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#3209566 - 08/09/19 09:18 AM First group testing with my 243 AR stoner/Bear Creek arsenal upper
Dultimatpredator Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 2496
Loc: Wisconsin
Well I finally got around to it and went out to try some group tests for the first time with my AR stoner 243 upper. I found out the other day from a member here that my AR Stoner was manufactured by Bear Creek Arsenal and rebranded...which I cringed since Bear creek Arsenal has had a lot of mixed and bad reviews in the past along with recent bad luck with their hiring sting. Well, the stoner had had bother but great, sub MOA , Five star reviews so it put me back at ease a little bit. Itís the first gas AR Iíve had in about 20 years. The last...and only one before it I owned was a bushmaster targeter vaminter that wouldnít cycle and jammed every other round. Iím sure it was a gas issue now that look back and have more knowledge on how ARs function now.

Before my group session I took it to the range a couple times and put 43 rounds through it to make sure if functioned. Itís been running smooth as silk after I checked the correct Cartridge OAL and loaded them shorter. I did have dents in the middle of alot the cases along with paint chipping off my shell defector. I fixed the issue by taking the soft side piece of Velcro that had two way stock tape on it and stuck it on my shell defector. The fired cases look literally perfect now.





I cleaned it the barrel the night before and had no bluing come out it. I had previously loaded up some 55 grain nosler ballistic tips to try with three different powders For my little Remington 600. I donít know if my gun would like the light, little, short bullets but I wanted to give them a try. I made sure to check the OAL so they werenít to long in my AR chamber and also dropped every one in my Lyman case checker being paranoid as I stuck one in my AR the first trip out because my ammo was load too long.

All 55 grain ammo shot and functioned fine. The three powders I tried were H380, H4895(my favorite power for 243ís), and Varget.

I first tried the first five H380 loads and wasnít expecting great results since every time Iíve used H380 in anything Ive never had acceptable groups. It shot just as I expected. I never measured the groups being they werenít impressive...as expected. Only one of the h380 groups shot MOA and all others were approximately 1.25Ē to 1.5Ē.

I then grabbed the five H4895 loads. Four out of the five shot SUB MOA with the best being .3Ē from 45.5 grains...a load one grain over max. I was hoping for a nice little cloverleaf from one of the loads with this powder like I normally get from most 243ís with this powder but it didnít happen. I normally do load in .2 grain increments for ladder testing so I plan on loading up some 45.3, 45.7, and a few more 45.5 grain loads to test againto see if it tightens my group up. I was looking in my book on velocity to check my 45.5 grain load. After did the math it looks like Iíd be around 4030 FPS with my 22Ē barrel. Which was my original plan...to have a coyote lazer that I put my crosshairs directly on a coyote out to 400 yards.

I then tested my five Varget loads. I had two shoot sub MOA with the tighest measuring.4Ē using 46 grains...a load .5 grains over max. Like all my 243ís I own, I was quickly finding out my gun was no different and likes itís loads just a little over max. Iíve never really tried varget in a 243 before so I didnít know what to expect. Iím planning on loading some 45.8, 46, and 46.2 grain loads to try again. To see if I can close the gap. My 46 grain varget load looks to be close to or around 3950 FPS.

The one thing bugging me while shooting was my 2.5 lb single stage CMC trigger. That single stage trigger all of a sudden had ALOT of travel in it before braking which was riling me up and throwing me off.

If I canít get a nice little cloverleaf from my next six load ladder test tries I plan on loading up some 60 grain Seirra hollow points next. I never tried the sierras before but have heard great things about them and have seen a nice little cloverleaf shot out of another 243 bear creek upper by one of our other members here recently so Iím going to have to give them a go.

In all honesty I have shot better groups with my other ARs and rifles(to be fair, with ALOT more load testing and bullet choices) but figured for a cheap, cheap upper that gets a lot of bad rap here and every other forum on the net I wanted to put out a post with groups and functioning. To be fair to the rifle Iíve only shot 15 groups of three loads through it so far, the trigger imo mentally was throwing me off, and it might not like 55 grain nosler ballistic tips, or I just wasnít on my game yesterday. But for an economy $330 upper...if I would have saved a $100 and bought it from Bear creek instead of Midway USA, gets a thumbs up in my book. Iím sure I can get it to shoot tighter with the right load, and, or, a different bullet selection. I do see that bear creek guarantees their barrels to shoot MOA as well...and Iíve seen a lot of posts with other ďnewĒ calibers that had issues. Well I know of two others here that own the same 243 upper that both shoot sub MOA so Bear creek must have the 243ís figured out. My smith also has a 7.62x39 stoner/rebranded bear creek barrel type upper that shoots bug holes and function perfectly. He had a guy walk into his shop and asked to order one. Long story short no deposit was taken, the guy never showed, and he didnít want to send it back to Midway so he kept it. My smith said he loves that cheap little upper and glad the guy never picked it up. Iíll have to mess with my trigger to see if thereís anyway to remove the travel as well.

Hereís my gun and some of my groups I shot yesterday...











Edited by Dultimatpredator (08/09/19 06:01 PM)

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#3209579 - 08/09/19 10:49 AM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
Mike B Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 01/31/02
Posts: 2677
Loc: central PA
Good to hear, good, thorough report, and thanx for sharing!! Looks like Midway and BCA might be stepping up their games??
_________________________
Mike B

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#3209599 - 08/09/19 03:19 PM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
Dultimatpredator Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 2496
Loc: Wisconsin
I also read ALOT of bad reviews about Bear Creek Arsenal not answering their phones. I called twice last week and talked with someone who picked up on the third ring. I wanted to confirm they manufacturered my AR stoner upper and would warranty it if I ever had issues. The answer was yes as long as I have my receipt.

So anyone wanting one I would tell you to save a $120 and buy it direct from bear creek unless you want it to say AR stoner on it. When I bought mine bear creek only showed and offered the shorter 20" version but we're always sold out of it. Now they have the same one they sell to midway (for $330 VS $449), an all black version for $320, and a 20" version for $300. Might have to buy a 20" version as well.


Edited by Dultimatpredator (08/09/19 08:43 PM)

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#3240730 - 04/05/20 04:37 PM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
6mm06 Online
PM senior

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 8138
Loc: USA

I am on the edge of ordering a Bear Creek upper and trying to decide between the 18Ē or 20Ē. Thoughts on that?

What bullets weights do you find more accurate with the 1:8 twist?

Ever shoot any of the Wolf steel case 100 gr. fmjís?

I assume the Hornady 123 SSTís would be a good hunting bullet. For coyotes should I stay with lighter hp bullets on the 90 to 100 gr. range? That seems light for a 1:8, but maybe it will handle them OK.

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#3240757 - 04/05/20 07:14 PM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
Dultimatpredator Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 2496
Loc: Wisconsin
Havenít shot the 243 chambered 1/8 twist yet. Itís actually on his way back to BCA for cosmetic reasons. I plan on trying 55 grainers through the soon as I get it back. They only offer the 243 in a 20Ē mid weight and 22Ē heavy barreled versions. Both one in eight twist. The gun I reviewed is a 1 in 9 twist they offered about a year ago. I donít know why they discontinued the slower twist rate. IMO I would think it would be more popular for us predator hunters. I would think if you reload you can find any light or heavy weight bullet combinations that will all work in any twist barrel IMO. I read a few users have received great accuracy with light 55 grain nosler BTs in 243 1/8 twists.

Iím guessing your asking about a 6.5 grendal chambered upper. I donít have any grendals.


Edited by Dultimatpredator (04/05/20 07:22 PM)

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#3241586 - 04/12/20 10:22 PM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
dozer_xj Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/09/17
Posts: 215
Loc: South Central IL
My 22"1:9 bear creek 243 upper has shot great. It will shoot 60 sierras into one hole with varget and aa4064. I stopped hunting with it though just because of the shear weight of it. Its a .830 gas block and then full bull from the gas block back. It is fluted but the flutes are shallow. I bought a 223 upper for my brothers graduation from Chiropractor school. It shot hand loads sub MOA as well.

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#3241638 - 04/13/20 10:29 AM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
fishballer06 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/03/20
Posts: 35
Loc: PA
Beautiful rifle!

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#3241811 - 04/14/20 10:45 PM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: dozer_xj]
Dultimatpredator Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 2496
Loc: Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: dozer_xj
My 22"1:9 bear creek 243 upper has shot great. It will shoot 60 sierras into one hole with varget and aa4064. I stopped hunting with it though just because of the shear weight of it. Its a .830 gas block and then full bull from the gas block back. It is fluted but the flutes are shallow. I bought a 223 upper for my brothers graduation from Chiropractor school. It shot hand loads sub MOA as well.


Thatís why I ordered the lighter 20Ē version upper so I can switch back and forth between the two. I love the 22Ē upper but itís a log.

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#3241834 - 04/15/20 09:35 AM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
Notch Johnson Online
New Member

Registered: 02/19/20
Posts: 15
Loc: Nebraska
Iíve been following along with your process and a lot of your headaches. Itís good to see you getting to finally shoot it. It looks like it shoots pretty good to me.

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#3241890 - 04/15/20 09:08 PM Re: First group ladder tests with my 243 AR stoner/Bear arsenal upper [Re: Dultimatpredator]
Dultimatpredator Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 2496
Loc: Wisconsin
Iím still waiting for the 20Ē 243 upper. BCA shipped out the 3rd replacement one today. This was an upper I bought last fall.

I did have shipping damage when ordering this one though as well. I had two of these uppers in a row shipped to me with the barrels all scratched up and sticking out of the box.


Edited by Dultimatpredator (04/15/20 09:12 PM)

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