How long can an AR-15 run without being cleaned?
How long should it take you to clean your AR-15?
I remember my first carbine class I attended. I had a great time on the first day, but when I got home later that day I was exhausted. We had shot something like 700 rounds that day. I was so tired I just couldn't get up the motivation to clean my weapon.
The next day was upon me seemingly pretty fast and I decided to take another AR15 with me as well as the one I used the day before just in case I needed it. I didn't want to use that rifle if I didn't have to though. I gave my primary AR15 a good shot of oil and crossed my fingers thinking that I would be lucky if it ran well all day. Not because I had experienced anything in the past that would suggest it wouldn't work, but because I had always heard that an AR15 will start to choke if it is not cleaned very well every 1000 rounds or so.
Well, I finished off the carbine class with about another 700 rounds and to my surprise, no failures.
Just for the sake of it, I decided to let it go a little longer without cleaning just to see how long it would go, only oiling it to keep it going. I got it close to 2500 rounds before finally getting bored of the "test" and decided to clean it.
Since then, I have pushed many of my other AR15's to similar degrees and read of countless other accounts online where people have pushed just as hard or harder. I have also slacked off on my AR15 cleanings in recent years.
I hadn't stripped down my BCG's on any of my older AR15's in a few years, but just a couple weeks ago I decided to go through all of them and give them a good thorough cleaning.
I had never let them go for this long, and some of them have seen thousands of rounds in this time. Most cleanings took me about 5 minutes and consisted mostly of a wipe down of the BCG, a boresnake run through the barrel, and re-lubing. I like CLP and have never had a problem with it in my AR15's.
The bolts were filthy, as were the firing pins, etc... and some of the carbon was caked on pretty good. I hadn't been experiencing any failures. I simply decided it was "time" to clean them good.
It doesn't take 30 minutes to clean your AR15 and if you do not have time to clean your AR15, shoot some oil in there and it should run great. When I do a complete thorough cleaning, it takes me 10-15 minutes.
I am not advocating that you should not clean your AR15. I believe a clean weapon works better than a dirty one. However, for as much flack as the AR15 gets for not being able to run "dirty", I don't buy it. Particularly the idea that carbon fouling is an issue. They will run dirty, they just need to be properly well lubed.
I find that keeping the weapon properly well lubed particularly throughout it's early usage is critical as well.