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Does dry firing a rifle for storing it damage the firing pin at all? Somewhere I heard/read it' s good to take the pressure off the spring. I know with handgun magazines it's the repetitive loading and unloading of the spring that weakens it. Not sure if it's the same with the firing pin spring in rifles and shotguns.
Then I was told modern guns are pretty durable and dry firing even multiple times (like with handgun practice) does not bother anything. What do you experts say?

Thanks for the responses.


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I always let the pressure off of the spring.


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If you are worried about the shock of dry firing most bolt actions will release the tension of the mainspring by closing the bolt while you have the trigger pulled, I do this before putting my rifles in the case. As always make sure the gun is empty of all ammo when releasing the mainspring in that fashion.

I personally don't think dry firing a centerfire rifle shortens its life.

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I'm no expert but I always decock for storage. BTW I have only had one firing pin spring go weak on me and dry firing a modern bolt action doesn't hurt it IMHO.


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Firearm ownership 101: Decock the firing pin, it saves the spring. There are a few members on here that learned the hard way.


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Originally Posted by alpinecrick
Firearm ownership 101: Decock the firing pin, it saves the spring. There are a few members on here that learned the hard way.


That's what my grandpa and dad taught me. Been doing it since I was 12. You can do it like Wade Brown describes and you don't have to "dry fire" like the op was suggesting. Unless the op was asking about semi auto's? Unclear on what action type he's inquiring about. As for "dry firing". I've never done it for practice. No need to, but I do pull the trigger on live ammo a lot at the range. Guys living in the city, I guess you do what you have to do??


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Engineers tell us springs don't lose their sproing, maybe they don't in temp controlled labs...old mechanics like me think engineers are full of schidt, I'd like to have a dollar for every spring I've needed to replace with a half century in heavy equipment repair...especially in power shift trans and hydraulics.


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I use snap caps and release the firing pin before I put my guns away.


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Lift the bolt handle, squeeze the trigger and hold, lower the bolt handle.

Or just squeeze the trigger.


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I have a 90 + year old Lefever 16 guage sideX side that has never had the springs relaxed while stored, still shoots every time !!


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Originally Posted by oldwoody2
I have a 90 + year old Lefever 16 guage sideX side that has never had the springs relaxed while stored, still shoots every time !!

So you know how the gun has been stored since it left the factory ?


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Springs wear fastest through cycling. I fired magazines earlier this year that were loaded in 2004 to full capacity. They worked just fine and were then reloaded and fired again. Compression did not seem to hurt those springs at all. Though I do have magazines less than five years old that have weak springs, some of which have been replaced, but they've been cycled through for tens of thousands of rounds over that time.

Unless you've got some oddity that parts are hard to get, replace those springs regularly and have many, many available to you. Most bolt-actions use springs readily available and are very affordable.


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Most Savage 99’s can also be slip fired to remove tension on the firing pin spring.


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It depends on the firearm. The list of exceptions to BOTH "rules"--that firing-pin springs should always be relaxed, or it doesn't matter--are numerous, because of the wide variations between, say, old double shotguns and modern bolt rifles. The effects of dry-firing also vary considerably, depending on whether the gun's rimfire or centerfire, or the specific design of the firing pin.

These days it's relatively easy to research what effects either leaving the springs set or dry-firing might have. If there's any doubt, a number of companies offer "snap-caps" to safely allow dry-firing. But fired cases will also work, with primer left in place.


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If I can relax the spring without dryfiring, I do.
That's bolts and Ithaca 37s

Otherwise, design leads the way.



How come I have never, ever, heard any concern about 1911s being left
cocked? Essentially forever, if a duty/defense gun?


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Springs are an interesting study. Like has been said I store some relaxed, some compressed. The old recoil springs on my Colt Gov Mod are visibly shorter than the new replacements. Yet the old ones still function reliably. For how long without subjecting the gun to damage, who knows? I snapped leaf springs in half from hard use on my pick up truck. But I've seen other leaf springs last so long that they lose their arch and rest on the over loads without a load.

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Originally Posted by Craigster
Originally Posted by oldwoody2
I have a 90 + year old Lefever 16 guage sideX side that has never had the springs relaxed while stored, still shoots every time !!

So you know how the gun has been stored since it left the factory ?
Yes, my Dad bought it new. He never did, nor have I.


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Good info.

That the springs still work doesn't surprise me much, after having owned a bunch of old side-by-sides.

Right now have a W.W. Greener 12 made in 1895, with Damascus barrels. Purchased it last year from an 80-year-old guy whose father bought it in the 1940s. Not only does it go bang every time, but the ejectors work perfectly.

I know neither of them ever had any work done on the old gun. Maybe somebody did earlier--but also own a first-year-production (1866) .50-70 "trapdoor" Springfield where the ejector-spring system still works fine.....


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