Why does my bolt carrier stay locked to the rear when I insert an empty magazine and pull the charging handle back?

When pulling the charging handle back on an empty magazine the bolt catch rises up on the back of the follower to lock the bolt back. This is so after the last round has been fired the action will stay locked open. Notice on the front of the bolt catch there is a little tab that engages with the back of the follower, lifting the bolt catch up. When there are bullets in the magazine, the bullets sit ahead of this tab so the bolt catch stays down. This allows the gun to chamber a round normally without interference from the bolt catch. The rifle will easily chamber a round from a loaded magazine when you pull back the charging handle and release it. Then after you’ve fired your last round downrange, the bolt carrier locks to the rear so that you can quickly drop the spent mag, insert another one, release the bolt catch and get ready to fire again.

What does the forward assist do?

The Forward Assist is designed to aid the bolt to go into full battery when chambering the first round. Using the Forward Assist is usually only necessary if the bolt has carbon build-up from a lot of shooting. This can keep the bolt from going 100% into battery on the carrier’s own forward motion when manually chambering a round. If the bolt isn’t locked all the way in the firing pin will not reach the primer of the cartridge in the chamber. The military manual mentions to tap the forward assist every time the weapon is charged to insure the bolt is all the way in battery. Note there are notches down the right side of the carrier. These are the notches that the forward assist engages in to push the bolt carrier and bolt forward.

My rifle is malfunctioning by not firing the second round. What do I do?

If your rifle is failing to strip the next round off the top of the magazine (bolt is closed hammer clicks on an empty chamber), the rifle is “short stroking”. This could be caused by cheap steel cased ammo. In my experience, most of the foreign steel cased ammo is dirty and underpowered, and we discourage it’s use. If this is the case please try it again with some decent quality brass ammo and seeif the malfunction disappears. If it does not then give us a call and we will repair it under warranty. If the gun IS stripping the next round, and the gun is just failing to chamber the next round all the way into battery, it could be an ejector problem – which we
would also repair under warranty. Either way, if the failure above persists with brass ammo, or the other failure occurs with either ammo give us a call at 855-808-1888 and we will correct it under warranty.

How does an AR15 operate?

AR15s work like this: When the rifle is fired, hot gases from the fired round are forced up through a port in the barrel where the gas block is. These hot gases are then forced down the gas tube which is inserted in the gas block. The gas key on the bolt carrier fits over the other end of the gas tube in the upper receiver. The hot gases go down the gas key and through a port in the carrier. The gases force the carrier backward which unlocks the bolt on a cam. Once the bolt is fully unlocked (after the bullet has already exited the muzzle) it continues rearward until the empty case is extracted and ejected. Then under the tension of the buffer (recoil) spring, the bolt carrier moves forward, stripping a fresh round off the top of the magazine, and pushing it into the chamber for the next shot. The “cutaway” photos below show the path of the gas from barrel back to bolt carrier.