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Bear Creek Arsenal's BC-10 Affordable .308 Semi-Auto Rifle

It's hard to beat Bear Creek Arsenal's affordable prices, but they're still able to make quality rifles like the BC-10.

Bear Creek Arsenal's BC-10 Affordable .308 Semi-Auto Rifle

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Last spring, I did photography for a bear hunt in Idaho. I also had a tag and permission to borrow a rifle if there was an opportunity at a bear. I didn’t get the chance, and instead of a bear skin rug, I developed a bad addiction. The only cure was to get a rifle and fill a bear tag. Unfortunately, my budget does not match the enthusiasm my heart has for getting an AR-10. Then I found a .308 that cost only $499. Although I had never tested a Bear Creek Arsenal (BCA) gun before, I had to investigate. After contacting BCA, I discovered the 16-inch side-charging model was priced so low due to being discontinued. I ended up snagging that model as well as a 20-inch upper they continue to make. It was time to find out how well these affordable AR-10s worked.

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THE INSPECTION

When the BCA products arrived, I inspected them closely. BCA manufactures many parts in-house. This includes their spiral flash hiders, barrels, handguards, BCGs, gas system, uppers, lowers, and side-charging handles. The rest of the smaller parts are mil-spec standard affair and seemed perfectly functional. After extracting the bolt carrier group, I had a concern that the gas key wasn’t properly staked. However, BCA does this differently. Instead of staking the top of the gas key, BCA stakes it from the side, a method they believe superior. Although I don’t know if this was objectively better, I put witness marks on the screws to see to if they would move after testing.

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The charging handle of the BCG must be removed for it to be extracted from the gun.

After over 100 rounds through each BCG, they showed no movement. Going over the rifle, the castle nut was a bit loose. It wasn’t staked, so it was easy enough to tighten back down. I confirmed with BCA that it is left un-staked for the customer who wants to change their buffer tube and stock. Being 10 pounds with the 20-inch upper and losing only half a pound with the 16-inch upper, the weight of the rifle is unavoidable, but I have a theory on why that is. Instead of cutting costs from using cheap metals or loose tolerances, it seems like cost is saved from less complicated machining. I’d much rather have that than parts that functioned poorly. I put the gun back together and, with a clear preflight checklist, it was time for testing.

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Even in a hunting rifle, having a flared magwell and rounded edges is still important.

At the range, both the 16-inch and 20-inch uppers ran without issue. I noted both uppers seemed to run on the over-gassed side, with shells ejecting toward the 2 o’clock position. The loads I had were higher grade hunting rounds. My guess is that BCA tunes their guns like this to reliably run cheaper plinking ammo. Regardless, the Bushnell with its Weaver mount didn’t have any issue taking the extra kick, and we had consistent hits at 100 yards. I was pleased with what I had for the price, but another shooter at the range couldn’t help but comment. Compared to his custom PRS setup, the BCA wasn’t as good. As he continued bragging about his gun, trying to convince me the BCA was worthless, I held back the argument that I had plenty of budget leftover to upgrade the trigger as well as the gas block or buffer and spring to fix the BCG running too fast.

BEAUTY IN THE BEAST

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During accuracy testing, the winds were whipping hard and unpredictably. The first five-shot group had 4 rounds in a 1.5-inch group. The fifth shot, a flyer, was my fault for forgetting the weight of a mil-spec trigger. The rest of the groups from both uppers left a good impression. As I had some rounds left, I took the preferred loads for each upper and shot a 12-round group. Even though the average was around 2.5 MOA for each, I’d bet if I came back when the wind wasn’t wild, I could shrink that to around 1.5 to 2 MOA.

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The 20-inch BCA upper preferred Federal’s 180-grain load the best. In the right conditions, quality ammo can change the experience.

The more I use the BCA, the more I like it. It’s not the perfect AR-10, but it’s a solid foundation to use as-is or modify to better suit my needs. Due to its shockingly low price, I have money left in the budget to upgrade trigger, stock, install an adjustable gas block, or tweak buffer weight. Even if I don’t get all the parts I want by the time the spring bear hunt rolls around, I’ll be ready to hunt with a complete rifle. In my mind, that beats sitting at home, wishing for a higher-end AR-10 that I can’t afford.

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Bear Creek Arsenal BC-10 Specs

  • Type: Direct-impingement
  • Cartridge: .308 Win. 
  • Barrel: 20 in., stainless, heavy profile, 1:10-in. twist
  • Finish: Parkerized, anodized
  • Stock: M4
  • Weight: 10 lbs.
  • Trigger: Mil-spec
  • Grip: A2
  • MSRP: $750
  • Manufacturer: Bear Creek Arsenal



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