Oddest AR Jam I’ve ever seen

At our last Tactical Carbine class, one of the student’s AR’s went down.  Hard.  Here’s what it looked like.

SPORTS, TAP RACK BANG… Did nothing.  Try to guess what happened before you click for more.

This is the result of a case head separation.   What you see is the head of a 5.56 case partially wedged above the bolt face.  It moved inside the action with the bolt.  Normally if a case head gets blown off, the front half of the case is stuck in the chamber.  This didn’t happen.  We examined the chamber and determined that the case was not in the chamber… it had been ejected and was found on the ground at the student’s firing position.  Well, somewhat to the right of the firing position.  It took a Multi-Tool to get the case head out of the action.  No damage was done to the gun, the shooter, or anyone or anything else.  Also, the ammo in question was the FEDERAL 500 round bulk pack 5.56mm XM193.  Decent enough ammo.  I’ve shot this ammo by the pallet and never had any such problems myself, and I’ve never seen any problems with it.

We also had another odd malf, this time with an AK-47.  Headshot Willie’s 5.56mm Bulgy AK had a unique issue where the ejecting case didn’t get ejected, but got somehow wedged under the bolt, down in the trigger mechanism.  WTF?  One of the GUN DUDES estimated that it could have been stuck down in there for months of shooting and never knew it… because it’s an AK.  Well, when it was finally dislodged, the gun ran just fine of course… and the case its self looked like a pissed off Rottweiler chewed on it.


17 thoughts on “Oddest AR Jam I’ve ever seen”

  1. For a second, before I noticed the rifle was upside down, I thought it was a left handed model. Was gonna simply comment that it was the shooters fault for using the wrong hand. That looks like more than a case head, and more like a good 1/4 of the case tore off. probably just a thin case wall. I’ve shot plenty of the same federal ammo myself with no problem but it can happen with any ammo at some point.

  2. I’ve actually managed to get an entire loaded round up above the bolt in my AR before, some sort of weird double feed issue.

    Also you can float a loaded round inside the action of an AK-47, not in a useful “extra round” kind of way just in a “this gun makes a weird rattle sound when it fires” kind of way.

    1. Back in the late 70’s when I was in ROTC I went on a Ranger Exercise (I was AFROTC) the unit invited the Pershing Rifle group (think frat/sorority for ROTC cadets) during the exercise one of the girls in the Pershing Rifles managed to get one of the blanks up above the bolt carrier group in the area of the charging handle. She also managed to use the bolt assist to move the bolt group forward enough so that at least half the blank round was over the bolt. We eventually free it up using a bayonet and BFMI (Brute Force and Massive Ignorance)

      Aw the good ole days…

  3. Funny I’ve seen a similar jam when I first shot the m-16 in basic. Mine was a little different, the round was stripped off the mag somehow turned the wrong way and got stuck almost exactly like that one. Cost me a round during qualifying.

  4. I had a friend that loved to reload everything super hot. He gave me 300 rounds for my AR. I had several rounds separate like that but the front of the case always ejected and the back half would cause a jam. Never had any get mangled like that. Funny thing was that it made it look like I was running 9mm through my AR.

    Love you blog. Enjoyed Uprising. Keep up the good work.


  5. WOW … just WOW … that’s the second case separation I’ve seen like that in as many weeks. I’m about 99% sure the one I witnessed was from a Federal 100 round 55gr .223 Rem value pack (maroon box from Wally world). The one I witnessed stopped the gun cold. The case head extracted and ejected cleanly but the following round couldn’t (obviously) chamber all the way with the top of the previous case still in the chamber. It took some elbow grease to get the front part of the broken case out of the chamber.

  6. Federal rifle brass, especially 223, has a reputaion for being soft, with a very short case life among reloaders. Loose primer pockets, and early head separation happen quite often. Their pistol brass is top shelf, but their rifle offerings aren’t so good. Not junk, but not high quality either.

    This didn’t stop me from picking up a bunch of once fired Federal 223 @ $20/1000. But they won’t be used for anything more serious than plinking or an occasional class if I get to one.

  7. I’ve had a spent round get jammed above my bolt in my issue M4. The guys in the platoon said the rifle was cursed by the previous Platoon Leader. It took a multitool to get the case out. I’ve had plenty of malfunctions over the years with M4s, from ejector buttons freezing in place and not ejecting to magazine feed failures to scrummed up ammo sticking in the chamber. If one more mall ninja tells me how awesome milspec Colts are I’ll be tempted to cold clock him.

  8. You can usually remove the forward part of the case with a chamber brush and a T handle. It’s another a good reason to carry a GI cleaning kit with you.

    Most case head separations I’ve seen were with reloaded SAW brass, especially in rifles with military headspace.

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