Quick Tips for Extending the Life of your AR15 Rifle

Extending the Life of your AR-15 Rifle
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Quick Tips for Extending the Life of your AR15 Rifle

Maintaining the peak performance and the lifespan of your AR-15 rifle is paramount for any responsible firearm owner. Whether you're an avid shooter, a seasoned enthusiast, or a first-time buyer, understanding how to properly care for and extend the lifespan of your AR-15 is crucial.

In this guide, we cover practical tips and essential information to help you ensure that your AR-15 remains reliable, accurate, and functional for years to come.

From routine maintenance, smart storage, and practices to avoid, to we'll explore key strategies that can help you get the most out of your investment in this iconic firearm.

AVOID TIP: Buying Ammunition at Gun Shows

Never buy ammunition from a guy selling it in paper or plastic sacks.

I’m sure he’s “been reloading for 50 years” and knows all the ins and out of the practice, but this remains a bad decision that I just don’t understand.

Bad decisions involving women or alcohol are far more understandable than purchasing questionable ammunition. Here’s what it looks like when you shoot this stuff.

PRO TIP: Pay Attention When you Shoot your AR15 Rifle

Both of those barrels have multiple projectiles stuck in the bore. At least the first one had a powder charge so light the bullet couldn’t get out of the barrel.

Whoever shot the rifle failed to notice there was no round impacting on or near the Shooting Target, so he kept shooting and that’s how all those bullets got stuck in the barrel.

It speaks to the miracle of modern manufacturing and metallurgy that the barrel didn’t rupture and/or fragment. This is photo evidence of why you should never buy shady ammunition.

AVOID TIP: Avoid Mag Dumping with your AR15

Gas tubes are supposed to be mostly straight and they’re definitely not supposed to sag in the middle.

This one does because some hotrod was mag dumping as fast as he could for several AR15 magazines until that thin stainless-steel tube said, “Uncle!”

Anyone possessing a full-auto AR-15 should pay attention, as should those tempted to dump multiple magazines through a rifle as fast as possible. This is what happens to the gas tube when you do that—so don’t.

PRO TIP: Always Verify your AR Ammunition

.300 Blackout ammunition loads in magazines and chambers made for 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington.

However, that .30-caliber bullet is never going to fit down the .22-caliber bore. The pressure has to go somewhere and usually it goes back into the receiver and sometimes the shooter’s face.

This is extremely dangerous and is a great way to wind up at the hospital, which is almost the worst possible outcome for what started as a trip to the range.

This guy whose rifle appears in the main photo was lucky because the barrel split and vented away from him and his grill-piece. He probably needed to change his pants, though.

PRO TIP: Research your Local Gunsmiths for Maintenance

Here we have photo evidence of three separate crimes committed against innocent AR-15 Rifles.

These rifles did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve this treatment. The barrel closest to the camera has a red tag that says: “Gunsmith: ‘Sure, I can weld that for you.’

Notice the wad of chewing gum hanging underneath the muzzle. That’s his “weld.” Never hand your barrel over for a pin and weld job without seeing the gentlemen’s handiwork first.

The other two barrels above the one wearing the red tag have both been “dimpled”, a trend that has mercifully gone out of fashion. This technique can be done without harming the barrel.

Sadly, neither of these two barrels saw a competent gunsmith. Using a mill with a ball head to remove steel from a barrel applies a lot of downward pressure that can put bumps in the barrel’s bore.

What was once smooth and rifled is now rifled with speedbumps. The effect on accuracy is devastating.

AR-15’s are simple rifles that are easy to customize and maintain. The rules to live by are always use ammunition from reputable vendors or that you handloaded yourself and never be a gunsmith’s “first” anything.

I’ve lived by these simple rules for decades and have only smiles and positive experiences to show for it.

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