Monday, April 20, 2015

Weapon Care

I just finished watching Pat Rogers’ Basic Carbine DVD.

I recommend it as a training supplement even if I can’t get into his kneeling positions.  I believe Pat would agree: you and I need to get out and do the activities he suggests.

In one scene he’s holding what looks like a petrified dog turd covered in mud.  It’s not.  It’s the bolt carrier for one of his ARs.  He wants to make the point that the gun will run dirty as long as it’s well oiled.

Don’t do that. 

I had recently removed my dot from one of my ARs and replaced it with a scope.  This required that I re-zero the weapon.  I was about half way finished when the gun started to jam.  Examination of the bolt showed the locking lugs at a 45 degree angle to the rifle axis. 

I had broken my bolt at the bolt cam pin.

AR Bolt crack at Key
If you can see it, there is a annotation saying Shiny Spot.  That should have been my first warning that the bold was wearing funny.  The forming crack changed the bolds dimensions causing wear.
So much for zeroing the rifle that day.

I ordered two new ones from Bravo Company  They weren’t cheap.  I may sport shoot and plink, but in the back of my mind I’m always remembering the fact, some terrible day it may become real and suddenly reliability will be as important as the lives of my loved ones.

Left to right: A new bolt from Bravo company, a cracked one I kept for some reason now incomprehensive reason and the field failure.
I looked through my stash of oddball parts and discovered it’s not the first time I cracked a bolt.  Close examination of the bolt cam pin showed some spalling on it as well.  

The arrow points to wear on the cam pin

A close up of the spaqlling and wear.  

So that got replaced too.  It’s not a bad idea to have a spare parts kit.  You can buy them or just make one by purchasing the assorted parts recommended in the kits.

There’s no question that excessive cleaning has the potential to wear and, if incorrectly done, damage your gun.  But take the time during cleaning to inspect parts for wear and cracking.  You may have to degrease the part to inspect, it but it’s worth it.  Aside from being out-of-town when the zombie apocalypse arrives, few thing are as satisfying as catching a problem before it bites you on the butt.

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