AR-15 noob from hell


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silentmajority
April 27, 2007, 02:00 PM
First off, I want to thank everyone here for all your assistance lately.
With my handguns, shotguns and .22 rimfire, I just "buy, go, and do". I don't spend a ton of time over-thinking every detail. I never thought twice about disassembing an auto handgun without a manual (just take a couple notes the first time through, especially on any metal wear areas for special re-lube attention).

This is where I am at so far on my AR, and want to ask if anyone sees anything I should re-think - other than the gun!

Bushmaster M2 - strictly for sport, barring any worst case scenarios. (mossberg 500 w/pistol grip for fast-grab home defense - keeping the AR grab-able, even w/ a lock on it, would just be too much temptation for at least one of my boys.)

Bushnell Trophy 1/32 red/green dot
- For now mounting on top of carry handle because that's the only rail I have
- Going to eventually get a gooseneck (preferrably adjustable cantilever) mount to hold scope lower and forward of carry handle. Wait to see if I decide to keep the std handguards or replace w/ rails. In the mean time, if anyone has a cantilever gooseneck rail they don't need anymore and want to unload, please PM me - thanks.

As much Wolf ammo as I can find at a good price, but maybe a couple hundred rounds of higher grade stuff to have around "just in case..."

Hoppe's BoreSnake Soft-Sided Gun Cleaning Kit for 22 Caliber. Already use it for my .22, seems like it should work fine for the AR, too?.

Dewey Rifle Chamber Brush and Rod AR-15 223 Caliber.

Clean/lube bore and chamber after every outing. I like Rem Oil, so will likely use the Hoppes solvent, but the Rem Oil lube. Field strip and clean/lube at least every 500 rounds (or should I just field strip it and clean/lube every part in the bolt carrier assembly and buffer, spring, etc, every time?)

Have never used the guides/plugs I've read about on THR that keep gunk from running out of the bore back into the chamber. Doesn't even seem like this is an option with the boresnake anyway? Any reason I just couldn't do what I do with the .22, and wad a rag in behind the barrel to soak up the crud?

[meaningless rambling - feel free to skip]
I don't know why I am so plodding in my decisions about most things with this new AR. I guess I don't want to be the bonehead that goes out and gives all responsible AR owners a bad name. There's enough heat on gun owners as it is. I also want to be a good example to my kids and to honor the memory of my father, who was a company commander.

Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to benefit from his knowledge about firearms. The only time we seriously discussed guns was once when I was about 8 years old and in one of the most stupid moments in the history of the Universe, I got curious about how guns work and disassembled a revolver I found hidden hanging on a holster behind my father's chest of drawers. One moment everything was fine, and the next - "BOING!" - springs and pieces flew everywhere. To this day, almost 40 yeras later, I can still remember it like it was happening now, right down to the sick-to-my-stomach feeling as I realized there was no way I was ever going to get out of this without him finding out. I put what I could back together (a truly pathetic sight) and the rest into a jar, and waited for the next time he came home and discovered what I'd done. That was also a moment I can remember like it was just today. I didn't know a person could get that pissed-off, at least until I had a wife and kids of my own...
[Sorry about that digression.]

Anyway, thanks again for all the advice.

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mindwip
April 27, 2007, 02:05 PM
I dont know much about ARs a bit but not much and one of the most important things to remember when buying a firearm is buy what you want. Sounds like you know what you want and why you want it. I say buy it and have tons of fun shooting it.

glockman19
April 27, 2007, 02:08 PM
Sounds like you'd benefit from a visit to:

http://www.ar15.com/

I've learned everything from the site.

js
April 28, 2007, 07:01 AM
+ 1 on the AR15.com recommendation. Tons and tons of info there...

I've got a Rock River Arms AR-15 myself... :) All I need for it at this point is an Aimpoint M3 optic, which I'll be ordering next month.

http://www.handgunforum.net/images/ar_arms.jpg

mec
April 28, 2007, 09:50 AM
I'm pretty new to ARs too. starting from a position of ignorance, I decided I would read nothing about them until I had soaked up the bushmaster manual that came with the gun. This gives some basis for evaluating magazine articles and internet postings and sorting out the stuff that ain't true.

DMK
April 28, 2007, 12:37 PM
First of all, read the Bushmaster FAQ:

http://www.bushmaster.com/faqnew/content_by_cat.asp?catid=90

Hoppe's BoreSnake Soft-Sided Gun Cleaning Kit for 22 Caliber. Already use it for my .22, seems like it should work fine for the AR, too?.

Dewey Rifle Chamber Brush and Rod AR-15 223 Caliber.

Clean an AR just like you would a semi-auto 22LR handgun. It's just got a longer bore. The boresnake is good for quick wipe out with a CLP (Like Breakfree, FP10, etc), especially since you have a chrome lined barrel. I give mine one or two quick pull thoughs with FP10 CLP every time I shoot it. Don't forget to wipe the inside of the locking lugs. I give it a quick scrub with CLP on a toothbrush, then wipe out with a rag or patch on a handgun bore rod.

Use the Dewey rod, brass brush, jag and powder solvent to give it a more thorough cleaning and get out the stubborn powder and copper fouling. With a chrome lined barrel, don't do this more than 200-300 rounds.

If you had a competition or varmint rifle, you'd likely give it a thorough clean a bit more often since those folks seem to get pretty anal about copper fouling.

Of course you could use CLP with patches on the Dewey rod, the boresnake is just more convenient. I keep a boresnake, small rag, small toothbrush and a bottle of CLP right in the buttstock compartment.

Clean/lube bore and chamber after every outing. I like Rem Oil, so will likely use the Hoppes solvent, but the Rem Oil lube. Field strip and clean/lube at least every 500 rounds (or should I just field strip it and clean/lube every part in the bolt carrier assembly and buffer, spring, etc, every time?) Yes, that sounds great.

The one thing that I think needs maintenance every time you shoot is the bolt. Take it all the way down, wipe it all off with a rag, scrub it with CLP (or Hoppes) on a toothbrush, wipe it down again. Keep the firing pin dry. Wipe down the bolt cam pin with oil so it's slightly wet. Put a drop of oil on the three rings at the rear of the bolt and wipe it all the way around. Assemble the bolt. Put a drop of oil on each of the four rails on the carrier (you'll see wear on these). Lightly oil the bottom of the carrier where it rides over the hammer. Lightly oil the lugs on the front of the bolt.

You don't have to worry about the buffer, spring and buffer tube too often. I put a dap of oil on the face of the buffer, where the bolt hits it, every time I clean the rifle. Maybe every 1k rounds, take the buffer and spring out, wipe down with a clean rag and -lightly- oil them.Wipe out the tube with a big patch on a handgun bore rod.

Have never used the guides/plugs I've read about on THR that keep gunk from running out of the bore back into the chamber. You don't need one of those with an AR. Clean the chamber after you clean your bore. If you're worried about gunk getting in the action, throw a rag over it.

silentmajority
April 30, 2007, 02:12 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions. DMK, your tips were exactly what I needed. I think I've done everything right except for over-lubing the bolt assembly and not drying the firing pin, which I'll do as soon as I am home again. Just curious why the firing pin should be dry? Is it to avoid it "riding" under the cotter pin?

I took the gun out for the first time this weekend and put 60 rounds through it. It shot great with the iron sights and with the red dot scope. Range supervisor gave me some of his handloads to use for getting the red dot sighted-in at 100 yards, because he said the Wolf wasn't consistent enough for that task. Dot was a bit larger than I had hoped at 100 yards. Not as bad Saturday because it wasn't sunny - in fact it was drizzling/light rain. This allowed me to keep the dot at the lowest setting (1) and still show up great. Sunday was very sunny, and I had to set the dot at (2) just to see it, and that also made it take up more of the target than I liked.

Even though I didn't run hundreds of rounds through, I gave the chamber, bolt assembly and lower a thorough cleaning, and ran some CLP through the barrel with a boresnake a couple times. Picked up the CLP this weekend after reading all the positive comments here and on AR15 dot com. Also got their powder blast spray, but have not used that yet. Warnings about not getting on the grips, etc, sort of have me hesitant.

Thanks again to everyone that offered advice.

1KPerDay
April 30, 2007, 05:05 PM
What's the consensus for the best way to clean hardened carbon/crud off the sloped portion of the bolt, rearward of the gas rings?

sixgunner455
April 30, 2007, 05:11 PM
Clean that hard carbon off with a brass brush. Usually, I use a worn .24 or .223 caliber bore brush instead of a regular "toothbrush" type, because the bristles are stiffer, and I'm impatient.

Oil, scrub, wipe. Repeat until it's clean.

rcellis
April 30, 2007, 05:23 PM
The problem with AR15.com is that there IS tons of info - a novice like myself gets swamped pretty quickly. I finally bought one with the best advice I could understand from many well-meaning guys over there, and I didn't do badly, but it will be months before I really appreciate the finer details of the whichness of what.

possum
April 30, 2007, 05:35 PM
What's the consensus for the best way to clean hardened carbon/crud off the sloped portion of the bolt, rearward of the gas rings?
i let some hoppes soak on there for a good 10 minutes, wipe off and scrub with shop towel, soak it again and then use a bronze brush. i only do this about every 750-1000rds though.

another good trick is to keep it heavily lubed, and when you get home from shooting, the majority of it sticks to the clp and it will come off easier, and it will also keep as much from forming. drinch it i mean good to.

the two above methods when used together make it very easy to maintain that part of the bolt, and makes life alot easier.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 1, 2007, 12:35 AM
What's the consensus for the best way to clean hardened carbon/crud off the sloped portion of the bolt, rearward of the gas rings?

I don't clean it off myself. It tends to be self-limiting (although it can build up to the point it impairs function according to Randy Lutz w/DPMS); but unless it starts really caking on I just leave it alone. I also run SLIP 2000 now though which keeps the carbon buildup much lower than what I was getting with Breakfree. Even with Breakfree though, you can get quite a bit of buildup without affecting function.

mc223
May 1, 2007, 06:12 AM
Repeated cleaning of the area behind the gas rings exposes the bolt to the hot gas coming down the tube. After a time you will see pitting in this area. As in the previous post where the carbon is only cleaned when absolutely necessary, the carbon becomes the protectant.

DMK
May 1, 2007, 05:22 PM
I think I've done everything right except for over-lubing the bolt assembly and not drying the firing pin, which I'll do as soon as I am home again. Just curious why the firing pin should be dry? Is it to avoid it "riding" under the cotter pin?Over-lubing the bolt or carrier isn't usually a problem really (unless you're in Iraqi dust storms). Certainly not as bad as under-lubing (which could cause excessive wear).

The only problem with over-lubing is it could attract gunk and grit. This could cause things to jam and if the collected grit is excessive(like in a dusty desert environment), it could also cause wear (some polishing and grinding compounds are an abrasive grit embedded in oil).

The reason not to oil the firing pin is, you don't want grit sticking to the oil and jamming the firing pin. In a worst case scenario, this could cause a slamfire, maybe even a full auto runaway, albeit unlikely. Besides, the firing pin is chrome plated. It doesn't need to be lubed. You just need to clean it, wipe it with oil to prevent rust and wipe it dry.

I never clean the carbon of the back of the bolt. I go along with the "it's self limiting" theory. Life's too short to obsess over it.

silentmajority
May 2, 2007, 08:54 PM
I think I've done everything right except for over-lubing the bolt assembly and not drying the firing pin, which I'll do as soon as I am home again. Just curious why the firing pin should be dry? Is it to avoid it "riding" under the cotter pin?

Over-lubing the bolt or carrier isn't usually a problem really (unless you're in Iraqi dust storms). Certainly not as bad as under-lubing (which could cause excessive wear).

The only problem with over-lubing is it could attract gunk and grit. This could cause things to jam and if the collected grit is excessive(like in a dusty desert environment), it could also cause wear (some polishing and grinding compounds are an abrasive grit embedded in oil).

The reason not to oil the firing pin is, you don't want grit sticking to the oil and jamming the firing pin. In a worst case scenario, this could cause a slamfire, maybe even a full auto runaway, albeit unlikely. Besides, the firing pin is chrome plated. It doesn't need to be lubed. You just need to clean it, wipe it with oil to prevent rust and wipe it dry.

I never clean the carbon of the back of the bolt. I go along with the "it's self limiting" theory. Life's too short to obsess over it.

DMK - thanks again for the tips.

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