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Posted: 9/4/2002 2:02:30 PM EDT
Greetings everyone. My first encounter shooting an AR-15 was not a good one. Here is what i was shooting with. Lower: New Olympic PCR complete Lower. Upper: New Bushmaster complete 16' A2 Upper( According to Gun Smoke, although only Bushmaster markings on Barrel, not upper). Ammo: South African .223( Winchester 223 was also tried with the same results). Mag: Standard USGI Colt 30rd. With this combination set up, the rifle CONTINOUSLY jammed. Every five rounds or so. What is the problem here. Is a Bushy upper and Oly lower a bad combination??? Is the upper possibly not Bushy, due to lack of markings, and the lower quality is causing jams??? Bad ammo??? Bad mag??? What gives? This was my first experiance with an AR-15. I have several AK's, an SKS, a Mini 14, and have never encountered a rifle that did not function properly. Any ideas /suggestions would help. Thanks in advance...PS I Live in KALI, so my options on getting any new lower are ZIIIIIIIILCH
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:09:55 PM EDT
Did you only try one mag. Try more than one, could be a bad mag. Give the gun a good cleaning. Make sure gas rings in bolt are not lined up. Try a couple of different types of ammo. If you shoot with someone who has an AR switch out lowers and see if it works. I had an upper that wouldn't shoot consistently on on my pre-ban Colt lower.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:13:04 PM EDT
i hope i can help a bit, but just saying it is jamming don't tell us much......

when it jams, does it leave a fired round in the chamber ? or is the chamber empty & a live round jammed under the bolt carrier ??

did you inspect the fired ejeced shells for stripping of the case head ?

possibly the buffer spring & buffer are too stiff ?

was the chamber clean ?

possibly the magazine dropped just enough after 5 rounds to cause the hang ups...

i had similar problems, i decided it was ammo, so i shoot only high quality ammo & the problem ended.....
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:39:50 PM EDT
That south african ammo might be too dirty for the ar, feed it to the mini and try some other ammo.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:43:08 PM EDT
We definately need a better description of the "jamming". It could be damn near anything from mags to ejector spring. Please elaborate.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:50:08 PM EDT

Ammo: South African .223( Winchester 223 was also tried with the same results


I had nothing but trouble with the SA battle pack ammo I purchased... everything else had fed thru my AR without a single glitch.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:50:46 PM EDT
I had the same problem the first time I shot my brand new Bushmaster. I found out that I had caused the problem by putting to much CLP (gun oil) all over the bolt. Did you do the same? Remember, you only need the lightest coating of oil possible.

Another possible solution: My cousins' AR15 only works with 65grain ammo. Even the best 55grain jams.

Hope this helps.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:51:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1911greg:
That south african ammo might be too dirty for the ar, feed it to the mini and try some other ammo.



Is that true, that SA is dirtier than other ammo? I was thinking about getting 2100 rounds of it since I can get it for 12 cents per round (cheaper than even Wolf!). Any opinions about whether I should get it for my AR or not?
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:51:27 PM EDT
Oh Ya,

one other thing, Don't expect that upper to say Bushy all over it, just the barrel and the lower is marked on mine.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:51:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2002 2:55:26 PM EDT by bwiese]
Greetings, fellow Kalifornistanian...

I've built & modified quite a few ARs and helped some other folks solve their problems, so perhaps I can help here too. But it'd be nice to have a more detailed description of your failure than "it jammed". Did you have a failure to feed, failure to extract, failure to eject? If we have some more info we can point you closer to the right direction...

[BTW: Gunsmoke Enterprises is a good reputable company. If you bought a Bushy upper from Gunsmoke, you have one, as opposed to a Bushy barrel on a generic upper, unless you ordered it that way to save a few $$. Shouldn't really make much difference, either case. But if we can't fix things here, they'll certainly help and back their product.]

Before we start, if you have an AR, you should also get, read, and remember the contents of the military operator's manual & maintenance tech manual ("TM") ... go see
old.ar15.com/books
and look for the -31910 and -31923 manuals. (They are downloadable/ viewable as .PDF Acrobat files; you need Adobe Acrobat reader on your PC or Mac to view this.)

Zillions of folks mix uppers & lowers from different mfgrs. Have quite a few myself! The lower is actually relatively noncritical - even lowers that have a sloppy fit with uppers work fine.

Let's isolate the problem and use some known-good reference ammo. For this I'd recommend Federal American Eagle, Remington/UMC, or IMI 55gr FMJ (full-metal jacket) factory ammo.
(Don't try reloads or surplus ammo until everything's debugged.) Use this ammo throughout your test/debug firing...

I have to disagree with Dissipator16's post about too much lubrication. Sure, it shouldn't be rolling, dripping wet but that's about it.
One very common cause of AR problems is that they're simply not lubricated enough or the right lube isn't used. Use BreakFree/CLP - it's the 'right' stuff no matter what someone else advertises. I see lots of folks on ranges with near-dry ARs (which still, on average, seem to function OK). Really, rear of your bolt should be "wet" with lubricant where it fits inside the bolt carrier. The bolt carrier should have a decent "wet" film of CLP lube on it, as well as the interior of the upper rcvr. Put some CLP on the bolt lugs and the corresponding locking lugs on the barrel (or really, the barrel extension). Don't get CLP into the barrel & chamber except when cleaning - your barrel and chamber themselves should be dry before any firing. (This is actually a safety issue to avoid chamber overpressure conditions.)

Try a batch of different true USGI magazines (*not* USA steel magazines - problem children!) - I hope you have a few! Magazines with weak springs and old followers, or with bent lips, can cause problems. Replacing the older black followers with the new green USGI anti-tip followers can help too. There is also chance that whoever had the mags before you took them apart for cleaning (really shouldn't have to do this!) and reassembled them with the spring (maybe the follower too??) put in backwards. This will also cause problems (I believe the TM covers proper mag reassembly too).

You could have a bit of a rough chamber. This is less a problem in Bushies than off-brand rifles because (except for Nat'l Match) Bushies have chrome-lined barrels & chambers with looser milspec dimensions. However, a real good treatment with the chamber brush (the one with two different size brushes on same shaft) may help clean things up a bit.

Check that the "key" (that forward-pointing pipe-like device on top of the carrier that meets the gas tube) on the bolt carrier is not loose, its screws are tight, and that the screws were 'staked' with chisel/mallet to stop them from loosening under fire. (If the carrier key is loose, it can leak gas and not cycle action properly.)

Check that the gas tube fits into the key nicely, no rubbing, misaligments, etc. Look around the front sight/gas block to see if there's any accumulated firing debris (powder buildup) - this indicates a gas leak up front, which is a warranty issue.)

Don't try to have a local gunsmith redrill the gas port, etc. - this is just plain wrong. Send it back to Gunsmoke or Bushy for warranty work, exchange, etc. if the TM diganostics/fixes or the above ideas here don't help.

It's apparently common for a new AR to require 50-100 rounds to 'break in' although I've never had to experience that as mine work fine.

Please keep us posted on how you fare!

Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 2:54:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:

Originally Posted By 1911greg:
That south african ammo might be too dirty for the ar, feed it to the mini and try some other ammo.



Is that true, that SA is dirtier than other ammo? I was thinking about getting 2100 rounds of it since I can get it for 12 cents per round (cheaper than even Wolf!). Any opinions about whether I should get it for my AR or not?




Out of all surplus ammo, South African is supposedly one of the best. I never used it but that's what my Navy Seal friend told me. I've found that IMI ammo is top notch.

So in others words, US made is the best, but I don't think Sounth African is bad.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 3:55:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dissipator16:

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:

Originally Posted By 1911greg:
That south african ammo might be too dirty for the ar, feed it to the mini and try some other ammo.



Is that true, that SA is dirtier than other ammo? I was thinking about getting 2100 rounds of it since I can get it for 12 cents per round (cheaper than even Wolf!). Any opinions about whether I should get it for my AR or not?




Out of all surplus ammo, South African is supposedly one of the best. I never used it but that's what my Navy Seal friend told me. I've found that IMI ammo is top notch.

So in others words, US made is the best, but I don't think Sounth African is bad.



Wow, Navy Seals are using South African surplus???


*snicker*
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 4:05:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2002 4:05:53 PM EDT by dave223]
We have fired thousands of rounds of the South African stuff through 3 different ARs (Bushy, RRA, Colt) with ZERO (ammo related) problems. We love the stuff for plinking.

Link Posted: 9/4/2002 4:05:54 PM EDT
Double check to make sure everything is assembled properly. My buddy bought an assembled Bolt from Delta Force. IT was his first AR, so he didn't know much about AR's He had a jamming problem at first too. IT turned out that Delta Force, when they assembled the DPMS parts, Put the ejector in backwards. the rounds wouldn't seat right in the bolt, and they wouldn't eject properly. we stripped the bolt, turned the ejector around, and it worked like a charm.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 5:05:02 PM EDT
If your rifle isnt under warranty and it leaks by the gas block what would be the cure?
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 5:54:41 PM EDT
There's nothing wrong with the SA surplus, I too have fired many rounds of it through several different ARs with no problems. First thing I would try would be a different mag.
Link Posted: 9/4/2002 6:11:41 PM EDT
First thing I'd check would be the magazines. Are they reasonably clean and do the springs have good tension on them?

Second, you've got an Olympic lower. That could be the problem all by itself. Some Olys are out of spec and that's why Oly's reputation isn't the best. (But one of my three AR's has an Oly lower (Bushmaster upper) and it's just fine, too. Oly has made many good rifles and lower receivers, but they've made some that didn't work, too. Just the truth. )

If everything's new, it'll take a few mags of ammo to get everything settled in. I expect a few jams for the first hundred or two hundred rounds. After that, the only jam I ever had was due to a weak magazine spring in an old Colt 20 rounder.

If the rounds aren't stripping completely out of the magazine, it's probably the magazine's fault. Same applies if the rifle is stripping two out at once.

Most jams I've seen in an AR were attributed to the magazine. Almost all of them, actually, except for the ones that sometimes happen when breaking in a new rifle, and those should stop happening by the 200th round or so.

CJ

Link Posted: 9/5/2002 3:59:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Second, you've got an Olympic lower. That could be the problem all by itself. Some Olys are out of spec and that's why Oly's reputation isn't the best. (But one of my three AR's has an Oly lower (Bushmaster upper) and it's just fine, too. Oly has made many good rifles and lower receivers, but they've made some that didn't work, too. Just the truth. )




I don't want to start a pissing contest here, but can you document an instance of an out-of-spec Olympic rifle? I hear this all the time, and it's always of the "I've heard" and "they say" type of story. I'm not from Missouri, but you need to show me, including details of how the rifle's tolerances were measured.

I've owned many Olys, and they've all been extremely reliable. Indeed, I'd rate them a notch above the Bushmasters I've owned.

Sorry for the rant, but I hate to see a good rifle put down.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 4:32:30 AM EDT
A lot of people like to bash Oly. I think most have absolutely NO experience with them, and are only regurgitating what they've heard.

I bought a stripped RRA lower and built it up using an Olympic PCR rifle kit. The workmanship on the parts, upper and barrel are top notch. Everything looks fine, and fits fine. The upper is only slightly loose on the lower, but that is easily remedied.

The ONLY jam I've EVER had on it, was when I accidentally loaded some .223 that I had neck sized only. Jammed in the chamber because the round was out of spec. The South African surplus runs FINE in my rifle. I was able to achieve a 183 1X in a highpower competition using it.

I'm thinking GCEE33 either has a bum mag, didn't lubricate enough, or lubricated too much. It's probably something simple. I hope he finds the resolution, and enjoys years of trouble free service from his new rifle!

M@
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 5:41:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dave223:
We have fired thousands of rounds of the South African stuff through 3 different ARs (Bushy, RRA, Colt) with ZERO (ammo related) problems. We love the stuff for plinking.




I agree 100% I have not had any problems with the SA ammo packed it the 300 rd plastic battle packs. It smells a little funny.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 5:57:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2002 5:58:48 AM EDT by Forest]
One thing to check for is the magazine catch. Try tightening it up a turn or two.

Complete directions for this can be found in the -10 as Bill pointed out. Download it and read it (there is even a section on diagnosing basic problems - the magazine catch trick is in there).

If you still have issues make sure you also download the -23&P It covers diagnosing and parts replacement at higher levels.

Edited to add:
Oh yeah South African surplus ammo is proably the BEST surplus on the market. It is to M193 spec and should run perfectly fine. MY buddies and I use this almost exclusivly for practice, and its the most common ammo found at the Maryland AR-15 Shoots.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 6:24:24 AM EDT
Regarding Oly's:

I have personally seen one that had to have a file taken to the lower receiver to get the magazine clearance adjusted so that the rifle would actually load a round. Later that lower receiver was returned as defective.

My gunsmith (who I totally trust and I've known forever, or so it seems) is generally leery of Olympic/SGW lowers. He says he's seen quite a few that just didn't fit and function reliably.
I bow to his greater experience and take his word for it.

I hear that the newer ones Oly is making show better quality control. Good for them!
My rifle with the Oly lower was made in the past two years, and it's just fine.

CJ
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 6:43:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2002 6:45:33 AM EDT by gus]

Originally Posted By marvl:

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Second, you've got an Olympic lower. That could be the problem all by itself. Some Olys are out of spec and that's why Oly's reputation isn't the best. (But one of my three AR's has an Oly lower (Bushmaster upper) and it's just fine, too. Oly has made many good rifles and lower receivers, but they've made some that didn't work, too. Just the truth. )




I don't want to start a pissing contest here, but can you document an instance of an out-of-spec Olympic rifle? I hear this all the time, and it's always of the "I've heard" and "they say" type of story. I'm not from Missouri, but you need to show me, including details of how the rifle's tolerances were measured.

I've owned many Olys, and they've all been extremely reliable. Indeed, I'd rate them a notch above the Bushmasters I've owned.

Sorry for the rant, but I hate to see a good rifle put down.




I have direct experience. I bought a pre-ban Oly rifle last year. I wanted to use it to build an M4gery, and the first thing I did was test fit another upper (it came with a 20" A1 upper). Although the upper that came with the gun seemed to fit OK, no other upper I tried would close on the Oly lower. The problem was that the front pivot pin hole was located too low. The upper that came with the rifle had the front pivot hole oblonged to make it fit. I tried 3 different uppers and none would close.
To their credit, I notified Oly (Tom) about the problem and they took care of it - replaced the lower (I think they call it remanufacturing it) with the same serial number. They did not charge me a dime, not even for shipping. It took 2 months, but the new lower is perfect.
The old one WAS definately out of spec. It was made in the late 1980's.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 6:47:55 AM EDT
Well, when I got my first AR last winter (Armalite) it was very fussy about feeding for a few hundred rounds. I got fed up with range jams (all FTF type), and took the firing pin out after a full cleaning/lube. I then hand cycled it 100 times, and cleaned it again. All the dark stuff sure wasn't powder residue, it was the receiver and bolt assembly coatings wearing in together. After another 100 hand cycles and cleaning, it finally started to feel silky like a well used AR I sampled at the range. After about 400 rounds/cycles it just sings along ever since.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 7:25:53 AM EDT
Mine seems to love Tetra grease on the bolt and carrier. As for the jamming issue, I'd bet dollars to donuts it's mag related. I've been lurking here for a year and a half or so and most of the "Help me my rifle is jamming" posts usually end with it being the mag.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 7:35:00 AM EDT
Just my 2 cents . . .

pre-ban Colt A2, 1000 rounds: ZERO problems. Bushy M-4 post-ban (my FAVORITE rifle ! ! ) 2500 rounds: ZERO problems. Armalite 16" carbine: 600 rounds, ONE FTF ! ! Ammo is either SA, WW, Federal, Olympic, Wolf, Barnaul, or ? ? ? These three rifles will eat anything ! ! Over 3000 rounds and only one problem ? ? ? And this is during "break in" ?!?!?!? Can sum this up in one word: QUALITY ! ! ! ! !

Just buy QUALITY ! ! ! !
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 7:42:11 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 9:22:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Kevin:

Originally Posted By BuLLet:

Originally Posted By dissipator16:
Out of all surplus ammo, South African is supposedly one of the best. I never used it but that's what my Navy Seal friend told me. I've found that IMI ammo is top notch.

So in others words, US made is the best, but I don't think Sounth African is bad.



Wow, Navy Seals are using South African surplus???



He's only saying his friend told him the S.A. was the best of all surplus (available), not that the Seals were using it.



Really, no kidding???

Oh I suppose you didn't see the *snicker* part, you left it out of your quote as well. I was joking.. :)

Obviously the seals don't use it... No need for surplus ammo for them, they have all us hardworking taxpayers to buy them all the new stuff they need. :)
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 9:27:21 AM EDT
Did you lubricate it? Its a long shot, but it could be that a lack of lube is affecting the tight new upper/lower combo?

Lube that bolt up like you're taking it to a virgin...errrr.....uhhhh....rifle!
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 1:49:56 PM EDT
Thanks Guys for all the replys. To tell you the truth I did not lube it up at all. When I went to the rage, I was in a hurry to get in a good 1 1/2 hours of shooting before clossing. My other rifles and guns(NHM 91, SAR1, .38 etc) were already cleaned an lubed after my last range visit, so i didnt really need to take my rifle products( always clean at home). I have had my AR lower since 99 and got the upper about a year ago, so this was my first time using it. I did not expect the thing to be bone dry, but then again I didn't check. Hopefully this is the problem. I downloaded the file "operator's manual" and i really need to read it. Also, I actually tried using 3 different mags that were USGI Colt's, so i dont think thats the problem. I hope all ends well. I basically bought the lower before the ban i figured I'd learn about AR's as time went along and i'd get an upper. I really enjoy my other rifles and hope to enjoy this on soon. Or maybe ill just turn into a bitter AK shooting AR hating guy. Well see. Ill give an update next time i go to the range. Thanks
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 2:58:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GCEE33:
Thanks Guys for all the replys. To tell you the truth I did not lube it up at all. When I went to the rage, I was in a hurry to get in a good 1 1/2 hours of shooting before clossing. My other rifles and guns(NHM 91, SAR1, .38 etc) were already cleaned an lubed after my last range visit, so i didnt really need to take my rifle products( always clean at home). I have had my AR lower since 99 and got the upper about a year ago, so this was my first time using it. I did not expect the thing to be bone dry, but then again I didn't check. Hopefully this is the problem. I downloaded the file "operator's manual" and i really need to read it. Also, I actually tried using 3 different mags that were USGI Colt's, so i dont think thats the problem. I hope all ends well. I basically bought the lower before the ban i figured I'd learn about AR's as time went along and i'd get an upper. I really enjoy my other rifles and hope to enjoy this on soon. Or maybe ill just turn into a bitter AK shooting AR hating guy. Well see. Ill give an update next time i go to the range. Thanks



Well that settles it then. Fill up the bath tub with CLP and soak the rifle overnight.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 3:18:08 PM EDT
Stop with all this lubing crap.

After about 500 rounds of break-in, your AR should function fine with only alittle lube.

I know my 20" HBAR bushy does.

I know if I was new to AR's and I had every other person telling me I have to use a 1/4 a bottle of CLP on my bolt to function correctly, I'd take my AR back and buy an AK or something.

Another thing, stop will this SA bashing!!

SA is great ammo, accurate ( Mil-spec wise), cheap, pretty clean, and very realible.

If your AR cannot shoot SA correctly, then you have an issue with your AR.

First try new mag.

Next, like other said, figure out EXACTLY what's happening and then troubleshoot your issue.

My 20" Bushy can go through an entire battle pack of SA without even a hiccup to speak of. I do it all the time. Then the next day I can shoot another without lubing or cleaning.

No additional lubing, no cleaning of bore or bolt, bla bla bla.

I had a carrier key issue and like you, was uneducated at the time and very mad at my AR.

After I started to learn more about the mechanics of the AR, I started to realize how simple they are and how simple they are to troubleshoot.

Keep your cool dude, and like any issue you'll be faced with in your life, persistancy is the key.
Link Posted: 9/5/2002 3:48:51 PM EDT
I had the same problem the first time I took my Bushmaster to the range. The bolt seemed greasy, with a heavy grease. I had quite a few jams. After taking it home and cleaning and lubing it with CLP the problem went away. Hope this helps.

BTW the SA I ordered is squeaky clean and shiny. I like it.
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