Friday, January 18, 2013

Some advice for AR15 users.

I like to shoot my AR15 but with today's ammo prices and availability (even primers are impossible to find for those who reload) I have resorted shooting 22 LR through an AR15 using an adapter which allows me to do so......So here is the problem. This particular weapon I have been using exclusively for 22 LR and cleaning it regularly however the one area in the AR15 which is hardest to access and clean is the gas port. In the military we would run long pipe cleaners down the gas tube and get it clean but there was no way to get the pipe cleaner through the gas port. 
AR15 Bolt top, 22 LR adapter bolt bottom.
The 22 bolt-adapter does not utilize the gas system to operate the bolt therefore it is not regularly 'blown out' via normal operation. Recently I was changing the barrel on this particular weapon and found upon removing the gas block from the barrel that the hole in the gas block and barrel was completely blocked from carbon and lead, and well blocked, so much so I had to use solvents and drill bits to clean it out. The carbon was almost as hard as steel, I realized if I had tried to revert back to 223 in this gun it would not have functioned at all and I would not have been able to 'field fix' it either, this weapon had about 1500 to 2000 LR rounds through it.
So here comes the advice, I will say I have not put this to the test yet however I just discovered the problem in the last few days and I think it will work. If you shoot using one of these adapters after each range session remove the bolt and with a can of solvent (carburetor cleaner works good) and with the aid of those little plastic tubes the solvent comes with shoot a quick burst through the gas tube and watch to see if it blows out in the barrel. After the solvent dries install the AR15 bolt and fire one or two rounds of 5.56 ammo to ensure it is operating and 'blow out' any remaining crud in the tube and port. This would ensure the gas system was functional and let you know if it needed more cleaning.
This is my solution, maybe someone else has other ideas.

15 comments:

  1. Aw, man, now when I arrive home tonight I need to break down the AR I used the .22 adapter in the last time we were at the range. Thanks....hey, want to clean mine?

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    1. Stephen, I expect me to clean your AR after you ripped off my 1911 mags ?????

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  2. If it doesn't use the gas system, how is it cycling? Does it turn into a blowback?

    My only 223 is bolt action Savage.

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    1. I just assumed it did use the gas system but if you examine the bolt there is no gas port as seen on the standard AR bolt and no locking lugs on the bolt either which means it uses blow-back to cycle the bolt as you said. The 22 LR bolt has a lot weaker return spring built in as opposed to the buffer system.

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  3. Interesting problem, and NOT one I'd heard of...

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    1. Old NFO, I would never have fount it till too late had I not had to dismantle the barrel.

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  4. What makes you think I have an AR-15 ? That was just a totally legal PVC spud gun, and we clean that with a little sour cream on a sprig of rosemary. I don't have anything like that here. I don't own it, or the magazines, or that cool round one with incredible capacity. I don't have the 556 ammo for it either, those are wrapped dark chocolates ! Enjoyed your post !

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    1. Jane, I was writing hypothetically. Glad you enjoyed.

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  5. I have a suggestion..I am brainstorming so bear with me. How about removing the gas tube? It is held in with a small pin by the front site. Use a punch to gently tap it almost out then use a set of pliers to finish pulling it out and put it away. I was an armorer in the Army so I would remove the tube on a weapon that was really gunked up. That made it easier to get in there and clean it. That being said, don't do it too much, you could wallow out the hole for the pin and it will not secure the gas tube very well. If you were going to use an AR as a dedicated .22LR shooter and leave the others in a "combat configuration" that would be ideal. If you have the just the "one" like I do, I would have to switch out the bolt carrier group. I would just shoot the 22's. and keep the regular bolt carrier group and the gas tube pin in a bag or a box to switch out if necessary. It is more difficult than just dropping in the bolt carrier group. Ideas?

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    1. MrG you bring up some good points I would guess even shooting 22's gas would still escape from the tube but not as high a volume as the 5.56
      I think my main problem was not cleaning the tube as well as I could and most 22's aren't FMJ so there is more lead build up in the gas port. Like you said changing out the gas tube is not something you would want to do real regular for the reasons you mentioned. As for me I might start shooting more 22LR from my 10-22

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  6. Haven't shot mine enough to have that problem yet, but thanks for the heads up. I'll put the Sig to work...

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    1. Hillbilly, It may be just a problem I had but it is worth guarding against.

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  7. Dedicated .22LR upper is the only way to go - besides, you might even be able to find one IN STOCK somewhere!!

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    1. Jay, that would be best. Thanks.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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