After owning this new AR-24 and posting off and on for six months, I finally got a chance to shoot it today during my carry class.
I didn't get a chance to fire as many rounds as I would have liked to but here are the results of the roughly 65 rounds shot through it. The results in functionality are nearly identical to the issues negatively reported in other posts and threads previously posted by other users of this gun in this forum.
I used only one magazine, 50 rounds of Fed American Eagle fmj ball ammo, and 15 rounds of Win Silver Tips HP. The gun was box stock new (as you may have read in my numerous posts for months about wanting to get out and shoot it) although it had been dry fired and taken apart and lubed a couple times 'properly'.
At the firing line of 21 feet to the target:
The good: Accuracy was stellar! Although I was taking a carry class and they were looking combat accuracy, I was allowed to shoot more after I qualified, so I slowed down to see just how accurate this gun was, and I have to say I was holding 1" groups with ease, and it was easy to shoot the same hole at that distance. Would like to have moved back to 25 yds, but couldn't due to class going on. The trigger pull was very nice on my particular pistol. Double action was a little long and just a bit heavy, but it was smooth. Single action was crisp with no dectectible creep, and felt like no more than 4-5 lbs, basing it on similar guns I've shot knowing the actual trigger pull weight. No problems there.
The not so good: Malfunctions with the gun were similar as reported in other posts/threads. These all occurred with Fed American Eagle fmj ball ammo. I nevr loaded more than 10 rounds (class requirement) but the 3rd or 4th round (only once per mag for some wierd reason) would stove pipe, or flat out just not get that far, and jam the gun. It was actually good practice for 'clearing a malfunctioning weapon under fire' but it got annoying after a few reloads. When I switched to my Win silver tips ( a little more stout ammo) it did not happen at all in two mag changes (5 rds & 10rds) but that's only 15 rounds to judge by.. Not that reliable to trust.
The gun was more than properly lubed, so I am somewhat convinced after playing (subjective term) with it for these last few months, measuring chamber diameter, very tight tolerances, and of course reading some as much as I could about this pistol, that the issues of fte's properly are caused by the following combination:
1.) Tighter chamber than usual. (means compared to all my other 9mms combined)
2.) The gun is brand new and tolerances are on the tight side as well. Accuracy shows me that this gun has no slop at all. (doesn't excuse the issue, but may explain it)
3.) As someone else mentioned, and it has also been my experience that the recoil spring may just be a little heavy in this pistol condition (read 1&2 above) of everything being tight and new. (not broken in)
4.) Underpowered ammo. (relitively speaking) While WWB and Fed AE are up to standard published power and pressure specs, the gun did in fact eject better with the hotter Win silver tips. Not conclusive with only 15 rds., but seems to make sense.
The gun also did it's signature 'last round empty case laying on the mag follower', but it locked open, and dropping the magazine cleared the spent case every time. It bother's me from a philisophical (why would they design it this way?) standpoint, but form a realistic issue it's not an actual problem at this point, and the manual states that will happen.
My conclusion (humble opinion/speculation) is that this gun is well built, accurate as hell, (way beyond typical defensive needs) very tight (as new condition) and maybe so much so that it really needs to be broken in with 'quality' ammo before it will shoot reliably with all forms of 'acceptable' ammo. Typically these issues are more indicitive of a customized or modified target pistol, and not ever acceptable of a 'combat/defense' marketed pistol. It's like a hybrid of sorts. Looks like a combat pistol and shoots and feels like a target pistol.
Final Grade: (my opinion only)
Accuracy: A+ (Wow is all I can say)
Fit/Finish: A (Machined and parts mating is close tolerance matte black is attractive)
Comfort/Feel: A (Very comfortable, fits had like a glove)
Reliabilty: D- (Only one fte per mag, but I think that will go away)
Value for $ B- (Would be higher, but should work reliably out of box)
OVERALL GRADE: C (Accuracy, design, are excellent, but reliability is key here, and lacking for a new high end defensive gun)
The real problem is it is marketed and sold for use as a defensive/combat pistol, and should not have the issues many (now including myself) are dealing with. Fortunately for me, I have a few other 9mms that are 99% (I never trust anything mechanical 100%) trustworthy) and have never hiccuped on anything so far, so at this point in a defensive situation, I'd go to them first.
That being said, I am going to take the AR-24 apart, clean thuroughly, check all relative moving parts and wear surfaces, properly lube it, re-assemble, and work the action like 1000 or more times while watching a movie. Give or take 100 times or so. It's also a good hand and arm work out. Switching every 100 times or so. Then take it apart, clean (any possible tiny metal shavings) and relube, and shoot it again with a 100-200 rounds of higher power ammo than the cheap stuff. I am confident at this point that this should improve the relaiblity and hopefully eliminate the fte's by loosening up the pistol a bit.
I am a little disappointed in the early performance, but I do believe this pistol has great potential. It's too bad the consumer has to dial it in to trust it..
After writing the above post last night.. err early this morning, whatever, I was looking up some further info on reviews, issues, etc relating to the AR-24 and found this site on "The Best 9mms" See number 12
The best 9mms
Only point here is that it would seem to corroborate my theory that this gun needs to "break in" (500 rounds) according to this particular site, "before you pass judgement on it"
Also I have mentioned in my last post, but not so directly, I think it likes stronger loads. A little bit of experience with similar gun issues I've encountered statistically and gut feel the way this one seems to be acting.
If these facts are true and it does eventually work out, I will keep the pistol, but it would be more of a acurate plinker than a fully trusted defense gun. I have owned (not all currently of course) 4 beretta 92's, 5 glocks in 9mm, .40, and 10mm, 2 sigs in 9mm, and 1 hk usp, etc.. And I have never had an issue with any of them out of the box stock new (sometimes never even looked, cleaned, re-lubed) firing anything from crappy ammo to match grade. Not ever in over 25 years of shooting. Even my Kel-Tec P-11 said it required a "break in period", but it never hiccuped from the first pull of the trigger.
I like the AR-24, but it'll take some time for it to gain my trust as fully reliable. Damn shame too, it's unbelievably accurate and consistent even with practice ammo..
Update on my AR-24, as of 7/11/2008. Rounds fired to date approaching 400. Still experiencing FTE's and the weird last round cartridge laying in the open chamber (yes, it falls away when the empty mag is ejected). I have kept the AR-24 cleaned and lubed to no avail. "Disappointed" with this handgun is an understatement. Yes it is nice looking but it is not reliable enough to trust as a personal defense handgun and it's embarrassing when trying to use it for local competition. So basically, it's nearly useless for my applications.
I would like to sell my AR-24 but I could not in good conscience recommend it to any potential buyer without revealing its shortcomings. So I think I'm stuck with this nice looking but inadequate piece.
Lesson learned: I'll keep enjoying my trusty, reliable and proven Springfield XD-9 and GLOCK 34. Neither have ever failed with more than 800 rounds fired to date.
I am intensely bummed out that others have not had the luck I have had with mine. Should one need luck? No, not at all. I did break mine in with some pretty hot stuff (Speer 124 grain lawman FMJ), but at the time had no trouble with WWB either, nor the title-group based 124 grain reloads I do.
Mine only seems to stovepipe when the mags are full of sand. At 2500 rounds, I can honestly say I can only recall two stoppages, one due to the sand in the mag. Sand in the action seemed to be alright - I have a vid of me tripping during a 3 gun match, into the sand, no ND or muzzle call, got up and kept shooting.
Maybe mine's the "defective" one with the weaker recoil spring?
The Witness gunsmith I talked to said Wolff springs for the Witness fit - are you going to order a kit and try them?
It is sad that $450 guns need playing with to work right - my S&W PPK is one of those.
I'm bummed too, and thanks for the support. Your's is not the defective one, that's for sure, and I had a thoery on what my particular issue is, and PM'd you with some questions. There's a little more than spring issues at work here, and would like to talk to you at some length about comparisions with your seemingly well behaved pistol ..
I sent mine back to the factory and got a refund, explained to them what was wrong and all that. Bought a CZ-75 SP01 and have been very pleased.
Actually I'm very happy for you and I think given what I've found wrong with mine and I assume yours and others have are going to require modifications that are typically done (as I've mentioned above) to hand fitted competition guns, not out of the box combat/defense pistols.
I already have a CZ 75 SP01, and I think you made a great choice. You can search and find my post somewhere on this forum boasting of how well my CZ has performed, and how much I like it.
That being said, everyone else can do what they want with their AR24's, but I am bound and determined to make mine function relaibly and turn it from my currently most unreliable functioning (FTE issue) to one of my most reliable accurate pistols.
I have talked fairly extensively to one of the main experienced repair/cust service guys at Armalite and he was surprised I was able to tell him what I had found out my issues were, and he did confirm that the issues I'm having are what they would consider one of "the ugly ones", meaning that dimensional tolerance stacking would cause more friction than some other ones.. I suggested some modifications that come standard on some other pistols, and also many do to customized pistols, and he admitted the mods I wanted to do are very similar to what the guys at Armalite have done to their own personal AR24 pistols.
He offered to make mine right by me sending it back, but "off the record' concurred with my ideas on fixing it, and we discussed some inherent flaws in the overall design of the pistol itself. Many, many units have left the factory functioning perfectly, but there are more than a small amount of defectively functioning ones that we are obviously dealing with in some of these instances.
It's a good gun that has some design and manufacturing issues that need to be addressed. But it's so damn accurate and does have the potential to be a great gun. As mentioned in a previous post, it shouldn't have to be sent back to the factory or modified by the customer, but I guess I like a challenge every now again.
I have already started to work on mine, and based on hand cycling the slide, hammer, frame friction I had, I would say I've reduced it by more than 50%. In other words it's a lot smoother functioning, and I would go out on a limb at this point to claim my FTE's would be greatly reduced if any at all. However, I plan to do a pretty extensive hammer mod to almost totally eliminate all (extraneous/problematic) friction that is a big part of the issue with my particular pistol. I'll post my findings and what changes I made when I have proof that it worked in shooting performance, not just hand cycling.
Wish me luck..
I have done 3 of 4 mods I hinted to in previous posts. After talking a few times with a repair tech at Armalite, and communicating extensively with one of the members here on the forum with a pistol that has not malfunctioned, I concluded that the mods I have done and will do will dial in the pistol and resolve the issues I'm having.
I may not have needed to go to the extreme I did just to get it functioning reliably, but old habits of tuning competition pistols took over, and I just got a little carried away. I believe it just makes the pistol more tuned and smooth. Basically I believe minimal blending and polishing, proper lubing, and more stout ammo would "break in" most of these pistols, because they were tested and designed for NATO pressure ammo. I just don't like the 'excess' friction and premature parts wearing/gouging that's occurring on my pistol.
I am not recommending or advising anyone do these mods as it may void your warrantee, but I feel comfortable that most of what I've done (except #1) can be reversed by just replacing with stock factory parts.
A brief description of the mods are:
1.) Blend disconnector rail (very short distance) on under side of slide to the same height as firing pin retainer plate. This mod alone stopped the gouging of the hammer and reduced the abrasive friction I believe was a major factor with my FTE issues. DONE
2.) Firing pin retainer plate lower radius has been angled to approx 45 deg with a slight radius. Polished smooth. DONE
3.) Hammer top is shortened and angled approx 35 deg for the hammer face. Edges radiused approx .020" Polished smooth. DONE
-This mod is stock config on many of my other pistols including my CZ 75.
4.) Extractor modded by removing odd lower step and adding small radius to resemble nearly all external extractors on similar pistols. NOT DONE
-This is believed to stop the last round casing from remaining in the chamber area on top of mag follower. I may or may not do this mod. If I do it'll be on a replacement/extra part for testing only.
I will post pics in a new thread after I have range tested with many rounds of multiple types of ammo to confirm my issues have been resolved. I will say though, that the gun "feels" completely different, and a conservative 80% of the grinding friction I believe was responsible for my FTE issues is now smooth like it should be, and maybe even smoother like a competition target gun. I am very optimistic about how this gun will be transformed into the gun I know it was meant to be. Extremely accurate and completely reliable.
It'll be a couple weeks until I get to shoot it, so I'll have to be patient until then..
Thanks for the info...I've been reading the thread and am looking forward to a range report. It sounds like you're on your way to a great gun.
TAG, i have been wanting one for some time...
Edit to ask, how does the grip profile compare to a 75?
+1, I don't see why anyone is messing with this gun when you can pick up any CZ and have no problems. My friend got one of the AR24's because he likes his two other Armalite rifles, but we went out hte other day and he has the same issues. In the mean time I am happily blasting away with my sp01 that i have put 2500 rounds thourgh and have had two malfunctions with bad reloads, no malfuntions with factory ammo. Unless your an Amalite feak why buy this thing, there are lots of better guns for the money. (I do love my AR10)
"The gun also did it's signature 'last round empty case laying on the mag follower', but it locked open, and dropping the magazine cleared the spent case every time. It bother's me from a philisophical (why would they design it this way?) standpoint, but form a realistic issue it's not an actual problem at this point, and the manual states that will happen. "
That is simply crazy. No handgun I have ever owned has even done that. If it had it would be considered a serious malfunction, not a quirky design issue. What could they possibly say to justify such a "design"? If you were to use this for self-defense I would thing it WOULD be an "actual" problem just like the stovepiping or failure to even chamber (if I understand your post correctly).
From a handgun perspective it sounds the gun has some serious issues in reliability.