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Old 07-15-2017, 04:10 PM
Mutley2112 Mutley2112 is offline
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Default Charging handle question...

I recently purchased a M&P15 sport2. After inspecting and cleaning my new rifle I am noticing that when I rack the charging handle,it just stays back. I then have to push the handle forward back in place. Is this normal? I thought after you pull the handle back it would spring forward with the bolt?
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:40 PM
MichiganScott MichiganScott is offline
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If you ride it forward and then have to push it forward around an inch to get it to lock in place, then it is normal. If you just let it fly, it should lock in place.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:06 PM
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I recently purchased a M&P15 sport2. After inspecting and cleaning my new rifle I am noticing that when I rack the charging handle,it just stays back. I then have to push the handle forward back in place. Is this normal? I thought after you pull the handle back it would spring forward with the bolt?
On the AR15 the charging handle is called a non-reciprocating handle. This means the handle doesn't move with the bolt.

When inserting a new, full magazine, if the chamber is empty, the charging handle must be pulled to load the gun. Because there are rounds in the mag, the bolt will not stay back and will strip off a new round and insert it in the chamber. The charging handle will move forward with the bolt.

However, if an empty mag is inserted, when the charging handle is pulled back, the bolt will lock open. Thus, the charging handle will stay back and should be pushed forward.

Suffice it to say, I think your Sport II is working properly.

Hmmm, maybe I should make a video...
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:37 AM
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Thanks for the help guys...new to the forum and platform. Been wathing Youtube videos where these guys rack their handles and the handle springs back..thought I was doing something wrong
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:56 PM
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To continue this discussion...

Because you are new, here are a couple of hints to help you not damage the gun.

The charging handle is made out of very light aluminum. While not especially delicate, it can be damaged easily if not used properly. Most of the time, you shouldn't need to touch the charging handle.

Bolt Open Load
If the bolt is locked back, just insert a loaded magazine and hit the bolt release. Do not baby the bolt release. Just whack it and the bolt will slam home. This is how it's supposed to work.

Bolt closed Load
If the bolt is closed and there is no round in the chamber. Firmly insert a loaded magazine and give the mag a little tug to be sure it's seated. Then pull the charging handle straight back until it stops and let it go. The bolt will slam home and the charging handle will follow it. Now the gun is loaded. (I'll leave chamber checks for another time.)

Malfunctions
The rifle may have a malfunction. This could be an accidental double feed or a failure to eject or maybe a failure to fire. There are any number of causes for these malfunction, but they may require the bolt to be locked to the rear manually.

To do this, pull the charging handle straight to the rear while pressing on the bottom of the bolt release with the other hand. Once the bolt is locked to the rear, push the charging handle all the way forward until it locks in place. If you don't, the charging handle could be damaged. More importantly, you could get damaged when the charging handle goes forward with force.

Always pull it straight back. Remember, it's made of very light aluminum. If you pull it at an angle, it may get bent. A bent charging handle will prevent your gun from working.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:07 PM
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Nice write up Rastoff and always a good refresher to read.
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:50 PM
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One additional note is that at some ranges when the firing line is called safe you are required to remove the magazine and lock the bolt open. If you leave the charging handle in the rearward position you are providing an easily observed indicator that your bolt is fully open. This means that the range officer simply has to look to see there is no magazine in place and the charging handle is back so it's a good way to be viewed as one of the conscientious shooters on the line. If it happens to be a gun club you wish to be invited to join actions such as this will speed up the process.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:33 AM
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Scooter123,
That's an interesting idea, but a bad habit.

It's a good habit to close the charging handle every time you lock the bolt open. This way you never close the bolt with the charging handle back. Closing the bolt with the handle back could damage the gun or injure the operator.

When clearing a range, the RSO should be looking at the chamber, not the handle. Yes, the charging handle being back could indicate the bolt being locked back or it could be a broken handle. If I were an RSO, and I am, I would never rely on that. A bolt locked back is a bolt locked back. This cannot be mistaken for anything else.

Will this action accelerate your acceptance into a range? I doubt it.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:57 PM
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Closing the bolt with the handle back could damage the gun or injure the operator.
What's the difference between closing the bolt with the handle back and ripping the handle all the way to the back and releasing to chamber a round? The additional friction from chambering a round can't be that much more.

Last edited by MichiganScott; 07-18-2017 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:06 PM
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What's the difference between closing the bolt with the handle back and ripping the handle all the way to the back and releasing to chamber a round? The additional friction from chambering a round can't be that much more.
An excellent question! I'm glad you asked.

The first and most likely problem is damage to the operator. When the charging handle is pulled fully to the rear and released against the pressure of the recoil spring, the operator is fully engaged and ready for the handle movement. Hands and clothing are usually out of the way. However, if the handle is left to the rear, it can be forgotten. I've seen this many times in classes. The handle is pulled to the rear and the bolt locked open. There is a distraction, might only be for a second. A new mag is inserted and the bolt release pressed. As the charging handle moves forward with force, a thumb, forearm, piece of gear, or whatever, manages to get in the path of the charging handle. This can lead to scrapes, jammed material or even just retarding the bolt closing which can lead to a malfunction. Yes, I've personally seen all those problems.

The second, but worse, potential is damage to the charging handle. If the charging handle is not fully up against the bolt carrier when it goes forward, the bolt carrier will slam into the charging handle. Because the handle is only light aluminum, the end could be bent or broken by the bolt carrier slamming into it.

Also, and this goes in conjunction with the first or second issue, the handle can be bent along the shaft. This could happen because the "t" of the handle runs into something as it's going forward and gets pressed to the side. Again, because it's light aluminum, it's easy to bend.

Then, let's forget about the bolt carrier slamming into it. What if it's left back for a while, like in between shooting sessions? The gun gets placed in the rack and then just picking it up it gets bumped into another gun or the side of the rack or whatever. The charging handle can be bent that way.

In any case, if the charging handle gets bent, your day is done; the gun will not work. Well, it would work if the damaged charging handle was removed completely, but that seriously limits the operation of the gun. If the charging handle is properly stored after use, it cannot be bent or damaged unless the gun itself is destroyed.

Does that answer your question?
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