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Posted: 1/25/2008 3:26:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/25/2012 3:43:31 PM EDT by Another-Bill]
We've all read the reports that if you don't shoot a Colt (I own a few) that your rifle will probably fail due to something or the other breaking in a 2 or 3 day course. Got me to wondering, is it some common breakage like the bolt, or some small pin.

If so, is it the lower or upper that is more of the problem?
So what if you have a Colt lower with a Stag LPK in it?

Or a Bushmaster upper with a Colt (non-M4) barrel and Colt bolt ok?

I have shot more cases of .223 than I can remember through my 5 Bushmasters and 2 Colts, with most all of it through only 2 of the guns (1 Bushy the most and 1 Colt), with no breakages.

Just wondering.

Bill
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 3:44:37 PM EDT
The other issue in addition to parts breakage is tolerance stacking that creates problems when a gun is run hard. My rule of thumb, if I can't have a factory rifle, is to use Colt FCG's, bolts, and barrels.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 3:46:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2011 11:42:50 AM EDT by thedoctors308]
...
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 3:49:34 PM EDT
Just be sure you have a mil-spec bolt and you'll be good to go.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 4:04:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/16/2009 4:43:22 PM EDT by xmikex]
Bolts and bolt carriers tend to be the primary issues I've seen. Bring a spare.

If you've got a chrome-lined barrel, m4 feed ramps, properly staked gas key, good bolt with strong extractor (add a d-fender or "O" ring if needed) you shoud be set.

Mags are another weak point. The latest Pmags have actually gotten good reviews (though I've never used them). I've used USGI mags with magpul followers and been happy.


Be sure to locktight BUIS, Aimpoints, eo-techs, etc. etc. If it's got screws and its on your gun, locktight that sucka'
It sucks to lose a BUIS or have an eo-tech pop off during a string of fire.


LUBE: I use Grease The key is to keep the gun lubed up. Run it wet and you'll be happy. I like grease because it stays where it's supposed to and doesn't run off the parts that need lube like oil does.



Take care,
Mike


Link Posted: 1/25/2008 4:08:45 PM EDT
What we see go down at class falls into these catagories.

Wear items
Specifically, extractors and extractor springs.
Bolt rings
Buffer springs

Parts guns
Parts ain't parts. If you get your stuff from gun shows and garage sales, don't expect quality
I had a guy in a recent class bragging on T1 that he built his carbine for $400 and "it is just as good as..." That feternoon it wouldn't ectract. The extractor was worn snooth and then re park'd; the extractot spring was flat (no joke) and the insert was just crumbs.
We replaced it all.
On T3 his bolt broke in half.

Hobby guns
Generally ok, but non MPI bolts may not last (we see less problems with breaking lately) and some of the new guns may not work at all. These should not have to be shot in- they should work out of the box.
Chambers are often 223, no matter what is marked on the barrel. When the gun gets hot, extraction slows down.

Worn out guns
Parts wear. Sometimes the guns are just plain shot out- more often, military guns.

Think MEAL
Magazines- serviceable mags
Extractor- serviceable
Ammunition- quality ammo, not garbage
Lube- generous lubrication

If you have that, most of the guns- even some of the very low end guns- might do well for a class or more.

On the other hand, some of the companies make absolutely great guns. They will last a long time.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 4:22:10 PM EDT
Pat,

Do you see a lot of carriers breaking? I'm going to pick up an extra bolt for a carbine course I'm taking this spring but I'm unsure if it's worth the money to buy the entire BCG.

Thanks in advance.

-Ryan
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 4:23:45 PM EDT
Absent the gas key/ gas key bolts, never.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 6:26:06 PM EDT
I have nowhere near the experience of Pat, but another issue I've seen are loose castle nuts. Especially after weapon retention drills. Weapons that weren't staked come loose after getting manhandled and shot alot in a short amount of time. Lack of lube causes problems until guys figure things out and start running their guns wet.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 6:37:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By xmikex:
Bolts and bolt carriers tend to be the primary issues I've seen. Bring a spare.

If you've got a chrome-lined barrel, m4 feed ramps, properly staked gas key, good bolt with strong extractor (add a d-fender or "O" ring if needed) you shoud be set.

Mags are another weak point. The latest Pmags have actually gotten good reviews (though I've never used them). I've used USGI mags with magpul followers and been happy.


Be sure to locktight BUIS, Aimpoints, eo-techs, etc. etc. If it's got screws and its on your gun, locktight that sucka'
It sucks to lose a BUIS or have an eo-tech pop off during a string of fire.


LUBE: I use Grease The key is to keep the gun lubed up. Run it wet and you'll be happy. I like grease because it stays where it's supposed to and doesn't run off the parts that need lube like oil does.



Take care,
Mike




Have to 2nd the loc tite deal. Use the blue, and it will keep screws from coming out but isnt impossible to get them out easily. A soldering gun on the bolt head for a minute will break down the loc tite and the bolt will be able to be removed just as easily as without any on there. It works with red and green too but just have to heat it up more.

I also put it on the bolt for the pistol grip, castle nut (staked as well), ACOG mount screws.

I keep enough spare parts that I pretty much have 2-3 of everything I need, and if I replace something it gets ordered so I keep the same amount on hand. I keep a complete spare BCG for each AR15 I have.

Bolts get rebuilt at 3k rounds as well as the buffer spring gets replaced...Check everything during every cleaning...


Link Posted: 1/25/2008 6:56:45 PM EDT
I have written several articles in SWAT about this very stuff in the past few years, and i keep it in the AAR's from the classes.

We seldom see the Locking Nut come loose- probably because most of the guns coming to class are Colt or others that actually build them to spec.

Probably 60% of the optics mounts we see are Larue. The throw lever is lockable, and there is thread locker on the screws, so not to many problems there.

We have been trying to convince guys to run the guns wet- as in wet- for about 15 years now. Some are payning attention, and that reduces the potential for problems.
Whew!
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:14:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Pat_Rogers:
I have written several articles in SWAT about this very stuff in the past few years, and i keep it in the AAR's from the classes.

We seldom see the Locking Nut come loose- probably because most of the guns coming to class are Colt or others that actually build them to spec.

Probably 60% of the optics mounts we see are Larue. The throw lever is lockable, and there is thread locker on the screws, so not to many problems there.

We have been trying to convince guys to run the guns wet- as in wet- for about 15 years now. Some are payning attention, and that reduces the potential for problems.
Whew!


Those spray bottles of CLP come in damn handy dont they? There's one on my desk right now actually...


Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:20:42 PM EDT
Actually i haven't used CLP in 7 years.

I run Slip 2000 EWL, but yeah i have a big spray bottle on the line and i give the students a 1 oz bottle for their gear.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:35:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Pat_Rogers:
Actually i haven't used CLP in 7 years.

I run Slip 2000 EWL, but yeah i have a big spray bottle on the line and i give the students a 1 oz bottle for their gear.

Alot of the talk of guys saying they use a liberal application of some light synthetic motor oil like mobil 1 seems to make a lot of sense to me. Have you tried anything like that yourself or just wound up happy with slip?

Thanks!
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:37:30 PM EDT
I've used Super Lube (Teflon grease) for my Sig Sauer Handguns for many years and have never had any problems. Used it on my M-4 also. No worries so far.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:42:07 PM EDT
Pat, thanks for the info. It is nice to have someone around here that can contribute like you can.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:44:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Pat_Rogers:
Actually i haven't used CLP in 7 years.

I run Slip 2000 EWL, but yeah i have a big spray bottle on the line and i give the students a 1 oz bottle for their gear.



Does the SLIP last longer than CLP during extended/hotter firing?


Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:49:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By K9Dude124:
I've used Super Lube (Teflon grease) for my Sig Sauer Handguns for many years and have never had any problems. Used it on my M-4 also. No worries so far.




Are you using JUST the grease? The purpose of oil lubes on the AR15 is that it gets down into the nooks and crannys of the gun when applied, and then you have to use enough that there is enough on there where there will still be lube when it starts getting burned off. You should be using an oil/liquid lube in your AR... Personally Ive found a couple sprays of CLP every 3-400RDS keeps things working for quite a while depending on how used the gun is. A newer gun where things havent quite worn together yet might need it more often to ensure reliability.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 7:51:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2008 7:53:24 PM EDT by ar_mcadams]
I wonder why when the chambers get hot extraction slows. Seems like when hot, the chamber would actually expand a very small amount. Maybe not enough to make extraction easier but why would it make it harder? Maybe it has to do with hot and dirty at the same time??
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 8:01:46 PM EDT
Guy... Don't get wrapped around the axle as to what brand of lube.. Slip.. Breakfree.. Mobil 1 ..
it all works, some a tad better then others, the key is how much and where and at what interval..

I've been to a course now and again and the guns that run consistently are built to a standard and ran by guys who know how to keep them running,how to clean them, etc.

Bad magazines probably account for more problems then anything else.. lack of lube...
Last year I ran into a problem with low powered Radway Ammo making my gun sluggish and causing some failures to extract. A new extractor and spring and some fresh lube and I was back in the game..

I did loose a Locking lug on a Bushy bolt several years back in a course..but that gun had about 10K rds on it when it went..
Keep spares and your good. One year I ran a gun and kept a spare BCG.. the next year I just kept a spare gun.
If you don't have a spare gun, then at a minimum have a spare bolt.

Honestly.. the only reason guys break shit at a class, is because for a lot of them and there guns, it's the first time it ever ran hard ..300-500 rds per day... and the low quality crap usually "floats" to the top quick. EVERY body's shit breaks... but the quality stuff just does it less often and with lesser predictability...

If you have a Gun that has thousands of rds thru it and it runs great.. you will have no problems.

Trying to predict different combinations of lowers/uppers/LPKs/BCG's etc is like trying to pic the winning lottery numbers.... good luck...Arm yourself with knowledge and learn how to maintain/clean and lube is the key and have a spare BCG and good mags and you will be fine.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 8:09:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ar_mcadams:
I wonder why when the chambers get hot extraction slows. Seems like when hot, the chamber would actually expand a very small amount. Maybe not enough to make extraction easier but why would it make it harder? Maybe it has to do with hot and dirty at the same time??




Think about the part in red, and then think about why extracting would get slower. As well as expanding slight outward its also expanding slightly inward, and creating a slightly tighter chamber. The brass is also going to be expanding do to the heat in the chamber, and in being fired. The case is expanding exactly to the chamber dimensions...

You also have carbon build up on the metal surfaces.


Over 1k rounds Id spray everything down with brake parts cleaner, and then spray a shit load of CLP on everything and keep going.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 8:12:40 PM EDT
Thanks for the kind words...

Re grease/ oil.
While the M1/ M14 were made to run on Lubriplate, the M16 runs better on oil.
Having said that (and i say it often), grease, 3-1 oil, motor oil, saliva, WD40, Urine, CLP, Slip 2000 and Vagisil will all keep the gun running (and i have done it.) However, Urine smells, and some of the other stuff doesn't last long.

Of the greases, we have used TW25B (known as Elephant Sperm) for certain applications- specifically water related.

But i think oil is a much better lubricant overall.

Yes- i believe that the Slip EWL is less likely to burn off, more likely to stay viscous and probably a whole lot better for your health.

See "Keep Your Carbine Running", Dec 2006 SWAT magazine.
Link Posted: 1/25/2008 8:13:38 PM EDT
Last rifle class I went to we had 3 failures:

AR#1: S&W M&P had a disconnecter fail, rifle would double and was replaced with a spare rifle.

AR#2: Loose fired primer fell into chamber and locked bolt up. Rifle was recovered by hammering out the takedown pins and removal (forcible) of bolt assy.

M1A: Lost it's extractor. Rifle was replaced with spare.

I carried a spare bolt and associated pins. I also had a spare rifle in case of weird failures.

BSW
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 9:09:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Pat_Rogers:
What we see go down at class falls into these catagories.

Wear items
Specifically, extractors and extractor springs.
Bolt rings
Buffer springs

Parts guns
Parts ain't parts. If you get your stuff from gun shows and garage sales, don't expect quality
I had a guy in a recent class bragging on T1 that he built his carbine for $400 and "it is just as good as..." That feternoon it wouldn't ectract. The extractor was worn snooth and then re park'd; the extractot spring was flat (no joke) and the insert was just crumbs.
We replaced it all.
On T3 his bolt broke in half.

Hobby guns
Generally ok, but non MPI bolts may not last (we see less problems with breaking lately) and some of the new guns may not work at all. These should not have to be shot in- they should work out of the box.
Chambers are often 223, no matter what is marked on the barrel. When the gun gets hot, extraction slows down.

Worn out guns
Parts wear. Sometimes the guns are just plain shot out- more often, military guns.

Think MEAL
Magazines- serviceable mags
Extractor- serviceable
Ammunition- quality ammo, not garbage
Lube- generous lubrication

If you have that, most of the guns- even some of the very low end guns- might do well for a class or more.

On the other hand, some of the companies make absolutely great guns. They will last a long time.



Thanks Pat, that is exactly what I wanted to know. Great info.

Bill
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 9:44:21 AM EDT
My pleasure!
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 9:44:26 AM EDT
I believe this is the Article Mr. Rogers was referring to:

www.ar15.com/content/swat/keepitrunning.pdf
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 10:48:01 AM EDT
Thanks 0612!
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 11:31:35 AM EDT
Any suggestions as to where to pick up a set of the parts that break down frequently? I shoot a Colt (MT, I hate NJ) but the only parts sets like that I've seen are from Bushmaster or Fulton, and I want to make sure I'm getting decent parts, not some out of spec. junk. I'd rather stick with Colt or LMT, a MPI and shot peened bolt, etc.
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 11:55:55 AM EDT
You can get Colt parts from SAW.


SAW
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 11:57:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2008 12:04:46 PM EDT by StevenH]
Only parts i have had fail at school is an aftermarket "match" trigger.
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 12:13:08 PM EDT
this is some awesome information. thanks for all the good info and heads up on what to watch for.
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 12:20:14 PM EDT
love the vagisil
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 12:44:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2008 12:44:58 PM EDT by Pat_Rogers]
I use to use the Vagisil for the imitation men that came to classes at a commercial school i worked for.

However, after listening to people claiming that the gun's had to be dry, and watching the dry guns malfunction at the cyclic rate, i figured- Vitamin A and aloe can't be all bad.

It works. Might not want to use it for long, but it has kept balky guns running for at least 500 rds...
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 1:47:52 PM EDT
I agree with what Pat said about parts guns.

I build my own, but I buy quality parts. I don't buy from the bargin bin at gun shows. I enjoy looking for the quality parts and it takes me a while (4-5 months) to build a rifle I can trust.

Link Posted: 1/26/2008 1:53:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CB1:
I agree with what Pat said about parts guns.

I build my own, but I buy quality parts. I don't buy from the bargin bin at gun shows. I enjoy looking for the quality parts and it takes me a while (4-5 months) to build a rifle I can trust.



I agree CB1 if I am building a rifle and don't have the money to put quality parts I will wait until I do have enough money to get the best parts I can buy. When I am finished I am never surprised with the function of top notch rifle. Even a factory 6920 will quit running if it is not properly cleaned and lubricated.
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 2:36:50 PM EDT
The first class I went to I saw a lot of problems with:

Unsecured optics - EOTech fell off a guys gun

Broken bolt and pin - unknown manufacture

Bad parts gun - guy assembled it from Bushmaster parts but had damn near every problem you can imagine including improperly staked gas key, buffer tube coming loose, etc.

Bad magazines - me, some questionable mags I brought that I hadn't planned on putting into rotation did get in and I had some minor issues from two magazines; others had issues as well. My mags were USGI and I saw some others have problems with USGI and Thermolds.

Dirty guns - Second day my gun had Wolf stuck case syndrome most likely from a dirty chamber. Partner's gun destroyed his bolt (again, unknown manufacture) with the same issue during the same drill.

Broken buffer retainer pin - Oly gun don't know exactly how this happened to this guy's gun

Second class:

Not much to speak of. I had zero issues but there was one guy who had trouble with his rifle and finished the class with an instructor's rifle. Did not get to see what the problem was and or why he had to use another rifle altogether. I also did not pay attention to other's problems here as I did during my first class.
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 2:47:10 PM EDT
Buffer retainers break, Not often, but we see a few a year.
Cause? Lower grade parts. Parts are not parts, and those who buy cheap, generally wind up buying twice.

I have a Book of Horrors that i bring to class. I haven't seen it all, bit i have photograhed a whole lot of it...
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 5:16:53 PM EDT
Hopefully nothing will break in a class, especially if it is a rifle your life may depend on someday. Hopefully a rifle won't break in a fight for your life either, but better in class than on the street; but maybe I'm just an idealist.
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 5:20:51 PM EDT
Hey Pat - I enjoyed that article, it's full of good info. I do have a question though - what led you away from CLP? I'm a former Marine myself, and it's all I've used for years now. I respect your experience, so I was wondering what made you switch.
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 5:59:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Pat_Rogers:

I have a Book of Horrors that i bring to class. I haven't seen it all, bit i have photographed a whole lot of it...


That book needs to be wrapped up in a PDF file and posted here. My popcorn is ready.

ZM

Link Posted: 1/26/2008 6:26:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/27/2008 10:04:01 AM EDT by Pat_Rogers]

Originally Posted By Subconscious:
Hey Pat - I enjoyed that article, it's full of good info. I do have a question though - what led you away from CLP? I'm a former Marine myself, and it's all I've used for years now. I respect your experience, so I was wondering what made you switch.


Thanks for the kind words.
CLP has never been what it is supposed to be (that is. all three requirements).
About 5 years ago the Army comic PM stated that it shouldn't be used as a cleaner as it promotes carbon.
If it promotes it as a cleaner, why doesn't it as a lube?

We started looking at other stuff, and while i am not green, a non petroleum based lube makes more sense to me, especially when you think how many times you have had it on your fingers/ skin absorption.

I find the EWL lasts longer, burns off slower then CLP.

Edited for spell check..
Link Posted: 1/26/2008 11:54:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2011 11:42:35 AM EDT by thedoctors308]
...
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 7:14:41 AM EDT
Just remember ..they all can and will break. My low enough count Colt A2 Hbar sheared it's gas key bolt. I got to FTE a few cases per mag. Staked properly from the factory ( COLT ) but either they put in screws that was out of spec ( to hard IMO ) or they improperly torqued them. But alls well that ends well. She's healthy again.. Like been stated Quality made parts will break less....... WarDawg
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 7:23:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thedoctors308:
Pat - how have CMMG products performed in your classes?
I am especially interested to know if there have been any failures from their LPK.


Casn't help you there. I don't remember ever even seeing one at class.
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 9:12:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/27/2008 9:26:04 AM EDT by M4builder]

Originally Posted By Pat_Rogers:

Originally Posted By Subconscious:
Hey Pat - I enjoyed that article, it's full of good info. I do have a question though - what led you away from CLP? I'm a former Marine myself, and it's all I've used for years now. I respect your experience, so I was wondering what made you switch.


Thanks for the kind words.
CLP has never been what it is supposed to be (taht is. all three requirements).
About 5 years ago the Army comic PM stated that it shouldn't be used as a cleaner as it promotes carbon.
If it promotes it as a cleaner, why doesn't it as a lube?

We started looking at other stuff, and while i am not green, a non petroleum based lube makes more sense to me, especially when you think how many times you have had it on yout fingars/ skim absorbation.

I find the EWL lasts longer, burns off slower then CLP.


Somebody should get this guy a membership. It has the spell check.
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 9:13:26 AM EDT
Thanks for the info Pat Rogers!
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 9:22:18 AM EDT
I wish we had more threads that went like this one has! Great discussion.

I agree with Pat and M4 both. Bad parts make horrible carbines BUT it is possible to build a rifle that will run with the herd for a long time if the right parts are used. Last weekend I went to a gun show and picked up a spare Colt SOCOM barrel and a Colt bolt, the other 10K parts in the building I didn't consider.

Does anybody know if MILITEC is synthetic or petroleum based? Pat got me thinking now - I've messed with these things for 20 yrs and had God knows what ingested by my skin over that time period.
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 9:37:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/19/2008 4:22:43 PM EDT by M4builder]
Pat_Rodgers sir, if you would:

Have you encountered any spring failures because of high rate of fire and heat?

Any indications that high rates of fire cause bolt breakage?

At about what point would carbon build-up cause malfunctions?

I feel these questions are on topic, and only someone who has seen a lot of ARs put through the 'test' can really elaborate on them because they are the only one who can testify to the overall reliability of the system.
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 9:51:17 AM EDT
I'm curious to know if there is anyone that can read this thread and still say it's better to run an AR dry.

I wanna thank everyone, especially Mr Rogers for their info.
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 9:54:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dusty_C:
I'm curious to know if there is anyone that can read this thread and still say it's better to run an AR dry.

I wanna thank everyone, especially Mr Rogers for their info.


That's part of the reason I think I had the Wolf case stuck in the chamber not to mention mixing Wolf ammo with XM193 during the course (although it wasn't the XM193 that got stuck I had mags loading with mixed ammo which was my bad decision).

I didn't lube the weapon throughout the day and I'm sure that if I had I wouldn't have had any problems.
Link Posted: 1/27/2008 9:59:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By wgjhsafT:

Originally Posted By Dusty_C:
I'm curious to know if there is anyone that can read this thread and still say it's better to run an AR dry.

I wanna thank everyone, especially Mr Rogers for their info.


That's part of the reason I think I had the Wolf case stuck in the chamber not to mention mixing Wolf ammo with XM193 during the course (although it wasn't the XM193 that got stuck I had mags loading with mixed ammo which was my bad decision).

I didn't lube the weapon throughout the day and I'm sure that if I had I wouldn't have had any problems.
I could dump a gallon of vagisil into my M4gery and wolf would still make it hiccup after about 150 rounds. It'll run all day otherwise. Wolf and me don't get along.


Oh, as far as bolt breakage goes, for anyone else. What brands are more or less prone to it? I'm working on 2 builds right now and don't have the bcgs yet.
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