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What is going wrong with my AR

2930 Views 47 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  fnfalman
I am betting it is a simple fix but here are the symptoms.

I was in an AR class this weekend. I was using the mag that came with the rifle and 11 PSA D&H mags. Day 1 went good, all mags I was using would lock into the mag well with the bolt closed, meaning if I switched mags before running dry, the mag would lock into the well. On day 2, we were working on reloads and suddenly the mags were not locking on a closed bolt, no matter how hard I or the instructors pushed. This was with 28 rounds in a 30 round mag. This became the case with all of the mags I had, no lock on a closed bolt.

We tried backing off the mag catch 1 revolution, advancing the catch one revolution, no change in status. We tried Pmags, they worked. We tried I think possibly Colt mags, they worked. Unsure of what else we tried. But with a few donations I ended up with enough workable mags to complete the drills. When I got home I fiddled further with the mag catch, completely removing it, inspecting and re inserting to flush with the catch and button.

I had no hiccups with the steel cased Wolf .223 ammo I was running all weekend. I just loaded up one suspect mag with 5.56 brass. The mag locked on the closed bolt with 5.56 brass. So I tried more steel cased .223. It too locks on the closed bolt. But I really need to push hard to make that happen, far harder than I did earlier like on day 1 before this malfunction stuff began on both of these mags. It was HOT this weekend, 2 of the hottest days of summer. These tests I am conducting are in my home at temps of 77*F with lowered humidity.

I am suspicious of the mag catch, like the part may be out of spec just enough to not allow the mags to catch reliably. Open for suggestions, gun was pretty much unfired(1 mag thru it) but in my possession since 11/2014.
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My D&H mags don't like Wolf cases. Wolf cases are rough and they're naturally dirty. There can be a LOT of friction inside an aluminum magazine with Wolf before using them through one day of a course... Not surprising to see issues on day 2.

Clean your mags, and try it again. If I need budget steel in my AR's, I just use Brown Bear. Much slicker cases.
 

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Very strange.

If it worked on day 1, then I'm not inclined to think it is a mag catch problem, unless a close inspection shows something worn/out-of-spec, such as peening or a burr. This is reinforced by the fact that other (loaner) mags worked, even when yours didn't. Normally I'd say to check the slot where the mag catch rides, to see if there is any deformation/burring in that area; but again, if some mags were still working, it is less likely that the problem is in the gun.

This leads me think it might be premature wear on the mag notches in your mags. If you still have any of these mags from the same batch that are unused, grab one of those and compare the locking surfaces under magnification and see if anything looks worn/burred/damaged.
 

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My D&H mags don't like Wolf cases. Wolf cases are rough and they're naturally dirty. There can be a LOT of friction inside an aluminum magazine with Wolf before using them through one day of a course... Not surprising to see issues on day 2.

Clean your mags, and try it again. If I need budget steel in my AR's, I just use Brown Bear. Much slicker cases.
Now having seen Inebriated's post, it'll be interesting to see if the problem can be solved by just a simple cleaning of the inside of the mag body.
 

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Now having seen Inebriated's post, it'll be interesting to see if the problem can be solved by just a simple cleaning of the inside of the mag body.
I'm willing to bet it'll do the trick. If his PMAGS work, and brass in his D&H's work, it just sounds like the Wolf/D&H combo isn't working. And that mirrors my experience with them. Even with clean mags, if I load with all 30 rounds with Wolf, it's not particularly uncommon to have the first round have enough friction that it gets caught after releasing the bolt, regardless of the rifle or particular mag I'm using. Everything after that runs fine, but it's annoying enough for me not to ever bother with Wolf/Tula anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Perhaps I'm missing something here, The problem does not effect how the gun runs once the mag is seated. The problem is seating the mag period, on a closed bolt.

The problem first happened when I did a reload on a closed bolt, I knew I was running low, there was a break in the shooting so I dropped the low mag and "thought" I inserted a full mag, only I rookie mistaked and did not push pull the mag. It did not seat and with ear protection and distraction, did not notice that it did not seat and was lying on the ground. I grabbed another mag and then it would not seat, I did a chamber check, no ammo.

They feed and eject just fine when inserted on an open bolt. We shot about 400 rounds this weekend over 2 days, the second half of day 2 was shot with other peoples mags. I'm finding it hard to believe the mags are dirty, infact I had loaded up 9 mags the previous night before class and many are unused, meaning factory clean, as they would not seat either and went unused.
 

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Are you having the nose of the second round in the mag crossing up?

That'll make seating on a closed bolt nearly impossible, until you push the round back into its spot. It's just odd to have that with multiple mags at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm willing to bet it'll do the trick. If his PMAGS work, and brass in his D&H's work, it just sounds like the Wolf/D&H combo isn't working. And that mirrors my experience with them. Even with clean mags, if I load with all 30 rounds with Wolf,
saying "work" is an over statement, i can get them to seat but waaaaaay to much force is needed to seat them. And I never run more than 28 rounds in any mag. I just checked again and absolutely, they seat with about as much force as I can muster with the gun slung and up in my work space with my left hand. That ain't natural.
 

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saying "work" is an over statement, i can get them to seat but waaaaaay to much force is needed to seat them. And I never run more than 28 rounds in any mag. I just checked again and absolutely, they seat with about as much force as I can muster with the gun slung and up in my work space with my left hand. That ain't natural.
See Post #7.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
See Post #7.
No, I was finger loading the mags, basically rolling the round into place and when loaded with 28, with my index across the top of the mag, giving it a slap with the heal of my hand to make sure all were seated properly.

An empty mag seats just like it is supposed to, clicks right into place. Could not imagine, in the heat of a gunfight trying to reload a mag like that only to have to take the extra second or 2 to muscle the mag into place and hear/feel the click.

I just did another test, 26 rounds on either brass or steel locks in a little easier. Because the mags are new, is there a break in period that slightly weakens the spring energy over time? Possibly remove the mag spring and taking out a turn of spring to reduce it's force?

More testing. I found the original mag that came with the gun. Loaded up with 28 steel cased. Almost impossible to seat one handed, too much force required.
 

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So you say that they run fine with brass cased ammo but not with Wolf right?

If that's the case what more info do you need?

Load to 30 and leave them loaded for a week or so and see if things loosen up.

If the mag catch is out of spec its a simple and inexpensive part to swap for about $5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So you say that they run fine with brass cased ammo but not with Wolf right?
Not even close. The problem is SEATING THE MAG ON A CLOSED BOLT. Steel or brass, it does seat but it takes almost all I can one handed muster strength wise to make that happen. That ain't natural or how it is supposed to work, especially when other mags of different manufacturers WILL seat with little effort.

Just got off the phone with the gun manufacturer, while there was a slight disagreement as to method employed to seat the mag, (weekend course taught the push/pull method, manufacturer uses the slap the base of the mag) they agree that something is out of spec. Manufacturer speculates that the bolt carrier group is a little on the "fat" side of the spec, combined with my new magazines is causing the excessive force required to seat a mag on a closed bolt. So a ship label issued, RA # issued, I just need to find the FedEX guy and ship it back for free repair.
 

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......we were working on reloads and suddenly the mags were not locking on a closed bolt, no matter how hard I or the instructors pushed.......We tried Pmags, they worked. We tried I think possibly Colt mags, they worked.

I had no hiccups with the steel cased Wolf .223 ammo I was running all weekend. I just loaded up one suspect mag with 5.56 brass. The mag locked on the closed bolt with 5.56 brass. So I tried more steel cased .223. It too locks on the closed bolt. But I really need to push hard to make that happen, far harder than I did earlier like on day 1 before this malfunction stuff began on both of these mags.
The problem is SEATING THE MAG ON A CLOSED BOLT. Steel or brass, it does seat but it takes almost all I can one handed muster strength wise to make that happen. That ain't natural or how it is supposed to work......
You're changing your tune. First the mags wouldn't seat at all, then it was difficult.

Nothing is wrong with your mag catch, your AR, or your mags. It's the cheap ammo you were shooting, the steel cased stuff, it creates more friction inside the mag. You even wrote that brass ammo allowed the mags to seat on a closed bolt normally, and I'd call that a clue.

Anyways, use decent, brass cased ammo, and load them all the way up. And I'd also suggest switching to P-Mags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You're changing your tune. First the mags wouldn't seat at all, then it was difficult.

Nothing is wrong with your mag catch, your AR, or your mags. It's the cheap ammo you were shooting, the steel cased stuff, it creates more friction inside the mag. You even wrote that brass ammo allowed the mags to seat on a closed bolt normally, and I'd call that a clue.

Anyways, use decent, brass cased ammo, and load them all the way up. And I'd also suggest switching to P-Mags.
At the range during class, me, Instructor #1 and Instructor #2 could NOT seat a mag that I owned on a closed bolt. When I got home from class, had some time to decompress and think about a few things, break the weapon open and inspect, try a few things like lowered round count, steel vs brass, clean and lubed the mag catch area, I could then seat either brass or steel. At home with 28 rounds, brass or steel, seating that mag fit like like a monkey effin' a football. I finally got it to lock in place, but the amount of force needed to make that happen IS excessive. Manufacturer will look it over and will probably replace the bolt with a slightly skinnier one. They are testing or using the factory mag along with 3 others I bought to get a read on what is happening.

The MAIN POINT that I did not HAMMER on in the first post was that brass would lock in but THE AMOUNT OF FORCE REQUIRED TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN IS EXCESSIVE. The same amount of force required to load a 28 round steel loaded mag was also EXCESSIVE. Could not be done under stress, steel or brass. That is the last word on it. It will cost me nothing to get the gun checked out or any replacement parts, but what I was experiencing is NOT normal operating condition.
 

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The MAIN POINT that I did not HAMMER on in the first post was that brass would lock in but THE AMOUNT OF FORCE REQUIRED TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN IS EXCESSIVE. The same amount of force required to load a 28 round steel loaded mag was also EXCESSIVE. Could not be done under stress, steel or brass. That is the last word on it. It will cost me nothing to get the gun checked out or any replacement parts, but what I was experiencing is NOT normal operating condition.
I think that the manufacturer is probably right. The bottom of the bolt carrier might be a hair too big. It's already tough to compress the mag spring of a fully loaded mag against a closed bolt, now try to squeeze it down even more because of the oversized bolt carrier bottom.

I personally don't do that push-pull thing but prefer to slap the bottom of the mag. You can exert more force that way to help seat the mag than pushing up on it.
 

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If it functioned just fine the first day, then it's not an out of spec bolt carrier or anything like that.

I'm going back to your mag/ammo combination, especially because you said P-Mags worked fine. I think that the steel case ammo doesn't have the friction against the P-Mag body like it does metal mags.
 

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Do some curls and eat more protein.
 
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