Today we have quite an interesting anomaly for you GunMade fans. In today’s review we will be taking a look at the Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8 30-06 Springfield. The BC-8 looks like an AR-10 at a glance, but it carries quite the payload.
The BC-8 is an AR type rifle and has nearly all the same functions and features as your favorite AR-15 rifle. But it carries a larger magazine to carry the timeless classic 30-06 Springfield cartridge. This has resulted in a few alterations of the AR design, but most of the important stuff remains the same. Well show you what is different about the BC-8, and what remains the same. And of course we will see how it performs, so you can decide if you need to add one to your collection.
Lifting the rifle from its foam lined box, I was immediately impressed with the size of the rifle. There is no doubt you’ve got a serious piece of kit in your hands, but would it perform as impressively? Bear Creek Arsenal sent it to us to answer that question, so let’s get into it.
Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8 Rifle Review
Not since the M1 Garand have I ever really considered a semi-auto 30 06 rifle. As a matter of fact I’m not even a big 30 06 Springfield kind of guy. The only rifle I have chambered in the centenarian cartridge was handed down to me from my grandfather.
So I guess it was with a little bit of surprise that I found the BC-8 under my roof. Several other calibers are also available in the BC-8, like the .270 Winchester, and 300 Winchester Magnum. But why an AR type rifle in such big cartridges? My answer is a simple one, but I’ll tell you later on.
Bear Creek Arsenal’s BC-8 brings the modularity and performance of the AR platform. Coupled with the popularity and performance of one of America’s most cherished cartridges. America’s rifle, and one of America’s favorite rounds seems like a good mix to me.
Semi-automatic rifles like this are fantastic for certain roles. Every type of shooting done in this country can be done using the AR type rifle, even more so in a popular chambering like this. The 30 06 is used widely in hunting rifles, which might suggest that the BC-8 is aimed at the hunting public. But if you are looking for a lightweight hunting rifle this may not be what you are after.
Nearly any ammunition shelf across the country will have 30 06 Springfield of one kind or another. It might be expensive, but it’s always available.
|Caliber||30 06 Springfield|
|Barrel length||20 Inches|
|Barrel Twist||1-10 inches|
|Gas System||Rifle length DI|
|Handguard||15 inch M-Lok|
|Trigger||3 pound trigger by Velocity|
Pros & Cons
Take these with a grain of salt. The weight of the rifle can be seen as both a good and bad thing. As does the charging handle placement, just depends on who is shooting.
- Made in USA
- 30 06 Springfield
- Nice trigger from Velocity
- Comfortable to shoot
- Threaded muzzle (⅝-24)
- Not too light
- M-Lok Handguard
- Accuracy Wedge
- Charging handle on right side (not centralized)
- Not particularly light
- Proprietary magazine (well, obviously)
- Slightly heavy mag-release button
BC-8 First Impressions
This was my first experience with Bear Creek Arsenal products. Much talk about them can be heard all over the internet both good and bad. As I cracked open the box, I was honestly impressed with what I found.
The foam lined box gave not only protection for the contents, but it also conveyed a message of quality. Actual quality could only be determined once I’d run the rifle through my tests. The fit and finish of the rifle were fine, so I lifted it up to get a feel.
It shoulders not unlike most AR-10 sized rifles, and it feels much the same too. The weight was immediately noticed as I ran the controls and felt its functions. This could be pretty awesome I thought to myself.
Muzzle brake and handguard details
How We Tested
If you’ve read any of my stuff before, you know I can’t stand public ranges. So I prepped the BC-8 for its range debut, and headed into the Rocky Mountains nearby.
Before heading out, I mounted up my Primary Arms GLx 3-18 riflescope. It’s proven to be a handy optic for this type of shooting. Supporting the rifle up front I installed a Harris bipod because they are easy and light. Then with several boxes of ammunition from Hornady, I worked towards my spot.
Before I’d even fired a shot, I’d run into a snag. Surely I won’t place this at the feet of the manufacturer though. Boresighting a rifle is best done from the open breach, but due to the BC-8’s bolted-on charging handle I couldn’t just pull out the carrier. Had I thought the process through a little more, I’d have brought the required Allen wrench needed to disassemble it.
Additionally I found out that the BC-8 features an accuracy wedge. A small polymer piece that is essentially crushed as you hinge the upper and lower receivers together. The purpose is to reduce the play between upper and lower receivers. I can tell you that in this case it worked great, little to no wobble could be felt. However it also made it quite a chore to pull the rear receiver pin to hinge open the rifle.
So we improvised, and in a relatively short time the rifle was zeroed. For this I used the Hornady Superformance 165 SST ammunition. It shot quite well, and hitting clay pigeon sized targets inside 300 yards seemed quite repeatable.
Shooting the Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8
The BC-8 felt just like most AR 10 rifles, the size and weight was very comparable. For rapid engagements and quick shooting on the fly I wouldn’t say it’s ideal. No more than any AR 10 of a comparable size.
Narrower handguards are becoming more common, and the handguard on the BC-8 was a great match for the rifle. Allowing easy manipulation of the rifle, and quick attachment of M-Lok accessories.
Getting used to the right-side charging handle only took a moment, the rifle was otherwise just like every other AR rifle I’ve used. Recoil was a little different than anticipated, lighter than most 30 06 rifles I’ve shot. Surely this is due to the heavier weight of the BC-8 compared to your average 30 06 rifle.
Finish this review and other great reviews at Gunmade.com
There was a very satisfying boom when the rifle goes off, and the action operation feels a little different than AR 10’s. Almost like there was an extra motion taking place as the rifle cycled. The only thing I felt was slightly annoying while shooting the rifle is the occasional pressure required to push the mag release. Probably due to the size of the magazine, I’d imagine there is a pretty hefty spring required to keep it from rattling loose under recoil. This is likely the root cause of the higher than anticipated pressure.
After six boxes of Hornady 30 06 ammunition, we experienced no malfunctions. Shooting the rifle with the muzzle brake as it came as well as suppressed caused no issues. Operating pressure obviously increased when adding a suppressor. While it didn’t affect the function of the rifle it did cause some aggressive ejection of spent cases. Some of which got a pretty good dent in the case mouth.
For the duration of the testing I used two types of Hornady ammunition. Superformance 165 grain SST ammunition, and American Whitetail 150 grain Interlock. Both of them functioned great in the rifle and shot very well downrange.
The Superformance seemed to shoot a little better as far accuracy is concerned. But both of them were well within the bounds of acceptable accuracy.
Accuracy from the BC-8 averaged around 1.25 MOA with the ammunition tested. Which came as a surprise to me, since I shot it on paper after doing much shooting at further ranges. Shooting at distances like three or four hundred yards it felt like the rifle was shooting better than the 1.25 MOA average.
I honestly thought the rifle was shooting better than that, but you can’t argue with holes in paper. That said, I felt very comfortable shooting the rifle at distances much further than traditional hunting ranges.
An average 3-shot group with the Hornady 165 SST Superformance
My first AR was a side-charger, so it’s nothing new to me. For the most part I have no problems with it, other than what I mentioned above. I do like being able to fieldstrip the rifle without any major tools.
It also gives the user better control of the bolt-carrier, should you need to push it forward for any reason. I suppose you could say that side-chargers allow more ingress of debris. But outside deadly scenarios that is probably not a huge deal for most gun owners.
Curious construction would be one way to describe the magazine. Since there are few detachable box magazines with any universal adoption, it seems BCA’s option to make their own was a good one. The magazine is made from aluminum halves that lock together using a couple locking teeth and are captured together once the floorplate is installed.
It’s not a lightweight design either, but it does feel very robust. It loads easily and functions without any issues during testing.
Note magazine, Velocity trigger, and polymer accuracy wedge
Short barrels are one of my preferences, but larger cases like the 30 06 Springfield need a little more barrel to burn all their powder. So for magnums and other larger cartridges I don’t like to cut them off too short. The 20-inch 1:10 twist barrel on the BC-8 seems like a good compromise, anything shorter I suppose you may as well shoot a 308 Winchester. The rifle-length gas system keeps the rifle cycling smoothly.
Twist rates for modern rifles tend to be faster than previous designs, and the 1:10 twist is also a good choice for this rifle. Allowing shooters to use bullets from 150 grains up to the 215 grain depending on their needs.
There is no excuse anymore for modern rifles like this to come with anything but a threaded barrel. The advent of suppressors and other muzzle devices demand that manufacturers make factory threads more common. Bear Creek Arsenal is to be applauded for doing so.
Great triggers are not hard to find anymore, and again I have to appreciate BCA for including the Velocity trigger as standard equipment on the BC-8. It has a very clean feel and crisp break that most any shooter can appreciate.
Zero malfunctions were experienced during our testing of the BC-8. Shooting the rifle both suppressed and unsuppressed it worked flawlessly.
This may sound a bit like a broken record but it’s true; the BC-8 feels very similar to most AR-10’s. That’s a good thing in my opinion, since most of us love the feel of the AR style rifle.
Since it follows the AR pattern, the BC-8 is easily customized with either accessories or whatever else you’d like to change. The addition of a nice trigger scores extra points for me.
As far as AR rifles go, the BC-8 fits right in. Nothing too flashy or out of the ordinary, which is probably a good thing because most gun owners like to change their rifles appearance themselves.
There are other semi-auto 30 06 Springfield rifles available. More traditional ones like the Browning BAR MKIII or the Benelli R1 are listed for several hundred dollars less. But if you look at AR type rifles they are significantly more, such as the Noreen BN36 or the Ohio Ordnance HCAR.
A Good Scope
This rifle deserves a good scope, like the Primary Arms GLx we used here. I wouldn’t feel bad spending a little bit more on a riflescope for the BC-8 either. Something like a US Optics FDN 17X or a Leupold MK5 2.5-10X30.
A Good Sling
Since the BC-8 isn’t what I’d call lightweight, I would recommend a good sling. Something simple like the Blackhawk Storm QD would work. Depending on your shooting purposes you may want something different.
We no longer live in the dark ages, and suppressors are an excellent way to enhance your shooting experience. I used a Yankee Hill Machine Phantom 308, but the new YHM Resonator would also be a good choice.
The BN36 offers a few different options than the BC-8. The gun is a few pounds lighter (7lbs), and also features a shorter barrel. Either of those might appeal to some shooters, but not so much to me. The BN36 is several hundred dollars more , which is another thing to consider.
If you don’t have your heart set on an AR type 30 06, then the BAR is also a good choice. It comes in a few hundred dollars less than the BC-8, and comes with a much sleeker design a little more convenient for hunting if that’s your thing.
Bear Creek Arsenal’s BC-8 brings 30 06 Springfield performance to an AR 10 sized rifle. Despite the changes needed to function with the larger 30 06 cartridges, the rifle retains almost all of the attributes that make the AR pattern rifle so popular. And the changes made are acceptable and functional.
Filling a niche that maybe we didn’t even know was there, the BC-8 gives Fudd’s everywhere a reason to rejoice. As I said at the beginning; why do we need an AR that shoots cartridges of this size? Well I think there are many reasons but above all I think Americans are the kings of doing something because you can.
A semi-automatic 30 06 may not be “necessary”, but since when do we care? Most deer on this continent could be dropped in their tracks with a .243, yet every season an army of hunters flood the countryside armed with super-magnums. So extending the long-action cartridges mentioned above to an AR type rifle was bound to happen.
Would the BC-8 be at the top of my list for a hunting rifle? Probably not, but I can assure you I would slay everything in range if I chose to hunt with it. There are countless great purposes for the rifle, so if you find yourself wanting one, rest assured you can put it to work. Let us know what you would do with a BC-8 if you had one in the comment section below.