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Old September 1, 2012, 07:09 AM   #1
solman
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Forward assist question

I was at the range the other day with my latest build. A DPMS upper in .308 with dustcover and FA. This on a CMMG lower which I built up as well. I have no complaints with either one, all in all worked well. If anything I think some of my reloads with once fired brass were a little rough. While firing some reloads I pull the trigger and get a click but no fire. I check and see the bolt didn't close fully ok no problem I use the forward assist and close the bolt only now I can't fire I already dropped the hammer. Need to cycle the bolt again. So what purpose did the FA serve. Seems only useful on first loading before you pull the trigger? Also does the firing pin not reach the primer until the bolt is fully closed? I tried to figure what keeps the AR from firing on an open bolt?
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Old September 1, 2012, 07:50 AM   #2
Marquezj16
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At the range, I don't use the FA unless it's part of training. On my own, I have never had to use my FA. As far as your bolt not going into battery, are you sizing the case with a full length die? Are you running your rifle wet? Also, since it's a new build, could be just some burr that needs to be smoothed out.

As far as firing out of battery, under normal maintenance and operation, the firing fin can only protrude when the bolt is rotated into battery.

Remove the bolt and carrier from your rifle, press the firing pin forward with your finger, and rotate the bolt with your other hand while watching bolt face for the firing pin. The firing pin will not protrude until the bolt is rotated into battery.
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Old September 1, 2012, 08:02 AM   #3
Mobuck
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The only time I use the FA is when hunting and I don't want to have the bolt slam forward loudly. Just ease it closed, bump the FA a couple of times , and double check.
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Old September 1, 2012, 10:05 AM   #4
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solman, maybe with testing a new gun you should have had a box of commercial rounds. That way if your problem is only with reloads then you know its there and nothing with the gun. Find your reload problem. Maybe it needs to be sized better.
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Old September 1, 2012, 05:14 PM   #5
Ben Towe
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Redacted.

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Old September 1, 2012, 06:41 PM   #6
hodaka
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In my experience the forward assist is a good way to make a simple jam much worse. I never use it and I'm glad that my SP1 and my high rise DPMS don't have them.
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Old September 2, 2012, 09:49 AM   #7
BPowderkeg
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i am in the habit of bumping the FA with the first mag after releasing BC.., if a jam occurs, an experienced AR shooter will recognize the problem and NEVER bump the FA.

Quote:
So what purpose did the FA serve.
you are improperly using the FA, you should have bumped the FA prior to pulling the trigger, if it did not go into battery, clear that round and cycle in another round, if the bolt did NOT lock up you have a sizing problem.

if there is a small base sizing die for .308 you need to buy one, i shoot exclusively 5.56mm NATO and use an RCBS small base die.
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Old September 2, 2012, 11:26 AM   #8
Toxdoc
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Quote:
Also does the firing pin not reach the primer until the bolt is fully closed? I tried to figure what keeps the AR from firing on an open bolt?
The firing pin does not reach the primer until the bolt has locked into the barrel extension. When you disassemble the bolt carrier group to clean it, look at how the bolt interacts with the rest of the BCG. As the bolt locks into the locking lugs, it is pushed backward and makes a 1/8 twist. This shortens the over all length of the firing pin channel and allows the firing pin to reach the primer. This mechanism prevents the AR15 pattern rifles from firing without the bolt being locked closed.

This video from Brownell's might help: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/lid=11417/learn/

Last edited by Toxdoc; September 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM.
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Old September 2, 2012, 01:23 PM   #9
hodaka
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"if a jam occurs, an experienced AR shooter will recognize the problem and NEVER bump the FA."

Yeah, right.
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Old September 2, 2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
On my own, I have never had to use my FA.
It's hard to afford to buy enough ammo and downrange time to get an AR fouled enough to need help going into battery.

When Uncle Sugar is keeping you downrange for extended periods of time and providing cases of ammo..... yeah, you'll need that.

Blank rounds, in particular, are filthy, nasty dirty..... but MILES gear was so much fun!
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Old September 2, 2012, 05:37 PM   #11
solman
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Thanks for all the good tips. Always learning new stuff. The jam was not on the first round of a new mag but during the middle of it. I had a hard time clearing that round after using the FA to bump it in. I am using once fired brass Winchester head stamp but still never know what gun it went through. Have Redding FL die set but it's not small base. I still question the need for the FA on a civilian use rifle. Seems better to clear a suspect round rather than force it in.
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Old September 2, 2012, 11:26 PM   #12
Marquezj16
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Quote:
When Uncle Sugar is keeping you downrange for extended periods of time and providing cases of ammo..... yeah, you'll need that.

Blank rounds, in particular, are filthy, nasty dirty..... but MILES gear was so much fun!
During qualifications, I have not used my FA or anytime during CST.

I agree MILES gear was fun. It's been over a decade since I've used one.
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Old September 3, 2012, 05:14 AM   #13
Sport45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solman
The jam was not on the first round of a new mag but during the middle of it. I had a hard time clearing that round after using the FA to bump it in. I am using once fired brass Winchester head stamp but still never know what gun it went through. Have Redding FL die set but it's not small base.
It doesn't matter what gun it was fired in before and small base dies may not have helped. It's only a guess, but you may have collapsed the shoulder a bit when seating the bullet. The only way to catch those is careful inspection and/or putting every reload through a case gauge.
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Old September 3, 2012, 12:30 PM   #14
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All of my AR guns have the FA, but I have never used it.
They can get you into trouble, as seen in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oh1lyMyejpI
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Old September 6, 2012, 08:56 AM   #15
Skans
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The Forward Assist is what you need on a semi-auto rifle that doesn't have a bolt handle. How else are you going to get the bolt to close if encounter a slightly out-of-spec cartridge or a dirty chamber?
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Old September 6, 2012, 08:42 PM   #16
Sport45
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IMO, forward assist has applications in combat. Otherwise, about all it's good for is ensuring an out-of-spec case is stuck really well before you try to get it out.
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Old September 6, 2012, 09:00 PM   #17
James K
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The forward assist was demanded by the army in early testing with the idea of providing the same kind of "bump" troops armed with the M1 and M14 rifles gave the op rod if the bolt didn't fully close. The problem was that the M16 was a lot more likely to be jammed tight if the bolt was forced closed on a bad cartridge or with crud on or around the cartridge than the more open M1 and M14. I have heard that troops called the forward assist a "jam maker".

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Old September 6, 2012, 11:35 PM   #18
5.56RifleGuy
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When my buddy went through infantry training he asked when they would learn to use the forward assist. The instructor told him never and to ignore it.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:23 AM   #19
bamaranger
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jam "fixer"

When an untrained shooter gets a failure in the M16/AR, the first thing you see them go to is the forward assist in an attempt to "do" something.
Which only makes the issue worse.

I am fairly certain the early versions of the rifle did not even have a forward assist. You will see military trained shooters chamber a round, then bump the FA a time or two as part of their loading routine.

The two classes I've taken, the instructors derided the FA heavily.
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:09 AM   #20
abber
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My second build will not have FA. I already have the upper with the delrin plug pinned in place. Nice and clean.

I do have it on my first one, mainly because I wanted to do a build with everything there. So far, I have never used it.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:10 PM   #21
allaroundhunter
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Quote:
I check and see the bolt didn't close fully ok no problem I use the forward assist and close the bolt only now I can't fire I already dropped the hammer. Need to cycle the bolt again. So what purpose did the FA serve. Seems only useful on first loading before you pull the trigger?
The FA will not reset the firing pin, that is not its job. If you hear a click but no bang, it is the same as if you had it with a pistol. You have to work the action to reset the hammer and clear the "bad" round. The forward assist's job is to close the bolt if you pull the trigger and nothing happens (not in battery). In that situation, the FA will close the bolt, and the firing pin is still set for you to pull the trigger again.
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Old September 7, 2012, 03:49 PM   #22
Skans
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Just build an AR with a side-charging handle. Or, better yet, just buy a Sig 556 or SCAR-15. There are better designs out there.

The FA reminds me of the grip safety that you still find in modern 1911's. It was useless when it came out and it is still useless today. Yet, everyone thinks the gun needs this little piece of junk to run properly.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:15 PM   #23
hodaka
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A grip safety is useful, an FA is not.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:35 AM   #24
Skans
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Quote:
A grip safety is useful, an FA is not.
If that were true, it would have been incorporated in the Browning Hi-Power; or the Browning Hi-Power would be perceived as a marginal firearm for lack of the grip safety. The grip safety is as useless (yet more obtrusive) as the internal key locks on the newer S&W pistols. The Forward Assist and the Grip Safety are firearms appendages that serve no useful purpose other than to satisfy some government know-it-all who with no engineering skills said "I'll buy a million of those to start, but only if you put a blob of metal that moves like this over here...".
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Old September 8, 2012, 10:14 AM   #25
hodaka
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If a Highpower had a grip safety then it would be almost as good as a 1911...........but then it is only a 9mm.
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