It’s often hard to review a quality piece of equipment, especially when it is simple and serves a single purpose. Flowery language and ind-depth descriptions simply clutter up the page and detract from the simple, straightforward message of: This Thing Works.
It works when hot, when cold, when lubricated, when unlubricated. It works when clean and when dirty, dry or in the rain. Its single-minded devotion to its purpose in this world is to be admired and its endurance through hardship to be celebrated. It works.
So it is with the Black Dawn IonBonded bolt carrier group.
The first AR-15 I ever owned had semi-auto bolt carrier group with a standard parkerized finish. It ran, but had some reliability issues, especially with the filthy ammo I fed it. Over the years, I’ve gravitated towards coated bolts. I’ve had a very good experience with nickel boron coated bolt carriers, such as the FailZero kit. However, I found myself attracted to the idea of IonBond.
The ammunition I run is just about the dirties that there is, and nickel boron tarnishes after a while. IonBond is black by nature. It is a diamond-like carbon finish applied to metal. It increases the hardness and scratch-resistance, making your BCG more durable. Increased lubricity leads to longer service life, as does its high corrosion resistance. Best of all, this is not something that’s going to chip or come off of the base metal.
I wanted to put all this to the test, so I placed the Black Dawn bolt carrier in my AR-15 (using a Ballistic Advantage 5.45 bolt). I ran it for a couple thousand rounds. I swapped out the barrel for a 14.5 inch mid-length model (placing it on a registered SBR lower) and ran it suppressed through a YHM 7.62 Phantom can.
The carbon caked itself on and still the carrier kept going. When I finally cleaned it, a mountain of soot fell out. After some quality time with SLIP 2000 Carbon Killer, the carrier looked like new.
Enough talk. See it for yourself: