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Testing a Bullet Button for Failure

Bullet buttons are a widespread and commonly used compliance device for AR-15's and similar rifles in California. The AR-15 bullet button is probably the most prolific of these. However, it is possible for a burr on the small circle at the base of the button to cause the bullet button to release magazines without the use of a tool. Because it no longer requires a tool to release the magazine, this renders your rifle an SB23 assault weapon if other features (pistol grip, collapsible stock, etc) are installed at the time. If your rifle has this defect, then you should immediately separate your upper from your lower, thus removing it from assault weapon status. Your next step should be to contact the manufacturer or follow the step down below to repair the bullet button yourself.

Pinch the bullet button's plastic housing firmly.

Pull up on the bullet button housing, as shown. If it's an early-generation bullet button which can't be pulled up on, you don't need to worry further.

This bullet button is pulled up as high as it can go.

Lift the bullet button either upwards (towards the upper receiver) or downwards (in the direction the mag would be released). Due to tolerances within the magwell, a defective button will actually 'cam' over just slightly, enough to engage the threads on your magazine release. The magazine catch will then press in just as if the original magazine release were being used.

Press down on the bullet button, while maintaining pressure at an off angle so that if the threads are captured, they will remain captured. Your magazine will now release if and only if your bullet button is defective.

Please note that this is by no means a common issue with the bullet buttons. I have seen one confirmed case, and heard of one other with an earlier version of the bullet button.

Should you have an issue with your bullet button, contact the manufacturer and request a replacement. Or if you wish to repair it yourself, simply take the bullet button out. You will likely see a burr on the bottom hole, where the mag catch passes through. Removing this burr should remedy this issue entirely.

-- SeanNewton - 18 Jan 2010

Topic revision: r1 - 18 Jan 2010 - SeanNewton
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