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Posted: 11/29/2008 10:48:12 PM EST
I have an SA 1911 pistol that uses a titanium firing pin that permits them to build the gun in the (superior) model-70 version. Titanium lacks the “mass” to generate a “slam-fire” via dropping the weapon on its muzzle.

So… My question is this: If I replace my AR-15 firing pins with ones made of titanium, would I effectively eliminate the possibility of a “slam-fire” with soft primered ammo?

I ask because I reload my own ammo and I like Federal primers – which are known to be “soft”. This all said, I only plan to “hand-feed” my AR (at the range) one round at a time, because I’ve heard that bad things can happen if your gun accidentally “doubles”.

Sorry if I sound paranoid – or if this has been discussed before. I can only search back 30-days, so any input or thoughts would be most appreciated.
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Posted: 11/29/2008 10:52:51 PM EST
say what? ok.... amymore most firearms have firing pin blocks that dont allow the firing pin to go forward unless the trigger is pulled and or the safety is off. also the primary reason for slam fires is a ferr floating firing pin that is jammed in the forward position. if you have a firing pin return spring this should effectivle make slamfires something you dont have to worry about.
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Posted: 11/29/2008 11:14:55 PM EST
he wants to know if using a ti pin in his ar will reduce the chance of slam fires with his soft primers he likes to use. I dont have any guns with ti pins but id have to say it couldnt hurt. Seems like more trouble than its worth when you can just switch primers though.
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Posted: 11/29/2008 11:22:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2008 11:24:56 PM EST by nicholsmf]
Armalite Inc.
P.O. Box 299
Geneseo IL 61254
Tel 309-944-6939
fax 309-944-6949
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October 12, 1997

TECHNICAL NOTE 2: TITANIUM FIRING PINS CONSIDERED GENERALLY USELESS
PURPOSE:

The purpose of the Technical Note is to review the merits of commercially marketed firing
pins made of titanium.

FACTS:

1. Titanium firing pins are intended to reduce lock time; the time between release of the hammer and ignition of the primer. Theoretically, faster ignition of the shot allows less time for disturbance of the rifle.

2. Because titanium is lighter than the steel normally used in the production of firing pins, it has less inertia: a titanium firing pin is accelerated faster than a steel firing pin when struck by the hammer. This theoretically results in the firing pin striking the primer faster than a steel firing pin would. Lightweight firing pins or strikers have been used with bolt action rifles for many years.

3. Movement of the firing pin of the M16 type rifles is, however, only a very small part of the lock time of the rifles. Lightening the firing pin produces virtually no improvement in lock time. No engineering or experimental data has been provided which supports a change to titanium firing pins.

4. Titanium is strong, but doesn’t handle impact well. For this reason alone it is less suitable than steel for use in firing pins.

5. Titanium is lighter than steel. The steel firing pin retains a slight momentum as the bolt carrier closes. This momentum normally causes the primer to be lightly indented by the firing pin, and can cause slamfire if the primer is overly sensitive. A titanium firing pin has less momentum, causes less indent, and reduces the possibility for slamfire.

RECOMMENDATION: Demand engineering test data to support claims of accuracy improvement of any sort. We conclude that the titanium firing pin is one of many fad items separating shooters from money otherwise better spent, and recommend against them. A titanium firing pin can reduce the (already) slight possibility of slamfire. ArmaLite does not sell titanium firing pins.
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Posted: 11/29/2008 11:27:32 PM EST
Armalite Inc.
P.O. Box 299
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Tel 309-944-6939
fax 309-944-6949
info@armalite.com

December 26, 1998

TECHNICAL NOTE 10: PREVENTION OF SLAMFIRES

FACTS:

1. A slamfire is the unintentional discharge of a cartridge during loading or locking, without normal hammer or striker fall.

2. Because of inertial energy remaining when the bolt closes, the firing pin of a number of rifle models such as the Ml rifle and carbine, M-14 rifle, and most ArmaLite patent rifles, strikes the cartridge primer lightly upon chambering a round. This light strike normally will not cause the primer to fire, but it is possible. Government 5.56mm (.223) cartridges are loaded with a thick cupped primer to provide assurance that such an occurrence is rare. Government and commercial 7.62mm (.308) primers are not hardened in this manner.

3. The AR- 10 design includes a firing pin spring which reduces the inertial energy of the firing pin to a very safe level. Extensive firing has confirmed that the firing pin spring almost totally cures slamfire without reducing ignition reliability. No case of slamfire or misfire has been observed in an AR- 10 equipped with the firing pin spring.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. When feeding single shots, feed cartridges only from the magazine, or use the charging handle to lower the carrier closer to the closed position before releasing it.

2. Assure that the firing pin retarding spring is installed before firing the AR- 10. It is an
important safety device. Never fire the rifle without it.

3. Always assure that the barrel is pointed in a safe direction when loading any firearm.

4. Use only fresh, good quality factory loaded ammunition.
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Posted: 11/29/2008 11:28:06 PM EST
Switch to a different primer...............problem solved
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Posted: 11/30/2008 12:08:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/30/2008 8:22:15 AM EST by Snot-Rocket]
Not to sound “hard-headed”, but I’ve spent considerable effort over the years in working up handloads that perform with premium accuracy using Federal Primers. I like them best and am simply attempting to find a method of using them in rifles (like the AR-15) that use floating firing pins without risk of a “slam-fire”. This is an important factor to me – because I’ve worked to make a “common ammo load” that will perform decent in any of my .223 / 5.56mm rifles.

My interest in titanium firing pins has nothing to do with “lock time speed” – but rather to lower the mass of the original firing pin to a point where I can safely and confidently fire ammunition (that are personal reloads) without fear that I may experience a “slam-fire”.

And yes – I use CCI #34 military primers in all of my mil-spec 7.62x51mm reloads – where I’m reloading military brass. I use commercial (Remington brass) and Fed 210 LRP’s for my precision loads for bolt-action. It’s also a PITA to segregate ammo in this manner. I’m hoping that I won’t have to do the same with .223 / 5.56mm if using titanium firing pins will decrease the firing pin mass sufficiently to prevent the possibility of out-of-battery ignition due to the forward inertia of the bolt assembly (and floating FP).

I appreciate any and all input on this subject, regardless of negative or positive thoughts. Everything said makes me think – and consider ideas (solutions) I would not have come up with on my own, so please feel free to say what’s on your mind, thanks.

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

Thanks, nicholsmf for posting the above info.
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Posted: 11/30/2008 1:27:45 PM EST
Risk management in the context of slamfires:
A stock firing pin is "safe."
A lower inertia TI firing pin is "safer."
The debate is on the margin, how much safer is the TI pin? Can't be quantified. Is that extra margin required or necessary? Maybe. There have been a very few members on here that have experienced slamfires with the stock firing pin, so the concern is not completely unreasonable.
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Posted: 11/30/2008 1:37:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By nicholsmf:
Switch to a different primer...............problem solved


this.... I use CCI primers and i just happen to find them at a gunshow for $23 for 1000

You wont slam fire them..... what did you do loose your fireing pin spring
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Posted: 11/30/2008 1:55:36 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/30/2008 2:42:38 PM EST by Forest]
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Posted: 11/30/2008 2:11:57 PM EST
thanks Forest... i was being sarcastic though.... Merry Christmas to you and yours.
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Posted: 11/30/2008 6:49:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By cashman28:
Originally Posted By nicholsmf:
Switch to a different primer...............problem solved


this.... I use CCI primers and i just happen to find them at a gunshow for $23 for 1000


If it were really all that simple - I would. As it stands - I only own 2 AR-15's that I've got $$$$ sunk into.

VS.

I've been reloading since 1981 and had (long ago settled on Federal primers). My current loads work great for the rifles that I already own. The problem is that I really don't feel like throwing-out 5K+ of primers OR disposing of 6K+ of prepped & primed brass, not to mention not to be able to use any of my loaded ammo. I have hundreds upon hundred of hours of time trimming brass, reaming flash holes, etc - just to have "ready-to-load" brass on hand.

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

To be honest, I've only been an AR-owner for about 3 months and frankly bought them mostly because of what I anticipated as a coming buying frenzy. I now have a Noveske and a LaRue and haven't even fired either one yet.

I've decided that plenty of folks seem to shoot factory Federal ammo out of AR-15's - and I'd think Federal probably loads their ammo with their own brand of primers. I will test them by hand-feed one round at a time (via the magazine) and eject the rounds to look for primer dings. Frankly, in today's environment, I'm more worried about an accidental "double" than a slam-fire.

I figure that the chances of a slam-fire probably aren’t that great. If I get primer dings, I’ll try a titanium firing pin and see if there's any difference. All I can do is see. Chances are that I'm probably worrying about nothing..


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Posted: 12/1/2008 4:16:04 AM EST
Originally Posted By Snot-Rocket:

To be honest, I've only been an AR-owner for about 3 months and frankly bought them mostly because of what I anticipated as a coming buying frenzy. I now have a Noveske and a LaRue and haven't even fired either one yet.

I've decided that plenty of folks seem to shoot factory Federal ammo out of AR-15's - and I'd think Federal probably loads their ammo with their own brand of primers. I will test them by hand-feed one round at a time (via the magazine) and eject the rounds to look for primer dings. Frankly, in today's environment, I'm more worried about an accidental "double" than a slam-fire.

I figure that the chances of a slam-fire probably aren’t that great. If I get primer dings, I’ll try a titanium firing pin and see if there's any difference. All I can do is see. Chances are that I'm probably worrying about nothing..




Okay it sounds like you have these choices....

1. Use different primers. Use the 1000s of prepped brass for your other rifles and make new loads for your ARs

2. Use a titanium firing pin. Reduced possibility of slam fires and increased possibility of a broken firing pin.

3. Shoot factory ammo

4. Don't worry about it and just shoot.

When an AR-15 loads a round, it WILL indent the primer slightly. When was the last time you heard somebody having a slamfire due to the floating firing pin?
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Posted: 12/1/2008 4:28:45 AM EST
Problem is Titanium is VERY impact resistant/resilient.
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Posted: 12/1/2008 5:22:02 AM EST
Just don't chamber live rounds unless you are about to shoot the gun...And even then, chamber the round in a safe direction.
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Posted: 12/1/2008 5:29:03 AM EST
Titanium is a pretty soft metal, and can easily crack or warp. The added safety you might get with a titanium pin is offset by the reliability you'll lose.
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Posted: 12/1/2008 6:23:10 AM EST
Originally Posted By BlackOp:
Titanium is a pretty soft metal, and can easily crack or warp. The added safety you might get with a titanium pin is offset by the reliability you'll lose.


Titanium, soft? Only unalloyed, pure titanium. But almost all commercial titanium is actually a titanium alloy.


To the original poster: Just after I got my first AR, I replaced the steel firing pin with a titanium one. It's made no difference at all, bad or good, one way or the other. I still have the steel pin in my parts cabinet, as a spare.

You individual mileage may vary, but in my opinion, I'd say titanium pins aren't bad to use, but they're not worth the money, either.
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Posted: 12/1/2008 10:36:32 AM EST
I’m going to “roll the dice” and shoot, as slam-fires aren’t reported very often. I was just more concerned since ~85% of my ammo is hand-loaded and I know that commercial (especially Federal) primers are softer. I do have a good supply of XM-193, but had really wanted to find out what my rifles could do using heavier bullets as I have both a 1:7 and 1:8 twist rifle. I’ll pick up CCI #41 primers for future loads after shooting my handloads through other rifles.

While I’m certain I’ll see a “contact mark” on the primer (after chambering) like my M1A leaves, I’ll just have to decide whether or not to try a titanium firing pin based on how deep the mark is. I can pick up a Ti pin on a future parts order, as they’re not really that expensive. I’m not too worried about a Ti firing pin breaking due to the shape being symmetrical much like the series 70 1911 .45 firing pin.

When at the range (for sighting in), I will single-feed from the magazine, since my concern is more about a “double” from a subsequent round being chambered while at a public range. There was a recent case (that I’m sure everyone recalls) where an AR doubled when the alphabet gang tested it using soft-primered ammo. I don’t want to wind up like Olofson.

I do 90% of my shooting on a personal range on property I own, but always take any brand-new gun to the range to be sighted in due to convenience plus my personal range only goes out to 100yards vs. 300 for the public range. So I’m far more concern about any slamfire occurring in public.

Thanks for the replies on this guys. More than anything it’s helped to calm my fears over a problem that I mostly likely have over-blown in my mind..
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Posted: 12/24/2008 10:04:53 AM EST
Titanium is hard, and is not impact resistant––it deforms and chips, rather than flexing. It is not at all a "soft" metal.

It's strong and lighter than steel. It does not resist wear or impact as well as steel.

I can't begin to count how many thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of rounds I've shot in 23 years military shooting and civilian shooting on the side, in M16s, M16A1s, M16A2s, M4A1s, GUU5Ps, ARs of a dozen mfrs, range tests, competition, plinking...

I have never had, never seen, and only RARELY even heard of a slamfire in a properly functioning rifle, and only (heard of it) twice in one that WASN'T properly functioning.

Even if one DOES slamfire, your major concern is a second one doing so in a manner that appears to be full auto, yes? The odds against that are incredibly remote in a non-functional weapon, and impossible in a properly functioning one, as far as I know.

Just shoot the damned thing, okay?
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Posted: 12/24/2008 10:15:40 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/24/2008 10:24:20 AM EST by bob332]
Originally Posted By Forest:
Originally Posted By cashman28:
.. what did you do loose your fireing pin spring


There is no 'firing pin spring' in an AR-15.

TI firing pins may help with slamfires (I've never had one using standard CCI or Remmington primers and my steel firing pin).

Edited to finish my thought: While they might help with slamfires, TI firing pins are more brittle than steel pins and a chipped tip may pierce the primer.


my oly 45 upper has one...are pistol rounds known to have more sensitive primers?
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Posted: 12/24/2008 11:27:04 AM EST
I've only heard of slam fires being a rare problem on deployments where the rifles have to be chambered leaving base, then unloaded upon re-entry. If you always use the same round, putting it back on top of the mag, it gets these tiny dents repeatedly and eventually will slam fire.

My 1SG said it happened in his unit in '04 and they rotated the rounds after that. I just rotated my rounds as a precaution. A "ND" is a serious occurrance even in a clearing barrel, I didn't want to risk it.

I wouldn't worry about it in your case unless you have a problem. Should be fine just chamberin' once then shooting.
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Posted: 12/24/2008 1:08:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By bob332:
Originally Posted By Forest:
Originally Posted By cashman28:
.. what did you do loose your fireing pin spring


There is no 'firing pin spring' in an AR-15.

TI firing pins may help with slamfires (I've never had one using standard CCI or Remmington primers and my steel firing pin).

Edited to finish my thought: While they might help with slamfires, TI firing pins are more brittle than steel pins and a chipped tip may pierce the primer.



my oly 45 upper has one...are pistol rounds known to have more sensitive primers?


My Oly 9mm has a firing pin spring as well. Pistol calibers are recoil operated instead of gas operated and the one piece design of the bolt/carrier utilizes a spring holding the firing pin rearward. I have often heard that a titanium firing pin in a pistol caliber carbine actually is a help in preventing unintentional bump firing. And yes, I would say most pistol primers have a lower hardness than for example a CCI small rifle primer, but it depends on the brand of primer.


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Posted: 12/24/2008 4:45:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/24/2008 4:47:13 PM EST by bob332]
Originally Posted By autumnsong:
Originally Posted By bob332:
Originally Posted By Forest:
Originally Posted By cashman28:
.. what did you do loose your fireing pin spring


There is no 'firing pin spring' in an AR-15.

TI firing pins may help with slamfires (I've never had one using standard CCI or Remmington primers and my steel firing pin).

Edited to finish my thought: While they might help with slamfires, TI firing pins are more brittle than steel pins and a chipped tip may pierce the primer.



my oly 45 upper has one...are pistol rounds known to have more sensitive primers?


My Oly 9mm has a firing pin spring as well. Pistol calibers are recoil operated instead of gas operated and the one piece design of the bolt/carrier utilizes a spring holding the firing pin rearward. I have often heard that a titanium firing pin in a pistol caliber carbine actually is a help in preventing unintentional bump firing. And yes, I would say most pistol primers have a lower hardness than for example a CCI small rifle primer, but it depends on the brand of primer.




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Posted: 12/24/2008 5:03:56 PM EST
Originally Posted By BlackOp:
Titanium is a pretty soft metal, and can easily crack or warp. The added safety you might get with a titanium pin is offset by the reliability you'll lose.




I have read that if you get a pierced primer from pressure or a primers blows out, the heat will burn out the tip of the titanium pin if it does it enough and that would not be good. anyone else read about this?
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Posted: 12/25/2008 9:32:10 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2008 9:32:46 AM EST by autumnsong]
Originally Posted By bob332:
Originally Posted By autumnsong:
Originally Posted By bob332:
Originally Posted By Forest:
Originally Posted By cashman28:
.. what did you do loose your fireing pin spring


There is no 'firing pin spring' in an AR-15.

TI firing pins may help with slamfires (I've never had one using standard CCI or Remmington primers and my steel firing pin).

Edited to finish my thought: While they might help with slamfires, TI firing pins are more brittle than steel pins and a chipped tip may pierce the primer.



my oly 45 upper has one...are pistol rounds known to have more sensitive primers?


My Oly 9mm has a firing pin spring as well. Pistol calibers are recoil operated instead of gas operated and the one piece design of the bolt/carrier utilizes a spring holding the firing pin rearward. I have often heard that a titanium firing pin in a pistol caliber carbine actually is a help in preventing unintentional bump firing. And yes, I would say most pistol primers have a lower hardness than for example a CCI small rifle primer, but it depends on the brand of primer.







Ya, I didn't write that very well. A more fitting description would be that the bolt/carrier on the 9mm has 2 pieces but they are solidly fitted together like they are 1 piece when in the rifle compared to a regular AR bolt that slides back and forth in the carrier. My bad.
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Posted: 12/25/2008 9:37:55 AM EST
I think a titanium firing pin decreases the odds of a slam fire by less than it increases the odds of a pierced primer. So to me it reduces safety and reliability. YMMV.
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Posted: 12/25/2008 2:35:28 PM EST
Since most primers that are used for 5.56/223 Rem ammo have thick cups, the titanium firing pin only helps if you are using thin-cupped primers...which like to pierce at normal pressures which ruin the firing pin.

It does nothing for the locktime. That is in the mass of the hammer and the strength of the hammer spring.

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Posted: 12/25/2008 6:24:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By autumnsong:
Originally Posted By bob332:
Originally Posted By autumnsong:
Originally Posted By bob332:
Originally Posted By Forest:
Originally Posted By cashman28:
.. what did you do loose your fireing pin spring


There is no 'firing pin spring' in an AR-15.

TI firing pins may help with slamfires (I've never had one using standard CCI or Remmington primers and my steel firing pin).

Edited to finish my thought: While they might help with slamfires, TI firing pins are more brittle than steel pins and a chipped tip may pierce the primer.



my oly 45 upper has one...are pistol rounds known to have more sensitive primers?


My Oly 9mm has a firing pin spring as well. Pistol calibers are recoil operated instead of gas operated and the one piece design of the bolt/carrier utilizes a spring holding the firing pin rearward. I have often heard that a titanium firing pin in a pistol caliber carbine actually is a help in preventing unintentional bump firing. And yes, I would say most pistol primers have a lower hardness than for example a CCI small rifle primer, but it depends on the brand of primer.







Ya, I didn't write that very well. A more fitting description would be that the bolt/carrier on the 9mm has 2 pieces but they are solidly fitted together like they are 1 piece when in the rifle compared to a regular AR bolt that slides back and forth in the carrier. My bad.


no probs, i was just thinking that they were 2pcs, but like you say, they appear very much like 1pc
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Posted: 12/25/2008 7:18:15 PM EST
I read on a vendor website that they were no longer selling Ti firing pins because they could form a bur on them and that could increase the chance of a slam-fire.

I dont know anything other than what I just wrote above. Does anyone care to comment on this?

Don
p.s. metalurgy is a complex field. harder does not mean better. there is a term called toughness. I believe it refers to the ability of a metal to neither deform nor crack when repeatedly impacted. My understanding is that steel is difficult to beat in this area.
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Posted: 1/5/2009 8:15:26 PM EST
Originally Posted By DevL:
I think a titanium firing pin decreases the odds of a slam fire by less than it increases the odds of a pierced primer. So to me it reduces safety and reliability. YMMV.


I had switched to a titanium pin in one of my uppers. I experienced several pierced primers. After switching back to a steel pin....no more problem.
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Posted: 1/5/2009 8:47:40 PM EST
I've put a few K of Federal American Eagle 223 downrange, with no slamfires. Hmm, I wonder what brand primers Federal uses?
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