BCM upper... Issues or is this typical?


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SMITHWESS
June 11, 2011, 10:13 PM
I'm new to the AR system, first of all.

I put together a rifle recently, with the largest component being a complete BCM EAG upper half. It's a 14.5 mid with pinned brake. This one: http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-EAG-14-5-BFH-Mid-Length-Upper-Receiver-LaRue-p/bcm-uh-eag1.htm

I've found two things that it absolutely chokes on -

1 - Steel cased rounds. Absolutely won't feed 'em. Look, I know this is cheap crap from mother russia but I'm curious why my friends' less expensive rifles chew through it with no issues.

2 - I recently bought a .22 conversion for it, and it gets pretty dirty shooting with the CMMG .22 bolt installed. So after firing approximately 200 rounds of CCI with the conversion I threw the 5.56 bolt back in and it would fail to eject. It looked like the bolt wasn't coming back far enough to shuck a new round off the mag, and it left the spent brass in the pipe.

So I pulled the 5.56 bolt back out, wiped everything down as best I could with a rag, relubed the bolt and that didn't help the issue.

After I got it home and could do a thorough cleaning the problem was solved.

So, being new to the platform I suppose I'm just wondering if I have a very tight BCG or if this is at all common with these rifles.

Any help or suggestions is appreciated.

I asked BCM about it and they just said garbage in garbage out. I get that but again, why don't my friends' Stag or DPMS have the same issues?

BTW I typically buy Rem UMC, PMC, or an occasional box of IMI. When the rifle is sparkling clean it shoots great.

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mc223
June 11, 2011, 10:24 PM
:p Wow that just tears me up that one of them chart toppers choked on 22 LR.:evil:






The gas port is probably plugged with lead from the 22.:eek:

And why would you even try to feed such a high quality rifle crappy steel cased ammo:banghead:




o

Z-Michigan
June 11, 2011, 10:29 PM
1) Steel cased ammo: generally you should expect a BCM to feed this as well as any other rifle does. However, there are two possible issues. First, your 14.5" with midlength gas is set up to be really soft shooting on full power ammo, and some Russian steel-cased ammo is quite weak. I wouldn't be surprised if your feeding problem is actually a slow cycling problem from weak ammo. What spring and buffer are you using? A carbine buffer (3oz) and standard spring might fix this if you're using something heavier, along with points 3 and 4 below.

2) All of the .22 conversion kits are kinda dodgy and will get things dirty in weird ways. I would assume this is a conversion kit issue, not an upper issue.

3) I've found that the higher end uppers and carriers for some reason tend to be especially tight when new, and you may find things improve just from getting the gun broken in. I would try a couple 100 rounds of hotter brass cased ammo, then clean and lube really well and try the steel cased ammo again, along with a carbine buffer if you've normally been using something heavier.

4) In general a BCM or other high end upper is going to have the gas port sized for use with hot military spec ammo (M193, M855, etc.) while the less expensive commercial guns often have larger gas ports for reliable function with weak ammo, assuming that the buyers won't use 5.56 NATO loads much if at all. I don't know the gas port size for yours, but again the 14.5" midlength is intended to be really soft shooting, and it's possible you will just need at least moderately warm ammo. The real test is whether the gun will run when it's very dirty but using M193 or M855. If it will reliably run those ammo types after 500-1000 rounds (or more) with no cleaning, but adequate lube, then the upper is functioning properly for its intended purpose.

SMITHWESS
June 11, 2011, 10:33 PM
It's funn you mention the gas tube because while cleaning my rifle I always look at the tube and think to myself, "How the hell do you clean THAT thing?!"

So, how do you make sure the gas tube isn't getting clogged up? Or better put, how do you clean it when it does get dirty?

The rifle is definitely still green. I have around 500 real rounds through it to date, and maybe the same amount of .22.

Ramone
June 11, 2011, 10:40 PM
That's an interesting rig you have there.

I can see a few reasons you might be having issues.

1] God is punishing you for feeding crap ammo into your nice new rifle. that's a sin, son.

2] short barrel + Mid length system is likely to be fussy about charge weight- it just might not be getting eoung gas.

3] whacha got for buffer and springs? It might be short stroking.

4] is the gas tube making the gas key cleanly? that is, is it lined up right?

Z-Michigan
June 11, 2011, 11:14 PM
It's funn you mention the gas tube because while cleaning my rifle I always look at the tube and think to myself, "How the hell do you clean THAT thing?!"

So, how do you make sure the gas tube isn't getting clogged up? Or better put, how do you clean it when it does get dirty?

The gas tube doesn't normally get cleaned, and they almost never get plugged up. Any problems with them and you replace them for about $12. But they seem to go the life of the barrel in most cases, with no issues.

With a .22 conversion I can't guarantee anything, but I doubt it would plug up the gas system in any way that a single round of .223 wouldn't clear up.

500 rounds of 223/556 should have the rifle reasonably broken in. Look at the buffer weight.

TonyAngel
June 11, 2011, 11:24 PM
Bravo Company hasn't been shy about telling people that their 14.5" mid length setup runs most reliably on "full power" ammo. What this means to me is that yours may or may not run on ammo that operates at pressures less than that of 5.56 spec.

That UMC and PMC that you mentioned is not 5.56 spec. It's .223. Of course, in my experience, the BCM 14.5" middie runs fine on the .223 stuff, but can and will choke on the really weak stuff. If you want to run cheap ammo, try the Bear ammo. It's hotter than most of the other Russian ammo that you'll find on the market.

As was mentioned above, you can also try advancing the timing a bit by running a lighter buffer.

Just FYI, I'd avoid those heavier recoil springs too. Just stick with milspec. There's no reason to go heavier.

SMITHWESS
June 11, 2011, 11:51 PM
Thanks for the replies guys.

Somehow I knew I'd get blasted for feeding cheap crap in a nice rifle ;)
I have never bought the steel cased ammo, the rounds I had trouble with were handed to me at the range because I wanted to experiment a little bit and didn't believe doing so would damage anything.

I think you're on to something about the buffer/spring weights and cartridge loads. To be honest I have no idea what weight my spring is, or what weight the buffer is. Mine is unmarked.

Here is my understanding of the gas system: As soon as the bullet passes the gas block, a portion of the gas pressure still behind the bullet is directed into the tube and back to the bolt.

Is that correct? Or does gas begin entering the tube even before the bullet passes the block?

If I'm correct on the first version, then a shorter barrel with a midlength gas isn't going to generate nearly as much pressure within the tube as a carbine gas on a 16" would have. Right?

Z-Michigan
June 12, 2011, 12:44 AM
I think you're on to something about the buffer/spring weights and cartridge loads. To be honest I have no idea what weight my spring is, or what weight the buffer is. Mine is unmarked.

Unmarked buffer is normally a 3.0 oz carbine buffer, which is probably the best choice for your setup.

Here is my understanding of the gas system: As soon as the bullet passes the gas block, a portion of the gas pressure still behind the bullet is directed into the tube and back to the bolt.

Yes.

If I'm correct on the first version, then a shorter barrel with a midlength gas isn't going to generate nearly as much pressure within the tube as a carbine gas on a 16" would have. Right?

Basically correct, although gas port size also matters. The link below should answer ALL your questions:

http://www.ar15barrels.com/prod/operation.shtml

Z-Michigan
June 12, 2011, 12:45 AM
FWIW, at competitions I regularly see people shooting Wolf and Tula steelcased ammo in quality carbines like BCM, Colt, etc. I don't think you should feel guilty about it at all. It won't deliver best accuracy, but for short-range carbine type uses it's probably good enough.

Just be aware that you may need to clean the chamber thoroughly after shooting steel cased, before shooting brass cased, because the less flexible steel cases tend to cause more gunk to accumulate in the chamber, which the more flexible brass cases can then potentially get stuck in. YMMV.

Carter
June 12, 2011, 01:34 AM
The only thing my buddy and I run through our BCM's is brown bear, silver bear, and wolf. They may occasionally get brassed cased, but hardly ever. People who mock others for doing so really are misinformed.

That said, I don't think a midlength system on a 14.5 inch barrel is the best setup for russian ammo. I've also heard the same for 20in upper, but the vast majority of cases I've read were the 14.5 midlengths.

Either play with the springs or buy better ammo.

ugaarguy
June 12, 2011, 01:40 AM
With a .22 conversion I can't guarantee anything, but I doubt it would plug up the gas system in any way that a single round of .223 wouldn't clear up.
I'll search for the thread, but someone here seriously hurt an AR upper doing that.

briansmithwins
June 12, 2011, 01:56 AM
When you say 'doesn't load' do you mean the bolt doesn't travel back far enough to pick up the next round or the next round isn't fed into the chamber correctly? On the last round of a mag does the bolt lock open when shooting steel case?

Two different problems with two different causes.

BSW

Apocalypse-Now
June 12, 2011, 02:04 AM
I asked BCM about it and they just said garbage in garbage out.

wow, that's just poor cust serv right there. :eek:

yes, that is crappy ammo, but it should feed it.

mastiffhound
June 12, 2011, 02:55 AM
After the thread I just got done reading, this puzzles me. So much hate directed towards bushy and dpms. Mostly for being unreliable, jam-o-matic, break down prone, overly expensive, dirt. I will admit I didn't get a dpms because the barrel wasn't chromed. I have a bushy. Unknown to me my buddy just purchased a bushy too. We both went out the first time with mother ruskie ammo and no problems.

Sorry to hear about your trouble though. Still the fact that the great mil-spec rifles can have problems too just means that no company is perfect. Thank you for posting and not keeping the problems to yourself. You can be sure that if I have a problem with the bushy I will let people know. So fast that the snakes head will spin. Hope you can fix your problem and good luck.

ugaarguy
June 12, 2011, 03:40 AM
Still the fact that the great mil-spec rifles can have problems too just means that no company is perfect.
The BCM EAG upper is a somewhat unique case. The carbine length gas system was developed for 14.5" bbl. carbines & M4s. Because many civilians didn't want the trouble of a pinned and welded flash hider or muzzle brake on a 14.5" bbl to meet minimum bbl. length requirements for a rifle, 16" bbls. became very common on civilian carbines. Because of the extra bbl. length in front of the gas port on 16" bbl. carbines the pressures are higher, the rifles shoot harder, and they sometimes need a heavier buffer to operate reliably.

The solution several companies came up with (I don't know who was first) was the mid length gas system. This places the gas port the same distance from the muzzle on a 16" bbl as the gas port is on a 14.5" bbl with carbine length gas system, and basically equalizes the pressure.

Running a mid length gas system on a 14.5" bbl is going to result in lower pressure - period. BCM has apparently made no secret about this, and recommends using full pressure 5.56 NATO ammo (yes, it's hotter than SAAMI spec .223 Rem.) to keep the pressure up. The primary purpose of the EAG upper is to have a very soft shooting carbine even when running full pressure 5.56 NATO ammo.

This isn't a failure of the mil spec mfr. (BCM in this case). It's just using less than ideal ammo in a pretty specialized upper.

Apocalypse-Now
June 12, 2011, 04:41 AM
^^good info for us AR noob's.

during a SHTF scenario, i would want a rifle that feeds any ammo that might be all that's available. it's unacceptable to me the BCM won't do this, especially at the price. they didn't even offer to send out a shpping label to the OP to attempt to resolve the issue. as another poster mentioned, much cheaper bushy's will feed this stuff fine.

reliability and poor customer service are two deal killers for me when buying a gun. scratch BCM off the list.

ugaarguy
June 12, 2011, 05:14 AM
during a SHTF scenario, i would want a rifle that feeds any ammo that might be all that's available. it's unacceptable to me the BCM won't do this, especially at the price. they didn't even offer to send out a shpping label to the OP to attempt to resolve the issue. as another poster mentioned, much cheaper bushy's will feed this stuff fine.

reliability and poor customer service are two deal killers for me when buying a gun. scratch BCM off the list

Please note that the EAG configuration is the only BCM upper set up this way - mid length gas on a 14.5 bbl. The rest of their standard (not pistol or SBR) bbls./uppers/rifles use the standard carbine length gas on a 14.5" or 16" bbl, mid length gas on a 16" bbl, or rifle length gas on 20" rifle bbls.

For those unfamiliar, EAG is EAG Consulting, which is owned by Pat Rogers. Pat is a former Marine & LEO, and he is widely regarded as being amongst the top tier of defensive carbine trainers. The EAG bbl./upper/rifle setup offered by BCM was set up at that way from his consulting / request. Again, this is not a BCM problem at all. This is an upper set up to run true 5.56 NATO spec ammo, and true 5.556 NATO spec ammo only.

In simpler terms this is like running 22LR subsonic or standard velocity ammo in a .22LR semi-auto rifle or pistol. Some of it will cycle the action, and some of it will not. Conventional wisdom is to run only high velocity .22LR ammo is semis unless you have found a standard velocity load that proves itself reliable in your weapon. No one freaks out at the manufacturer in those cases. This is the AR-15 equivalent.

If you want to run SAAMI spec .223 Rem or under-spec 5.56 NATO ammo then do not buy the EAG upper, bbl, or rifle from BCM - just get any of their standard configurations.

FWIW, every AR carbine I've owned (several from various mfrs.) has been a 16" with carbine length gas. The DDM4 I currently own is the only one with a heavy buffer, and that's only because it comes from the factory that way. Every other one has or had a standard carbine buffer, and all ran fine. As I said earlier, some 16" bbl ARs with carbine length gas do need a heavier buffer, but this is not the rule, and it's also common knowledge in the AR community. I also know this THR, and not an AR-15 focused board, so I don't expect everyone here to know that either. I hope my long winded explanations have helped.

mc223
June 12, 2011, 05:19 AM
I hate to see these threads go downhill and involve any brand bashing. All mfgs might have an issue from time to time. They are operated by real people in most cases and are not infallible.

I read that the OP fired 22LR and some Russian ammo.

It is my opinion that the Russian ammo tends to lean towards the side of lower pressure. This may keep the harder steel cases from properly obturating to the chamber walls allowing gas to escape to the bolt area.
This coupled with a possible partially clogged gas system(Lead and misc. crap from the ammo) would cause a short stroke as described in the OP.


My first reaction was most likely exactly as the response from BCM.
You paid the cash for a uber reliable rifle then feed it crap. Then wonder why. Well DUH. And then just for a topper you throw in a 22LR conversion. Double Duh.


How do ya fix it. Well as a lesson the OP should have to take the rifle to a BCM approved gunsmith to have the gas systen properly checked and cleaned of the clog as necessary.

mc223
June 12, 2011, 05:45 AM
If it was a mfg problem it would be different. This is an OP caused failure.

MistWolf
June 12, 2011, 06:22 AM
The BCM EAG upper is a somewhat unique case. The carbine length gas system was developed for 14.5" bbl. carbines & M4s. Because many civilians didn't want the trouble of a pinned and welded flash hider or muzzle brake on a 14.5" bbl to meet minimum bbl. length requirements for a rifle, 16" bbls. became very common on civilian carbines. Because of the extra bbl. length in front of the gas port on 16" bbl. carbines the pressures are higher, the rifles shoot harder, and they sometimes need a heavier buffer to operate reliably.

The solution several companies came up with (I don't know who was first) was the mid length gas system. This places the gas port the same distance from the muzzle on a 16" bbl as the gas port is on a 14.5" bbl with carbine length gas system, and basically equalizes the pressure.

Running a mid length gas system on a 14.5" bbl is going to result in lower pressure - period. BCM has apparently made no secret about this, and recommends using full pressure 5.56 NATO ammo (yes, it's hotter than SAAMI spec .223 Rem.) to keep the pressure up. The primary purpose of the EAG upper is to have a very soft shooting carbine even when running full pressure 5.56 NATO ammo.

This isn't a failure of the mil spec mfr. (BCM in this case). It's just using less than ideal ammo in a pretty specialized upper.
A few corrections-
The pressure of the gases will be the same for a carbine length gas system regardless if the barrel is 14.5", 16" or even 20". What is different is how long the system will be pressurized as the longer the length of the barrel after the gas port, the longer it will take the bullet to clear the barrel. Because of the longer dwell time, the system has less time for the pressure to drop after the bullet has cleared the muzzle and before the BCG begins moving.

Armalite was the company that pioneered the midlength gas system for 16" barrels. It doesn't "equalize the pressure", but it does two things. First, the pressure of the gases are lower as the bullet travels further down the barrel. This lowers the pressure used to operate the action. Second, the distance from gas port to muzzle is the same for a 16" mid length gas system as it is for a 14.5" carbine length gas system. This reduces dwell time slightly compared to the 14.5 carbine as the bullet's velocity is slightly greater.

223 ammo fired in 223 chambered barrels of comparable lengths generates comparable velocities as does the 5.56 fired in 5.56 chambers. This could not be so if the 223 were not loaded to lower pressures. Fact is, SAAMI & NATO measure pressure at different points using sensors with different specifications which means the pressures cannot be directly compared. The reason the 223 is "underpowered" in 5.56 barrels is due to the longer leade of the 5.56. As the 223 is loaded to be fired safely in a shorter leade, this results in greater bullet jump before it engages the rifling. This jump increases effective case volume which in turn drops pressures & velocities.

This is why it's unsafe to fire 5.56 ammo in a 223 spec chamber. They are loaded for the longer leade. Bullets of 5.56 ammo can engage the rifling of a true 223 chamber and cause pressures to reach dangerous levels.

Smithwess, did you lube the carrier well, especially after shooting the 22 rimfires? If not, it's not surprising the rifle was malfunctioning. A good shot of lube would allow the crapola left in the action from the 22 rimfires to be suspended by the lube and let the carrier operate better. Give an AR a healthy shot of lube and it will amaze you at how dirty it can still run

Zerodefect
June 12, 2011, 07:37 AM
Shoot quality ammo until it smooths out. Quit shooting .22lr thru it. Get a dedicated .22 upper for that.

If you need to run weak ammo, then get a 14.5 with a carbine gas system. Maybe a 16" with a Carbine gas system would suit you better.

Middy 14.5 is for a smooth shooting tactical carbine with less recoil for quiker follow up shots. But you have to run quality ammo. Noone defends themself with Wolf ammo. This is not BCM's fault. Your rifle is perfoming exactly as they usually do in my experience.

MIDDY 14.5" DEOSN'T LIKE WIMPY, CHEAP AMMO

Z-Michigan
June 12, 2011, 10:02 AM
wow, that's just poor cust serv right there.

We would need exact quotes of what OP told BCM and their exact reply to even start to judge anything like that. It's not bad service if BCM tells someone an honest answer of how their product is supposed to work, even if customer didn't like it.

during a SHTF scenario, i would want a rifle that feeds any ammo that might be all that's available. it's unacceptable to me the BCM won't do this, especially at the price. they didn't even offer to send out a shpping label to the OP to attempt to resolve the issue. as another poster mentioned, much cheaper bushy's will feed this stuff fine.

Yes, because zombie SHTF is by far the most important "real world" for all of us. And in that scenario it's far more likely that someone will come across cases of weak underpowered Russian ammo in a caliber the Russians don't use, rather than say surplus US military ammo.

reliability and poor customer service are two deal killers for me when buying a gun. scratch BCM off the list.

Please do. Shorter wait times for the rest of us!

steven58
June 12, 2011, 12:13 PM
My 16" midlength BCM (Spikes ST-T2 buffer) feeds Wolf, all the Bears, Privi, as well as a variety of commercial .223 just fine.

I often run 500 - 1000 rounds in a day of Federal bulk HV .22 LR through a Ciener conversion kit with no problems (kids). As a CYA, at the end of a session, I then fire 3 rounds 5.56 to blow out the gas system.

It also runs fine with Federal and Winchester MILSPEC 5.56.

3 friends have 16" BCM carbine length systems with the same experience.

Maybe the 16" middie, as opposed to the 14", gives me just enough extra dwell time to run the above variety of ammo?

Jaybird78
June 12, 2011, 12:59 PM
[QUOTE][/Q
Quote:
reliability and poor customer service are two deal killers for me when buying a gun. scratch BCM off the list.
Please do. Shorter wait times for the rest of us! UOTE]

This plus one.

TonyAngel
June 12, 2011, 03:16 PM
With all that has been stated in this thread, none of it is an indication of a problem with the rifle that the OP purchased. It appears to me that the OP was either misinformed or simply missed a tidbit of information when he chose to purchase the 14.5" barrel with the mid length gas. I'm sure that if he had asked questions before his purchase and told us that it was his intention to shoot cheap under powered ammo, we would have told him that he would have been better served by a rifle with a system that had a bit more dwell time. My 14.5" carbine has a carbine length gas system for this same reason.

A simple end to all of this would be for the OP to simply try running some hotter ammunition in his rifle. As I, and others, have said, he should try Bear ammo and perhaps a lighter buffer.

BTW, I don't own any BCM rifles either; but I have built many with parts from BCM and it's good stuff. What happened here was that the wrong tool was chosen for the job.

briansmithwins
June 12, 2011, 03:29 PM
I'm thinking it's not really BCM's fault the OP bought a specialized product w/o understanding what he was getting. It's kinda like going out a buying a drag racer when you need a commuter car.

If it were me I'd try and trade or sell the upper he has for a 16" middy. Experience can be painful to acquire.

BSW

mastiffhound
June 12, 2011, 03:43 PM
I am still interested in BCM, the 20'' upper to be exact. That is what I'll get when the bushy wears out. The prices are great from that particular company. I think that is why the op purchased his BCM. The crazy thing is that people think this is an expensive firearm? BCM costs way less than Noveske or Daniel Defense. That is why people are putting wolf through them. I like others just can't see the point in spending$20 for 20 rounds of ammo just to shoot paper.

If anyone recomends pmc ammo I will laugh my a** off. That is the worst ammo I have ever used. It is bass case ammo. I have had to use a cleaning rod 4 times to get it out of the chamber of my mini and twice out of my savage bolt gun because the case split. My friend had the same problem in his bushy. Never a problem with the wolf. My favorite is the winchester 5.56 though, way cleaner ammo.

Z-Michigan
June 12, 2011, 10:54 PM
BCM costs way less than Noveske or Daniel Defense. That is why people are putting wolf through them. I like others just can't see the point in spending$20 for 20 rounds of ammo just to shoot paper.

I generally spend only 30-35 cents/rd on good new brass cased 223 or 5.56 NATO ammo.

I paid less for my Daniel Defense uppers than I could have bought a comparable BCM for. Because of a good sale. YMMV and it pays to shop around.

If anyone recomends pmc ammo I will laugh my a** off. That is the worst ammo I have ever used.

Actually I've used several cases of PMC 55gr FMJ with only a single ammo-related problem, which was a damaged case that wouldn't chamber but I somehow missed in loading the mag. Otherwise it's been reliable for me, always going bang and never going kaboom. Accuracy is middling and their 55gr stuff is known for being fairly slow/weak, but it works for me, even in a 16" midlength with an H2 buffer. YMMV.

mastiffhound
June 12, 2011, 11:56 PM
I can get a BCM 20'' standard upper for $399( regularly $475), Daniel Defense for $899, even at a huge dicount it is near impossible to beat the price. I'm checking the noveske, and as per noveske $1050. That must of been one heck of a sale. All of the prices as per their site right now at 10:53pm 6/12/11. Check for yourself. Spikes cheapest is at $525.

Z-Michigan
June 13, 2011, 12:22 AM
Check here:

http://www.smartgunner.com/
and
http://www.smartgunner.com/DanielDefenseURG.aspx

See $409 for a DD upper with a hammer-forged barrel? That's without BCG, CH or handguards, but the $399 BCM lacks those items as well, and it has a button-rifled barrel, not a hammer-forged. The BCM BFH uppers are another $90, and were at a premium of $170 or so in the recent past.

In late 2010 the Smartgunner deal was even better, IIRC it was around $349 for the basic hammer-forged uppers, and $525 for uppers with a DD free-float quadrail. Shop around and save! :)

kwelz
June 13, 2011, 12:43 AM
I can get a BCM 20'' standard upper for $399( regularly $475), Daniel Defense for $899
399 for the BCM doesn't include the Rail or a Bolt. 899 for the DD does.

mastiffhound
June 13, 2011, 12:45 AM
The only problem is I'm not seeing a 20'' offering, that is what I'm looking for. As for carbines those prices look pretty good I'll tell my bro as he's looking for a DI upper( his sr-556 is extremely heavy). Thanks!

kwelz
June 13, 2011, 12:46 AM
Yeah 20 inch uppers are getting had to come by. Not much demand for them as people have realized that shorter barrels are better for 99% of uses.

M&PVolk
June 13, 2011, 02:46 AM
I see no reason why a midlength gas system on a 14" barrel cannot be made to cycle reliably with a wide range of commercial ammo. I would think enlarging the gas port a touch would cover it. Sorry, but I believe some criticism is due to BCM here. Either they need to be more forthcoming with detailed ammo specs for this configuration, or they need to make this gun run correctly with steel cased. I am not bashing BCM, but realistically, if this thread was related to Bushmaster or DPMS, this would be chalked up as one more reason not to buy. I would not run steel cased ammo in any non-comm block gun myself, but that doesn't mean that a gun shouldn't be able to run it. People buy "milspec" guns with "serious use" as a possibility, and that means reliability is paramount under a wide range of use and ammo. I expect more from a manufacturer with BCM's lofty reputation. I would contact them again and press the issue and see what they will do about it.

Zerodefect
June 13, 2011, 07:24 AM
I see no reason why a midlength gas system on a 14" barrel cannot be made to cycle reliably with a wide range of commercial ammo. I would think enlarging the gas port a touch would cover it. Sorry, but I believe some criticism is due to BCM here. Either they need to be more forthcoming with detailed ammo specs for this configuration, or they need to make this gun run correctly with steel cased. I am not bashing BCM, but realistically, if this thread was related to Bushmaster or DPMS, this would be chalked up as one more reason not to buy. I would not run steel cased ammo in any non-comm block gun myself, but that doesn't mean that a gun shouldn't be able to run it. People buy "milspec" guns with "serious use" as a possibility, and that means reliability is paramount under a wide range of use and ammo. I expect more from a manufacturer with BCM's lofty reputation. I would contact them again and press the issue and see what they will do about it.

It deosn't matter what unrealistic expectations you have about the gun.

Middy 14.5+Wolf/Brown Bear= lots of problems at any carbine class that requires 1000+ rounds to complete. There is a reason cheap ammo isn't allowed, or at least heavily frowned upon, at busy classes.

You can shoot Wolf for fun, I have no problem with that. But anyone that expects reliability out of any gun being fed Wolf ammo is being a bit foolish.
Run some quality ammo to make sure the rifle works great on good ammo. then switch back to Wolf if you want.

People with .milspec expectations, and serious use in mind, better have some quality magazines and ammo. Period.

This is about as silly as complaining that your snapcaps or dummy rounds won't go off.

kwelz
June 13, 2011, 10:13 AM
Zero is correct. Some people do seem to have unrealistic expectations about firearms sometimes. Expecting a weapon to work with every type of ammo is unrealistic. If they enlarged the gas port so it would work better with wolf then it would be overgassed when using correctly specced ammo.

It is kind of like buying a BMW M3 and then trying to run it on 87 octane gasoline. It may work. But chances are you are going to have some issues.

Z-Michigan
June 13, 2011, 10:34 AM
The only problem is I'm not seeing a 20'' offering, that is what I'm looking for. As for carbines those prices look pretty good I'll tell my bro as he's looking for a DI upper( his sr-556 is extremely heavy). Thanks!

The best factory 20" upper is almost certainly the BCM, as I don't know of many companies making them. For 16" and shorter, or the one style of 18" DD makes, be sure to compare the DD option.

Taurus 617 CCW
June 13, 2011, 10:36 AM
We build a mid length 14.5" system and have to chamfer the gas hole in order to get it to run right (not saying you need to do this). The mid length 14.5" guns are considered a dissipator type model and are very finnicky. Get a hold of a box of PMC bronze ammo, and some XM-193. Start with a few rounds of PMC (single feed on an empty mag), then move to the XM-193. If you have problems with either one locking the bolt open on an empty magazine, I would give BCM a call. Oh and to clean the gas tube, use some AR-15 pipe cleaners from Brownells and some cleaner with "carbon remover" (we use KG-1 from KG industries). Run one wet pipe cleaner through the tube, let it soak, then run a couple of dry ones. Repeat as necessary.

Tirod
June 13, 2011, 11:00 AM
There seems to be a major disconnect that is actually typical among AR shooters.

GAS LENGTH IS DETERMINED BY THE DISTANCE FROM THE MUZZLE.

The average gas length - FROM THE MUZZLE - is about 5 to 7 inches. That's why you see carbine on a 14.5, mid on 16, intermediate on 18, and rifle gas on 20. It has everything to do with the amount of "dwell' time AFTER the bullet passes the gas port.

With self loading rifles using gas, timing is critical, just like on an auto engine. Get the gas port too close to the chamber, you get much higher pressures, and on longer barrels, it stays high much longer before the exhaust valve opens - the bullet leaves the muzzle.

EVER seen carbine gas on a rifle? I speculate it wouldn't survive past 1k rounds before it kaboomed. On the other hand, shortening the port to muzzle length reduces the gas pressure impulse and overall peak pressure - which in this case, means Wolf and .22 don't work.

BCM/EAG have been upfront about what and who the upper was built for, it's up to the consumer to pick the right one for their application and then USE IT CORRECTLY. That goes to anyone using cheap ammo in a gun built for full power tactical ammo.

If there is a failure here, it's the shooting forums not emphasizing that gas length is measured to the muzzle - and it DOESN'T vary much, barely fractions of an inch to get optimal function. It's the unschooled consumer who misses it in all the noise about Brand X is better tasting than your Koolaid.

Anyone pushing off the blame to BCM or EAG is basically admitting they don't understand the gas length issue at all.

Creature
June 13, 2011, 11:27 AM
Anyone pushing off the blame to BCM or EAG is basically admitting they don't understand the gas length issue at all.

Bingo!

mastiffhound
June 13, 2011, 11:44 AM
My bushy is carbine length not mid length. I do not have the dissapator model.

I have been told numerous occasions that mil-spec brands are the be all end all. They will cycle anything, even rocks if they are at least close in caliber! It is bushmaster, dpms, remington, rock river, who short stroke, ftf, fte, have loose staking if any on their gas keys, are inaccurate, or anything else you can think of.

Originally Posted by M&PVolk
I see no reason why a midlength gas system on a 14" barrel cannot be made to cycle reliably with a wide range of commercial ammo. I would think enlarging the gas port a touch would cover it. Sorry, but I believe some criticism is due to BCM here. Either they need to be more forthcoming with detailed ammo specs for this configuration, or they need to make this gun run correctly with steel cased. I am not bashing BCM, but realistically, if this thread was related to Bushmaster or DPMS, this would be chalked up as one more reason not to buy.

Exactly what I had said before. I have also said before I run wolf and winchester 5.56.
My mini( I know another piece of crap ) eats this stuff without a hitch. Also as I stated before pmc is dirt. Removing split cases from your sweet 16 sucks! Or my mini, or my savage. This in in the last year not ten years ago either. The ammo wasn't old. 2010 manufacture.

I know higher echelon rifles won't cycle crap ammo. At least that is what I'm seeing now.
That is crap. I've seen plenty of higher end stuff cycle wolf just fine. I think the truth is every company has problems. Every company cuts corners. I just did a quick search on daniel defense and noveske problems. Guess what, they have problems. I then did COLT! More problems than you can shake a stick at. Same for bushmaster! I suspect because they have been around forever. No company is perfect, but they should fix problems, give specs or just in general have decent customer service.

Lastly, I have read every manual that has come with every firearm I have purchased. They all say use clean factory made ammunition. Do not use reloads as it will void your warranty! Last time I checked wolf is factory made. Now I will admit I know very little about BCM. But if they specify factory that means wolf. If it says don't use steal cased ammo that means don't use wolf.

kwelz
June 13, 2011, 11:59 AM
I know higher echelon rifles won't cycle crap ammo. At least that is what I'm seeing now.
That is crap. I've seen plenty of higher end stuff cycle wolf just fine.

You need to go back and read what has been written. It isn't about high quality or low quality guns in this case. It is about the math involved for Gas pressure, gas port size, and gas port location in relation to the end of the barrel.

The only way to get these guns to work with underpowered ammo such as Wolf would be to open up the gas port more. If you do this then you are going to be beating the hell out of the gun with in spec ammo. Which is what you should be using anyway. No Semi Auto gun is immune to this. I have seen AR, AK, and numerous pistols fail due to using out of spec ammo. In the case of underpowered ammunition you get FTEs and FTFs. In the case of overpowered ammunition you get case head separations, popped primers, stuck cases, etc. It is what happens when you try to go cheap on any component.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 13, 2011, 12:22 PM
Anyone pushing off the blame to BCM or EAG is basically admitting they don't understand the gas length issue at all.

I know higher echelon rifles won't cycle crap ammo. At least that is what I'm seeing now. That is crap. I've seen plenty of higher end stuff cycle wolf just fine. I think the truth is every company has problems. Every company cuts corners.

And how many higher end rifles that cycle Wolf just fine were 14.5" midlengths with a gas port sized specifically for 5.56 NATO ammo?

You could have condensed your entire post into "Tirod, I don't understand the gas length issue at all. Will you explain that to me again?"

mastiffhound
June 13, 2011, 12:27 PM
Wolf has a 100% performance guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied, wolf will refund your money on the unused portion of the ammunition, including and freight charges. I also understand how barrel lengths and gas system lengths affect velocities and pressures.

My solution is return the wolf, it has not performed 100% up to standard. I will say my buddy has the 14.5" barrel bushy with the hideous long flash hider and his cycled wolf and herter's( Cabelas?) ammo just fine. That is why I have such a problem with this. I don't know what the gas port size is but it is marked 5.56 nato on the barrel if that helps.

kwelz
June 13, 2011, 12:29 PM
Bushmaster makes a 14.5 inch middy?

mastiffhound
June 13, 2011, 01:02 PM
Yes, they do, part #bura2b 14m4 iz. upper receiver, the 14.5" m4 type upper receiver/ barrel assembly becomes a legal 16" length by permanently pinning/welding an izzy flash suppressor, or other 2 3/16 onto the barrel. They can be ordered in either a2(carry handle) or a3( flat-top)receiver versions.

kwelz
June 13, 2011, 01:09 PM
That is not a middy. It is a 14.5 inch carbine. Completely different animal.
For someone who claims to understand gas systems I would think you would know the difference.

mastiffhound
June 13, 2011, 01:37 PM
I'm sorry, thought you were talking mid length barrel, sbr or rifle, your right different. If that is the case, return the wolf. Their site lists the .223 55grain at 3241 fps, not underpowered by their claims. If it is going that fast( I have not chronographed myself) it should cycle just about anything right?

kwelz
June 13, 2011, 01:41 PM
Mid length barrel? What?? I am getting a headache here.

mastiffhound
June 13, 2011, 01:50 PM
I was on another forum and people kept telling me to call it a mid length barrel or middy because, why type that much. Sorry old habits.

Z-Michigan
June 13, 2011, 01:52 PM
Their site lists the .223 55grain at 3241 fps, not underpowered by their claims. If it is going that fast( I have not chronographed myself) it should cycle just about anything right?

Most manufacturer ammo claims are based on a 24" SAAMI test barrel, and you won't came anywhere close unless you are using a 24"+ barrel bolt-action rifle with a fairly tight chamber. And a lot of the claims are a bit inflated anyway.

Zerodefect
June 13, 2011, 01:56 PM
. Their site lists the .223 55grain at 3241 fps, not underpowered by their claims. If it is going that fast( I have not chronographed myself) it should cycle just about anything right?

They could just be lying. Chances are they tested with a 24" barrel.

OP may just have a chunk of .22LR stuck in his gas port.

SMITHWESS
June 13, 2011, 05:00 PM
Thanks for all the replies fellas.

To be clear, I have been very happy with this rifle, and would purchase the same configuration again if this one was stolen.

I was candid in describing my lack of experience with the platform, so the guys taking the time out of their day to drop some knowledge on me is very much appreciated.

I experimented this morning at the range, as someone suggested in this thread. I shot about 350 rounds of .22, switched the bolt back out, and fired some M855 62 gr. through it with zero issues.

I understand, now, that my configuration of bbl and gas length prefers higher pressure ammo. Fine by me now that I'm aware! (anyone want to buy 900 rds of PMC .223?!)

Even with mil-spec 5.56, this rifle shoots noticeably smoother, softer, and level than my trusty old mini 14 firing .223. I think the battle comp brake has considerable influence in the muzzle staying on plane.

As to BCM's cust. service, I will just say that it would have been nice if they offered the same explanation of why I was experiencing the issue. If folks on this forum can do it, then the guys I shelled out over a grand to should be willing to take the time as well.

Thanks again,

-A

BTW, shopping around I found a decent price on PMC XTAC 5.56. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM199-1.html
Is this any good?

Zerodefect
June 13, 2011, 05:37 PM
You can really see why it's worth it even if you have to run good ammo. Seems like a silly compromise, but it's so worthwhile.

14.5 middys are smooooooth.


I'd stick to .mil ammo. M855 62gn is good.
Federal .223 55gn FMJ is good stuff. Usually my go to round for troubleshooting.

SSA is really good stuff:
http://www.ssarmory.com/5.56mm_ammunition_55gr_FMJ_Bulk.aspx

Premium defensive stuff:
http://www.ssarmory.com/556ammunition-2.aspx

Black hills 75 or 77gn has allmost the same Zero as M855.



Everything you ever wanted to know about 5.56:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=16&t=503947

TonyAngel
June 13, 2011, 08:13 PM
SmithWess, I'm glad that things worked out for you. That PMC is usually some pretty decent stuff. Apparently you got a hold of a lot that was a bit under par. Still, you don't have to abandon the idea of low cost shooting. Believe it or not, not all steel cased ammo is equal. I've had really good luck with Silver Bear's 62gr loads. Hornady also sells their steel cased line of "practice ammo." Of course, if cost were no object, I'd opt for M193 or 855 all day, any day; but cost is an object.

M&PVolk
June 13, 2011, 11:16 PM
I'm glad you are enjoying your rifle now. I am surprised at how limited your ammo choices are, though. Before the BCM fanboy's jump all over me, I am well aware that the gas system and barrel length make things more tricky in this configuration, but to not be able to cycle PMC .223 would be a deal breaker for me. If I can't buy ammo that will cycle reliably without going to a gun shop or rolling my own, I would find the rifle to be of limited use.

I still hold to my original premise that if BCM is going to sell this configuration, they should take great pains to ensure the buyer knows the ammo limitations or open the gas ports a bit. Opening up the ports enough to cycle with .223 will not "hammer" the gun...it just requires a little testing and development. It will be harder on the gun a bit, but isn't that why they sell milspec?

Zerodefect
June 13, 2011, 11:27 PM
That would defeat the point of haveing a middy 14.5" instead of a carbine 14.5".

benzy2
June 14, 2011, 12:17 AM
I do think BCM should be a little more up front about what ammo will cycle the rifle or not. I don't expect this rifle to handle some of the softer .223 out there, but at the same time, not everyone reads thread upon thread on which gas system to buy to know the drawbacks of a 14.5" with a midlength system.

For me, I'd take a slightly more violent system to be able to blast away at the range with the weak cheap stuff.

Z-Michigan
June 14, 2011, 12:31 AM
BTW, shopping around I found a decent price on PMC XTAC 5.56. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM199-1.html
Is this any good?

I've shot 4-5 boxes so far and it's pretty good. It is loaded to M855 specs, true 5.56 NATO and hotter than almost any .223 Rem. It has been reliable for me so far. FYI, NONE of the M855 from any manufacturer is highly accurate ammo - the bullet design is simply not consistent enough to be really precise ammo. You can expect 3 MOA 10-shot groups in a good rifle, which is just slightly worse than good quality M193, but well below top quality match ammo.

FYI-2, PMC 55gr FMJ .223 is known for being somewhat weaker, but it has always cycled reliably for me in any gun I've tried it in.

Tirod
June 14, 2011, 12:29 PM
There are sound reasons that certain barrel lengths use recommended gas lengths. And it's all about measuring the optimal length of time the bullet passes the gas port to exiting the muzzle - which is a pretty short window, about 5-7 inches.

Anytime that spec is changed, tradeoffs will happen. In this case, the shorter window means less potential gas pressure, and low powered rounds should be expected to malfunction.

Should the vendor make this plainer? I've been caught in similar situations, it would be nice if it had been something I knew, or spelled out. However, the issue is really whether we should be using low powered cheap ammo at all in guns specifically marketed as tactical grade for actual use as a weapon.

I don't see it marketed as a plinker for poking holes in dirt. EAG isn't promoting this as a weekend range shooters toy, the whole purpose of the organization is to train LEO/MIL to a higher level of competency in actual combat. Or did I miss a memo?

Goes to misapplying things again, if you purchase a tactical rifle built for tactical use marketed by a tactical training company, and then shoot the cheapest ammo possible in it, who misinterpreted the point?

I would expect someone filling the tank of an RX8 with Coleman fuel to expect poor performance - I baffles me to understand why the shooting community blames the vendor when the user is the main culprit.

Self loading actions are tuned to a specific powder and pressure curve - military actions even more so. Governments do NOT issue bullets in a dozen different weights, tips, and applications, usually just one or two at a time, and it's required to meet standards for pressure to cycle the action without fail under ANY circumstances. It's a system, monkey with any one part, you introduce something not included in the original design.

It's not EAG, .Mil, or BCM stating "shoot whatever junk you want." It's casual posts on the internet that promote it - and there are plenty of them complaining about how it DOESN'T work, either.

benzy2
June 14, 2011, 01:11 PM
Again, I'm not saying I expect this rifle to work with soft ammo, but more a case where it would be nice for the manufacturer to state what works with their rifle when selling to the GENERAL PUBLIC. Any car requiring something more than 87 octane will CLEARLY state what it takes to run the car properly. If it was meant to take 93 octane, the manual and probably somewhere either on the dash or by the fuel filler will boldly say so. The fact this rifle is for sale side by side with plinkers and varminters in many shops puts it in the general publics eye as just another upper and not some dedicated LEO/Military only upper for only the extreme user.

When dealing with the general public I feel it's a bad idea to assume everyone understands how everything you sell is meant to be used. It's why most everything comes with a manual. If you want to claim that the manufacturer has no responsibility to let a user know what ammo flat out won't work with their rifle, that's fine. More and more of these threads will pop up when more and more people buy the upper because it looks cool, not to mention all the "hard core operators" are telling everyone its the best thing in the world with no drawbacks. If I were the one making and selling the uppers, I'd state that the design only works with full power loads. That's all that's needed. Nothing more and you cover your butt. If you wanted to go into it a little more in depth in the manual you could, but at least say to use full power loads if the rifle NEEDS them to work.

ny32182
June 14, 2011, 07:43 PM
This is why I have never been interested in a 14.5" midlength. It doesn't take a genius to see this setup is getting less gas than a milspec rifle, and that it will eventually lead to problems if every other factor is not optimal.

This thread, however, is the first time I've ever seen anyone acknowledge it.

M&PVolk
June 14, 2011, 09:10 PM
Tirod wrote:I would expect someone filling the tank of an RX8 with Coleman fuel to expect poor performance - I baffles me to understand why the shooting community blames the vendor when the user is the main culprit.


Your analogy is flawed. Running steel cased ammo isn't the equivalent of running coleman fuel in a car, it's the equivalent of running regular vs. super unleaded. The difference? The car will still run with 85, the gun won't run with Wolf.

I appreciate your perspective and don't entirely disagree, which is why I wouldn't run steel ammo in such a gun. That said, there is a very good argument to be made that is just the opposite of your conclusion.

If you are an "operator", LEO or otherwise, the most critical aspect of your gun is reliability. It trumps all other concerns. It must go bang every time you pull the trigger, as your life depends on it. The second biggest concern is that you are properly trained for the task at hand. Training and staying sharp with a firearm requires lots of rounds downrange...a very expensive endeavor that many institutions look to defray costs on by using cheaper ammo like Wolf. Lastly, it should be adaptable to numerous fluid situations, including environmental and ammo variations. By these definitions, the BCM 14.5 middy fails. I take that to mean it is clearly aimed at the civilian market, not the LEO/operator market.

For civilians, one could also make an excellent case that shooting steel cased ammo gives far more training per dollar, and with enough rounds downrange, the savings are enough to replace the parts that see extra wear due to the steel cases and still come out ahead over brass. It's not for me, but it is a compelling argument nonetheless. This BCM example clearly meets no solid niche, and should be marketed as such.

As cars go, it starts with a flawed design, making it more of a Corvair than an RX8.

kwelz
June 14, 2011, 09:45 PM
M&PVolk this isn't about running steel cased ammo. It is about running underpowered ammo.

Zerodefect
June 15, 2011, 08:40 AM
[

If you are an "operator", LEO or otherwise, the most critical aspect of your gun is reliability. It trumps all other concerns. It must go bang every time you pull the trigger, as your life depends on it. The second biggest concern is that you are properly trained for the task at hand. Training and staying sharp with a firearm requires lots of rounds downrange...a very expensive endeavor that many institutions look to defray costs on by using cheaper ammo like Wolf. Lastly, it should be adaptable to numerous fluid situations, including environmental and ammo variations. By these definitions, the BCM 14.5 middy fails. I take that to mean it is clearly aimed at the civilian market, not the LEO/operator market.

For civilians, one could also make an excellent case that shooting steel cased ammo gives far more training per dollar, and with enough rounds downrange, the savings are enough to replace the parts that see extra wear due to the steel cases and still come out ahead over brass. It's not for me, but it is a compelling argument nonetheless. This BCM example clearly meets no solid niche, and should be marketed as such.

As cars go, it starts with a flawed design, making it more of a Corvair than an RX8.

:rolleyes:
You can't just make things up.

Noone cares that you want it to run on cheap junk ammo. I want my guns to run on free tap water and shoot AMRAAM missles out the barrel with zero recoil. I expect BCM to provide free Hello Kitty stickers every time my gun fails or else that bad customer service. It shouldn't require Pmags, dented CK mags with sticky followers are fine. The moon is made of cheese, I'm sure of it.



Wolf is not defensive ammo. Use Hornady TAP and all these problems go away.

A middy 14.5 is a compromise to get a smooth lower recoil weapon. That can be quite an advantage in a fight. Being easier to stay on target during rapid fire is a nice thing to have.

Save the cheap ammo for playtime. Prepare properly and use quality defensive ammo and quality mags for serious work.

If you want an AR that likes junk ammo better get a Carbine 16". No AR company, 1911 company, or even Glock promises any kind of reliability on junk ammo.

Tirod
June 15, 2011, 09:52 AM
If reliability is key, then reliable ammo is the criteria. The militaries that use the Stoner platform - over 85 countries last I checked - issue full power ammo. None that I know of deliberately offer their troops inexpensive plinker ammo imported from where ever.

In real life and death endeavors, assuming is a guarantee of a short lifespan. Misuse of equipment and an insistence that something work contrary to the way it was engineered can be fatal. It's very much NOT the Mall, it's your maximus gluteus on the line, and you better know everything possible to protect it, because the "other guy" is committed to exploit every opportunity to help you lose it.

Reliability REQUIRES reliable ammo designed and specified for the weapon, tested and approved. You can use cheap fodder on the range all you want, don't even try to make the argument it should be acceptable. It's not, the failures are detailed, and using it for what it's not made to do will lead to a fatal error. That's the standard real professionals encourage and train to, not a get by attitude.

It's entirely the untrained civilian using cheap ammo in their toy guns, not the professional. It's not professional practice to use non standard ammo, and not tolerated or exercised whatsoever. Even approved full power ammo is inspected and removed from service if signs of deterioration are noted, that's the whole point of rotating stocks and selling off surplus. If it was still trustworthy, it would be in storage waiting to be used.

This goes far beyond import or commercially loaded ammo - the military won't even use what we buy as surplus. It's not good enough, much less some cheap import ammo underloaded to save a few pennies a round. THAT'S the military standard - it's prime full power fresh ammo, or it's not used at all.

Why some insist on using military spec weapons for their reliability, then insist that the ammo SHOULDN'T, is quite beyond my comprehension. If Milspec is the standard, then the standard is Milspec ammo, no exceptions.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 15, 2011, 10:06 AM
There also seems to be a mistaken belief that military-spec rifles are more tolerant to a wide range of ammo when in reality they are probably less tolerant. Look at Australian F1 ball - this is STANAG 5.56mm NATO ammo; but put it in an M4 and you are going to see a higher rate of stoppages due to the low port pressure of this ammo's propellant. Likewise, if you take M855 ball and put it in an F88 rifle (Australian AUG) you will see a higher rate of stoppages due to the high port pressure of M855. And this is with 5.56mm NATO spec ammo that meets STANAG!

If you want maximum reliability, you build a rifle around a specific ammunition type. If you want maximum ammo availability, you will have to sacrifice some degree of reliability and/or service life of parts. No free rides.

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