More problems with poor quality AR15s at the range.


Working at a range, I see all sorts of firearms fail.  Bad ammunition and no maintenance are often the cause, but sometimes it comes from the firearm being poor quality.

In the case of one Bushmaster, it work well for years, but finally one day the corners the company cut caught up to it and the gas key worked it way loose.  That caused the gun to become a single shot.

Bushmaster Loose Gas Key.


A woman who owned a Olympic 9mm carbine found that the mag block had shifted and it would no longer accept a mag, also the castle nut on the stock was loose and the collapseable stock starting to unscrew.  Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of that mess of a rifle.

Home built hobby guns often have similar issues.  One rifle that I was asked to help the owner with surprised me when I found there was no firing pin in it.

Other times, the issues are caused by junk ammo.  For example this doublefeed & failure to extract:

2013-05-12 16.37.23

Note that there is a round in the chamber, an empty shell, and another round attempting to feed.  The owner of this rifle bought some ammo from a random gun show vendor.  This  ammo was inconsistent length, one of the round had a split neck, and some of them would not even chamber.  Bad ammo results in bad performance.



  1. i too seen things like east over shoe gun butchers tried to do a ” trigger job” ….wrong gas key bolts break and /or loosen up ….no gas rings ……

  2. Poorly, or improperly staked gas keys are all over, buy a decent BCG to fix that problem. There are plenty of good makes of AR still out there, but…AR’s are now made by so many companies though, yes, there are also plenty of rifles that do just have inferior parts on them, and honestly even more sad to me, improperly assembled AR’s (I still can’t figure out how anyone with over two hours experience can screw up assembling an AR, other than maybe selecting parts for their own build or timing it).Things like castle nuts etc being loose are user induced problems-people, learn to maintain your rifle. As far as bad ammo, well I’m certainly not gonna argue there, bad ammo is going to cause problems in almost anything.

  3. While I agree the Bushmaster should have never left the factory that way,.. if it is a few years old, the loosening of the gas key is 100% the fault of the owner. Immediately after purchase, or within a few days, he should have inspected his rifle for proper fit and function. And the BCG, being one of the most important, is also one of the easiest to inspect and remedy. After seeing no staking he should have contacted BM, staked it himself, or taken it to a gunsmith. The fact it worked loose, coupled with it being a few years old, tells me the owner never did any preventive maintenance on it or, at the very least, checked those bolts for proper torque.


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