The New 5.45 Upper Finally Chokes (At 2778 Rounds)

Yes, after several thousand rounds, the Spike’s 5.45 upper finally started malfunctioning: the weapon wouldn’t go into battery. This was pretty sudden and quite consistent. I had noticed that the weapon was operating in a sluggish manner for a short while, so it didn’t really come as a surprise. After experiencing several malfunctions in a row, I placed one drop of oil onto the bolt at the cam pin hole, as I felt that this was the area with the most friction. Immediately after doing so, I dumped 5 magazines through the upper without a single malfunction.

Here’s what’s on deck for the next few days:

– Cerakote 1911 refinish

-Deliberate Dynamics hand stop

-Elzetta ZFH1500/ZORM flashlight mounts

– PLUMCRAZY polymer AR-15 lower

– Del-Ton 1/7 M4 upper assembly

– Montie Designs AR-Rest

– Doug Ritter RSK knives in M2 and M4 steel

– An article on why cleaning your AR-15 is pretty much a waste of time

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11 Comments

Filed under Firearm Components

11 responses to “The New 5.45 Upper Finally Chokes (At 2778 Rounds)

  1. Josh

    Can’t wait for the cleaning your ar 15 is a waste of time post. Althougth i would like to know how often the barrel should be cleaned…

  2. You and me both Josh.

    Keep up the good work here, Andrew!

  3. Bill

    Andrew, that looks like PPC? Do you ever shoot any of the ACTS matches? I just started, good times.

    • Andrew (Vuurwapen Admin)

      It is PPC, I have not attended an ACTS match in a while, the scenarios are unrealistic to me (bordering on silly) and it’s far too time consuming.

      I don’t mean to criticize you for going, it’s just not my style. πŸ˜‰ If I did attend, I would see it as a “fun” event, not to be taken seriously.

      • Bill

        Oh agreed, I just like it for the trigger time. Gives me a reason to get out and shoot more, focus if you will instead of shooting dirt and cans. Same for USPSA etc.

  4. Redchrome

    “I felt that this was the area with the most friction”

    Don’t tell us what you feel, tell us what you think. Feelings are fine things to have, but nothing to base a decision on. πŸ˜‰

    Was the bolt going mostly into battery, but just not rotating? (i.e. cartridge in the chamber, bolt just not rotating under the locking recesses in the barrel extension)? If so, your theory about the cam pin area might have been correct.

    Several things occur to me WRT this test.

    * I am truly impressed by how reliable the AR15 can be made to be these days, given special materials and coatings and manufacture to certain tolerances in the correct places.

    * I am confident that at least some of the observed reliability comes from the ammunition used. The tapered case of the 5.45×39 eases the feed path (cartridge is oriented more nose-up towards the chamber than 5.56×45) and eases extraction, even with steel-cased ammo. It would be interesting to do a similar test (with a similar-quality rifle) with steel-cased 5.56×45 and see if it fails sooner.

    * This test points out the value of going out and doing, rather than just armchair-arguing. (I freely admit I fall into the latter category).

    * The measure of a good design is not whether it works perfectly under good conditions (best-quality parts, reasonably clean conditions, good quality magazines) but whether it will still work under less-than-optimal conditions. I still believe the AK47 to be an inherently more reliable design because it’s designed to be made with poor tolerances in a lot of places and yet be exceedingly reliable.

    • Bill

      I will say the last time I shot my AK I had 3 FTF’s. All I’ve ever shot has been black box wolf. One FTF was operator error. An army guy tried to shoot it with his thumb blocking the charging handle… But then it failed on me twice that same day. That AK has a few thousand rounds through it and has been well maintained. I say that cuz that AK has 3 more FTF/FTE them my AR…if you want to armchair it πŸ˜‰

      • Bill

        Lol I meant “shot”, I’m on an iPod and my big fingers mash everything. The I and the O are right next to each other. πŸ™‚

      • Redchrome

        Thanks for the anecdote, Bill. My anecdotal evidence is that even $350 Romanian AKs will feed & fire until the end of days as long as the magazines are halfway good.

        Before we go too far down the path of ‘this is more reliable than that’ I am reminded that back before WW1 I think the British Army fired a Maxim/Vickers machinegun continually for 3 days, just adding water to the cooling jacket and ammo to the belts. My memory & information may be imperfect, but that kind of reliability is a standard to try to live up to. πŸ™‚

    • Andrew (Vuurwapen Admin)

      Yes, the cartridge was almost completely in the chamber, and the bolt was not able to rotate fully. Also, when I pulled the BCG out, the bolt did not move freely by hand. Thus my decision to introduce the oil to the bolt at the cam pin area. This immediately “freed up” the bolt by hand and allowed the weapon to function as described.

      As a side note, all of the surplus ammo was lacquered – that eeevil stuff we’re always told will “gum up” the chamber.

      Bill, I edited your other post for you πŸ˜‰

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