UPDATE 30-DEC-16 – Windham Weaponry responded via Twitter to my complaint and they sent a replacement charging handle to my house within days. Windham Weaponry also wanted the broken charging handle returned to them (which I will take care of soon) so they could analyze it.
Something odd occurred today on the shooting range with my AR-15 that I thought would never happen – my charging handle broke!
The charging handle appears to be made from 6061 aluminum with an anodize coating and considering the fact that this piece undergoes relatively little stress I am shocked that it broke. It’s only used when the bolt assembly is in the forward position and you need to load a new cartridge after installing a magazine. I didn’t expect this part to fail EVER, much less with less than 150 rounds expended.
See picture below highlighting the charging handle in the exploded view of the AR-15.
A couple months ago I bought my first AR-15 and chose the Windham Weaponry Carbon Fiber “SRC” and as I stated above, I’ve only put about 150 rounds through it on two different occasions. Since this was my 1st AR-15 I didn’t want to drop $2,000 on a top of the line rifle considering I didn’t know enough about this weapon to make informed buying decisions and the $850 price tag for this one appeared to put this one in the upper range of “beginner” AR-15s.
The purpose of this range outing was to site in my new Vortex Spitfire 3x Prism Scope and apart from the broken charging handle, the experience was top notch. The scope and the rifle performed exceptionally well and I was hitting targets at 50 and 100 yards with relative ease. It wasn’t until I’d shot approximately 100 rounds that the charging handle broke.
It should be noted that the charging handle failure happened during the middle of a magazine and a round was chambered when I noticed it was broken. The end piece of the charging handle prevented the bolt assembly from moving completely forward and that is what tipped me off that something was wrong. I manually moved the bolt assembly back after removing the upper and lower receiver pieces and that ejected the shell. The tip of the charging handle could’ve become cracked during the initial charging and then completely broke off during the stress of the subsequent rounds being expended.
This part of an AR-15 is relatively inexpensive ($20 – $90) so I’ll get a replacement but I will feed this back to Windham Weaponry to express my displeasure. There was no issue with jams in the rifle or anything that would’ve put stress on the charging handle so there was obviously a defect in this lot of charging handles that was used in the assembly of this rifle.
I hope the rest of the parts of this AR-15 are of better quality!