Dry firing? What's your thoughts?
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:26 AM   #1
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Default Dry firing? What's your thoughts?

Hello all. As you all know I am a bit of a noob to the world of firearms and my experience certainly is limited. However to help me progress along and gain more confidence I read a lot of different information and watch videos as I find them.

There is a website that is dedicated to firearms related videos and seemingly has experts in the field sharing techniques, tips, suggestions, ect... to aid you in growing and learning about firearms.

On this site (guntalk.tv, if you were wondering) there are a couple of videos that suggest you dry fire your pistols (one even suggests doing it 100 times a day!) to become familiar with the trigger pull and to train yourself to be able to squeeze the trigger without disturbing the sights.

Please correct me if I am wrong but I have always been told that dry firing your firearms will ruin them. When I asked a friend about it he also said that dry firing was NOT a good idea but there were special loads (some type of caps or something) you could purchase so that dry firing would not cause any harm to your valuable weapon.

Any thoughts, ideas, opinions, ect....?

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Old 08-30-2008, 11:50 AM   #2
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For the "majority" of firearms, dry firing will not harm them. "Snap caps" are available for dry fire practice and they lessen the inertia of a firing pin coming forward on an empty chamber, but they are not required. Some exceptions I am aware of are:

Some rimfires as the firing pan can supposedly strike the outer edge of the breech, but if the firing pin did make contact, it would be too long anyhow causing other problems with live rounds. I have never had this happen, but others may have had different experiences.

Some specific guns, due to design, can be damaged by dry firing. Off the top of my head the T/C Encore is one. The firing pin rebound spring will be damaged and leave the firing pin in a forward position, efectively locking the action shut. If you force it open, the firing pin will bend.

Just for the sake of it, I use snap caps since they are cheap and offer a little piece of mind. They can also be used to practice trigger control when mixed with live rounds on the range since they will feed from a magazine. If you are anticipating or flinching, having a click when you expect a bang makes these problems evident. Also useful to simulate misfires.

I have also used small rubber "O" rings in front of the hammer to cushion the hammer on double action pistols during repeated (thousands) of dry fire to smooth out a new trigger.

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Old 08-30-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
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Rimfires can be damaged by repeated dry-fires because the firing pin WILL hit metal and eventually peen the firing pin or break it. Many .22 rimfires have "floating" firing pins, which means the only cushion is the brass cartridge rim. With centerfire firearms the primer softens the blow and prevents the firing pin from slamming into it's stop within the bolt. On some revolvers it's not a goof idea because the hammer takes a beating as well as the firing pin and can break. On BP revolvers the hammer will strike the nipple and wear the hammer and nipple, same as on BP rifles - eventually you will have to replace the nipple. Metal hitting metal is NEVER a good thing. Snap-caps are a cheap form of insurance against costly and time consuming repairs. This is why they make snap-caps! Like the "Fully-loaded magazine" debate, no one can predict if and when your firing pin or hammer will break, so IMO it's a good idea to use snap-caps.

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Old 08-30-2008, 05:22 PM   #4
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Another reason to love the 1911 , if I break a firing pin dry firing I can replace it in just a few minutes with nothing more that a small tipped standard screwdriver , or punch "To push the rear of the pin in so I can remove the firing pin stop" and presto remove the firing pin spring and broken pin install new pin and reverse the process , no gunsmith needed .

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Old 08-30-2008, 05:39 PM   #5
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Snap Caps are cheap and a great way to protect any firearm during dry fire exercises. I routinely do dry fire, with both my 1911's and with my boltgun, as cheap "practice" to keep in tune with the weight and feel of the weapon. I use Snap caps exclusively so as not to put any type of undo chance or stress on the weapon & have never regretted it.

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Old 08-30-2008, 11:57 PM   #6
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Thanks a bunch for the answers/responses guys.

I did think it was a bit weird that someone would recommend dry firing your firearms. That's the reason I check with the experts!

A quick question regarding the snap caps. Do you just load them up like a regular cartridge? I assume that you would. And also does your gun cycle them out of the chamber as it would an empty brass casing? Or can you just load one up and dry fire all day long?

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Old 08-31-2008, 12:30 AM   #7
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painted -

All modern semi automatics are gas operated. To cycle the weapon, you need the powder to explode and generate the necessary gas pressure to cycle the weapon.

With a snap cap, there is nothing but a fake round with a spring to simulate the firing pin hiting the resistance of a primer.

You will need to cock the hammer on, say, a 1911 - or you will need to rack the slide on a striker fired weapon, which could be a problem because your extractor will eject the Snap Cap. In this case, you might want to buy a few of them and feed them all into your magazine.

If you have a standard hammer fired weapon, or a boltgun, then you cna use one snap cap all day long.

If you want to simulate training with, say draw and fire or the ability to hit a target from across the room... you might want to check in Rovatec Training Sim. This little beauty isn't cheap, but it will tell you exactly where you are "shooting" with each pull of the trigger. Very effective for in home training without spending money on targets and shells. Though the outlay for the unit HAS to be factored in as well.

Hope that helps -

JD

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Old 08-31-2008, 12:52 AM   #8
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Thanks for the clarification JD!

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Old 08-31-2008, 03:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
painted -

All modern semi automatics are gas operated. To cycle the weapon, you need the powder to explode and generate the necessary gas pressure to cycle the weapon.

With a snap cap, there is nothing but a fake round with a spring to simulate the firing pin hiting the resistance of a primer.

You will need to cock the hammer on, say, a 1911 - or you will need to rack the slide on a striker fired weapon, which could be a problem because your extractor will eject the Snap Cap. In this case, you might want to buy a few of them and feed them all into your magazine.

If you have a standard hammer fired weapon, or a boltgun, then you cna use one snap cap all day long.

If you want to simulate training with, say draw and fire or the ability to hit a target from across the room... you might want to check in Rovatec Training Sim. This little beauty isn't cheap, but it will tell you exactly where you are "shooting" with each pull of the trigger. Very effective for in home training without spending money on targets and shells. Though the outlay for the unit HAS to be factored in as well.

Hope that helps -

JD
Ten years ago I bought some indoor practice ammo for my .357 - it consisted of plastic shells that you insert a primer into - then place a plastic wad-cutter type bullet into the case - no press needed, just finger pressure to insert primers and bullets. They are accurate to about 20' and not loud.
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