Forward assist


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blacksmith
July 16, 2010, 12:35 PM
I am a new member here and have read some of the older threads relating to forward assist in the AR-10 variants.
What are your experiences with the lack of forward assist in the DPMS models?
I see they have both uppers available, and since I am beginning to research for a future purchase, I would like the input from anyone with experience either way.
Thanks
Paul

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trigga
July 16, 2010, 01:44 PM
welcome aboard. i don't have an ar10 but an ar15, i've never had to use my forward assist. my cousin however bought a generic built one new off gunbroker for cheap and the upper and lower doesn't mate tightly, also the bolt doesn't seat all the way. you'd have to hit the forward assist almost every round. buy a well named brand like dpms. it's one of those features that's nice to have.

rcmodel
July 16, 2010, 03:54 PM
Forward assist is just like four-wheel drive on a pick-up truck.

It's nice to have, and will keep you from getting stuck sometimes.
But when you do eventually get it stuck, you will be really really stuck!!

Pounding on a FA is the same.
If the round won't chamber, eject it.
Do not try to pound it in the chamber with the FA because if you cannot get it to close & lock eventually, you simply cannot get the rifle back open.

I have had a slick side Colt SP-1 carbine for about 40 years, and can't think of a time it ever really needed a FA.

Their best use is to "silent load" the rifle by easing the bolt shut when chambering a round for hunting or whatever. You then bump the FA to insure the bolt is fully locked. But you can do the same thing with your finger on the depression on the side of the bolt carrier you see through the ejection port.

rc

Shadow 7D
July 16, 2010, 04:40 PM
Lugged a m-4 around when I was in the service, the only time I ever had reason to use the FA was after many blanks

PT1911
July 16, 2010, 04:48 PM
FA is not meant to force cartridges into the chamber... it is simply a silent bolt closing device... using one to force anything will only result in inevitable damage to your weapon and possibly injury to yourself... DPMS is putting out good guns and eliminating things that are simply unnecessary for MOST shooters on some of their models... ONE thing being the FA... and another being the dust cover... I personally do not need either for my applications. If you do, then so be it.

gb0399
July 16, 2010, 06:38 PM
You might never need to use your forward assist, but it is great to have.

I use mine every time I load my rifle.

1. Lock back bolt
2. load magazine
3. give amg a tap and slight tug to see its in place
4. release bolt
5. pull back charging handle till chambered round can be seen, cause I'm not going to trust that it chambered, I want to see it
6. release charging handle, seat bolt using FA
7. close dust cover

do it like this every time and you wont get caught short when it counts. I've seen it many times where a guy steps up to the line with a "dead mans gun" ie.. he pulls the trigger and nothing goes boom cause the round didnt chamber. (failure to feed) you cant do this "press check" with out the FA, because the bolt won't always seat fully when released from such a short distance.

Tirod
July 16, 2010, 06:46 PM
The forward assist was introduced with the A1 model, along with other changes to improve corrosion resistance.

22 years in the Army Reserve, I was always taught the forward assist was to push the cartridge in the chamber when extremely dirty. Never had to do it unless I was easing the bolt forward quietly, which generates a lot of what the heck questions about not already being loaded in a hostile situation. Ah, the value of field training exercises.

Think about it - since when does any soldier walk into a hot live fire situation with no round in the chamber? So, I call BS on the silent closing bolt theory, after all, it's got a safety. Further, if you need the first shot and the bolt is held back, drop it with your left hand and pull the trigger. The MG gunner has to do that in an ambush with an open bolt anyway, and he initiates the conflict.

No, the FA is a committee bandaid to give soldiers previously trained on the M14 control over the bolt where none is needed. As said, if there's a failure to feed, how is jamming the cartridge into the chamber going to improve the situation? You need the weapon to KEEP WORKING, not get put out of action. EJECT the bad round and let the bolt slam home. Don't ride the charging handle, and try again.

kwelz
July 16, 2010, 07:04 PM
Outside of SPORTS drills I have never used mine. And honestly I usually skip it even then. If you ride the bolt home when loading a round then you may need it. However you should not be riding the bolt forward anyway, so.....

gb0399
July 16, 2010, 07:42 PM
22 years in the Army Reserve, I was always taught the forward assist was to push the cartridge in the chamber when extremely dirty

In Army TM 9-1005-319-10 Operators Manual for the M16 rifle, the Forward Assist is only mentioned three times, every time it was mentioned, it was listed as step (f.) of the loading procedure.

[f. Tap forward assist to ensure bolt is fully forward and locked]

Who ever told you it was for dirty weapons was wrong and mislead you.


Think about it - since when does any soldier walk into a hot live fire situation with no round in the chamber? So, I call BS on the silent closing bolt theory

Actually it's the patrol leaders responsibility to see that every member of his patrol has their rifle checked, and that it is properly loaded before leaving the patrol base to begin a offensive operation. This can be done, and is often done when forward of friendly lines and should be done in accordance with noise discipline standing operating procedures. To include using the forward assist to seat the bolt as in the TM.

MoDerN_WarRioR
July 16, 2010, 08:12 PM
Well, I have a DPMS Sportical that DOES NOT come with a forward assist or a dust cover. I have been shooting mine for over 3 years here in Arizona (Desert...Dirt and Sand) and the only thing i ever wanted on my receiver was a dust cover. I have never had to worry about the FA.

I have never been in a situation where i had to help the bolt chamber a round all the way. SO... My experience with out a FA has been just grand. Don't have one... Don't need one. Would i buy a rifle that has one, Heck ya. Its just an additional feature that is good to have "Just in Case" i think. Like the person said on #3... Its like 4x4 on a truck.

There's my .02 :)

Karl Hungus
July 16, 2010, 08:59 PM
I built up a DPMS .308 over a year ago and went with a forward assist. I have never used it. Dust cover - all the time, FA - no.

Tirod
July 17, 2010, 10:50 AM
Which goes to show not everyone in the Army is guaranteed the exact same training or preached the same dogma, especially over a 30 year span.

In my day everyone left the wire locked and loaded, having already conducted a standup inspection to ensure all the required equipment for the mission was on the soldier. Getting out of the wire was considered a hazardous point in the mission, as it was a good place for a quick ambush. It was also a bad time to discover no ammo in your buddy's chamber, or that he blew off requirements for hand grenades, etc. We also had to survive friendly fire from units on our left or right who hadn't got the promised word we would be crossing in front of them. Murphy will get you any way he can.

We ate, slept, and cleaned up with loaded weapons, so do lots of people everyday who carry concealed, on duty or off. "Silent bolt closing" can be done without the FA - HK serrated the bolt on the G3 at the ejection port and left it at that.

Tappng the FA when loading is mentioned in the TM precisely because soldiers do ride the bolt home, not because it's the best way to do it. Stoner didn't include one on the original and it was never mentioned as a serious inadequacy until the 1968 production ramp up put thousands of tight chambers in the field. Those rifles were subsequently gauged by armor teams in the field and removed on the spot, which caused some soldiers to implement expedient field damage to ensure they could get new ones, too.

Shoot enough blanks and you might use it. The recommended procedure even then is to wet down the action with CLP, and even in '83, that's what the instructors would do in field exercises at Benning. Tactical instruction didn't need the distraction of frustrated soldiers jamming rounds in the chamber when the answer was Just Lube It.

Tax dollars aside, there's nothing morally wrong with having a FA on a combat weapon if the soldier needs the reassurance. It does point out the uselessness of some milspec features for civilian shooting. It's not life and death, time can be taken to do things, and if it's a competitive event, good magazines and ammo should have been a priority, not wondering if mil reject or surplus was the appropriate choice.

In my ever so humble opinion, the FA is a bandaid compromise designed by committee to soothe the feelings of an Army culture trained on the use of op rod piston guns. The fielding of the M16 was bungled because of the SecDef's insistence on dumping them on soldiers who were never trained to use them, and who were told to not clean them at all. Those who knew better about firearms had few problems, those who didn't know better had many more.

Considering the flimsy nature of the M16 magazine and that it can bend the feed lips just getting dropped on hard ground, we all have a more important problem than worrying about FA's. If you have one, fine, if not, ok. It's the shooter's responsibility to know if it's needed and why.

earlthegoat2
July 17, 2010, 11:12 AM
As has been said earlier in a roundabout sort of way:

There is something inherently wrong with a design if a forward assist has to be designed into it also.

Victor1Echo
July 17, 2010, 02:39 PM
I was taught in the ARMY, back in the 80's, it was used to mave a stuck round forward into the chamber.

W L Johnson
July 17, 2010, 02:57 PM
As has been said earlier in a roundabout sort of way:

There is something inherently wrong with a design if a forward assist has to be designed into it also.

Most designs do have a forward assist designed in them, they just call it a bolt handle.

PT1911
July 17, 2010, 02:57 PM
I was taught in the ARMY, back in the 80's, it was used to mave a stuck round forward into the chamber.

taught wrong... this is a bad habit and a horrible idea that has lead to more than one catastrophic failure.

millertyme
August 10, 2010, 02:25 PM
So, It looks like the forward assist is pretty much irrelevant in a sporting rifle that will see 99.9% of it's time at the range.

madcratebuilder
August 11, 2010, 08:38 AM
ArmaLite only added a FA to their rifle after many, many requests from customers. The FA was not part of the original AR10. Using a FA on the AR10 well make a minor jam a major jam.

Tirod
August 11, 2010, 10:48 AM
Think it through - the very few malfunctions the FA can fix must absolutely have a round not jammed into the gas tube, an action clear of spent brass, and a round not otherwise damaged.

That's a real low percentage solution. Again, in 1968, tight chambers and lack of cleaning among troops completely untrained in the use of the weapon were the #1 situation.

It's hard bringing really advanced designs into the mainstream because the users don't have any clue about the technology. All previous weapons had bolt handles, and the old school methodology was to include something like that.

EdLaver
August 11, 2010, 01:10 PM
I have the DPMS Sportical .308 and .223 and have never had a problem out of either one regarding forward assist or dust cover. In my opinion they (FA) aren't really needed for my application. Hunting, target, home defense.

SpamHandler
August 11, 2010, 11:53 PM
Back in the '80's I received some impromptu training from a SF weapons specialist. He described a useful application for the FA. If the weapon has water in the bore, it will not drain if it is small enough diameter (5.56 being one example). With the muzzle down and the bolt slightly retracted, the seal around the cartridge will be broken and the water will drain. However, the buffer spring cannot be relied upon to fully close the bolt (being near the end of its' travel), so the FA can be used to quietly bring the weapon back into battery after draining. I know, it sounds questionable and does not (to my knowledge) appear in any official literature, but it does make some sense. With the wet conditions in SE Asia, river crossings, etc. it does seem to be a legitimate albeit seldom-used use.

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