own, I was quickly finding out my gun was no different and likes itís loads just a little over max. Iíve never really tried varget in a 243 before so I didnít know what to expect. Iím planning on loading some 45.8, 46, and 46.2 grain loads to try again. To see if I can close the gap. My 46 grain varget load looks to be close to or around 3950 FPS.

    Hereís some of my 100 yard groups...

    The one thing bugging me while shooting was my 2.5 lb single stage CMC trigger. That single stage trigger all of a sudden had ALOT of travel in it before braking which was riling me up and throwing me off. I donít believe you can adjust these triggers either. I actually bought one and cmc swapped me out because of the same issue. I would assume its just a cheaply made poor quality trigger.

    If I canít get a nice little cloverleaf from my next six load ladder test tries I plan on loading up some 60 grain Seirra hollow points next that another member here sent me. I never tried the sierras before but have heard great things about them and have seen a nice little cloverleaf shot out of another exact same 243 bear creek upper by someone else I know who owns one recently so Iím going to have to give them a go.

    In all honesty I have shot tighter groups at 200 yards with my other AR and rifles, but to be fair, with ALOT more load testing and bullet choices. I have to say for a cheap, cheap upper that gets a lot of bad rap on every forum all day over the net that read doesnít shoot tight groups I wanted to put out a post with groups and functioning. To be fair to the rifle Iíve only shot 15 groups of three loads through it so far, the trigger imo mentally was throwing me off, and it might not like 55 grain nosler ballistic tips, or I just wasnít on my game yesterday. But for an economy $330 upper...if I would have saved a $120 and bought it from Bear creek instead of Midway USA, gets a thumbs up in my book. I bought my Areo M5 lower on Black Friday for $213 but as of right now I believe they are back to $249. So I believe you can put this same rig together currently for approx $580! Boy have AR 10 prices gone down! Iím sure I can get it to shoot tighter with the right load, and, or, a different bullet selection. I do see that bear creek guarantees their barrels to shoot MOA as well...and Iíve seen a lot of posts with other ďnewĒ calibers that had issues. Well I know of two other shooters that own the same 243 upper and both shoot sub MOA so Bear creek must have the 243ís figured out. My smith also has a 7.62x39 stoner/rebranded bear creek barrel type upper that shoots bug holes and function perfectly. He had a guy walk into his shop and asked to order one. Long story short no deposit was taken, the guy never showed, and he didnít want to send it back to Midway so he kept it. My smith said he loves that cheap little upper and glad the guy never picked it up. Iíll have to mess with my trigger to see if thereís anyway to remove the travel.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 08-13-2019 at 09:18 AM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Monticello, KY
    I have had nothing but excellent service out BC Arsenal uppers, have 4 as we speak. I have ordered 3 others for friends. 2 of mine are pistols, a 10" .223 and 300 BO, and they shoot right at 1" or just a tad over, while the carbines shoot under MOA at 100yds. The ones I have ordered for friends, have shot great also. I have heard the rumors of bad stuff from BCA but all my experience has been positive.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    I have two complete uppers from Bear Creek Arsenal. They have been great uppers. One is a 16 inch 223 wylde upper, and the other is a 10" 300 blackout.
    The 300 blackout upper had to be completely taken apart. The barrel nut wasn't tightened correctly, and when it was tightened correctly the free float handguard/top rail were not lining up with the rail on top of the upper. I used two shims and tightened it down correctly and everything lined up perfect. With that said, I would not hesitate to buy another upper from them.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    west central Illinois
    My 243 isn't an Ar style but I get my best groups at longer ranges with the Sierra 95 Matchking. I consistently get groups of 1.5 inches or less at 200 yards. It will do better if the wind isn't blowing.
    100 yards is basically one hole.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Well, I ordered my 2nd 243 upper yesterday. A 20” version for $318.oo. I beat the toilet paper protector panic to the punch as BCA still has a lot of 243 uppers in stock...and cheap.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 03-22-2020 at 08:31 AM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    northern Minn. in the boonies
    I have been considering getting an AR9 from BC. But haven't found much about the Co. I think you have pushed me over the edge.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check