Just How Dirty?


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MistWolf
July 31, 2013, 01:59 AM
Ever since I was a kid, I've been told by those older and wiser than me, that the AR must be kept clean to run reliably, that the slightest bit of dust or carbon fouling will cause it to choke. Being bitten in the buttocks too many times believing gun myths, I've decided to find out for myself what the facts are. I bought an AR carbine and have given it minimal maintenance over the last three or four thousand rounds, most brass, some steel. I've also run a couple "bricks" of 22 rimfire using a CMMG adaptor. I've kept it lubed but other than that, all I've done is run a Boresnake through the barrel and wiped down the BCG couple of times. The lower is pretty thick with a carbon/oil sludge and the rifle stills runs reliably.

But that's small potatoes. If you really want to see how filthy an AR will run, read the following article on the infamous Filthy 14-
http://www.slip2000.com/blog/s-w-a-t-magazine-filthy-14/

Now you know- a legacy AR, without the benefit of a so-called "piston" upper will run even when it's as filthy as a dirt road.

There are very few rifles any more foul than Filthy 14. The number could probably be counted on one hand- maybe even on one finger. As nasty, neglected and abused as Filthy 14 is, there is a rifle even nastier, has suffered greater neglect and abuse- and it still runs. That rifle has got to be an AK, right? Nope. It's an FN-FAL, the Right Arm Of The Free World, one built from an StG58 kit. Here's the "Tale of Ol' Dirty". That rifle has been run through hell.

http://falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68486

I don't advocate anyone neglecting their rifles to such an extent, but next time someone tells you an AR needs to be operating room clean, you can tell them about Filthy 14. If anyone says an AK is needed for reliability, you can tell them about Ol' Dirty. There you have it. The stories of two very tough rifles

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briansmithwins
July 31, 2013, 03:38 AM
ARs will work dirtier than many people would believe. One of the tricks is to keep them well lubricated, even when it's dusty.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcfqZFWpk9s

AR gets the treatment at 15:20 in.

BSW

sixgunner455
July 31, 2013, 04:29 AM
It needs *lube*. Clean is better, but *lube* is essential.

SlamFire1
July 31, 2013, 09:34 AM
One of the lies that the Army used to hide the defects of the early M16’s was to claim that the rifles jammed because slovenly GI’s were not keeping the rifles “clean enough”. Those rifles could have been medically clean, or clean room clean, and they still would have jammed because the rifle and its ammunition had not been thoroughly tested to get the unreliability out of the system. Maybe this has effected thinking on this subject.

Still, when I talk to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, these guys clean their M4’s, some guys were cleaning them three times a day. This was due to the dirt sensitivity of the action, the AR15 action is more dirt sensitive than other military sidearms. One guy, who was a truck driver, if he did not clean his weapon, every day, which was kept in the cab of his truck, it jammed. Bottom line, his life was on the line and he was going to keep his weapon clean. Those who did not keep their weapons clean, like Private Jessica Lynch and her truck battalion, got into real trouble. http://rense.com/general44/hereo.htm http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/19/17373606-iraq-war-10-years-later-where-are-they-now-jessica-lynch?lite According to the links about the convoy attack, we know Pfc Miller’s rifle and Jessica’s rifle jammed due to dirt, I wonder how many of the eight dead Soldier’s died with jammed weapons in their hands?

Still, when I come back from a Highpower match, I clean my rifles. They have only had 88 rounds through the things but I clean, lube the things and I don’t let them sit and rot in carbon filth. My rifles are extremely reliable and that is the way I like it.

JustinJ
July 31, 2013, 10:11 AM
I just don't see it as a testament to a machines reliability that it be so dependent on constant lubrication. Especially if we're talking about a machine that tends to burn off lube at a relatively high rate. However, reliability is ultimately a relative term. For the vast majority of civilian it's not an issue to add lube as often as need be. I have numerous AR's that run fine in the manner i use them. But if we're talking military use I think there are far better options today, especially considering the current trend of shorter barrels. Tight tolerances within the AR's action, in addition to constant exposure to superheated gasses, also probably makes the AR more prone to stoppages by external contaminants than other systems.

yzguy87
July 31, 2013, 10:15 AM
Interesting read. Thanks for the link!

hentown
July 31, 2013, 10:45 AM
I won't read through 1000 words, when 50 would suffice, but I will opine that my ARs run fine, and I don't keep them spic-and-span. ;) I do lube them with The World's Best Lubricant, Mobil 1! :cool:

Jackal
July 31, 2013, 10:59 AM
Ill clean about every 1k rounds. If I was in really harsh conditions I would clean whenever possible.

Shawn Dodson
July 31, 2013, 11:17 AM
Pat Rogers: "KEEP YOUR CARBINE RUNNING" - http://www.slip2000.com/blog/s-w-a-t-magazine-keep-your-carbine-running/

adelbridge
July 31, 2013, 11:53 AM
blog postings on a product website are created to make the company money. If the consumer is "educated" by the post that is a side effect. I have purchased used ARs that were uncleaned and unlubed for sever thousand rounds to no ill effect.

MarshallDodge
July 31, 2013, 12:05 PM
Lube is key.

My only experience with an AR in dusty conditions is when I took a Rock River midlength carbine out coyote hunting about five years ago. I slung it over my shoulder and rode my dirt bike over 50 miles total across dusty roads. Never got any coyotes and the outside was coated in a nice layer of dust. Inside, with the dust cover closed, wasn't bad, just a tad gritty. I shot a couple mags through it at a 3-gun match a few weeks later and it ran fine.

RR carbines are built a little too tight for my taste but this one ran fine, even when dusty.

Cosmoline
July 31, 2013, 01:13 PM
From internal residue? If the ammo isn't defective and the weapon well built, the AR will run without any troubles. The problem seems to be when taken out into the field and subjected to sand, grime, mud, and other external sources of crudola which CAN impede the action simply because the tolerances are tight. But more often it seems the problem lies with the magazines getting too old and worn out. Those magazines and their interaction with the action are the major weak point of the AR action--not the gas system.

AK's tend to blow crud out or just let it fall back into the receiver where they fall out the mag well or just get kicked to the corner. More than once after flailing around in prone I've come back to find rocks lingering inside the AK action. But the real strength of the system is the magazine. Compare the flappy, disreputable AK magazines and how crudely they fit. Yet they are incredibly reliable. AR mags fit very tight but may not work, and sometimes a magazine seems cursed to repeatedly fail.

Shawn Dodson
July 31, 2013, 06:09 PM
blog postings on a product website are created to make the company money. If the consumer is "educated" by the post that is a side effect.

The article "KEEP YOUR CARBINE RUNNING; Lubrication and Cleaning Myths" by Pat Rogers was originally published in SWAT magazine in December 2006 and appears to be no longer freely available on the Internet except on the blog I linked.

sixgunner455
August 1, 2013, 02:45 PM
I just don't see it as a testament to a machines reliability that it be so dependent on constant lubrication. Especially if we're talking about a machine that tends to burn off lube at a relatively high rate.

:/ what, like a car engine?

JustinJ
August 1, 2013, 02:58 PM
:/ what, like a car engine?

If you have to frequently add oil to your car's engine there is something wrong. Regardless, it's an apples to oranges comparison.

sixgunner455
August 2, 2013, 02:31 AM
If you have to frequently add oil to your car's engine there is something wrong. Regardless, it's an apples to oranges comparison.

Your car engine is constantly lubricating itself, you know. Oil reservoir w/5 quarts+, oil pump runs from the moment you start the engine until you turn it off. It is absolutely a machine whose reliability is completely and totally dependent upon constant lubrication. Try running an engine w/o oil. The point wasn't that they are comparable in every respect, just that, yes, machines are more reliable and last longer if they are lubed. My truck has 130k miles on it. I expect it to be reliable past 200k, because I provide it with constant lubrication.

The first M16 I ever fired was made before I was born. It was one of the most accurate and reliable M16 rifles I ever had. Why? Because it was constantly maintained and lubricated.

200Apples
August 2, 2013, 02:48 AM
Just How Dirty?

Long read, but very, very interesting: The USA’s M4 Carbine Controversy (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usas-m4-carbine-controversy-03289/)

mljdeckard
August 2, 2013, 03:00 AM
I believe that the military encourages cleaning to the point they damage rifles, and they don't care. Lots of dinged crowns, and barrels with the last four inches of rifling gone, bent components in the lower, from people leveraging toothbrushes into them, etc.

This obsession has its origins in the days of corrosive ammo. Back then, you had to clean it as soon as you shot it. I think today, the main driver is armorer accountability. The armorer can get inspected at any time, or have to turn weapons in, and the bottom line is, if he accepted it back dirty, it's on him, no excuses. This is why they enforce surgical cleaning standards, it has nothing to do with making sure they run well.

I never had problems with mine in Iraq, even through some dust storms. Keep the dust cover shut, keep something in the mag well.

I know a competitor who has fired 5,000 rounds through his main rifle without cleaning it, he just keeps it wet with Mobil 1 5w30 synthetic. No, it's not a BAD idea to keep them clean, but it's not as critical as the army teaches.

Arizona_Mike
August 2, 2013, 12:38 PM
I don't think dirt is the AR's big weakness.

I was visiting a friend in St. Louis during the blizzard of '96 (I had driven up from Florida) and both his (very clean) rifles jammed repeatedly on an outdoor range (a Colt and a Bushmaster) and were basically unusable.

We were both gun guys and we were not going to let something like a record blizzard stop us.

When the visit was supposed to be over, I tried to start my van's 3L DOHC cam engine and the cam seized almost immediately more than doubling the length of my visit (the shop first they thought it was just a snapped timing belt, then they had to order a cam which was on backorder) and I almost got fired from my job (part time job as a student so not worth a plane ticket). Those were the days . . .

Mike

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