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  1. #1
    Legacy Member Wineman's Avatar
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    CA Jams

    Out here in the wonderful place where AR's have to hide in plain sight, I have noticed an issue that when things were normal (bullet buttons only) I never experienced.

    To whit, we now need a "disassembly" of a "fixed" 10 round magazine rifle to reload it. This is the genesis of the AR Maglock (somewhat like throwing a WW2 grenade, pull the pin first) and things such as the MA loader and Bear Flag loader (glorified stripper clips).

    In the old days a chamber flag was all you needed to push the bullet button to drop the magazine in things like NRA or CMPicon matches during the rapid fire stage. The pointy end was used as the "tool" to push the Bullet Button. Now a legal rifle needs to have a muzzle brake instead of a flash hider (really we didn't learn from the SVT 38/40 or a Cutts compensator for excessive noise???), remove the pistol grip and put on a faux stock or put in a fixed non removable magazine if the evil features are retained.

    I chose to keep it stock and put on a AR Maglock and use a MA loader to do the rapid fire reload because I hate muzzle brakes and and the "fin" stocks are not my cup of tea.

    What has happened is that I was experiencing a rash of Fail to Fire and unable to extract events. At first I blamed it on my reloads being slightly out of spec (they're not BTW). I started to experiment and found that if I rode the bolt slowly home on a round (even a factory one) the bolt may not close all the way, leaving about 1/4" inch of space. At this point the charging handle is useless and the rifle must be "mortared" on the butt stock while holding the charging handle down to extract the offending round. If the same round is fed at full bolt speed, it can be extracted without any issues. My guess is that when the MA loader is used and not smartly smacked back after pushing in the rounds it mimics the phenomenon of a slow bolt closure. I can replicate this with any round. If it was chambered and ejected, and then I rode the bolt slowly using the same round, same thing: stuck round and drastic measures to clear the jam.

    I know it is not the way Eugene Stoner designed this rifle but it is what it is. Why is the bolt sticking when slowed down but not when at "full speed" My only thought is that the geometry of the Cam Pin has something to do with it or possibly the partial engagement of the bolt lugs.

    If anyone has an idea besides moving to a more AR friendly place it would be nice to hear from you.

    Happy Holidays and my wife says my new hobby is getting a Covid-19 test a week (please people, can we just not hang out together in crowded places for a little while longer?).

    All the best and Cheers!

    Dave
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  3. #2
    Legacy Member limpetmine's Avatar
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    Is the bolt and internals sufficiently greased and the internals of the upper cleaned of fouling which may be hindering the closure? If a smartly dropped bolt goes home, it seems to me that it is having to overcome dirt or grit, or isn't greased enough.
    FWIW

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  5. #3
    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    The AR is not designed to "ride the bolt home." It needs that direct force to properly seat it in the chamber. I live in California and went with the AR maglock on my clone rifles and the the Cross Armory maglock for my custom builds. Swapping magazines worked better for me than something like the MA loader. Based upon your own experiments, it seems that the loader or how it is being used creates the problem. While at the range, try reloading the rifle in the standard way (remove empty mag and replace with full mag then release or recharge the bolt without riding it home) and see what your results are. Also, steel case ammo can create the same effect in some rifles. I have a couple that will feed it all day long and a couple that lock up with it. Good luck!

  6. #4
    Legacy Member Wineman's Avatar
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    Relatively clean, only 20 rounds had gone down range when mishap occurred (rapid reload). Not dripping wet, but well lubed with Tetra grease. It had happened on other occasions but I had attributed it to faulty ammo (reloads). Hornady steel match runs fine, never tried Wolf branded steel case. All reloads are brass and the chamber is a Compass Lake (Bushmaster DCM). Fed from the magazine or SLED it purrs like a kitten. Ride or slow the bolt down and it locks up. I have the pin only AR Maglock. I have not run a rapid drill to see if I can change mags in prone or sitting by opening the action. It is pretty complicated: close bolt, pull pin, open action, drop mag, close action, insert mag, cycle bolt. With a sling and a timer going, might be tricky. The Bear Flag loader does not let the bolt close, so that may be my next step or at least try smacking the MA loader back smartly.

    Thanks,

    Dave

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    Contributing Member Singer B's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have narrowed it down to the loader. You can actually add a set of Cross Armory Quick Pins. They are kind of pricey but they make magazine reloads pretty simple with their maglock system. Living in California sucks reference ARs, but as Americans we will always overcome idiocy!

  8. #6
    Legacy Member Wineman's Avatar
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    Since I never experienced this condition until we had to remove bullet buttons, I will have to go with that explanation. I will look into quick pins, I know my cousin has a Maglock that he uses and gets a pretty fast magazine change. The action only opens a quarter of an inch and no further. Thanks for the replies.

    Dave

  9. #7
    Legacy Member DaveHH's Avatar
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    I have had my AR since about 1980. It is a billet made Palmetto Arms (SGW) lower with GI parts. For a long time I used a heavy 1/9 twist Olympia arms barrel as I used it for HP matches. At a certain point it started doing just what you are describing. The bolt would be almost in battery but just jammed up solid and then I was looking at having a live round in a stuck gun. I started to change parts and something came to light: some of these so-called GI spec parts like extractors and ejectors were so poorly made that they were unusable. I sent the barrel to Olympia arms and they looked it over and made sure it was all in spec for chamber and headspace. It still was a troubling rifle. I used mostly quality RCBS SB die reloads with sierra bullets. Long story short, my club was closed, I got old and I just put the GI Colt chrome lined 1/12 barrel back on it and it runs flawlessly. Never jams or fails to close or F to F. I carry a copy of my DOJ letter proving registration in the buttstock. I was born and raised here in Calif and it is gone, ruined beyond repair.

  10. #8
    Legacy Member Wineman's Avatar
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    Dave,

    Thanks for the update. Switching to a "legal" mode has not turned out well for me. Tried a different (Bear Flag) stripper and same issues. For a gun that ran flawlessly (not one FTF ever) is is really getting old. Have to look at cleaning again and the buffer spring. Can't disagree about the state of the state. Doubling or tripling the population can do that to a paradise. I do like the fact that I can breathe unlike the 60's and 70's but it is a different place. Lot's of relatives have moved out and are not doing any better (lower costs for sure) but lower wages and services.

    Thanks again.

    Dave

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