Do You Have Gas? Part One

Considered to be unacceptable in genteel social settings, gas is key to reliable functioning of Stoner platform guns on the range, in the woods and in less pleasant social settings, such as fox holes.

by Joe Carlos

The two most common questions I’m asked about match AR-15s have to do with trying to predict barrel life and how far to jump heavy bullets used in long range competition. Fortunately, “What’s wrong with my AR?” is way down in the frequency of questions I field. That’s a good thing because no AR-15 armorer really wants to hear that question. While there are a whole bunch of things that can go wrong with the rifle, these seldom happen. Eugene Stoner designed a great rifle.

My degree is in Wildlife. When attending Penn State the professors told us to always first study any existing body of research before going to all the work of setting up a study on some critter or new management notion; a good “work smarter, not harder” philosophy. When the editor asked me to write on this topic he mentioned a very well written article, “A Primer On AR-15 Problems” by RK Campbell in the March 2011 issue. I dug it out and read it, and strongly suggest that you do as well. Another great source on the topic is The Complete Guide To AR-15 Accuracy by Derrick Martin. He devotes a whole chapter to the subject and offers a lot of good information on trouble shooting and repair on the various carbine versions.

When that book was first published in 2000, gunsmiths were just getting the nuisances of the carbine figured out. In general, I think carbine design and manufacture has improved since and I don’t hear complaints about function and repair nearly as often.

Read more in our January 2014 issue. Back issues are available.

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