Useful Tools: Brownells’ AR-15/M-16 Carrier Key Staking Tool

I recently had to rebuild a bolt carrier group due to a constant stream of failures to feed and extract. As part of the rebuild, I replaced the Bolt Carrier Key. Both the Colt Armorer’s Manual and the Technical Manual mandate staking of the key screws after torquing. There is a field expedient way of doing it with a center punch: however, I prefer to get a staking job that looks more like the factory. Enter the Brownells AR-15/M16 Carrier Key Staking Tool, available for $69.99 from Brownells.

Brownells is where I have purchased almost every AR armorer tool I possess.  As with many of their tools, this tool embodies simplicity.  It consists of a body with five hardened screws.  Four of these screws provide the staking capability, and the other stabilizes the carrier during the process.

You simply insert the carrier as seen here:

Adjust the tension on the front screw (I kept it just past hand tight), then turn each of the staking screws 1/2 turn at a time until you achieve your desired results. Once you feel that the screws are properly staked, back them out, release the tensioning screw, and remove your carrier. You should achieve results similar to this:

Now, I realize that $69.99 tips the scale on the pricey side for those of you who build ARs as a hobby.  But for an armorer who conducts periodic inspections and repairs, this tool will take the guesswork out of staking repaired keys.  It really works just as simply as I described.  I couldn’t even figure out how to stretch this article any further – it only took me five minutes to stake the key on my first time using it!

After torquing and before staking
After staking

Even though the staking screws are hardened, breakage always remains a possibility.  If you were to break a screw, fear not, Brownells covers you with four packs of replacement screws for $14.99.

So if you serve as an armorer, or just want the ability to stake your hobby guns, check it out on Brownells site.  You won’t be disappointed.

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