AR-15 issue Bolt won't unlock


Aggie's Revenge
September 21, 2009, 01:53 PM
I took my DPMS AR-15 out to the range yesterday. It shot pretty good for the first 30 rounds or so. I then started getting double feeds. After clearing these I did some basic maintenance and lubing.

I shot a few more rounds then had a failure to fire. While attempting to do remedial action I was unable to pull the charging handle to the rear. I was able to break down the weapon removing the lower receiver.

It appears the bolt is refusing to unlock. What are my options for getting it unlocked to I can check for further damage?

Thanks for the help.

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September 21, 2009, 01:56 PM
Were you shooting wolf in a bull barrel?

Aggie's Revenge
September 21, 2009, 01:57 PM
No it was Remington .223 and some Lake ammo

September 21, 2009, 02:10 PM
It sounds like you may have had a neck separation, leaving a collar of brass jammed inside the leade; since you've got the upper off, you should be able to reach up inside the bottom of the upper with a wide flat-bladed screwdriver and pry the bolt carrier back far enough to unlock the bolt, letting you clear it.

September 21, 2009, 02:29 PM
Just cover the head of the screwdriver with some cloth or something.

Aggie's Revenge
September 21, 2009, 02:34 PM

That got it unlocked and open. The round in the chamber was in good shape with no defects. The primer had not been dented. I appears there was a large carbon build up that was causing the problem.

Thanks for the help!

September 21, 2009, 02:38 PM
If it happens again, just collapse the stock if it has one, and while staying clear of the muzzle, pull back on the op rod, and slam the butt on the ground hard.

The inerta of the heavy bolt carrier will unlock it.


September 21, 2009, 04:16 PM
If you are just breaking in the AR you might want to shoot a few... 10 rounds or so and then clean the chamber repeating that process.

I forgot how it went exactly but I had to do it with my DPMS for a break-in period.

September 23, 2009, 09:50 PM
We used to see that problem more with the A1's in my experience. We would put our feet on the charging handle and push down like it was a pogo stick (making sure it did not get pointed at anyone while doing so). I think the general remedy was a good cleaning.

October 18, 2009, 05:23 PM
Good tip rcmodel - thanks. Had the problem yesterday on the third round (ever) in my factory new Olympic.

On to another question; the round that came out was bent. Anyone have ideas on what is wrong?

October 18, 2009, 05:32 PM
Bent round is almost always a case of the bolt running over it in the magazine and jamming with the bolt half shut.
And then putting it back in the magazine, and trying to chamber it on the 2nd. try.

Very likely a case of new magazine & new rifle break-in that will go away after the new rough edges wear off of everything.


October 18, 2009, 07:05 PM
A friend of mine just had the same problem last week with his new dpms. Once he got it apart he could not rotate the bolt in the carier. Cleaned up and properly lubed it did the same thing, sent the bolt carier group back to dpms. Not sure if the bolt is oversized on the od, or the carier id is undersized. A new group is on the way back to him now.

October 18, 2009, 07:12 PM
On to another question; the round that came out was bent. Anyone have ideas on what is wrong?

I was going to mention something about those type of jams, but did not think it applied here. One of the worst jams to get is when the round manages to wedge itself between the bolt head and the walls of the receiver. The round usually gets bent and lodged on the far side. This jams the bolt open part way. You cannot open the gun because the bolt carrier is stuck halfway down the buffer tube in the lower receiver. You usually have to rip the thing out with a pair of pliers, breaking the round in half in the process.

One of the problems with having a multi lugged rotary bolt in a tight upper raceway. I really wish they just attached a bolt handle directly to the bolt carrier.

Hk Dan
October 19, 2009, 01:40 PM
A "nicer" way to get a stuck round out of the chamber is to tap the charging handle back with a full mag rather than beating the rifle on the ground. Work the latch, then tap the other side with a couple of sharp taps and she'll shake loose for ya.

October 19, 2009, 01:58 PM
Thats great if you don't break the charge handle off or damage a magazine beating on it.

Slamming the butt on the ground puts no undue strain on anything, and has long been the recommended practice to get a stuck round out of an M-16 or AR-15.


justashooter in pa
October 19, 2009, 11:48 PM
sounds like you are not maintaining the bolt/carrier during your cleaning routine. gas from the operating cycle carries carbon back into the bolt carrier assembly where it binds the two together. regular cleaning with field strip of the bolt will prevent this kind of thing from happening.

October 20, 2009, 12:26 AM
It's probably a new rifle... mine did it too.

October 20, 2009, 07:33 AM
AFAIK, double feeds are always the result of a bad magazine.

October 21, 2009, 02:26 PM

rcmodel advise is the first one I would do.

Second one (and I had to do it after the hit the butt on the ground failed) was to use a piece of wood, put in on the handle (side with the latch) and hit the piece of wood gently with a rubber hammer.

Thank you

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