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Is bolt assist on AR really needed?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BSA1, Aug 19, 2013.

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  1. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Just before the banic hit I was considering purchasing a S&W Sporter which as we know does not come with bolt assist.

    When talking to my son who is active USA he said he has used the bolt assist on occasion but he is not in a combat unit. He says the AR's they qualify with are not in good condition and it is luck of the draw with getting one that functions and shoots well. He has no idea about the age of the ammo used.

    However in the civilian market we have much more control over the quality of our guns and ammunition which leads me to ask if the bolt assist really needed for civilian use. Obviously S&W does not.
     
  2. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    The forward assist was removed from the S&W M&P-15 Sport to help it hit a price point.

    I wouldn't read any more into it than that.
     
  3. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Like a fire extinguisher it has no use until it's needed.
    Then you need it.
    A clean well lubed rifle in good condition will probably never need it.
    Dirt, wear, and so forth may cause problems the assist may help with.
    Keep in mind one thing; it's there because the actuator on the AR is behind the carry handle and is separate from the BCG and the bolt. There is no way it could be used as an assist.
    While older military rifles such as the M-14, the Garand and the M-1 carbine did not have AR-like "assists" they didn't need them -- the actuator was on the right side and part of the bolt actuator/cam that was used to charge the weapon; if those guns didn't come to full battery you whacked that actuator with the palm of your hand.
    An act hopefully as rare as the use of the AR assist ... but likely for similar reasons.
     
  4. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    No. If a round doesn't seat just by fully retracting the bolt and releasing, you have a problem. Remove the round.

    John
     
  5. MartinS

    MartinS Member

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    "...he has used the bolt assist on occasion..." Listen to him.
     
  6. wally

    wally Member

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    IMHO its a cure worse than the disease. If a round doesn't enter the chamber freely, pounding it in with the FA will likely make matters worse. On a military weapon I could imagine a situation where one last shot could be a life saver and if it doesn't do the job lack of a follow-up wouldn't matter, but in general if you need to use it you may need tools to get another shot from your rifle.

    I'd think it'd better to transition to the pistol instead of hammering in a round with the FA if you wouldn't have time to eject and try a fresh round.
     
  7. moxie

    moxie Member

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    Ages ago. We didn't have forward assist on our M-16s. I personally never felt the need for one. In the rare case of a round not going fully into battery, it makes more sense to me to eject the round and try again with a new one. I remember when they started appearing, thinking, hmm, what have I been missing? Couldn't figure it out.

    Now all AR-type guns have BFA, except for the exceptions like the Sporter. I still have never felt the need to use one. Might be useful in a rare combat scenario, in which case, given the option, I'd want one. But otherwise it's pretty much useless.
     
  8. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Having started out on original M16s without the FA, I don't feel the least bit embarrassed to say it IS needed on MY ARs. :)
    My first AR did not have one & it was traded off in favor of one that did.
    Denis
     
  9. mr.trooper

    mr.trooper Member

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    Not needed IMO.

    If you have a failure, your responce should be an imediate action drill, not to cram on the FA.
     
  10. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    "...he has used the bolt assist on occasion..." Listen to him.

    I am. He says "the AR's (actually M-16 for the purists) they qualify with are not in good condition and it is luck of the draw with getting one that functions and shoots well. He has no idea about the age of the ammo used."

    Those issues do not apply to apply to most civilian shooters.

    Also AK and Mini 14 don't have the feature either.

    The forward assist was removed from the S&W M&P-15 Sport to help it hit a price point.

    Hey I have no problem saving some bucks as long as it is reliable weapon in normal civilian usage which in my case means I am too old and fat to go crawling around in mud and sand.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  11. wally

    wally Member

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    They have a "fixed" bolt handle, same as the M14(M1A), Garrand, & M1 Carbine, but again hammering in a round is unlikely to be a more than a single shot "solution".

    I've never used the FA on any of my ARs, not missed it a bit on the two that don't have it (they stack in the safe a whole lot better), and never used the bolt handle as a FA on an AK, M1A, or Mini-14.

    Edit: I have used the bolt handle to hammer out a stuck round on an AK with the assistance of a rock :)
    With an AR if long brass rod time, if the "pogo bounce" doesn't do the trick.
     
  12. gotigers

    gotigers Member

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    I am a recreational/match shooter only. I don't have a need for it. I see no reason not to buy a S&W sport for the same type of shooting.
     
  13. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    Well what's this rifle for? If it is just for target shooting I'd go with the Sporter. If it is something you want to bet your life on in a defensive situation I'd go with one with the forward assist and dust cover.
     
  14. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Yes they do.

    It's called a "bolt handle" and it gives you Means by which you can manipulate the bolt in EITHER direction.

    On the AR the charging handle can only work one way. This said on an AR a round not fully clambering is telling you to GET IT OUT! Not JAM IT IN FURTHER
     
  15. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    My FFL is a former marine and he told me never to use the FA unless it was an emergency. Didn't ask him why but got the impression it isn't good for the rifle.
     
  16. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Member

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    This is a good read on the subject. Good because it includes the why in the evolution of the forward assist.

    Ron
     
  17. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    FWIW, Eugene Stoner did NOT like/design the forward assist. So, the guy who invented the AR did not believe in them.
     
  18. adelbridge

    adelbridge Member

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    I use mine often. I hunt with my AR-10 and I baby the bolt shut so not to make any noise. I use the FA to make sure bolt is closed. On the LR308 version the FA is the shell deflector. A lot of big money swat style ARs are slick sides. Slick sides carry much easier as they don't snag on clothes. You can use your thumb to push the bolt forward and it is just the right amount of pressure to keep you from chambering a round that shouldnt go.
     
  19. Dave Rishar

    Dave Rishar Member

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    No. I have an analogy for why, but it's slightly racy and may not be appropriate for this forum. PM me if you really want to know. It's slightly humorous.

    As has already been mentioned in this thread, if the round doesn't want to go in, stop and find out why. Forcing things where they don't want to go rarely corrects the problem, and in fact usually makes things worse.

    Can a forward assist be useful? Yes. Adelbridge mentioned one way in the post just before mine. But it's not needed.
     
  20. YZ

    YZ member

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    Not needed. But it is so identified with the M16 that it is still replicated in modern semi-auto clones for the sake of "authenticity". Some 22LR versions keep an entirely cosmetic forward assist, like the fake air gills in a sports car.
     
  21. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    Not exactly true in the case of a Garand. Even in properly-operating Garands, a slight tap of the op-rod handle is often needed to close the action and fully chamber a round after loading a new en-bloc clip.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  22. oldguy870

    oldguy870 member

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    Like the previous poster said:

    1. FA allows you to silently load your weapon.

    Drop a round into the chamber and slowly release your bolt with the charging handle. Then, use the FA to make sure it is in place.

    2. It allows you to do a chamber check silently. Same principle as above.
     
  23. lpsharp88

    lpsharp88 Member

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    I've got a M&P 15 Sport and could care less that it doesn't have a dust cover or a FA. Never used the FA in the military (even with the crappy A2's in basic) so really didn't see a need for one for my personal weapon. Like other people have said, no need to try and force something that doesn't wanna fit to begin with. Would probably save a big headache to eject the finicky round and chamber the next one
     
  24. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Both of these tasks can be accomplished by pressing forward on the bolt carrier itself.
     
  25. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I personally have never had the forward assist work for me on an M16A1.

    I used to compete in rifle matches when I was in the service and I learned to just eject the round and move on.

    I also would take a few extra rounds with me to the firing line because it usually happened at least once over the course of a competition that a round wouldn't chamber.

    But that's just the old service rifle - there are so many different makes now of the AR, I would expect it to be different for different manufacturers.
     
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