AR15, Have You Ever Fired Hundreds Of Rounds In Min.


November 8, 2009, 07:30 AM
I'm sure many of you have fired hundreds of rounds in a matter of minutes with your AR's.

What would be about the limit before overheating or dirty malfunction issues occur, say 500+ rounds of continuous firing?


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November 8, 2009, 08:36 AM
My wallet limits me well before my AR does.

November 8, 2009, 09:10 AM
~800 rounds in less than 10 mins. Failure due to extractor spring lost its temper due to the heat....dirt/fouling was not an issue. Replaced spring only and weapon was fine. A "D-fender" type spring likely would have kept functioning.

November 8, 2009, 09:22 AM
Way back when I was in the Corps (79-82) our unit went to the range for 3 days. A deuce and a half loaded with ammunition pulled up and we were told it was old ammo that we had to use up. After 2 days of training exercises they let us cut loose on the third day. My buddies and I loaded up all our magazines and proceeded to fire them full auto through my M16a1. I don't rightly remember how many 30 round magazines were fired before my barrel began glowing but it did start to glow a dull red. I stopped because we ran out of loaded magazines, not because the rifle failed. Also when I was done I set the flash hider in my boot to keep the barrel out of the dirt it left a circular branding in the boot leather.

November 8, 2009, 10:00 AM
Was doing a battalion night shoot at PTA in Hawaii. All on line in fighting positions, loaded mags and 203 rounds laid before us. One of my guys had borrowed some mags from the machine gun section cause they didnt need them. He had around 15 mags ready. We started fired, I burned through my grenades and three mags before the shoot was stopped due to some brainchild down the line firing his tracers straight up in the air, directly in front of the BN CC. Well that aforementioned Marine of mine with the 15 mags managed to get through them all in that short time. He called over to me and in the darkness I could see his barrel glowing like the burner on your stove. Through the handguards even. Rifle was fine. Though I wouldnt recommend it.
I have talked to my dad about it, he did some shooting from helo's in SE asia a few years back, he said you dont have to worry til it turns WHITE hot, then, rounds cook off, runaway gun, even warp the barrel.

November 8, 2009, 11:00 AM
We had the same type of suppressive night fire exercises you describe while I was in the Army.

I have attended a couple of combat courses that require the shooter to go through about 250 rounds in under ten minutes and that is a lot of firing through one riffle at one time.

As another poster has pointed out, the cost of ammunition today precludes any serious lead slinging for all but the most wealthy and those guys tend to also be the most frugal of the lot.

November 8, 2009, 11:45 AM
Yes. I have. Numerous times.

My contribution to a recent TFL thread discussing alleged M4 failure in Afghanistan ( ):

Bypassing the question of whether or not undermanned units should be trying to carve out miniature Fort Apaches along the Waziristan border...

Some posters seem convinced that M4 combat failure is epedemic due to poor design or, at the very least, somehow contributed to American casualties during two massive and deliberate enemy assaults against small unit outposts.

This thread has been weighing heavily on my mind, as my experience with the same weapon over the last few decades (and several combat tours) does not correlate with that of a number of posters who claim the M4 is liable to fail under stress.

That said, and because I'm currently employed in an organization that issues M4A1s and likes to see them used...

Today I conducted an impromptu and completely unscientific test of my weapon in order to see if I had merely imagined my faith in the little beast.

With this thread fresh in my mind, I broke out 10 brand new GI issue, aluminum body, green follower, Center Industries 5.56 magazines and proceeded to load them with 30 rds each. Not 26, 27, or 28...30 rounds each.

I then proceeded to successfully fire 1140 rds (38 magazines) of M855 62 grain "Greentip" 5.56 through my well used M4A1, on full auto, and in well under 30 minutes.

I checked my watch, noting start time, and began firing the first 10 mags in 3-5 round bursts at a 5 meter target, from a standing position, and executing medium speed combat reloads as each mag ran dry. Shoot to bolt lockback, drop mag, insert new mag, resume fire. 10 times...300 rounds in about 3 minutes.

I then let the rifle cool for about 8 minutes while I reloaded all 10 mags.

Rinse. Repeat. 10 mags in about 3 minutes.

Gun cooled for exactly five minutes while I reloaded all 10 mags at a slightly faster pace.

Rinse. Repeat. 10 mags again in under 3 minutes with slightly longer bursts of 7-9 rds each. By this time, I had lowered the weapon to "hip fire" (just in case...rather have a cookoff or malfunction away from my face).

Last iteration. Let carbine cool while I loaded 8 mags in under 5 minutes. I didn't have a new case of ammo open and I didn't want to slow down the proceedings. Fired all 8 from the hip as fast as I could reload (in about 1 minute and 30 seconds, full auto, trigger depressed until magazines were empty. No attempt at burst fire.

38 x 30-rd magazines fired without a stutter, under 28.5 minutes, without a jam, misfeed, doublefeed, cookoff or failure to completely chamber, extract or eject. It hummed like a sewing machine, put all rds on target (except for a few flyers from the hip), and never changed a beat with regards to getting sluggish from fouling.

This performance was delivered by a stock military issue M4A1 that has seen 10s of thousands of rounds down the barrel, probably 5 combat deployments, several months worth of PMT (Pre Mission Training for combat deployments), several shooting schools, and many months of team ranges at home and abroad.

My carbine was relatively clean and I oiled it prior to firing as I stood on the range. I shotgunned the upper receiver, dripped some CLP on the trigger group, liberally coated the charging handle, chamber, and bolt carrier group (without disassembling the bolt from the bolt carrier) and slapped it back together. Aimpoint M68 "on", nomex clad hands on pistol grip and vertical foregrip, KAC quad-rail run exposed with no rail covers (don't need 'em or like 'em).

1140 rounds. Thats three times as much ammo as a normal infantryman would be likely to ever carry on his body, thirty-eight magazines, more than five basic combat loads...all on full well under thirty minutes. Nemo Problemo.

The upper receiver was still a bit too hot to touch (rear rail, barrel, and ejection port area) without gloves after 10 minutes, but the lower receiver was good to go barehanded.

I took an assumed risk (induced weapon failure) and wore adequate protective gear, but (as it turned out), nothing was necessary. Didn't even need gloves as the vertical foregrip stayed cool.

Someone will no doubt question my ability to conduct such a "test" on a military range. I'll simply say that I have enough rank that very few folks question what I do or why I want to do it.

It's not the first time I've put a lot of rounds down an M4A1, but it's the highest round count I've shot recently in such a short period of time.

Of course, this just an anecdotal account of my experience with just one weapon, but my faith in the M4A1 remains affirmed.

BTW: My barrel didn't get white hot...just black with wisps of smoke coming off of it.


Shawn Dodson
November 8, 2009, 04:33 PM
My standard reliability stress test for an AR is to shoot four fully loaded 30 round magazines as fast as I can press the trigger and perform combat reloads.

I don't ever envision shooting more than this many rounds this quickly at any one time. I also don't ever envision being in a situation, except a training class, where I'm going to shoot more than 500 rounds without cleaning my weapon.

A couple of drops of oil in the gas vent holes of the bolt carrier is usually enough to keep an AR running reliability after it starts hiccuping due to a dirty action.

Float Pilot
November 8, 2009, 05:06 PM
I once burned through 14 magazines in a very short period of time. I thought is was several minutes long, but the radio guy had his mike keyed and the HQ weinies said it was all over with in less than two minutes. M-4 worked just fine.

November 8, 2009, 05:20 PM
Well after 100 rounds in a Beta C mag the gas tube will be glowing red. Another mag and it turns white, then it melts, droops, and as soon as the tube collapses or blows a hole in its side the gun stops running.

November 8, 2009, 05:30 PM
Ordanance testing of the M4 indicates that on continous full-auto fire, cook-offs start occuring at around 400 rounds.
Shortly after that, the barrel becomes soft and a bullet will eventually exit the side of the barrel.

It is unlikely you can get an AR-15 that hot that fast on semi-auto when you factor in mag changes.


November 8, 2009, 05:33 PM
Not quite "hundreds" within minutes, but a bit over a hundred from an M16A1 (with the happy switch off) in a couple of minutes at a night live fire range in Basic Training. We were told to burn up our allotment of ammo as fast as we could pull the trigger.

When the smoke started pouring from the handguards, the Drill Sergeant told me to lay off for a couple of minutes while it cooled down. :)

November 8, 2009, 10:27 PM
I've gone hundreds of rounds in mere minutes on a Vintage CAR and a newer M4'gery,
and I shoot till the guns smoke like they're on fire. No malfunctions or broken parts.

I do this fairly regulary as of late. I also inspect thoroughly before such session and after.

November 8, 2009, 10:46 PM
What would be about the limit before overheating or dirty malfunction issues occur, say 500+ rounds of continuous firing?

I have fired over 1000 rds in a training day with no malfunctions of any kind.

I have witnessed a M16 melt the gas tube after firing a little over 400 rds full auto as far as you can change the mag and shoot it out. That was about 2 minutes. I don't know if this is typical but I did see it happen.

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