Brass over Bolt malfunctions.

Last Sunday I helped a shooter at the range with a brass over bolt malfunction.  Brass over Bolt is a rare malfunction where a casing(live or spent) gets stuck over the bolt and between it and the charging handle.  I’ve learned that the quickest way to clear one of these jams is to reach up in the mag well with your middle finger and put that finger on the bolt face holding it back.  When that bolt carrier group is held back, you can run the charging handle forward, and knock the stuck casing/round free.

Shawn and I both agree that while the brass over bolt malfunction can be cleared quickly, in a faster paced or close range fight you may be better off transition to a sidearm if you have one available to you.

While I was in the Marines with all these used and abused M16A2 & M16A4s and old worn out mags and we never saw or heard of a brass over bolt malfunction.  Now the funny thing is, every time I have helped someone with a brass over bolt malfunction I noticed they they were not using cheap or worn mags, they were using Magpul PMags.  I have discussed with Shawn and he too noted that brass over bolt malfunctions seem to be rather new, and seem to mainly have happened in AR15s using PMags.

So, have any of you had the brass over bolt malfunction and what mags were you using when you had it?

4 thoughts on “Brass over Bolt malfunctions.”

  1. I’ve seen two of these in the last six years. Both were with issued M16A2s or M4s and green- or blue-follower USGI magazines. There was a specific period of instruction on them while I was mobilized for the first time in 2007. Not new, just rare.

  2. I had two yesterday. Had one the previous day, possibly two. Was using old GI mags. All were with live rounds, not empties. The last one was in there really tight. Needed the method of :Remove mag, collapse stock, hold back on charging handle, pound stock on ground.

    Anyone have thoughts on the causes of these?

    1. One of the newest things I have read claims that the cause is the action cycling faster then the mag spring can keep up.

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