PTR-91 Firing Issue / Ammo Sensitivity

I picked up a PTR-91 a couple of months ago without doing any research beforehand. I bought four boxes of 308 Winchester Federal Power-Shok 150 Grain Soft Point ammo to try it out with initially. I sighted in the rifle within 20 rounds and put another 40 rounds through it without a hitch. Cleaning the rifle wasn’t a big deal except for putting the bolthead back on the bolthead carrier properly. I found the following HK G3 Disassembly instructions on The information made putting the rifle back together a lot easier. If you have had any issues putting the bolthead back on the carrier then I recommend this bolt assembly tool. After cleaning the rifle I thought I would not have any issues with it for a long time and then…..

I bought a case of PMC Bronze 308 / 7.62 Nato for the rifle and that’s when my firing issues started.

My PTR-91 did not like the PMC ammo even though it was brand new and commercially producedĀ . It would fire one round, the rifle would cycle the next roundĀ  and then fail to fire the following round. I tried about a dozen times and it would do this for every round that the rifle cycled. The only time it worked was when I manually worked the action. I thought that this was strange and cleaned the rifle and put it off to the side until I could call PTR.

I called PTR and they asked what kind of ammo I was using and they said that the PMC Bronze would be fine. The PTR rep sent me a new firing pin and spring. After installing the new firing pin and spring the firing issue was not fixed. At this point I went online and quickly realized that a lot of people were having problems with their PTR rifles. I came across forum posts about the PTR being picky about certain types of ammo. Here is the list that I’ve seen online.

  1. South Africa
  2. Winchester white boxes marked 7.62
  3. Venezuela Cavim
  4. Austrian (Hirtenberger)
  5. Some lots of German
  6. British (under powered) will not cycle action
  7. Indian (Over powered)

I also checked the headspace on my rifle with this feeler gauge from and it was within the recommended tolerance of .004-.020 at .017. I had all sorts of issues trying to figure out how to measure the head space on the PTR-91 until I found the following instructions to check the head space on a PTR-91.

  1. Let the bolt and carriers snap forward on an empty chamber
  2. Set the weapon to fire
  3. Pull the trigger
  4. Measure the gap between the bolt head and the bolt carrier should be .004-.020

Since my ammo was not on the list but it was sold as 7.62 / 308 winchester I thought it might not be to 308 spec so I switched back to the expensive Federal 308 ammo and the rifle worked like a champ. I then tried my friends PRVI 308 military surplus ammo and it went through it with no issues. I also used Winchester 308 hunting ammo and it went through it all up except for one misfire. For the final test I loaded a mix of all three types of ammo in a 20 round magazine with 19 rounds and fired the whole thing off without any issues. I’m going to test the rifle some more this weekend a write up my final opinion on the ptr-91 next week.

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2 thoughts on “PTR-91 Firing Issue / Ammo Sensitivity

  1. Nick

    I was looking at getting one of these rifles myself and was wondering if you ever got the issue resolved for this type of ammo. I didn’t want to be spending an arm and a leg on training and thought the mil surp ammo would be a cheaper alternative since I am unable to load my own, but that may not be an option if the PTR won’t shoot it. If you could e-mail me any updates on this issue I would appreciate it.

    1. GunGuy Post author

      Hi Nick,

      I never did get the issue resolved with the PTR. I did some research and supposedly their GI models will accept military surplus ammunition. I would email or call them and find out for sure. When I did shoot it I had to use premium 308 rounds which got very expensive. It is a very accurate rifle but I’m thinking of going with a 308 AR in the future.

      Gun Guy

      GI PTR

      Check out page 5 of their manual about ammo and bolt gap.


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