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Thread: How to keep my AR cycling at -20 to -30F?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default How to keep my AR cycling at -20 to -30F?

    I am getting some frozen in place cases. It _seems_ like I have a bunch of water vapor in the chamber while the action is cycling and after 5 shots or so the new round won't seat all the way into the chamber becuae of ice crystals I think, so the bolt won't close all the way, so the firing pin doesn't when I pull the trigger.

    I am thinking I could try a different lube, or maybe change my load around.

    I am shooting .223 Remington, Winchester brass, Varget powder, various bullets 50-65 grains, charge weights 0.5 to 1.0gr under max and CCI450 (small magnum rifle) primers.

    I am getting good ignition and consistent groups; but I think incomplete combustion together with the freeze-up.

    I am going to try the CCI400 primer (small notmagnum rifle) since I have hundreds of them, and it can't hurt might help.

    I am wondering about a hotter primer maybe? Maybe the Federal small magnum rifle?

    Maybe a different lube?

    Short of buying a manual bolt action rifle, what else can I try to keep my AR dependable at -20F to -30F?


  2. #2


    Dry Lube should solve your problems. If that doesn't work use Remington primers.
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

  3. #3
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Tanana Valley AK


    There was a fairly thorough and exhaustive thread on this very subject not long ago.....
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  4. #4
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Kachemak Bay Alaska


    It is weird that you are actually getting frost. You are getting water vapor or condensation in there from someplace...

    Cold Weather Firearms Lube Test.

    Negative 10 to Negative 65 F.

    Shooter Choice FP-10 Works very well in ARs and bolt guns. Good to-50
    Terta Gun Lube Thicker, works well on crew full auto weapons
    Mil Issue Arctic Brake Fluid Worked well on M-2HB and M-240 at 56 below
    G-96 Gun treatment Comes as a spray, very light, bolts guns to -65
    Penn Synthetic Reel Oil P/N 92340 Very Fluid, Extremely slippery good to -65
    Marvel Mystery Oil Very fluid, Very slippery good to -40
    3 in 1 Oil Fairly fluid, somewhat slippery gums at -20
    LPS-2 Fairly Fluid, somewhat slippery gums at -20
    Klean-Bore Formula 3 Some separation, fairly fluid, somewhat slippery
    Tri-Flow Separated, does not adhere or film on metal
    Break-Free Separated, somewhat tacky and semi syrup like
    Mil-Tech Thick, somewhat tacky, syrup like
    Outers Gun Oil Very thick syrup. Tacky
    Mil spec MIL4-46000c Lube Oil Separated, some was in thick jell state.
    Rem Oil Thick jell, tacky
    Boe Shield T-9 Thick Jell, tacky
    Corrosion X HD Thick jell, tacky
    Ballistol very thick jell. Separation
    Exxon Elite 20-50 Syn Av Oil Very Thick, glue like
    AeroShell 15-50 Semi Syn Av Oil Very thick, glue like

    Here are some small rifle primer test I did in my 6.8mm AR


    Bullet: 110 grain Nosler Accubond Boat-Tail
    Powder: 29.0 grains H-322
    Primers: Standard Small Rifle, hand seated
    Brass: SSA
    COL: 2.260 inch Lee Factory Crimp

    Fired from 16 inch STAG A5 Carbine with 1 in 10 twist. SPEC II Chamber

    TEMP: Pos 05 F or Neg 15 C


    Federal 205,
    Velocity average: 2,483 fps 33 fps ES
    0.5 inch group, with flyer to 1.5in NO Pressure signs. Some firing pin dragging on primer face

    CCI BR-4 Bench Rest
    Velocity average: 2,554 fps 14 fps ES
    1.0 inch group, NO Pressure signs

    Winchester Small Rifle
    Velocity average: 2,463 fps 24 fps ES
    1.0 inch group, NO Pressure signs

    CCI-400 Small Rifle

    Velocity average: 2,500 fps 15 fps ES
    1.0 inch group with last shot flyer to 1.5 Flat Primers

    Remington 7 1/2 bench rest
    Velocity average: 2,329 fps 29 fps ES
    1.0 inch group with last shot flyer, no pressure signs

    CCI-41 MILITARY ** Fired at 35 above zero temp.***
    Velocity average: 2,534 fps 232fps ES
    1.0 inch group FLAT PRIMERS
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Southwest Alaska


    The combustion products of nitrocellulose are nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and....water.

    There are other chemicals added to slow the burn rate, and some added to increase the initial energy (nitroglycerin), to help hold the pressure curve as flat as possible. This is what "double-base" means. Think Reloader-15.

    You may look for a ball powder to try.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

    Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)

    You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...

  6. #6
    Member 58dranger's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    north pole


    KEEP YOUR GUN DRY "to include oil" Try out Solid film DRY graphite, Has been the absolute best thing I have used in most enviroments not conducive to oil for example the DESERT which just attracts sand to the very cold, Every weapon I have now uses Graphite in the cold. Just my 2 cents I do use oil in the wet and temperate more for rust pro. I just use my graphite from midways reloading section for neck sizing.

  7. #7
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    I am thinking I could try a different lube, or maybe change my load around.

    Maybe a different lube?

    Short of buying a manual bolt action rifle, what else can I try to keep my AR dependable at -20F to -30F?


    What kind of lube are you using? I'd think that would be the problem over the powder or primer. Do you use a lot or just enough?

    Are you shooting a gas gun or a piston gun?

    Try shooting with a warm gun and see if it keeps happening. Once you start shooting, it should stay warm and the ice crystal thing should happen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    I have used Lucas gun oil and I have used lately m-pro-47. No particular reason for the change that is just what I have on hand. Used them both at temps of -40 to -50. Wipe them on and then wipe them off. Both worked during rapid fire or single shot with no problems. You might review your gun handling. In and out of a warm tent or truck cab can cause condensation which means water. AS a Side note I have decided -20 is too cold and plan to stay inside something and stay warm anytime the temp dips that low. Yup I'm just an old whimp. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Member ret25yo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Unit 13


    keep it dry.. and dont bring it between hot and cold... under a tent flap outside if your hunting .. just basics..

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

  10. #10


    Try MPro 7


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