Weapon Maintenance for Force on Force / UTM usage

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    • #109311
      rhino11
      Participant

        First a little background: Last month I participated in a 3 day Direct Action class (all live fire), followed immediately by a 2 day Force on Force (FoF) class. The first day of FoF we used the ‘standard’ (around 370 fps) UTM ammo, and on the 2nd day we used the reduced velocity ‘CQB UTM ammo’ which I believe runs about 100 fps slower. I ran an ‘unimproved’ Colt 6920 (carbine length gas system). My maintenance schedule has changed little over the years: I brush and patch out the chamber/throat every day, and keep the moving parts ‘wet.’ The rifle ran faultlessly all through Direct Action (indeed, I cannot recall a single malfunction ever with the Colt other than ammo related stuff like backwards or missing primers). For the 1st day of Force on Force I also pushed a couple of dry patches down the bore.

        The rifle ran perfectly all through the 1st day (250-300 rounds?) of FoF. That night I cleaned the chamber and pushed a couple more dry patches down the bore, which came out really black and ‘gunky.’

        During CQB I had 3 ‘dead trigger’ malfunctions (which are frustrating as hell when you have the OPFOR dead to rights, as well as a number of engagements where I fired multiple rounds at guys who remained miraculously unscathed at indoor ranges. WTF? Right about now I am sure the 1st Sergeant is laughing his ass off, because he knows exactly what happened.

        Here is an explanation for those who have not used UTM ammo. There are two charges in each UTM cartridge: one pushes the pellet down the bore, and the second pushes back against the bolt face which cycles the action. In the event one or more pellets gets hung up in the bore, the rifle will continue to cycle until the stack of pellets in the bore extends back far enough to preclude a round chambering completely (which can result in a dead trigger). Eventually my barrel was chock full of UTM pellets from the flash hider to the throat.

        With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight I should have more aggressive in cleaning the 1st day’s worth of gunk from the bore. Max and the cadre always stress that leaving any sort of solvent or lube in the bore results in pellets getting stuck. Leaving a good buildup of UTM fouling in the bore apparently results in the same thing. Next time I plan to alternate dry patches and a dry bore brush (an old match/service rifle technique taught by service rifle team armorers) until the patches come out relatively clean.

      • #109312
        Mike Q
        Participant

          The UTM rounds leave the dirtiest fouling I’ve ever seen. It literally looks like someone held your bolt to the rear and took a dump in the chamber, and then cycled your weapon about 20 times. Every night will require a thorough cleaning or you will be sorry the next day. I’ve taken 4 UTM classes so far and average only 250 rounds per day. So be aware the thorough cleaning each night is a must.

        • #109313
          SeanT
          Keymaster

            Boresnake for the final pull thru the bore has kept my rifle from stacking projectiles in the 3 UTM classes I participated in.

          • #109314
            Robert
            Participant

              We have wiped down and oiled the BCG each night and snaked the barrel multiple times. It’s worked well for the most part. James had a barrel full of UTM rounds the time he came with me. He kept clearing jams and then firing- not realizing the rounds were not leaving the barrel. I swapped rifles with him during a pause in one engagement and went through the clearance drills, something didn’t feel right so I shotguned the barrel and did not see daylight. I handed him back the rifle and said “your screwed, give me my rifle” LOL.

              Definitely clean the barrel somehow. I was petrified about using any solvents in the barrel due to the many warnings about the barrel having to be absolutely dry and that dark cloud that always seems to follow me when I have an AR in my hands.

              So you all are using Hoppes or something to clean the barrel then just making sure it’s dry as hell in the barrel? Or should I keep with the half dozen pull throughs?

            • #109315
              SeanT
              Keymaster

                @Robert
                No solvent during the weekend, only the snake. Solvent after the weekend on patches-standard cleaning.

              • #109316
                JohnnyMac
                Participant

                  @Robert

                  I just pull through maybe twice. What I found to be more important than reps is just timeliness. Many times I’ve pulled through the barrel at the end of the day, and in the morning it looks a little mucked up. I found it a good idea to check the barrel at lunch as well, if I can remember.

                • #109317
                  trailman
                  Participant

                    In the Opfor at CLC first order of business at the end of every engagement on the return to camp was to clean weapons. I used bore blaster and an bore snake and never had a problem. Only one of our four rifles did and it was consistent. We even joked about this at the end of the week that we must be getting professional because the return order was always clean weapons, prep and stack kit for next round then personal care.

                    I agree with Mike the rounds are very dirty, they leave a brown coating in the receiver. But overall we didn’t have much problems with routine cleaning and I think our round count was much higher.

                  • #109318
                    SeanT
                    Keymaster

                      Forgot to include that I pulled the bore at lunch each day. I also carried with me a proper steel cleaning rod so I wouldn’t need it.

                    • #109319
                      DuaneH
                      Participant

                        Fwiw. I used hornady gun cleanerr and dry lube combo and boresnaked it dry daily and at lunch.

                        While i have no evidence and my opinion foes not constitute expert, barrels that do not have chrome lining or nitride MAY not be as slick as the ones that do.

                        I jusy know it is easier to clean lined barrels.

                      • #109320
                        rhino11
                        Participant

                          More takeaways:
                          1st: You won’t always know when you have one of more UTM ‘bullets’ stuck in the bore. It is really important that you confirm your bore is clear before you put your ‘real’ (non UTM) bolt back in. Firing a live 5.56 round through a blocked bore can result in a ruptured barrel and injury to anyone nearby.

                          2nd: Not all AR’s are sprung the same. One of our guys runs a SIG 516 (a piston gun), and while it functioned flawlessly with live rounds, he had multiple double-feeds when running UTM’s. I am pretty sure the recoil spring in the 516 is heavier than a stock Colt spring. If you plan to run UTM’s with anything exotic (light bolt carrier group, non-standard buffer, etc.) having a backup rifle is a very good idea.

                        • #109321
                          Robert
                          Participant

                            I usually keep the pull through in my Camelbak and hit it at lunch also.

                            Main question was regards to using solvent at night, but I will continue to skip that.

                            A rod comes with me now to each of these after James rifle got ganked up in October.

                          • #109322
                            trailman
                            Participant

                              We bent a brass rod then a steel cleaning rod trying to clear keepers rifle. We ended up boiling the barrel in a bucket of water on the stove.

                            • #109323
                              Mike Q
                              Participant

                                I was shooting right next to Robert that day when James’ barrel was screwed. Robert’s exact words to his son were “You’re fucked. Give me my rifle back!”

                                It was hilarious.

                                The take away from that instance is this. If your rifle goes down in UTM or real life, don’t just sit there and wait it out. Get a battlefield pickup and go back to work. In fact that happened to me at CLC. Fuckers took my rifle and MY AMMO! Dicks! – You know who you are…

                              • #109324
                                trailman
                                Participant

                                  The take away from that instance is this. If your rifle goes down in UTM or real life, don’t just sit there and wait it out. Get a battlefield pickup and go back to work. In fact that happened to me at CLC. Fuckers took my rifle and MY AMMO! Dicks! – You know who you are…

                                  Yeah, especially galling that it was an OPFOR guy too

                                • #109325
                                  rhino11
                                  Participant

                                    Dunking the whole barrel in boiling water is the approved ‘school solution’ for heating up the gunk in the barrel so all the stuck ‘bullets’ can be driven out. We used the field expedient of pulling the handguard and playing a propane torch up and down the barrel while tapping on the cleaning rod handle. I doubt we got the barrel anywhere near as hot as dumping a mag or two through during an ‘ambush rate of fire’ drill. :yes:

                                  • #109326
                                    Max
                                    Keymaster

                                      Pouring boiling water into the barrel, not boiling the barrel in water!
                                      :wacko:

                                    • #109327
                                      trailman
                                      Participant

                                        Pouring boiling water into the barrel, not boiling the barrel in water!
                                        :wacko:

                                        That didn’t work the barrel was so plugged that we couldn’t get any flow

                                      • #109328
                                        Virgil Kane
                                        Participant

                                          The take away from that instance is this. If your rifle goes down in UTM or real life, don’t just sit there and wait it out. Get a battlefield pickup and go back to work. In fact that happened to me at CLC. Fuckers took my rifle and MY AMMO! Dicks! – You know who you are…

                                          That’s funny.

                                        • #109329
                                          Robert
                                          Participant

                                            Dunking the whole barrel in boiling water is the approved ‘school solution’ for heating up the gunk in the barrel so all the stuck ‘bullets’ can be driven out. We used the field expedient of pulling the handguard and playing a propane torch up and down the barrel while tapping on the cleaning rod handle. I doubt we got the barrel anywhere near as hot as dumping a mag or two through during an ‘ambush rate of fire’ drill. :yes:

                                            Wow that really was a mess. The mess we had was able to be beat out with a cleaning rod that First Sargeant had.

                                            @Mike Q on the battlefield pickup- yeah I dropped the ball on that one. As we had just had that exchange with them at about 75 yards and I think Dennis was down there when they pulled back. I should have had James move up with us and take Dennis rifle right then.

                                            That was that big back and forth exchange were they whacked out our flankers and we didn’t know it. Then they moved on our crew and got chewed up. We were all laying around on that hill for an hour then James and Tango came over there after getting a battlefield pickup for James and clipped their last person. It just kept flowing back and forth on that one.

                                          • #109330
                                            Max
                                            Keymaster

                                              Wow. This is how confusion spreads. Just heard at the Intro to CQB class that after class you have to clean your barrel with boiling water.

                                              No!

                                              That was for getting stuck UTM rounds out of the barrel, if they will not simply rod out.

                                              Wow.

                                              :wacko:

                                            • #109331
                                              zeerf
                                              Participant

                                                Pouring boiling water into the barrel, not boiling the barrel in water!
                                                :wacko:

                                                That didn’t work the barrel was so plugged that we couldn’t get any flow

                                                what was the total count again stuck in the barel? over 10 for sure I can not recall…but yes poor keeper had some bad luck with that.

                                                Wow. This is how confusion spreads. Just heard at the Intro to CQB class that after class you have to clean your barrel with boiling water.

                                                oh wow… just when I thought I heard it all :negative:

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