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View Full Version : When an AR stops due to fouling


bfskinnerpunk
June 25, 2012, 07:37 AM
I'm thinking about keeping my AK, but getting more into the AR world as my primary weapon.

So let's say you are firing away and the thing stops due to getting dirty or overly fouled in some way.

You don't or can't do a detailed cleaning, but you want to do what is absolutely essential to get it running reliably so that you can keep firing.

So what are the key areas to get clean (or reasonably clean) quickly?

Thanks
BF

PawPaw
June 25, 2012, 07:52 AM
If we're talking powder fouling, then squirt BreakFree on the bolt and keep running. If we're talking dirt, sand, grit, then break the action, remove the bolt, give it a quick wipe, squirt BreakFree in it and keep running. I've dragged those things through mud, blood, and beer, but I've never taken one to a sandbox.

rha600
June 25, 2012, 08:29 AM
how many rounds and in what conditions are you planning to shoot these?

Due to fouling, I'm assuming you mean dirty from not being cleaned. I've read people's posts on here and other forums over the years that have put thousands of rounds through their AR and not cleaned it.

ohen cepel
June 25, 2012, 08:47 AM
At times when we had to just "burn up" ammo we would go through 1,000's of rounds per rifle in a real short time. Once they started acting up we would usually just dump a lot of CLP on them and keep going. Don't know of anything in particular to clean since we never went at it that way.

In today's market I think you would need to shoot about $1000 worth of ammo before it becomes and issue (assuming it's quality ammo).

Bartholomew Roberts
June 25, 2012, 09:01 AM
Look in the ejection port of the AR and spray CLP liberally, being sure to get CLP in the two holes on the bolt carrier group. If you are having slowdown due to powder fouling/dirt, that will usually solve the problem for several hundred more rounds. Keep reapplying as necessary (or every 450-500 rounds if you want to be preventative) until you get an opportunity to clean it. That will solve 99% of the problems.

If it is seriously gunked up, (and by seriously, I mean you will be able to visibly see mud/dirt/sand caked all over the BCG - not just powder residue), then you may need to shotgun the upper and wipe down the BCG before applying more lube.

Sinlessorrow
June 25, 2012, 09:20 AM
Google filthy 14

BillyJack3
June 25, 2012, 10:13 AM
I keep a bottle of CLP with me just in case I need to lube up. ARs like to be run wet. Any excess will be burned off. I came home yesterday from the range and just couldn't believe that my AR was still running without issue as nasty as it looked. :) I'm regularly blown away at how reliable this thing is.

eldorendo
June 25, 2012, 04:31 PM
I use Mobil 1, 15W50 for lubing my ARs. Doesn't burn off when it gets hot. I've never had one of my ARs stop for any reason.

tahunua001
June 25, 2012, 04:47 PM
just spraying any aresol lube or CLP will usually flush enough junk out and lube everything enough to make it run for a few hundred more rounds. ARs run a little wetter than AKs anyway so the crud and gunk inside is usually already pretty loose and ready to wash away.

Hansam
June 25, 2012, 05:04 PM
I've got an old Olympic Arms A2 rifle with a heavy barrel that I've been abusing for the last 4 years. So far I've put nearly 15,000 rounds through it without cleaning and it keeps on running. I HAVE replaced the hammer on it because the sear hook on the hammer wore down and needed replacement but I haven't cleaned it at all. For the last 4 years I take it to the range, spray down the bolt and BCG with CLP, load and shoot. I let it cool on a rack then put the gun away dirty. No cleaning yet and it hasn't given me any problems.

If it DID stop functioning because of fouling I'd probably just take the bolt and BCG out, spray the upper liberally with CLP, give a good wipe and do the same with the BCG and bolt. Then re-assemble and shoot.

I've actually been purposefully abusing this rifle to see if it'll fail for a couple of reasons...

1. I heard that Olympic Arms were crappy and unreliable so I wanted to see just how unreliable the guns were - as in how many rounds before the gun broke somehow.

2. I wanted to find out just how many rounds I'd have to put through an AR before it failed beyond an easy field repair. At around 12,000 rounds the hammer needed replacing. I consider that an easy field repair as I did that in a few minutes at the range with only a small allen wrench. Oh yeah and I also tightened the gas key a couple of times too... again done with an allen wrench.

So far the gun hasn't had any major failures due to fouling, faulty parts or simply just being a crappy gun from a crappy manufacturer. What I've learned thus far is that if you keep an AR wet it'll keep on functioning. I also learned that Olympic Arms isn't as crappy a gun as I'd heard. In fact its pretty nice and accurate - I can still shoot 1.5" groups at 100 yards from a rest with it. I bet if I cleaned up the bore a bit it'd shoot like it did when I first bought it, 1" groups at 100 yards.

DeadCenter
June 25, 2012, 10:56 PM
On a good AR your talking hundreds and hundreds of rounds before you may have an issue. To keep it functioning the BCG and chamber is what your primarily going to be worried about.

Rogervzv
June 26, 2012, 12:48 AM
Sometimes just take the bolt carrier group out, wipe it down, apply some gun oil to it. Quickly check the barrel and reassemble. You can do this in under a minute assuming you have the rag and gun oil handy.

ms6852
June 26, 2012, 01:00 AM
I shot close to 600 rounds without a hitch out of my RRA without cleaning it, just using oil on the bolt. I wanted to see how many rounds it would take for a malfunction, but I started having nightmares and finally gave in to my Army training and cleaned it thoroughly. I sleep better at night after cleaning my firearms after a visit to the range.

My younger brother shot his bushmaster for almost a year without cleaning it, just kept his bolt wet and would run an oil patch and a dry patch down the barrel that is all. He finally gave up and cleaned it.

Willie Lowman
June 26, 2012, 04:21 AM
About twelve years ago I was shooting a lot of Wolf in my Colt Hbar II. I could get about 120 rounds through it before I had any trouble. Around 200 rounds it would have lots of failure to feed and failure to eject problems.

I blame part of the problem on the dirty powder in the Wolf ammo. The other part of the problem was me using to much oil.

Destructo6
June 26, 2012, 08:38 AM
I've fired about 2,300 over 5 days, rolling in dirt, though a Colt M4 without cleaning. On day 4, I pulled the bolt carrier, wiped it down and reapplied oil.

I encountered 1 stovepipe that was due to me putting the ejection port too close to a barricade.

There were about a dozen others with me, shooting the same type/brand gun, with similar experiences (very few failures).

The M4 will run dirty, but it won't run dry.

kraigwy
June 26, 2012, 09:19 AM
I've been in positions where I had to fire 1000+ rounds through a M16a1. There was no option to clean it.

Oil keeps it going, LSA in moderate/warm weather, LAW in extreme cold weather.

Water works too when you're out of LSA.

Go back and find pictures of Infantrymen in Vietnam. Notice how many have that little bottle of LSA held on their helmets with the camo bad. Guess why.

Crow Hunter
June 26, 2012, 09:26 AM
I've got an old Olympic Arms A2 rifle with a heavy barrel that I've been abusing for the last 4 years. So far I've put nearly 15,000 rounds through it without cleaning and it keeps on running.

Is it the 20" full sized rifle? They seem to go on forever.

Will it still pass the gas ring test?

I figured your rings at least would need to be changed.

Olympic makes pretty good guns. Last time I was at a public range, there was a guy there that had a tacticooled up Olympic. He couldn't hit the broad side of the barn with it and he asked me to take a look at it. The BCG looked better than any Bushmaster/DPMS/RRA that I have ever looked at and it had nice M4 ramps on it.

He didn't have a problem with the rifle, it was his 24x leapers scope, bipod, laser not being tightened down. After we took all that junk off, it shot fine. I told him if he was going to add all that stuff to it, he really needed to get a FF rail.

Slamfire
June 26, 2012, 09:43 AM
I've got an old Olympic Arms A2 rifle with a heavy barrel that I've been abusing for the last 4 years. So far I've put nearly 15,000 rounds through it without cleaning and it keeps on running.
Amazing, can you post pictures of the locking lug area of the upper? That is where my AR's foul, but I always clean them up when I get back.

I suspect your oiling keeps the fouling moist or the rifle would clog up.

Down where I live, if I did not wipe off the fouling, I would get rust. It is very humid where I live.


I can still shoot 1.5" groups at 100 yards from a rest with it. I bet if I cleaned up the bore a bit it'd shoot like it did when I first bought it, 1" groups at 100 yards.

It is always interesting to read of accounts where people shoot lots of ammunition through a barrel and get excellent accuracy. I know several target shooters who seldom clean their barrels. One of them, is a female F Class National Champ. She says she would never clean her barrel as she sees settling out of a clean barrel. Then the groups tighten up. Unfortunately, Hubby will sneak off and clean her barrel, because he cannot abide a dirty gun!

I have heard of people shooting 250,000 rounds of 22LR through target 22lr's without cleaning the barrel. They must have cleaned the breech or chamber just to get rid of the wax fouling.

Frank White of Compass Lake claims you eventually have to mechanically clean the throat of a target barrel as carbon fouling accumulates there and does not flush out with powder solvent. But you are talking match barrels that are shooting under MOA.

BPowderkeg
June 26, 2012, 09:44 AM
I've read people's posts on here and other forums over the years that have put thousands of rounds through their AR and not cleaned it.
i am one of those guys, i have an old Colt carbine "pencil barrel" that i still have not cleaned in at least 12 years.

please see post 10 by Hansam, my story is very similar to his.

Nanuk
June 26, 2012, 12:07 PM
It is an overstated internet legend created by AK fanboys to deride the AR system.

Run quality, ammo in quality mags in a quality AR and you will have no problems.

btmj
June 29, 2012, 09:08 AM
I've got an old Olympic Arms A2 rifle with a heavy barrel that I've been abusing for the last 4 years. So far I've put nearly 15,000 rounds through it without cleaning and it keeps on running.

First of all Hansam, your story can not be true because:

(1) your rifle is not a colt

(2) it is not milspec: The bolt was not MPI'd, the barrel is the wrong kind of steel, and the gas key is not staked properly.

(3) it has a low rating according to "the chart".

(4) 15,000 rounds without failure would imply that your rifle is very durable and reliable, and since it is not a Knights Armament, LaRue, Noveske, DD, or LMT, it can not possibly be durable and reliable.

(5) The guys at ar15.com said so.

(6) I mean, come on! Its fine for a range toy, but it is not something you could actually RELY on in a real self defense situation.

Obviously, I enjoyed your posting quite a bit, and it confirms many things I have long suspected. Thanks. You made my morning !

Wyoredman
June 29, 2012, 12:13 PM
btmj, I'm with ya! Hansam is the hero of the day! I have given up trying to convince people that cheap ARs (DPMS, Oly) work just fine. Those that argue that they won't hold up in combat, forget that if I am ever in combat, I hope it is with Uncle Sam's gun, not my own!

BIG P
June 29, 2012, 05:50 PM
PAW-PAW said it Breakfree keep it wet!!!~:D

Hansam
June 29, 2012, 06:18 PM
Amazing, can you post pictures of the locking lug area of the upper? That is where my AR's foul, but I always clean them up when I get back.

I'd love to however currently my camera died when it decided to dive off my boat with me... I can actually say it it weren't for the lanyard on that danged thing it'd have stayed in the boat and alive.

Soon as I get a new camera (not exactly high on my priorities since I'm low on reloading supplies) I'll snap a few pictures. Don't worry I don't have any plans to clean the rifle so I'll still be able to get some pictures off when I can get a new camera.

Just a description though, there's some carbon buildup on it but compared to my other ARs which get regular cleaning I don't see that much difference from a gun that I'd just had at the range and put a thousand rounds through. I'd say you're right - when I spray down the BCG and bolt they're literally dripping with CLP when I put them back in so I'd wager that keeps the locking lug cleaner too. As for rust - I wouldn't have a clue really unless I cleaned off the carbon and looked at the metal beneath.

Is it the 20" full sized rifle? They seem to go on forever.

Will it still pass the gas ring test?

I figured your rings at least would need to be changed.

It is a 20" full size rifle with standard A2 stock and A2 handguard.

The rings... eh yeah I forgot about those... I mean literally. :p I just checked them after reading this thread and yeah... they wouldn't pass the ring test. I just changed them. I'm rather amazed by now the gun hadn't failed there but even if it did I'd consider that normal wear and tear on the gun and not the gun failing just due to fouling or being unreliable.

It is always interesting to read of accounts where people shoot lots of ammunition through a barrel and get excellent accuracy.

I'm actually one of those people who believe in at least running a moist patch (of bore cleaner) through the bore after every range session. This particular rifle was purchased with the sole intention of being abused till it failed to function due to major malfunction. As such I haven't run any patches through it.

btmj,

Umm... I had absolutely idea that my rifle couldn't possibly be working after so many rounds for all those reasons... I guess I'm going to have to go give it a good talking to and educate it on all those reasons as to why it should not still be functioning. ;)

Seriously though most of my ARs are built off of DPMS lowers and lower parts. Thus far I haven't had any problems with them and they've had thousands and thousands of rounds through them too (albeit with regular cleaning and lube). I've got two rifles that have DMPS BCGs... and I haven't had problems with them either. I had an old Bushmaster (pre-Windham) that I got as partial payment for training a guy's dog... I put over 5,000 rounds through that and sold at a gun show for $600 a year later. That gun ate everything I fed it ranging from Tula to Sierra and kept on firing. I'd have sworn the danged thing was an AK! :D

Basically it IS possible to purchase a lower end AR and not have it suffer a catastrophic failure after the first thousand rounds. I'm not saying you shouldn't purchase the really high end guns but I don't have a single AR in my gun safe that would cost more than $1000 retail. Well ok I've got my long range bench baby but that's built on a DPMS lower too. Getting something like her from DPMS would run around $1600 according to the prices on their website. I could only imagine what that would amount to if you were buying from Noveske or LWRS etc.

Crow Hunter
June 29, 2012, 08:49 PM
The rings... eh yeah I forgot about those... I mean literally. I just checked them after reading this thread and yeah... they wouldn't pass the ring test. I just changed them. I'm rather amazed by now the gun hadn't failed there but even if it did I'd consider that normal wear and tear on the gun and not the gun failing just due to fouling or being unreliable.

Did you make sure you staggered them? You know you have to make sure gaps aren't aligned or it will stop working.:rolleyes:;)

I guess you proved that myth wrong too.:D

The 20" rifle (the original Stoner design) is significantly more robust than the carbine version and both are way more robust than internet rumor would suggest.

Most manufacturers rifles, when put together right, will last a long time and will be fine. Especially the full length rifle designs. It is a much better balanced system, less wear and tear on the parts.

The biggest thing that you pay for with the "higher end" rifles is consistency and using the correct parts for a carbine. In my experience, the "lower end" rifles are more likely to have something wrong with them within the 1st 200 rounds than the "higher end" rifles and they often use parts that will work fine in the rifle version but may have shorter lifespans in the carbine operating system.

But if anyone has a rifle/carbine and they get through a good 200 rounds failure free, they are most likely good to go for a good long while.

(And they don't have to use dental tools and white gloves to keep it running.):D