Break-in?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by iMagUdspEllr, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. iMagUdspEllr

    iMagUdspEllr New Member

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    Should new guns need break-in periods? I think that is a cop-out for just not finishing the fitting process of a firearm. I have owned guns that work flawlessly from day one on. Unless I am wrong, a gun shouldn't need a break-in period to work just like a car shouldn't need a couple thousand miles to start every time.

    Discuss.
     
  2. gorknoids

    gorknoids New Member

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    It's a simple fact of life. Cars engines need a break-in period to let the piston rings find their own optimum contact areas, and it's the same way with firearms. With guns, the operator also experiences some form of break-in.
     

  3. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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    If one continues to fire and use the firearm on a regular basis, in order to become more familiar with it's function, operation and accuracy, and one is secure in the fact from continued familiarization, that when you pull that trigger it will go bang every time, you are in essence breaking it in, and yourself as well, as stated.

    I would not trust a firearm with my life and the lives of others, if I I have not thoroughly and repeatedly fired, and trained with it until I am comfortable with it's operation and it's uninterrupted function becomes a natural shooting extension of my own hand.

    The more one fires a firearm, the more "harmonious" the various parts become to smoother operational function and accuracy, as well as one's self, IMHO.

    1911 break-in period question
     
  4. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    The car engine analogy is a good one as the steel parts in the pistol must "mate" correctly before it smooths out. You can buy pistols that do not require a break in period - but they will cost you dearly. The custom shop 1911s, like Nighthawk, Ed Brown, Wilson are all hand fitted and hand lapped - hence the high cost.

    Gun owners brought this on themselves as they have demanded tight tolerances and phenomenal inherent accuracy. The tighter the tolerances, the more the gun will need a break in period to function smoothly.

    As others have said, putting rounds through your pistol is a real good thing as you're getting acquainted...
     
  5. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    I've learned from many years of manufacturing and machining that everything having to do with metal needs a 'fit-in' process to work correctly.

    Gl*ck type pistols are so sloppy that they don't need it, but they are 3/4 plastic too.

    My Kimber required a break in, but it runs like a top. It's accurate too!

    I've noticed that people who complain about break-in periods really aren't tinkering gun guys. I'm a tinkering gun guy. YMMV
     
  6. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    Any machine that has moving and interworking parts will need some type of break in period. There are things you can do to decrease the amount of time needed or protect the surfaces but the break in period is still required.
    A car will start every time not because it's broken in but because the starting system and the engine are two completely seperate systems.
     
  7. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Even if one were to polish all contact points in a gun, the two surfaces would still need to mate together. The engine analagy is quite appropriate.
     
  8. Catfish

    Catfish Member

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    YES. If you get a new gun you should break it in. That means you should take it out and do alot of shooting with it. It may not impove the function of the gun, but it will make you a better shot and heck, it alot of fun. ;)
     
  9. iMagUdspEllr

    iMagUdspEllr New Member

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    Apparently I was misunderstood. I understand that any new firearm, especially when the controls aren't identical to the ones you already own, will require lots of training/familiarization. No, I'm not talking about that. I'm asking why we hear excuses for a weapon failing to be that it wasn't broken in properly (in other words it wasn't ready to be used from the factory).

    I understand that building confidence with your firearm and testing the defensive loads you wish to use are important things you should do before you choose to employ a firearm in a defensive role. No, I'm not talking about that either. I just want to know why some manufacturers/people blame malfunctions on a gun not being "broken in" (not shot a certain number of times to ensure full reliability).

    I don't like hearing, "Well the magazines are brand new... so of course it failed." Really? We can't expect new magazines to work 100%? Or, "Well of course it had <insert random failure> it hasn't been shot enough to wear all of the parts smooth." So companies don't ensure that firearms work before they sell them? The end user has to follow a certain "break-in doctrine" before the weapon can be counted on?
     
  10. SK2344

    SK2344 New Member

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    Not really!

    I agree on most of what has been said concerning the so called "Break in Period" but I must say that a weapon that you must trust your life and those of others should not have an extended (300 to 400 rounds) break in period in order to get out the bugs and make them safe to carry. This is IMO Pure BS and a cop out for the way they mass produce these guns and rush them out just to make the money. The worst being the small .380 guns as we well know! As for your comment concerning Glocks, I could be wrong but I don't think they are 3/4 Plastic. And Sloppy, are you kidding me! I have been owning and shooting Glock Pistols for over 12 years and have never ever had one malfunction. And yes, I too TINKER with my Guns and can take them apart almost with my eyes closed, so please get your FACTS in order before you post!
     
  11. iMagUdspEllr

    iMagUdspEllr New Member

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    Don't worry about him. He is just trolling. Most people should know that the Glock slide is completely metal and most of the weight of the pistol. The frame and the trigger are the only polymer components (and those parts really don't have to be made out of titanium to work fine in a pistol).
     
  12. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Sometimes a few hundred rounds are needed to smooth out the action of an autoloading pistol or a few dozen rounds to smooth the bore of a bolt action rifle to get them performing at peak level.
    Sure they could do this at the factory for you, but would any of you pay "new" prices for a pistol with a couple hundred rounds through it? :rolleyes:
    All it takes is an afternoon becoming familiar with your new purchase to break it in.
    It does it good and you good at the same time IMO.
     
  13. iMagUdspEllr

    iMagUdspEllr New Member

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    Well. Okay. From how most people are making it sound. A break in period is more about familiarization with the firearm. Not, a grace period to forgive a firearm for malfunctioning until it has had X amount of rounds through it. Correct?
     
  14. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    True to a point.
    Familiarization with the firearm, yes
    Grace period, kinda
    To get all parts (handgun and shooter) to work smoothly together, yes

    I've seen some firearms work right out of the box and never have a failure for the owner, and I've seen "old work horses" that have had failures constantly for a new owner.
     
  15. superc

    superc Member

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    Change the words. Substitute 'shake down cruise' for 'break in period.'

    Navy buys a Quadzillion dollar boat (ship, dory, whatever), what's the first thing they do? Take it out on a shakedown cruise to see what was done wrong, could be done better, needs getting used to, etc. Do we complain the Navy shake down cruises a new destroyer, or the Army test drives their new tanks or test fires a new cannon? Your break in period is the same thing, for the same purpose. Sometimes everything works just perfectly. Four or five or six hundred specimens later you encounter one that can't make that claim. Really, really, best to know about that before grabbing that unit for something serious.
     
  16. SK2344

    SK2344 New Member

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    Like I stated previously, I agree with most of what has been said about a so called Break in and I always shoot more than several hundred rounds through a gun before I can trust it to carry. What annoys me is that these companies using this Break in period as a crutch for their Pumping out these guns without doing a quality job just so they can make a huge profit. I guess there are good and bad companies with all products. Buyer Beware!
     
  17. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    The problem isn't their profit. As states before, there are companies such as Nighthawk, Ed Brown and Wilson, who hand lap and hand fit all parts of their pistols. Not only are these pistols considerably more expensive than your average 1911, in most cases there can also be a considerable wait time to get one. As with anything, craftmanship of the finest degree takes time, time that most people wouldn't be willing to wait when buying a new pistol.

    As far a break-in's go, the only pistol I've purchased new is a CZ 75 SP-01, which has performed flawlessly. However, I've got a DPMS Lr308b(AR-10), which did require a break-in period. For the first 300 rounds or so, it would not eject reliably. Now, I haven't had an FTE in a few hundred rounds.

    iMag, I could be misreading your posts, but it sounds like you're saying people are blaming malfunctions later on down the road on not breaking a firearm in in the beginning. This I don't believe, however, I do agree with a few hundred round break-in period.

    -Fred
     
  18. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    I have a S&W 642-2. It is a 5 shot 38 snubby. A J-Frame. When I first bought it new, I had a couple of failures with the first box of ammo. Twice the round did not go off. There was not even a dimple in the primer. I decided to go ahead and break in the gun with a few boxes of ammo and a bunch of dry firing. I have put several hundred rounds through it after a lot of dry firing. It has never happened again. I believe break in is very important.
     
  19. superc

    superc Member

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    Well, with experience we learn there are certain companies whose products we simply avoid. Malfunctions and failures are normal for their cheaply made products and we all hope their products are what the other guy has. Used to be, in big city law enforcement those were the products the dead guy on the ground trusted his life to. After you saw 4 or 5 corpses with brand X products, misfired, or jammed, laying alongside their corpse you realized you didn't want to buy that brand. For civilians there used to be a magazine called GunTests with a Turkey of the Month award. It was actually a fairly good magazine, but once they took on the big boys, the magazine was suddenly no longer on the store shelves and passed into history. Telling a lemon before you buy it is a lot harder today,

    Gun magazines live off of ads and commissions to write favorable articles. You see a magazine with a cover story about brand Y's rifle and two or three articles about how great it is, you need to understand that every part of that is paid advertising which is then sold to unwary magazine buyers as a 'fact finding article.' There are some magazine publishers who try to avoid this, but in order to avoid lawsuits and ensure continued 'samples' and writing awards they usually simply won't write or publish an article criticizing a companies product.

    Hardly anyone machines a gun out of a billet of solid steel anymore. It's way too expensive. Neither the Bridgestones nor the machinists to run them are cheap. Stampings, investment casts and plastic are the path almost all the manufacturers now follow. Sadly, this includes the previously hallowed names of S&W and Colt.

    Another nasty trend is sub-contracting. We have brand name companies of previously impeccable reputations that decided costs would be lower if they made nothing, hired someone else (often overseas) to make it, then upon receipt, stamp their name on it and sell it to the unwary. Yes, sometimes the magazines do pick up on what has happened and actually casually mention the substitution in an article. Unfortunately they rarely do this before the production and sales run are finished and thousands of people got stuck with junk they thought carried the quality of the brand they were buying. [Can you say, Colt Pony?] Even more common is the sub contracting of parts manufacture. Sometimes even the contractor subs out the work too. So there you are with your brand T pistol. Bet you didn't know the ejector was made in Pakistan, the firing pin was made in India, and the springs were made in Hong Kong. Legally, as long as it is all slapped together here, we can still stamp "Made in the USA" on it. You will find the quality control in the various places of manufacture varies widely. Can't really fault the inspector. To save costs the company may have 1 instead of 100. Tuesday morning the ejectors arrive. 14,000 of them. What does the inspector do? He randomly samples. Depending on the company, maybe one per 1,000, certainly not more than 1 per 100, because the hammers are coming in this afternoon and they have to be inspected also. What does the contract say? Maybe there are no procedures for rejecting the lot. Did the company even give the inspector the authority to reject anything? What are the issues? If it is something (often not tested) like hardness, or the number of iterations before a spring fails, hey, it will sell, 90% of the product purchasers will never use the product enough to tell. This is where the aftermarket spare parts market flourishes. Replace the tin parts with steel ones, etc. Of course this usually voids warranties, but when you read the fine print on some of them, so too does almost everything else.

    The days of one company casting their own steel, machining and inspecting the parts themselves, assembling the gun themselves then inspecting and refitting any part just a hair out of alignment, then test firing a full magazine and reinspecting and cleaning the gun all in the same factory are pretty much long gone. As a consumer, your best hope is that you picked a product from a company that is still concerned with building brand image (vs. market share) and actually rejects lemons before they leave the factory floor. Which company is that? Sadly, it depends on in which month and year you are asking the question. Attitudes, like stock options, change. So do personnel and their assignments.

    I won't name the brand, but about a decade ago I had a friend who owned a gunshop that had landed a contract with a distributor to inspect small shipments into the US of period reproductions then send them to the distributor as okay to sell. All guns had supposedly been inspected and test-fired by the maker and many came with targets to prove it. Yeah, right. Let us just say the Distributor had received some feedback that all was not well and had hired my friend to help that company minimize problems. My friend's contract tasks included running a cleaning patch down any barrels needing one. Sometimes they did, sometimes (depending on which factory made the shipment) they didn't. I was with my friend in his shop when we opened a small revolver shipment. One of the boxed 45 revolvers had a target with holes in the box, supposedly a test firing. The gun was lovely. All pretty blue with case hardening. Pretty grips. Crisp markings. A lovely action. Snick, snick click. We only found one thing wrong with it. The barrel had never been bored. So much for the fraudulent target stuck in the box. Thinking it through we realized it had to be intentional and involve multiple people. One guy bores the barrel. Another one plugs the barrel and blues it, then someone at a different step fits the barrel, roll marking, final inspection, etc. Much, much, later we learned of labor disputes at the factory. How would you like to have been the person dropping a cartridge into that pretty chamber and doing the first shot? Moral of the tale, perform a visual inspection before loading anything.

    Years ago you could do that at the store. Plunked your money down and walked out 5 minutes later with the exact gun you inspected. Times have changed. Approve the gun, the clerk takes your money, then you come back 4 or more days later and he gives you a box. Maybe the gun you looked at and carefully selected from the samples present is inside, maybe it is a different one. Maybe it now has lots of scratches and dings on it that weren't there 4 days ago. [Check before leaving the store.]

    The days of being to say all products from company U, regardless of the year of manufacture, can be trusted, was over by the 80s. Today you very much have to be wary of both name brands and off brand names. A good example is the 1911 world. It has been up for grabs for 20 something years now. It isn't enough to make a perfect product if you have a lousy business model. Tweaking one against the other results in product control variations. Look up Randall, or AMT to see what I mean. I had two Detonics once. One (1st year of manufacture) was perfect. Right out of the box I could fire anything 45 in it without any bobbles. Bullets hit where aimed. No machining marks inside the slide, all polished, even behind the mainspring. Three years later I bought another one. Jammed every third shot with any ammo (slide kept locking back), regardless of which magazine was used, bullets hit 2 feet low at 7 yards, visible machining marks behind the mainspring housing and on the underside of the slide, etc. A year or so later Detonics disappeared. By then I had gotten rid of them both. [Swapped (something that used to be legal) with a coworker the good one for a Colt 1917 AND a Thompson Contender with three different caliber barrels.]

    Actual US military surplus firearms are an obvious exception of course. That is because regardless of how a company messed up, the military had their own inspectors there and a gun didn't get the US Property stamp until after it arrived at the depot/arsenal. It has been over 40 years since US Military surplus firearms were last sold to consumers from the arsenal doors. Your odds of finding one unaltered are low. The more unaltered it is, the more it will cost you. Even the NRA DCM stuff has been altered from when the weapons were US issue. Most of it is coming back as 'lend lease used' with foreign parts, worn out stocks and questionable springs. If you find something that is US military surplus and less than 40 years old, unless it is a General Officers Model pistol, the odds are it is stolen (some of the General Officers Model pistols are to stay in Govt hands too, so don't assume without paperwork), so I wouldn't advise accepting it.

    Would it be very lovely if you could say, oh I will buy a brand V pistol because they are so highly rated I know no test firing or break in period is required? Yes, it would. Too bad that hasn't been true since 1935 or so.

    As you say, Caveat Emptor
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010