Friday, March 05, 2010

Pet Peeves: AR Gas Rings and staggering

I've been attempting to keep this from being a gun blog, but the only evidence of that is that I spend a long time not posting anything. So, in order to have another post for some jackass from China trying to post his web address to get cheap knock off Viagra and Cialis to-such is my fan base, apparently-I'm updating with at least one pet peeve...which will likely turn into several peeves in a row, because many of you know I'm moderately easy to peeve.

Since there's very little on Wednesday night for TV, I typically tune in to Wednesday Night at the Range on The Outdoor Network. Most of those shows I don't care much for, but I keep finding myself actually watching Shooting USA. Its a good show for a lot of aspects of shooting, some of which I'm into, and some I'm not. Overall, they're solid on their info. Sometimes, though, they do things that make me nuts as a life long shooter and student of the gun.

They did a repeat segment this week, with a section on how to clean the AR. Overall the information was solid, but two things made me a little crazy: they made a point to mention staggering the gas rings on the bolt, and the BCG (bolt carrier group) was put back in the gun dry. My eye was twitching after that.

Here's the thing about gas rings: gas can't blow by them when they're in use. The old saw about not aligning the gaps in the rings is retarded, given how rings work. Did you ever notice the rings on a combustion motor's pistons? To get them onto the piston, there MUST be a gap in them. They're not gonna be able to be put on if they're solid. But do new rings have blow by, given that they're installed correctly? Of course not. That's because-now pay close attention here, this is important-when they're at work, THEY'RE CLOSED! Just like they are on the AR's bolt. The only reason you can see the gaps is because the dang bolt ISN'T IN THE CARRIER when you're looking at them. When the bolt is in use inside the carrier, the rings are closed. Holy cow! Revelation!

Eventually, those rings will wear through use, and they'll cease to work. That's because they're worn, not because of the gap that is only there when the bolt is out of the carrier. At some point, they'll have to be replaced, and that's no big deal. The way to test is all over the Intardweb, so I'll forgo that here. That may be another rant/peeve altogether.

If you haven't picked one up yet, I highly recommend Mike Pannone's book "The M16/M4 Handbook". In that book you will find more wisdom than should probably be available in one place, including good illustrations of how gas rings actually work, and how/where to lube an AR. That gun, in it's direct impingement form, will run tens of thousands of rounds without significant cleaning. Pat Rogers has carbines with over 20,000 documented rounds through them without significant cleaning. All they do is run 'em wet. Not cleaning is not the same thing as not lubricating. Keep that gun properly lubed, and it'll run till you get sick of not cleaning it.

Always check what experts have to say about the info that "everybody knows". The Intardweb is very often wrong. I'll take One Eyed Mike Pannone's word as gospel versus some guy who's screen name is "Snake_Doc" or "IluvAKs69".


DirtCrashr said...

And if you ever installed rings on pistons and then pistons into cylinders, then you know you have to squeeze the rings closed to get them in there. From V-Dub's to KTM two-strokes, it's the rings.

Haji said...

absolutely true, and most people know that. For whatever reason, there's a disconnect that allows some to think that the rings on the bolt are working differently.

DirtCrashr said...

They think they jingle-jangle around I guess. ;-)