Pencil firing pin test in the 1911 barrel
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:08 AM   #1
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Default Pencil firing pin test in the 1911 barrel

How valid is the pencil in the barrel test for testing the firing pin spring?

My SA loaded is firing just fine at the range, so it functions fine (well, there are loading issues, but that has nothing to do with this...). When I put that pencil into the unloaded barrel it shoots firmly straight up out of the barrel, but just makes it out. When the barrel is horizontal, it does fly out a few feet.

But I have read about it flying across the room and such. I take everything with a pinch of salt and I don't want to go messing with something if it is functioning.

Just wondering...

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Old 01-02-2011, 04:20 AM   #2
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buddy of mine and i drew gate duty together on nite on the loneliest gate on post. sitting there we decided to shoot pencils across the gate shack with our M9's. this went on for a while until the duty sergeant rode up and caught us doing it. we got chewed out. he relived us for a bit so we could go use the restroom. it was across the street and a half block or so up across a big parking lot. on our way back we heard a gunshot from the gate shack. we ran up and found the sergeant there with a stunned look on his face shredded pencil all over the shack and a nice neat 9mm hole in the roof.

didnt know it was an actual test.

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Old 01-02-2011, 04:56 AM   #3
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You have to be $hitting

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Old 01-02-2011, 05:06 AM   #4
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Dont know court, those security forces guys got lonely on post and did some screwy stuff. I say that because in the Air Force I hung out with quite a few of them.

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Old 01-02-2011, 07:53 AM   #5
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The test has nothing to do with the firing pin spring. Only that the firing pin has the capability to hit a primer. If the pencil does not come out, then the firing pin is not working correctly.

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Old 01-02-2011, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM View Post
buddy of mine and i drew gate duty together on nite on the loneliest gate on post. sitting there we decided to shoot pencils across the gate shack with our M9's. this went on for a while until the duty sergeant rode up and caught us doing it. we got chewed out. he relived us for a bit so we could go use the restroom. it was across the street and a half block or so up across a big parking lot. on our way back we heard a gunshot from the gate shack. we ran up and found the sergeant there with a stunned look on his face shredded pencil all over the shack and a nice neat 9mm hole in the roof.

didnt know it was an actual test.
Thats funny (scary too)
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctherock View Post
Dont know court, those security forces guys got lonely on post and did some screwy stuff. I say that because in the Air Force I hung out with quite a few of them.
the time i was in Military Police manned the gates and did patrol duty. i was an MP in the army. not sure what they do nowadays. when i was at ft hood early december visiting a friend of mine they had civilian private security manning the gates.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danf_fl View Post
The test has nothing to do with the firing pin spring. Only that the firing pin has the capability to hit a primer. If the pencil does not come out, then the firing pin is not working correctly.
Ding ding ding, we have a winner! You win the Stay-on-the-thread-topic Prize for the day!

Thanks, dan.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:38 PM   #9
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Chris, I guess I am the "know nothing" in this thread for a change, so kudos to you.

WHY under the sun would you put something backwards down a threaded barrel of a firearm you owned and then try to launch it across the room??

I have honestly NEVER heard of this test. And I have been around more than a few gun guys in my time on this little rock.

I can see this being a must do, "quick is the damn thing working or not", foxhole drill our something. But to do this on purpose when there are SO many other way to see if the firing pin is making correct contact on your primers?!

Step One: Fire the weapon.

Step Two: Check the primer indent in your spent case.

Compare to other spent cases for that weapon, like the one that came with it when it was purchased, or from a previous session.

There is the Playdoh style mold test, the wax test, there are a lot better ways to check the penetration of the firing pin past the slide face in battery.

Are you having problems with light punches on the primer and rounds not going off? Does your weapon have 5,000 or 8,000 rounds through it on the same firing pin?

*confused*

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Old 01-02-2011, 04:01 PM   #10
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Chris, danf hit it on the head.

The pencil test is simply a go-nogo test. If it moves, the firing pin is working.

The efficacy of the firing pin is;

  • does the gun go bang?
  • what does the spent primer look like?





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