More on Stovepipes

A reader wrote me yesterday about problems with his new 10/22:

I have been struggling with a new 1022 for about two months regarding cases getting jammed by the bolt on their way out. I have tried every thing I have seen suggested on the web, new extractor, changed the ejector, kept the action very clean and not over lubricated and held the gun steady and tight to my shoulder. I have noticed ejected cased fly forward and not back as other 1022 I have seen?

Here’s my reply:

Dear Reader,

Here are some possibilities. Of course, it’s impossible to diagnose without seeing the rifle in action. Are the malfunctions happening on every shot, or intermittently?

When cases eject forward, it’s usually due to hitting the bolt handle on their way out. This could be evidence of short-stroking.

1. Some ammo just doesn’t work well in a particular rifle. For example, I was testing my match 10/22 earlier this week. Federal Automatch stovepiped once in each of two magazines. That’s unacceptable for competition. I switched to CCI Standard Velocity and had zero malfunctions for the next six mags. This rifle, whose barrel was reworked by Que, has a very tight chamber.

2. Are you cleaning the chamber with solvent and a brush? I think I’ll put up a video about that.

3. Are the malfunctions from one particular magazine? It’s possible that a loose fit could cause the mag to be misaligned slightly and the extracted case isn’t hitting the ejector on the feed lip. The magazine’s left-side feed lip is the primary ejector in a 10/22. I recommend numbering each mag with a Sharpie so you can recognize if a particular one is causing the issue.

4. Is the bolt going all the way back after the shot? If anything is obstructing the full travel of the bolt, it would short-stroke and not give the fired case enough time to get clear of the receiver before closing again. If you have a scope mounted, verify that the mounting screws are not sticking down into the receiver and that there is no drip of loctite in there. I also smooth out the inside of the receiver with a green Scotchbrite pad lubed with a little oil – there is a lot of oversprayed paint inside the receivers of new 10/22s.

5. New 10/22s can be a little stiff until they are broken in, which usually takes at least 500 rounds. I like to use high velocity ammo which provides more energy to cycle the bolt. My current favorites for break-in are CCI Minimags (1260 fps) and a new round from Browning which gives 1435 fps with a 40-grain hollowpoint bullet. That Browning round is hell on varmints, too.

Let me know how these ideas turn out for you.

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