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Old March 11, 2018, 09:38   #1
Octantman
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Options for bolt not staying open

Yes, another post about gas system setting and bolt catch. My search always ends up with how to set the gas system, but not any other solutions.

I have an SAR-4800, used. Previous owner replaced the thumb-hole stock with a wood one. In excellent shape. Shoots very well. And the bolt will not stay open on the last round, even when the sleeve is fully closed. Been through everything and it all is very smooth, bolt catch is smooth and strong.

Shooting match reloads, 168 gr SMK at 2575 fps, should be enough force, but maybe you all can advise. This is less less force than the original military load but is it that much less?

What force is normal to cycle the bolt at the cocking handle? I measure 20 pounds with the hammer already cocked. Can the return springs be replaced, or, is it possible that the wood stock is shorter than the original thumb-hole and the spring is over-compressing?

I would be satisfied to know that the reloads are the source of the issue.

Thanks for any information, advice, or links.

Alan
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Old March 11, 2018, 09:48   #2
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Sleeve = Regulator

When an empty magazine is inserted, pull back on cocking handle....does it lock back?

Have pictures of the BHO?
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Old March 11, 2018, 09:48   #3
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First of all, it's not the recoil spring length - there is no difference between the thumbhole and standard stocks.

Does the rifle function properly with milsurp ammo and if so, what is the gas setting ?

With an empty mag, does the bolt lock when you manually retract it . If so, watch and determine if the holdopen engages smartly or if it is sluggish. If the latter, remove the BHO and clean well.

Have you removed the recoil springs and cleaned and lightly oiled the springs and recoil tube ?
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Old March 11, 2018, 09:50   #4
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So the BHO locks the bolt back when you have an empty mag in the rifle and just use the charging handle to pull it back? Oh well already mentioned while I was writing
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Old March 11, 2018, 09:52   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwobhm View Post
Sleeve = Regulator

When an empty magazine is inserted, pull back on cocking handle....does it lock back?

Have pictures of the BHO?
Can post photo if necessary. Yes, BHO snaps up when manually operating.
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Old March 11, 2018, 09:55   #6
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Originally Posted by J. Armstrong View Post
First of all, it's not the recoil spring length - there is no difference between the thumbhole and standard stocks.

Does the rifle function properly with milsurp ammo and if so, what is the gas setting ?

With an empty mag, does the bolt lock when you manually retract it . If so, watch and determine if the holdopen engages smartly or if it is sluggish. If the latter, remove the BHO and clean well.

Have you removed the recoil springs and cleaned and lightly oiled the springs and recoil tube ?
Have only shot the match reloads. I will try surplus, or load the equivalent. Have not removed the stock to clean/oil the springs. I did clean and oil the BHO.
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Old March 11, 2018, 09:55   #7
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What magazines are you using?
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Old March 11, 2018, 09:59   #8
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Originally Posted by nwobhm View Post
What magazines are you using?
Original one that came with the rifle. Have a Belgian one coming. I did clean and oil the magazine.

Thank you all for the replies so far, I knew this group's experience would result in assistance.

Alan
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Old March 11, 2018, 10:05   #9
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Surplus or the federal 7.62x51 150gr Wally World sells (and Palmetto had for a great price a few weeks ago) should work.
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Old March 11, 2018, 10:16   #10
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Originally Posted by raubvogel View Post
Surplus or the federal 7.62x51 150gr Wally World sells (and Palmetto had for a great price a few weeks ago) should work.
Got it. Will try that and if it functions with an intermediate setting I will know the match reloads are the source.

I am going to guess that no one has a rifle that has this issue that is not traceable to something like the suggestions already given. I'd be OK with that. I just want to be sure that this rifle functions exactly as it was intended. It may be already.

Once I try the commercial or surplus I'll post the results for posterity. Meanwhile, I'll be open to any other suggestions.
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Old March 11, 2018, 10:28   #11
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I did have a similar issue before because I lubed the recoil spring too much and it was kinda of hydrolocking. Actually it was worse: bolt would not go back enough to even extract empty case.
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Old March 11, 2018, 10:31   #12
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I suspect your mild handloads.

Match ammo with 168's is often targeted to 2650fps...kind of a sweet spot.

Good luck.
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Old March 11, 2018, 10:55   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raubvogel View Post
I did have a similar issue before because I lubed the recoil spring too much and it was kinda of hydrolocking. Actually it was worse: bolt would not go back enough to even extract empty case.
OK, so it might be related to the return springs. Next task.
Thanks!!
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Old March 11, 2018, 11:02   #14
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Originally Posted by Octantman View Post
OK, so it might be related to the return springs. Next task.
Thanks!!
If you haven't done it before, watch your face
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Last edited by J. Armstrong; March 11, 2018 at 12:18.
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Old March 11, 2018, 11:19   #15
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Is it possible that an L1A1 BHO was placed in your receiver? They do not hold the bolt open after the last shot as they do not have the protrusion that fits in the magazine against the follower. Also there are some magazines with followers that have have large openings not allowing for the BHO to contact the follower. I have also seen BHOs with protrusions too short to put pressure on the BHO. There are several reasons why your BHO doesn't hold the bolt open after the final shot. The good news is that your FAL is an IMBEL, so the correct part may be sourced with little trouble.
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Old March 11, 2018, 11:22   #16
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If you haven't done it before, watch four face
Ha, yes sir, Have heard that!
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Old March 11, 2018, 11:32   #17
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Is it possible that an L1A1 BHO was placed in your receiver? They do not hold the bolt open after the last shot as they do not have the protrusion that fits in the magazine against the follower. Also there are some magazines with followers that have have large openings not allowing for the BHO to contact the follower. I have also seen BHOs with protrusions too short to put pressure on the BHO. There are several reasons why your BHO doesn't hold the bolt open after the final shot. The good news is that your FAL is an IMBEL, so the correct part may be sourced with little trouble.
Got to looking, and indeed, the protrusion only comes up about halfway onto the flat of the bolt face. Not sure how to post a pic, option is to insert the URL of the image. Sorry don't know how to do that. Finish looks consistent with the other parts on the rifle. Possibly replacement but does not look like it.

Also, dropping rifle on butt from about 2" above floor and the catch releases. This becomes the new suspect.
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Old March 11, 2018, 11:38   #18
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Originally Posted by Octantman View Post
Got to looking, and indeed, the protrusion only comes up about halfway onto the flat of the bolt face. Not sure how to post a pic, option is to insert the URL of the image. Sorry don't know how to do that. Finish looks consistent with the other parts on the rifle. Possibly replacement but does not look like it.

Also, dropping rifle on butt from about 2" above floor and the catch releases. This becomes the new suspect.
Measure how far the pin protrudes that engages the follower. I'll check one in my pile. Does the PHO move freely without any binding? Sometimes you can use a .22 bore brush to clean out the channel.


Also, the BHO doesn't lock it back very solid. Just doing a piston drop on one will disengage it. Ask me how I know after having a bolt slam closed on my fingers.
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Last edited by meltblown; March 11, 2018 at 12:23.
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Old March 11, 2018, 12:30   #19
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Measure how far the pin protrudes that engages the follower. I'll check one in my pile. Does the PHO move freely without any binding? Sometimes you can use a .22 bore brush to clean out the channel.
I may be mixing terminology. The pin that engages the follower is plenty long (.242") No question it reliably engages. The magazine follower is plastic and there is a mark on top showing the engagement.

The height of what I will call the "bolt catch" protrudes up through the receiver bottom .227". It engages the bottom flat of the bolt face about .020". The height of this flat on the bolt face is only .040" so we would not want the bolt catch much longer. Prefer not to relieve the top of the follower pin channel, if that sounds right.

The upward pressure on the bolt catch by the follower is significant. It is pressed fully up and is stopped b the side pin.

The dimension from the top if the side pin to the top of the catch is .370"
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Old March 11, 2018, 13:36   #20
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Update: The pin on the side of the bolt catch pr BHO us not square to the body of the BHO. It is angled upward somewhat.

it is off by 5/1000 or more. I would be interested in purchasing another one and experimenting with stoning the top of the pin to allow about 10/1000 more engagement with the bolt face. This would still not interfere with the case.

Is this good thinking?

And as far as posting pictures, I do not have the album and pictures link, perhaps since I am new to posting.
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:07   #21
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I suspect your mild handloads.

Match ammo with 168's is often targeted to 2650fps...kind of a sweet spot.

Good luck.
Thanks, and perhaps you are correct. Accuracy degrades at that velocity with my particular M1A. Thats wht I had on hand. Have some 155s loaded that will be higher velocity. Using VV N135. And BTW the accuracy is holding the x ring on an SR target at 200 yds. I'm not that good but the rifle is.
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:07   #22
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Short of testing with M80 spec ammo (surplus or otherwise), you could try setting the gas regulator to 1 (full gas) to see if that works. It's possible it's short stroking with your loads.

If the follower is plastic it could be a DSA mag(?), a surplus mag may yield better results. If the unloaded mag does lock the bolt back though, I dont think it'd be suspect unless the bolt does not lock back with M80 ammo.
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:17   #23
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Originally Posted by raubvogel View Post
I did have a similar issue before because I lubed the recoil spring too much and it was kinda of hydrolocking. Actually it was worse: bolt would not go back enough to even extract empty case.
IIRC, the springs and tube are not on the list of parts that FN says in the manual should be lubed, but are also not on the list of what should not be lubed.
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:19   #24
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Originally Posted by Octantman View Post
Original one that came with the rifle. Have a Belgian one coming. I did clean and oil the magazine.

Thank you all for the replies so far, I knew this group's experience would result in assistance.

Alan
The magazine should not be lubricated according to the manual.
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:21   #25
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Short of testing with M80 spec ammo (surplus or otherwise), you could try setting the gas regulator to 1 (full gas) to see if that works. It's possible it's short stroking with your loads.

If the follower is plastic it could be a DSA mag(?), a surplus mag may yield better results. If the unloaded mag does lock the bolt back though, I dont think it'd be suspect unless the bolt does not lock back with M80 ammo.
Agreed, that is the most practical test, the M80 rounds. I have tested with all settings on the regulator. Shot 20 match rounds the other day with full gas and only 1 hold open. So it is capable, just not reliably the way I am testing.

On the mag, the bottom reads FSE, LLC - USA
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:28   #26
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The magazine should not be lubricated according to the manual.
Yes, understood...not wet...but not quite bone dry either.
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:32   #27
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On the mag, the bottom reads FSE, LLC - USA
That probably means someone replaced the bottom with a USA made for 922r
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Old March 11, 2018, 15:39   #28
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That probably means someone replaced the bottom with a USA made for 922r
I don't doubt it. Changing the thumb hole stock to 2 piece wood made it non compliant. Still has the fake flash hider on it. perhaps these are the only changes.
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Old March 11, 2018, 21:04   #29
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No, the floorplate and the follower have been changed for 922r and that's likely the problem. Remove that mag from the equation before even thinking you have a problem.

I can't see a 168gr at 2650 being inadequate.
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Old March 11, 2018, 22:02   #30
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No, the floorplate and the follower have been changed for 922r and that's likely the problem. Remove that mag from the equation before even thinking you have a problem.

I can't see a 168gr at 2650 being inadequate.
Will do just that. Mag coming and will try commercial load just for completeness.

My reloads are 2575fps which is a little over M118 Match. The 2650 is actually 10fps faster than the M72 Match round for the M1, although I know there are competitors that get a little more velocity with the 168 and 4895 powder than I have settled on.

I agree BTW, so will try a couple things.


Thank you.
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Old March 16, 2018, 15:39   #31
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No, the floorplate and the follower have been changed for 922r and that's likely the problem. Remove that mag from the equation before even thinking you have a problem.

I can't see a 168gr at 2650 being inadequate.
Magazine not the problem. Received a NOS Belgian. No difference in the function.

I feel sure it is because the BHO only engages the bolt face .020", it does not have a chance to hold open. Even if it did catch the violence of the movement is going to disengage it, just like hammer follow on a 1911 with a worn out sear nose.

Anyone care to share their overlap dimension?
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Old March 17, 2018, 21:00   #32
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Did you get the chance to test some mil-spec ammo? It could be the BHO is worn where it catches the bolt, Maybe try a new one?

It should catch on the bolt face so the top of the BHO is almost flush to where the bolt face gets recessed where the cartridge sits.

It may help to have a pic with the top cover off and the bolt locked back.
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Old March 18, 2018, 07:35   #33
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Did you get the chance to test some mil-spec ammo? It could be the BHO is worn where it catches the bolt, Maybe try a new one?

It should catch on the bolt face so the top of the BHO is almost flush to where the bolt face gets recessed where the cartridge sits.

It may help to have a pic with the top cover off and the bolt locked back.
I "may not post attachments" presumably because I have no feedback.

But, what you describe is exactly what I think the problem is. The BHO only comes up half as much as you describe. The BHO face and top edge are not worn. The magazine pin is not square to it, is angled upward, causing, or partially causing the short engagement.

I have not been to the range to shoot again, cannot for a couple more weeks.

Last edited by Octantman; March 18, 2018 at 08:03. Reason: Photo did not load, needed addl information
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Old March 18, 2018, 08:05   #34
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Don't know how to upload photos. Rules say to set up a photo album then post from there. I do not have that tab. I used the local URL of the photo as the pop up box said, that only uploaded the text.

But, what you describe is exactly what I think the problem is. The BHO only comes up half as much as you describe. The BHO face and top edge are not worn. The magazine pin is not square to it, is angled upward, causing, or partially causing the short engagement.

I have not been to the range to shoot again, cannot for a couple more weeks.
My recommendation is to purchase a new BHO from DSArms.

https://www.dsarms.com/p-15662-dsa-f...-assembly.aspx
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Old March 18, 2018, 17:33   #35
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My recommendation is to purchase a new BHO from DSArms.

https://www.dsarms.com/p-15662-dsa-f...-assembly.aspx
Ordered one today. Wish I could know before it was the dimension I need. May end up filing the new one down to get the engagement if it too is short.
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Old March 19, 2018, 20:24   #36
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Update: The pin on the side of the bolt catch pr BHO us not square to the body of the BHO. It is angled upward somewhat.

it is off by 5/1000 or more. I would be interested in purchasing another one and experimenting with stoning the top of the pin to allow about 10/1000 more engagement with the bolt face. This would still not interfere with the case.

Is this good thinking?

And as far as posting pictures, I do not have the album and pictures link, perhaps since I am new to posting.
So I found a factory cutaway drawing that shows the BHO extending upward engaging the bolt a significant dimension. This is surely my problem. My BHO needs to extend upward another 30/1000 to match the drawing. The engagement is full up to the radius point of the BHO. So if your holdopen is not as secure as an M1A for example this is the likely culprit.
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Old March 23, 2018, 17:03   #37
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Problem solved

I received the DSA BHO. It extended upwards .020" further than my original, but not enough.

I relieved the top of the magazine pin .020" and the engagement is correct according to the original factory drawing I have, and other drawings that show the proper engagement for several different FAL models.

I could not make the same modification to the original BHO because it was the plunger inside the BHO that, when bottomed out, held the BHO down too much. The DSA plunger is made differently and fully retracts to the bottom of the slot in the BHO.

In conclusion, the issue with my rifle was in fact the lack of proper engagement with the bolt face.
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