View Full Version : largest cause of AR15/M16/M4 stoppages?

August 14, 2012, 11:19 PM
this is just out of curiosity, what others experience so this is all about your personal experiences...

i would have made this a poll if i could, or knew how.. but the choices would have been

magazines (either poor seating or other related issues)
lack of cleaning/tight tolerances
gas-system related

so... tell me what youve had the most stoppages caused by, and what you think the #1 cause is

August 14, 2012, 11:23 PM
My number 1 issue was with GI issue mags with the standard follower; I would have a failure to feed of some kind about once every 4 or 5 mags. I replaced them with the magpul enhanced follower and have since (>500 rounds) had no malfunctions. So, for my AR, it has been magazine related.

Sent from my HTC One X

August 14, 2012, 11:26 PM
failure to extract.

August 14, 2012, 11:35 PM
MEAL: Magazines, Extractor, Ammo, Lubrication

August 14, 2012, 11:38 PM
Magazines. Cheap mags will cause double and sometimes even triple feeds. A few years back we had serious issues with our issued mags. The problem has since been fixed and the old mags were all marked for training use only. They were great for failure drills but not much else... Ever try to clear a triple feed out of a smoking hot gun while firing a timed qualification course? Real pita!

Crow Hunter
August 15, 2012, 07:24 AM
Personally, the only failure that I have ever had was using too much grease on the cam pin and having some of it get onto the firing pin and in sub-freezing temperatures the firing pin couldn't hit the primer hard enough to fire. :eek:

This had never happened in wamer weather and I never thought about it.

I cleaned it out by repeatedly pulling the firing pin out and wiping it on my pants leg until I no longer saw red. (Wheel bearing grease)

It fired all the dimpled rounds after that.

I don't use grease on the internal BCG parts anymore, just gun oil. I still use the grease for the AK. (But I DON't grease the firing pin.:D)

August 15, 2012, 07:44 AM
I had an M-16A1 in the IDF. Sticky sand and battered mags were my biggest problems.

August 15, 2012, 08:08 AM
You guys are all wrong. Newbs.

Running out of ammo is the most frequent cause of M16/M4/AR-15 stoppages.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 15, 2012, 08:47 AM
For me, it has been:

1. Ammo (Got a bad case of XM193PD with a lot of squib loads)

2. Magazines (Acquired a lot of magazines before or during the 1994 ban, which led to old mags with bent feed lips or golf ball sized dents in the mag body that I kept trying to rehab instead of just throwing them away). When the ban went away in 2004, my mag issues seemed to go away almost over night - along with a lot of those old mags that I had been trying to keep alive.

3. Operator Error - Went through a period of "too much lube is bad because it attracts grit." Every single lube related stoppage (8 out of around 8,000 or so logged rounds) I had also occured during this period. Since adopting "no such thing as too much lube" as my operating philosophy, zero stoppages related to grit or friction.

4. Operator Error/Love of gizmos - Because I love to tinker, I installed several "reliability enhancements" that did not enhance reliability in my particular system. Most notably the MGI Rate Reducing Buffer that choked several of my midlengths.

August 15, 2012, 01:22 PM
Running out of ammo is the most frequent cause of M16/M4/AR-15 stoppages

Nice. :)

August 15, 2012, 02:36 PM
ive spoken to people before about this question, about their experiences with the AR-15 and 75% of the responses were magazine related

the reason i asked them before was an idea i had relating to the AK desgin.. people try to claim its better reliability is due to its gas system, or lose tolerances, and to some extent it is... but AKs have a magazine with a consistant curve to it, and an attaching mechanism that eliminates the need to bump or tug after seating.. in short, when the magazine goes click, its in

many magazine issues with the AR15 magazines tend to be the fact theyre straight magazines for the section that fits into the magwell, while the rounds themselves want to curl up in a banana shape.. also they tend to seat a bit inconsistantly, and fresh mags may not seat properly

so its my thought that the magazine design could be one of the most important factors leading to the AK being more reliable than the AR

August 15, 2012, 03:39 PM
In my experience (I worked a M4 qual range for a couple years....), in order it's:

1. Underlubrication
2. Mags

....then a bunch of other issues (broken parts, user error, ammo, ect...)

chris in va
August 15, 2012, 05:45 PM
I've had three stops out of 3000 with my Sport. Two were out of spec reloads where the case wasn't resized enough, and the third had a blown primer stuck in the locking lugs.

It comes with a P-mag, fortunately. Zero mag issues.

August 15, 2012, 05:55 PM
Bad ammo and bad mags.

August 15, 2012, 08:50 PM
the number #1 cause for malfunctions I've seen is old beat-up worn out magazines. A close second is s****y operator maintenance....

Breaking poor care of an individual weapon down further, the vast majority of the malfunctions from poor maintenance are from underlubrication. That bolt and bolt carrier should glisten. Not drip, but definitely have a wet appearance. That will work even in a dusty desert environment. The second leading cause of operator induced malfunction would be lazy cleaning habits... mostly in the chamber and barrel extension ("star chamber").

I think a grand total of maybe 1-2% (MAYBE) of M4/16 failures I've seen were from actual mechanical failures of the weapon itself (magazine excluded).

I think I've only seen a handful of instances of a bad 5.56 round. Then again, I don't shoot too many custom handloaded rounds, and I'd imagine that would be where the most failures of ammo would occur.

I've heard horror stories, but I've never had my M4 fail when I needed it to work.
*EDIT - knock on wood*

August 15, 2012, 09:21 PM
Somewhere around 4-5K rounds of Tula or monarch (both "commie steel"), clean (mostly field strip) every 500 or so rounds, I hear people grease parts, I've just dropped gun oil on it and hit it with a lil rem spray when I get to the range. oh and I use pmags, never once had a failure of any type, maybe a few crappy series of shots ;)

Lastly never once cleaned the gas return tube

August 15, 2012, 09:24 PM
Operator Headspace, bad magaizines, improper assembly an improper lubrication. I saw an article where the guy used vagisil to lube an AR-15 and it worked.

August 15, 2012, 11:48 PM
I saw an article where the guy used vagisil to lube an AR-15 and it worked.

That would be Pat Rogers (as a test) but he doesn't recommend it! :p

I believe he was making a point to lube the BCG somehow, anyhow, especially in adverse conditions.

August 16, 2012, 08:34 AM

I have run my Daniel Defense harder than most probably could have, and I have yet to see a failure, despite it being run soaking wet, covered in sand or mud.

PMAGS are magical.

August 16, 2012, 04:24 PM
My guess would be mags first, maintainence second and ammo third.
I have been lucky I guess, my S&W M&P has been 100% with P-mags and Bear ammo, right at 1000 steel case with some 300 or so brass cased geen tip thrown in.
Much of the 'problems' have been ones that we seem to create ourselves by fixing nonexistant problems. Mil spec this and mil spec that, different buffer tubes and springs, triggers etc. The rifle itself is pretty reliable as is, its us who is the enemy----