eli5, How can you tell if a gun is unjammed without shooting it?

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I like writing as a hobby and posting it online, just wanted to try get the best up to date info and couldn’t find anything

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8 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Open the action and look at it. Are the bullets where they should be? Is the action stuck?

This does not ensure that it will fire, of course, but it does tell you there’s no jam.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most jams can be seen with a visual inspection of the chamber. Pull back the slide/charging handle and you can see the chamber. Occasionally a gun will ‘fire’ a squib round that gets stuck in the barrel. short barrels are pretty easy to identify squib rounds with, you can see down them by looking through the chamber. Long barrels would require some disassembly.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are different types of guns (lever action, single action, revolver etc.) but for most guns, the first step is to move the action back and forth as if you are cocking it. If the gun was loaded and the action moves freely, a bullet will fly out and you can see that the gun is unloaded and unjammed. Then you can look out the barrel from the inside and see that nothing is obstructing the barrel and its not jammed. If the action isn’t able to move freely and is locked in place and doesn’t expel a shell, then its most likely jammed. Also chances are as you are trying to move the action manually, you will be able to see the brass of the bullet casing jammed in some way.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You look at it. No, seriously. Visual inspection. Depending on the gun, you open the action (such as pulling back the slide) and inspect the chamber and identify the cause of the jam. You then clear the jam using the appropriate method (such as removing the magazine and letting the round fall out), chamber a new round, and you’re unjammed.

This doesn’t mean that the gun won’t jam if you fire it again, but if the chamber is cleared and you can cycle a new round, it’s not jammed (then).

Anonymous 0 Comments

Gun pointed away from you and anything you don’t want shot. Mag out, pull back on the bolt/slide/pump (whatever the gun uses to rack in the next round). If nothing comes out, pull back on the action again and look at the ejection port. If you see the brass, the extractor might have an issue, lock back the bolt, use a little fork looking tool (it has a name, keep forgetting it) carefully pull the casing by the rim

Anonymous 0 Comments

Often times the slide of a pistol will not be closed all the way. It might even have a brass casing stuck in it.

Other than that, opening the slide to verify that nothing is stuck in the chamber (or much less likely the barrel) will be good enough. For pistols anyways. I have no clue about machine guns . . . I think some of them fire from an *open* action and thus everything I wrote might be reversed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Easiest and safest way is a visual check of the receiver. Open the bolt, inspect if a cartridge is stuck in the end of the barrel. If none is seen, send a cleaning rod down the barrel to see if a bullet or other debris is stuck.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are several different types of jams. There’s the “double feed” where the extractor fails to extract the spent cartridge and the bolt tries to load the next round into the already occupied chamber. This can be observed because the bolt won’t close all the way. This jam is easily cleared.

The “stove pipe” is when the extractor extracts the spent cartridge and ejector ejects it, but the bolt closes before the cartridge exits the ejection port. This can be observed because the spent cartridge will be sticking out the ejection port like a “stove pipe” This jam is easily cleared.

Then there’s the “squib load” where a bullet had too little powder in it and the bullet doesn’t have enough energy to exit the barrel. An experienced shooter can usually detect a squib load because it will be quieter and less recoil. Squib loads are rare as long as you use good quality factory ammo. Squib loads usually come from cheap ammo or ammo that has been reloaded by somebody. To clear a squib load the gun must be taken apart and then you ram a dowel rod through the barrel and hammer the bullet out