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-   -   M4-22 Charging Handle Problem (https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1223637)

Av1at0r 05-18-2021 01:01 PM

M4-22 Charging Handle Problem
 
Over the past three or four months, I've been searching for an AR-style .22LR firearm that is reliable and relatively malfunction free. A few weeks ago, I thought I had accomplished that goal with the M4. But last weekend, imagine my surprise when both the pistol and rifle proved my assessment to be false.

During my first match with the weapons, all five stages ended with a live round in the chamber. In each case, I safed the weapon, released the magazine, and attempted to extract and eject the live round with the charging handle. The first time it happened, I cycled the handle multiple times to no effect. Unable to leave the last position in the stage with a live round in the chamber, and with RSO concurrence, I fired the round into the berm.

I originally started this thread in another forum on this site and received three troubleshooting suggestions. Prior to shooting this morning, with the bolt removed and a fired case, I tested to see if a live round could be inserted under the extractor with minimal effort; that with a round in the chamber that the rim extends over the extractor cut, and that the extractor cut is clean and free of debris. I also loaded five snap caps into a magazine, closed the bolt to chamber the first one, and extracted all five with the charging handle.

Troubleshooting continues, and I welcome any suggestions.

W.H. Mcintosh
LtCol USAF (Ret)

mostly22lately 05-18-2021 02:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12320267)
I cycled the handle multiple times to no effect. Unable to leave the last position in the stage with a live round in the chamber, and with RSO concurrence, I fired the round into the berm.

Wish I didn't know how this feels. Happened to me on another firearm. And, the other day on this Tippmann as well. The cartridge seems to not want to get pulled out of the chamber.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12320267)
I also loaded five snap caps into a magazine, closed the bolt to chamber the first one, and extracted all five with the charging handle.

I did that, too.

From the other firearm experience, either the chamber is just the tiniest bit tight, the cartridge case is just the tiniest bit dimpled, or, the rifling at the very edge of the chamber (the leade) has 'grabbed' the bullet. or some combination of these.

This is why your 'drop' test worked, the bolt retention test worked, and your dummy round test worked. But the problem still happened!

I imagine when you fired the round into the berm, the action cycled fine. Is that right?

zukiphile 05-18-2021 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mostly22lately (Post 12320335)
From the other firearm experience, either the chamber is just the tiniest bit tight, the cartridge case is just the tiniest bit dimpled, or, the rifling at the very edge of the chamber (the leade) has 'grabbed' the bullet. or some combination of these.

And
-your barrel gets crud in it as you use it and the crud keeps the round from coming out, and
-your extractor stinks.

My CMMG extractors chip, and even when they are whole, they aren't great. I often need to press the forward part of the extractor to get it grab an unfired round.

I don't know how the Tippman bolt is put together. For CMMG/Ceiner pattern bolts, there are heavy duty extractor springs.

Av1at0r 05-19-2021 11:49 AM

Quote:

I imagine when you fired the round into the berm, the action cycled fine. Is that right?
Absolutely. I've had none of the FTE's that plagued my M&P 15-22 rifle and pistol.

Av1at0r 05-19-2021 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zukiphile (Post 12320407)
And
-your barrel gets crud in it as you use it and the crud keeps the round from coming out, and
-your extractor stinks.

My CMMG extractors chip, and even when they are whole, they aren't great. I often need to press the forward part of the extractor to get it grab an unfired round.

I don't know how the Tippman bolt is put together. For CMMG/Ceiner pattern bolts, there are heavy duty extractor springs.

I have one better for you:

The M&P 15-22 rifle threw the extractor, keeper, and spring twice in two days.

Does anyone from Tippmann ever monitor and comment on this forum? I realize that it's a rare occurrence on most forums, but I hope they check their voicemail once in a while...

mostly22lately 05-19-2021 08:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12321345)
Does anyone from Tippmann ever monitor and comment on this forum? I realize that it's a rare occurrence on most forums, but I hope they check their voicemail once in a while...

I wonder the same thing. I have not been able to get to anybody 'live' at the plant, nor a return call, although I have not pestered them. I can say that a warranty claim for a replacement part (minor cosmetic problem) was handled VERY fast, via their email form.

Back to your issue. What is it about the combination of your chamber and the cartridge that makes 'em stick so? I mean, you (I am supposing) passed the 'plop' test without issue.
Do you have access to a borescope? I found one to be very enlightening (wow, that's what that looks like to the bullet!) and educational (wow, I learned how to clean this area more effectively!).

Av1at0r 05-19-2021 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mostly22lately (Post 12321885)

Back to your issue. What is it about the combination of your chamber and the cartridge that makes 'em stick so? I mean, you (I am supposing) passed the 'plop' test without issue. Do you have access to a borescope? I found one to be very enlightening (wow, that's what that looks like to the bullet!) and educational (wow, I learned how to clean this area more effectively!).

Can't confirm whether I've passed a plop test, because I don't know what that is.

Don't have access to a borescope. After cleaning both firearms, I plan to repeat the extraction of a live round with the charging handle test, but with a slight difference.

If (when?) the charging handle fails to extract a live round, I'm going to lock the bolt open and check to see how tight the round is in the chamber. I've also queried a gunsmith who helped me with the M&P 15-22 rifle and pistol, and I'll update this thread with the results.

mostly22lately 05-20-2021 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12322019)
Can't confirm whether I've passed a plop test, because I don't know what that is.

Sorry for the presumption. I got these tips from the 'failure to extract' threads (many of them) on the S&W Model 41 forum here on Rimfire Central.

For the M4-22, remove the upper, then take out the charging handle and bolt carrier. Clean the rifle bore and chamber following your normal routine.

Point the barrel straight down, and, accessing the breech via the ejection port, drop a cartridge of your choice (try several different cartridges, if you can) into the chamber.

Observe that it drops in freely with a satisfying 'plop' sound, encountering no resistance. (Hence the 'plop' moniker.)

Then, invert the barrel, pointing up, and observe that the cartridge drops freely out, probably bouncing across the ejector 'steps' on the way.

If either the 'plop' or the drop doesn't happen, well, something's awry.

If it does happen, you've mostly moved your investigation to the extractor function.

Av1at0r 05-20-2021 11:04 PM

Of course! That makes perfect sense. I'll do that tomorrow and report the results. Thanks for the excellent description.

Av1at0r 05-23-2021 07:19 AM

The rifle failed the plop test with the first round tried. A shooter friend recommended using bore cleaner and a bronze brush on a length of cleaning rod in a drill on the chamber end of the bore. After doing that and finishing up with patches, CCI MiniMag, CCI AR Tactical, Armscor, and even Remington Golden Bullet bulk plopped in and out. The only ammo that consistently failed was Winchester 525-round bulk. I'm headed to the range this morning with crossed fingers to test the results.

mostly22lately 05-23-2021 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12325245)
The rifle failed the plop test with the first round tried.

OK. As you noted, this plop-observation is at least tell-tale. If the live cartridge sticks so badly your extractor can't budge it out ... it's the bane of the blowback operation.

Quote:

.... in a drill ....
A drill, you say? This is a near-certain, if aggressive way of removing what ever is in the chamber that hung things up. And at least on paper, the bronze brush can't harm the steel of the chamber. That the bulk pack Winchester still is 'sticky' but not the others is an indication this is true.

Quote:

I'm headed to the range this morning with crossed fingers to test the results.
Hoping to hear a positive outcome.

By the way ... this borescope:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TTQF24F

wasn't horribly costly and it's been remarkably useful. I am not affiliated with the manufacturer or the vendor in any way.

Av1at0r 05-23-2021 10:14 PM

Back to the drawing board.

I fired about 10 rounds of CCI MiniMag and unsuccessfully tried to eject a live round. Fired another 5, same thing.

The good news is that 20-round mags of MiniMag, AR Tactical, Armscor, Remington Golden Bullet and Winchester bulk cycled without a malfunction.

I really like the Tippmann, and I'll probably use it in a match next weekend if I can confirm with the squad RSOs that they agree with the non-standard procedure I have to use to safe the firearm.

But I have to say that I am unimpressed in the extreme with Tippmann's total lack of customer support. Paraphrasing a slogan authored by Ron Popeil, it's as if Tippmann's approach is "Sell 'em a firearm and forget 'em."

Now what?

mostly22lately 05-24-2021 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12326117)
Back to the drawing board.

Now what?

Omitting the customer service issue, the tech side of your dilemma is interesting.

The extractor does seem to work fine if your blowback is doing the work. In other words, the retention function only.

But as you initially observed, the manual operation of the mechanism leaves the round in the chamber.

In the situation where the blowback is doing the work, the extractor only has to hold the case in place until the rim hits the ejector.

In the situation where YOU are cycling the action, the extractor assumes its other role: it has to grab the rim of the cartridge and yank it out.

If the extractor claw is not positioned correctly, is worn or misshapen, or, it, and/or the spring, and/or the pin are not moving freely in the bolt, then you will have the described problem, supposing the cartridge isn't just plain stuck, as you already investigated with the plop test.

Do you have any Eezox?

Would you be willing to do the manual extractor test? It's not unlike the plop test in complexity. Just take out the bolt carrier, slide a round into the space where it goes (the curved area surrounding the firing pin), and see if the extractor claw holds the case in place as you move the bolt around horizontally.

if it comes to this...

How handy are you swapping out small parts like these?

The Tippmann items are:

Extractor - P/N AF01322
Extractor Pin - P/N AF01323
Extractor Spring - P/N AF01324

I'd wager they'd send you new ones, if that was going to fix it. I had a cosmetic issue with a part, I filled out the warranty email form on their website, and in just a couple days the replacement part was on my doorstep. Didn't get a message from them except for the shipping notice.

Sorry if this isn't helpful or you'd rather not fiddle with the thing any further.

Av1at0r 05-25-2021 05:03 AM

"Sorry if this isn't helpful or you'd rather not fiddle with the thing any further."

No reason to apologize, and to the contrary, I love fiddling with things and fixing them. I'll look into the Eezox.

I did the test you recommended earlier, to find out if a round would slip under the extractor with minimal effort, so I can do the manual extractor test.

I've replaced the extractor on both the M&P 15-22 rifle and pistol with "Eagle Claw" extractors from TandemKross, along with new springs and keepers.

I'll try the warranty email form on the Tippmann website, and hope their silence doesn't extend to reacting to warranty claims.

Any tricks you can share about how to remove and replace the parts?

mostly22lately 05-25-2021 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12327277)

Any tricks you can share about how to remove and replace the parts?

No first-person experience to share.

I do note that others report having done so.

Let's see if they're willing to chime in here.

Av1at0r 06-08-2021 04:30 PM

Here is the latest update to this thread:

Took the Tippmann Arms M-4 Micro Elite Pistol to my gunsmith. He confirmed what we suspected, that the extractor and/or bolt is probably at fault. One test he performed that I had not, is to slip a snap cap under the extractor and rotate the bolt so the snap cap is horizontal and above the opening in the cutout. When he did that, the snap cap fell out each time. He didn't even need to jostle it.

I mentioned the comment from this forum which verified my experience that Tippmann customer support is asleep at the phone, but suggested that a warranty claim might have a better chance of ringing an alarm bell.

When I said that I intended to ask for replacement extractor parts, the owner of the shop shook his head. "Don't tell them what you think the problem is. They will be more than happy to send you some small parts. But if that doesn't fix it? It's on you. Tell them only what the problem is. Then whatever happens after that is on them."

That sounds like good advice, so this afternoon I filled out a warranty claim, described the problem, and mentioned that I probably wouldn't be allowed to compete again with either the rifle or the pistol until the malfunction had been eliminated.

As they say at Wimbledon, the ball is in their court.

I hope they aren't also asleep at the net . . .

Av1at0r 06-09-2021 02:44 PM

I have good news to share:

Within 18 hours of filling out a warranty claim on both of my Tippmann Arms M4-22s, I received two phone calls, two emails, and a tracking number for two new bolts shipped out this morning. They indicated that by serial number and date of manufacture, the bolts in these two firearms likely were among those that had an out-of-spec extractor cutout.

I'll put a sufficient number of rounds through each one to verify that the problem is solved and update this thread with the results.

streetglide 06-09-2021 03:13 PM

Hope it works well for you as i just bought my first tippmann .

Av1at0r 06-09-2021 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by streetglide (Post 12357373)
Hope it works well for you as i just bought my first tippmann .

FWIW, when I began looking for a .22LR option for competition, I only knew about the S&W M&P15-22, and I've had multiple extractor and ejector malfunctions with the rifle and pistol.

Then I tried the H&K46D rifle and pistol, both of which cycle almost any ammo, but I didn't know that they aren't really designed on the AR platform, which prevents using aftermarket grips, triggers, and ambi safety safety selectors. And the fact that the bolt catch is included just for appearance and isn't functional is annoying in the extreme.

Then I discovered the Tippmann, and I wished I had tried it first, at least until this problem showed up, and I'm thinking, what next?

This forum represents a gold mine of knowledge, and it appears that the suggestions offered have provided the answer to my quest for a reliable firearm.

Good luck with yours.

mostly22lately 06-10-2021 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12356555)

Took the Tippmann Arms M-4 Micro Elite Pistol to my gunsmith. He confirmed what we suspected, that the extractor and/or bolt is probably at fault. One test he performed that I had not, is to slip a snap cap under the extractor and rotate the bolt so the snap cap is horizontal and above the opening in the cutout. When he did that, the snap cap fell out each time. He didn't even need to jostle it.

Glad you confirmed that last step. I'd have used a 'real' cartridge or two, if for no other reason than the rim thickness of several of the snap caps I have here don't match the SAAMI spec.

In any case, that the extractor wasn't tight enough to hold the rim in place is a real indicator. The factory helping fix the problem quickly by sending you a bolt to swap in is reassuring news.

I found some videos of a guy changing out these small bolt parts on the Facebook 'Tippmann' group, by the way. It looks rather like a lot of other similar assemblies.

Hope your two setups match the performance and reliability expected, very soon.

Av1at0r 06-11-2021 08:53 AM

I didn't think about trying a real cartridge, but that has been overcome by events when I learned that Tippmann has had an issue with out of spec ejector cutouts in bolts. Not nearly as bad as the M&P15-22 bolt safety recall, however, which applied to the rifle variant I bought. Had to send it to S&W. The pistol's bolt isn't subject to recall, but I've had continuing issues with FTEs.

I realize that this forum is devoted to the Tippmann, but I would caution anyone in the market for a 22 rifle to be aware of the pro & con for the M4, M&P15-22, and the H&K 416D.

mostly22lately 06-11-2021 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Av1at0r (Post 12358883)
I would caution anyone in the market for a 22 rifle to be aware of the pro & con for the M4, M&P15-22, and the H&K 416D.

Agreed. Sound advice. I found the best article written on the topic to be this one:

https://gunsmagazine.com/gear/tippmanns-m4-22/

I have had my full dose of 22LR firearms that have been cantankerous in operation, at least until I did something about them and got them running well. In selecting the Tippmann I chose goals that began with reliability. So far, I'm rather pleased on that front.

Av1at0r 06-12-2021 07:38 AM

"I have had my full dose of 22LR firearms that have been cantankerous in operation, at least until I did something about them and got them running well. In selecting the Tippmann I chose goals that began with reliability. So far, I'm rather pleased on that front."

For me, the H&K and the Tippmann have been far less malfunction-prone than the M&P. When I first began shooting 22LR, my primary objective was to determine which ammo was the most reliable. Other shooters in the squad were using CCI, which wasn't easy to find. But when I began having multiple FTEs, I realized that the M&P's extractor and ejector had more to do with it, not to mention the safety recall on the bolt.

If the new bolts solve the problem with both my M4s, I'll be very pleased as well.

Av1at0r 07-16-2021 08:21 AM

Here's the update, finally:

Tippmann sent me two new bolts. I tried both in the M4P and they didn't eject live rounds any better than the original. The problem with the rifle apparently fixed itself, but the jury is still out on that. Sent the M4P to Tippmann on a warranty claim, and they returned it in less than 2 weeks.

The fix: Inspected the radius on the barrel, found it out of spec, replaced it. Updated the bolt to the latest design. Updated the buffer assembly. Cycled X4 magazines without error.

So far, these changes have eliminated the problem.

Interesting to note that the bolts they sent for me to try were exactly like the original ones, even though they indicated they had redesigned them. The new one looks very different.

I'll be shooting the rifle and pistol a lot over the next few weeks and update this thread if the problem resurfaces with either firearm.

Thanks again for the excellent mutual support provided on this forum.

W.H. McIntosh
LtCol USAF (Ret)


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