Extended Firing Pin for AR-15 Ignition Woes

Some imported ammunition use hard primers that can fail to ignite AR-type firearms. Here’s a quick, reversible, and inexpensive remedy for ignition woes.

by Brian R Smith

The AR platform has become ubiquitous, with examples available in pistol and rifle form and in a seemingly growing number of chamberings. The most popular chambering is, of course, 223 Remington or 5.56 NATO. While I don’t envision the 223/5.56 ever being supplanted as the king of the AR cartridges, thanks to the influx over 35 years of once-inexpensive steel-cased 7.62×39 ammunition along with SKS and AK rifles and now pistols from China, the former Soviet Union and ComBloc countries, and domestic manufacturers, the AR has long been offered in models and barreled uppers chambered for that versatile round.

Even before the ammunition panic induced by Covid-19 and the 2020 election politics, firearms enthusiasts looking to save money would purchase and shoot relatively inexpensive steel-cased ammunition from Wolf and the various “Bear” brands of both 223 and 7.62×39. In some cases, shooters have experienced problems with steel-cased ammunition ranging from stuck cases, weak extraction and ejection, unburned grains of powder, hard primers, or primers seated deeper than customary in US ammunition. Recently, two acquaintances approached me a few weeks apart with identical problems. Both had purchased quantities of steel-cased 223 ammunition, the “Golden Tiger” brand manufactured by the Amur Cartridge Plant-Vympel in Russia.

Speaking parenthetically for a moment, it is recognized that many manufacturers of ARs and AR barrels recommend against the use of…

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