Major Categories Of Malfunctions

A malfunction is caused by a procedural or mechanical failure of the rifle, magazine, or ammunition. Pre-firing checks and serviceability inspections identify potential problems before they become malfunctions. Three primary categories of malfunctions are:

1. Failure to Feed, Chamber, or Lock.

Description. A malfunction can occur when loading the rifle or during the cycle of operation. Once the magazine has been loaded into the rifle, the forward movement of the bolt carrier group could lack enough force (generated by the expansion of the action spring) to feed, chamber, and lock the first round. While firing, the cycle of function is interrupted by a failure to strip a round from the magazine, to chamber the round, and to lock it (Figure 2-14).

M16 Field Stripping

Probable causes. The cause could be the result of one or more of the following: excess accumulation of dirt or fouling in and around the bolt and bolt carrier, defective magazine (dented or bulged), magazine improperly loaded. A defective round (projectile forced back into the cartridge case that could result in a "stubbed round") or the base of the previous field cartridge could be separated, leaving the remainder in the chamber. Other causes could be: damaged or broken action spring, exterior accumulation of dirt in the lower receiver extension, or fouled gas tube resulting in short recoil.

Corrective action. Applying immediate action usually corrects the malfunction. However, to avoid the risk of further jamming, the firer should watch for ejection of a cartridge and ensure that the upper receiver is free of any loose rounds. If immediate action fails to clear the malfunction, remedial action must be taken. The carrier should not be forced. If resistance is encountered, which can occur with an unserviceable round, the bolt should be locked to the rear, magazine removed, and malfunction cleared-for example, a bolt override is when a cartridge has wedged itself between the bolt and charging handle. The best way to relieve this problem is by--

• Ensuring that the charging handle is pushed forward and locked in place.

• Holding the rifle securely and pulling the bolt to the rear until the bolt seats completely into the buffer

• Turning the rifle upright and allowing the overridden cartridge to fall out. 2. Failure to Fire Cartridge.

Description. Failure of a cartridge to fire despite the fact that a round has been chambered, the trigger is pulled, and the sear has released the hammer. This occurs when the firing pin fails to strike the primer with enough force or when the ammunition is bad.

Probable causes. Excessive carbon buildup on the firing pin (Figure 2-15A) is often the cause, because the full forward travel of the firing pin is restricted. However, a defective or worn firing pin can give the same results. Inspection of the ammunition could reveal a shallow indentation or no mark on the primer, indicating a firing pin problem (Figure 2-15B). Cartridges that show a normal indentation on the primer but did not fire indicate bad ammunition.

well.

Figure 2-15. Failure to fire.

A. Carbon or Fouling Buildup

Figure 2-15. Failure to fire.

A. Carbon or Fouling Buildup

Primer Indent
B. Various primer indents

LIGHT primer

INDENT

NORMAL PRJMER INDENT

LIGHT primer

INDENT

Corrective action. If the malfunction continues, the firing pin, bolt, carrier, and locking lug recesses of the barrel extension should be inspected, and any accumulation of excessive carbon or fouling should be removed. The firing pin should also be inspected for damage. Cartridges that show a normal indentation on the primer but failed to fire could indicate a bad ammunition lot. Those that show a complete penetration of the primer by the firing pin could also indicate a bad ammunition lot or a failure of the cartridge to fully seat in the chamber.

NOTE: If the round is suspected to be faulty, it is reported and returned to the agency responsible for issuing ammunition

3. Failure to Extract and Eject.

Failure to extract. The cartridge must extract before it can eject.

Description. A failure to extract results when the cartridge case remains in the rifle chamber. While the bolt and bolt carrier could move rearward only a short distance, more commonly the bolt and bolt carrier recoil fully to the rear, leaving the cartridge case in the chamber. A live round is then forced into the base of the cartridge case as the bolt returns in the next feed cycle. This malfunction is one of the hardest to clear.

NOTE: Short recoil can also be caused by a fouled or obstructed gas tube.

WARNING

A FAILURE TO EXTRACT IS CONSIDERED TO BE AN EXTREMELY SERIOUS MALFUNCTION, REQUIRING THE USE OF TOOLS TO CLEAR. A LIVE ROUND COULD BE LEFT IN THE CHAMBER AND BE ACCIDENTALLY DISCHARGED. IF A SECOND LfVE ROUND LS FED INTO THE PRIMER OF THE CHAMBERED LfVE ROUND, THE RIFLE COULD EXPLODE AND CAUSE PERSONAL INJURY. THIS MALFUNCTION MUST BE PROPERLY IDENTIFIED AND REPORTED. FAILURES TO EJECT SHOULD NOT BE REPORTED AS EXTRACTION FAILURES.

Probable cause. Short recoil cycles and fouled or corroded rifle chambers are the most common causes of failures to extract. A damaged extractor or weak/broken extractor spring can also cause this malfunction.

Corrective action. The severity of a failure to extract determines the corrective action procedures. If the bolt has moved rearward far enough so that it strips a live round from the magazine in its forward motion, the bolt and carrier must be locked to the rear.

The magazine and all loose rounds must be removed before clearing the stoppage. Usually, tapping the butt of the rifle on a hard surface causes the cartridge to fall out of the chamber. However, if the cartridge case is ruptured, it can be seized. When this occurs, a cleaning rod can be inserted into the bore from the muzzle end. The cartridge case can be forced from the chamber by tapping the cleaning rod against the inside base of the fired cartridge. When cleaning and inspecting the mechanism and chamber reveal no defects but failures to extract persist, the extractor and extractor spring should be replaced. If the chamber surface is damaged, the entire barrel must be replaced.

Failure to Eject. A failure to eject a cartridge is an element in the cycle of functioning of the rifle, regardless of the mode of fire. A malfunction occurs when the cartridge is not ejected through the ejection port and either remains partly in the chamber or becomes jammed in the upper receiver as the bolt closes. When the firer initially clears the rifle, the cartridge could strike an inside surface of the receiver and bounce back into the path of the bolt.

Probable cause. Ejection failures are hard to diagnose but are often related to a weak or damaged extractor spring and/or ejector spring. Failures to eject can also be caused by a buildup of carbon or fouling on the ejector spring or extractor, or from short recoil. Short recoil is usually due to a buildup of fouling in the carrier mechanism or gas tube, which could result in many failures to include a failure to eject. Resistance caused by a carbon-coated or corroded chamber can impede the extraction, and then the ejection of a cartridge.

Corrective action. While retraction of the charging handle usually frees the cartridge and permits removal, the charging handle must not be released until the position of the next live round is determined. If another live round has been sufficiently stripped from the magazine or remains in the chamber, then the magazine and all live rounds could also require removal before the charging handle can be released. If several malfunctions occur and are not corrected by cleaning and lubricating, the ejector spring, extractor spring, and extractor should be replaced.

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