Machining an AR Bolt in 9 Minutes

Utterly mesmerizing. A promotional video released by Swisstek, a CNC lathe/machine company showcases the machining of a 8630 steel AR-15/M-16 bolt. The video is at roughly 3x speed, but I believe it adds to the fascination. It certainly lends more appreciate for the technology and investment required to build weapon systems.

Swisstec says the full operations would take about 9 minutes. Full automated that means one of these could produce roughly 160 bolts/day.


Want one for yourself? The machines are expensive, my experience around machines would suggest they start around $300K and go way up.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Dr. Dog

    The company would probably appreciate if you spelled their name correctly.

  • BoHeck

    Long part in chucker mode…not too smart. What’s the point of being using a Swiss machine if you’re not going to use a guide bushing? Leaves the whole part plus extra stock hanging way out there for deflection and harmonics. I guess they haven’t heard that 8620 is a terrible steel to use for bolts? 9310 and Carpenter 158 machine nothing like 8620, truly nasty stuff, so the 9 minute thing kinda goes out the window when you actually want to make a product that works. I do use a Swiss to make bolts and it does an awesome job, but use a guide bushing or you’ll never stay within tolerance, at least not for more than a few parts. 15 minutes on the quick side is realistic for production.

    • JaxD

      Promotional video. Not production video. Showing machine capabilities, no need to get all geeky.

      • Dan-O

        This is the interwebs; the beatings shall continue until morale improves.

      • AdamTolley

        F that – its a CNC video, getting geeky is imperative.

    • ernunnos

      That is the guide bushing on a Swistek machine. They use a hybrid rotary guide bushing. That’s hardly hanging out there very far, especially since the tight tolerance ODs will be ground after heat treat. And I’m sure they used different material for their zero-coolant demo.

  • Todd

    That is way cool.

  • gunslinger

    pretty darn neat.

  • Seth Hill

    Why yes, I will take one please. Now to just find that kind of money, maybe start following money trucks around and wait for some to fall off or it to end up in an accident?

  • Martin M

    Great machine, but a horribly inefficient process. Just look at the number of functions sitting idle while another tool does a job. If you broke this down between three machines, you could really ramp up production.

  • BryanS

    Just watched their demo live last week at a NYC manufacturing conference. the full setup and amount of operations that thing can do is breathtaking. Left me with a farily cool looking brass rook chess piece.