Dry firing a gun

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Browning5, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Browning5

    Browning5 New Member

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    I was wondering what the truth really is about dry firing a gun. Some people tell me it is very bad and some say it will not hurt the gun at all no matter how many times you dry fire it. What is the real truth to this?
    Thanks,
  2. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

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    You are still going to get both answers.
    Depending on caliber, centerfire vs. rimfire, and age.

    The metallurgy, as well as the design on firearms, has improved over the years. With "some" modern firearms you HAVE to dry-fire it, just to be able to take it apart and clean it. (like a Glock)

    Many other manufacturers "suggest" you dry-fire your firearm after reassembling it, after you clean it.

    You can also take into consideration, the fact that if you shoot competitively, you will dry-fire your firearm lots and LOTS of times. It is REQUIRED in some disciplines.

    Do competition shooters have firing pins break, sure. But then SO DO people that have NEVER dry-fired their firearms. Most firearms used in competition today go through their entire life without breaking a firing pin, due to dry-firing.

    Having said that, I will not dry-fire any rimfire firearm (22 etc.) or older firearm. I just get a snap-cap for those. (I want to take the tension off the spring, for storage) Even an old "empty" shell will do for this.
  3. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

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    I do compete and I also dry fire a lot with my match guns and almost ever gun I own, at least occasionally. The reasoning most match shooters use is that "if the firing pin breaks during dry firing, it needs to be replaced anyway." When dry firing my rim fire guns I just place an empty shell in the chamber to prevent damage. Of course I make sure I'm in a safe area, usually at the range, and follow all firearms safety rules.
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Here's the situation. Firing pins are designed and hardened with the thought that the forward travel will be stopped by the cartridge, not a shoulder on the pin or the back of the barrel like some rimfires. Some will break when dry fired enough and some won't...it depends on the design and hardening.

    In general it is neccessary to dry fire a bolt gun to uncock the striker. Some competition formats require that, so you have little choice. For rimfires if the firing pin is not fitted correctly (and many come from the factory that way) it can hit the end of the barrel and mar it. That can eventually lead to poor feeding from the barrel metal pushed in to the chamber and/or failures to fire as there is not enough support for the case under the firing pin in its attempt to set off the cartridge.

    Semi-auto rimfire hand guns and rifles with concealed hammers or can be decocked by holding the slide or bolt ever so slightly open during the trigger pull so as to override the disconnector function and not let the firing pin strike the barrel.

    Unless your gun has a dry firing feature (and some do like my Benelli MP90S pistol), don't practice dry firing with it. Dry firing it to put it away probably won't hurt it for many years but it is better in most cases than storing it with the firing pin (striker) or hammer spring cocked.

    If you need shooting practice and a range is not handy then buy an air gun (rifle or pistol) and practice in your garage or basement or in a place where the neighbors can't see and hear you and is safe. They make pellet traps that act as a backstop.

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  5. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

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    For rimfires it is bad since the firing pin will hit the edge of the chamber. For centerfire guns some are made so dry firing doesn't hurt them while for others it may damage them. Check the manual.
  6. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    Most high quality rimfires have the firing pin sized such that they do not have the length to strike the edge of the barrel. But, a colledge roomate of mine took my Ruger semi 22 pistol and dry fired it alot aparently.:eek: The first thing I noticed was at an indoor range, quit a few sparks were coming form the ejection port when I fired it. Upon retreaving some of the empties, it was apparent that the casings were perforated right were the firing pin struck them. When I examined the gun closely, I could see metal displaced into the edge of the chamber, forming a burr that was also making chambering of a round by hand more difficult, unless you let the bolt spring drive it home. A gunsmith friend of mine was able to "push" the burr back into place, and the gun was fine. My roomate at that time was to say the least embarrased, as he had done this with out my knowing it:mad:.....Soon I got a new one! Best reguards Kirk
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  7. TDR911

    TDR911 New Member

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    I dry fire all my centerfire pistols. If it breaks the firing pin it was going to fail anyway and needed to be replaced. My glock 17 has at least 15,000 rounds of firing and who knows how many dry fires. 25,000 + ??? I practise almost every day at least 50 to 100 dry fires. Not 1 single broken firing pin. Coming soon??? as it is a competition gun and I am not relying on it to save my life I will run it untill it breaks. testing phase. I always carry a backup gun set up exactly the same, so I will only miss 1 stage at the most.
  8. right winger

    right winger New Member

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    Do it with my Glock. No problems.
  9. noslolo

    noslolo New Member

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    My Father in law used to dry fire at least 1000 times a day when he was competing. This was done on his S&W 686.
  10. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    From the posts above........

    It looks like it depends on the design of the gun. Many will take it well, a few won't. Centerfires are the most likely to be alright. Rimfires, one should keep an eye on the edge of the chamber where the fireing pin could strike it, and look for peening of that edge. Best reguards, Kirk
  11. BillP

    BillP New Member

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    The big thing here is that if a gun is designed to be dry fired then, IT'S DESIGNED TO BE DRY FIRED! Forget the "I just want to be safe" or any of the reasons gun shops sell snap caps by the bucket load. Maybe we need a "sticky" to avoid all the contradictory info. that gets posted every time someone asks this question. Guns could be listed by make and model and DRY FIRE: Yes - No - Special precaution.

    The last time I went looking for snap caps it was for an old 16ga double. I couldn't find any. I found scads of them for all of my guns that don't need them. :mad:
  12. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Is it considered a "dry Fire" if a spent casing is still in the chamber?

    Sorry for the stupid question but I'm new to all of this.
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    BillP:

    Most instruction manuals don't explicitily say not to dry fire a gun but do say if they can be dry fired. So how's a person to know which is the case for the gun in hand???

    22's are a special problem because if the firing pin is too long it will stop on the end of the barrel and dent the barrel causing failures to fire. Other firing pins are so hard that repeated dry firing MIGHT eventually cause the firing pin to break. What is the case for the gun in hand???

    If the instruction manual does not explicitily state that you can safely dry fire it then DON'T, unless you like having your gun repaired. There are many different ways to get firing practice other than risking the firing pin breaking: Like air guns where you can see if the effort is really worth the exercise.


    Insulation Tim:

    A spent case in the chamber is better than nothing but see the above reference to using an adult air gun for practice. The benefits are greater than you get from just squeezing the trigger and you can do it safely in your basement or garage behind closed doors, with minimal noise, and into a trap made for air guns.

    LDBennett
  14. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

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    My take is that unless you are a professional competition shooter you really wouldn't need to dry-fire a gun that much anyways. I dry-fire all of my guns after re-assembling to make sure it's put back together correctly. What few times this happens can't hurt the pin. If it did it needed to be replaced anyway. But I don't stand there and see how many times I can hear my gun click. I have better things to do with my time.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
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