|BCA Huntmaster BC-8|
Today, we have quite an interesting anomaly for you Gun Made fans. In today’s review, we will be taking a look at the Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8 rifle chambered in 30-06. The BC-8 looks like an AR-10, but it carries quite the payload.
The BC-8 is an AR-type rifle with nearly all the same functions and features as your favorite AR-15 rifle. But, it features a larger magazine to carry the timeless classic 30-06 Springfield cartridge. This results in a few alterations to the AR design, but most of the important stuff remains the same.
We’ll show you what is different about the BC-8, and what remains the same. And, of course, we’ll go over how it has performed for us so far, 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
BC-8 Rifle For Sale
Not since the M1 Garand have I ever considered a semi-auto 30-06 rifle. As a matter of fact, I’m not even a big 30-06 Springfield kind of guy in general. The only rifle I have chambered in the centenarian cartridge was handed down to me from my grandfather.
So, it was a little surprising that I found the BC-8 under my roof.
Bear Creek’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 seem like a good mix to me.
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.
Semi-automatic rifles like this are fantastic for specific 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.
|Capacity||5 Round Magazine|
|Barrel length||20 Inches|
|Gas System||Rifle Length|
|Trigger||3-pound Trigger by Velocity|
|Charging Style||Right Side Charging|
Pros & Cons
Take these with a grain of salt. The rifle’s weight can be seen as good and bad.
As can the charging handle placement. It just depends on who is shooting.
- Made in the USA
- 30-06 Springfield
- Nice trigger from Velocity
- Comfortable to shoot
- Threaded muzzle (⅝-24)
- Robust design
- M-Lok Handguard
- Accuracy Wedge
- Charging handle on the 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. Talk about them can be heard all over the internet, both good and bad. As I cracked open the box, I was 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, but the fit and finish of the rifle were fine.
It shoulders not unlike most AR-10-sized rifles and feels the same, too. The weight was immediately noticed as I ran the controls to feel its functions. This could be awesome, I thought to myself.
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 my Primary Arms GLx 3-18 riflescope. It’s proven to be a handy optic for this type of shooting.
I installed a Harris bipod to support the rifle upfront because they are easy and light. Then, I worked towards my spot with several boxes of ammunition from Hornady.
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 I couldn’t pull out the carrier due to the BC-8’s bolted-on charging handle. Had I thought the process through a little more, I’d have brought the required Allen wrench to disassemble it.
Additionally, I discovered 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.
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 the rifle was zeroed relatively quickly. For this, I used the Hornady Superformance 165 SST ammunition. It shot quite well, and hitting clay pigeon-sized targets inside 300 yards was repeatable.
Shooting the Bear Creek Arsenal BC-8
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 an excellent match for the rifle. It allows for 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 slightly 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.
There was a very satisfying boom when the rifle went off, and the action operation felt like an extra motion was taking place as the rifle cycled. The only thing I found slightly annoying while shooting the rifle was the occasional pressure required to push the mag release.
Due to the size of the magazine, I 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 increased when adding a suppressor, and 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.
Both of them functioned great in the rifle and shot very well downrange.
The Superformance seemed to shoot a little better as far as 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. This surprised me since I shot it on paper after doing much further shooting. 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 far beyond traditional hunting ranges.
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. 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 of locking teeth and are captured together once the floorplate is installed.
It’s not a lightweight design, but it feels very robust. It loaded easily and functioned without any issues during testing.
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. For magnums and other larger cartridges, I’m not particularly eager 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. It allows shooters to use bullets from 150 to 215 grains, 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 demands 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 an immaculate feel and crisp break that almost any shooter can appreciate.
Zero malfunctions were experienced during our testing of the BC-8. Shooting the rifle, both suppressed and unsuppressed, worked flawlessly.
This sounds like a broken record, but it’s true; the BC-8 feels very similar to most AR-10s. That’s a good thing, 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 accessories or whatever else you’d like to change. The addition of an excellent trigger scores extra points for me.
Regarding AR rifles, the BC-8 fits right in. Nothing too flashy or out of the ordinary, which is a good thing because most gun owners like to change their rifle’s 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.
This rifle deserves a good scope, like the Primary Arms GLx we used for this review. You can read more about the GLx in our Primary Arms GLx review.
Since the BC-8 isn’t what I’d call lightweight, I recommend a good sling. Something simple like the Blackhawk Storm QD would work well. 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 features than the BC-8. The gun is a few pounds lighter (7lbs) and has a shorter barrel. Both might appeal to some shooters, but not so much to me. The BN36 is also 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 has a much sleeker design that is 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 Fudds 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 assure you I would slay everything in range if I chose to hunt with it. The rifle has countless great purposes, 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. If Bear Creek Arsenal has you intrigued now, we’ve reviewed the BC-15, and you can read more about it here.