Fixing AR-15 Extraction Problems
by Roy Seifert
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This article is for entertainment only and is not to
be used in lieu of a qualified gunsmith.
Please defer all firearms work to a qualified
gunsmith. Any loads
mentioned in this article are my loads for my guns and have
been carefully worked up using established guidelines and
special tools. The
author assumes no responsibility or liability for use of
these loads, or use or misuse of this article.
Please note that I am not a professional gunsmith,
just a shooting enthusiast and hobbyist, as well as a
article explains work that I performed to my guns without
the assistance of a qualified gunsmith.
Some procedures described in this article require
special tools and cannot/should not be performed without
Disassembling and tinkering with your firearm may
void the warranty. I
claim no responsibility for use or misuse of this article.
Again, this article is for entertainment purposes
and firearms are the trademark/service mark or registered trademark
of their respective manufacturers.
recently had the opportunity to purchase an AR-15 at a
really good price; much below fair market value.
The seller told me the gun never worked right and he
just wanted to get rid of it.
When I asked why it wasn’t working, he told me it
frequently jammed, and he was tired of fooling with it.
decided to purchase it from him since it was a great deal.
When I got it home I broke it down and found the
rifle to be very clean.
At least he attempted to keep it well maintained.
took it out to the range, and sure enough, it would
consistently jam after only three rounds.
Eventually it would jam after every round.
The jam was caused by the empty case not being
this is caused by a faulty extractor; a problem I have seen
I removed the bolt from the bolt carrier, I immediately saw
the problem. As
can be seen in the photo, the rear of the extractor was
raised above the bolt body causing it to rub inside the bolt
should lay flush with the bolt body as can be seen on the
front bolt in the photo.
the rear of the extractor was contacting the wall of the bolt
carrier, the extractor was depressed just enough so it did not
make full contact with the case causing erratic ejection.
I compared this extractor and bolt to the bolt of
another AR-15 I own, and I even swapped extractors; the
problem was definitely the extractor.
In fact, I couldn’t even reassemble the bolt into the
bolt carrier without depressing the rear of the extractor.
later I was back in business.
I installed a new extractor and made sure the rear sat
flush in the bolt body. Another
trip to the range proved that the rifle was now functioning
perfectly. I have
no idea how that bad extractor was installed or passed quality
control. All I
know is I now have a functioning AR-15 for my collection.