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Daniel Defense M4V7 Break-In


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18 replies to this topic

#1 Plainsman

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 04:11 PM

I'm hoping that Dolomite or others with some legitimate experience with an AR can chime in here.
I just picked up a new Daniel Defense M4 V7 the other day and being relatively new to the AR game, I thought I’d ask a question that may be quite elementary. What are the normal wear areas that I can expect to see in a new AR rifle?
I’ve searched various forums, and really haven’t seen a straight answer. Here is the reason I ask: I own a Bushmaster that does not show much wear on the upper receiver and charging handle through hand cycling and its nominal 400 rounds, yet this DD is showing wear rather quickly through hand cycling. My Bushmaster doesn’t have all these “heavy phosphate coatings” and what not, so I’m not sure if the coatings have created less space between parts which simply need to be broken in.

Upon bringing the DD rifle home, I noticed that the action was very gritty in hand cycling. I’ve seen on other posts that hand cycling with a good deal of lube will help to smooth things out and parts will wear in. When I did so, I observed a good deal of metal shavings on the charging handle and a good deal of wear on the upper receiver (on the anodizing I'm assuming). I would take the gun apart, clean the shavings off, lube, assemble and then cycle the gun a few more times—then repeat. I will say that the action has become noticeably smoother and I don’t see near as much metal shavings after doing this several times, but I am still somewhat concerned. There was also an odd smell, like a burning smell, which I assume is the phosphate coatings on parts were rubbing together while doing this. There is no wear on the BCG.

The charging handle has worn off a clean line on the upper receiver, which has a noticeable valley that can be felt. The charging handle itself also has noticeable wear.
The first set of pics are of the gun wet with lube. You can see some of the shavings of metal:
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In this set of pics, the gun is intentionally dry:
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I do not ask the question because I want this rifle to look pretty…cause I plan to run the fire out of it. I want to attend some training courses to really learn how to properly run this gun. I just want some reassurance that this is normal wear in a DD or other high end, “mil-spec” rifle, and if not I'll have DD address it before depending on it. I also realize that I’ve committed a sin of asking this question before firing the gun, as I cannot speak to the function of the rifle at this point. I just haven't had the opportunity as of yet to shoot it. I’m asking here before inquiring with DD, simply because I feel it may be a dumb question!

Edited by Plainsman, 01 April 2012 - 04:56 PM.


#2 R1100R

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:36 PM

I have taken apart and put back together a crap load of FN M4, Colts M4..A2 and A3's and have never seen that kind of wear from a charging handle on it and the upper. Especially on the anodizing on the inside of the upper. Something appear out of spec on a new rifle. I would take better pictures and email Daniel Defense on a new rifle.

Maybe others can shed more light. Bottom line I would want the company to repair it. Just goes to show that the upper end AR's have issues also.

Edited by R1100R, 01 April 2012 - 05:38 PM.

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#3 Caster

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

Yeah man, that charging handle shouldn't be rubbing that bad inside the upper. There are GOING to be wear marks but not like that. I'd have a chat with D/D. Those guys have a great reputation, they'll do what's right.

#4 TripleDigitRide

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:48 PM

I've never seen anything like that with the few AR's that I've owned. All (LMT, BCM, Rock River) were brand new, so I would have noticed something like that.

#5 Plainsman

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:16 PM

Thanks for the quick response guys....I guess I'll be looking into contacting Daniel Defense this week to see what they have to say about it.

#6 k9wh91984

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 07:22 PM

It appears the coating on the rifle is flawed from your pics. One charging handle that wears is my BCM gunfighter but just the corners very faint, but not deep and digging like it appears on yours. Also the upper receiver will have some wear marks from the charging handle but not in one day. My Knights has some wear on the upper underneath the charging handle but it's got about 750 rounds down the pipe and 10 years of handle cycling the handle.

Edited by k9wh91984, 01 April 2012 - 07:25 PM.


#7 Tim1077

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:50 AM

I picked up a DDM4V1 about 5 months ago, and have had absolutely no issues with it whatsoever. I went and double checked mine as I looked at your pictures and I've had about 1000 rounds shot through mine with minimal if no wear at all. I would definitely contact Daniel Defense and see what they can do for you. I've been lucky enough to not deal with their customer service so far but from what I hear they are great to deal with. Good luck, and I'd love to hear what they have to say.

#8 Plainsman

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:07 AM

I picked up a DDM4V1 about 5 months ago, and have had absolutely no issues with it whatsoever. I went and double checked mine as I looked at your pictures and I've had about 1000 rounds shot through mine with minimal if no wear at all. I would definitely contact Daniel Defense and see what they can do for you. I've been lucky enough to not deal with their customer service so far but from what I hear they are great to deal with. Good luck, and I'd love to hear what they have to say.


I appreciate your input. It's always nice to have some point of comparison within the same company. The reputation for customer service and warranty always play a factor in the firearms that I purchase and I to have heard that they take care of their customers. I've sent DD an email through their website this afternoon and hopefully will hear from them tomorrow. I'll keep this thread updated as to what happens from here.

#9 Tim1077

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:48 AM

Here are some pics of mine in the same areas as yours. I do have some very minor wear on top of the buffer tube from the charging handle but it hasn't gone through the finish, and could probably spend some time cleaning and it would disappear. Hope this helps...

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#10 Plainsman

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:09 AM

That helps tremendously! Gives me a good reference point to use if needed when talking with DD. Thanks for taking the time to do that!

#11 Reservoir Dog

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:26 AM

I have a DD M4V3 with about 3000 rounds through it. Mine has a well worn area inside the upper receiver, but not as bad as yours. My BCM Gunfighter charging handle has the anodizing worn off on the sides and on the top. I do remember it being a bit gritty at first, but the rifle hand cycles as smooth as butter now.

Honestly, I would not even worry about it unless the rifle is having reliability issues. My rifle has been 100% reliable. Are you having reliability problems while firing? You did not mention any in your postings.

#12 Plainsman

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:46 AM

Daniel Defense customer service responded today to my email. He asked that I send him pictures and when I did, he called me by telephone almost immediately. He wanted the entire rifle returned to them for further evaluation. Everything is on their dime, as it should be. He said that it was very, very likely that I would get an entirely new upper receiver, and even possibly a new rifle depending on what the armorers thought. So there you go folks....the answer to my question is that this is NOT normal wear, certainly on a gun this new and that finding metal shavings is a bad thing.
I'll keep this thread up to date on the turnout. So far, my experience with their customer service has been great. We'll see how long they keep the rifle.

Edited by Plainsman, 03 April 2012 - 04:47 AM.


#13 personDJ

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:39 AM

I'll be keeping my eye on this one. I am thinking of buying my first AR and DD is on my list.

#14 Tim1077

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 12:52 PM

I'm glad to hear DD was so quick to remedy the problem. I got my DDM4 after a lot of research and for the money I couldn't be happier. This story just confirms going with them was a good choice. It's the only gun in my collection that has a permanent spot in my collection.

#15 Plainsman

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 03:33 AM

I'm glad to hear DD was so quick to remedy the problem. I got my DDM4 after a lot of research and for the money I couldn't be happier. This story just confirms going with them was a good choice. It's the only gun in my collection that has a permanent spot in my collection.


I put a lot of research into my purchase as well. Sometimes s### happens, and good guns and gear break. I just happened to be one of the few with an actual issue. It was funny that Jeff, my customer service contact, said that he gets emails and calls all the time because people get "scratches" on their rifles and want to see if it warrants a warranty claim. After receiving the pictures, he felt that I had a legitimate issue and contacted me immediately. I'm still convinced that Daniel Defense is a tier 1 manufacturer of the AR rifle/parts and that in the long run, I won't be disappointed in my selection.

#16 Magiccarpetrides

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:32 PM

Glad to hear of the excellent customer service...really surprised to see a DD have a spec issue...glad yours is getting fixed.

#17 Plainsman

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:31 AM

I received my v7 back from Daniel Defense yesterday, which puts the total turnaround time just under two weeks. I found it rather odd that they shipped the rifle back to me without letting me know first, and shipped it without any signature needed upon delivery. I just came home from work and found the box there on the back deck! Seemed like a big liability to me...

Anyways, the only paperwork I got back with the rifle was the packing slip, which only included the information that they were told to look into (gritty action and excessive wear). I didn't receive any documentation that stated what exactly they fixed or replaced.

I cycled the action a few times to find it smooth and grit free. They also touched up the area on the lower receiver a bit from where the charging handle had worn the finish off. I had told the CS rep that I wasn't really worried about that part anyways, since I was going to actually use this rifle. I opened her up to find that they had NOT replaced my upper receiver. I guess they found that although the charging handle had created a shallow "valley" in the upper receiver, it was still good to go as far as functionality. It does not look like they touched up any coatings or anything in this area. Again, not really a big deal, so long as they thought things were good to go.
It looks like just about the only thing they did was replace the charging handle, since it showed no wear whatsoever. It continued to remain wear free after hand cycling the gun approximately 40 times and there are no more metal shavings. They did lube up the gun with some type of grease, which was different than the normal goupe that came on it new.

So I guess I can simply assume that they had an out of spec charging handle and replacing the charging handle solved the issue to their satisfaction. I'll take it to the range this weekend and make sure that things function as they are supposed to and if so, I reckon I'm satisfied as well. I still have peace of mind in that they will continue to honor their warranty for the life of the gun if I have another issue.

#18 k9wh91984

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:26 AM

I think I would be upset to find out I shipped my rifle back to manufacturer for a new charging handle. Kinda sucks your rifle looks worn down compared to others of more age of the same model. Just my opinion.

#19 6.8 AR

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:16 PM

It may be speaking to an issue with one one of their suppliers. A slight tolerance change on a part can do that.
If it is the upper or the charging handle is what they probably want to know. The metal is having to work too
much to break in to the sweet spot.

Good that they responded like they did.