Are snap caps needed for dry firing a modern rifle

  • 797 Views
  • Last Post 5 days ago
John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

Having decided that one of my problems in getting cast bullets to group better may be the nut behind the buttplate I have promised myself to do do more dryfiring.

It is my general understanding that most modern centerfire rifles can stand dry firing without risk of a broken firing pin or other things.

Still snap caps are still being sold and some shooters claim you should use them although there is no easy way to know if the springs in them are the right stiffness to cushion the firing pin.

I can't remember seeing any warnings about dry firing in the owner's manuals forr recent rifles I have bought although there are all kinds of other warnings.

Does anybody know what the various rifle manufacturers say about dry firing?

John

 

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

That would be a good write up in the Fowling Shot magazine "How Many Times Can I Dry Fire My Rifle"...just kidding.

My Tipton Snap Cap fell apart after a few dry fires. The Red polymer case cracked and came loose from the brass base.

Lately I have used a fire formed case with spent primer to dry fire. It is good for about 5 dry fires before primer appears TOO indented.

Attached Files

Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

snap cap heh ?? .. ok, how about:

stop a case neck by soldering a mj bullet backwards in the neck .  shine up the surfaces to be soldered .

drill a 1/4 hole thru the back of the case .... drop a " stiff " coil spring down thru the hole ...spring should fill about half the case ... now sand an aluminum rod ( 1/4 in. dia ) to fit into/over the spring .    the rod is held in the case by closing the bolt  and the rod can extend out of the base a tad, not critical  .  snap away .

you need about 0.090 movement, and a plastic rod will mush too fast.  a ball point pin spring will not have enough compression range.  check springs at ace hardware .  

put moly grease on the cocking cam surfaces .

******************

when i was on a 22 rf rifle team i snapped my remmy 700 a lot for position practice with no damage to the bolt  ...   i actually wore out the sear though ... $3 back then ...

ken

 

be happy to hear comments on above sudden idea  ... how about if it actually works fill it full of rtv ?? for damping ...










**********

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

Sounds like a clever way to make a snap cap Ken, and a good winter project.  Unfortunately in goes on the list at #43.

I am lazy and would rather not use a snap cap even if I hadn't lost the last one.  I am skeptical that all snap caps do their job.  The spring stiffness would have to be just right. I am also skeptical  that any big manufacturer would put out a rifle that would break from dry firing it a few thousand times.Seems it would be a pita to be fixing them and the right modern steel should stand it. I will pose a different question. 

We must have a few old small bore shooters out there who dry fire for practice.  Has anybody who dry fires without a snap cap damaged a modern rifle from a big manufacturer?  Has anybody heard of a modern firing pin breaking?  Has anybody asked a manufacturer if snap caps are needed?

John  

Attached Files

BigMan54 posted this 4 weeks ago

I take old dead cases, seat&crimp a bullet from the odds&ends box, then fill the primer pocket with 2 part epoxy. Let that dry and file it smooth. Get 15-20 "shots" then refill the primer pocket. I usually make up about 20-50 at a time. They cycle easily and last a long time.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 3 weeks ago

You guys have done a good job citing clever ways to make a snap cap. But they are a pita for a few dry fires before shooting live ammo for practice or testing. I would like to know if they are needed to avoid braakage?  Why bother with the things in a modern rifle if they are needed only for old rifles or rifles from small manufacturers  with inferior designs and/or less than ideal steel.

Since it has been a few days and no one has claimed they have heard of breakage by dry firing without a snap cap, I  propose a hypothesis: 

RIFLES MADE IN THE LAST 30 YEARS BY  A MAJOR GUN MANUFACTURER WILL NOT BE DAMAGED BY 10,000 ROUNDS OF DRY FIRING WITHOUT USING SNAP CAPS,

Do we have any evidence to disprove this hypothesis?

John

Attached Files

RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

None!

Attached Files

BigMan54 posted this 3 weeks ago

Been thinking/remembering on this.

Back about 23-25yrs ago I got a MARLIN 1894CS for the kids to grow into for COWBOY ACTION SHOOTING. I stripped it down, put FLITZ on all the bearing surfaces and proceeded to cycle/dry-fire that rifle during all the TV commercials for several nights. Drove my BETTER HALF nuts. But it slicked up the gun and did no damage. Cleaned it, greased the bearing surfaces and the rifle has been running strong ever since. Did the same thing to one of the last WINCHESTER TOP-EJECT model 94'S about a dozen yrs earlier. That rifle is still running strong too.

I think even if you did break a firing pin on a bolt/lever gun, that even I could manage to replace it.

Go ahead and cycle/dry-fire that rifle, maybe keep track of how many times you do it and let us know.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 2 weeks ago

Thank you Big Man 54.  Well your experience blows up my hypothesis: 

RIFLES MADE IN THE LAST 30 YEARS BY  A MAJOR GUN MANUFACTURER WILL NOT BE DAMAGED BY 10,000 ROUNDS OF DRY FIRING WITHOUT USING SNAP CAPS.

I propose another hypothesis:

SOME RIFLES MADE IN THE LAST 30 YEARS BY  A MAJOR GUN MANUFACTURER WILL NOT BE DAMAGED BY 10,000 ROUNDS OF DRY FIRING WITHOUT USING SNAP CAPS.

Ken has identified the Rem 700  Rimfire (40X?) as one that will go that far but eventually wears out the sear which snap caps wouldn't avoid.

Anyone else have experience?

I like Big Man's advice: "Go ahead and cycle/dry-fire that rifle, maybe keep track of how many times you do it and let us know.

John

 

Attached Files

Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

... just a clarification ... i snapped my 722 remmy centerfire a zillion times with no real problems other than the sear .... note i also fired it over 50,000 rounds in addition to the dry firing ..... 

i would be more cautious dry firing most 22 rimfires .... some depend on the crushable rim of the case to cushion the blow of a near-free floating firing pin .   some are safe with a positive stop though .  my cugir target rifles all have dented chambers from previous dry firing ... i gently run a chamber reamer in them to correct that .

ken

Attached Files

Gregor posted this 2 weeks ago

I have broken many firing pins by dry firing.

 

Marlin 336C .35 Rem. , known issue with Marlin leverguns.  An old article in "Industry Insider" magazine mentioned this.

 

A S&W 10-6 .357 Magnum NYSP, tip of hammer nose broke off.

A S&W 19-3 .357 Magnum, tip of hammer nose broke off.

Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum 7 1/2", broke the hammer link.

 

That all I remember right now.

 

Gregor

Attached Files

Dale53 posted this 2 weeks ago

John;

I cannot help you with the original question. I have dry fired many match rifles (both rimfire and centerfire) thousands of times without a problem. However, I HAVE broken firing pins while dry firing on the following guns:

1 - Original Ruger Single Six: after the firing pin was broken, it was retained inside the frame (those have a separate firing pin from  the hammer) and pounded the chambers before I discovered the problem. It never resulted in a misfire (even with the broken pin).

   I cleaned up the chamber burrs, and still have it all these many years later (I DID replace the pin once I learned of it's failure).

2 - Two or three S&W revolvers with hammer mounted firing pins, over the years. I replaced those promptly and started using snap caps.

3 - I traded for a used Ruger Super Blackhawk a couple of years after they hit the market. It had been used hard (probably for       quick draw based on observation). It had been dry fired so many times that the aluminum firing pin bushing was worn to the       place that it put the firing pin in a bind, and it broke (drawing my attention to the REAL problem). I replaced the bushing and the       firing pin (not an easy job as the retaining pin becomes a cosmetic problem). However, it was worth it. That revolver will keep       most   full charge cast bullet loads  on a playing card at 100 yards off a rest. Yes, I still have it, and NO I cannot still shoot iron       sights this well due to vision loss.

NOTE: I no longer shoot handguns with out snap caps.

NOTE #2: My father was an avid trap shooter. At the time I am discussing, his favorite shotgun was an Ithaca Grade Four Single Shot trap gun. Those were and still are WONDERFUL guns. Gorgeous wood, beautiful factory engraving, state of the art in workmanship. Further, this particular shotgun was a family heirloom. Dad procured a machined, plated steel, snap cap (twelve gauge, of course) that had a solid, spring loaded, "primer". Unfortunately, unknown to my father, the "primer" was of hardened steel, and despite the spring loading, destroyed the firing pin in just a few snaps. This was a SERIOUS problem. The shotgun was no longer made by Ithaca, and parts were unavailable. Fortunately, Dad was able to have one made from scratch.

Moral of the story, be careful of your snap caps. They COULD be worse than nothing...

FWIW

Dale53

 

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 2 weeks ago

Thanks to those relating damage to guns caused by dry firing.

This is what I think we have learned so far.  I hope future posts will improve our list of guns that we know will break. Dale's example of a snap cap causing trouble is instructive.

Guns that are known to break from dry firing:

Marlin lever action rifles.

S&W and Ruger revolvers

Remington 700 (sear wore out)

As far as we know so far, except for Ken's M-700, we have no instances of modern centerfire bolt, pump, single shot or auto actions breaking from dry firing.  And the same is true for other than Marlin lever guns. Also no auto or single shot pistols.

I hope there will be future posts relating more experience about either breakage or extensive dry firing without breakage.

We also need to know more about it takes to make or select snap caps.  One with too weak a spring will be usless and and the opposite is apparently also true.

Keep the posts coming.

John

 

Attached Files

David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 2 weeks ago

 I must offer the other side of this coin, when it comes to dry firing double action revolvers. Having been factory trained by S&W and having handled/worked on thousands of revolvers, I never had a firing pin break due to dry firing or worked on one that did. S&W does not / or did not discourage dry firing.

It is my strong opinion that if you break a firing pin on a DA revolver, whether the pin is hammer or frame mounted, then there is another issue involved. One common issue that can produce a situation where you might break a firing pin on a S&W, is caused by improper cleaning procedures where you pound the firing pin hole on the hammer nose bushing. This occurs when you allow the end of the cleaning rod to slam into the bushing. Repeated slamming peens the hole to a point that the firing pin strikes it, which can cause misfires or breakage of the firing pin. A good habit is to use a piece of leather to cover the bushing when cleaning. I use a piece with two rubber bands tied to the ends. I just slip the leather in front of the bushing and keep it there by slipping the rubber bands over the hammer spur. 

Having said that I have always used snap caps on semi-auto handguns, rifles & shotguns. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

Attached Files

BigMan54 posted this 6 days ago

David,

You mean to say people will push  a cleaning through a revolver bbl without putting their thumb over the firing pin bushing ? I'm not being sarcastic,  I've just never done it any other way. Never occurred to me. The back off my Dad's hand thumping hard into my chest drove A LOT of habits into my head.

Deeply ingrained they are. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

Attached Files

David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 6 days ago

Yes Rog, it is a good indicator as to how a used revolver was handled by previous owners. When looking, such as a gun show, it is one of the first things I look at. It will tell me in general whether or not the revolver was respected and handled with care. If it is abused in that way, then there is a good chance that there are other abuses. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

Attached Files

BigMan54 posted this 5 days ago

Went Shooting this morning with another old COWBOY SHOOTER. Then to lunch. Discussed "Undersized bullet molds" and I showed him CBA Forum on phone. He reminded me at the first End of Trail after the move to Raahauge's Pheasant Club in 1989 or 1990. I had the Firing Pin on a new UBERTI SAA break when snapped on an empty chamber by him. Revolver had less than 50rds through it. Fortunately there was the ORIGINAL TEXAS JACK on hand for a quick replacement. 

Also during the time when MARLINS reigned supreme in CAS, one of the favorite modifications was a change over to a one piece firing pin. I tried this in all three of my MARLINS. They would break by dry-firing faster on an empty chamber than you can say Cowboy Action Shooting. 

 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
RicinYakima posted this 5 days ago

Have several old original Marlin's with one piece firing pins. There is a reason they went to two piece in about 1894!

Attached Files

BigMan54 posted this 5 days ago

YEP,

I changed each one back as they broke.

Made sure I got original parts back when they were first changed to one piece. I'm not too trusting of " new modifications "  

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

Attached Files

Close