AR-15 Shooting Tips


In regards to semi-automatic rifles, the AR15 is now one of the most identifiable and popular rifles.

Maybe it is due to the no nonsense black profile. Maybe it is due to its customizability. Maybe it is just because it is an easy-to-use, highly accurate rifle. All these variables factor into the great attractiveness of the AR15 rifle for so many, but in addition they also bring about a common issue with all the rifle. AR15 rifles jam. There’s nothing more frustrating (and possibly dangerous), as far as shooting goes than taking out a rifle and having it jam repeatedly.

How could you improve the dependability of your rifle? The brief reply would be to be sure it stays clean, extremely clean. Read on and I Will describe some tricks of the trade I learned from a United States Army officer, a veteran who had taken the military variant of the AR15 in grime and the debris of combat zones in Afghanistan.

No Dust, No Filth, No Debris

Because of the intricacy and preciseness of the AR15’s actions, dirt, any dust or debris will throw off the smoothness of the mechanism, causing jams. While the gas blowback is sufficient to throw the bolt rear after a shot is fired, the force at which the bolt moves forward with the subsequent round is less. As an effect, almost any debris, however miniscule, can hinder it from moving forward. Take the rifle and wipe it down with a rag. Cotton swabs can be convenient here too. Get the bolt carrier group out of the top receiver and clean the upper receiver. Dissemble the bolt carrier group and wipe it down. The rifle works off of easily and consistently the bolt carrier group goes through the top receiver, so any changes and increases in friction by dust or sand can easily cause jams.

No Carbon Build-Up

Carbon build-up in the activity of the AR15 can cause jams. While some carbon can develop in the barrel of your rifle, which ought to be cleaned sometimes, the acttion is where substantial carbon build-up can pile up and cause difficulties. The bolt carrier, the bolt, and the so called “star chamber” (the space between the locking lugs as well as the back of the chamber) are the places you most need to concentrate on clearing of carbon deposits.

Make use of a solvent, like CLP (which stands for, “Clean, Lubricate, Protect”), the military’s cleansing agent of selection, Hoppes #9, or some firearm cleanser. Any organic solvent; kerosene, gas and diesel fuel, can handle carbon buildup. Make use of a knife to scrape on the carbon off of the extractor and bolt surfaces. The end result would be to achieve seamless, easy motion of your rifle’s actions by all the moving bits. The firearm will operate easily, as well as cut down on any friction by removing the carbon and will not jam.

Don’t Combine Ammo Kinds

While at first glance, a steel cased .223 round along with a brass cased .223 round appear to get few differences, both kinds of ammo can cause difficulties when fired one right following the other. Steel casings are covered with polymer. The polymer melts and sticks to the interior of the action. Steel casings do not appear to have any difficulties cycling through with this. But when brass is fired after steel, the polymer sticks to the brass casings thereby causing jams. Between using various kinds of ammo, an easy solution to prevent this is to clean.

Don’t Run The Rifle Dry (for long shooting periods)

If you are definitely going to be doing any extreme or prolonged shooting (100 or more rounds) with your AR15, you will want to “run it wet.” What that means is that you will have to get some sort of lubricant, like CLP. Before you begin firing, spray a number of the lubricant on the bolt into the action, and work the bolt back and forth to completely coat it. Let your rifle sit for several minutes. In case the AR15 is run dry for long, it’ll begin to seize up; a small lubricant will help a great deal.

Is The Magazine Causing Jams?

Many jamming problems with the AR15 are associated with the rifle being dirty enough, but sometimes the rifle magazines are to blame. If your rifle is cleaned exceptionally nicely and you are still experiencing jams, assess your magazine. Manually cycle some bullets throughout the action to see how they’re feeding from the magazine. For those who can borrow a magazine from a buddy or own another magazine, try it to see whether the jamming problem goes away. On some GI spec, 30-round magazines, the magazine body ahead of the point of the bullet might need only a little sanding to smooth it out. Look on the bright side, magazines are comparatively cheap, so you could always buy another one to replace a flawed one, if this still will not ease the problem with that specific magazine.

Pistons? A Remedy?

The piston AR15 has been touted as the alternative to jams. After all, without all that gas blowing back into the action, will carbon buildup be less of a difficulty? The brief reply is that you may get a few hundred more rounds through it before you’ve cleaning problems and yes, piston rifles do tend to get less jams, but the results aren’t exponentially enhanced. The AR15 will never reach the dependability of the AK47. The reason? The AR15 has tons of bits with tight tolerances. This is an extremely exact, very accurate rifle (something the AK47 isn’t). The fine tuning as well as the exactness of the pieces has made it into an extremely accurate rifle. Nevertheless, due to this, there isn’t any room for debris or dirt in the rifle. This continues to influence both piston and gas tube AR-15s equally. The important thing here isn’t always to buy a heavier and more expensive piston AR15, but instead to treat your rifle like the exceptionally particular machine it is.

Concluding Thoughts

The tools aren’t as significant as the care taken in keeping your AR15 clean and working. A rag, toothpick, some cotton swabs, a knife and some sort of cleaner/lubricant are just what you need. Add to your firearm cleaning collections, as you find what works best for your rifle

Concentrate on the jamming hotspots. The trigger group, the muzzle flash hider as well as the rifle’s outside don’t usually cause or contribute to jams. They may help but their cleanliness has to do with the cycling and firing functionality of the rifle. Keep the bolt, the bolt carrier group, the star chamber, as well as the interior of the top receiver extremely clean and your AR15 rifle will operate easily.

The AR15 is a fantastic rifle, customizable and precise. Maybe that’s the reason it found a home with the United States military in addition to many civilian, hunters, marksman and firearm aficionados. Its jamming problems will eventually be a thing of the past if only you give your rifle some additional attention as it pertains to cleaning it.


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