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Posted: 10/13/2005 12:09:32 PM EDT
I put up some FAQ on my Industry Forum that seemed to spur a debate on Dry Firing.  The owner of the website I manage wrote the FAQ's and I copied and past them.

I hunt with an AR15 but all in all do not know a lot about them so whether dry firing is okay or not isn't something that I myself know about.

The owner was told by the Blacksmith that works with him [we design lower receivers legal for California] told him that dry firing an AR15 should not be done at all and this was relayed in our FAQ's.  A few members here are wrote that Dry Firing is important and should be encouraged [implied] not discouraged.

Educate me [please]. Patty LINK
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:10:58 PM EDT
I try not to dry fire any of my weapons    

I get those plastic fake bullet thingies to protect the firing pin  
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:11:14 PM EDT
If its bad, then all my AR's should be crap right now.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:13:30 PM EDT
Don't they dry fire like heck during basic training/boot camp?
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:13:39 PM EDT
Dry firing is not only allowed.

It is encouraged.

EVERY competetive shooter I know dry fires his AR.

Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:14:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/13/2005 12:15:36 PM EDT by motown_steve]
I have dry fired my AR's hundreds if not thousands of times, and I have never had a problem.

The US army marksmanship manual includes dry fire excercises. In my opinion it is a perfectly acceptable way to practice trigger control while maintaining a proper sight picture.

ETA - Hey, look at me! I have 11,000 posts!
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:14:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/13/2005 12:15:54 PM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
I don't do it unnecessarily, but unless it's a rimfire or a really old gun, dry firing shouldn't hurt it.  Dry-fire practicing is pretty common.  If you're paranoid about it, get one of those plastic snap-caps to put in the chamber.

I have read that dry-firing the lower with the upper detached is a big no-no, though.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:16:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
I don't do it unnecessarily, but unless it's a rimfire or a really old gun, dry firing shouldn't hurt it.  Dry-fire practicing is pretty common.

I have read that dry-firing the lower with the upper detached is a big no-no, though.



true.  that is a bad thing. always keep your finger over the hammer to slow it down.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:16:38 PM EDT
I'm no expert, but I'd bet its safe for an AR.  I've done it quite a bit, and my ARs seem to be doing just fine!
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:16:45 PM EDT
I understood it that only in very rare cases like ultra precision rifles or pistols is dry firing potentially dangerous. Otherwise, go for it.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:17:26 PM EDT
Dry firing is to competitive shooters as soy milk is to hippie vegans.

It's all a part of a healthy diet.

Dry firing doesn't hurt the AR.  We all know that.

Wolf ammo hurts the AR!

OK I'm just kidding - that's been debunked fairly well over the years.  I love Wolf.

There are these things:

but for me, their big benefit comes from the fact that once you put one in (which is super easy to do), you only have to crank the CH back a little bit before the trigger resets - so you can easily crank out double the trigger pulls during your training session.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:18:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
I have read that dry-firing the lower with the upper detached is a big no-no, though.



From what I understand that practice allows the hammer to go farther forward than normal/dry firing. It also causes the hammer to slap against the receiver just behind the magwell putting unnecessary wear on the receiver, the trigger/hammer pins and the hammer itself.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:18:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/13/2005 12:21:15 PM EDT by NewbHunter]

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
I don't do it unnecessarily, but unless it's a rimfire or a really old gun, dry firing shouldn't hurt it.  Dry-fire practicing is pretty common.  If you're paranoid about it, get one of those plastic snap-caps to put in the chamber.

I have read that dry-firing the lower with the upper detached is a big no-no, though.



Now that I can believe, because the hammer is then contacting the bolt catch full force. With the upper attached it strikes the firing pin first and absorbs some of the force.

I've dry fired my lower without the upper attached to test that it's functioning properly, but I always take a small piece of cloth and stick it behind the bolt catch to dampen the impact.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:18:47 PM EDT
Haha, I dryfire all of my weapons -- all three of them!  Then again, an AR15, Glock, and Winchester shotgun are all made to take punishment.  
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:19:55 PM EDT
On a lower with no upper it is a bad thing. The hammer strikes the bolt catch and mag wall. It is possible to break the bolt catch this way and/or beat up or chip the lower itself. Brownells sells a hammer drop block that works very nicely. I use one when tuning and testing triggers.

With a complete upper in place it should not be a problem.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:20:17 PM EDT
Every time I open my safe I take every one of my toys out and lovingly dry fire it pointed at the corner.

*sigh* it's like a little Christmas whenever I open the toybox up...
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:20:58 PM EDT
Competitive shooters dry fire all the time in practice, I know I do.

The AR was designed as a combat rifle.  Do you really believe that dry firing a combat rifle will destroy it?  This sort of 'lore' never, ever seems to die.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:26:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By steve-oh:
I understood it that only in very rare cases like ultra precision rifles or pistols is dry firing potentially dangerous. Otherwise, go for it.



Not good for rimfires, as the firing pin would strike the perimeter of teh chamber.

Steel on steel bad.

Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:36:24 PM EDT
I hope it isn't bad because I've been doing it since I bought my first AR in 1988. I never drop the hammer with the upper off of it though. Even though I know my own guns are unloaded, I always look into the chamber to make sure it's clear before pulling that trigger. I am almost obsessive/compulsive about it.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:42:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
Dry firing is not only allowed.

It is encouraged.

EVERY competetive shooter I know dry fires his AR.




+1 the USMC team does it.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:43:00 PM EDT
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?

Oh and macman37, thanks for the new sigline!  Its a beauty!  Patty
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:45:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?

Patty



He is either gay or not straight.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:46:15 PM EDT
Nothing wrong with dry-firing. In fact it's to be recommended.

What's the worst that could happen? You could break a firing pin, although that's very unlikely.
But if it did, how much does a new firing pin cost??

Mark
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:48:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?




Why would a blacksmith know anything about guns?

For one thing, AR's don't HAVE gas chambers.

"let the hearer beware."



Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:48:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?

Oh and macman37, thanks for the new sigline!  Its a beauty!  Patty



ha, LOL

anytime Patty.  
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:48:24 PM EDT
Dry firing is like shaving, it should be done everyday.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:49:26 PM EDT
It's not going to hurt your rifle to dry fire it. We must have done it thousands of times in Boot Camp. Or you can get a Snap Cap if you want, but it's really not necessary.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:51:27 PM EDT
Okay, thank you - can someone walk me through the mechanics then of how the rifle works?  
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:56:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
Okay, thank you - can someone walk me through the mechanics then of how the rifle works?  



The short version is that it takes a lot of springs of many different sizes.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:57:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
Okay, thank you - can someone walk me through the mechanics then of how the rifle works?  



Patty,
The easiest thing to do is click on the Information button (above - right under the Stag Arms logo) then select downloads.

Now download FM23-9 or FM 3.23-9 (the new version).  There is a chapter (first or second IIRC) in there that covers how the rifle operates, complete with pictures to make it easier to understand.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 12:59:12 PM EDT
Dryfiring is part of the "function" test.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:00:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?




Why would a blacksmith know anything about guns?

For one thing, AR's don't HAVE gas chambers.


Well...there is sort of a gas chamber in the bolt carrier: the bore in which the bolt itself rides in. The gas rings are there to seal gas in.

But yeah, with all due respect, why go to a blacksmith for firearms information unless you need to know the difference between a horse's ass and a horse's mouth?
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:01:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
Okay, thank you - can someone walk me through the mechanics then of how the rifle works?  



Patty,
The easiest thing to do is click on the Information button (above - right under the Stag Arms logo) then select downloads.

Now download FM23-9 or FM 3.23-9 (the new version).  There is a chapter (first or second IIRC) in there that covers how the rifle operates, complete with pictures to make it easier to understand.



Thank you, I appreciate that.  Patty
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:02:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Don't they dry fire like heck during basic training/boot camp?




Yes. I dry-fired thousands of 'rounds' during basic training. It's pretty much the cornerstone of marksmanship training before you go to the range for the first time.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:02:55 PM EDT
None other than Jerry Kuhnhausen (the guy who wrote THE shop manual for the 1911) says in his gunsmithing manuals - to never needlessly dry fire a customer's pistol.

It's wear and tear - sure - but it's less wear than actually firing it AND doing enough of it correctly WILL make you a better shot.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:06:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dolomite:
None other than Jerry Kuhnhausen (the guy who wrote THE shop manual for the 1911) says in his gunsmithing manuals - to never needlessly dry fire a customer's pistol.

It's wear and tear - sure - but it's less wear than actually firing it AND doing enough of it correctly WILL make you a better shot.




Humm.....besides obviously making certain its unloaded is there any other precautions that you recommend?  My reason asking is unrelated to my client's FAQ's - I just tend to find myself pulling to the right when I squeeze the trigger and I can see where dry firing would help with that.

Patty
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:10:56 PM EDT
A dry fire drill I do is to place a quarter on the muzzle end of the slide. When you pull the trigger the quarter should not move.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:13:13 PM EDT
Dry-firing shouldn't be a problem.But if it is an issue for anybody,Buy snap-caps.They're cheap and are designed for dry-fire practice.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:24:25 PM EDT
Kuhnhausen's just old school, nothing wong with that, but with modern firearms, dry firing shouldn't be a big deal.  Besides, me and garandman actually agree on something - so at this point I can say for sure he's right.


Dry firing practice:

1.Make sure all the ammo is out of the room, you’ve got a safe back stop (like a brick wall pointing away from a high traffic area, etc, etc.

2. Make sure the chamber is empty.  Make sure the magazine is out or empty.

3. Repeat step 2.

4. Have a seat.  Get comfortable.  You’re not even going to be aiming at anything.  Just point the gun in a safe direction and begin pulling the trigger as slowly as you can.  When you reach the point where you KNOW that any further travel will cause the hammer to drop- Stop.  Pause for a second and then continue with the trigger press until the hammer falls.  

Did you have to move your finger a little more than you believed you had to?  That’s fine, because you’ll keep repeating this exercise another 2 or 3 dozen more times.

5. Stand up/kneel/sit/go to your prone position – whichever.

6. Natural Point of Aim.  Hold your gun the way you find to be the most comfortable and accurate. Pick a spot on the wall that you want to aim at and close your eyes.  Take aim with your eyes closed.  Open your eyes and make corrections to your body and position until you’re naturally lined up every time you open your eyes.

7. Now we’re dry firing –
Breathe. Relax.
Focus on: Target.  Front sight.  Rear sight.  Front sight.
Pull the trigger (just like you did above) AND WATCH WHAT YOUR FRONT SIGHT DOES.  Regaining a secondary, post shot, sight picture is very important.  Always watch your sights.

When at the range - If it’s hitting to the right and you’re a righty, you’re probably jerking the trigger (a form of flinching).  Try doubling up on hearing protection, and use a soft rifle case as a shoulder pad when firing off the bench.  Burn through a lot of rounds.

It's that simple!
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:24:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By XD_Fan:
A dry fire drill I do is to place a quarter on the muzzle end of the slide. When you pull the trigger the quarter should not move.



Yep, video tape yourself if you can, but at a minium have a buddy watch you to see if you are jerking the trigger or flinching (and to replace the quarter should you knock it off).
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:29:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?




Link Posted: 10/13/2005 1:57:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/13/2005 1:59:43 PM EDT by PhilipPeake]

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?
Patty



I think that what he is thinking about is related to .22LR guns (in fact, any rimfire guns).

With these, the rim not only locates (headspaces) the cartridge in the chamber, but also contains the primer. The hammer hits the rim, trapping it between the hammer and the face of the chamber in the barrel - firing off the primer and thus the cartridge.

Now, if you fire without a cartridge in place, the hammer will not be stopperd by a nice soft piece of brass stuffed with primer, but will whack against the face of the chamber wall - this will eventually do one of two things -- break the firing pin, or deform the edge of the chamber -- putting a dimple in it -- and that will stop cartridges sliding smoothy into the chamber in future.

Centerfire rifles (such as the AR15) are different, with the primer in the middle of the cartridge. In this case, when you dry fire all that happens is that the firing pin will shoot out into thin air - in the middle of the chamber. Of course, something has to stop it from flying on down the barrel, and with some guns the firing pin is small/weak enough that these stresses of hitting where its not usually intended to hit might be enough to break the firing pin. Not on the AR15 though - it has a big, tough firing pin which will take the abuse, as will the thing that stops the pin flying off down the barrel -- the bolt carrier, which is an equally big tough chunk of metal.

In general, if you don't know, its safest to assume don't dry fire any gun, but this reallt doesn't apply to the AR15 -- or any military rifle come to that, they are designed to take abuse.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:03:13 PM EDT
Thank you Gentlemen for the info - I appreciate it and will let you know how I progress.

Patty
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:04:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Don't they dry fire like heck during basic training/boot camp?



Yes.  Thousands and thousands of times per rifle.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:05:44 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:09:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dolomite:
There are these things:
www.brownells.com/Images/Products/718015002.jpg
but for me, their big benefit comes from the fact that once you put one in (which is super easy to do), you only have to crank the CH back a little bit before the trigger resets - so you can easily crank out double the trigger pulls during your training session.



Not quite the same thing, but I just stuck a chamber flag in my AR and tried dry-firing it. I get the same effect, where you only have to move the charging handle a little to reset the trigger, plus I can easily see that it's empty by the big orange flag sticking out of the ejection port. Good idea!
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:12:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SGB:

Originally Posted By Tomislav:
Don't they dry fire like heck during basic training/boot camp?



We did........"Semper Fi"



Summers on PI are not a fun time to lie prone for 30 minutes at a time going "click, pull charging handle... click, pull charging handle... click, pull charging handle..."  Not to mention the tight loop sling cutting off all circulation to your arm.

It sure is rewarding when you see that white marker in the center of a 500 yd. target though.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:14:19 PM EDT
On a lower with no upper it is a bad thing. The hammer strikes the bolt catch and mag wall. It is possible to break the bolt catch this way

Yes, I did this on my first AR-15, damaged the bolt catch.

But with an upper, the hammer strikes the firing pin.  The firing pin bottoms out against the bolt in the same way it does when fired.

This is on an AR-15.

But not every firearm is designed like the AR-15.  Where the advise, no dry firing, really applies is to some old double barrel shotguns.  The firing pin and the receiver is made in such a way that the firing pin can become stuck in the receiver, protruding.  Then when a shell is chambered, the action closed, there could be an out of battery ignition as the breech is closed.  Shotguns that immediately come to mind are the old Savage, Fox, and Stevens doubles.

But an AR-15 is made nothing like a double barrel shotgun.

Dryfire your AR-15 all you want... with the upper on it.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:18:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:22:30 PM EDT
Armalite used to have some seriously cool videos on thier site about the AR.  You might try downloading those too if they're still up.
Link Posted: 10/13/2005 3:27:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Gloftoe:

Originally Posted By pattymcn:
So why would a blacksmith advise someone against dry firing?  He said it had something to do with the gas chamber?


Sounds like that blacksmith doesn't know ARs from a hole in the ground.



Evidently.  Good to have ARFCOM to educate me.  Thank you for the help!  Patty
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