Cleaning AR's not my favorite thing

gmerkt

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My experience with AR's goes back a while, to 1970 when they had us turn in the M14 Rifle for the M16. Since even before my army service I was a gun guy, I was interested in keeping my rifle clean and functional. In Vietnam, I was a support troop in the rear. But I pulled guard duty on the bunker line at night and escorted a prisoner once in a while so even then, I made sure my rifle was clean.

I liked my army M16 well enough that not long after I came home, I bought a Colt SP-1 which was the civilian version of the moment. At that time which was 1973, they were not common in civilian hands.

Anyway, as much as I like a clean rifle, I've never liked cleaning AR's. Through experience, I don't like to leave the bolt and carrier dirty. After every shooting session, when I get back I clean an AR. Cleaning out the bolt carrier drives me nuts. Getting all the carbon out of bolt chamber is a pain in the rear end. For years, I've used worn-out 20 gauge shotgun brushes and 50 cal. BMG patches. Usually, it takes several tries. Then I bought an Otis tool that is supposed to scrape it out; same tool is supposed to clean off the tail of the bolt. Hogwash, it works not well at all. To clean the carbon off the bolt, I use worn-out bronze rifle bore brushes. I pay attention to the locking lugs in the breech, dirt in there could lead to problems. I use one of those chamber brushes with two different diameter bristles.

When everything is cleaned up, including the flash suppressor, I'm ready to put the rifle back together. I use the old army LSA lube generously in and on the bolt components. I find that keeping this a little juicy reduces the amount of carbon that can get caked on some parts. It's easier to clean away dirty LSA than it is carbon. I was at a gun store a few years ago and I mentioned to the guy behind the counter that I use LSA lube on my AR's. The counterman said, "They haven't used LSA for over twenty years!!" I said, "Well, I've been out of the army longer than that so I wouldn't know. And the LSA still works fine." I have a quart can of it to use up, courtesy of the Bundeswehr who sold it off surplus some time ago.

I try not to wear out Colt products, so I have a couple of lesser models to burn up first. One is a DPMS, good enough rifle still with the handle on top which I prefer. After shooting it a few days ago, I came back and started the clean up. My least favorite part of shooting any firearm. I'm older and things have a way of slipping out of my hands more easily than in times past. I usually take the upper off the lower receiver for cleaning. I popped the rear pin out, then I was holding the rifle and trying to push out the hinge pin, pivot pin, whatever it's called. The rifle slipped out of my hands and landed on my anti-fatigue mat on the floor. I always work standing, so the anti-fatigue mats help, plus when you drop something, it's less apt to break. Not this time, the rifle hit on an angle on the side with the pivot pin protruding and broke it off. I've never broken one of those before. Fortunately, the little spring and detent were still there. Something I like less than a dirty firearm is a broken one. So I ordered one. Actually, ordered two to have a spare. I do keep some spare parts for AR's, but heretofore I haven't felt a need for the pivot pin.

Anybody know of a real good way/tool to clean out that bolt carrier cavity?
 

scarlo

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+1 for air compressor, I also keep my old tooth brushes and use them to scrub with...I still have some LSA oil...but for the most part use Hoppes #9...sometimes I clean the bolt at the range, before I case the firearm. It seems much easier to clean then, than afterwards.
 

Mikej

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My experience with AR's goes back a while, to 1970 when they had us turn in the M14 Rifle for the M16. Since even before my army service I was a gun guy, I was interested in keeping my rifle clean and functional. In Vietnam, I was a support troop in the rear. But I pulled guard duty on the bunker line at night and escorted a prisoner once in a while so even then, I made sure my rifle was clean.

I liked my army M16 well enough that not long after I came home, I bought a Colt SP-1 which was the civilian version of the moment. At that time which was 1973, they were not common in civilian hands.

Anyway, as much as I like a clean rifle, I've never liked cleaning AR's. Through experience, I don't like to leave the bolt and carrier dirty. After every shooting session, when I get back I clean an AR. Cleaning out the bolt carrier drives me nuts. Getting all the carbon out of bolt chamber is a pain in the rear end. For years, I've used worn-out 20 gauge shotgun brushes and 50 cal. BMG patches. Usually, it takes several tries. Then I bought an Otis tool that is supposed to scrape it out; same tool is supposed to clean off the tail of the bolt. Hogwash, it works not well at all. To clean the carbon off the bolt, I use worn-out bronze rifle bore brushes. I pay attention to the locking lugs in the breech, dirt in there could lead to problems. I use one of those chamber brushes with two different diameter bristles.

When everything is cleaned up, including the flash suppressor, I'm ready to put the rifle back together. I use the old army LSA lube generously in and on the bolt components. I find that keeping this a little juicy reduces the amount of carbon that can get caked on some parts. It's easier to clean away dirty LSA than it is carbon. I was at a gun store a few years ago and I mentioned to the guy behind the counter that I use LSA lube on my AR's. The counterman said, "They haven't used LSA for over twenty years!!" I said, "Well, I've been out of the army longer than that so I wouldn't know. And the LSA still works fine." I have a quart can of it to use up, courtesy of the Bundeswehr who sold it off surplus some time ago.

I try not to wear out Colt products, so I have a couple of lesser models to burn up first. One is a DPMS, good enough rifle still with the handle on top which I prefer. After shooting it a few days ago, I came back and started the clean up. My least favorite part of shooting any firearm. I'm older and things have a way of slipping out of my hands more easily than in times past. I usually take the upper off the lower receiver for cleaning. I popped the rear pin out, then I was holding the rifle and trying to push out the hinge pin, pivot pin, whatever it's called. The rifle slipped out of my hands and landed on my anti-fatigue mat on the floor. I always work standing, so the anti-fatigue mats help, plus when you drop something, it's less apt to break. Not this time, the rifle hit on an angle on the side with the pivot pin protruding and broke it off. I've never broken one of those before. Fortunately, the little spring and detent were still there. Something I like less than a dirty firearm is a broken one. So I ordered one. Actually, ordered two to have a spare. I do keep some spare parts for AR's, but heretofore I haven't felt a need for the pivot pin.

Anybody know of a real good way/tool to clean out that bolt carrier cavity?

Thanks for your service. And thanks for the thread. I thought I was the only one who hates cleaning the AR. I'm not all that enamored by the AR platform. But of course, every body needs at least ONE.
 

Camelfilter

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I’ve been disassembling bolt carrier groups and sonicating. Cheap Harbor Freight sonicator with simple green (the purple one).

Brass brush as need be on any carbon left. Canned air / blot dry. Cleans up really nice.

Lube has varied, mostly use Lucas Oil chain lube (molybdenum, creeps nicely), am considering switching to Balistol or home brewed Ed’s Red. Not sure yet tho.

Tried some Balistol on a few, ran well, one sticky chamber on one gun, likely due to too much balistol.
 

Camelfilter

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Thats a great idea. Wouldn't do it all the time but makes perfect sense to do it once a year or so.
Yah, mostly run them thru the sonicator if they’re nasty.

Normally after 2-3 outings or so, depending on how much used, or if it’s been a long while since taken a particular gun out and it apears overly gnarly.

Pretty easy to do & will normally clean the gun(s) while the sonicator is running. 2 birds and all that.
 
OP
gmerkt

gmerkt

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ive switched most of my bolt carrier groups to black nitride ones. with a little brake clean, the carbon wipes right off
This idea sounds like something to try on one of my shooter AR's. But I'd also like to try this:

Try a few drops of mobile 1 synthetic on your BCG after cleaning. You will be amazed at how much less carbon will build up and how much easier it is to clean.
It stands to reason; the oil is designed to reduce carbon build-up in internal combustion engines. And that's what's going on in an AR, internal combustion.

This:

an air compressor.
For some time, I've used compressed air (about 125 #) to blow out the trigger mechanism in the lower receiver. But I haven't done as a couple of you have suggested, douche out the upper and blow the results out. What I have done is use some of that cheap, generic spray lubricant in the blue can from Walmart to kinda do the same thing. It's a petroleum based clear lube, rather thin viscosity and under typical aerosol can air pressure. I let it run out onto a shop towel and wipe up the bolt runners in the upper. I swab out the lug area in the barrel and the nooks and crannies. I use a lot of Q tips, including the surgical kind with the long stems. A film of the lubricant stays behind in the entire upper. Then of course when the BCG goes in, the upper gets some of the LSA on it as well.

I don't know that I really go over-board with cleaning these rifles. I bought one once that looked pretty good, an older one that hadn't been fired much. I took it apart before shooting and found that it hadn't been fired much, probably had been put away for years but the previous owner hadn't cleaned it after firing. There was green verdigris and pitting on the bolt tail where the seals are. The firing pin was rusted and pitted, which I thought wouldn't happen on a stainless steel part but it did on this one.

One part on the AR that I replace once in a while as routine is the bolt cam pin. I've noticed these show signs of wear rather quickly. I've never had one shear but I don't want to either.
 

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