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AR-15 cleaning - how often?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by max popenker, Apr 22, 2003.

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  1. max popenker

    max popenker Member

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    hello

    in one private conversation i was told that the AR-15 (Colt Match Target HBAR, in particular) requires good clearing every 500 or so rounds, or othervise jams begin to occur.

    I want to know if it is a common case, and how long an AR15 rifle will fire good and/or NATO-milsurp ammo before it will start to jam due to the fouling.

    for example, HK G36 is advertised as being capable to fire 5 000 rounds w/o any cleaning, and i suppose that the G.I. AK-74 will double this number (but accuracy will degrade, of course).

    so - what with the AR-15 / M16?
     
  2. Bottom Gun

    Bottom Gun Member

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    Since the AR-15 exhausts hot gas and carbon into the breech, it should be cleaned each time it's used.
    I've shot several thousand rounds through them in the past before cleaning, but I was shooting my handloads with Dupont powder. I don't know if I could get away with that using dirtier ammo.
     
  3. Seawolf

    Seawolf Member

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    I clean after every outing.
     
  4. curt

    curt Member

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    I don't know as i don't make it a habit to shoot my firearms until they jam and then clean. My cleaning ritual for my AR is to use a little clp on a toothbrush and hit the inside of the upper, use a chamber brush on the extension and boresnake the barrel. I then tear down the bolt and carrier use the toothbrush on them, wipe them down with a paper towel to get the excess and reassemble. total time <15min.

    I know of cases where guys have shot a couple of thousand rounds in heavy combat without a problem. They obviously weren't taking time to clean.
     
  5. Navy joe

    Navy joe Member

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    I heavily clean about every 500 rounds, no carbon whatsoever in there. Other than that I leave it be. I have shot 2500 rounds of normal ammo with no cleaning and no jams, I also did a Wolf reliability test and shot 1500 rounds over 3 months without cleaning to see how long it would eat crap ammo without choking. Jammed really good when it did, but fine until then. The only things I clean right away and every time are corrosive ammo guns.
     
  6. Matthew_Q

    Matthew_Q Member

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    I'm sure a properly lubricated AR could go many rounds without needing a serious cleaning.

    However, I clean pretty well after every range session. I take the bolt and carrier out, and clean the upper receiver, then clean the bore and chamber. I'll leave the bolt and carrier assembled and clean it externally. I'll detail strip and throughly clean the bolt and carrier assy after about 1000 rounds. The barrel and chamber get cleaned every time it gets a day at the range.

    Remember, your AR is YOURS. YOU spent the money for it, so YOU decide how to take care of it. Remember, with any mechanical device, maintenance is your friend, and can help ensure reliable functioning. Unless you just CAN'T take the time to clean your rifle, you should clean it every time you take it out and shoot it.
     
  7. 444

    444 Member

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    First of all, if you are concerned about it, you need to take out your AR and your ammo, and find out for yourself. Don't buy into anything you read on the internet. Secondly, like most of the others, I have never done a torture test on my ARs just to see how long I can continue to shoot them until they fail. I have fired several hundred rounds in a days time and never had a problem. I recentely attended the Gunsite carbine class and was told by an instructor that you could keep an AR running almost indefinitely if you kept oil on the bolt. When you open the dust cover, there are three holes on the side of the bolt carrier. If you keep adding oil to those holes, it will keep running. The course was a five day course and I ended up firing somewhere around 1800 rounds of ammo. I didn't test out the instructors theory. I cleaned my rifle every night. But several guys went though the whole course and never cleaned. Every morning they squirted some oil in those three holes and that was it. I know I spoke to one guy that did that and he never had a single malfunction thoughout the course.

    To answer your question, I don't think there is a magic number where the rifle will start to malfunction. I also don't think it is possible to come up with such a number because there are many other factors involved. What ammo are we using, under what conditions are we using it, how was the gun lubed, if it starts to jam and we add oil but dont' clean does that count .................? I have personally fired in excess of 500 rounds without any problems at all. In summary, I don't think it is an issue.
     
  8. Calanctus

    Calanctus Member

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    Say, about, 10,000?


    10,000 round torture test

    Granted, they did a quick cleaning every 1000 rounds, but it's still an impressive test.
     
  9. 444

    444 Member

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    That was a very interesting article. In terms of this thread, I think it only tells us that the rifle can go for 1000 rounds without malfunctions, I wish they would have just done a pure torture test and fired until it wouldn't run anymore then lubed the bolt and kept going. I feel certain they could have easily gone several thousand rounds and had the rifle still functioning. But there was a lot of other ineteresting information. Like the fact that all the parts lasted for 10,000 rounds. And the barrel lasted for 9000 rounds. And the accuracy was quite good and as mentioned, could possibly have been better with more magnification. Most people will never fire their AR15 this much over the life of the rifle. I am kind of concerned about it however because one of my ARs is probably half way to the 10k mark and I have only owned it about six months.
    Thank you, I will pass that link along.
     
  10. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Max, as long as you keep an AR "medium wet", it will keep running for several thousand rounds. Depending on ammo, accuracy will begin, enough to show a difference, to be impacted at around 500. The greater the distance, the more it shows.

    At API 223 or UR or such courses, it will not matter as long as it is lubed. I'm like you and clean after shooting.
     
  11. Ari

    Ari Member

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    Speaking of lube...

    Speaking of lube, what is a good lube for the AR. I'll be buying my first at the end of this month.
     
  12. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    Break-Free is the best all-around lube for the AR-15. It's what the Military uses.

    As for how often you should clean it... Studies in the 60's indicated that the rifle would operate fine with any ammo for about 1000 rounds and then stopages began to happen. Even the best of ammo won't go beyond about 2000 rounds before the likelyhood of stoppages takes an exponential jump. Have you ever looked at the caked-on crap on the AR-15 after you've shot a couple of hundred rounds? The HK G-36 will simply run forever although it's suggested you clean it more often. The AK will also run forever without cleaning.
     
  13. Navy joe

    Navy joe Member

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    Good lube? I've used CLP or VV-L-800 in mine for years with no problems.
     
  14. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Lube? Depends on what I'm doing. I like Kellube for class (thick stuff, doesn't burn off, use for 1911s as well) and either SLI or CLP otherwise.
     
  15. COHIBA

    COHIBA member

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    i bore snake before leaving the session,get home and field strip and use a full can of carb cleaner then lube.
     
  16. Kentucky Rifle

    Kentucky Rifle Member In Memoriam

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    I sure clean my Bushie after every trip. After, of course, I check myself for ticks.<shudder~~>

    KR <shudder again>
     
  17. BHP9

    BHP9 member

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    I have never understood this line of thinking. If you spend a lot of money buying an Ar15 (they are not exactly cheap) and then put any extras on it like an adjustable trigger, adjustable stock, scope mount, expensive scope you can easily get $1,500 dollars or more tied up in this equipment.

    My question is simply why in the world would you want to ruin the gun way before its time to rebarrel it.

    It is prudent to properly clean any weapon after you fire it no matter how few rounds you shoot out of it. It not only prevents rust from setting in but a build up of burnt power and copper fouling soon destroys the accuracy of a rifles barrel. Over heating it is another quick way to insure an early death of a rifles barrel.

    Shooting guns in the military where cost is no object is one thing but deliliberately abusing your own very expensive personal weapon makes no economic sense whatsover even if you plan on selling it because the resale value also is affected to the extreme.
     
  18. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    Wow, I am actually in agreement with BHP9 for once. If you're not forced to run your rifle without cleaning it, why would you do it as a matter of routine? It's an expensive tool, and your life may depend on its reliable function tomorrow, so it only makes sense to maintain it as well as you can.

    I clean my weapons after every shoot. Then again, I still have my DI's mantra ingrained. When we got in from a field exercise, we weren't supposed to shower or clean our gear until after our weapons were properly cleaned. His mantra was, "First the horse, then the saddle, then the man!"
     
  19. SodaPop

    SodaPop member

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    Has anyone ever noticed how much lube comes off of guns when they sit in a safe for long periods of time? If I use CLP on my AR or FAL and don't shoot them for awhile they look dry. I don't think I'm over lubing my rifles, but my FAL and AR have have lube on the stocks if they haven't been shot in awhile.
     
  20. nemesis

    nemesis Member

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    An AR-15 does not need to be cleaned except after it's been fired. If you shoot it, you clean it.
     
  21. COHIBA

    COHIBA member

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    nemisis, obviously you have never been to USMC Recruit Depot, PI, SC.
    you clean it when it needs cleaning. sand, mud, dust, mist, humid morning outside...
    my AR's get stored muzzle down, mag inserted, dustcover closed.
    if i take one outside for some reason and dont end up shooting i'll still boresnake it and wipe down the bolt and carrier w/ oil.
     
  22. fixer

    fixer Member

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    on my first AR i ran over 1,000 rds of crappy Norinco ammo thro it without cleaning.

    oiling the 3 holes in the side of the carrier isn't going to do much, those are hewer gas vents from the inside of the bolt carrier after working the bolt... any oil you put there is going to be gone after about one mag, perhaps less.

    minimal maintanence would be to pull the bolt carrier, clean the locking lugs in the barrel extention with the chamber brush, clean the lugs onthe bolt and lube the bolt and carrier.

    for lube i like ATF and for cleaning i like Ed's Red... does a better job of disolving carbon deposits than CLP, and it's FAR cheaper.

    (Ed's Red is a mix of equal parts of Type 3 ATF, Mineral Spirits, Kerosene and Acetone)
     
  23. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    AR Cleaning. How often?

    Too often! :D

    I hate cleaning ARs. Stupid little pin. Eight little lugs. Closed Receiver. Arrgg!

    Compared to any other serious rifle it is a pain in the butt to clean.
     
  24. 444

    444 Member

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    fixer, I think you are missing something here. Those three holes on the side of the bolt carrier are placing oil directly on the bolt without disassembling it. If you think that oil will be "blown" out within one mag, what do you think keeps the oil you place on the bolt in ?
     
  25. TexasBret

    TexasBret Member

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    "The truth is that the M16 is by far the more superior weapon. It's lighter, more accurate, more versatile, and with proper maintenance it is very reliable. Indeed, it might be less sand proof then the Galil/AK47 series. However, all you need is to clean it once a day and it will work like a charm......As for reliability, the M16 is reliable enough"

    http://www.isayeret.com/weapons/assault/m16vsak47.htm

    I only have experience with a preban Colt AR15. I reloaded my own ammo. After around 500 rounds (more or less), the rifle would start experiencing "feed/jam" problems, probably because of the powder. I would recommend cleaning it every 1000 rounds OR LESS, but only if you want to be sure it will keep functioning reliably. This is the only problem I ever experienced with my AR, but does suggests that it needs to be cleaned religiously in order to guarantee proper functioning. My opinion anyway.
    :)
     
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