Firearms of all sorts have one thing in common. They all have moving gun parts.
With respect to action and operation, though, that’s about where the similarities end.
Falling block, lever, slide, and semi-automatic actions are all extraordinarily different. Gas recoil systems are very different from recoil-operated actions. That doesn’t even mention muzzleloaders, which are another animal altogether.
Nonetheless, here are some of the most common points of failure in modern firearms, and what you should look to first if your firearm simply isn’t feeding, firing, and cycling as it should.
1. Springs (Dependent on model)
Without question, springs are the single most common point of failure in modern firearms. They are small and generally fragile, and over time, with use, springs fatigue or wear out. Eventually, they will fail. No spring lasts forever.
The thing is, there are so many different types of springs in modern firearms, depending on the type of action. ARs and slide-action pistols have recoil springs. Some gas-operated semi-autos like M1 Garands have op rod springs. All firearms have trigger mainsprings; others have sear, hammer, or ejector springs or even frizzen springs.
Look to the springs first if the gun’s not firing, feeding, cycling, or ejecting properly.
2. Ejectors and extractors
Regardless of the type of action, if your firearm does not extractor or eject, the problem could be with the extractor, ejector pins, or springs. These problems usually manifest on semi-automatic platforms but they can happen to any firearm that has either extractors or ejectors.
Also, since they’re small and fragile parts, they tend to be common points of failure.
3. Firing pin
There’s a lot of force that unloads on a firing pin with each pull of the trigger, and firing pins, especially by the point, are fairly thin pieces of metal. It is relatively easy for a firing pin to break since they are made of hardened metal.
In fact, that’s usually what happens after a couple of thousand rounds. If you pull the trigger and hear a click, and you’re sure the ammo is not defective, there’s a good chance is it’s the firing pin that needs to be replaced. (If you don’t hear a click, something is not setting inside of the gun; either the trigger assembly or the hammer, sear or mainsprings will need to be replaced.)
4. Gas cylinders, blocks, tubes, and rings
Firearms that utilize a gas-operated recoil spring suffer from one problem; that gas is dirty, hot, and under high pressure. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, it will obstruct a gas cylinder. Also, a BCG’s gas rings will wear down over time, making it difficult for the action to cycle. These gun parts often need to be cleaned or replaced outright.
5. Magazine followers (not a gun part, but failure-prone)
So magazine followers aren’t a gun part, strictly speaking. They do affect feeding and chambering, and a cracked or missing follower can often cripple a repeater or autoloader until the part is replaced. Also, mag springs are also failure-prone, and can also prevent a mag from feeding properly.
Get Gun Parts and Parts Kits at SARCO, Inc.
Looking for common gun parts to repair your favorite platform? Visit SARCO, Inc., at SarcoInc.com, where you’ll find a wide variety of parts and kits, including parts for historical firearms as well.
Check out their website at the above address or get in touch with them by phone at 610-250-3960 for more assistance.