I performed an informal reliablity/accuracy test on my pre-ban PWA lower/Colt 16.1" 1/9 HBAR Flattop upper.
The test occurred over about 5 months (I haven't had a lot of time to shoot this year).
I used a combination of Colt 20 round mags and G.I. surplus 30 round mags of various builds-- all in very good to excellent condition.
I fired approximately 900 rounds downrange--a mix of Malaysian surplus mfg. circa '82, Guatemalan surplus (from the recent battle packs purchased from Ammoman), and new Winchester Q3131A.
Began with a clean rifle-bore, upper, and lower were meticulously cleaned.
No CLP or oil was used. I used Tetra brand grease on all of the friction points on the carrier and charging handle, and a little on the hammer face where it rides the carrier. I also used the Tetra on the entire bolt surface (I just smeared some on with my finger and installed the bolt in the carrier).
I "oiled" the bolt only twice over the course of the test with Tetra's liquid lube (looks milky if you know the stuff) while in the upper but did not disassemble the rifle. I just put some of the lube on the carrier and put some in the bolt witness holes in the carrier.
First, I cleaned it last night and today. It was pretty dirty. The bolt and carrier were grimy and could best be described as dry powder fouling. They weren't what I would call gummed-up or caked-up however. Also, there was some carbon build-up on the bolt but it still freely moved in the carrier--I never had to use the forward assist.
The upper was similarly dirty but again not gummed-up. It cleaned up pretty well with one the gun cleaners in a can (brake cleaner type stuff). I used that and wiped with a rag--clean as a whistle. I used a new boresnake (first time and I LOVE it). Several passes through and the bore is nice and bright.
I cleaned my lower in the sink with HOT water and some orange based degreaser (I'm lazy these days and find hot water and degreaser saves time and effort on most of my guns, I even clean my 1911 and Glock in the sink--It takes less time and gets cleaner than fiddling around with CLP and q-tips all day. I just use real hot water and blow dry. I still clean bores the old way of course). The lower was very clean and only the buffer tube was really dirty.
Here are the range results:
Zero mechanical malfunctions.
Zero ammo failures. Went bang every time.
Accuracy stayed at a constant .75-1.5 MOA--depending on me and the ammo. My rifle likes the Maly stuff the best. I get consistent .75 moa out of it. Q3131 comes in second around 1.5" and sometimes better. I haven't really shot enough of the Guatemalan to have an idea with it.
Caveat: no low crawling through dirt, sand, mud, muck, or grime. All firing was either from a bench or prone on the ground. Those real world conditions would probably/definately necessitate more frequent cleaning.
With good mags and ammo, the AR is very reliable, even after hundreds of rounds.
It stays accurate as well as I shot some .75moa groups at about the 500 round mark.
Don't clean it (so much), just shoot it and enjoy it!
Thanks for the report. I agree, AR's are much more reliable than many people give them credit for.
Skip the water.
Use regular, standard BRAKE CLEANER. It removes everything, even the memory of dirt and oil!!! I use it after running a brush down the barrel to wash out all of the chunks and remaining shooters choice.
It will keep you from wondering, "Did I get EVERY SINGLE molecule of water out of my gun, or is it in th safe rusting EVERY OTHER GUN I own right now?"
Speaking of cleaning, the gunsmith (name?) that appears in a lot of the AGI videos recommends cleaning with Simple Green, rinse with water, then dry. He then applies CLP for lubrication.
Anyone who says an AR isn't reliable is just full of bunk and or doesn't know what they are doing.
Was the rifle unreliable when it was first introduced into military service, hell yes. Luckily those problems were quickly diagnosed and fixed and modern AR's won't even come close to having similar issues.
That being said, the AR does tend to be a very dirty rifle and without maintenance can give you some problems...though I'm glad to hear your test went so well.
Mine has been extremely reliable, and I have crawled through mud with it, just for fun.
Treat them right, they'll treat you right.IMNSHO.
Good test magnum_99, too bad you didn't get more time at the range to fire more ammo. I bet it could go a lot longer without failing. Being an ex Marine I never get to fire a dirty weapon.
You say it likes that Mlay stuff best of all,even over some better stuff right! Don't listen to me but next time buy some wolf,just a little and let us know what you think of it!
you might be real suprised!
Bob (can feel the heat even as I power down)
I was thinking of just letting it go longer but I was bored the other day and decided to clean it. I would like to see an ultimate reliablility test similiar glock's 300,000 round test though.
I figured that nearly 1000 rounds would be the outside practical limit of time between cleanings in a combat situation.
Unless involved in a very extended firefight, a soldier would have at least the time to pull the carrier and bolt, scrub them hastily and run a patch or two through the bore.
I was surprised however that it wasn't dirtier. I surmise that the lack of runny CLP to gum up the works helped.
I really like the Tetra and use it on all my weapons. Applied on the friction points, it lubes really well, even in low/high temps, and doesn't run off.
And yes, the gun scrub/brake cleaner type stuff works well, but I've found you must be careful with it on some finishes/plastics. I'm hesitant to use it handguns with delicate bluing/paint, and my Glocks.
As an aside, the RRA 2-stage trigger I'm using works great; it was in for about 50% of the test and is as reliable (so far) as the GI trigger but feels much better.