My AR isn't cycling


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Bazooka Joe71
December 29, 2006, 06:06 PM
Went to the range today, and after a few mags, my AR turned into a bolt gun...I could only fire one shot, then id have to cycle the gun myself. I went through 5 or 6 different mags, to make sure it wasn't them, before I realized the problem.

I took the bolt assembly apart, and I am not seeing anything wrong.

What should I look for?

thanks

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toemag
December 29, 2006, 06:12 PM
Check the carrier key didnt come loose............

That was the cause when mine became a bolt gun.

Toe.

RockyMtnTactical
December 29, 2006, 06:27 PM
Could be anything. Loose carrier key, gas leak, underpowered ammo, etc...

Give us some details. What brand AR is it? How many rounds through it? What ammo were you shooting?

Bazooka Joe71
December 29, 2006, 06:33 PM
RRA CAR 15, I tried 3 different types of ammo, all of which I have fired many rounds of each kind w/o a problem. I've only had the AR for a short period of time, its my first AR as well...All together, right around 1000 rds through it so far(give or take 100).

Also, when I was unscrewing the carrier key, it was definately a bit loose. I must not have tightened it good enough last cleaning...It didnt appear to be loose enough to have a space between it and the BC, but could the key being just slightly loose cause the problem? If so, problem solved...If not, im not sure of what it could be.

This is going to drive me nuts until I get back out to the range.

RecoilRob
December 29, 2006, 06:38 PM
The gas key is NOT supposed to be removed....or removeable. It should be torqued and staked so it stays tight.

See the '34 things...' thread for more details.

Jeff White
December 29, 2006, 06:39 PM
Do not unscrew the carrier key. It's not necessary to take it apart. Put it back, torque it to spec and then stake the screws so they won't work loose. A properly assembled AR has the carrier key staked down. That is what the spec calls for. Do not believe anyone who tells you to use red locktite or anything else. Torque it down and stake the screws.

Just curious, is it a Bushmaster?

Jeff

toemag
December 29, 2006, 06:41 PM
I staked mine after tightening it right up and having used locktite too. these thing's are not meant to be removed for cleaning, once staked they shouldnt be removeable at all. and if they break you need t get a new bolt carrier.

Toe

hagar
December 29, 2006, 06:52 PM
I have about 10000 rounds through one of my carriers and bolt, and it still functions fine. How many rounds can I expect before I need to replace the bolt rings?

Yo
December 29, 2006, 06:57 PM
Yep, carrier key should remain tight and staked.

In future, to avoid problems:

When you strip down your bolt and bolt carrier, make sure you remove the extractor and ejector. Look into the recesses of both. A little bit of gunky. greasy lube and/or a tiny piece of brass shaving in either spot can shut your gun down. Check the springs for both to make sure they aren't bent or clogged with gunk.

Before you reassemble your bolt/carrier make sure it is surgically clean. I mean spotless. Be sure to soak/scrape the carbon out of the inside of the carrier. Then reassemble using MINIMAL LUBE per the COLT (not U.S. Army) instructions. A thin, light coat of hightemp grease on the carrier rails and bolt lugs, a whisper of oil in the carrier key, and one drop of oil applied to the bolt through the carrier--that's really all you need.

Most of the problems I've seen with properly-built ARs has been caused by over-lubrication combined with small pieces of debris. One little brass shaving in the ejector hole can cause malfunctions.

Bazooka Joe71
December 29, 2006, 07:10 PM
When you strip down your bolt and bolt carrier, make sure you remove the extractor and ejector. Look into the recesses of both. A little bit of gunky. greasy lube and/or a tiny piece of brass shaving in either spot can shut your gun down. Check the springs for both to make sure they aren't bent or clogged with gunk.

Before you reassemble your bolt/carrier make sure it is surgically clean. I mean spotless. Be sure to soak/scrape the carbon out of the inside of the carrier. Then reassemble using MINIMAL LUBE per the COLT (not U.S. Army) instructions. A thin, light coat of hightemp grease on the carrier rails and bolt lugs, a whisper of oil in the carrier key, and one drop of oil applied to the bolt through the carrier--that's really all you need.

Most of the problems I've seen with properly-built ARs has been caused by over-lubrication combined with small pieces of debris. One little brass shaving in the ejector hole can cause malfunctions.

Every time I clean my gun I go through those steps, EXEPT I probably do use too much lube sometimes.

My other mistake is obviously taking the carrier key off, and will never do that again....Thats a newbie AR owner for you.:D

El Tejon
December 29, 2006, 09:33 PM
Bah, live and learn, Bazooka.:D Don't be messing with things that don't NEED to be messed with. Also you learned the value of a pegged bolt.:)

Everyone has gun issues, but I carry most of the weight. Just ask me sometime how I reversed a Swedish Mauser to cock on open when I field stripped it.:D (Still haven't figured that one out)!:p

MechAg94
December 29, 2006, 09:48 PM
Excess lube affected me when I first got me Armalite. I have learned better.
Now I just wipe everything down with an oily rag and then wipe it off with a dry rag. Gun works well.

I also got a brass sliver once that got into the bolt. Really puzzled me until I field stripped it at the range and found the sliver.

ny32182
December 29, 2006, 11:13 PM
I'm going to have to disagree and say that AR's run better fairly wet/with lots of lube... at least until broken in. By 1K rounds, your action should be pretty well smoothed out though.

As others have said, never remove the carrier key. If I were you, I'd probably look at buying a carrier with a properly installed/staked carrier key. 99+% chance that that is the cause of your problem, I would guess at this point.

Bazooka Joe71
December 30, 2006, 12:33 AM
Torque it down and stake the screws.

How would one go about "staking" the screws?

RockRifle
December 30, 2006, 01:06 AM
Gather up your parts and take to your gunsmith and beg forgiveness. He will torque it, pein the screws and have you working in short order. An AR takes no tools to disassemble, that's why there are none in the cleaning kit. You give tools to the troops, they have problems like this.. Just get down and push. Beg forgiveness and put the tools away until you know what you are doing. Those kind of errors can kill people!

RockyMtnTactical
December 30, 2006, 01:36 AM
Loctite will not work under extreme heat, staking is all you can do that will be effective in keeping it from coming loose.

toemag
December 30, 2006, 01:43 AM
Go look at the 34 way's again and check Barth. Robert's link to Ar15.com...
That's where I got my step by step solution and fixed what ailed my ar.

Toe

Bartholomew Roberts
December 30, 2006, 11:44 AM
I have about 10000 rounds through one of my carriers and bolt, and it still functions fine. How many rounds can I expect before I need to replace the bolt rings?

A good test for this is to take the bolt carrier group out of the rifle. Tilt the bolt carrier group about 45 degrees with the bolt pointing down and give it a firm shake. If the bolt comes all the way forward into the locked position, then it is time to change the gas rings. On visual inspection, another way to spot that it is time to change the gas rings is when one or more of them is very thin (just a tiny thread of metal left) or there are extra gaps where it has worn through.

How would one go about "staking" the screws?

Check out the AR15.com link on properly staked screws in the "34 things" thread. They make a tool that can do this called a MOACKS (Mother Of All Carrier Key Stakers) that is very handy for the task; but you can do it with a vise and chisel just as easily.

Also as others have mentioned, don't remove the carrier key for routine maintenance. In the bolt carrier group, just remove the firing pin retaining pin, firing pin, cam pin and bolt. If you feel you need it, you can remove the extractor from the bolt and clean under there as well; but I wouldn't go beyond that for routine maintenance.

mc223
December 30, 2006, 05:54 PM
Tight, new Gas rings will cause this also. Shoot more it will get better.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 30, 2006, 09:53 PM
Tight, new Gas rings will cause this also.

How do tight, new gas rings cause an AR to function as a single-shot?

toecutter
December 31, 2006, 03:21 AM
+8 on the not removing the carrier key. This is designed to be an armorer operation. I've done this a few times when rebuilding AR's and it's not something you want to do unless you know what you're doing.

I had a problem a while ago, the gun wasn't cycling reliably. It took me a while to figure it out, but I figured I would clean the gun and see if that solved the problem. So I was running a pipe cleaner down the carrier key, and I couldn't push it through. After a minute of trying, I looked down inside, and low and behold a primer cup had come loose from the casing, and gotten jammed between the key and the gas tube, and been jammed down the carrier key by the gas tube.

Jeebus what a mess!

RockRifle
December 31, 2006, 03:35 AM
I rodded an officer off a Qual Range with a non-cycling weapon. Seems he had a Q-Tip wedged into the carrier key and wasn't getting any gas through.

Some peoples children... Not enough NCO's in the world to watch them all.

Yo
December 31, 2006, 05:13 PM
Tight, new Gas rings will cause this also. Shoot more it will get better.

All my ARs have colt bolt assemblies. Have had no problem with new std. gas rings. However, I also prefer to fit my bolts with one-piece (spiral) McFarland gas rings.

One less thing to go wrong (you don't have to worry about the indexing of the rings).

See: http://www.ar15.com/content/products/accessories/gasRings/

"The Problem
In order to install the rings on the bolt, they must be split and thus a "gap" on each ring is unavoidable. The problem arises because these gaps can become aligned, and cause too much gas to escape too early in the cycle. This can result in short-stroking and possibly jamming the rifle, so manuals and instructors enforce the proper alignment of the rings when reassembling the AR-15 rifle.

The Solution
The McFarland one-piece gas rings solves the problem of "aligned" gaps by eliminating the gaps. As a one-piece helical ring, you are guaranteed to never have the problem with the gaps.

Replacement
The 3 individual rings can be removed one at a time starting with the rearmost ring first. Lift one end of the open ring up and over the edge of the ring groove (towards the rear of the bolt) and then work the other end over. Repeat this for the remaining two rings, and you should be able to remove them without damage. As a single piece of metal, the McFarland ring is wound onto the groove on the bolt's rear. Start one end over the edge, and then work the remainder of the ring over that edge; the easiest way to accomplish this is without trying to turn the ring itself.

Ordering
If you're interested in trying these out, the McFarland rings can be ordered from Competition Specialties. New prices of the rings are $1.95 for under a dozen and discounts available for larger quantities."

Jeff White
December 31, 2006, 05:48 PM
You don't have to worry about indexing the rings anyway. It's a non issue. Go ahead take the time and index your gas rings. Put the bolt back in the carrier, reassemble your rifle and go shoot 50 rounds. Take the weapon back down and look at the gas rings. Most likely they are not properly indexed.

I've seen plenty of AR and M16s work with one gas ring. Last June I broke a gas ring during Pat Rogers Carbine course. I discovered it when I got home and cleaned my weapon. It functioned fine even with the broken gas ring.

Jeff

Don't Tread On Me
December 31, 2006, 05:52 PM
RRA is suppose to be a nice AR (and it is)....personally though, I don't like ANYBODY's staking except for Colt. Colt stakes it, it ain't coming lose unless you have a grinding wheel.

http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/7189/coltstakesxy7.jpg



Here's how to do a military field staking job (it's easy):

From TM 9-1005-319-23&P (click on thumbnails for larger image):

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/2448/carrierkeystakingpg1gk3.th.jpg (http://img227.imageshack.us/my.php?image=carrierkeystakingpg1gk3.jpg)

http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/9172/carrierkeystakingpg2yv7.th.jpg (http://img442.imageshack.us/my.php?image=carrierkeystakingpg2yv7.jpg)

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/9504/carrierkeystakingpg3hw5.th.jpg (http://img227.imageshack.us/my.php?image=carrierkeystakingpg3hw5.jpg)


Good luck.

Bazooka Joe71
December 31, 2006, 06:23 PM
Wow, thanks alot for all of the GREAT info guys!

One question...Do I have to use new key screws? Or can I use the current ones?

Don't Tread On Me
December 31, 2006, 06:38 PM
I'd use new ones. The old ones, being loose, might have gotten banged up. Not to mention, the threads are tiny, if they're torqued once - that's enough.

I think you can probably get away with using the old ones with no problems. But the screws are cheap, so it's no big deal to get new ones. Just my opinion. You can try to do it with the existing screws and if it works - good, if it doesn't, THEN get new ones. Just remember, you want to do it right and do it ONCE. If you don't do it right, then you'll have to buy a new key which costs $14ish...

Brownelles is the best place to order them since they have cheap shipping for items that only run $3...and they ship it out fast. They'll just drop it into a tiny padded envelope in the mail. If you buy new ones, you don't want to get it from a place that only uses UPS. Paying $8 for ground for $3 in parts is ridiculous.

DPMS screws are good..I've used these with success. They also have Colt screws (these really look better), but they are like $3something each. Colt ones are a little flatter on top, making it easier to stake since the metal of the key doesn't have to flow over it as much. If your key already has some stakes that stick out, but not enough to stop the screws, I'd probably get the DPMS ones if you choose to buy new since the Colt ones might not want to screw into the key unless the key is new.

http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=4845&title=SOCKET+HEAD+CAP+SCREW&s=10823#10823

http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=17529&title=BOLT+CARRIER+KEY+SCREW&s=41134#41134


Just to show the difference:

http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/3189/staketg5.jpg

Colt left, (I think Bushmaster right)...you can see they're flatter.



There's also plan B -

Send it back to RRA and demand that a factory rifle costing nearly $1,000 should have a properly staked key. Demand they pay shipping both ways. I've had the key come loose on kit guns, but that I can expect for the low cost and the fact that it might be part of being a "kit"...but I wouldn't tolerate that on a factory rifle. The whole idea of buying a factory rifle is so you don't have to do that stuff. Put RRA's customer service to the test if you don't want to deal with this.

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