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Posted: 10/13/2003 9:47:44 PM EDT
Don't know what a forward assist does, but have noticed that some of the competition rifles (such as those from JP Rifles) are missing 'em.

Obviously they aren't all that important (along with the dustcover) for competition rifles, but I'm wondering what, exactly they're there for in the first place.

Thanks for answering the newbie's question.

Mahalo,
Cullen
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 10:06:07 PM EDT
They are for decoration purposes
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 10:07:21 PM EDT
Decoration. On a semi auto rifle they are virtually useless. However the weapon doen't look right with out one to me.
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 10:11:20 PM EDT
If the bolt does not seat fully, the forward assist can force the bolt closed. In the early days of the M16, cleaning was not thought to be important and fouling was common. The forward assist can help close a fouled bolt/chamber. Unlike many semi/full autos there is no hard connection to the bolt by the charging handle after the bolt is released and therfore no way to force the bolt home without the forward assist.
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 10:14:03 PM EDT
Basically if the bolt dont go all the way forward, push the forward assist and it will.
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 10:16:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/13/2003 10:19:15 PM EDT by 223kid]
i've owned half a dozen AR's in the past 7 years or so, and i've never once used the forward assist on any of them. from what i understand, it allows you to manually close the rifle's bolt if for some reason the weapon doesn't feed all the way (by tapping the assist until the carrier comes completely forward and chambers the round). i'm sure someone else can give you a better explanation, but that's my 2 cents for what's it worth. damn you guys are fast [:O]
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 11:20:07 PM EDT
Jeez man, haven't you ever had you AR apart? Did you notice the metal waves on the side of the bolt carrier?
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 12:00:38 AM EDT
i just pulled the carrier out of my dissipator.. it looks like every other one i've ever held?
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 4:36:13 AM EDT
I am not a huge fan of the FA. If you push it once or twice, and your bolt doesn't fully seat, something is probably wrong. I hate it when I see people slam their FA five or six times in a row, to get shooting. Their was/is probably a reason the bolt wouldn't go all the way forward. Crud or otherwise.... YMMV
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 5:23:16 AM EDT
there are many uses for FA, out of habit, after releasing the bolt catch, i hit it twice just to make certain it is locked.....
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 5:27:58 AM EDT
Army Training, I don't think I can load without hitting the freaking thing. My DSA Fal is tight and I still haven't broken it in. Wish it had a FA
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 5:46:02 AM EDT
As a Marine Rifleman in the field lock and load and hit the forward assist once. It becomes habit that you can't break. I can honestly say the forward assist has worked once for me and once was enough. I guess in competition and civilian life it's not needed, but there will be that time I am at my cabin and I lock and load and there is no forward assist. The bolt does not seat and as they say "shit out of luck." It's there for "incase" or "what if." It's good practice to lock and load and tap. You don't have to slam it, just a tap.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 6:12:19 AM EDT
Originally Posted By pigmy: If the bolt does not seat fully, the forward assist can force the bolt closed. In the early days of the M16, cleaning was not thought to be important and fouling was common. The forward assist can help close a fouled bolt/chamber. Unlike many semi/full autos there is no hard connection to the bolt by the charging handle after the bolt is released and therefore no way to force the bolt home without the forward assist.
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"pigmy" has it right so far as why the F/A exists. The first AR-15's/M-16's had no F/A. Much worse, the first AR-15's/M-16's were issued to the fighting troops with NO cleaning kit. Today, neither the AR-10 nor SR-25 has the F/A feature yet both are used by the military.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 6:20:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/14/2003 6:21:40 AM EDT by _DR]
I have found that in the field where sand and grit may find their way into your weapon, the FA can be a necessity with the tight tolerances of the M16/AR15. As some have said before, the FA tap during lock and load has become so instinctive I don't even realize I do it unless someone points it out.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 6:25:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/14/2003 6:26:21 AM EDT by Lockedon]
It's the self-destruct button, for when recon gets caught behind enemy lines.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 6:31:03 AM EDT
The FA is like a spare tire, so long as it's there you'll probably not need it but the miniute you take it off you'll wish you had it. I'd rather have it on the rifle and never use it as to get in a fix where the bolt doesn't fully seat and not have one on my rifle. Talk to ya'll later. TN.Frank
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 7:25:33 AM EDT
The forward assist is for when you would rather jam a round into the chamber, potentially scoring the metal with grit, than be be shot because your gun won't fire. It allows you to pull the bolt back a small amount to check for a loaded chamber and close it again silently. You can also charge the weapon silently by riding the charging handle down and then tapping the FA. Silent, good, Noisy, bad.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 8:48:37 AM EDT
Originally Posted By wondermut: As a Marine Rifleman in the field lock and load and hit the forward assist once. It becomes habit that you can't break. I can honestly say the forward assist has worked once for me and once was enough. I guess in competition and civilian life it's not needed, but there will be that time I am at my cabin and I lock and load and there is no forward assist. The bolt does not seat and as they say "shit out of luck." It's there for "incase" or "what if." It's good practice to lock and load and tap. You don't have to slam it, just a tap.
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Or you could just eject the round and chamber a fresh one.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 8:58:06 AM EDT
I use mine constantly. I've never "needed" to, but I "thumb" it constantly.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 8:59:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ks_shooter: The forward assist is for when you would rather jam a round into the chamber, potentially scoring the metal with grit, than be be shot because your gun won't fire.
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[rolleyes]
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 9:13:04 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ks_shooter: It allows you to pull the bolt back a small amount to check for a loaded chamber and close it again silently. You can also charge the weapon silently by riding the charging handle down and then tapping the FA. Silent, good, Noisy, bad.
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Very nice when predator calling. You really don't want the sound of your bolt carrier slamming shut carrying across the countryside.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 9:57:57 AM EDT
it is proper procedure to tap the forward assist before firing. in combat situations you want to make sure the bolt is all the way forward and not take the chance. for everyone out there it is not a necessary thing to, but for me, this is what the Navy does to you.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 10:07:41 AM EDT
You mean, it's not a bottle opener?!?! [>:/] [rolleyes]
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 10:25:44 AM EDT
[LOLabove] you could probably modify a tear-drop style FA to open bottles. now THAT would be a conversation piece at the range
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 10:38:28 AM EDT
I used it when my rifle was in its 200 round breakin stage. If you didnt let it fly forward at full speed it will stop short of chambering the round. Then you have to tap the forward assist to get the bullet to seat. After that I do it everytime I load to ensure I wont hear a "click" at the most inopportune time.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 11:27:49 AM EDT
It allows you to pull the bolt back a small amount to check for a loaded chamber Ive never seen a foward assist do that one b4...
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 12:38:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/14/2003 7:24:25 PM EDT by ks_shooter]
Taima, You pull back on the charging handle, check for a round, ride the charging handle forward to close the bolt silently, and then tap the FA. The FA doesn't pull the bolt back. I hope you knew that and you were just being obtuse. notack, I am pro-FA, but I am willing to admit that forcing a round into the chamber is something one shouldn't do unless the stakes are pretty high. On the range I would clear the offending round and inspect - and then clean the chamber and receiver if needed. HeavyMetal, You can try jacking the charging handle and loading another round but if the mechanism jammed once without going into battery it might just do it again. If you don't have a FA you might get through a whole mag before you get one to chamber. Tick Tock.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 1:09:03 PM EDT
Heavy metal: Or you could just eject the round and chamber a fresh one. No, there sometimes was not time. Like I said it's a combat function. It's there in a pinch. Think about it your in combat and you let the bolt go into battery. You pull the trigger and nothing. Then you have to figure it out. Did a bullet chamber, is the magazine seated, Is a bullet jammed, did the bolt close...ECT? So, with the FA simple let the bolt go into battery and tap. It take no time. This will eliminate the possibility of the bolt not closing. Then if the round doesn't fire: Make sure the magazine is seated and throw the charging handle to the rear and let it fly. I completely forgot about the silent round chambering. I have not done that in years!
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 1:20:34 PM EDT
Just one little point to add to pigmy's post. It is possible to get the bolt closed by banging the buttstock of the rifle on the ground. Not the easiest to go when you are lying prone and there are rounds coming in.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 2:47:48 PM EDT
There are quite a few things on a AR you may think you do not need. Like say a forward assist, a chrome chamber, green followers, M4 feed ramps, etc... But, just because you have not had a need yet, don't mean that day may not come. Better to have and not need, then need and not have. Ask PFC Patrick Miller about a forward assist.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 3:05:42 PM EDT
Full auto vs semi has nothing to do with the funcion of the FA. KS Shooter hit it on the head when he said, "It allows you to pull the bolt back a small amount to check for a loaded chamber and close it again silently. You can also charge the weapon silently by riding the charging handle down and then tapping the FA. Silent, good, Noisy, bad." This just might come in very handy, whether you are civilian in a defensive situation, or military.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 3:20:47 PM EDT
The FA is indispensable! How else do you know when to clean the rifle? The FA is your gauge! When things get to the point where I have to mash the button three or four times to seat the carrier, I open the rifle, wipe the carrier down with an old rag, drench the sucker in oil, and I'm ready for another thou! [naughty]
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 5:56:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/14/2003 6:03:50 PM EDT by 444]
"They are for decoration purposes" Tell that to Private Miller ________________________________________________ A famous fight, an unsung hero Iraq: During one of the war's bloodiest battles, a young private saved fellow soldiers and then kept cool amid weeks of captivity. His name is Patrick Miller ________________________________________________ .....Grabbing his ammunition vest and rifle, Miller jumped from the wrecker. He and Riley raced forward to reach the others in the convoy, several hundred yards up the road. A tractor-trailer with Johnson and Hernandez in the cab had swerved off the road and stopped, while the Humvee driven at a high speed by Piestewa had crashed into the truck's rear, leaving only a tangle of metal and bodies. All five soldiers inside the wreckage appeared dead or nearly so. Miller saw Lynch's foot twitch and assumed she was in her death throes. Miller and Riley stumbled ahead and found Johnson and Hernandez, both wounded, huddled in their truck. Riley, whose weapon had malfunctioned, tried desperately to grab an M-16 rifle from the demolished Humvee but was unsuccessful. He then tried to fire the rifles of Johnson and Hernandez, but they jammed, according to the Army's investigative report. Many of the company's rifles jammed because of the dusty conditions and lack of maintenance, the Army later found. The sergeant told his wounded subordinates to take cover, then stayed with them to protect them. Miller, meanwhile, spotted an Iraqi dump truck and raced toward it, hoping to commandeer it and drive the survivors to safety. As he ran, he could see the smoky tails of rocket-propelled grenades sail past him. Bullets kicked up dirt on the road. Miller reached an earthen berm just across the road from the Iraqi truck. Then he noticed a group of Iraqis in front of the dump truck, some 50 feet away, setting up a mortar tube. A rocket-propelled grenade slammed into the far side of the berm, and Miller rolled out the other side. When he crawled back inside and peered over the top, he could see an Iraqi ready to drop a mortar round into the tube. But Miller's rifle was jammed. A spent round would eject, but the new round would only go halfway into the chamber. Miller slammed his palm into a lever on the side of the gun, and the bullet slid into place. He raised his rifle and fired. The Iraqi collapsed in a heap before he could fire the mortar round................
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 7:02:50 PM EDT
where can we find the full account of the ambushed convoy?
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 7:46:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/14/2003 7:49:55 PM EDT by pulpsmack]
Originally Posted By 444: "They are for decoration purposes" Tell that to Private Miller
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Your point holds, but this is one of those barriers between a FA M-16 in military use and a SA AR-15 in civillian use. Someone else mentioned you can argue the same for a Chrome lined barrel, but so many people insist on those. I insist on a CLB AND on a FA. I want the closest thing I can get to the military myself. Moreover if I'm the poor SOB in that one in a million situation where a civillian needs it I'll be glad mine has it. The point being is that it is not indispensible for civillian SA, but most of us are glad to have it, even if it's more for decoration. Edited to add: Don't forget the point "lack of maintainence, written in the story. There are FEW reasons why this should happen in the field, but there are NO reasons why this should happen for civillians, as more than enough time is there to properly maintain Your rifle.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 8:31:03 PM EDT
"where can we find the full account of the ambushed convoy?" The quote was taken from the Baltimore Sun but the link is now dead. The full text can be found here on The Firing Line board: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=42598&highlight=Patrick+Miller " Don't forget the point "lack of maintainence, written in the story. There are FEW reasons why this should happen in the field, but there are NO reasons why this should happen for civillians, as more than enough time is there to properly maintain Your rifle." You hope there is more than enough time to maintain your rifle, but no one plans of having a malfunction. No matter how well you maintain your weapon, malfuctions can occur. If that happens to occur when you need it most, it is nice to know that the designer of the weapon took this into consideration when he built it. Maybe there are few reasons for this to happen in the field for the military, but being in a sand storm is one of them. I spent my short military service in the desert and found that the forward assist is a definite asset.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 9:28:36 PM EDT
Wow. Thanks for all the info, guys. :)
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 4:05:14 AM EDT
As far as silently chambering a round, why not just push on the dished out portion of the bolt carrier ? Scott
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 5:08:41 AM EDT
In my experience, I could have used a "loaded chamber indicator" about six more times than I ever had to use the forward assist. The habit of smacking the FA is an Army hold-over from the M1 & M14 eras, where the habit became habitual over decades of use. I probably have locked & loaded an M14 thousands of time and never once was the bolt not all the way home & locked when I smacked the rear of the operation rod handle, as we were instructed to do. I know that Mr. Stoner did not think the Army added FA was a good idea. He would have followed the advice provided above and extracted the partialy chambered round and hopefully some of the grit causing the problem. I did an experiment once where I was able to drop the bolt from its rear/locked position with the bolt catch with a fully loaded magazine, but there was only a barrel extension assembled to the upper receiver (no barrel). I did this to see how fast and how far a stripped round would travel accross the floor. Well, it flew and smacked the opposite wall. It had a lot more energy than I thought it would have. That is when I got concerned about all the "hammering" energy the rear of the barrel extension was absorbing from the front end of the carrrier smacking against it, but that's another story...
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 5:28:00 AM EDT
About the military vs. Civvie ARs, Wouldnt it be cheaper to use the same castings, and the same parts? That way Milsurp or military overruns could be used in the civilian market. Aren't the FA-less uppers more expensive since they are not the norm?
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 5:54:18 AM EDT
The way I look at it, better to have it & not need it, than not to have it & need it. [:D] TG
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 12:49:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/15/2003 12:50:44 PM EDT by A_Free_Man]
scottfn308 said: "As far as silently chambering a round, why not just push on the dished out portion of the bolt carrier ?" It works OK if everything is just about to slde forward anyway, but if there is much resistance, for example, the top round of a fully loaded mag, with a strong spring, you just cannot get enough purchase on the "dished out portion" of the carrier, especially if it is a little oily. It is true that the Forward Assist is seldom needed, and that if everything is perfect never needed, but the practical side of me, like TexasGunman, says "better to have it and not need it..." I may never need all 30 rnds in the mag, either, or the other six mags slung in the pouch over my shoulder.
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 1:03:04 PM EDT
Originally Posted By A_Free_Man: scottfn308 said: "As far as silently chambering a round, why not just push on the dished out portion of the bolt carrier ?" It works OK if everything is just about to slde forward anyway, but if there is much resistance, for example, the top round of a fully loaded mag, with a strong spring, you just cannot get enough purchase on the "dished out portion" of the carrier, especially if it is a little oily. It is true that the Forward Assist is seldom needed, and that if everything is perfect never needed, but the practical side of me, like TexasGunman, says "better to have it and not need it..." I may never need all 30 rnds in the mag, either, or the other six mags slung in the pouch over my shoulder.
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That could be true I suppose, however I have never needed the Forward Assist. None of my rifles have them, nor do I feel they need them. I fire approximately 6000-7000 rounds a year in my rifles. I fired 1000rds. in one day through my M-4. As Gene Stoner stated I have not seen an instance when it would have done any good. If I have a round that won't chamber I just jerk the charging handle and load another one. If the round won't chamber, there is probably something wrong with it. I have never had a chrome chamber get dirty enough to keep the rounds from chambering, I also use a suppressor so my rifle gets dirtier much quicker than those that don't. Still, I have never seen the need, in my over 14yrs of shooting these rifles for a forward assist. For what it is worth, Scott
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 1:27:36 PM EDT
OK, here's a little story. I was at the range shoting my AR, boom boom boom boom boom *click*. Hmmm! The bolt appeared to be shut. Possible causes: - No round got fed into the chamber - Round in the chamber misfired - Bolt wasn't fully seated In a firefight situation I would have immediately pulled the charging handle and got another round in there. However I wanted to know what the cause was, and first I needed to doublecheck that the bolt was seated. I pushed the FA and the bolt clicked forward. OK so that was the problem, now to find out why. I went to pull the charging handle back and it wouldn't budge!! Thoughts of jamming a cleaning rod down the barrel were going through my head and as a last ditch effort I just yanked really *really* hard on the charging handle and the bolt opened, and out popped a nicely dented up round (the reason it didn't feed & got stuck). I know there are pros and cons to the FA, but I would rather have one I guess.
Link Posted: 10/15/2003 7:41:28 PM EDT
When I load a fresh magazine in my M16, I almost always have to hit the Forward Assist button for the first round. Every other round in the magazine loads properly. But Round No. 1 almost always refuses to go in without a struggle.
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 5:25:48 AM EDT
GiggleSmith, If this happens on every mag and the gun is relatively clean - your beauty has a problem. Are you using the bolt release and letting the bolt slam home, or are you riding the charging handle down slowly?
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 5:55:00 AM EDT
oh, crap....maybe my rifle is broken? On the bushmaster varminter I just bought yesterday, I pulled back the charging handle and released to chamber the first round and the bullet didn't go all the way in, so I slammed the forward assist and then it was fine. I assumed this was normal. But you guys are saying that they should feed perfectly. Did I get a lemon? :(
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 3:58:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ks_shooter: GiggleSmith, If this happens on every mag and the gun is relatively clean - your beauty has a problem. Are you using the bolt release and letting the bolt slam home, or are you riding the charging handle down slowly?
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Bolt Release. The really crazy part is that the dirtier it gets, the smoother the bolt goes forward. Magazine #8 (or so) will normally load the first round without a hitch.
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 8:26:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SNorman: I was at the range shoting my AR, boom boom boom boom boom *click*. Hmmm! The bolt appeared to be shut.
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The answer to "click" is SPORTS, not push the forward assist.
In a firefight situation I would have immediately pulled the charging handle and got another round in there.
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Yep, that's SPOR.
I pushed the FA and the bolt clicked forward.
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Do you mean that the CARRIER clicked forward? If the hammer is down (your "click") on a loaded chamber pushing the FA won't do anything for you. The force of the bolt carrier ass'y and buffer ass'y closing jammed the deformed round into the chamber and locked the bolt, the carrier didn't close all the way and the hammer hit the bottom rear of the bolt carrier instead of the rear of the firing pin. When you pushed on the FA you closed the bolt carrier. In a properly set up rifle running proper ammunition from proper magazines the first malfunction you will have is a failure of the carrier to close. Carbone builds up on the tail of the bolt and in the bore of the bolt carrier. When enough carbon accumulates the bolt cannot fully telescope into the bolt carrier. You wind up with a carrier slightly out of "battery" and you can continue to run IF you hit the FA before every shot. This has happened to two students in classes I've sat in on.
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 10:07:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ks_shooter: The forward assist is for when you would rather jam a round into the chamber, potentially scoring the metal with grit, than be be shot because your gun won't fire.
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What I was thinking.
Link Posted: 10/16/2003 10:10:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By scottfn308: As far as silently chambering a round, why not just push on the dished out portion of the bolt carrier ? Scott
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I have an SP-1 upper on my rifle, Sans FA, this is that I do, works good for me.
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