Very bad first experience with my AR - Need some help
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:11 AM   #1
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Default Very bad first experience with my AR - Need some help

Yesterday I took my "new to me" AR to the range for some tests, sighting in, and just target practice.

Bear in mind when reading/replying that I'm very new to this and this is the first time I've shot a rifle like this.

I had HORRIBLE jams, every second or third round was jammed. The rangemaster came over and told me my gun just needed oil and he oiled the heck out of the bolt area and worked it in well.
Same exact result.

He then told me it was my aftermarket mag. Used three different mags, including the factory mag
Same result

He then told me it was because of the cheap Brown Bear that I was shooting.

Loaded up with good quality Remingtons in 2 different mags.
You guessed it, same result.

He said the cheap ammo caused it until I informed him the first two mags were both high quality brass.
At this point he admitted he was stumped. He seemed like a very knowledegable and helpful guy and he gave up.


So, we ended up shooting my friends M1A1, some trap and some .22 plinking but I have a very sour taste in my mouth about my gun to the point that I want to sell it.

It's a Century lower with a full Colt upper. Fixed carry handle, stock butt, etc. Basically a very entry level AR, but with good enough core parts that I shouldn't be having these problems.


So, what do you guys suggest I do first? I'm planning on stripping and cleaning it tonight, but I won't be able to test fire it again until later this week. Is this common?

Thanks
Jim

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Old 07-20-2009, 02:07 AM   #2
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That is unforunate Jim. I would say this is not common, so far I've had no problems with my store bought AR or the one I put together. Check the feed ramps on the upper to see if there is something going on there and maybe check to see if there is excessive play between the upper and lower. Hopefully some experts will chime in.

Bump to the top.

Chuck

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Old 07-20-2009, 12:46 PM   #3
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I really need more information about the "jams" to help. Was it failures to feed, fire, extract or eject?

Always look at the cheapest part first, the magazine. Just because it was a "factory" magazine does not mean it was worth a damn. "Century" is the first clue to the problem. They have made some dreadful rifles in years past. Was the upper a used part? Just because it says "Colt" does not mean it is good. If a defective, used upper was pawned off, it could be part of the problem.

Brown Bear ammo is some of the cheapest, dirtiest ammo available. The coating (to prevent rust on the steel case) can gum up the works on an AR. Laquer/Polymer coated ammo works fine in AK's because they were designed for it. The AK ammo has a pronounced body taper that helps to contribute to the reliability with this type of ammo. The relatively straight body of the 5.56/.223 case responds differently. IF you built up some fouling with the Brown Bear ammo and then switched to higher quality ammo, you would still experience the same problems. A good cleaning of the chamber may help.

Please post more info on the exact nature of the "jams" so I can give some better advice.

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Old 07-20-2009, 12:51 PM   #4
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There is a break-in period with some guns. The DPMS .308 cal. AR I bought for my son experienced FTE almost every round up until 100 rds. were fired. This was not a problem since we cleaned the barrel after every round fired up to the first 100 rds. I have the same gun also and it FTE every 5th round until 25 rds. were fired. He also bought the wrong ammo. Winchester 7.62 x 51 milspec ammo did not feed or eject until the gun was broken in. After the break in period we shot my reloads without any problems, and the reliability and accuracy were phenomenal. Apparently the applied finish needed to wear off of the internal parts. Century arms is not a manufacturer - they assemble guns from used and new parts, and from various manufacturers - this is a recipe for failure!

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Old 07-20-2009, 02:27 PM   #5
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After doing some reading it looks like i'm having a failure to eject. I would fire one to two rounds then get a click. I would pull the magazine and pull back the charging handle and could see 2 rounds jammed together. Typically holding the gun upright and giving it the handle a good yank or two would dislodge the ammo, some of it was quite bent.

Last night I completely stripped the gun, cleaned the bore, BCG and firing pin thoroughly and reassembled. It's solidly back together.

I may drive out to the country tonight and put a few rounds in a ditch just to see if it continues to jam.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for when I examine the BCG, it looked free of all major deposits, but my rag and swabs came back dirty for quite awhile. I wish I had an "optimal" BCG to compare mine to visually.

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Old 07-20-2009, 02:45 PM   #6
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Try a different brand of ammo - what you are describing is exactly what I experienced during the break-in period. Do your instructions mention a barrel break-in? How about a warning against using steel cased ammo?

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Old 07-20-2009, 03:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cyberpunk View Post
After doing some reading it looks like i'm having a failure to eject. I would fire one to two rounds then get a click. I would pull the magazine and pull back the charging handle and could see 2 rounds jammed together. Typically holding the gun upright and giving it the handle a good yank or two would dislodge the ammo, some of it was quite bent.

Last night I completely stripped the gun, cleaned the bore, BCG and firing pin thoroughly and reassembled. It's solidly back together.

I may drive out to the country tonight and put a few rounds in a ditch just to see if it continues to jam.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for when I examine the BCG, it looked free of all major deposits, but my rag and swabs came back dirty for quite awhile. I wish I had an "optimal" BCG to compare mine to visually.
FTE suggests a bad ejector or a weak ejector spring. Disassembling the bolt can be hairy, but I'd inspect both the ejector spring closely (magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe). Invest a few $ in a "D" ring to increase the ejector grip.

If your upper is new, get some Brasso (or Pearl Drops Tooth Polish - a light abrasive that's really too much for your teeth!), put some on you fingertip, and lightly polish the feed ramps. A new upper WILL have tiny horns and other protrusions on the ramp that can snag a casing if the ejector is weak.

Fire single shots until you get consistent ejections. No need to damage other ammo or mags with FTEs or FTFs getting all jammed in there.

Yeah, Century has a bad rep, and rightly so. It's really hit or miss with them. You might see if a friend will loan you a known good lower to see if your upper is the problem. Try a known good upper on your lower as well.

Swap a known good BCG for yours. If the swapped BCG works, then you know your bolt is the problem, and thus either a bad (poorly made) ejector or bad ejector spring.

Use an Accu-Wedge to get a tight fit between lower and upper. Too much play can cause problems.

Good luck!
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:39 PM   #8
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When completely reassembled should there be light shining through the area where the upper and lower meet? I have the pins in tight and there is a thin sliver of light there.

I will take pictures of stuff tonight after some test rounds as well.

As for the "break in" I'm the second owner so I have no idea what the first guy did.

I had the gun stripped yesterday, what is the ejector spring? I did not disassemble the lower, is it in there?

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:05 PM   #9
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Does the Colt upper have the same size pins as the lower? I have read that the Colts have a larger pin diameter than the other manufacurers. I have seen pin size adaptors for sale in various catalogs to accomodate this issue. I have both an old Colt SP-1 and a new RRA, but I have never tried to swap uppers between them.

My brother's Bushmaster carbine would not fully cycle Wolf (polymer) ammo that shoots just fine in both of my ARs. I suspect that his Bushy has a stronger recoil (??) spring and that the Wolf ammo was not generating enough gas pressure to fully push the BCG all the way back against the spring in order to eject the fired round.

But I am no expert here.

TXnorton

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:27 PM   #10
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Check the carrier key and make sure it's not coming loose. Carrier key is
the lump on top of the bolt toward the front end, held on by two allen head
cap screws. There should be NO play in that joint, and the screws should be
heavily staked in place.

Also check the piston rings, make sure they aren't worn out and that the
end gaps are staggered.

You did say "new to you"---so I'm assuming this is a used gun. Really
not that much magic to an AR, but it can be frustrating as heck when
it doesn't work. Take a deep breath, sit down with the rifle and figure out
what does what. LOTS of internet resources on the AR, you will get it
figured out.

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