Can you slow-cycle your AR?


January 24, 2013, 08:58 PM
I was trying to demonstrate to someone how the bolt strips the round from a magazine and chambers, but in riding forward, the nose gets jammed into the feed ramp. I can pull the charging handle all the way back and let the bolt slam home, which will chamber it (although it leaves a decent scratch on the jacket of the bullet) but going slow does not work at all.

This is with AR #2....AR #1 does this just fine. I only have about 500 rounds through AR #2, versus a couple thousand through AR #1, and besides a couple jams early on, AR #2 has been a fine shooter. Is this something to even bother worrying about, since during real operation the bolt is slamming forward with so much gusto? OR do you feel your gun should be able to cycle in slow-motion?

I looked really closely at the feed ramps for both guns, it seems that AR #2 has the same general geometry of feed ramp, but may have slightly "sharper" edges.

These are both PSA

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January 24, 2013, 09:15 PM
Oh yeah you can! Pull that puppy all the way to the rear and snappily let go. Riding it forward even a bit is a sure way to problems.

Some rifles with some magazines with some ammo can be forgiving but it's never a good idea.

January 24, 2013, 09:54 PM
Thanks Todd, I know riding it forward is not good practice. Just found it weird that one did it and one didn't. I guess my other AR is one of those that is forgiving.

January 25, 2013, 10:28 AM
My guess is that it probably has as much to do with the magazine used as the geometry of the feed ramp.

January 25, 2013, 11:40 AM
Mags are all pmags. I tried a few, same results. Just weird that one AR does it and the other doesn't, I was curious if others are able to slow-cycle a round.

January 25, 2013, 02:39 PM
I wouldn't worry. The dynamics of slowly riding the bolt forward are way different for letting the recoil spring propel the bolt forward.

If the rifle has trouble feeding while firing or when loading the 1st round (by letting the spring run the bolt home) you've got a real problem.


January 25, 2013, 02:55 PM
some upper receivers have the feed ramp continued past the barrel so the feed ramp is in essence part of the barrel and receiver as a matched pair. I baby my bcg home when I am out hunting so I dont make all kinds of noise and I use the forward assist to finish the job.

January 25, 2013, 03:41 PM
A sure-fire way to screw up a gun trying to chamber a round is to take the 'slow and easy' approach. I understand why you're doing it, but I'm not surprised at all to hear that it's biting a little bit.

January 25, 2013, 03:43 PM
I'd only be concerned if the feed ramps weren't smooth. Where the two pieces come together, is there a little 'bump' there?

January 25, 2013, 03:53 PM
all my ar's do the slow cycle

the ones that didnt when new had to be polished a little bit

i also modify the extractors on all new ar's i buy

never seen a ftf or fte after thousands of rounds on each using steel ammo 99% of the time

January 26, 2013, 05:59 AM
If you want to even make a smooth old win 94 jam just slow stroke it.

Carl N. Brown
January 26, 2013, 06:10 AM
Most semi-autos I have owned are designed to feed at high speed. For example, the Marlin Model 60 .22 semi-auto hunter and plinker is designed to feed with the bolt snapping forward from full recoil. Load the first round by pulling the bolt handle back and releasing it: Slow cycle it --ease the bolt forward-- and it will jam more often than not. Why should one expect an AR to be different?

January 28, 2013, 09:53 AM
Carl, thanks. Yes I understand most semi's function ideally under full operational speeds. The only reason I was wondering was because my first AR cycles slowly just fine. If neither of them slow-cycled I wouldn't be asking. Since I have not had any issues with this gun beyond the first few magazines, I am not worried, mostly just curious.

January 28, 2013, 12:09 PM
It's not unusual for a bolt being eased down to not have enough force from just the recoil spring to strip a round from the magazine. If you want to make the demonstration for your friend at low speed, use the forward assist to help the bolt forward. If you can, use a dummy round or snap cap for this. Too many negligent discharges happen when people are monkeying around with live ammo when a dummy round would have done the job. Also, a dummy round will let you demonstrate the entire operating cycle, including dropping the hammer.

January 29, 2013, 09:46 AM
That's the weird thing, it would strip the round from the magazine just fine, but then the nose of the bullet got hung up on the feed ramp. Moderate force on the forward assist didn't really do much, I didn't want to hit it too hard though. Charging to the rear and letting go worked, as did locking the bolt to the rear and hitting the bolt release. Both had enough oomph to get it in. So I am not too worried since that is how it would work under operation, I was just curious if AR #2 was the anomaly or AR #1 and it seems it is #1 that is unique.

January 29, 2013, 01:57 PM
I actually tried this. Magpul plastic dummies fed just fine when being slow cycled into the chamber. I did have to pop the extractor over the rim with the FA, but that was the only intervention necessary.


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