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AR15 Forward Assist - Anyone actually use it?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by rawen2, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. rawen2

    rawen2 Portland Area Active Member

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    I've heard it said that if the bolt doesn't go all the way forward on its own that it's better to eject that shell than force it into battery.
    So is the forward assist really needed? Seems that AR15 uppers and bolt carriers could be manufactured for slightly less money by eliminating that feature.
    And why do the few uppers that HAVE eliminated the FA also get rid of the dust cover? The dust cover seems like a good thing to have.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  2. billstaf

    billstaf Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    Most of us who have modern AR15s will never need to use the bolt assist unless we let out guns get really, really dirty. My first M16 (Vietnam 1968) came without any bolt assist. That gun was a real jammer and definitely needed a bolt assist. To be fair, the environment was awful and guns got really dirty. All of the civilian AR15s I have owned in the past and now own, do have the bolt assist, but I've never ever needed to make use of it. (Also, I keep my guns a whole lot cleaner these days).
     
  3. raftman

    raftman Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have tried to use it on a couple of occasions (it's not very often that my AR's have failed to close the bolt fully) and found that it doesn't actually work that well anyways.
     
  4. cwegga

    cwegga Helena, MT Active Member

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    The applicable uses as I understand them are for soldiers and people who will rely on the gun for life and death situations, because that's when it would be worth it to force a round in the chamber rather than just figuring out what's wrong, and hunting so you can quietly load a round slowly by hanging onto the charging handle and then finish chambering it with the FA. There are plenty of uppers without the FA that have dust covers. I don't know if there are any without dust covers that have an FA though.
     
  5. Robb

    Robb Gig Harbor, WA New Member

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    Only on a few occasions while in the military, but it was dusty and I probably had 500+ rounds thru my rifle with out a good cleaning. When I tried it, it still didn't work as advertised.
     
  6. rawen2

    rawen2 Portland Area Active Member

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    I guess I just haven't seen the uppers w/o the FA that still have dust covers.
    After reading your response I realized that I said "lowers" in my original post but everyone seems to have realized that I meant "uppers". Fixed now.
     
  7. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    I've never used a forward assit that actually worked or should I say a forward assist that worked well . . . But then again I don't carry a rubber mallet around with me while I'm shooting
     
  8. DirectDrive

    DirectDrive Vancouver, WA Member

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    I could see if a guy wanted to close the bolt quietly, the FA might be useful.
    Then I suppose you could use the relief cut on the carrier, as well.
     
  9. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Used mine for the first time the other day when my MIL road the road the charging handle forward and it didn't go completely into battery. Could have used my thumb on the bolt but FA was easier with someone else holding the rifle.
     
  10. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    I was trained in the Army to Lock the bolt to the rear. Switch selector lever to safe. Load a magazine.[Lock and load]. Push the bolt release. And let the full force of the buffer spring load the first round. Then bump the forward assist three times with the palm of your right hand. If you need it or not. Swich your selector lever from safe to fire. Firers, engage your targets. This was late 80's.
    Strange to think how many countries used the FAL and hk-91 style rifles. And never had a forward assist.
    I have an ar. But prefer a handle on bolt type rifle. Like my Sig 556. Daewoo DR200. AK. Or even my 30 carbines and garands. A bolt with a lever on it just makes sence. Even my M-4 benelli has one. Thats it! Anyone want to buy my last AR-rifle? Dang ol tee handle, Forward assist setup.
     
  11. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Medic. I've never been nor will I ever be an AR fan because of my Army experience with the old M16A1. I NEVER got off more than 5 or 6 shots without a stoppage with any of them that I was issued. Even clean they stopped. I was raised on guns that had bolt handles and when the M16 jammed I always felt naked and stupid with that damn T-handle. To be fair though, I did like the M16's light weight and excellent combat accuracy.
     
  12. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Oregon Well-Known Member

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    It seems more of a device to turn a simple stoppage into a bad jam.
     
    ocarolan and (deleted member) like this.
  13. ocarolan

    ocarolan Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I may be wrong, but Clint Smith claimed the sole purpose of the relief cut on the bolt was so your thumb could push it forward. Introduction of the FA was wholly unnecessary, with proper training. Your thumb may get dirty, but this actually offers better access than the FA. It's also consistent on ALL uppers.

    The FA also has a tendency to catch on vegetation, straps, etc.
     
  14. jake_16_1999

    jake_16_1999 Forest Grove, Oregon Member

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    Its nice to have on that rare occasion you reassemble your AR and forget to put the buffer and spring back in, and then try to perform a functions check, leaving the bolt stuck in the buffer tube.
     
  15. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    So the general consensus seems to be that it makes more sense to spend $4-500 less and gets and M&P sport without the forward assist and dust cover?
     
  16. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    So how hot is that bolt after a rapid firing of 100 rounds, 200, 300...? I am asking because I frankly don't know and a gun would seem more likely to jam when it's hot, so using your thumb on that bolt may not be the best idea. I am not saying this isn't true, I've heard that statement made before, just curious.

    I think people can purchase whatever they want, and should decide for themselves if they want an FA or not. When I was going to build my own AR I decided I most likely didn't need one as it was going to be a fun gun and nothing more. People who are getting one for a defensive rifle may feel differently, regardless of which one you get, train with it, and it should be a problem.
     
  17. ocarolan

    ocarolan Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point, I'll test it sometime after 50 rounds. My guess is that area of the bolt doesn't get too hot, since it's in the middle and the relief cut eliminates local friction. If not, perhaps guarding the thumb with fabric - from a sling or T-shirt would be an option.

    Of course, ideally, you'd only thumb the bolt forward for stealth reasons, which wouldn't apply on a hot gun. At minimum I'd rather eject the non-chambering round and try the next one, than use the FA and risk a subsequent failure to extract.
     
  18. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    It's not the friction I am worried about, it's the hot gas from combustion, which is dumped in right above it that concerns me.
     
  19. cwegga

    cwegga Helena, MT Active Member

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    Be very careful, the two holes in the middle of the relief cut are where the gas that works the action is vented. That area should get really hot. For hunting use the thumb works fine, but after firing a bit I won't be touching any AR BCGs.
     
  20. cwegga

    cwegga Helena, MT Active Member

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    I would guess that there is quite a bit more difference than the dust cover and FA. The dust cover and FA are maybe $20 worth of parts at the most. Taking them off of a gun doesn't make $500 difference in price.