NF Manufacturing NF-15 DLC AR15 Elite Gas Bolt Carrier Group Review

NF Manufacturing NF-15 DLC AR15 Elite Gas Bolt Carrier Group Review Two parts that are obscenely easy to swap from rifle to rifle or upgrade without tools: AR15 Magazine AR15 […]

Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - DLC gloss blackNF Manufacturing NF-15 DLC AR15 Elite Gas Bolt Carrier Group Review

Two parts that are obscenely easy to swap from rifle to rifle or upgrade without tools:

Either part is pretty simple to remove and replace. AR15 owners often have multiple types of magazines and BCGs, sometimes for one rifle, other times sharing among multiple rifles. We will get into the finer points of Hexmag vs RollerMag vs USGI mag vs Magpul, etc. some other time. In this review we will look at a rather innovative NF-15 Elite Gas Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) from a great family run North Carolina company, NF Manufacturing (formerly Newtown Firearms).

Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - entranceWait… Newtown? 

Yeah. A bit of sad coincidence. I can imagine the dread that went through the shop when the name “Newtown” became associated with a cowardly attack on children. The Newtown Firearms brand had already moved in 2005 from their first shop on Newtown Rd in Placerville, California, but kept the Newtown Firearms name. So, there you have it. Nothing nefarious about their name, just an unfortunate coincidence. In 2014 the Newtown Firearms family had the good sense to move from Kalifornistan to the welcoming state of North Carolina. They also operate Country Arms, a rather nice little retail firearms store in Siler City,

Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - Rob

Rob, founder of NF Manufacturing telling Chris and JJ about their gear

NC that is organized with an engineer’s precision. Country Arms sells a wide range of new and used guns, accessories, ammo… heck, I even got 200 Lb of deer corn last time I was there. At the back of the shop and to the left of the .50 BMG are clues that this isn’t your average rural small town gun shop. They have a variety of AR BCGs with exotic finishes and colors displayed on the counter as well as their adjustable gas systems for Piston and DI guns, barrel heat sinks, custom forend rail systems and several examples of their signature NF-15 rifles, like the NF Manufacturing rifle Heavy-Mass Billet Carbine Complete with NFM SMAART Weapons System. These aren’t your everyday AR15s. They are high end parts and rifles made to tighter tolerances than industry standards and with various innovative and patented improvements. We will go into more detail in future review of a full NF Manufacturing rifle. For now, let’s figure out whether their NF-15 Elite Gas BCG in DLC finish is a worthy upgrade.

How Direct Impingement gas system worksWhat the Direct Impingement BCG does

As the name implies, the Bolt Carrier Group is an assembly of parts that carries the bolt forward and aft within the upper receiver of the AR15, M16, M4 and similar rifles. In these rifles the BCG slides forward, strips a fresh round from the magazine, pushes it into the chamber as the locking lugs cause the bolt to cam against lugs in the barrel extension and rotate into battery. When the shot is fired and the bullet passes the gas port in the barrel a wave of high pressure gas travels down the gas tube to the upper receiver where the gas pushes the gas key on the BCG aft. The cam pin in the BCG causes the bolt to rotate off of the lugs and allows the bolt to slide aft in the upper receiver. When fully aft the buffer spring pushes the BCG forward, starting the process over.
That is a rather watered down, high level description that does not address a host of subtleties in the design and function of the BCG. However, it should be easy to see that the BCG has to:

  • be very strong
  • have hard surfaces to resist wear
  • have some means of lessening friction
  • be able to work when dirty
Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - DLC Fluted, for her pleasure

Fluted, for her pleasure

A quick look at the NF Manufacturing NF-15 DLC bolt carrier group reveals multiple innovative solutions to these challenges.

Here is what NF Manufacturing says about their NF-15

  • Direct drop in replacement BCG for any direct impingement AR-15 mil-spec rifle
  • Fluted front to back to reduce weight
  • Available in PVD and DLC coatings
  • .01 coefficient of friction
  • Hardness rated at 3000 Vickers
  • Can withstand temperatures of 1,100°F
  • Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - Gold BCG in upper receiverCoating is 2-3 microns thick
  • Carriers are made of 8620
  • Carrier keys are made of 4130
  • Bolts are Carpenter 158, heat treated, shot peened.
  • Carrier keys are set with Permatex, loctite and then staked.
  • Additional colors available. Call for details.

What’s so innovative about that?

A few things, for sure:

  • Fluted front to back to reduce weight: We have seen this a bit from a few other manufacturers, but not much. I call this somewhat innovative.
  • Available in PVD and DLC coatings: Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! I can’t stress enough how impressive and innovative these two coatings are. We have a good bit of practical experience with NiB-X coatings like on our WMD-10 Rifle, but NF Manufacturing sought out the next generation of coatings with Particle Vapor Discharge (PVD) and Diamond Like Coating (DLC). The next few bullets tell the story of why these coatings are so special… but I’ll summarize: they are hard and slick.
    • .01 coefficient of friction: because of this the BCG can actually be run with no lubrication added. I couldn’t bring myself to do it… too many years of relying on gun lubes… but it should be no problem for the DLC finish.
    • Vickers hardness vs Rockwell hardness scales

      Vickers hardness vs Rockwell hardness scales

      Hardness rated at 3000 Vickers: I had to look this up, as I am not familiar with the Vickers scale. Looks like 3000 Vickers is off the charts on the Rockwell scale. Not wanting to misinterpret something, I sent this note to our resident Mechanical Engineer, Brian.

      “When you have a sec… Engineer question. Working on the review for a high-end AR15 bolt carrier group that lists the following in the specs for the DLC coating: “Hardness rated at 3000 Vickers”. I am not familiar with the Vickers scale. I looked it up and am having trouble making practical sense of it. Looks like 3000 Vickers is off the charts for the Rockwell scale. Can you help me put this into perspective?” – Jeff
      “You are correct because Rockwell hardness can only be accurately tested up to a certain number. The Vickers hardness number keeps going up, but it does not go straight up, instead it starts to taper off/flatten out. Attached is a graph showing the estimated Rockwell hardness corresponding with Vickers hardness. A 3000 Hv value is very hard!” –Brian
    • Can withstand temperatures of 1,100°F: if your AR ever gets this hot, then you have other issues… but it is good to know that the BCG will be uneffected at normal, or even some abnormal operating temperatures.
    • Coating is 2-3 microns thick: from a manufacturing standpoint this is really important as it means there should be very little variance in the final dimensions on parts with these coatings.
  • Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - DLC, PVD, etc

    DLC, PVD, etc

    Additional colors available: I tend to be an “aesthetics last” sort of guy. As in, I really don’t consider how a part looks until all other functional considerations have been addressed. ie. I care WAY more whether the part works than what it looks like. With that said, NF manufacturing’s various BCG coatings are gorgeous. As I examined each of the samples on display at Country Arms I was unable to find even a tiny flaw in the finish of any of them. The gold colored BCGs would make a ’90s vintage rapper self conscious about the poor quality of his gold teeth. They are that perfect.

How we tested

The entire Gear Report team have shot the Gibbz Arms G4 Side Charging upper build using the NF-15 Elite Gas BCG, most in a broad range of scenarios using various optics, ammunition types and other accessories (benches, bipods, slings, etc.). We shot it standing, sitting and prone, still and moving, with magnified and unmagnified optics, with heavy and light projectiles, in warm and cool weather, rain and shine, rapid and slow – controlled fire, and with numerous types of magazines. Our goal was to put this upper through the wringer so we could evaluate each part in the build and the completed build as whole.

Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - DLC buildBuild details:

*Video* Here is a quick look at both of our Gibbz Arms G4 Side Charging upper based builds and some dusk shooting we did shortly after completing the builds. Gotta love the fireballs shooting out of the R&JFirearms muzzle brakes!

Manual of Arms 

Given that the right handed Gibbz Arms G4 Side Charging upper build is a mix-master with parts from various sources and installed by well meaning, but inexperienced hands (Jeff and Josejuan), we had modest expectations. Much to our surprise, once we got past the initial 20 round break-in the rifle has run very well. We look forward to testing complete NF Manufacturing rifles in the near future. Since this review is for the NF-15 Elite Gas BCG, lets focus on how it performed with the Gibbz Arms G4 Side Charging upper’s special pivot pin installed. I would love to be more verbose here, but in short, the NF-15 Elite Gas BCG functions and feels like a standard AR15 BCG while firing. The Gibbz upper‘s side charge handle changes operation a bit, but the BCG itself does it’s thing just as it would in a standard upper receiver with no manual of arms differences vs a standard BCG.

So, what IS different?

Our testing revealed two things:

  1. Little, if any liquid lubrication is needed. The DLC coating on the NF Manufacturing NF-15 Elite Gas BCG is so slick that it slid fine in the upper receiver even before we applied a bit of Modern Spartan Systems Accuracy Oil to the typical high wear areas. MSS Accuracy Oil typically soaks into the metal a bit, but it mostly just rolled off of the DLC coating. I’m sure it helped the aluminum in the Gibbz Arms G4 Side Charging upper receiver, but the DLC surface appeared to be too slick for the oil to really stick to. *April 2016 update: after over 1000 rounds the BCG still looks brand new. No wear marks AT ALL. Amazing, really.
  2. Clean up was a joke. We have tried various gun lubes that claim to make clean up super easy. So far FireClean, Seal1, and Modern Spartan Systems products have proven rather effective at making carbon buildup fairly easy to remove. However, nothing prepared me for the first time I cleaned the NF Manufacturing NF-15 Elite Gas BCG… I used a dry paper towel and ALL of the carbon simply wiped away. No solvents, no hard scrubbing, no chipping away at baked on carbon like on a standard BCG.

Anything we don’t like?

Um… hold on. I’m thinking. There has to be something… right?
I suppose I’m not a fan of the slightly higher than average price tag. I can be hesitant to spend money on “premium” parts. At Gear Report we don’t really care what name is on something or what reputation a company has tried to cultivate via slick marketing campaigns. We care about performance. Sure, we had a bit of sticker shock when first looking at the NF Manufacturing NF-15 Elite BCG at $249. The last BCG I bought was a $99 Nitrided BCG from AIM Surplus and I thought it was working just fine. We wouldn’t buy the NF-15 just because NF Manufacturing has a reputation as a premium brand. However, based on performance I think it is worth the premium for the tight tolerances, innovative design and slick, hard DLC finish that makes it run smoothly and clean up easily.
So, I guess there isn’t anything I don’t like after all.

Newtown Firearms NF-15 Elite BCG review - DLC BCGAesthetics

I consider it a bonus that the NF Manufacturing NF-15 Complete Elite BCG in DLC finish looks different than other AR BCGs. I wouldn’t buy one just for the different look, but I have no problems with the many folks that would. Performance is king, IMHO, when it comes to AR parts. However, there is nothing wrong with looking better than average while performing well above average.

Overall

The NF Manufacturing NF-15 Complete Elite BCG in DLC finish operated flawlessly in all of our tests, cleaned up with a dry paper towel and showed zero signs of wear/use after several hundred rounds of use. We often test products that don’t live up to the hype. Very happy to report that this BCG was just as good as we were told it would be.

Gear Score
Gearswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The NF Manufacturing NF-15 Complete Elite BCG in DLC finish did the job and looked good doing it. We recommend the NF Manufacturing NF-15 Elite BCG in DLC finish for anyone that wants a higher performance BCG for their AR.

Gallery of NF Manufacturing NF-15 Complete Elite BCG images:

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits.

A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps http://MGECOM.com acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management.

Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.