The AR-15 uses a variety of screws, roll pins, springs and detents to keep all the right parts in all the right places.
In this article I’ll be listing out the types and sizes of roll pins used in the platform, and the approximate prices for each.
As you can see from the list above, the AR uses quite a few different roll pins for several parts. Many of these assemblies are something that the average armorer or shooter will never mess with. For instance, when is the last time you ever had to change out a roll pin on a milspec charging handle latch?
Common roll pins needed for the AR15
Let’s stick to the basics here. The roll pins most commonly needed and used by the end user are the:
- Bolt catch roll pin 3/32″ x 1/2“
- Forward assist roll pin 3/32″ x 5/8″
- Gas Tube roll pin 5/64″ x 5/16″
- Ejector roll pin 1/16″ x 7/16″
The Ejector is less commonly needed by the average user, but as an armorer or serious shooter it’s always good to keep a few spares for your Ejector.
Types of roll pins
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to roll pins for your rifle or Carbine. Sonlets break down the types and why. Here we are going to cover the 3 most common:
- Split Pins
- Wave Tension Pins
- Coiled Roll Pins
Split Tension Roll Pins
Split Pins are the most common ones you will see in most lower parts kits and basic builds. They are cheap and effective and do a good enough job. The downside to split Pins is that they can split on you during installation, possibly even causing damage to your other parts or receivers. One issue caused by cheaper or improperly installed split Pins is the formation of a flat face where the split is. This can cause the pivot movement of the installed part to not be as smooth as it could be.
- Cost: .25 cents to $1.99 each
Wave Tension Roll Pins
Wave tensions pins are not as common as split or coiled pins. They are generally used in applications where the pins may shift during use or installation. Spring Wave Pins have interlocking teeth which restricts the chance of movement when exposed to vibration. The slot along the length of one side compresses closed when inserted.
- Cost: .50 cents to $3 each
Coiled Roll Pins
Coiled Roll Pins are some of the best to use in firearms applications. They are easy to install, resistant to vibration, and form a consistently round surface for parts to pivot, such as the Bolt catch. They can require a little bit more effort to install, but not much, which make these my go to option for our lower parts kits and roll pins.
Common coiled roll pins are made from spring steel or stainless. For most applications your standard spring steel pins work great. For those extreme applications where salt water or humidity are a concern, 18-8 or 420 stainless pins are the way to go.
Where to get the best roll pins?
Shameless plug here, but here at JTF Consulting, we pride ourselves on offering some of the best American made parts at a reasonable price, including roll pins. We often charge less than other brands for a superior product, don’t believe us? Compare our prices in our shop to some of the other retailers.