Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Upper Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
February 2, 2024

Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Upper Reciever Assembly Review

Recently I became interested in making a "bolt action-ish" AR-style rifle to shoot subsonic suppressed 300 Blackout with a night vision scope.  I'm sure some would argue the case of "why not just get a bolt action rifle?"  Admittingly, I had the same thoughts, but decided to check into what options might be on the market.  As I started my research into bolt action ARs, there were a couple of manufacturers worth considering such as Uintah Precision, Solo 300 and others making "side charging uppers".  Eventually I stumbled across the Bear Creek Arsenal website and was shocked at their prices on complete "side charging upper assemblies" which included the bolt carrier group.  Their MSRP for the assembly I purchased was listed at $272.02, but I got it as a Black Friday deal in 2023 for a price of $209.99 for their BC-15 300 Blackout Right Side Charging Upper with a 16" heavy stainless barrel and 15" MLOK handguard.  This price seemed just too good to be true, so I decided to take a close look at one of  their products and felt this review would be worth the time and effort spent as I worked my way towards my "bolt action-ish" build (maybe it would be better to describe it as an "in-line bolt").

My plans for going with this value priced BCA side charging upper assembly were to essentially block the gas going to the bolt carrier so that cycling the bolt would have to be done manually similar to how an in-line bolt actions works.  I believed I could do this by shifting the gas block forward slightly to cover the port in the barrel... and it worked.


During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims when possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Bear Creek Arsenal website on 12/17/23 and gives an Overview and Specifications for the BC-15 300 Blackout Right Side Charging Upper with 16" 416R SS Heavy Barrel and 15" MLOK Handguard.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some these items if needed.


This BCA AR-15 complete 300 Blackout rifle length upper has a 16" heavy barrel with a 416R stainless steel finish, and features a 1:8 twist rate, with a carbine length gas system. It includes a 15" MLOK rail, an M4 flat-top billet upper receiver, a BCA bolt carrier group, a flash hider, and a side charging (Gen 2) handle. This 300 Blackout upper is compatible with any mil-spec AR-15 lower. This has the new handguard.


  • SKU: 196N-UASCH300CHB1618SS-15M3
  • Weight (lbs): 5.75 Mine weighed in at 5.03 lbs and I was pleasantly surprised at the reduced weight, although this is still very heavy but not surprising with the heavy barrel profile
  • Barrel Length (in): 16
  • Profile: Heavy Barrel
  • Barrel Twist: 1:8
  • Barrel Finish: Stainless
  • Barrel Material: 416R Stainless Steel
  • Thread Pitch" 5/8 x 24
  • Caliber: .300 Blackout
  • Feed Ramp":.300 Blackout Feed Ramp
  • Gas System: Carbine
  • Gas Block System: 0.750
  • Charging Style: Right Side Charging
  • Classification: Complete Upper Assembly
  • Platform: AR-15
  • Bolt Material: E9310 Steel
  • Receiver Material: Billet Although they didn't say, based on reviewing their website, their upper receivers appear to be made from 7075 aluminum which is a quality alloy used in aircraft components

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and a lot of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.


  • This BCA Upper Assembly represents an amazing value for the components you get for a combined price.  If you try to purchase them separately you could spend potentially double for the same parts.
  • The anodized finish on the aluminum components is on par with other quality manufacturers.
  • In my minimal range testing (see Part 4), I found the upper assembly to have really good accuracy potential with Hornady Sub-X 190gr Subsonic ammunition.

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • BCA doesn't seem to rush shipping. I purchased my upper assembly on 11/22 and it did not ship out until 12/1. I also had a need for barrel nut shims which I discussed with with Technical Support on 12/15 but did not receive until 12/27. Clearly this was during a high shipping time of the year, but it still took 6 days for the shims to be processed before I got notice they were going to ship out.
  • This "heavy barrel" profile upper assembly weighed in at just over 5 lbs which in my rifle build gave me a total weight of nearly 11 pounds.  This total weight included a digital night scope, IR illuminator, suppressor, steel rings and 5 rounds of ammunition, so the weight is not only the upper assembly.  If you are wanting a lower weight rifle, consider other barrel profiles, although I could not find a lighter profile at their website which still had a carbine length gas system.


  • Nothing was tightened properly with the two most critical items being barrel nut and gas key.  Plan to check everything if you decide to buy.
  • Restating it... plan to check torque on everything before you head to the range.  Don't worry too much on the actual torque values if you don't have a torque wrench, but instead see if you think they are actually tight.  In my case it was clearly obvious they were not.


Bottom Line:

My thoughts on a "bottom line comment" for this upper assembly are related to answering the question "would I purchase another upper assembly from Bear Creek Arsenal?"  My short answer is YES and I'm already considering some others.  I believe BCA offers a great value for some good hardware as long as you are willing to do some quality control on their assembly.  In my case, I am more than willing to do this and can fix any assembly issues myself.  If you find something else wrong, they do have a Limited Lifetime Warranty and after talking with them I feel they would honor that warranty with no issue.

Keep in mind that this review had a sample size of one item, so don't hesitate to look at other reviews in making your decision. Also, the focus of this review was not related to extensive semi-auto use.  Instead, the focus of my rifle build was for suppressed night hunting in a single-shot configuration (gas port blocked so it acts like an in-line bolt).  I'm more interested in fit, finish and accuracy of this upper assembly, which I was pleased with for the components I received with my purchase.

Since the time of that Black Friday deal in 2023, I have seen BCA offer this same upper assembly for that same price and other upper assemblies at prices similar to their Black Friday deals.  The point here is that if you are interested in their products, take the time to create an account and get on their email list.  Yes, you will get a bunch of emails, but you will also be informed of their deals regularly and some are very attractive.

The pic below is my final rifle configuration and after dispatching several varmints so far, I'm very pleased with the build.

Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Rifle Build

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