Dry Firing

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Bubblehead, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead New Member

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    I have seen several threads where dry firing is discussed, but not a specific thread on the issue.

    What is the real scoop on dry firing? Does it damage the firing pin or not? Or does it depend on the individual firearm.

    I've had an armorer tell me that it may peen the shoulder of the pin but not enough to do any damage.

    I have a NAA 32 and the instructions advise against it.

    Can I dry fire a Remington 700, a Kimber 1911, a S&W 686, or an AR-15 for example?

    Any general rules that need to be followed?

    Thank you,

    John
  2. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

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    There are many reasons why and no matter the firearm you should avoid it as much as possible. Simple reason is that the firing pin or hammer rely on the resistence of the primer to stop the pin and prevent denting (peening) whatever it comes in contact with.
    Here is a short list of things that can happen. If I described exactly what would happen this post would be pages long. These are the simple reasons there is much more that can happen.

    Rimfires. dry firing rimfires can peen the side of the chamber wall causing the round to not load or get stuck after firing.

    Centerfire. 1.The shock from dry firing can peen the inside of the bolt causing to pin to protrude to far out and pierce a primer which is dangerous.
    2.It can break the pin. Guns like the CZ52 is know for this, there are other too.
    3. Peening the backside of the bolt face can cause the pin to stick out and stay out on loose pin bolts such as the SKS. This will cause a semiauto to turn into a full auto- nuff said

    Revolvers. Dry Firing will cause the hammer to peen or bend the back of the frame. It also causes undue stress on the hammer itself, the hammer strut and it will also break or crack the pin. On some revolvers the pin itself is not replaceable, you have to replace the whole hammer which takes the work of a gunsmith to install it correctly. On the S&W 686 and most others it can break the hammer block.

    I know plenty of people the dry fire there guns and claim no damage. Thats there option to do but as a rule don't dry fire. If you like to pull the trigger on a empty chamber, get some snap caps.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  3. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Well said Helix_FR. I do not think anyone could have covered the subject better.

    The late Harold MacFarland (master gunsmith and author) noted that excessive dry firing was the number one cause of broken firing pins.

    If you dry fire to improve trigger control; use good snap caps, in good repair.
  4. Borie

    Borie New Member

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    The Operation Manual for Kimber Compact, Pro Carry, and Ultra Carry 1911s includes the following step at the end of the cleaning and lubrication procedure: "Assemble gun. Rack the slide 5-6 times, dry fire, wipe off excess oil from the gun."
    I was surprised to see this, but there it is. Seems like this might make more sense if you were lubricating before long term storage rather than periodic cleaning and lube after shooting, but the manual makes no distinction.
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Lately some argue that there is less chance of damaging the hammer, sear, or flat spring on a 1911 type by dry firing it, than from letting the hammer down easy. I do not think I have ever damaged one (in over 50 years) lowering 1911 hammers under control; but maybe I'm wrong. {Often, I am.}

    In any case this may explain the Kimber dry fire instruction.
  6. 45flint

    45flint New Member

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    Some guns like the Woodsman First Series you tend to have one dry fire every time you shot it. Unless you count the rounds, this gun does not stay back after the last shot. The dry fire confirms an empty gun. Do people count with a gun like this to prevent a dry fire?
    Steve
  7. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

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    If you don't have to.......don't.
    If you want to........use a snap cap.

    Having said that.

    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)

    As pointed out, many other manufacturers "instruct you to" dry-fire your firearm after reassembling it --- clean it, to test function.

    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.

    I will not dry-fire any rimfire firearm (22 etc.) or older firearm. I 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.
  8. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Well spoken (written), by an obviously knowledgeable person.
  9. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

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    Like my father before me, I have dealt with firearms on a professional level for many years.

    Any metal moved forward with force, and then stopped, without something to run into, with stretch the metal.

    I use snap caps in everything I own.

    WHY?

    Because these tools may have to save my life, and Im not taking any chances.
  10. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    it depends on the gun hontestly. some guns will take it no matter how much you do it. for example. a ruger new model single six or blackhawk. i have a single six that i have dry fired for hours at a time. a 1911 or an ar 15 or a smith and wesson i would suggest if you did it a few times it would be okay, but i wouldnt do it all the time. a glock i would say it wouldnt hurt at all. since you have to dry fire the gun to take it down. i dont dry fire others guns without asking first normally, and i dont like when people dry fire mine without asking.

    when we went to the nra convention last year me and my buddies wore out every gun we picked up. no reason not to i reckon. the taures's had pretty good triggers after we were done.
  11. Suwannee Tim

    Suwannee Tim New Member

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    I'm not going to state that dry firing is safe for every center fire firearm but I will state that it is utterly harmless to a Smith and Wesson revolver. I have a Smith and Wesson 1955 that has been dry fired probably a good million times, no exaggeration, a million times, no problem, never a snap cap. I have dry fired guns thousands of times, no problem. Bullseye shooters don't think twice about snapping a 1911 extensively. I don't think I would dry snap thousands of times a defensive firearm but a target gun, or a sporting gun, sure. If it breaks, you fix it.
  12. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    When I was shooting on pistol teams in the military we used to dry fire .45's all the time. Sometimes for and hour or so, just working on trigger control and never had a problem or failure.
  13. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    smith and wesson claims it wont hurt their revolvers, springfield armory says it wont hurt their 45s. and bushmasters say it wont hurt their ar's. i never had a problem dry firing my 45 when i had it. if i am going to store any gun for more than 6 months i normally dry fire to take the tension off the mainspring. i did this with my sks, and various others that i wouldnt shoot but once a year. i would like to have some snap caps for my 38, even though smith says it's fine to dry fire, and i have a bunch so far.
  14. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

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    I dry fire my match guns (AR, 1911, model 70, M1, M1A) at least 5 times as much as live fire and have never had a problem. If the hammer or firing pin breaks it needed to be replaces anyway. The real purpose is to develop and maintain muscle memory for consistency. I also use dummy rounds in many cases. I never dry fire with a rimfire gun, always take extra care to ensure the gun is unloaded and practice safe firearms handling even then.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  15. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

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    OK I can refine this. We dont do handguns, I only have 30 cal rifles, bolt, gas and lever. Oh yeah and one flint, it dont need a snap cap. Niether does the lever, but it has one anyway.
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