AR15 Problem...Need some help


Billy Sparks
March 12, 2006, 04:31 PM
I need help folks. This was the first weekend when I didnít have any projects, classes to teach or to take and the weather was half way decent. So I take two AR-15ís one a Colt and the other a Bushmaster both of which are brand new, never been fired, and are purchased after the AWB died. I was shooting some surplus .5.56 that I have fired in other ARís without problem. Anyway some where in the second magazine of each both guns had the same situation (I donít know if to call it a jam or what) they fired but didnít eject the round. When I attempted to pull the charging handle back it wouldnít budge. With a thunderstorm rolling in I packed it up and left. When I got home I was able to use a cleaning rod to drive the bolt back and eject the fired case. Problem is I cannot get the bolt to go forward again so I can separate the upper and lower and see whatís wrong. Anyone got any ideas?

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March 12, 2006, 04:49 PM
My ARs jam more than Smuckers. I clear it by grasping the charging handle and stroking the butt against the ground smartly while pulling down on the handle. The inertia will pretty much clear any jam. I've had spent cases get lodged between the bolt key and the raceway under the carrying handle. That's a tough one to get out. It requires that you get in there with a small screwdriver and just poke around until it comes out.

I assume you have the magazine out. I have found that those green followers will jam the carrier when you pull it back and there are no rounds in the magazine. Those green ones are junk anyway. Get the Magpul replacements-- they work 1000%. I just two days ago put a Defender d-ring into my varmint AR and a little o-ring into my carbine because I was having half-extraction problems. These things cost over $12 apiece. Go to your hardware store and buy the teeniest, tiniest little o-ring you can and slip it over your extractor spring. This will increase the clamping force of your extractor on the rim by several hundred percent. The one I paid so dearly for was about 1/4" in outside diameter, had a hole in it about 1/10" in diameter and was about .068 to .075 inches thick. Now that I know I can go and buy this ring for nine cents, I pass the info on to others.

I assume your upper has a forward assist on it. Take a rubber mallet and bump the carrier forward. Once you have the upper open, look inside for grit or an excess of unburned powder that could be locking you up.

If you are totally stuck you might try taking the buttstock off, then removing the buffer tube. Watch for springs and other stuff to come flying out and off the gun. Do all of this slowly. Watch for the small detent spring for the safety to get lost when the buttstock comes off. It's directly aft of the safety on the right side of the gun, in a small hole drilled into the lower. Don't bend it when you put the stock back on. All it takes to get the stock off is an allen key. Remove only the top screw. Removing the buffer tube may take a strap wrench or a big set of hands with a good, tight grip. When you take the tube off, watch for the plunger retainer detent at the forward end of the tube/rear of the receiver. The buffer tube holds it in. Taking an AR apart is not that hard to do. Just be slow and deliberate, watch from where things came and don't rush or force it back together.

Gary G23
March 12, 2006, 05:11 PM
Get rid of that ammo.

Billy Sparks
March 12, 2006, 06:56 PM
I got the bolt back and the fired cases out. I cannot get the bolt forward. I am really hoping I don't have to take the buffer tube apart.

March 12, 2006, 10:27 PM
Billy, what is happening when you say that you cannot get the bolt forward?

Did you clean and lube the rifles before you fired then?

It sounds like there is crud in the chamber. I have 4 AR's that I have built and I have never had a problem like you are describing. The fact that it has happened to both rifles is an indication that the common item is the ammo.

The only way you can seperate the upper and lowers with the bolt back is to push both pins out, while holding on to the upper and lower because they will want to quickly seperate under the recoil spring pressure. Get them appart and clean normally, clean the chambers, check the ammo for foreign crud, reassemble, and try them again. If they are both new, then put a liberal ammount of CLP on all the moving parts of the bolt and carrier. Good luck!

Thin Black Line
March 12, 2006, 10:53 PM
Is the bolt so far back that you're still unable to angle out the upper with
take down pins opened and separate from the lower?

Beware of spring tension when you do this.....

March 12, 2006, 11:03 PM
make sure your gas tube is not bent,that could be it.i would not force the parts to move,or the bolt.take the ar apart ,and clean it

Billy Sparks
March 13, 2006, 07:45 AM
When I say I can't get the bolt forward it is in the all the way back position and will not go forward, it just sits there. I think I am going to try to take out but pins and see if I can seperate the upper and lower. I have a vise and block that goes in the magazine well so I think I can "contain" the reaction.

I really thought I had cleaned and lubed them when I bought them but the more I ponder on it the less sure I am. It probably doesn't help with what the weather did as I as shooting. When I got there it was sunny and in the 80's, then it clouded up and went from like 20% humidity to 100% with a driving rain in like 5 minutes.

March 13, 2006, 10:44 AM
When I say I can't get the bolt forward it is in the all the way back position and will not go forward, it just sits there. OK - this is going to sound stupid, but did you drop the magazine and hit the bolt release?

March 13, 2006, 11:00 AM
sounds really strange both guns did this? What ammo are you using? I can run cheap ammo in my AR with no problems in most weather conditions. Even bitter cold.
AR's should not be this sensitive at all. Perhaps look around at
this site and do some reading , especially if you are a new AR owner. Keep us updated as to what you find as well.

March 13, 2006, 12:31 PM
Did any of the brass come in a mangled condition? Could you have a piece of brass in or around the bolt?
This happened to me once with cheap ammo where primer section came out of a couple rounds and a little sliver of brass got into the bolt assembly.

March 13, 2006, 01:25 PM
I don't think this would be the cause with a Colt or Bushmaster factory rifle but, right after the ban ended I put a cheapo collaspable stock on a bushmaster. The bolt would jam to the rear when fired. The problem was that the buffer tube was too long, and the bolt key would jam in buffer tube. I figured it out before any permanent damage was done, but it was hefty fee at the gunsmith to get the buffer tube removed.

If you have a muzzle brake or flash suppressor, point the rifle muzzle down, remove the magazine, hold down the bolt release, and give the muzzle a solid tap against block of wood.

Thin Black Line
March 13, 2006, 01:39 PM
Post a pic with a view thru the ejection port of the bolt so I can see how
far back it is.

This is like trying to diagnose a health complaint by phone....

March 13, 2006, 02:06 PM
The tip of the buffer detent probably broke off when you had your first incident.
The bolt went back farther than normal when you drove it free from the chamber and the detent tip brok off or the detent came completely free and popped up into the bolt and that tied the gun up.

You will have to remove the buffer tube and stock assembly to clear the jam.

DON"T try to force the takedown and pivot pins out with the bolt all the way to the rear!

Once you get the stock tube off, you can manipulate the bolt enough to allow the detent to drop free, then you can slide the bolt back into the upper receiver and free the upper from the lower.

You will probably need to replace the buffer detent and the buffer detent spring, they will be broken and mashed when you get everything apart.

Next time you assemble everything, make sure you have the buffer tube screwed in far enough to properly secure the buffer detent in place. HTH

Thin Black Line
March 13, 2006, 02:26 PM
+ 1Onmilo. This is a very distinct possibility....especially if these were
not original factory-installed equipment. There's a lot of chinese tubes
out there.

March 14, 2006, 10:37 AM
Billy, did both rifles get tied up or was it only one?

Billy Sparks
March 14, 2006, 10:25 PM
Both tied up.

March 19, 2006, 11:27 PM
I once had a problem a few years ago with cheap foreign surplus ammo -- primer flow with pieces of primer somehow getting caught under the extractor. The bolt jammed solid all the way to the rear, and I had the remove the stock and buffer tube to eventually separate the receivers halves. I had no idea what caused the problem until stripping the bolt, removing the extractor and finding little pieces of primer under the extractor. Then, looking at some fired brass, most of the primers were completely pierced with tiny portions of primer material gone.

After putting the rifle back together, it shot fine without any problems with generic brand ammo. No primer flow or pierced primers. I will never again run cheap foreign surplus .223/5.56 ammo again in an AR.

The fact that both of your ARs locked-up at about the same time may suggest similar ammo problems.

March 20, 2006, 01:11 AM
It you will be able to take the gun apart one of two ways. I've had the same thing happen eith do what the guy above said OK - this is going to sound stupid, but did you drop the magazine and hit the bolt release? or change it from fire to saftey or saftey to fire and it will unlock alowing you to take out the bolt.

March 20, 2006, 05:18 AM
Does the charging handle move freely? If not, there may be a bit of case or primer wedged between the carrier key and the charging handle.

Also, how far back in the receiver is the BCG?


March 20, 2006, 07:31 AM

Billy Sparks
March 20, 2006, 08:22 AM
Okay this Sunday I had to the time to work on the rifles. First course was to attempt to take out both the rear and front pins and see if I could remove the upper from the lower. That didn't work so I set about removing the buffer tube. I was able to take apart the buffer tube on both rifles with only launching one spring into orbit. I think it was a lack of lubrication. The more I think about it the less sure I am that I cleaned and lubed them when I first bought them. Needless to say I cleaned and lubed both rifles and then broke down and lubed every AR I own. About 2:00pm I finally took a shower and started my Sunday. Thanks for all the information guys.

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