Disclaimer: the publisher of this post is fully aware that all guns and action types have different parts and that many guns have little common ground with each other.
Therefore, this post is to serve only as a high-level view of what gun parts commonly fail, in general, so that you can narrow down your search for replacements. We won’t send you looking for the choke tube on your rifle.
So, with that said, here they are.
1. Recoil springs
For most semi-automatic firearms, the recoil or return spring is a point of common failure. These moving parts are under high stresses with each pull of the trigger and eventually, they will start to fatigue.
When they do, usually it won’t be an outright failure. The gun will either fail to feed or reset properly. When this happens, the spring is the first thing you should check.
Other springs are prone to failure, too, such as the firing pin springs and mag springs (see below).
2. Gas tubes
For AR shooters, the gas tube is a gun part that you’ll need to keep your eye on. If your gun is new and you keep it clean, it’s not something you’ll need to worry about, but after a while, the flared end of the gas tube (which creates an airtight seal between the tube and gas key) can get deformed.
When this happens, the seal will be compromised, cycling will suffer, and the gas tube will need to be replaced.
Broken, missing extractors, fatigued springs, and extremely fouled actions can all hamper extraction and cause jams.
If your gun fails to extract, first clean the action and bolt face thoroughly; then inspect the extractor. If a part is missing, damaging, or deformed, replace it.
Not all guns have ejectors, but for those that do, it’s important to keep in mind that ejectors, like extractors, are small, fragile parts that can easily break.
Fortunately, they are usually fairly inexpensive and relatively easy to replace.
5. Roll/Takedown pins
Roll pins don’t fail so much as they can fall out without you noticing, but if a few of them fail out, it will become impossible to keep your gun together.
Most gun kits come with replacement roll pins, but you can also buy parts kits that have replacement springs and hardware that can be used to make replacements as needed.
After a trip to the range, and while cleaning your gun, ensure that all roll and takedown pins are installed correctly and not working their way loose – that will help you from losing any.
6. Magazines (follower, feed lips, spring)
For mag-fed firearms, the magazine is one of the gun parts that is most suspect of failure. In fact, if your gun won’t feed properly, one of the first things you should check is the mag.
The first thing to note are the feed lips. If they are deformed, they can cause jams right out of the gate.
If the feed lips are in good shape, check the follower to make sure it is seated properly on the spring within the mag body. Displaced, broken, dirty or cracked followers can also cripple feeding.
Lastly, disassemble the mag and check the spring. If it is fatigued or corroded it will need to be replaced.
Not Sure Which Gun Parts Failed? Call SARCO, Inc.
Most guns have hundreds of small (even relatively obscure) gun parts that, like these, can fail. These are just a few of the high-profile ones.
Each action type, and each firearm is, however, different. If you’re running into problems and you’re not sure what they are, contact the experts at SARCO, Inc., (SarcoInc.com), or better yet, visit them in their showroom in Easton, Pennsylvania.
They carry thousands of guns, parts, and firearm accessories, and are extremely knowledgeable, even on obscure models. They’ll help you find what you need.