Cleaning an M16 in the field

This is a discussion on Cleaning an M16 in the field within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I just cleaned my brand spankin' new AR15 for the first time in preparation for my class this weekend. This was really the first time ...

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Thread: Cleaning an M16 in the field

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
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    Cleaning an M16 in the field

    I just cleaned my brand spankin' new AR15 for the first time in preparation for my class this weekend. This was really the first time I have dealt with this platform. For those interested, here is the video series that helped me through it.

    Cleaning the AR15 part 1

    Cleaning the AR15 part 2

    Cleaning the AR15 part 3

    The question I have, especially for the military guys, is how the heck do you NOT lose those firing pin retaining pins and other small parts when you are disassembling it and cleaning it. I was reassembling the firing pin and lost the retaining pin. Eventually found it, but in the field, that must be a nightmare.
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    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    You don't do the complete field stripping, you pop open the rear take down pin, remove the bolt group and charging handle and clean around it + punch the bore with CLP & brush, then reassemble. Repeat every 24hrs or if immediate/remedial action doesn't resolve a stoppage (or just pick a gun laying around and return fire).
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    Some people are of the mindset that you don't break down the bolt, but if we are setting in for the night or something, I do. Especially in training when we can shoot a few hundred rounds a day. The best way I have found to keep everything together, is taking off my boonie cover (read floppy hat for you civilians) and set it on the ground with the top of the hat down, disassemble the bolt right over top of it, and put all the pieces in the bowl that creates. And as soon as I am done with the bolt carrier group, it gets re-assembled ASAP.

    I've seen many Marines spend hours painstakingly combing a small area of ground looking for that pin.
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    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    We always carried a couple extras. Wait until you have to do it in the dark.
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    Carry extra's for sure, but I always used my cover to hold the little parts.
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    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    As suggested for the field.

    At home, or the range. Lay out a towel and place small parts on it to keep them from getting moved around (dropped on the floor).
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyeLCPL View Post
    Some people are of the mindset that you don't break down the bolt, but if we are setting in for the night or something, I do. Especially in training when we can shoot a few hundred rounds a day. The best way I have found to keep everything together, is taking off my boonie cover (read floppy hat for you civilians) and set it on the ground with the top of the hat down, disassemble the bolt right over top of it, and put all the pieces in the bowl that creates. And as soon as I am done with the bolt carrier group, it gets re-assembled ASAP.

    I've seen many Marines spend hours painstakingly combing a small area of ground looking for that pin.
    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Carry extra's for sure, but I always used my cover to hold the little parts.
    Ditto. Now that I don't wear hats that often, I find myself using a magnetic tool mat.

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    Member Array arprtagent's Avatar
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    If field conditions are real dusty, we carried rain ponchos expressly for breakdown and cleaning. We also brought along a can or two of spray carb cleaner.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExactlyMyPoint View Post
    The question I have, especially for the military guys, is how the heck do you NOT lose those firing pin retaining pins and other small parts when you are disassembling it and cleaning it. I was reassembling the firing pin and lost the retaining pin. Eventually found it, but in the field, that must be a nightmare.
    You know......all of the small parts and stuff.....when I was in the Marines, out in the field and had to break it down completely.....I always kept those small parts in my mouth after they were cleaned of course. If that makes you feel squeamish in any way, just stick with the Army way.

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    Member Array gglockster's Avatar
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    The firing pin retaining pin is too big to lose, now the extractor retaining pin is a different matter. I once spent a good 15 minutes of frantic searching for one that I dropped in some gravel. I also feel that the rubber part inside the extractor spring has got to be to one of the worst parts to go missing.

    In the field for a "fast" clean:
    Drop the magazine, clear the chamber, pull the trigger to make safe. Pop the rear pin only, shotgun the upper receiver open, pull the charging handle back without removing it so that the bolt carrier group slides out. Run a fast brush around the chamber area, exposed bolt face and extractor, and bolt carrier grooves. Pop hammer up and blow out any crud down in the lower receiver group. Wipe bolt carrier group on cleaning rag (T-shirt). One drop of CLP between bolt and carrier away from extractor (keep away from bolt face). Apply any extra CLP along grooves of bolt carrier (not forward assist grooves). Pull hammer back and reassemble. Work bolt carrier a couple of times to work in CLP.

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    Senior Member Array Lewis128's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    You know......all of the small parts and stuff.....when I was in the Marines, out in the field and had to break it down completely.....I always kept those small parts in my mouth after they were cleaned of course. If that makes you feel squeamish in any way, just stick with the Army way.
    I suppose it could work, if you don't mind the taste of CLP and GSR.
    Might be hard on the tooth enamel, not to mention lead residue in the GSR.
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    Member Array Damion's Avatar
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    i break it down clean thous parts first then hold them with my teeth but i agree i always break it down all the way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Damion View Post
    i break it down clean thous parts first then hold them with my teeth but i agree i always break it down all the way
    Thats great til your buddy slaps ya on the back and you swallow those parts and gotta wait for mother nature to call before you can "look" for them
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    VIP Member Array boricua's Avatar
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    I used a cravat to place the parts on it.
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    When I was just a cadet (before I got my commission) I had a real pain of a Drill Sergeant in summer camp. He used to make us all field strip and reassemble the M16 BLIND FOLDED. I still got to the point that my field strip took less and a minute and my reassemble/function check took about 2 minutes. One day he went around to every cadets pile of parts and sprinkled in the parts for a 1911A1 45. Took those of us who finally caught on to the trick almost 15 minutes to figure it out by feel and we cussed up a storm until he showed us the others who NEVER figured it out. That was a heck of an important lesson and I never forgot it. Don't count on being able to SEE to take it apart or put it back together. If you do use a light make sure it has a red lens so you don't blow your night vision. It'll take 30 minutes at least to recover that in total darkness while you won't be able to see much movement around you. Unless you've got night vision devices.
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