How to Battle Clean an AR-15

So your buddies just called… They want to hit the range! Your excitement turns to dread as you realized last month you mag dumped about 1000 rounds of dirty Russian ammo into trash through your favorite AR-15 and the old gal is dirty.


This isn’t your detailed break down of how to clean an AR-15. This is if you have a malfunctioning gun in the field… how do you get back into the fight as fast as possible.

Your author today was a POG (person other than grunt) but has a decent amount of time using an M-16 A4 with a ton of blanks. What are blank rounds? Answer, they are the spawn of Satan. All the dirty powder without the projectile to push anything out. I always say the AR-15 farts in its mouth, by the way of its direct impingement gas system. This is only made worse using blanks. When running our guns for a field exercise we had to keep them running all week long. Even after many satisfying mag dumps with the M16 A4’s included 3 round burst.

So how did I keep the gun running? The last thing you need is the final battle and your gun is jamming. You need to pop up and spray and pray like your life depends on it.


If I had to pick only one part to clean… the bolt. Not the whole carrier assembly but just the bolt itself. Part of the military reassembly procedure is grabbing the assembled bolt and carrier group and giving it a little flick with your hand to make sure the bolt easily goes in and out of the carrier assembly.

The bolt has little gas rings that if gummed up really do bring the whole operation to a halt. If the bolt gas rings are clean the gun should run. I have literally just wiped this off with a T-Shirt no lube and got an AR back into the fight.

Let’s break it down logically. The gun fires and a puff of hot gas is coming into the gas key to expand the bolt and begin the extraction and rechamber steps. But if those little gas rings are dirty enough to seize, then the bolt will remain in battery with a spent shell in the chamber. You just got jammed.

You might have learned a trick to keep the AR-15 platform running in adverse conditions but let’s be real. Clean your guns! If you’re not in combat, you should take the time to take care of your tools! A clean gun is a happy gun. But in the meantime, pop that bolt out wipe it on your Kentucky Ballistics t-shirt and keep firing.


Well Gun Nuts this is Shawn with Gun Cuts signing off. Until Next time.


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