Robar NP3 AR15 Bolt Carrier Group

If you have more than a couple rounds down the barrel of the AR15 platform, you should know the system works but isn’t necessarily the cleanest. For anyone who actually shoots their gun instead of keeping it clean and pretty, the cleaning of the bolt carrier group in particular is always a fan favorite. Your choices are to soak it in solvent of some type of spend a good amount of time with a scraper of some type trying to break through the layer of fossilized carbon built up around the gas rings on the bolt. This is where aftermarket finishes and treatments have come into play in recent years in an effort to battle the carbon buildup. I have never been a fan of the flashy silver bolt carriers shining through the ejection port of a AR. I made a habit of writing them off as flash as my AR’s had always run just fine without them.

A friend had a 1911 coated in NP3 done by Robar guns and after hearing him rave about it more then once, I had to see what the fuss was about.  Robar is not a new kid on the block and has been building custom guns and developing new surface treatments for years. I have known Freddie Blish, the general manager of Robar for a few years now. I contacted Freddie to get more information on the process involved and what NP3 really was. Their website explains it as:

Robar’s® NP3® finish is an electroless nickel-based finish for steel, stainless steel and aluminum alloys that co-deposits sub-micron particles of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), otherwise known as Teflon™, with electroless nickel.

The quick and easy explanation is its matte silver, can be coated to most metal gun parts and supposedly it helps with rust and carbon build-up. This sounded too good to be true, and I told him so. He offered me a challenge to send him one of the nastiest bolt carrier groups I had, have it coated and see what it would do in the all the salt water, sandy, high round scenarios I could find and then report back with a no BS report and I had every intention of doing just that.

I pulled the nastiest, dirtiest bolt carrier group I could find and sent it off to Robar and a couple weeks later I had it back in hand. The coating is not chrome, it looks like a bolt carrier group would look straight out of a CNC machine before it gets treated. They had coated every part and replaced my gas rings. I then put it to work, over the last eight months it has seen thousands of rounds of ball and blank, it has seen salt water, been covered in the fine moon dust sand of the desert and been coated black with carbon after extremely high round count days. The bolt carrier group hasn’t even flinched.

The bolt after thousands upon thousands of rounds of both live and blank.

It is much easier to clean and usually just takes a rag to get the carbon off the bolt. The bolt carrier hasn’t rusted, or even thought about it and truly has stood up to anything I could give it. Its nothing fancy, its not a super ridiculous CNC’d lightweight magical bolt carrier. It isn’t made of titanium, before it left it was sitting in the bottom of my spare parts box on its way out. For the price Robar charges for the coating, I do believe it is one of the most overlooked value upgrades on the market as far as enhancing your AR15. I look forward to more use out of this bolt and carrier and will update if there is anything else to report although all I see is continued use and many more rounds.

Link: Robar Industries

This entry was posted in AR15/M4, Finishes, Long Guns, Review, Weapon Maintenance, Weapon Modifications by Joe. Bookmark the permalink.

About Joe

Joe currently serves active duty with 10 years in Special Operations with deployments to Iraq, Afghan and Pacific Theaters. His qualifications include Sniper, Breacher, Post Certified Pistol instructor, MACTAC Instructor, Range Officer, and Master Training Specialist. Joe has two years as a military small arms instructor teaching marksmanship and tactics. He actively works with southern California local SWAT units as a consultant and also shoots competitive tactical long range competitions when he has time off of work. In addition, Joe is deeply involved with the tactical long range industry actively consulting with many industry leaders.

6 thoughts on “Robar NP3 AR15 Bolt Carrier Group

  1. I had Robar refinish a family youth rifle and they did an excellent job. The bolt and all small parts were coated in NP3 and it is a snap to clean after a day of putting acouple of hundred rounds through it. They are good people that do good work.

  2. Good report. I like how you used blanks to test it along with regular rounds. I remember how nasty the BCG got after attaching the BFA and using blanks. If you’ve never shot blanks out of an M4 you have no idea how bad it gets. How about lubrication, did it require more or less than a non treated bolt.

  3. Great write up Joe. Did you notice any lock-up issues (due to an increase in the tolerances around the locking lugs from the NP3 coating)? Any new wear marks in the upper receiver where the bolt carrier skids touch? Thanks again, and I’m looking forward to any additional updates after more rounds down range.

  4. Joe

    So, besides ease of cleaning and potentially enhanced reliability, will the NP 3 do anything to extend the life of the bolt /BCG?

    Since bolt carriers normally last longer than bolts, would it be wise to have an extra bolt treated at the same time ?

  5. Do you (or any other readers) have any experience with Fail Zero to compare to NP3? I’ve been mulling over a coated BCG for my Noveske. I love shooting it but hate cleaning it.

  6. This is one of my top recommendations these days on what to do with a hard use AR. My two current demo rifles I use for Aimpoint demos have Np3 BCG’s in them. They really make cleaning easier and they run well with very high round counts over very short periods. Combined with a good lubricant, my reliability has been perfect with them.
    Another thing I like is that unlike other finishes, NP3 is not overly hard. I do not want my bolt to be plated in something much harder than the chamber. I have seen no unusual wear issues that I have seen with other plating methods on BCG’s.

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