You would have heard that time heals but that isn’t the case with mechanical devices. Mechanical devices tend to experience wear & tear with age, irrespective of how well you maintain it. The same is the case with AR 15s, which are susceptible to wear and tear with age. If you were to ask a professional gunsmith, they would say that AR 15s are more susceptible to wear & tear with age.
Now that we have discussed the wear & tear in AR 15, let’s have a look at how wear & tear affects its performance.
How wear & tear affects your AR 15?
Every firearm is crafted to near perfection employing state-of-the-art machinery and manpower. It is important to note that though the sophisticated machines aiding human design make firearms mechanically sound and reliable, they are still prone to wear and tear.
If you have been using a AR 15 for a long time, you would have noticed that irrespective of how well you maintain your firearm, with time the accuracy of the rifle declines. While this loss in accuracy & trouble with components might not appear to be alarming if left unnoticed it can eventually lead to your AR not functioning the way it was intended to be. Some of the common issues found as a result of wear & tear are jamming, reduced accuracy, misfeeds, and more.
Now that we have discussed the effect of wear & tear on your AR, Let’s have a closer look and identify the parts that are prone to wear & tear and the reason behind it
What are the parts that fail in an AR-15?
While wear & tear is dependent on how old your AR 15 is, a lot of other factors come to play here. For instance, the quality of parts used in the AR, manufacturing process, how long the AR was left unused, and more.
Now that we have discussed the reasons for wear & tear & the issues associated with it, let’s have a look at the parts of an AR-15 that are susceptible to wear & tear.
While the bolt in a AR 15 is designed to handle rough use and abuse, it is the component that is most prone to wear and tear. According to veteran gunsmiths, the wear & tear in bolts were found to be worse in ARs that were frequently used in local ranges.
Bolt failure mainly happens in two places
- Splitting of cam pinholes
- Worn out lug locks that often cause locking.
If you were to encounter these issues, know that the recommended way out is to replace these parts at the earliest.
Out of these, the split near the cam pinholes can be easily identified by the crack on the part itself. It is important to note that this cracking never stops and it will continue to expand throughout the part until the whole bolt is split into two.
Unlike the crack on cam pinholes, wear and tear on the locking lucks is not that easy to identify. Mostly it takes a professional gunsmith to identify damage to the cam pinholes. If left unnoticed, the broken parts can get accumulated in the chamber leading to misfeeds and jams.
- Gas tube components
Of all the assemblies of your firearm, the gas tube is the most used one. Since it stays hidden under the front handguard and is rarely removed, it is highly prone to damage with time. The gas tube is held onto the blocks using the fine roll pins. While these parts do not fail, break or fall out in most cases, there can be rare occasions where these parts can fail you as well.
The gas tube acts as an air seal between the tube itself and the gas key. It has a flared end which upon heavy usage can eventually get pounded flat. A flattened tube causes the seal to break and creates a negative seal which will leak the gas causing issues with cycling a bullet.
If you were to identify an issue with the gas tube, ensure that the part is replaced at the earliest.
The extractor can crack, chip, or even break depending on the type of ammo you use. If you use steel cased ammo, you are more prone to extractor wear & tear when compared to other cased ammunition.
The most common reason for a worn-out extractor is the tension that is caused. A faulty extractor makes it hard for the rim of the spent casing to be grabbed and removed from the receiver leading to a cycling issue especially in auto mode. A failed extractor also puts the supporting parts at stake as well.
If you were to identify wear & tear with the extractor, they have to be replaced at the earliest.
- Firing pin
The weight and hardness of the primer that is used in your ammo will determine how long it will take to break the firing pin. The firing pin resides in the bolt carrier group which can break and fracture over time. The pin can get blunt or chipped eventually causing ultimate failure. A faulty firing pin is a serious issue that requires immediate attention.
Though you can repair the firing pins, we recommend you not to do it. Instead, you should replace it with a new one.
To Sum Up
A constant and timely replacement of worn-out parts is the best way to maintain your AR 15 rather than a repair. We recommend you use high-quality parts on your AR 15 as a replacement for longer life. We also urge you to go with parts that are made of durable steel and hardened coating and finishes.
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