Author Topic: Dry firing: okay or not  (Read 21294 times)

Offline Datman01

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Dry firing: okay or not
« on: July 25, 2014, 04:29:08 PM »
I bought a Mossberg 500a from a friend and was curious if doing dry firing practice would damage the gun somehow.
I've seen conflicting reports and was curious what you all thought. What about on an M&P 15/22? thanks.

Offline CharlesH

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2014, 04:42:12 PM »
This probably a bigger deal than I have made it, but here are my thoughts.  With rimfire weapons it is conceivable for the pin to hit the breech without a round in the chamber.  Striking that harder metal could damage the pin or pit the breech.  With centerfire weapons it should be less of a problem because the pin should not hit anything.  Now with military style models I suppose it is possible the pin would break against the bolt with more force than when a round is in the chamber and maybe that is bad.  We dry fired our weapons in both Iraq and Afghanistan daily when clearing them with no negative impact that I am aware of.
 
I don't know where your shotgun falls into this, but with newer ones at least the pin should be fairly well centered and not striking anything when dry.  If you are concerned you can find things called snap caps online and put those in the chamber when training without an actual round in the chamber.

Offline Carl

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2014, 05:24:07 PM »
As a blanket statement...Most modern firearms are safe for limited dry fire use.

  Now the hi volume dry fire will peen the breach face and or firing pin as MORE stress is put on these parts by dry fire than by firing shells. The firing pin will vibrate and can harden and or crack due to length and weight (plus inertia)  going out of design limits, also the breach face that the pin passes through can suffer from this uncontrolled travel distance and vibration.

For your shotgun ,I would use a snap-cap or at least an empty shell to cushion the power of the firing pin. Limited use of dry fire should be fine,but to what limit? The stress of being used out of design limits,though it sounds simple,is a lot ...and this is a device that you depend on.

There are some nice ($25) sub-caliber adapters that fire pistol and or rifle rounds that may also be a good option.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2014, 05:44:04 PM »
I bought snap caps for all of my calibers for when I practice at home. Usually around $10/gun gets you a few so you can work on basic reloads, jams, etc.

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 06:12:50 PM »
Also keep in mind that every time one clears a military weapon snapping the trigger on the empty chamber is the last step in the operation.  It has been since the days of the '03 Springfield.

Most military weapons are dry fired more than they are live fired and no one worries about the firing pins.

Only time I worry about doing it is when using a .22, and even then I have to weigh the damage to the chamber rim against the stress on the springs and parts from remaining constantly under compression.


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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2014, 08:41:06 PM »
My instructors have always said it's fine with all calibers but rimfire .22.  I've always dryfired all my guns except .22 and never had a problem.  In fact, I know no better way to get better with trigger pull than frequent dry fire drills.

Offline Taylor3006

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2014, 09:07:46 PM »
There really isn't a good reason to not use snap caps or empty cases (for 22's) when dry firing. Homemade snap caps are easy, use a bit of pencil eraser in a deprimed case, bit of glue and voila. Removing a spent primer is no big deal, even if you don't have reloading equipment. The only time I do not use them is like what Mortblanc is discussing, snapping to relive tension on springs for storing a weapon.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2014, 05:58:51 AM »
There really isn't a good reason to not use snap caps or empty cases (for 22's) when dry firing.
Because in certain weapons its a pain in the butt to use snap caps for just dry fire?  For a striker fired weapon, cycling the action so you can snap again will usually eject the snap cap. I just find no particular reason to for that purpose in centerfire, striker fired pistols.

Offline Carl

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 06:53:01 AM »
Because in certain weapons its a pain in the butt to use snap caps for just dry fire?  For a striker fired weapon, cycling the action so you can snap again will usually eject the snap cap. I just find no particular reason to for that purpose in centerfire, striker fired pistols.

Remove a bit of the rim from the shell and the extractor will not extract it till you use a dowel rod  to remove it for 'real' use.
My 'display' guns often have this an an extra level of safety to help keep my friends ratio up .

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 10:25:30 AM »
Remove a bit of the rim from the shell and the extractor will not extract it till you use a dowel rod  to remove it for 'real' use.
My 'display' guns often have this an an extra level of safety to help keep my friends ratio up .

Without sounding too much like Mark Wahlberg in "The Sniper", I've made shortened firing pins for the firearms I dry-fire with on a regular basis.  It takes me very little time to swap out firing pins when I'm ready to make it "live" again.  I also remove the extractor when using any snap caps.  Then I replace the extractor when I'm done training.  Both options add a small amount of safety as well.  Unable to remove the snap cap unless done deliberately, and unable to fire a live round if one "found" it's way into the training area.  I'm not talking about sabotaging a good firing pin.  The firing pin is made from scrap metal I have in the shop.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2014, 11:56:48 AM »
Remove a bit of the rim from the shell and the extractor will not extract it till you use a dowel rod  to remove it for 'real' use.
My 'display' guns often have this an an extra level of safety to help keep my friends ratio up .
You seem to be confusing me with someone who has a work ethic.  It takes every fiber of my being to make myself actually do my dry fire.  Now I have to modify a case and find a dowel?  Who has this stuff?  ;D

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2014, 04:44:11 PM »
You seem to be confusing me with someone who has a work ethic.  It takes every fiber of my being to make myself actually do my dry fire.  Now I have to modify a case and find a dowel?  Who has this stuff?  ;D
What's the problem?  You're getting your firearms training, and get to go on a scavenger hunt.

Offline soupbone

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2014, 07:39:36 PM »
For .22 RF, only dry fire if the Owner's manual says it's OK, otherwise, use a snap cap or a spent case. The firing pin striking the chamber can, depending on the firearm, peen it enough to cause problems in a very short while. Also, the firing pin striking something of similar hardness can induce stress into the pin itself, causing breakage [usually at the worst possible time]. Think of the stresses involved in a piece of metal going from zero to a gazillion miles an hour to zero in a fraction of an inch. A case, primer or snap cap serve to cushion the stop and contribute to the life of the firing pin.

And don't ever dry fire a spring piston air gun. Without the air cushion provided by starting and launching a pellet down the barrel, the piston will slam into the end of the cylinder with considerable force, ruining the piston head and seals with just a couple of "shots".

Done safely, and not taken to an extreme, dry firing is a very useful tool in acquiring and maintaining skill with a given firearm. Safety is the key - Unload the gun, unload it again, take all of the ammo for it and put it in another room. Run your exercises, and when you are finished, put that gun away for a while. Until you get out of the "Dry Firing Mental Mode". [If you feel the need to be armed during this waiting period, grab a totally different kind of firearm - a carbine or shotgun instead of another pistol, for example - to make bringing a gun into use a totally different experience.] This may seem extreme, but it sure beats "explaining" a hole in the TV, fridge, window, wall or person.

soup
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 07:53:45 PM by soupbone »

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2014, 01:26:51 AM »
I have seen .22s broken, and in one case, rendered worthless and unrepairable (according to the manufacturer, who then replaced the 30+ year old gun with a brand new upgraded version for free) by dry-firing. I will dry fire most rifles, shotguns, and striker fired pistols often, but unless the manufacturer okays it, I don't do it at all with rimfire. And for the love of God, don't dry fire a revolver that doesn't belong to you without express permission from the owner. Especially an older one with collectible value. I had a customer looking at an immaculate S&W model 19, and he was talking to one of our newer employees when he said " I read that Smith and Wesson says it is okay to dry fire any of their revolvers."  He then proceeds to dry fire it five or six times, running a scratch around the cylinder from the locking mechanism on a gun that had NEVER had the cylinder turned!  His casual dry fire devalued a perfect gun by over $100, and he then handed it back with a "Boy, that is nice!" And never showed any real interest in purchasing it. Great way to make the guys in the gun store not like you. I have heard too many similar stories from private collectors too.

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2014, 06:45:18 AM »
I have seen .22s broken, and in one case, rendered worthless and unrepairable (according to the manufacturer, who then replaced the 30+ year old gun with a brand new upgraded version for free) by dry-firing. I will dry fire most rifles, shotguns, and striker fired pistols often, but unless the manufacturer okays it, I don't do it at all with rimfire. And for the love of God, don't dry fire a revolver that doesn't belong to you without express permission from the owner. Especially an older one with collectible value. I had a customer looking at an immaculate S&W model 19, and he was talking to one of our newer employees when he said " I read that Smith and Wesson says it is okay to dry fire any of their revolvers."  He then proceeds to dry fire it five or six times, running a scratch around the cylinder from the locking mechanism on a gun that had NEVER had the cylinder turned!  His casual dry fire devalued a perfect gun by over $100, and he then handed it back with a "Boy, that is nice!" And never showed any real interest in purchasing it. Great way to make the guys in the gun store not like you. I have heard too many similar stories from private collectors too.
That advice also goes for many 1911-style pistols.  The breech face and chamber can be damaged on some (specifically, match pistols).

Offline Zeus

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2014, 11:47:30 AM »
Remove a bit of the rim from the shell and the extractor will not extract it till you use a dowel rod  to remove it for 'real' use.
My 'display' guns often have this an an extra level of safety to help keep my friends ratio up .
That's an excellent idea. Think I'll load a few dummy round, zip of the case rim a little and anodize them Red color for this use. Thanks for the idea  ;)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2014, 11:53:00 AM »
If anyone here has a .22lr gun made in the last 30 years that they have damaged exclusively from dry fire, PM me your address and I'll mail you a check for replacement costs.


Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2014, 11:57:19 AM »
I have seen .22s broken, and in one case, rendered worthless and unrepairable (according to the manufacturer, who then replaced the 30+ year old gun with a brand new upgraded version for free) by dry-firing. I will dry fire most rifles, shotguns, and striker fired pistols often, but unless the manufacturer okays it, I don't do it at all with rimfire. And for the love of God, don't dry fire a revolver that doesn't belong to you without express permission from the owner. Especially an older one with collectible value. I had a customer looking at an immaculate S&W model 19, and he was talking to one of our newer employees when he said " I read that Smith and Wesson says it is okay to dry fire any of their revolvers."  He then proceeds to dry fire it five or six times, running a scratch around the cylinder from the locking mechanism on a gun that had NEVER had the cylinder turned!  His casual dry fire devalued a perfect gun by over $100, and he then handed it back with a "Boy, that is nice!" And never showed any real interest in purchasing it. Great way to make the guys in the gun store not like you. I have heard too many similar stories from private collectors too.

Creating a cylinder ring on an otherwise pristine collectible gun is a bit off topic.  There's no functional damage to the firing pin.  If you squeeze a double action revolver trigger midway so the cylinder can spin you can create the same thing without ever letting the hammer drop.

If you had an original 1960s E-Type Jaguar would you let someone test drive it and then complain about how they drove it?  If it's so special, don't let people handle it.

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2014, 06:04:13 PM »
I have repaired a broken firing pin in a brand new GSG 1911-22 that broke from dry firing. There was also extensive damage done to the edge of the chamber, but the firing pin gave up before doing enough damage to the chamber to necessitate a new barrel.

If I were trying to sell said Jaguar, it would pretty much necessitate allowing test drives. If someone took it for a test drive, burned the tires off the rims, and dropped a valve because he heard that you could bounce it off the rev limiter as much as you want, then handed back the keys and said "boy, thats a nice car" and walked away, yeah, I would be pissed about that too. Especially if I had been entrusted by someone else to sell the car for them.

And damage that can occur to a gun during dry fire is not off topic in a thread titled "Dry Firing: ok or not?"

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2014, 01:46:11 AM »
Good point.  I'll remember to never own something I will cry over if ruined.

Offline Carl

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2014, 06:30:04 AM »
Good point.  I'll remember to never own something I will cry over if ruined.

NO,Then you will not truly appreciate owning a fine firearm.Just RTFM (Read The FACTORY Manual) and know when dry-fire is safe. The 1911 style guns all have INERTIA FIRING PINS and no block to allow control of depth on the firing pin ,except maybe the KIMBER,but I am not sure on Kimber's design as I have yet to study it.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2014, 11:34:46 AM »
Yes, read the factory manual. The manual for 3 of my firearms specifically say "DO NOT DRY FIRE," so I don't. Actually, I rarely dry fire. Mostly, when I pull the trigger they all go BOOM.

Offline Carl

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2014, 11:37:33 AM »
Yes, read the factory manual. The manual for 3 of my firearms specifically say "DO NOT DRY FIRE," so I don't. Actually, I rarely dry fire. Mostly, when I pull the trigger they all go BOOM.

Whew...my abbreviation (why is that word so long?) made it past the moderator as for some RTFM has a second meaning.  ::)

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2014, 12:55:58 PM »
Whew...my abbreviation (why is that word so long?) made it past the moderator as for some RTFM has a second meaning.  ::)
That is because I am such an innocent little lamb, I have no idea what that second meaning might be.  :tinfoily:

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2014, 04:23:11 PM »
If anyone here has a .22lr gun made in the last 30 years that they have damaged exclusively from dry fire, PM me your address and I'll mail you a check for replacement costs.

I won't get a check from you, but I damaged the .22LR firing pin on a Stevens .22-410 combo gun by dry firing when I was in my teens.   The gun was made in the 30's IIRC.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2014, 04:26:50 PM »
The gun was made in the 30's IIRC.

...back when automobiles had generators with 6 volt positive ground wiring  :o

Offline Carl

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2014, 04:30:51 PM »
...back when automobiles had generators with 6 volt positive ground wiring  :o

And milk came from a COW....

Offline Cylon

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2014, 04:35:32 AM »
I dry fire my 303 every time i clear it and have never had a drama...

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2014, 05:44:27 AM »
Cylon, if your 303 is a Lee Enfield you should be fine.  If you had something like a 1903 with a two piece firing pin, your story would likely be much different and may include more swearing.

Offline Cylon

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Re: Dry firing: okay or not
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2014, 08:12:27 AM »
Hey flippy,

It's a savage No 4 Mk 1 (T) with a No 32 Mk 1 scope (yeah, I confess I'm a 303 fanboy)and it drops Roos every time! :D

Sorry I got a little excited and off topic... I've pulled the firing mechanism apart one time (just to see how it worked) and that thing is just stupidly over engineered. :)