Dry fire

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by TheGunClinger, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Active Member Supporting Member

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    I was in my gunroom getting my daily "fix" holding my guns and was dry firing a number of them. I all of a sudden had a thought, which comes hard to me. I am wondering which ones are ok to dry fire. I have read a bunch of stuff saying that these can be dry fired and these cannot be dry fired and vice versa. Is there any cut and dry way to know if you can or cant? I have a number or wheel guns, a number of auto's, some rifles.. Ar-15, some .22's, some shotguns etc. I just read a post that says you cant dry fire a Glock which I didnt know, so I will ask the experts of this forum to reveal to me the Truth and ONLY the Truth so hep me 1911.:)
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Since you MUST dryfire a Glock, before you disassemble it, that statement seems to be false.

    As a general rule, you should not dry fire rim fires or cap-n-ball guns, although Ruger claims you can dry fire ANY of their guns to your little heart's content. I dry fire all my Ruger 22s, with no worries.

    Colt Single Actions and their copies - guns having a fixed firing pin on the hammer, that goes through a hole in the recoil shield - should not be dry fired. Continuous dry firing of that will have the tapered firing pin enlarging the firing pin hole, and raising a lip on the inner side of the recoil shield. This lip then drags on the cartridges as the cylinder turns. Been there, done that.

    I've been told, but don't know of my own experience, that older-style Colt double actions, with the leaf mainsprings, can have the mainspring break, from dry firing. Pythons, New Service, like that.

    I've had both firing pins break on a Stevens 311 hammerless side by side 12 gauge, from "taking the pressure off the hammer springs" - dry firing - over a period of about 6 years.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The firing pin of an SAA should not expand the firing pin hole. If it does so, I suspect a replacement using the wrong type of firing pin.

    The "don't dry fire" warning comes mostly from old rim-fire rifles where the firing pin struck the edge of the chamber, forcing the metal inward, thus keeping a round from being loaded. In many cases, that was not due to poor design but to people over the years replacing those firing pins with filed down nails or similar improvised firing pins.

    For the most part, modern guns can be dry fired indefinitely without damage, but I certainly would suggest snap caps where feasible. Military rifles are dry fired thousands of times in training and I know of no problems in doing so. The idea that one should never, ever dry fire, even if the alternative is leaving a gun cocked is, IHMO, nonsense.

    Jim
  4. springerbuster

    springerbuster New Member

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    Great post. I have often wondered what guns of mine can be dry fired without harm. Looks like all of the ones I own are OK to dry fire. Thanks.
  5. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Active Member Supporting Member

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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  6. rocklinskier

    rocklinskier New Member

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    Reading that link, there is a substantial argument there about the outline of the damage. It looks like it might be from stress hardening of the material. The outline of the damage looks to be more from the back of the case rather than internal striker pressure. Perhaps it is just coincidence that dry firing happens to expose the damage when no case is in place to support the pressure inflicted when dry fire occurs. I can't imagine that the dry fireing itself causes that kind of damage.

    In fact, it might be an argument that dry fireing exposed the damage and saved a catastrophic failure that might have occured when fireing live ammo. Hmmm...interesting. Most of all, I wonder how many rounds have been fired through these weapons when this condition has existed, or if a certain run of serial numbers would expose a weak material run.
  7. Kimber

    Kimber New Member

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    My 1911 Kimber .45 manual says nothing about dry firing and most 1911 owners I've asked say dry fire away, I did when I first bought mine and haven't had any problems.
    My new Taurus PT709 Slim 9mm manual says "Dry firing is bad for this firearm, whether the hammer block is engaged or not". So I assume I'm supposed to release the slide after the last round and leave the pistol cocked.
    It must be dry fired at least once every time I remove slide in take down.
    All I've ever owned in a pistol is a dinosaur 1911 I’m new to these plastic pistols.
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It is possible that the Glock problems are caused by dry firing, but it would take an awful lot of dry firing, not just a few times to release firing pin tension, or even some practice. Given the fact that the Glock is a PITA to dry fire, I suspect something else was involved.

    Still, as always, there is nothing wrong with using snap caps. For a pistol like the Glock that has to have the slide retracted, you can cut away the rim of the snap cap so it won't be extracted all the time. It can be pushed out with a rod from the muzzle when you are done dry firing.

    Jim
  9. Road America

    Road America Member

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    I just finished repairing my brother in law's old (1938) Hi-Standard Model B 22 pistol. The firing pin was broken, but the main problem was the area inside the slide where the hammer hits is all mashed and worn in so that the new firing pin couldn't fit in it's hole. This is from dry firing, probably thousands of times in all those years. With this design you'll probably dry fire every time the magazine goes empty, and every time you pull the slide back to check if it's loaded. You can't uncock it any other way. That damage wouldn't happen from firing the pistol, then the hammer hit the end of the firing pin which then hits the rim of the cartridge and cushions the fall.
    I would say dry firing is something to try and avoid in any gun. It's not going to hurt much in the short run, but after all - it's metal hitting metal. Nothing last forever, but why wear it out sooner than you have to.
  10. Mainspring

    Mainspring New Member

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    A friend of my son gave me his Remington 581 to look at because it only fired about one or two times out of 10. After examining the barrel I saw why. There was a grove that deep in the barrel where the firing pin hit that when the firing pin came forward and struck the casing there was nothing behind the casing any more to smash it and ignite the primer powder. This rifle was dry fired to death.
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