AR bolt not locking easily

This is a discussion on AR bolt not locking easily within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I just built an AR a while ago and can't get the bolt to lock back very easily while manually cycling the action. With no ...

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Thread: AR bolt not locking easily

  1. #1
    Member Array Barrett4x4's Avatar
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    AR bolt not locking easily

    I just built an AR a while ago and can't get the bolt to lock back very easily while manually cycling the action. With no mag inserted, I cannot simply push on the bolt catch button to engage the bolt. I have to reach inside the magwell and manually push up on the bolt catch and then it will lock back. However, it's tenuous at best, as I can shake the rifle and it will release.

    I can see that the bolt catch is just barely engaging the bolt. I've already taken it apart and checked that there is nothing in the spring hole, nor the spring itself that is keeping the bolt catch from traveling it's full arc.

    Is this normal or is there something else going on?
    Last edited by Barrett4x4; November 7th, 2008 at 10:55 PM.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    I don't quite understand...not that I'm any kind of AR guru, but the bolt catch is separate from the mag release. Also, from memory (which admit fails me regularly), it seems that the bolt catch doesn't go up and down, rather it goes in more horizontally...

    I think you are somehow using the magazine thingie to somehow hold the olt back. Stop that.

    Look at the left side of the rifle (opposite the ejection port). Above the forward part of the trigger guard the is a little lever thingie. Pull the back on the charging handle and press in on the bottom part of the lever thingie. Pressing the top part of the lever thingie (the part that is textured and seems like it should be pressed) releases the bolt. The part you press in to actually catch the bolt doesn't look like it was intended to be pressed, but it is. Hope this makes sense to anyone not directly in my head.
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    Cupcake is right on . The lower part of the bolt catch/release locks the bolt back. If you are doing it right and it still doesn't lock, perhaps the part is out of spec.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    How does it work when you have an empty mag in the well? Does it hold the bolt back then? The others are right about there not being much there to push in on at the bottom of the bolt release. It pivots, but it's not really designed to be THE bolt hold open device unless you're in front of your drill instructor for inspection. An empty mag was designed to hold the bolt open technically speaking. I also agree with the others replies.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    Try it with an empty magazine. If it works, it's probably functioning correctly and you're doing somwthing wrong. If it still doesn't lock with the empty mag, there's something wrong with the gun. The AR-15/M-16 was originally designed
    to lock on an empty magazine, not to lock with manual manipulation.
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    To hold the bolt open you push in on the lower part of the bolt release,not the paddle part.The bolt release is located on the left side of the receiver
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  8. #7
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    Another thought, are you sure you used the correct spring under the bolt release? If so maybe the hole is too shallow and the spring putting too much tension on the bolt release.
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    Member Array Barrett4x4's Avatar
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    Woops, sorry about that...I meant bolt release/catch, not mag release. I spaced out when typing that.

    With an empty mag well, and pushing on the bottom part of the bolt catch, the bolt will not stay back when manually cycling it.

    Depending on which magazine I use, it will indeed stay open. But if I remove the empty magazine, it will slam shut.

    This came about because during cease fire at the range, all actions must be open and all magazines removed.

  10. #9
    Member Array Barrett4x4's Avatar
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    Here's a picture showing how much it engages the bolt. The bolt appears to be riding on the radiused area of the bolt catch. That's as far as the bolt catch will go.

    Again, if I jiggle the rifle a little it will release.


  11. #10
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    That's not right. I suggest getting a new bolt release. It should catch much higher on the bolt face.
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  12. #11
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I see what you mean now. It isn't right. Did you build your upper from a parts kit, or did it come complete? Some manufacturers parts can be vague on interchangeability. Mil spec has it's tolerances as well from what I hear.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Something tells me you got the wrong spring in the bolt release which is preventing the bolt catch from fully engaging and is putting enough pressure on it that the extra spring tension is causing it to release.
    The spring should be a little shorter than 1/2" and have a little black tip that fits on it
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    That catch look too rounded to me.

    Yup - just looked at the one in my carbine - the edge that catches the bold lugs should be almost square.

    Replace the bolt catch, and you should be good to go.

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    This is what it is supposed to look like:



    Notice how the top edge of the catch is not nearly as rounded?

    Matt
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  16. #15
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    That is a picture of the bolt release spring with detent that fits in the hole under the bolt release,the small tip of the detent fits inside the spring
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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