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Posted: 5/16/2003 5:42:26 AM EDT
Hello, all.

At the range yesterday, my AR malfunctioned. After inserting a fresh magazine and thumbing the bolt release, I noticed that the bolt carrier was not fully in battery, and the forward assist could not push it forward. The bolt carrier could not be pulled back with the charging handle either.

After I got home, I disassembled the rifle and managed to knock the bolt carrier out of the upper receiver with a wooden dowel and mallet. Looking into the chamber, I noticed the unfired cartridge was stuck about three-quarters the way into the chamber.

How do I safely remove the unfired cartridge? It appears to be stuck in the chamber *real* tight (tight enough that the extractor on the bolt had apparently ridden over the cartridge rim when I knocked the bolt carrier out). I can't use a broken shell extractor since the cartridge is intact, and I certainly don't want to insert a rod from the muzzle end to try to knock it out.

Any assistance would be *greatly* appreciated. Thanks in advance.

DL
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 6:04:09 AM EDT
Believe it or not, somebody may have to tap on a rod to get the cartridge out, but there are things you can do to make it much safer. First, you likely have a sperated case with the front half still in the chamber. The next round is wedged into the remaining space. Set the upper on its muzzle. If the ammo does not have a sealed primer, WD40 on the primer will help to desensitize the primer, but a couple drops of household bleach will try to deactivate it completely. While the primer is being deactivated by a few drops of bleach, run Kroil, Hoppes, whatever, into the chamber-cartridge interface. You are trying to loosen any grip between the fresh cartridge and the chamber and the seperated case (if there is one in there). After that sits overnight, you can probably tap on the case head with a little punch and it will drop out. If not, the industry has some methods for handling these problems when they came up with. You MAY want to just take it to a trusted gunsmith. This is a high stress thing to experience. The precautions are: Block the upper to a table, ejection port down. Clamp wooden blocks to the table to corral the rifle or maybe clamp the rifle itself using wooden blocks; Gloves and safety glasses; No one beind the upper or exposed to the open bottom of the upper (if the cartridge fires, it will burst and throw fragments); Stand on the closed side of the upper - expose none of your body to the muzzle of openings in the upper; Slide a rod with no accessory into the barrel - do not place a hand or any other body part over the end of the rod; Place a piece plywood between you and rifle to shield you; Tap on the rod with a dead blow or mallet. If this sounds risky to you, it does still carry some risk. I would do it, but I was a trained professional in the industry. You MAY want to just take the upper to a trusted gunsmith. That's twice I have made that suggestion...
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 10:59:42 AM EDT
Billski, Thank you for the prompt response. I do not think the stuck cartridge is wedged up against the front part of a separated case, as I accounted for all of the spent cartridges from the previous string of shots (I reload, so I recover all brass ejected from my AR). Later today, I shall try tapping the cartridge out with a cleaning rod inserted from the muzzle. The projectile will most likely retract into the case and work its way through the powder towards the rear, but I do not think it will come in contact with the primer as the flash hole is smaller than the bullet diameter. At that point, I am hoping a couple of quick taps on the rod will free the case. What do you think? DL
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 12:55:32 PM EDT
do it assuming the round will fire so keep the barrel from pointing at you and if i were you, i'd use a wrench to hold the cleaning rod as you push it down so if it does fire your hand isn't a straight shot away.
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 1:38:43 PM EDT
Gentlemen, Thank you for your responses. Keeping in mind your suggestions, I finally dislodged the stuck cartridge thusly: 1. With the barrel pointed up. I lowered a .22 cleaning rod into the barrel from the muzzle until it contacted the nose of the projectile. 2. With light taps from a piece of 2x4, I pushed the projectile completely into the case. 3. I withdrew the cleaning rod and inserted a flexible plastic cable of a diameter smaller than the cleaning rod (NyRod, which is used as control cables in radio-controlled model airplanes), and used it to hold the projectile towards the rear of the case while I inverted the upper receiver and emptied the powder out of the case through the barrel. 4. I reinserted the .22 cleaning rod into the barrel, and pounded the stuck case out of the chamber. This required some effort (it was stuck in there good!) and I managed to ruin the cleaning rod in the process. So there you have it. Aside from the ruined cleaning rod, there was absolutely no damage to the upper receiver and barrel. I was hesitant to bring it to a gunsmith as I was not sure if the cartridge removal could be accomplished without scratching the parts. Again, thanks for all your suggestions. DL
Link Posted: 5/16/2003 1:45:41 PM EDT
Just a quick comment. While in the military when one jammed we didn't run to armourer. We had brass rods that we just knocked them out always keeping in mind the round may go off. I like my fingers.
Link Posted: 5/22/2003 12:11:45 PM EDT
Any diagnosis as to how/why the round was stuck in the first place?
Link Posted: 5/23/2003 6:21:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By FatMan: Any diagnosis as to how/why the round was stuck in the first place?
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Yes: inattention on my part during the reloading process. The stuck case was a range pickup that I had only neck-sized instead of doing a full-length resize during the case prep stage. I neck-size only cases that have previously been discharged in my AR (range pickups get full-length resized), and the stuck case must have made its way into the wrong pile when I was sorting fired cases after the previous range session. Won't be making that mistake again (I hope). DL
Link Posted: 5/23/2003 9:10:54 AM EDT
That was a very good idea of removing the powder from the case. Real clever and I will remember that in case it happens to me. Thanks for sharing that with all of us here.
Link Posted: 5/24/2003 2:58:04 PM EDT
Originally Posted By dleong: I neck-size only cases that have previously been discharged in my AR DL
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Dude, this is a bad idea in a semi-auto rifle using an inertial firing pin. If the case is too tight a fit in the chamber it may cause an out-of-battery ignition, which will ruin the rifle and hurt you badly. Seriously, this is not good. The ammo must be able to chamber with NO FRICTION-FIT for safety. "But the case fits my chamber" you say. Only if you chamber is totally round and symmetrical (it's not) and only if the chamber is as clean (and the fouling is in the same places) as when that particular case was last fired. It simply isn't worth the little bit of accuracy that you might gain. Really. Yes, some people do it, and have done it, for years. Some people win the lottery, too. Larry
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