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Old 01-06-2021, 03:52 PM
beaverislander beaverislander is offline
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Can someone help me with a Colt AR15 malfuntion? Can someone help me with a Colt AR15 malfuntion?  
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Default Can someone help me with a Colt AR15 malfuntion?

I have a Colt AR15, HBAR.
Today, I had a major malfunction. I just went out shooting and the first couple rounds didn't fire out of a new p-mag. I figured it was the new mag so I got an old one out and it fired but it was more like an explosion. I have no idea if the bullet went down the barrel... the receiver was smoking so I have a feeling it ignited when the bullet wasn't seated properly. Now it's all jammed up. I can not separate the upper & lower and it looks like the forward portion of the charging handle may have broken off (or disintegrated.) Looking up through the mag well I can see the forward portion of the charging handle, hanging and but jammed tight. I can not pull the handle back, therefore I can't separate upper from lower to see whats going on. So, what happened and how do I determine what needs to be done, or is this something I should try to find a gunsmith to look at? I'm in a remote area so finding a Smith is gonna be hard.
Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 01-06-2021, 03:59 PM
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1. When you say the first couple of rounds didn't fire - Did they chamber? When you pulled the charging handle to extract them were they intact? The bullet isn't missing out of one is it?
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:09 PM
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Is the bolt/BCG fully forward in to battery? I will guess no — because I cannot understand how you can see any part of the charging handle from underneath through the magazine well if the bolt is forward as the charging handle rides on the top of the bolt.

I would get a cleaning rod that is definitely longer than your barrel and carefully insert the rod from the muzzle simply to get an idea of how far it will go, to begin to try and determine -WHAT- is in the bore and or especially what is in the chamber.

I would want to know if there is a live round in there before proceeding.

Because my next move would likely be to “mortar” the rifle, which often works extremely well to open a stuck bolt, but for what should be obvious reasons, this can be a dangerous operation —IF— there is a loaded round in the chamber.
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:22 PM
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I will get it back out shortly and insert the cleaning rod, I can't right now. Yes, the first couple did seem to chamber OK, and I did look and there was not a firing pin indentation on the primers.

Maybe that isn't the charging handle I'm seeing from underneath..... sorry guys, I'm rather flustered at the moment.

This rifle has been performing flawlessly for me so it has to be something that I did......and that makes it harder. I need to attend to some other things but I'll get back as soon as I can.

Thank you.
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:42 PM
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I would remove the barrel and go from there, if not familiar with procedure, you can google or go to Youtube to find out correct way to do this. You may have to remove butt stock and buffer tube so as to allow bolt to be removed. I don't think you should worry if there may be a live round in chamber since there is no reason for it to discharge. If there is a shell casing stuck in chamber, you should be able to remove with rod.
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:49 PM
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Default Colt AR15

The cleaning rod runs through to the bolt.
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:56 PM
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Factory ammo or reloads? Right caliber for the gun?
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:01 PM
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Since thereís apparently no bore obstruction, Iím guessing it fired out of battery, but I have no answer for the first failures. Off top of my head, thinking stuck firing pin that unstuck at an unfortunate moment . . .
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:09 PM
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Sounds like wrong caliber for the rifle ie. 300 Black Out in .223???
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docjonson View Post
I would remove the barrel and go from there, if not familiar with procedure, you can google or go to Youtube to find out correct way to do this. You may have to remove butt stock and buffer tube so as to allow bolt to be removed. I don't think you should worry if there may be a live round in chamber since there is no reason for it to discharge. If there is a shell casing stuck in chamber, you should be able to remove with rod.
Wrong, wrong, wrong! One should never assume a gun can't fire a loaded round. This is bad advice, my friend.
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:18 PM
beaverislander beaverislander is offline
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Will I need any special tools to remove either the butt stock or barrel? I do have some small punches and regular hand tools but nothing specific for the AR.

And yes, these were reloads. Good question and while always a possibility, I don't think that's the problem here. These are from the same batch I put up 4-5 years ago and I have shot a couple thousand rounds with no issues.
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:29 PM
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Another angle:
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:32 PM
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You need a barrel wrench and a castle nut tool. And you might oughta have lead with ďthese were reloads . . . ď

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Will I need any special tools to remove either the butt stock or barrel? I do have some small punches and regular hand tools but nothing specific for the AR.

And yes, these were reloads. Good question and while always a possibility, I don't think that's the problem here. These are from the same batch I put up 4-5 years ago and I have shot a couple thousand rounds with no issues.
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:39 PM
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From the looks of the pictures, the bolt carrier is unseated, meaning out of its channel in the receiver. That is why you can't open it. Try using a punch and drive the take-down pins out, maybe you can separate the upper and lower receivers. I would also try removing the buffer tube to see if the carrier can be removed rearward. You may have to insert something up the magazine well (strong flat blade screwdriver) and try to pry the bolt back, or loose enough to split the receivers apart.

Regardless of what happened, looks like there's been damage to the receivers (in order for the carrier to be out of its channel), and you have to get them apart before you can proceed further. Assume you have a live round chambered until you can prove otherwise, don't be looking down the barrel with a bore light, and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction..

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Old 01-06-2021, 05:41 PM
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It almost looks like your bolt is SPLIT lengthwise with the bottom half of the bolt hanging low.

Open the dust cover and get a picture of that.
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:52 PM
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KABOOM!

Stating that you were shooting reloads at the beginning would have lead this discussion differently.

It is highly likely you had an "overpressure incident", KABOOM! Firing out of battery is unlikely since it is very difficult to do. Shooting reloads leads to the likely scenario of a squib and followed it with a "hot" round.

The pressure goes in all directions and could have dislodged the round in the barrel as well as damage the bolt and carrier.

If there is evidence of a live round STOP! Take the thing to a competent gunsmith familiar with the AR 15! To be disassembled properly requires a bundle of $$$$ investment is specialized tools.

You can search youtube for instructions for disassembly and you will see that there are some AR15 specialized tools not found in the garage tool box. In particular there are special tools for securing the upper/lower so when applying torque you don't damage the upper/lower components!

Now the 64 dollar question! Were these your reloads? Are you certain of their origin? If not your reloads or of an unknown origin kick yourself in the butt!

Smiles,

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Old 01-06-2021, 06:01 PM
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Inside dust cover
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:03 PM
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I agree with Muss, It sounds like it wasn't all the way in battery when it was fired. Remove the rear take down pin first and go find a big fella to pull the BCG as hard as he can out. Check to make sure the "firing pin retaining pin wasn't in backwards. and with AR's use a lot of oil and when you think there is enough oil on the BCG give it another squirt.

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Old 01-06-2021, 06:03 PM
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Yes, these were "MY" reloads.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:22 PM
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FYI.
For the time being it goes in the back of the safe. I will do some searching for a gunsmith to look at it.... it's over my head.

Thanks to those of you who tried to help.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:29 PM
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I'd trade it for a pair of sneakers or a concert ticket (hopefully Ennio Morricone doing the Clint Eastwood Trilogy).
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:39 PM
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Take the HG off see if you can remove gas tube. That might alleviate some binding
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:22 PM
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OK, the picture of the ejection port shows the bolt carrier to the rear of the battery position (fully forward). At this point, in order to open the receivers without removing the barrel, the carrier must move forward. DON'T try to move the carrier to the rear with the charging handle. It's not made for the forces involved.

First, some oil/Kroil applied to the carrier through the ejection port wouldn't hurt. A little flowing forward toward the chamber also wouldn't hurt. The next move is to move the carrier forward. Light tapping with a light hammer on the forward assist might move the carrier forward. You might also use a brass rod against the front and rear surfaces of the scallop on the carrier that you can see through the ejection port to try and get some back and forth movement that will eventually allow the carrier to move freely.

If that doesn't do the trick, you're looking for a knowledgeable person with the right tools to remove the barrel. Which, may not be all that easy with the bolt and a probable distorted case interfering. Removing the buttstock and receiver extension/buffer tube would give you/your mechanic access to the rear of the carrier and be able to apply force-in either/both directions-directly to it.

Last edited by WR Moore; 01-06-2021 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:06 PM
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I took the butt-stock off, no problems. Both pins are out and the upper & lower are sooo close to coming apart, I'd guess if I could move the bolt carrier forward 3/8" they would easily separate. I will put some oil on tonight and go to a friends that has brass punches in the morning. Thank you, I feel like I'm getting there.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:15 PM
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After the oil, two taps to the forward assist did it. Now how do I get that BCG out of there? Here's what it looks like now.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:24 PM
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Now how do I get that BCG out of there?
Fire wrench!!!!
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:32 PM
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It looks like the bottom of the bolt carrier is blown out. Look at the second picture in post #6.

It'll take a gunsmith to fix.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:36 PM
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Fire wrench!!!!
You're a real helpful kinda guy.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:50 PM
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Seriously that is a tough one.
If the upper is salvageable the way the bolt carrier is split I would think the best way would be to lock the upper down in a milling machine and cut out the portion of the bolt carrier that is hanging down.
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Old 01-07-2021, 02:38 AM
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Wow! beaverislander, I'm not an AR owner nor have I ever shot one, but, after you do the "forensics" to see what happened/caused this problem, I'm kinda curious of your outcome, as I may buy one someday...maybe. It would be for major self-defense, but these guns are really way outta my league! I hear most are pretty reliable. I EDC a plastic Ruger, but I like shooting wheel guns the most. But, I do like to learn, as I said in case I want to get an AR something. Good luck to ya.
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Old 01-07-2021, 03:00 AM
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Question: did escaping gas blow the magazine follower, base plate and spring out of the magazine tube along with any remaining ammo? If not, at this point you might consider returning the complete upper to Colt and see what they may do for you. Warning: under Colt's previous warranty/management, the "repairs" may cost more than the rifle did originally. They may also refuse to return the upper.

However, you might give it some more oil and look at the rear of the carrier. There should be a full cylinder portion at the rear. Light tapping on the carrier at this point with a brass bar should move the carrier to the rear far enough to eject what's left of the case. Depending on how the carrier is split, and if it's not displaced too far, it may slide right out of the upper. If you have an actual M16 carrier, then you're looking at applying the brass bar to the rear of the scallop in the ejection port.

Once/if the carrier is moving freely, the charging handle can probably pull the BCG out. Don't get stupid here.

It does appear that the carrier is split and possibly displaced too far to come out of the upper. At this point, your best bet is probably to get the carrier in the best position possible, clamp it firmly in a vise and get someone skilled with a welding grinder and a cut off wheel to cut the displaced part off or grind it down till it clears the upper. Or, pull the barrel and start over with a new upper receiver and BCG.

Get someone knowledgeable/Colt to examine the complete upper to see what else may need to be replaced. I've seen guys that have had this happen (but didn't destroy the carrier) replace the extractor (they usually depart during these events, but not always), the magazine innards and go back to shooting but I'm more cautious.

Best of luck, let us know how it turns out. And trash the rest of your reloads.

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Old 01-07-2021, 03:10 AM
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Wow! beaverislander, I'm not an AR owner nor have I ever shot one, but, after you do the "forensics" to see what happened/caused this problem, I'm kinda curious of your outcome, as I may buy one someday...maybe. It would be for major self-defense, but these guns are really way outta my league! I hear most are pretty reliable. I EDC a plastic Ruger, but I like shooting wheel guns the most. But, I do like to learn, as I said in case I want to get an AR something. Good luck to ya.
I have never had any trouble with it until today but it was a nice day and I thought it would be a good idea to get it out and practice, so in that respect I'm glad it happened when it did (as opposed to some time if I really did need it.) Fortunately a couple of weeks ago I bought a Henry 357 magnum lever gun, I haven't picked it up yet as I didn't want to travel, but now I'm thinking I better go get it this weekend.
And hopefully...... the AR won't be as bad as what I'm fearing.
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Old 01-07-2021, 03:18 AM
beaverislander beaverislander is offline
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Originally Posted by WR Moore View Post
Question: did escaping gas blow the magazine follower, base plate and spring out of the magazine tube along with any remaining ammo?
No but it had a good deal of soot from the smoke.

I'll get after it again tomorrow.

Sounds like I better find a gunsmith...and ideas? I'm going to need to ship it UPS anyway so it doesn't really matter where it goes.
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Old 01-07-2021, 03:25 AM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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OK, no escaping gas suggests whatever happened did so with the BCG fully forward. Possibly the carrier was defective, but should you have used reloads, warranty would be null and void.
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Old 01-07-2021, 08:53 AM
JohnRippert JohnRippert is offline
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IMO, that upper is toast. I would not trust the upper receiver or the barrel after a kaboom like that. Pull the handguards off. Hang the remains on the wall of the garage as a reminder and get another upper.

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Old 01-07-2021, 09:19 AM
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IMO, that upper is toast. I would not trust the upper receiver or the barrel after a kaboom like that. Pull the handguards off. Hang the remains on the wall of the garage as a reminder and get another upper.
Upper looks bowed out now. Just a few peripheral parts are usable. The barrel extension is possibly damaged. Hopefully the lower is still usable
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:29 AM
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Similar but worse, and you can see the split carrier. Colt also
Colt AR-15 KABOOM -The Firearm Blog
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Old 01-07-2021, 12:45 PM
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Any ideas what this would be worth as a "parts" gun just the way it is?
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Old 01-07-2021, 01:13 PM
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Personally I'd try and rebuild it.
You have the hard part to get intact and that is the complete lower. That is the serialized part that would have to go through an FFL.

The easy part to fix is what is broken on yours and that is the upper.

Is it important to you to have a Colt brand upper and barrel?
What do you really do the most with the the rifle? Do you use the iron sights at all or did you use a red dot or scope?

I hate to speculate on what you could get for it right now being how crazy the market is on AR stuff, but a good complete post ban Colt lower would be worth $300 or so to me. Would probably fetch a little more on the market today. If I saw it being sold as a complete rifle with blown upper I would probably shy away from it just being honest with you.
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Old 01-07-2021, 01:35 PM
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Thank you for the reply, and you may be right, the whole FFL thing is a PITA considering where I live plus I always have to go back a second time to pick it up (I get flagged every time.)
To answer your question regarding sights, it came with a P-series .223 but I already have a long range .223 and I just wanted something for out to 30 yards or so and the open sights are plenty good for that.
I may contact Colt and see if they'd be willing to just take a look at the lower to see if it's OK.
Now that I know that the upper is toast it took the urgency out of working on it. At my age maybe I'll get to it, maybe not.
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Old 01-07-2021, 01:42 PM
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If it's for lack of a better word a plinker I'd get a Palmetto complete upper and rock on. The lower is either going to work or not. The critical safety concern is the upper / barrel / bolt.
Complete ready to roll M4 style uppers with bolt carrier group and charging handle run in the $400 range and can be had even in this crazy time.
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Old 01-07-2021, 02:02 PM
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Thanks for that info.
So there would be no safety issue if I put that lower on a friends .223 upper... it would either work or not? I'd hate to buy another upper and then find out something was wrong with the lower too.

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Old 01-07-2021, 02:09 PM
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Thanks for that info.
So there would be no safety issue if I put that lower on a friends .223 upper... it would either work or not? I'd hate to buy another upper and then find out something was wrong with the lower too.
Exactly. You could whittle the lower out of a 2x4. The upper is what holds the dragon in.
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Old 01-07-2021, 02:33 PM
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Default Maybe the time for analysis is past...

....but I'm curious. Did you find any parts of a blown case? You may want to check your chamber and see if the case head blew off and left the cartridge shell in there.

Just thinking that maybe you (or someone) could salvage the barrel.
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Old 01-07-2021, 02:41 PM
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Any ideas what this would be worth as a "parts" gun just the way it is?
There are parts everywhere for ARís and nobody wants parts from a kaboom gun. This upper is toast and not sure I would trust the lower. Chalk it up to thankfully nobody got hurt. You now have a wall hanger. If you sent it to Colt, I seriously suspect you will never see it again. Too much liability for them to send it back if anything is cracked, bent or in any way considered unserviceable.
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Old 01-07-2021, 02:43 PM
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Not sure what happened there or what powder you used. From memory as I have not loaded any in a while loading 223 with a powder like Varget fills the case almost completely and some loads are even compressed . Not sure about other powders so maybe it is possible to overcharge one enough to blow up the upper. Also is it possible you had the wrong powder? If you think it could have been the ammo then don't use any more from that batch for sure.
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Old 01-07-2021, 04:15 PM
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There's very little if any stress on the lower - The fact that lowers can be safely be made of plastic/polymer tells you how much stress is on a lower. The upper, where the barrel, bolt and bolt head take all the stress.

If it were me, I'd get the receivers apart, check the lower - any damage will immediately be evident - get another COLT upper and call it done.
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Old 01-07-2021, 04:48 PM
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I think the upper is probably toast. Your best bet is either to build a new one (difficult if you don't have the proper tools) or buy a complete upper to replace the ruined one. CDNN has some complete uppers at reasonable cost as does Palmetto State Armory.
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Old 01-07-2021, 05:00 PM
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Maybe just me,
But I wouldn't make any plans to do anything until
the "root cause" of the failure has been determined.
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Old 01-07-2021, 05:07 PM
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Maybe just me,
But I wouldn't make any plans to do anything until
the "root cause" of the failure has been determined.
The root cause was the upper or the ammo. The upper is toast so no longer a issue. The ammo need to be trashed I think. I sure would not try any more of that batch for sure. I would pull the bullets and dump the powder and start over very carefully.
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