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Thread: Using spent shells for dry firing?

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    Regular Member CenTex's Avatar
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    Using spent shells for dry firing?

    Do any of you use spent shells in dry firing? I am wondering if I take a spent shell, retain the used primer cap and seat a bullet, can it be used as a dummy round for "repeated" dry firing in my revolver? There would be no gun powder in the cartridge; none in the primer cap, and none in the shell casing. Since the firing cap has been used, would it still be effective, after repeated firing, in preventing damage to the firing pin?

    I've been looking at A-Zoom Action Proving Dummy Snap Caps, but they are not cheap...on my limited, firearm budget.

    I would appreciate your opinions.
    CenTex
    Last edited by CenTex; 02-21-2011 at 11:34 PM.
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    Founder's Club Member Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Please do NOT use an empty/spent case w/ projectile seated as a training/practice round.

    IMO this is just an accident waiting to happen - might be lighter in weight, but will look the same. No, no, no! To me that is like taking the firing pin out of one of two identical guns with the intent of using the pinless gun for training.

    Did I say don't do it?

    Many guns are said to be safe to dry fire - I don't however. Think that a struck primer would offer little to no resistance to the firing pin in any event.
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    Regular Member CenTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Please do NOT use an empty/spent case w/ projectile seated as a training/practice round.

    IMO this is just an accident waiting to happen - might be lighter in weight, but will look the same. No, no, no! To me that is like taking the firing pin out of one of two identical guns with the intent of using the pinless gun for training.

    Did I say don't do it?

    Many guns are said to be safe to dry fire - I don't however. Think that a struck primer would offer little to no resistance to the firing pin in any event.
    Thank you for your response and opinion. I have noted your answer about the firing pin and a spent primer cap.

    I reload my own cartridges. I always first check the primer cap to see if the cartridge has a live firing cap. I also keep live rounds stored differently than spent rounds. These dummy cartridges would be kept separate from all my other cartridges. They would be kept in my office and in speed loaders intended for dry firing. My live rounds are kept in the garage in an area designed for my reloads.

    Does anyone else have an opinion on using spent cartridges as I have described above be OK to use as dummies in "repeated" firing?
    Last edited by CenTex; 02-21-2011 at 11:24 AM.
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    Socialism is just another dirty word for totalitarianism.

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    Founder's Club Member Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Already answered the second question - IMO no.

    If you insist on making your own training rounds (snap caps are cheap), I would at least spray paint them bright blue or something.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

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    Regular Member CenTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Already answered the second question - IMO no.

    If you insist on making your own training rounds (snap caps are cheap), I would at least spray paint them bright blue or something.
    Yes, I saw your answer and noted it. I am asking for other opinions. "There is wisdom in a multitude of counsel." Again, I appreciate your response.

    BTW, I am not "insisting" on using homemade dummy rounds. I am asking for opinions about the feasibility of using them. You have given your opinion. I hope to hear from others.

    Thanks again.
    The words of a tyrant: I never entertain opposing opinions. I am always right.

    Socialism is just another dirty word for totalitarianism.

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." -Patrick Henry

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    What is your goal in doing so? If it is to cushion the firing pin strike to prevent wear/damage to the gun it won't work because after a couple of firing pin strikes, the dent in the primer will no longer cushion the firing pin.

    If that is your goal and you want to make your own snap cap, I would recommend using a piece of hard rubber eraser glued into the primer pocket and sanded flush.
    Last edited by NavyLCDR; 02-21-2011 at 11:58 AM.

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    Regular Member Motofixxer's Avatar
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    Buy some snap caps, last time I bought some they were like $10 or so for 5. It's safer and better designed for the purpose. If the money is the issue, skip a couple meals at mcdonald's, or skip 1 movie. There is your money for them. Safety is the number one reason, then it's functionality.
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    Regular Member CenTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motofixxer View Post
    Buy some snap caps, last time I bought some they were like $10 or so for 5. It's safer and better designed for the purpose. If the money is the issue, skip a couple meals at mcdonald's, or skip 1 movie. There is your money for them. Safety is the number one reason, then it's functionality.
    I don't do fast foods and I don't do movies.

    I like doing things myself and not always having to buy things. That's why I reload.

    NavyLT, I will definitely give your suggestion a try. If it works, I will let you know. Thank you.
    Last edited by CenTex; 02-21-2011 at 01:20 PM.
    The words of a tyrant: I never entertain opposing opinions. I am always right.

    Socialism is just another dirty word for totalitarianism.

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." -Patrick Henry

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    Snap caps are terrific for practing your responses to a clearing a jam or hang-fire. Unlike spent casings, snap-caps load and feed properly.
    Our rights are NOT subject to "interpretation" by well-meaning but Constitutionally illiterate politicians. They are absolute and unwavering, as are We the People. Some rights are mentioned in our Constitution. Many are not. ALL are protected by our Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, as specifically noted by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments in our Bill of Rights. If you're incapable of understanding, accepting, and respecting that, you are in the WRONG job, if not the wrong country.

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    Regular Member CenTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by since9 View Post
    Snap caps are terrific for practing your responses to a clearing a jam or hang-fire. Unlike spent casings, snap-caps load and feed properly.
    Thanks Since9. I appreciate your input.

    I don't worry about jams since my firearm is a revolver. I am not sure why a spent shell that has a bullet mounted would not also load and feed properly. I would run the casing through reloading presses just as normal...less the powder and less a firing cap. I am seriously considering the suggestion by NavyLT. It sounds like his suggestion should work.
    The words of a tyrant: I never entertain opposing opinions. I am always right.

    Socialism is just another dirty word for totalitarianism.

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." -Patrick Henry

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    I too think it is an extraordinarily bad idea to use dummy rounds for dry fire practice that are not easily distinguished from live rounds. The badness can work both ways, an unintended discharge, or failure to fire when a live round is needed in a defense situation. It promotes bad habits, and as careful and exact as the OP might be, it isn't hard to envision situations where another could be affected by this practice (e.g. a loved one who may have to defend oneself with a firearm that may be compromised).

    I don't think there is anything wrong with making your own dummies, but paint them black, orange, striped, etc., or apply some other method so they can be immediately recognized as such. I don't think a rubber-filled primer pocket is enough of a clue, especially for someone who isn't in on the act.

    You can buy dummy rounds from vendors as "action proofing dummies," so they are accepted practice to some degree, although I have never seen them recommended for dry-fire practice, more as a gunsmith's accessory. Most of the action proofing dummies I have seen are powderless loaded rounds, have the casing painted gloss black with a wear-resistant paint, and an empty primer pocket.

    Saving money is important, but safety should always be first.
    Last edited by architect; 02-22-2011 at 08:19 AM. Reason: clarity of language

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    This is done often. Is it the best idea? I think above posts make a good point as to why not sticking a bullet in : safety as first priority. It is done most often in rimfires--which are not to be dryfired. Use a .22 spent round a few times, then toss and replace. These cannot be confused with live rounds as clearly you aren't putting a bullet in the fired case. There is no need to put a bullet in a centerfire case, either, especially a revolver where the case rim sits flush to the cylinder. Not doing so eliminates the biggest safety concern. As I said in another post, dryfiring high quality centerfire handguns isn't going to hurt anything. If you don't agree, snapcaps are cheap and last forever. If you must use spent cases, keep bullets out of them and change them after 10-12 strikes.
    Last edited by Gunslinger; 02-25-2011 at 04:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CenTex View Post
    Thank you for your response and opinion. I have noted your answer about the firing pin and a spent primer cap.

    I reload my own cartridges. I always first check the primer cap to see if the cartridge has a live firing cap. I also keep live rounds stored differently than spent rounds. These dummy cartridges would be kept separate from all my other cartridges. They would be kept in my office and in speed loaders intended for dry firing. My live rounds are kept in the garage in an area designed for my reloads.

    Does anyone else have an opinion on using spent cartridges as I have described above be OK to use as dummies in "repeated" firing?
    replace the spent cap with a piece of eraser and do not seat a bullet. The eraser is easier on the firing pin than the spent cap.

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    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldCurlyWolf View Post
    replace the spent cap with a piece of eraser and do not seat a bullet. The eraser is easier on the firing pin than the spent cap.

    I'd add to that: use silver steal casings if you can instead of brass - between the color difference and the pink "primer" it should be obvious that they are dummy rounds when you load them.

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    snap caps. the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by architect View Post
    I too think it is an extraordinarily bad idea to use dummy rounds for dry fire practice that are not easily distinguished from live rounds.
    Military firearms courses use rounds which have had a small hole (about 3/16") drilled sideways all the way through the casing (both sides).
    Our rights are NOT subject to "interpretation" by well-meaning but Constitutionally illiterate politicians. They are absolute and unwavering, as are We the People. Some rights are mentioned in our Constitution. Many are not. ALL are protected by our Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, as specifically noted by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments in our Bill of Rights. If you're incapable of understanding, accepting, and respecting that, you are in the WRONG job, if not the wrong country.

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    using what?

    Quote Originally Posted by CenTex View Post
    Thank you for your response and opinion. I have noted your answer about the firing pin and a spent primer cap.

    I reload my own cartridges. I always first check the primer cap to see if the cartridge has a live firing cap. I also keep live rounds stored differently than spent rounds. These dummy cartridges would be kept separate from all my other cartridges. They would be kept in my office and in speed loaders intended for dry firing. My live rounds are kept in the garage in an area designed for my reloads.

    Does anyone else have an opinion on using spent cartridges as I have described above be OK to use as dummies in "repeated" firing?
    there is NO good reason to use spent,but w/ new bullet seated for dry fire. the first time was fired, dent primer . second time ,and more just make a void and then 0 resistance. thata assuming a live round somehow did not end up being chambered. please,just this once ,figure on listening to your progun,pro civil rights brothers and sisters. i will buy you a snp caop if you are in dire straights. but whatever you do,do not use anything but a snap cap. make one out of silicone sealant,or something.
    JP

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    A friend of mine has done what the OP is proposing and what he did was remove the primer and when he pulled the bullet, he made sure to make several tooling marks from his pliers into the copper jacket. With no primer and several conspicuous tooling marks in the bullet jacket, it's plainly obvious that the bullet in question is not a live round even though it's still in a brass case.

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    I pushed the primer out of a spent case and filled the pocket with silicone. All of my guns seem to chamber the case just fine without a bullet, but if it didn't I think I would shape a wooden dowel or just pinch the end of the case into a taper similar to a blank.

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    A Different Approach

    Just get some little rubber bumpers like the friction pads for the bottom of a telephone or other electronic device. Cut with a razor blade or x-acto to fit where the face of the hammer lands against the rear frame. Cut it a little long so it sticks up above the frame slightly so its easier to remove when done. Cut it slightly wide so you have to slightly jam it in. The little sticky backing lasts a good number of practice sessions.

    No need to worry about Azooms or dummy rounds wearing out.

    Also, it dramatically dampens the loud click when the hammer falls.

    You can find them at hardware stores. A little blister pack with 6-10 of them. Maybe an electronics store.

    Just make darn sure to take the thing out when you are done dry firing if it is your carry gun.

    The only time I use dummy rounds anymore is reloading and failure drills.
    Last edited by Citizen; 03-01-2011 at 10:22 PM.

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    Founder's Club Member Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Just get some little rubber bumpers like the friction pads for the bottom of a telephone or other electronic device. Cut with a razor blade or x-acto to fit where the face of the hammer lands against the rear frame. Cut it a little long so it sticks up above the frame slightly so its easier to remove when done. Cut it slightly wide so you have to slightly jam it in. The little sticky backing lasts a good number of practice sessions.

    No need to worry about Azooms or dummy rounds wearing out.

    Also, it dramatically dampens the loud click when the hammer falls.

    You can find them at hardware stores. A little blister pack with 6-10 of them. Maybe an electronics store.

    Just make darn sure to take the thing out when you are done dry firing if it is your carry gun.

    The only time I use dummy rounds anymore is reloading and failure drills.
    Dry Firing For Dummies

    Newly annotated edition includes chapters on failure drills and reloading options for self-defense situations. Self-help quizzes and the end of each chapter.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

    Yata hey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Motofixxer View Post
    Buy some snap caps, last time I bought some they were like $10 or so for 5. It's safer and better designed for the purpose. If the money is the issue, skip a couple meals at mcdonald's, or skip 1 movie. There is your money for them. Safety is the number one reason, then it's functionality.
    $10 for 5 wouldn't it be cheeper to just use live ammo?

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    maybe the cost of all the caps will in the long run be more expense than just replacing the pin when you are thru training ...just stay concious of the pin seat..

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    Founder's Club Member Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushwacker View Post
    $10 for 5 wouldn't it be cheeper to just use live ammo?
    That's just plain wrong on so many levels- even if said in jest.

    How can you "dry fire" with live ammo and why would any responsible person consider actively handling a loaded/hot weapon for training other than in intended "live fire" situations?
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

    Yata hey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Dry Firing For Dummies

    Newly annotated edition includes chapters on failure drills and reloading options for self-defense situations. Self-help quizzes and the end of each chapter.
    OK. That was good. Took me a second, but then I had to laff.

    Plus, you've inspired me to come up with a new handload. For dummies.

    "Hey, dummy (robber)! Here comes 125 "hollow" "points" of additional "IQ" at 1400 fps!"

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