Pencil firing pin test in the 1911 barrel

Discussion in '1911 Forum' started by CHLChris, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    2,523
    0
    0
    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...
     
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    20,110
    15
    38
    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.
     

  3. CourtJester

    CourtJester Well-Known Member

    3,305
    28
    48
    You have to be $hitting
     
  4. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

    5,132
    1
    0
    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.
     
  5. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    12,361
    34
    48
    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.
     
  6. HOSSFLY

    HOSSFLY New Member

    6,932
    0
    0
    :p Thats funny (scary too)
     
  7. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    20,110
    15
    38
    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.
     
  8. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    2,523
    0
    0
    Ding ding ding, we have a winner! You win the Stay-on-the-thread-topic Prize for the day!

    Thanks, dan.
     
  9. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    23,972
    1
    0
    Chris, I guess I am the "know nothing" in this thread for a change, so kudos to you. :D

    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?! :confused:

    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*
     
  10. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    21,833
    2
    0
    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?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. billdeserthills

    billdeserthills New Member

    774
    0
    0
    I just use that as a test that the gun has been re-assembled correctly. It is not "A Firing Pin/Spring Test" to see if your gun's firing pin will function.
     
  12. HOSSFLY

    HOSSFLY New Member

    6,932
    0
    0
    I just shot my dog :eek:
     
  13. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    2,523
    0
    0
    I have read it in a few places as part of a series of function tests for that moment of testing a gun you may or may not want to purchase used. I think I first heard it from Cane in his primer on purchasing a used 1911. (But don't quote me on that)

    I'm glad to hear it is just a go-nogo test, which mine is a GO. It fires fine, the primers are being struck well. I just remembered clear as day that when I first got the gun, a pencil would fly across the room, and now it is only firing a few feet. I was wondering if distance mattered.

    And no, 8000 rounds have not gone through this puppy yet. I have yet to "shoot the snot out of it". Too bad that is so expensive...

    [maniacal grin]But sooo fun[/maniacal grin]
     
  14. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    12,361
    34
    48
    The main spring pressure and firing pin spring resistance come into play. When you experience light primer hits, most of the time the main spring is getting weak. Heavy primer hits is when the firing pin spring is losing resistance.
     
  15. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    21,833
    2
    0
    Are you using THE same pencil? When did you have the eraser calibrated last?

    And did you compensate for humidity and Baro changes?

    Come on Chris, you know you must follow ASTM testing standards!

    cane [​IMG]
     
  16. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    12,361
    34
    48
    Maybe we should submit the pencil test as a standard for ISO9000.
     
  17. skimbell

    skimbell New Member

    21
    0
    0
    It sounds OK to me, but just to be sure you might want to try a few magnum pencils.
     
  18. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    2,523
    0
    0
    :( My testing protocols were certainly not calibrated precisely enough to qualify as exacting science, no. So my results of "the pencil didn't fly as far" don't actually mean anything.

    At least it was fun.

    skimbell, magnum pencils are no longer being shipped or sold to California customers...another reason why I left that place. I only used a #2 caliber NATO pencil with boattail.
     
  19. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

    7,551
    1
    0
    I first heard about the pencil test back in the '70s and admit I used it several times when buying a used gun on the spot like at at gun show. Actually for me it was the Bic pen test and if that sucker flew the firing pin worked properly when I got to the range. Not the best test of course but for down and dirty, better than nothing.

    A little harder with a 45ACP, you've got to center the pencil ... :D
     
  20. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    23,972
    1
    0
    A generous application of duct tape? ;)