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Review: Young Manufactring Inc. SLC Super Light Carrier complete bolt carrier group (BCG)

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As part of my 2017 reviews, I'm going to discuss the Young Manufactring Inc. SLC Super Light Carrier complete bolt carrier group (BCG). This is not just a standard BCG, It is highly optimized for 3-Gun shooters and those looking for a lightweight option for their competition build. I had the pleasure of reviewing the Young Manufacturing Inc. Chrome National Match Bolt Carrier several years ago when building my match long rifle. Some of the information pertaining to manufacturing is the same, however, there is also some subtle differences.

 

The BCG is a critical component in an AR15. Unlike other components which can be marginally operational, such as an adjustable stock and sights to name a few, the BCG has to be fully functional to prevent many problems, including possible catastrophic failure. In simple operating steps, the BCG routes gasses in a direct impingement system to the bolt, which in turn releases itself from the chamber, on its path to the buffer aft, ejecting the empty case and on its return path picking up a new round as it is slammed back into battery. Simple enough to explain in words but there is a lot of details and components which work in harmony for a smooth functioning AR15 and the BCG is the heart of the operation.

 

There are different models of BCG's and Young Manufactring (YM) makes a variety to suit your operational requirements. The YM SLC Super Light Carrier is the lightest BCG they offer. Complete with the bolt fully assembled, it weighs ~9.4oz which is one of the lightest steel BCG you can purchase on the market. This low mass steel BCG offers a great advantage for competition shooters and recreational shooting. Used in conjunction with an adjustable gas system, competition shooters reliably use lighter BCG's without any issues or concerns.

 

I'm using the YM SCL in a highly tuned rifle configured for a specific purpose with an adjustable gas block and hydraulic dampener. I would caution using a lighter BCG for a duty or combat weapon unless you are familiar with the inner workings of the platform and tuned your system properly. I’m not saying a standard over gassed off the shelf AR15 with a low mass BCG will not function properly. To prove this, I tested the YM SLC in a brand new off the shelf name brand rifle my friend had just purchased. Given the rifle is over gassed from factory, YM SLC ran through a few hundred rounds (XM193/5.56) without any hiccups what so ever. Granted this was a new clean rifle, I would caution against this on rifles with worn parts and not properly tuned. If it is a combat or duty weapon than YM offers a full weight version to suit your needs which surpasses Mil-Spec standards. For operators looking for the edge in competition shooting, YM SLC is a perfect match.

 

Reliability is a key concern for those looking to use a low mass BCG. Understanding the purpose of the YM SLC is important given this product is optimized and designed for 3-Gun and competition shooters. I've heard everything from how a light weight BCG is less reliable because dirty rifle causes issues to incorrectly inter-mixing "momentum", "energy", and "recoil" to name a few. The primary advantage of YM SLC is faster follow up shots in addition to the other design elements which sets this BCG apart. The reduced reciprocating mass off the BCG changes the perceived "felt recoil", it does not change momentum, which is what recoil actually is. I went into full detail on this subject in another review for a different component. I will explain some of the Physics and Laws relating to the BCG without any equations. The total mass of the rifle, not the reciprocating components like BCG affect recoil. Attach an AR15 to a tank and you won't feel any ‘felt recoil’ because the overall mass of the rifle has increased. The reciprocating components mass being heavier or lighter do not alter momentum, this is fact due to Newton’s laws of conservation. The "felt recoil", assuming all things being equal, such as load and other components, a lighter BCG has faster acceleration given it has less mass, so "felt recoil" will be different. The delta in time it takes for the ‘felt recoil’ to be perceived by the operator is changed as a result of the lighter BCG. Momentum is a vector and has direction, energy does not, very easy to confuse the two. Using a lighter BCG results in higher velocity put on the buffer and spring given the time it takes to travel is shortened due to less reciprocating mass. However, since there is less mass from the BCG, the buffer spring has less potential energy which could possibly result in reliability issues on worn out rifles not properly maintained. Yes buffer springs need to be replaced regardless of BCG type, some tuned springs need to be replaced at a higher frequency. Simply put, a lighter BCG moves faster than a heavier BCG so the operator might perceive quick “sharper recoil”. You can read my other review which goes into details about momentum, energy and laws of conservation. The take away here is with a YM SLC the "felt recoil" will be different compared to a standard weight BCG and reliability is dependent on the operator properly servicing their weapon.

 

Fit and finish is what you would expect from YM, which is a work of art in my opinion. Aesthetics are just as important to some operators like myself as function. This BCG is no exception with the beautiful smooth chrome coating making clean up a breeze. At the time of my last review, Dan, the owner of Young Manufacturing would purchase bolts from a Government contractor, now they are all manufactured in house made from 9310 steel. This type of steel properly heat treated, actually is slightly tougher than C158 which is a Mil-Spec standard. The carrier is made from 8620 solid bar stock and cut down to shape by a precision CNC. I emailed Dan about the manufacturing process and this is his response:

 

“We manufacture The carrier, bolt, extractor, ejector, firing pin, cam pin, and gas key in house on CNC equipment. Our carriers and bolts are machined leaving extra material on all close tolerance diameters. After heat treat we precision grind the bolt diameters to remove any distortion from heat treat. At the same time we grind the bolt lugs in relation to the bolt face to achieve 100% bolt lug contact with the barrel extension. The carrier is also precision ground on the outside and inside diameters to remove distortion caused by heat treat.”

 

The BCG is chrome plated to 68-69 Rockwell C for a smooth corrosion resistant finish. The Gas key is machined from 4140 bar stock and heat treated to 36-50 RC, than chromed to match the same finish as the carrier and bolt. The heat treatment and chroming process is done at an external facility which specializes in those processes. Chrome is just easier to clean due to the smooth surface and slick finish. Since chrome has a lower coefficient of friction, this helps reduce wear and tear against your aluminum upper receiver.

 

Wear and tear is often overlooked in the AR15 platform because of how reliable this weapon is. YM SLC chrome BCG adds another benefit by extending the life of your nice expensive billet or forged upper receiver. Chrome coating under a microscope compared to a parkerized finish has substantially fewer high ridge points which collect carbon build up. In another review I posted images comparing parkerized coating to other finishes with my stereo scope. YM SLC chrome coating is slick and smooth to the touch which minimizes friction between the upper receiver and BCG helping reduce premature wear. Chrome also has great corrosion resistance compared to other finishes. The SLC BCG has meat in all the right places for a very tight tolerance and fit. The bulk of the weight shaved is in the aft where it makes most sense. I fitted this BCG in an off the shelf brand new AR15 with a forged upper receiver comparing fit to my light weight billet upper receiver. The forged upper receiver as expected was slightly looser than the billet upper, but compared to the parkerized off shelf BCG, the YM SLC was much tighter in fit which is what you expect from a high quality machined BCG. A machined fit between two components with minimal play pays dividends in the long run to prevent premature wear and reliability issues. The high tolerance of this YM SLC and chrome finish is why this is a premium component. This light weigh carrier also retains the forward assist serrations which is critical for some operators to retain. Not all light weight BCG’s retain these serrations. There are even lighter aluminum and titanium BCG variants on the market, however they present their own problems with wear issues and other operational idiosyncrasies with coating and lubrication which leaves little to be desired. For a proven performance benefit in competition shooting, long term reliability, a lightened steel BCG like YM SLC is the ideal compromise between weight, yield strength and tensile strength.

 

Dan has over 30 years’ experience in Aerospace, he and his wife Debbie have been in the firearms business since 1991. They don't just manufacture great products which meet Mil-Spec standards, they go above those standards which really sets them apart from the competitors. One of those standards is Gas Key screws, which Dan previously shared with me the reason they are not staked. You can download the article in this link (http://youngmanufacturing.net/assets/images/Gas%20Key%20Letter.pdf). Below is a copy of the letter:

There has been a lot of talk about the pros and cons of staking the gas key on the carrier. Here is our opinion and why Young Manufacturing will not stake keys. We have been making carriers since 1991. The US Mil Spec. assembly drawing requires the carrier key to be staked. Contrary to some popular opinions staking does not “SEAL” the gas key. Staking keeps the screws from backing out. Period. If you do not properly torque the screws to 56 inch pounds you will be staking a screw that is loose or one that is over torqued and prone to breakage. We have seen plenty of staked screws that are loose or broken. The Mil Spec. also calls for the gas key bottom surface to be “SEALED” with Permatex gasket sealer. Something no one does to our knowledge. Here is our procedure for installing a gas key. First clean the oil from the gas key and the mating surface on the carrier. Then clean the oil from the screw threads. We use brake cleaner for this. Next use a very light coating of Permatex high strength thread locker gel on the bottom of the key. PN 27010. This is much easier to use than the Permatex gasket sealer. It comes in a plastic twist dispenser and can be purchased at ACE Hardware. Make sure you don’t use so much that it squishes into the gas port hole. The cure rate is 60 minutes. Next coat the screw threads with the same gel. Install the key and torque the screws to 56 inch pounds. Should you decide to remove the key for some reason don’t use the old screws when you put the key back on! You will most likely break them during installation or when you fire the rifle. Go to the local hardware store and buy new 8-32 x ¼” SHCS. If you feel the need to stake the screws spend the money and get one of the staking tools from Brownell that uses a screw type system to swedge the material into the top of the screw. Don’t use a hammer and a punch! You can stretch the thread on the screw and now you have a loose screw that will eventually break if the gun even fires. You may also swedge the material out so far that it drags in the upper receiver. We will not warrantee a carrier with a staked key no matter who staked it. You will be charged for a new key and any labor required to remove broken screws.

Good Shooting!

Daniel H Young

President

 

I have been using my YM National Match BCG for years and never had a single problem with the gas keys. It is a testament to the process and engineering behind the product. I’m a firm believer staking gas keys is not necessary on YM BCG’s from firsthand experience and thousands of rounds on my YM National Match BCG. As Dan stated, if you still insist on staking use the proper tool. I plan on putting thousands of rounds through this YM SLC BCG and I don’t expect a different result nor do I plan on staking the gas keys.

 

Shooting with the YM SLC BCG was quite a surprise and eye opening experience. Of course as I stated above to get the most out of this light weight BCG it requires tuning the gas system. Once I had the gas system tuned with an adjustable gas block which I reviewed in another review the difference was striking. Switching between a full weight BCG and this lightweight YM SLC BCG was shocking how the difference in mass affects “perceived recoil” and follow up shots accuracy. I noticed right away I could get on target much faster and follow up shots were quicker. This was somewhat expected but I was still surprised how much more effective this lighter YM SLC changed my shooting experience. No question using this lighter BCG requires a tunable system to gain the most operational benefit. After multiple sessions and hundreds of rounds with the YM SLC I feel confident in saying this is an integral component for a competition rifle. Installation and breakdown of YM SLC is no different than the YM National Match BCG I broke down in my previous review. Here is a video link for breakdown and assembly (

). Lubrication points are also the same and keep this BCG lubed up for optimal performance.

 

 

Clearly the YM SLC is a niche BCG with a proven difference in operational manner from my experience. For operators looking to build a light weight rifle setup for competition shooting, I would look no further than Young Manufactring SLC super light carrier BCG.

 

Youtube Video Link:

https://youtu.be/TuQQEFrnizg

 

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I've watched them being made. Pretty cool.

 

Greg

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Nice writeup and pictures!

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Nice write up. Greg suggested using a YM 7.62X39 bolt for my Type 1 Grendel BHW barreled project and since I am spending more on this rifle than most of my others I am going to pony up. I am going to put it in a Fail Zero NiB carrier initially and I am hoping the tight tolerances wont be an issue. I should pair it with the standard weight YM one and will if necessary but I hope I can save that money since I more or less bought the Fail Zero for this rifle. I am very impressed with how the bolts are machined after heat treat and other steps that insure a quality product.

 

Thanks for your time on this and other reviews you have provided us!

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I am using a YM 7.62x39 bolt for my Grendel also which Greg Recommended..... Nice review. The Bolt looks like it was made with some TLC

Edited by gshayd
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Well done, sir.

 

Thank you !

 

John

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Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. In doing an in depth review it helps educate operators of the product and should answer most questions. Facts take longer to vet than opinion and I try to keep to the facts as much as possible. Glad you guys enjoyed it. The users on this forum are certainly more polite and appreciative.

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I was down talking to Dan about a custom bolt I need Friday and it was educational swapping knowledge about non-223 gear. He and his wife are great to deal with. He was in the back deburring some parts and she got me a hand guard for a custom build for a fellow up north.

 

I would agree that that bcg is one of the most interesting parts they make. The m-lock forearm is cool too.

 

Greg

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They are very knowledgeable of the products the make. It still amazes me how some people question Dan's decision not to stake the keys. Easy to be a armchair quarterback behind a keyboard and I'm not referring to members on this forum. I've got several thousand rounds on the Match BCG and close to 1k on this SLC BCG. No issues what so ever, it performs as good as any other BCG ive owned in the past. All I use in my builds is Young and I've been very happy so far.

 

Cheers

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One thing I forgot. I mentioned your review and your cmoments. Dan asked me to extend a thank you for your kind words about the company and him and Debbie.

 

Greg

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I appreciate that Greg. Dan and Debbie are great people making great products for us to use. I only write reviews on products I use myself, I'm sure there are people who make a living on reviewing random products, but that is just not me. If the product works, is manufactured or Engineered in the USA, and performs as expected, I will write a review and share my thoughts hoping to inform others who enjoy this hobby.

 

Cheers

AF

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Very nice review, write-up, and greatly appreciate not only your post but the replies as well. Were I in the market for one, your review along with these guys comments would be enough for me. Funny thing, just last night I was conducting research and ran across this schematic referencing the Permatex as well as a bolt carrier patent abstract which was interesting.

 

https://www.google.com/patents/US5551179

 

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They are very knowledgeable of the products the make. It still amazes me how some people question Dan's decision not to stake the keys. Easy to be a armchair quarterback behind a keyboard and I'm not referring to members on this forum. I've got several thousand rounds on the Match BCG and close to 1k on this SLC BCG. No issues what so ever, it performs as good as any other BCG ive owned in the past. All I use in my builds is Young and I've been very happy so far.

 

Cheers

Didn't know they weren't staked. What's his reason for not staking them?

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Didn't know they weren't staked. What's his reason for not staking them?

Because he feels it's not needed with the process he explained. He's told me that apparently it works as he doesn't get any back to speak of and based on the number he sells and the ones I see in production he's certainty got some products out there.

 

Greg

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