Friday, May 21, 2010

Dry-fire debate.

In the comments section of this post, there was a bit of discussion about dry-firing. One of the participants, Og, expanded on his views on his own blog:
In comments at Tams, some knucklehead mentions that he habitually dry-fires his firearms.
Let me now confess that I am one of those knuckleheads.

I'll focus mainly on pistols here, and note that a lot of older deigns (and by older, I mean pre-WWII) may not be particularly amenable to dry-firing; ditto for most rimfires. Others, most notoriously the CZ-52, have issues with the quality of the materials used. It is, however, my considered opinion that the dangers of dry-firing to a modern centerfire firearm in serviceable order are vastly overblown.

In the field of revolvers, there is a subset of the conventional wisdom which states that older S&W revolvers, with their floating firing pins riveted to the hammer, will break when dry fired. If the pin is prevented from floating and is trapped in its downwardmost position by rust or gunk, then this is a possibility. I will also state that in all the untold thousands of job tickets for busted firearms I filled out between 1993 and 2007, exactly four were for broken firing pins on S&W revolvers. I have a few that have been dry-fired many, many thousands of times.

As a matter of fact, my daily routine over a period of several years was to dry-fire my pocket J-frame, at first a 442 and then a 432, fifty times as rapidly as possible with each hand and then, while my fingers were good and worn out, try to hold the dot from the laser steady on the backstop through the normal double action pull. Now, both these guns had the newer frame-mounted firing pin, but still... Call that 150 dry snaps a night, pretty much every night, for a five year stretch, and you have a wheelgun that has been dry-fired well over a hundred thousand times. Last time I was under the sideplate, nothing was out of sorts, although I'll note that the bearing surfaces of the lockwork were shiny.

Similarly, I couldn't tell you how many times my two current carry 1911s have been dry-fired, except to note that I religiously replace the firing pin springs whenever I replace the recoil springs.

But in the end, my experiences are merely anecdotal. And I certainly wouldn't dry-fire another person's weapon, unless given permission, because other people obviously hold differing opinions on the topic.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

The ONLY thing I wouldn't recommend dry-firing is anything rim-fire (22 cal), unless you have a dead previously fired cartridge in the chamber or cylinder.

B Woodman

wv: easy "dosit"

Bram said...

I dry fire my rifles a lot. A habit I picked up while in boot camp.

I only have a rimfire pistol so no pistol dry firing for me.

pdb said...

Right on.

Rimfires aside, if a design can't be repeatedly and frequently dryfired without the use of a snap cap or risking mechanical damage, I consider it defective and won't own one.

og said...

Your guns, your choice.

During the interim between wfe 1 and wife 2 I had unprotected sex with multiple partners and never caught so much as a cold. I do not reccomend this practice. I got lucky. You've been lucky. It only takes one time to turn you into a biohazard, or turn your gun into a brick. Condoms and snap caps are cheap. I'm always amused at the people who shout preparedness abd who have well stocked bugout kits who won't spend $10 on snap caps. The risks are demonsrably non zero.

Tam said...

The risk of being struck by lightning is also non-zero, and yet I'll be stepping out the front door here in a moment.

I am happy that I have both a large statistical sample and a fairly thorough grounding in theory on which to base my decision.

But, as you say: your guns, your choice. I certainly won't fault you for it.


(And I once did assemble a particle-board shelving unit when there was no hammer in the house. There was a Rossi 720, however... :D )

tomcatshanger said...

I prefer knuckledragger to knucklehead, but close enough is close enough.

Don Meaker said...

I have several repair tickets for "modern" single action revolvers. The transfer bar that slides up under the hammer to permit hammer to contact firing pin tends to break off. That is twice on a Ruger and once on Heritage .45 Cal, but I have no tickets on the .45ACP Smith and Wesson double action which doesn't use the transfer bar thingy.

Andy said...

I've actually been struck by lightening.(1) I still dry fire on centerfire, not on rimfire.

1) ob. disclaimer: the air to ground strike was quite a way off, I was hit through the ground, thus the only reason I can tell I'm still here. And, I can attest, you can see it coming. No, you don't have time to move. Yes, it hurt.

Lewis said...

When I first picked up the sixgun my wife has now claimed, a nifty (if heavy) little 3" GP100, I called Ruger to ask about dry firing it. If I'm remembering rightly, after the usual reminder to make sure it's empty, the phrase the lady used was "to your heart's content."

I think that the only thing we can accuse Og of here is an excess of caution---and in my book, that's generally a good thing.

Boat Guy said...

If you're conducting a straw-poll please count me in on the " No rimfires or Vz52's but dry-firing everything else" category. Have for a LONG time with no issues thus far. Even caught myself with the Vz52 but stopped after a time or two and that pistol still works (I AM gonna buy one of the better firing pins).
Interesting note on the Ruger transfer-bar "problem". Just now own a couple of Rugers with them.
Back in the "Old Corps" dry-firing was called "snapping in"; betcha they still do it.
Rog on the dry-firing of DA revolvers to build your hands up. Good training.

Lewis said...

One more comment about dry-firing DA revolvers. Not only is it good for your hand strength, and trigger pulling ability, but as Tam noted (re: shiny bearing surfaces) it's also a darn fine cheap trigger job. (True with or without snapcaps.)

wrm said...

When I was young and stupid (as opposed to older and probably still stupid) I broke the firing pin on an Astra Cadix 22 by dry firing.

On the other hand, as far as I know it's the Star H (one of the spanish 22 semi-autos anyway) that doesn't come with a slide hold-open on magazine empty -- presumably the designers didn't worry about that last hammer fall too much.

If you refuse to dry-fire a pistol even once, you don't have a future in IDPA, at least the way we do it. Last thing before the pistol goes in the holster is a (hopefully :-) dry fire. Sometimes it's not so dry, leading to not so dry underwear as well...

Grant Cunningham said...

You're right - firing pin breakages on S&W revolvers are uncommon, but they do happen. In each case I've wncountered (roughly one a year) the owner has admitted to extensive dry fire. I see more revolvers than most gunsmiths, however. Can't figure out why. [wink]

I have yet to see a broken pin on a Ruger d/a revolver, and I've had hundreds cross my bench. This is a good thing, as changing them is a pain in the a**. (I've replaced many with extra-long Bowen pins to enhance ignition reliability, but not one due to breakage.)

Colt revolvers are a different story. Regardless of whether the firing pin is on the hammer or in the frame, they will break from dry firing. In fact, I tell my clients that it's not a matter of 'if', but of 'when.'

Here in the shop I don't bother with snap caps when testing S&W or Ruger models, but absolutely use them on Colts.

-=[ Grant ]=-

ToddG said...

Almost any pistol can suffer breakage from excessive dry firing, especially those with firing pin blocks. This is no different than any other wear and tear on a pistol.

I've seen Beretta, SIG, Glock, and S&W M&P semiautos damaged to one extent or another by dry fire.

With the exception of some of the Smiths, it was only after literally tens of thousands of dry fire strikes, without a snap cap, and without any preventative maintenance. (the M&P has gone through 5 generations of its striker trying to get one that is dry fire friendly; the current version is allegedly good for 70,000 dry fire strikes)

With the exception of the Glocks, it was always minor parts that were easily replaced by the end user. (Glocks tend to crack their breechface, which is pretty ugly when it happens)

But the fact that the gun can break if you dry fire a lot just doesn't answer all the question. Your gun will last forever if you keep it in a hermetically sealed vault and never shoot it. You're not going to get much practice on it that way, though, and hopefully will never need to rely on it (or your skill with it). Every time you live fire the gun, you're causing wear, too. Handguns are like cars, they're not intended to last forever. Use them, maintain them, and before they become questionable in the reliability department replace them.

Diogenes said...

I use snap caps and dry fire. My 1911 doesn't care one way or the other (to date that is)
I dry fire all of my rifle but one. The SKS, With the tapered Firing pin, you really don't want to be dry firing it. There is a reason that machinists use Morse tapers to hold Collets and Jacob's chucks in their machines. The firing pin on an unmodified SKS can jam in the forward position and not be found until you drop the bolt on a round.(as it completely empties the magazine downrange without your permission.)

Boat Guy said...

Hmmm good catch on the SKS. I've got a couple and have only dry-fired on occasion (no snapping-in with them). I'll bear that in mind.
As for the Glocks; well, one more reason I haven't bought one and only used them when somebody issued them to me.

joe said...

From page 17 of the manual for my Ruger MkII 22-45:
"The pistol can be dry fired as long as the firing pin stop is in place."

Keep in mind that this is a .22LR rimfire pistol.

In the manual for a Rossi revolver (yeah, I know...) it says "Dry firing is bad for this gun, whether the hammer block is engaged or not."

The Kahr manual doesn't directly address this issue, but their website does:
"Q.Is it safe to "dry fire" my Kahr pistol?
"A. Yes, provided you make certain that the chamber is free of ammunition."

The Springfield Armory 1911 manual says:
"Before attempting to shoot, practice operations by dry firing with the chamber empty, without ammunition, or with dummy shells."

Bottom line: rtfm and act accordingly. If the gun is designed to handle it, dry firing does not make an owner a "knucklehead".

Sam said...

Try Murray's firing pin with returns spring murraysguns.com/sksown.htm on the SKS. Solves the problem I suppose.

The Rugur 10/22 is supposed to be fine with lots of dry firing. I wouldn't want to dry fire any other 22.

mdrewrankin said...

I use snap caps in my S&W 620.

Larry said...

Current military practice requires dry firing into a clearing barrel at multiple points during the day. Every time you enter the FOB, every time you enter some buildings like the PX or the DFAC.

Not saying that everything the military does is a good idea or even neutral on quipment. In fact, I think this practice is stupid, but not for the reason fo damage to the firearm. It's simply bad practice to be fondling your firearm that much in public. The familiarity of it breeds contempt among the majority of .mil member who don't routinely carry a firearm at home. Without the added discipline of being aware that firearms handling is frowned upon in public at home, they get into a zombie-like routine at the clearing barrel. I've personally seen some NDs from people who just racked the slide and pulled the trigger. I've been aware of some NDs that resulted in injury (one was a Lt Col at Phoneix base DFAC in Baghdad).

But yes, hundreds of thousands of M9s and M4s are being dry-fired into sand barrels all over Iraq and Afghanistan literally dozens of times per day, each one.

To field-strip a Glock, it requires a dry-fire to release pressure on the spring enough to get the slide off. By design. There's no de-cocker.

So the dryfire debate really depends on the design of the weapon.

I have snap caps for dry fire practice, and for initially teaching basic firearm handling- loading and unloading safely, etc. That's the first thing I teach, and it's usually an easy sell even to people who are scared to death of firearms. "Don't you think you have a responsibility to know how to make this firearm safe?" This usually generates enough interest to go the next step, and next thing you know, I have that person at the range with a huge grin on their face.

George said...

Not to confuse the issue, but the Col. (Cooper) said 'dry practice' not firing, and older Smiths don't have firing pins, they have a 'hammer nose'.

og said...

Too much to comment. New post later.

Brian Dunbar said...

The plural of anecdote is not data. Still ...

In boot camp we spent two weeks at Edson range. The first week was hours and hours of dry-firing at a barrel.

I do not think the Marine Corps would do that if it was going to turn a rifle into a piece of junk.

TJP said...

And before I was about to write, "I bet Grant Cunningham can shed some light on this."

This reminds me of a thread I read in some photography forum. A bunch of hobbyists were discussing how much abuse certain films can take, e.g. expiration, humidity, hot/cold swings in a car trunk. Though they had never experienced any problems, an accomplished commercial photographer happened upon the thread and was extremely critical of even considering the use of spoiled film.

The hobbyists didn't have an problems, so was the commercial photographer wrong? No, not really. In his line of work, it would be absolutely stupid to gamble an irreplaceable reputation and hundreds or thousands of dollars of income to save six lousy bucks by not throwing out questionable film.

If og will permit me, I believe that was his point: there are some guns that can be dry fired (up to a point), and some that can't--but why worry about each circumstance? What's cheaper, snap caps or bench work?

I'd also like to point out that just about anything in a gun store has been dry fired multiple times, (and depending on the clientele, it probably involved violating five out of the Four Rules.) When I bought my Buckmark, it had a burr beneath a square depression, on the top of the chamber--yeah, I wonder what happened there. This is why it's an incredibly bad idea to buy a gun for the purposes of defense and then shove in a safe untested.

wv = "andedme"; me + me = TRUE. There, I've been ANDed.

TJP said...

Also also: I don't think it's fair to compare a service rifle for a military unit--with its own armorers, parts inventory and maintenance procedures--to a private individual with an expensive piece of steel artwork, where denting military primers wasn't a design consideration.

Geodkyt said...

TJP,

Given the number oif firing pins I've broken, versus the numbers of different calibers of snap caps (one for each chamber in the cylinder, too!), I would say paying a gunsmith is CHEAPER than buying snap caps.

Your mileage may vary -- if you buy crappy guns, and only need one snap cap becuase it's a semiauto, then snap caps will be cheaper.

GuardDuck said...

When I first read Og's rant I wondered what he'd been smoking. When I read his follow up at his place I realized I had a bit of misunderstanding.

When I hear 'dry fire', I automatically visualize snap caps. It's like 1->3, the 2 is left unsaid.

However, I don't have a problem with the occasional drop on an empty chamber a la Glock dis-assembly.

Re the .22 issue - In my much younger days I was on a military small bore pistol team. We spent more time each practice and more trigger pulls on empty chamber dry fire than live fire. As previous posters have said, just because the military does it doesn't make it right, but we did and never had firing pin issues on our competition pistols.

Boat Guy said...

I'm with Larry as far as the "clearing barrel" phenomenon. I swear half the gunfire I heard in my brief time in Iraq (admittedly during one of the quieter periods) was in clearing barrels. It was six kinds of dumb; make ready to go outside the wire, clear to go in, multiple times a day or even per hour.
Coming from a community where you made the thing ready, holstered and then DIDN'T MESS WITH IT this policy/procedure was doubly annoying.
To quote the term first read here (the coffee has been cleaned off the monitor now) "Keep your booger-hook off the bang switch".

Billy Beck said...

My father described USAF basic training (c. 1954) including at least one whole day of recruits in a gym in a sitting position, dry-firing M1's in two-man teams: one man squeezing the trigger, the other cycling the bolt.

I keep snaps in the 92FS, and dry-fire at the TEEVEE all the damned-ass time.

Anonymous said...

The question I have is how much dry fire is enough? Typically for me it's a dozen to 20 reps of draw, touch and press while watching the front sight. Any more and I tend to start getting sloppy.

I try and do it 2-3 times a week but sometimes working gets in the way.

The dog thinks snap caps are tasty treats!

Gerry

Jumpthestack said...

Can someone clarify why letting the firing pin hit air would cause it to break, when letting it hit a snap cap wouldn't?

I would think that if anything, the wear from striking the snap cap would be more.

Tam said...

It doesn't hit air, but rather bottoms out against the backside of the breechface (or firing pin block, or fully compressed firing pin spring, as the case may be...)

TJP said...

Geodkyt,

I'm sorry, but I honestly do not understand where you are coming from on this one. A snap cap costs less than a box of rifle ammunition. Assuming you own the gun to shoot it...

I'm not so sure about cost as an indicator of ability to withstand abuse. I dry fire my Mossberg because I know that North Haven isn't too far away, and they'll be making 500s until the Apocalypse. Dirt cheap gun, but it's holding up. Old Italian double I inherited. Nope.

The Jack said...

I prefer to use snap caps when dry firing.

This is less a "poor firing pin" issue than I have the caps and this also allows for checking loading ramps and the like.


I got the snap caps for range practice (flinch and dud removal), and they're handy for dry fire.

That being said I'm not too paranoid about true dry fires.

blindshooter said...

I have spent hundreds of hours "snapping in" with M1A/m14, AR15/M16 and various Rem 700 actions. The bolt guns never had a pin replacement but the M1A/M14 got new pins regular as the tail can wear and could cause a slam fire or the outside chance of out of battery disaster. The AR pins were replaced because of damage from pierced primers(entirely my fault, poor choice of primers).

og said...

Let me be crystal clear on this subject: I am not talking about "Dryfire" as it relates to function check, clearing, all the uses for which it is put in IDPA, etc. These are all perfectly legitimate reasons to "dryfire". I'm talking specifically about (And I am pretty sure Tam understands this because she illustrated it perfectly) the practice of taking, for instance, a revolver, and letting the hammer drop on an empty chamber as a practice tool, hundreds of thousands of times. As Tam says, she's done it. And with the newer type revolvers, this is a non issue. I will nitpick on one point though, and that is that it is not lack of floating that causes an old smith firing pin to break, but the impact. Seen it happen, pin was floating fine and the gun was spotless. Firing pin business end came right out of the muzzle.

If I'm gonna be sitting at home with my old 686, just clicking away, it's gonna have six snap caps in it. I can fire away in absolute surety that my firing pin will not break because of that, anyway.

Also: Militaries all over the place train by dry firing i boot camp. There are also armorers in boot camp. For a while, there, every Nth springfield came equipped with a spare firing pin in the cleaning kit hole.

http://www.ugca.org/ugca02jan/03spare.jpg

I don't know what "N" equals. But it was also non zero.

There are very few things one can do to always mitigate the liklihood of a lightning strike. There are many simple, inexpensive things everyone can do to mitigate the liklihood of a firing pin breakage.

I'm not trying to 'Convert" anyone. I'm just stating there are I think, very good reasons for my position on this matter and they are not without some involved premeditation. I think others share my feelings. But I don't think this should be a "Fifth rule".

Not outside of my house, anyway.

Will said...

When the subject of "dry firing/snapping in" comes up, I am reminded of what they found in the schoolbook depository. Three empty cases were found with the Carcano, but what one ballistics expert thought was that one was a previously fired case used for dry practice while the shooter waited. BTW, he may have been the ONLY expert that looked at the evidence, and this was years later.

wv: firat... but only twice?

Matt G said...

My experiences very nearly mirror Tam's, but for the taking work orders for a gunsmith.

My DA centerfire revolvers have all had the sideplates off, and the bearing surfaces look mirror-bright, but not boogered.

og said...

hey, Tam knows more about firearms, and is more adept at their use, than any civillian I know. If I were reading this thread, I'd take her advise, not mine.

Caleb said...

If the firing pin in my M&P/Glock/625/1911 were to break after 20,000+ dry fires then it's my opinion that the cost of a new part is more than worth the increases in trigger management skill that comes from dry practice.

Actually, as a further extension of that line of reasoning I tend to believe that if my guns don't eventually break from mechanical wear and tear, then I'm not shooting them enough. This is different from breaking guns do to neglect and abuse, but rather "I have 50,000 rounds on this Beretta and whoops, there goes the locking block."

og said...

Caleb: Nobody is suggesting you not dry practice. Does anyone actually read anything anymore?

Malamute said...

I'm a big fan of dry firing. I'm also, over time, leaning more toward doing it with snap caps than without. One gun (Smith DA Rev) I've had since the early 70's, and dry fired witout caps extensively without issue. However, I've also personally broken 3 Ruger transfer bars when dry firing. My gunsmith said he has replaced several as well. If we can acept that it may eventually hurt the gun, and accept the cost of repair, OK. What has been changing my thoughts on the matter were the Rugers that broke the transfer bars. I carry them in the mountains where the grizzlies live. It occured to me that I didnt want to discover a broken part when I most needed the gun to work. If it's a range toy, no problem. If it's gun you carry for protection, how do you know when a part may actually break? I chose to not dry fire without protection to at least minimize the chance of parts breakage. I also decided to replace the transfer bars in the Rugers and toss the ones that had been dry fired without snap caps. Gas for a drive up into the mountains costs more than a new transfer bar.

As has been said, your guns, your choice.

Just some thoughts on the matter.

Lewis said...

og:

Now that I think on it, I'm surprised Tam picked this part of your dry practice post to comment on. The one I found more unusual was the assertion that all dry practice should take place at the range.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

I dry fired my Nagant pistol last night.

The nice thing about those... I don't think it's physically possible to pull the trigger enough to break the gun before one of two things happens;

1 - you end up with popeye forearms

2 - you break.


If I ever get around to it, I've been considering making a spring-loaded 'surrogate pistol' specifically for this kind of practice, something with a spring and plunger so there's a recoil action. Time is precious these days though...

og said...

Lewis: I didn't even hint at that. Remotely. How you arrived at that conclusion, i have no earthly idea. I did say if you want practice pulling the trigger, go to the range.

To, you know, SHOOT GUNS.

Dave_H said...

Well, I didn't break a firing pin, but after a long while I did break the mainspring on a Nagant 1895 trying to get used to that notorious DA trigger.
The replacement cost me about $18. On the plus side I have a really strong trigger finger now.

Kristopher said...

Og: This is the Internet.

We all read only what we want to read. If that doesn't match what you actually typed ... too bad.

og said...

"We all read only what we want to read. If that doesn't match what you actually typed ... too bad."

lol. Quote of my week, thanks!!!

"It doesn't hit air, but rather bottoms out against the backside of the breechface (or firing pin block, or fully compressed firing pin spring, as the case may be...)"

Actually, no. The body of the firing pin does this; the tip of the firing pin hits nothing. The tip of the pin, being harder (generally) has built in metallurgical stresses that can cause microscopic cracks to form in the martensitic structure of the pin tip. From the Tool and manufacturing engineers handbook: "A prolific cause for thumbnail checks in chipping chisels is a soft spot on the bit, a short distance back from the cutting edge". They have a great illustration of this, showing the location of cracks on the chisels. Firing pins are made and hardened in much the same way, and so long as they contact something at the end of their stroke, the soft spot is compressed rather than expanded. No harm, no foul. think of a booger on your finger; it's grasp on your fingertip can appear strong, where flicking and shaking your hand will not dislodge it. Now flick that finger against the edge of your desk; the fact that the mass of your finger (or the firing pin) has been arrested in it's forward motion allows the inertia of the booger (or firing pin tip) to break free of the bond it has to the rest of the pin/your finger.

As the book points out, soft spots (indicated by the microscopic cracks)are not necesarily trouble makers, most often they are not.

Now go wipe the booger off your desk. ;)

Tam (remotely) said...

"The tip of the pin, being harder (generally)..."

FP's and strikers are rarely done this way, especially these days.

og said...

"FP's and strikers are rarely done this way, especially these days."

Metallurgy having advanced a good deal, this is true; especially of any modern firing pin that will fit under a dime. If it's long, however, it is damnably difficult to harden the whole thing without causing it to warp and change dimensionally. Additionally, any powdered metal part, like the firing pins in all modern leveractions made by marlin and winchester, are hard only on the pin end because of the difficulty in maintaining the impact resistance of those parts when hardened through.

Tam said...

Dunno about teh cowboy rifles.

I'm positive about the pistols, though. Or at least the ones I'd tote.

og said...

I would certainly expect nothing less. :)

(I do hope you take this whole discussion in the spirit it has been given, and that is to disagree without being disagreeable; you have certainly succeeded on your end and I hope I have been as gracious.)

Tam said...

Hey, arguing on teh internets is, like, my hobby! :D

Geodkyt said...

5:54 PM, May 21, 2010
TJP said...
Geodkyt,

I'm sorry, but I honestly do not understand where you are coming from on this one. A snap cap costs less than a box of rifle ammunition. Assuming you own the gun to shoot it...

I'm not so sure about cost as an indicator of ability to withstand abuse. I dry fire my Mossberg because I know that North Haven isn't too far away, and they'll be making 500s until the Apocalypse. Dirt cheap gun, but it's holding up. Old Italian double I inherited. Nope.


1. Exactly where did I say anything about the price of the gun being a factor? "Crappy" does not mean "cheap". I see a lot of very expensive crap out there.

2. So what if the price of the snap cap is less than a box of rifle ammo? In over 20 years, I have had to replace TWO (not counting ones replaced for some expected, and probably imaginary, performance advantage) firing pins in my guns. . . neither of which was broken by dry firing. (One was simply NOT THERE in a gun I picked up inexpensively; even with a new pin it was a good deal. The other was a Baby Browning that Billy Bob the self-taught gunplumber had made a firing pin for, apparantly using a spare nail and a hand drill as a lathe. Billy Bob also whittled some ill fitting grips out of crappy wood stained a weird color.)

I HAVE seen firing pins screwed up that needed replacement. Like when PVT Snuffy gets a little too enthusiatstic about using his firing pin as a punch and pry tool. I'm sure if I had an antique shotgun worth $4000, I wouldn't dry fire it without snap caps, either.

So, I have been dry firing on a regular basis for over 20 years. I have spent exactly ZERO dollars on fixing damage caused by dry firing. In that same period, I have owned guns in just shy of two dozen distinctive calibers (counting cases that can use the same snap cap size, like .38 Special and .357 Magnum, as a single caliber). I have owned revolvers in six of those calibers.

I went to Brownells and started adding up how much having snap caps in all the calibers I would have needed over the years (keeping in mind that you need one for every chamber, and my revolvers have had at least 5 chambers.) Luckily, they tend to sell the "revolver caliber" snap caps in packs of 6. (Sucks if you have a 7 or 8 shot revolver, but you can always just buy TWO packs, right?) Of course, that's more than offset in that they tend to sell NON-"revolver" caliber snap caps in multiple sets as well. . .

I gave up when I passed the $200 mark. (I had to estimate some, treating them as the same price as similar rounds, as they don't offer them in all of the calibers I have owned.)

Right now I don't own (and have no desire to own) a gun whose firing pin costs more than $200. Even if I drop it off at Goose Hill and pay their gunsmith rates, I wouldn't likely have a gun whose firing pin cost $200 to replace.

So, gunsmiths are cheaper than snap caps, for me.

On the other hand, I do need to pick up some more dummy rounds (proper weight and balance, not teh lightweight plastic things.) Those DO serve a useful purpose.

wrm said...

Well, you can always stick a bit of leather or even silicone gasket maker (I find household silicone too soft) in the back of an empty case and call it a snap cap.

Stick a bullet in front and it becomes a dummy round. Also a useful training tool.