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New AR-15 Bolt Shatters After Only 4 Shots [pic]

A Reddit user posted a picture of an AR-15 bolt (supposedly Bushmaster) purchased through a third party seller that suffered a catastrophic failure after only four shots.  The bolt reportedly has no maker mark on it.  Even though the Great Gun Buying Frenzy of 2013 is tapering off some things in the pipeline apparently were rushed past QC (or are of questionable provenance).

I send this along just as a reminder that you should test parts before trusting them.

Catastrophic Failure of AR-15 Bolt after 4 shots [click to enlarge]

Catastrophic Failure of AR-15 Bolt after 4 shots [click to enlarge]

15 Responses

  1. Good recommendation on testing your equipment, but how do you test a BCG before firing? Thx!

  2. I think the author may mean test them in a situation like the range, etc before trusting your life to them, in other words, don’t buy a gun amd just shelve it and expect it to work. That would make more sense to me than trying to figure out how to test a BCG without firing it. That would be a rather interesting thing though if someone could manage it. Have a good one.

  3. I’m sorry, that should be “rather than test a BCG without firing the weapon”. And I also forgot to mention, WOW. Hehe

  4. Magnetic Particle Testing is the typical method.

  5. Looks like a part that skipped a heat treat process. magnetic particle testing wouldn’t have found it. Too brittle after hardening, didn’t finish heat treatment. Hard to test on your own without firing.

    I would bet it was assembled from parts, with questionable traceability from the source. Chinese parts? It has happened with critical high strength bolts in construction and automotive supply chains. Counterfeit parts being put into the supply.

  6. He said test before trusting, not firing. That means run quite a few rounds through a firearm before trusting to rely on it for self defense, etc.

  7. I work for an AR manufacturer and I can tell you, WE were very picky about who we bought parts from during the frenzy (and we still are), but others bought from anyone they could find just to try to cash in on the high demand. Every one and their uncle started producing parts based on CAD designs on the internet with no way to know if they were in spec or not. They skipped out on shot peening, magnetic particle inspection, pressure testing, and just about anywhere else they could to save a buck on their end.

    If that bolt was actually a Bushmaster, they’ll stand behind it. Smaller companies who saw a sudden opening to muscle into or those with less than high standards of manufacture and/or business ethics were probably shipping parts that they knew were crap, but figured by the time it came back to bite them, they’d be so deep in back orders, that when you didn’t receive your replacement in 6 months, you’d just give up.

    • I doubt it was actually a Bushmaster part. To your other point, you are correct, manufacturers that want to stay in business want their customers to be happy. As a purchaser, when I have a problem with a product I let the seller or manufacturer have the chance to fix it. All companies make mistakes; how they handle them when they occur is a fine measure of the company as a whole.

  8. not liking this,,hard to trust anyone now..

  9. Missing some parts. One picture is definitely not enough.

  10. “bushmaster” part, bought through third party, sounds kinda shady if you ask me.

  11. mite have spotted sumthing that jus did not look rite by jus looking it over or using a mag. glass,,,all worth at least trying

  12. That’s a bolt that has not been heat treated properly. Recently a large batch of them was shipped from JSE Surplus. They would also lie and say they came from a well know AR manufacturer. You can call them and they will verify they sold them.

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