Is this Normal on my AR?


February 3, 2011, 04:05 PM
I recently purchased a Stag Arms Stag-15 AR. I am very please wih hownit shoots, but my friend says it might have a problem.
Heres whats going on.
Ive only used a small cheap plastic 10 rd mag to sight in. After firiing my last shot the action will not stay open. I cant get the action to stay open with the small mag in. My friend says the action should even lock open w/out a mag in.

I called the shop where i purchased and they said try another mag (I also purchased a 30rd PMag)the mag is what holds the piece up to keep the bolt open. I have not been to the range to see if the bolt stays back after last shot, but the action locks back solidly with the PMag. When I looked at the bolt locked open, the piece that holds the bolt back does use the top of the mag to rest on.

My friend says that the action should still lock back even without a mag. Based on what I saw, i dont see how the action could lock back w/out a mag in.
Is this normal?

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February 3, 2011, 04:08 PM
The action will not lock back without a magazine in place, UNLESS you press the bottom of the bolt catch paddle down. If the bolt locks back when you pull the charging handle on an empty pmag, then everything is good to go. Your friend is wrong, the bolt won't lock back automatically without a mag in place to trip the bolt catch lever. Hope this helps!

February 3, 2011, 04:13 PM
...the shop where i purchased ... said try another mag...
Yep. Something's probably wrong with that 10 round mag.

February 3, 2011, 04:14 PM
X2 your friend is wrong. the spring in the 10rnd mag is most likely a little weak. I have a few like that. They feed fine but lack the spring pressure to lock the bolt back.

February 3, 2011, 04:37 PM
Technically, it isn't the 'top of the magazine' that locks the action open.

It's the plastic follower -- the long plastic piece that disappears down in the magazine body when you put cartridges in the mag. The back edge of the follower lifts the bolt catch when it gets all the way to the top of the magazine. That's why there is a square cutout on the back of the magazine (up at the top).

February 3, 2011, 05:23 PM
"The action will not lock back without a magazine in place, UNLESS you press the bottom of the bolt catch paddle down."

I tried that, the bolt wont stay back.


February 3, 2011, 05:29 PM
If you can't lock the bolt back with the bolt catch, it must be broken.

Open your rifle up. If it's broken, it will be obvious.

but the action locks back solidly with the PMag.

If that's the case, it's not broken.

February 3, 2011, 06:27 PM
David- you realize that you have to press the BOTTOM of the paddle to lock the bolt, right? Because the top (the actual paddle part) is what releases the bolt once captured by the catch. Pull the charging handle all the way back, and push the very bottom (below the pin that retains the bolt catch) all the way in and hold it, then slowly ride the bolt back forward until it catches. This should catch the bolt and hold it. The only other explanation that I can fathom would be if the catch were worn at just the right angle to not quite work unless the follower hits it, but that's kinda pushing reasonable causes.

February 3, 2011, 06:33 PM
+1 on for highorder and chopdoktor..

All I have to add is....Get familiar with your weapon and how it the manual that came with the will tell you how it should operate...If the mag locks it open, its not broken, its operator error...

February 3, 2011, 07:12 PM
I got it... I was pressing the bottom of the paddle. Just wasnt bringing the bolt back far enough to engage. I got a decent deal on the rifle from a dealer but it didnt have the box or books.
Thanks for your help!

February 3, 2011, 07:24 PM
My friend says that the action should still lock back even without a mag.

You should invite your friend to the range because he's clearly never fired an AR before :)

Glad you are figuring it out!

February 3, 2011, 07:37 PM
No problem, David. Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of AR's! :-)

February 3, 2011, 08:30 PM
I got a decent deal on the rifle from a dealer but it didnt have the box or books.
Here is an owner's manual for a Bushmaster AR (they all work the same):

The military TM's are also close enough for lubrication, assembly/disassembly, and basic operation, if you ignore the parts differences and the fact that an AR is semiauto-only:

Joe in fla
February 3, 2011, 09:17 PM
Hi David,

I think there might be some confusion here. Look at your bolt release lever on the LH side of the gun. The top portion of it should be a serrated paddle. Lift OUT on that portion and hold it out while you pull the bolt back and then release the bolt. That should catch the bolt and hold it back. You can now release the lever and the lever should stay tilted out slightly and the bolt should stay back. To release the bolt just slap the release lever. You really can SLAP it so don't be a woos and try to poke at it with your finger, just slap it like you mean it! You CAN also engage the catch by pressing IN on the bottom of it and working the bolt but to me it's easier to pull the (larger) top out. With the magazine out, you can also look up into the magazine well and you should be able to see the bolt release lever directly above the back of the well. You should be able to work the lever from the outside and you should be able to see it move on the inside. The only part that you'll be able to see that way is a piece about 1/4" wide and sticking about 1/16 of an inch into the well. It should also have a tip about 1/16" in diameter and about 3/16" long on the RH side.

I'm looking directly at my Colt AR as I type this so it should be right unless the Stag Arms AR is different from the standard Colt AR.

Good luck, enjoy the AR!

edit: Oops, I see you figured it out while I was typing.

PS: Copies and even original M-16 manuals are easy to find and cheap. Just ignore the part about the FA and everything thing else is almost identical to the AR. Depending on the version (A1, A2, etc) and if it's US Army or USMC, there are differences in the various military M-16s so you should probably try to find one that uses the same sights as your AR IF you have any questions in that area. I don't think any of the other differences will concern you.

February 3, 2011, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the manual it will be a big help.


February 4, 2011, 09:21 AM
It's like used cars, every one should have the owners manual with it. Why they aren't is, IMHO, deliberate negligence on the part of the seller. If we would all start insisting on them, the new owner would then learn what's different.

I would probably not oppose a law requiring that cars and guns be sold with the manual, or a fine imposed. I can't tell you how many times I get customers who don't even know how to operate accessories on their car, or even how to change their wipers or a headlight.

It's like taking your gun to the gunstore and asking, How do I load it? You just want to know how to do it right, and the maker/dealer/reseller didn't give a flip about it. Big negative on customer service. Machines are not intuitive, they don't start themselves by staring at them. You might need to pump them, flip a switch, pull a cord, etc.

The OP isn't at fault here, you can't know which way to push the bolt hold open until it's communicated. It's the whole point of basic training, give information to people who need to know.

If you ever deliberately withheld an operator's manual for a machine you sold, you are the problem, time to step up and do the right thing from now on. If there's no manual, just walk away from the deal. I have, it has saved me a lot of grief in the long run.

But, if being subject to the mercy of word of mouth information is what you like, I've got a political party, religion, and pyramid marketing plan you might be interested in. :evil:

February 4, 2011, 09:42 AM
Take a look at some of these Youtube vids. They can help explain some of the questions you may have about your AR.

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