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Old July 11, 2019, 10:21 PM   #1
Metal god
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PSA PA-10 chamber out of spec

Good day all . This is a continuation of a thread I started in the reloading section of this forum . see here for thread https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=602454

Here is a review I just left on there website that sums up where I am now .

Quote:
I bought this upper several weeks ago and was very much looking forward to it's arrival . When I received it the fit and finish was good and it matted with the gen1 lower I had bought years earlier .

I then ran a bore snake through the bore to remove anything that may be in the bore from shipping . Next I put a Forster GO gauge headspace gauge in the chamber and lightly pushed the BCG home and it went into full battery . I ejected the gauge and placed a NOGO gauge in the chamber and slowly pushed the BCG home . it hung up and did not close when I put the same amount of force to it that I did the GO gauge . I called that good and went shooting .

After just a few rounds fired I noticed the cases were coming out with multiple rings down the complete length of the case body indicating a very poorly cut chamber which was leaving the tool marks of the reamer imprinted on my cases .

The gun was functioning so I kept shooting watching very closely at every case that came out . It was not long before I started to see excessive case stretch at the web just above the head of the case . At this point it became clear to me that the chamber had excessive head clearance and was to dangerous to continue firing . This was at about the 50rd count . All ammo fired was factory new Federal or Winchester ammo .

When I got home I tried the NOGO gauge again but this time I gave it a tad more force ( not much more then before ) and sure enough the bolt closed on the NOGO gauge . I think the name of the gauge is self explanatory but FWIW the bolt should not close on a NOGO gauge . This means the chamber is out of spec . The barrel is stamped 308 win which means it should pass both the 308 GO gauge and NOGO gauges .

I contacted PSA and had it returned for repair or replacement . I sent multiple spent cases with the upper back to them showing the tool marks on the cases as well as the excessive case head stretch at the web as well as a detailed account of what happened which was pretty much what I just wrote here .

I just got the upper back this afternoon and when I opened the box there was no additional paperwork with the upper other then the notes and cases I sent as reference . There was no paperwork saying what they did if anything at all .

OK what ever it's not the first time a firearms manufacture has retuned a firearm to me with no paperwork of what they did . Springfield armory did the same thing when I sent a pistol back for sight adjustment .

However Springfield fixed my sights perfectly while PSA sent me the upper back in the exact same condition it was sent . First thing I did was try the GO , NOGO gauges on the upper and the bolt still closes on the NOGO gauge . Which means it's still out of spec so now I have a $400 paper weight because it's still unsafe to fire .
PRESSURE RING , BLOATING IN THIS AREA



TOOL MARKS ON SPENT CASES



These are the actual cases I sent them . Turns out they never took them out of the bags I sent them in . How do I know , I had stapled them closed when attaching the notes that explained what cases were in the bags . They were still stapled shut when the upper came back .

I'm not even sure what to do next ??? I have to assume they think there part is done seeing how they sent me back my upper . I have no intensions on shooting it so now what ? I can only think that it passed there field gauge and they think that's OK .

I was just reading about a guy that had his bolt face cut to deep leaving to much of the case unsupported ( completely different manufacture and rifle type ) . I'm wondering if that's what is causing the stretching/bloating of the web area of the cases . What is the depth your bolt face should be from the front of the bolt lugs ?

Since they sent the cases back , tomorrow I'm going to buy a dremel tool and cut that case open to see if it really is about to have case head separation .

I just sent this to PSA in response

Quote:
Hi I'm contacting you because you sent me back my upper in the exact same condition I sent it back for repairs in . My RMA # was/is ------

I sent the upper back because it fails the NOGO gauge and has a poorly cut chamber which leaves tooling marks imprinted on the spent cases .

I even sent several cases in as reference but they were never taken out of there packaging to be looked at closely

Also there was no paper work sent back with the upper detailing what you guys did to resolve these issues .

Can you please help me understand what you did to fix the headspace issue . At this time based on the cases , case stretch and bulging at the web I believe the upper to still be unsafe to fire .

Thanks
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Old July 11, 2019, 11:30 PM   #2
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I'd say the most likely explanation is a communications failure at the factory. Seems pretty obvious that if nothing was opened and looked at, no paperwork added my first thought would be someone at the factory made a mistake and put your stuff in the "done, send out" pile instead of the "to be done" pile.

I mean, it could be they are maliciously ignoring you, and not standing behind their product or it could just be simple human error in the shipping dept.

I'd give them a chance to do the right thing, before passing final judgement.
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Old July 12, 2019, 12:48 AM   #3
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You had me thinking that might be it until I remembered I zip tied the BCG in to the receiver and it was returned with out the zip tie . Somebody had to have cut that off so at minimum they took the upper out of the box and gave it a look see . If so all the cases and notes could not have been missed . but you almost had me thinking it was a simple mistake .
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Old July 12, 2019, 03:38 AM   #4
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That blows. Have you called anyone at PSA?
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Old July 12, 2019, 04:48 AM   #5
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Does the same thing happen no matter what kind of ammo you use--and what was the ammo used? You should be able to easily see chatter in the chamber walls by shining a flashlight into it. Do you have a case gauge you can check the over-all stretch on? Some stretch is normal--but what is really at issue is if there is something causing an over-pressure situation. I occasionally get that in some cases, but usually when pushing re-used brass in hot loads that have weakened the web/body join over time. I've also noticed that when pushed that far--very often the head will also expand, often to the point that it can't be resized back into compliant dimensions. Did the primers show any unusual flattening/cratering etc? Lastly--are you sure you got ALL of the packing grease out of the barrel/chamber before use? it's remarkable how hard that stuff can be to get all of it out at times. Just a few "shots in the dark."

Should be a pretty simple matter to ask them did they test the gun with firing to verify whether or not somethings wrong; and that you want them to assure you that they tested and verify that the upper assembly measures and functions within SAAMI compliance.
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Old July 12, 2019, 11:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Does the same thing happen no matter what kind of ammo you use--and what was the ammo used?
Ammo was factory new Winchester white box and Federal power shok . All cases come out with the tool mark impressions . A few cases came out exhibiting stretch at the web , one has Sevier IMO stretch and some bulging at the web . Only fired 50 rounds -20 Winchester , 30 Federal

Quote:
You should be able to easily see chatter in the chamber walls by shining a flashlight into it
I have not look at the chamber visually but I have 4 308 rifle and none of the others have cases coming out looking like these .

Quote:
I occasionally get that in some cases, but usually when pushing re-used brass in hot loads that have weakened the web/body join over time. I've also noticed that when pushed that far--very often the head will also expand, often to the point that it can't be resized back into compliant dimensions. Did the primers show any unusual flattening/cratering etc?
This was brand new ammo so that should not be an issue . As you know I do reload but even if I wanted to use reloads I couldn't at this time . All my ammo is tailored to specific rifles . All there COAL's would be to long to fit in an AR-10 mag and I'm not one to single load a semi auto . Using reloads is simply not even an option at this time . Not only are the reloads I have on hand not for this rifle . I would never test a new rifle with reloads because of things like this happening and me not wanting to defend my reloads .

Quote:
Lastly--are you sure you got ALL of the packing grease out of the barrel/chamber before use? it's remarkable how hard that stuff can be to get all of it out at times. Just a few "shots in the dark
Actually no , I did not do a full cleaning . Only 2 or 3 passes with a bore snake and CLP . To that point I don't know when the cases with the worst bloating was fired . Could have been the first or last shot fired . I went back and forth with the ammo , My buddy shot 10 rounds and I did a 10rd mag dump to test function in that way . So I only really had 30rds to pay attention to as I shot and maybe less because I was not watching real close until I started seeing the case stretch issues which was only after picking up some of the cases off the ground .

I did look at the first several cases fired pretty close and noticed the tool marks right away nd the primers looked fine but the bloating of the web is harder to see at a glance just after firing and did not notice it till later .

Quote:
Should be a pretty simple matter to ask them did they test the gun with firing to verify whether or not somethings wrong; and that you want them to assure you that they tested and verify that the upper assembly measures and functions within SAAMI compliance.
I hope so but my confidence is low right now because they sent back an out of spec chambered rifle when that was the very thing they were to be looking at . Does not matter to me if they fired it . I fired it 50 times and the gun did not explode . This does not mean the gun is with in spec and or safe to shoot .
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Old July 12, 2019, 12:24 PM   #7
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I would relax. I've dealt with PSA before on warranty issues before--the biggest problem is that usually it's nearly impossible to get an actual technician on the line. It's actually better that you used factory ammo--many manufacturers will question backing up their products if you use handloads (which is almost all I use). I was wondering if they may have sent you a new upper and you don't know it, too. PSA is also known to be pretty slow in responding at times. Anyway--you are perfectly right to be hesitant to use the upper any further IMO without some positive information from PSA that they have either corrected the problem or will replace it. Otherwise ask for a refund if you want to abandon it altogether. Each 1000 views of this thread and others is probably far more costly to them than making you happy would be my guess.

It's a pretty sad commentary--but in my experience I run a rate of about 30 to 40% of defects or damage of some kind on almost everything I order related to the firearms industry.
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Old July 12, 2019, 01:08 PM   #8
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I just had to return the fancy 15" anodized red rail for my new mystery build this morning--the barrel nut was hopelessly locked into the rail as shipped. Made in China, of course. A high percentage of my fails/defects/damage are made in China.
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Old July 12, 2019, 02:49 PM   #9
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Just received this from Gary at PSA

Quote:
Hello,

Your repair has been completed. The note from our Repair Team states the following :

Barrel failed headspace, replacing with a new barrel. Installed new barrel onto upper receiver and fired 20 rounds of .308 Winchester with no issues.

Have you been using reloaded ammunition?

Thank you for choosing Palmetto State Armory.


Best Regards,

Gray
Palmetto State Armory Customer Service

I'm thankful they got back to me so quick . I just sent the email last night .

Well it appears I was right about the first barrel being out of spec . Glad I only used factory ammo , I knew the question would come up .

I sent a response stating the new barrel also fails the same headspace gauge used in the previous barrel and asked 3 specific questions

1) Do you recommend I fire the upper in it's current condition ?

2) should I take it to a local gunsmith and have the actual headspace measured then have those findings notarized and sent back to you ?

3) Do you want it back , are you confident the chamber is with in SAAMI specs ?

I could do all that but would require I strip the bolt and remove the barrel to do it right . Might be able to do it with out removing the barrel but it would be easier if the barrel was off .
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Old July 12, 2019, 03:40 PM   #10
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UPDATE

My NOGO gauge



BCG with .004 piece of feeler gauge in the bolt face



Even with that .004 shim in between the gauge head and bolt face . The bolt still fully closed on the gauge . I think it's pretty official the chamber is way out of spec . I mean maybe worse then the other .
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Old July 12, 2019, 04:21 PM   #11
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Don't feel bad--I just got back from shooting and my $700 Nikon FX1000 scope is starting to have black paint flake off the inside of the main tube and fleck onto the glass. Grrrrrrr.
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Old July 12, 2019, 04:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Don't feel bad--I just got back from shooting and my $700 Nikon FX1000 scope is starting to have black paint flake off the inside of the main tube and fleck onto the glass. Grrrrrrr
That just gives you a few more aiming points to dope lol
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Old July 12, 2019, 07:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Even with that .004 shim in between the gauge head and bolt face . The bolt still fully closed on the gauge .
That's pretty scary!
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Old July 13, 2019, 01:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
That's pretty scary!
Yep . I bought a 308 field gauge off of Amazon today , should be here Sunday . If my testing of the head space is accurate it should fail the field gauge as well .
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Old July 13, 2019, 01:36 AM   #15
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I'm a bit confused here--are you saying the returned upper still has issues after PSA did their work and sent their report? .004 is definitely a bit much for a brand new autoloader though not radically out of range of a fairly common .003. If it were me I'd probably would take a shot or two to see what happens based on PSA's "all clear" report.
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Old July 13, 2019, 02:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
I'm a bit confused here--are you saying the returned upper still has issues after PSA did their work and sent their report? .004 is definitely a bit much for a brand new autoloader though not radically out of range of a fairly common .003. If it were me I'd probably would take a shot or two to see what happens based on PSA's "all clear" report.
Field + 0.004" and more. Not no-go + 0.004". That's a lot.

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Old July 13, 2019, 02:08 AM   #17
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right now, I'd say you need another "opinion".

Consider this for a moment, they replaced the barrel, and the new one failed YOUR headspace check. Might it not be time to see if someone has the same result with their test tools??

I see several possibilities, in no particular order.
#1) Your replacement barrel is out of spec.
#2) Your NoGo gauge is out of spec.
#3) Your bolt is out of spec
#4) a combination of 1,2,3, or maybe something else...

is there any chance of testing that same upper using a different bolt and/or carrier assy?? OR with a different NoGO gauge??

Any chance of checking a different rifle (with known good headspace) with your gauge??

I'd say the odds of you getting two bad barrels, in a row are pretty high, but that doesn't mean impossible. However it does lead me to wonder if, perhaps, it might be something else giving a "Fail" result.

realizing, of course that AR10s are not identical to M16s, I believe they do use the same principles. When I was a Small Arms Repairman (MOS45B20) the process in the shop, if we got an M16A1 that failed NoGo, was to replace the BOLT until we found one that would pass with the installed barrel.

If we went through all the bolts in shop stock without finding one that would pass, THEN we would replace the barrel, and try again, with the same bolts. Always seemed to work. One (at least) of the new bolts would always pass with a new barrel.

Aside from the headspace, your original barrel that left tool marks on the brass should have been fixed (polished or replaced). Now you have another barrel and it fails your test. What do you do??

PSA said its ok and they shot it 20 times. I would take it to a smith you trust to know what they are doing (or someone else who knows what they are doing, there are a lot of skilled experienced people who aren't doing it as a business, some of them are on this forum) and have them check the headspace with their gauges, not yours.

If they don't deadline the weapon, then I'd shoot it, with FACTORY ammo (and taking precautions to protect my precious self, at first, anyway), and see what the brass looks like.

Do remember that no matter what the fired brass is like (including ruined) if the rifle functions properly and reliably, the maker has met their minimum moral requirement.

We expect to be able to reload our brass, and most designs do leave us brass that is reloadable (at least once) the makers are under no obligation (other than self imposed) to make their guns so fired brass can be reloaded.

I'm not trying to defend PSA in any way, but they said its fixed, so go shoot it, and prove them wrong, if they are. But do CYA in case they are wrong.
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Old July 13, 2019, 03:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
is there any chance of testing that same upper using a different bolt and/or carrier assy?? OR with a different NoGO gauge??
No it's a proprietary bolt and it's the only one I have .

Quote:
Any chance of checking a different rifle (with known good headspace) with your gauge??
Yes I have three other rifles chambered in 308 . A Ruger American , Savage model 10 FCPK and a Ruger precision rifle . Although I've tested them all before I went ahead and tested them all again . All three past both the GO and NOGO gauges I have . Based on my reloading I know the Ruger American has the longest headspace and it still passed the NOGO gauge I have .

Quote:
if we got an M16A1 that failed NoGo, was to replace the BOLT until we found one that would pass with the installed barrel
That was exactly what I was expecting them to do and not just replace the barrel . My guess is they checked the old barrel and if failed there gauge . They then just simply took a barrel from the pile they had tested who knows when which passed at the time . Then installed it on to my upper and never tested the new barrel and my actual "old" bolt together to see if they together passed the headspace test . It may very well be the bolt is the problem .

Quote:
Aside from the headspace, your original barrel that left tool marks on the brass should have been fixed (polished or replaced). Now you have another barrel and it fails your test.
Just as the old barrel did and was confirmed by PSA as being out of spec .

Quote:
Do remember that no matter what the fired brass is like (including ruined) if the rifle functions properly and reliably, the maker has met their minimum moral requirement.
I'd think the minimum requirement would be them shipping a barrel that meets SAAMI standards then it should actually function . If not then somebody needs to tell Guffey and Unclenick to stop talking about SAAMI standards and how important they are .

Quote:
PSA said its ok and they shot it 20 times.
I shot the first one 50 times and it functioned just fine , not one malfunction . If I did not reload and have all these cool gauges , comparators , micrometers and was just some joe buying a rifle . That first barrel would be considered GTG with that logic . Just because it functions does not mean it's safe I have NO intentions on firing this upper in it's current condition . It's not only unsafe to the shooter , it would be quite irresponsible of me to go shoot it around other people at the range .

I'm very much looking forward to getting that field gauge on Sunday .
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Old July 13, 2019, 03:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Field + 0.004" and more. Not no-go + 0.004". That's a lot.
The bolt closes on a NoGo +.004 which should be the size of a field gauge ???
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Old July 13, 2019, 06:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
No it's a proprietary bolt and it's the only one I have .
There's nothing proprietary about PSA's 308 BCG that I'm aware of. I've mixed and matched them in several builds with no issues. Or did you buy an upper without BCG and handle and use your own? Might be your proprietary BCG is dimensionally not quite right to fit PSA's build--PSA warns of that--and in the 308 world it is quite common to find dimensional variations--even between manufacturers who claim of "DPMS 308 compatibility." My suspicion has gone way up that the issue lies with your BCG/bolt. Have you checked the bolt face depth?
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Old July 13, 2019, 10:57 AM   #21
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No it’s there bolt , sorry I thought there bolts only fit there barrels , thats what I meant by proprietary and I only have the one . Didn’t know you could use there bolts in any AR 10 style barrel .
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Old July 13, 2019, 12:45 PM   #22
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"...have not look at the chamber visually..." That'd be the first thing to do. Any tool marks would be visible to the eye.
"...close on a NO-GO gauge. This means the chamber is out of spec..." No, it doesn't. While you should not use any pressure when checking head space, head space is the issue. Bad head space is not an indicator of an out of spec chamber.
And bits of feeler gauge does NOT make a head space gauge.
"...there bolts...there barrels..." What? Their bolts? (The word 'there' is directional. 'Their' is a possessive pronoun.) Bolts are fitted for head space to the rifle. Makes no difference who made it. Or who made the barrel. You can put anybody's barrel on a PSA rifle and use the PSA bolt. Just like you can put a Douglas barrel on a Rem M700 and use the factory bolt.
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Old July 13, 2019, 01:05 PM   #23
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Well this is a stumper! I asked before if you had a case gauge and measure your cases for expansion. Forget about all the go no go stuff and just fire cartridge an then measure before and after stretch--a bit of stretch is natural but if you really have .004 on top of a closed no-go gauge you're probably up there around .008 +/- headspace. Get some budget Federal cartridges (probably made with military grade LC brass) and test fire em and see what happens. If you're that worried put a bag on the rifle and a string on the trigger so you can fire at a distance.
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Old July 13, 2019, 02:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
"...there bolts...there barrels..." What? Their bolts? (The word 'there' is directional. 'Their' is a possessive pronoun.)
And sometimes the "ever helpful" auto correct, isn't.

If I remember correctly (and that's NOT a given anymore ) with the gauges we used, for the M16A1 the carrier should be flush with the rear of the upper, when closed on the GO gauge and stick out a bit on the NoGo gauge. And stick out more on the Field gauge.

Again, if I remember right, a rifle that failed NOGO was to be repaired, but could be put back in service without repair under certain conditions (like active combat nearby, etc) A rifle that failed the FIELD gage was immediately deadlined until repaired.

If possible, see if you can get a copy (or download) of TM 1005-249-34, I'm pretty sure the standards are in there. Get the TM not the FM. The M16 TM is worth a look, if you have any AR class rifles, or an interest in history.

I don't know what standards PSA is working to, they aren't building M16s for the govt, so it could be about anything.

SAAMI standards are worth mention, but remember that SAAMI standards are VOLUNTARY US industry standards, and no one is under any compulsion to use them.

I don't know what you ought to do, if the maker says its ok, and you know its not, how much are you willing to spend to get them to "see the light"??
Testing by an independent recognized authority and providing those results to PSA, proving they are wrong might get some action. A letter on a lawyer's letterhead might also be useful.

If they won't recognize your valid claim, then I guess filing in court is the final option. I hope it doesn't come to that, but if PSA is ...unreasonable, what else is there?

For what its worth, I've never had any PSA stuff, can't state anything about them from personal first hand knowledge, but the guys in the "Tactical" shop near me consider PSA to be bargain basement stuff, barely worth owning, and a PITA to deal with when (not if) their stuff isn't right.

Good luck!
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Old July 13, 2019, 02:32 PM   #25
stagpanther
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I've bought TONS of PSA stuff--everything from parts to uppers--and never had a out-of-compliance issue; though have had some fitment issues--but they make no secret of that; especially in the PA10 platform and parts. That's why this thing is so intriguing to me. I think what the field gauge amounts to is "can get by, but not for long."
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