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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 03-24-2020, 10:16 AM
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Default Safe to dry fire revolver using snap caps?

I have a new S&W 686 -- question is whether it is safe to load it up with snap caps and dry fire it a bunch of times. I would like to smooth the trigger out, and I've noticed that all S&Ws seem to smooth out over time with use. Given that our range is closed due to Chinese Virus, I'd like to do practices dry firing. With Rugers that is totally OK even without snap caps due to the transfer bar. What about my 686?
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:21 AM
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Yes, it is.

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Old 03-24-2020, 10:55 AM
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Totally fine, even without snap caps.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:05 AM
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Totally fine, even without snap caps.
Is that true? Wasn't sure, to be honest.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:13 AM
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Is that true? Wasn't sure, to be honest.
Yes, itís twu, itís twu.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:14 AM
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Go into handguns in the early 1970s and at this time have uncounted times (large number) I have dry fired in order to "adjust" the moving parts and to learn trigger control. Of course I'm referring to center fire guns.

The only snap caps I have is for my OU skeet guns as I like to put them away with reduced tension on the springs!
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:15 AM
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Some folks espouse blindly "dryfiring the snot" out of a revolver 1000s of times, in front of the TV for example. When I dryfired, I used it as an excuse to practice sight picture at the same time. I would try to duplicate range practice: 6 snaps, open and close cylinder as if reloading (or extracting and reloading the snapcaps), then 6 more. Hope this helps.

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Old 03-24-2020, 11:20 AM
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Thanks folks, this is all terrific information. I really appreciate it. I try to share my own knowledge here when I think it might help someone, and I sure get a lot of great information from everyone. This is a great forum.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:24 AM
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I don't dry fire my guns just to smooth the trigger, as I don't believe it truly makes a significant improvement (there is some improvement, but not much), IMO. I do dry fire practice to reinforce marksmanship techniques as well as practicing defensive skills that I might not be able to use with live ammo at a range (i.e., one-handed reloads, awkward positions, etc.). When I do dry fire practice, I always use snap caps.

As someone who has broken the hammer nose on a S&W revolver from dry firing without snap caps, I can tell you I don't do any extensive dry fire practice without them. It's cheap insurance, even if the newer guns aren't as susceptible to such damage.

Plus, if you get a couple sets of them, you can practice reloading skills.

FWIW, my favorite snap caps are A-Zoom brand.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:48 AM
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I don't KNOW much. I have a LITTLE experience. I have always been told that firing an S&W centerfire revolver without snapcaps was OK. One of my first guns, a Model 40, was dryfired many times, probably thousands, with no problem. You can probably understand why I trust S&W CF revolvers with hammer-mounted firing pins. I have no knowledge of or opinion on whether the newer frame-mounted firing pins are better or worse.

I once had a C*** Diamondback .38 Special which broke a firing pin firing a live cartridge. I replaced the pin, and then never dryfired without snapcaps. It broke another pin on a snapcap. I checked that revolver every which way from Sunday, with thorough consultation of the Kuhnhausen book. Couldn't find anything. Replaced with a complete hammer and traded in to a dealer, as I recall. I also replaced the broken firing pin in the original hammer, which had been bobbed, and, years later, installed it in an Agent. It was drop-in, which I am told is unusual. Never had another problem.

??
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:14 PM
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Center fire is OK to dry fire. If you want to use snap caps, that's OK as well.

Rim fire - do not dry fire with out snap caps
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:11 PM
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Yes, itís twu, itís twu.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:48 PM
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FAQs | Smith & Wesson


Can I dry fire my S&W handgun?


Q: Can I dry fire my Smith & Wesson?

A: Yes, except for the .22 caliber pistols which includes models 22A, 22S, 422, 2206, 2214, 2213 and 41.

.22 caliber revolvers such as models 17, 43, 63, 317 and 617 also should not be dry fired.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:00 PM
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It won't do the turn line any good. I only dry fire to check the action.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:27 PM
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What does the owner's manual say? What does Smith and Wesson say?
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:42 PM
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I called S&W in the past and they said to use snap caps. Ruger says they are not necessary although I still use them in my LCR.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
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FAQs | Smith & Wesson


Can I dry fire my S&W handgun?


Q: Can I dry fire my Smith & Wesson?

A: Yes, except for the .22 caliber pistols which includes models 22A, 22S, 422, 2206, 2214, 2213 and 41.

.22 caliber revolvers such as models 17, 43, 63, 317 and 617 also should not be dry fired.
Yes, but I'm pretty sure they're not talking about extended dry fire practice sessions. I don't use snap caps for cycling the action when performing maintenance, but I do if I know I'm going to be dry firing more than just a few times.

Again, snap caps are cheap insurance.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 03-24-2020 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:08 PM
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No itís me, Lili von Shtupp
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:17 AM
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What does the owner's manual say? What does Smith and Wesson say?

I already posted that
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:11 PM
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The original Tuetonic T***? In that case, I'll have some more snitzengruben.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:28 PM
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As stated above do not blindly yank the trigger. Always purposefully align the sights, pull (or “squeeze” or “press”) the trigger in a disciplined manner. Ensure the sights are aligned as the trigger breaks. Aligned at the beginning of the pull is only good intentions, aligned when the trigger breaks is good results! You do not want to damage the mechanism by practicing bad form. The mechanism I am referring to is your hand, brain, arm and eye. Some people will tell you never, “pull” always “press”, or “squeeze.” I won’t argue terminology. Do it right. “Right” means that the trigger breaks with the sights aligned.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:32 PM
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I second what #11 post S&W revolverman said. I try not to "dry fire" any of my firearms but sometimes I just do. Not a good idea to dryfire any rimfire. Snap caps aren't that expensive.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:32 PM
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Also, when using snap caps, I like to point the gun at a cement or masonry wall, or my stone fireplace. Murphy lives with me. I did not invite him, but he will not leave.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:57 PM
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Also, when using snap caps, I like to point the gun at a cement or masonry wall, or my stone fireplace. Murphy lives with me. I did not invite him, but he will not leave.
Wise practice. One of THE rules. Don't point that thing at anything you are not willing to kill. Apparently Jeff Cooper felt the same way about his TV as I do about my wife's, only I haven't actually killed hers yet.

P.S. Watch for ricochets!
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:51 PM
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Also, when using snap caps, I like to point the gun at a cement or masonry wall, or my stone fireplace. Murphy lives with me. I did not invite him, but he will not leave.
Another safety tip: Use a dedicated room for dry fire practice. If you don't have a room to use (i.e., you live in a studio apartment), at least have a dedicated area. And in this dedicated room/area, no live ammo is allowed while dry firing, only snap caps. I also make frequent checks to make sure I only have snap caps.

Even with this precaution, pay attention to where the muzzle is pointed. Use a safe backstop, even if it's just boxes filled with books, for example. There are kevlar dry fire "targets" available for this purpose.

Lastly, and this may sound funny, but when I'm done with my dry fire practice and I reload my carry/self defense gun, I say out loud, "This gun is loaded" three times. I find it helps me "reset" my mind that the gun is loaded.
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Old 03-28-2020, 10:17 PM
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Yes, itís twu, itís twu.
Mongo like Madeline Kahn reference!
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Redlegvzv View Post
Is that true? Wasn't sure, to be honest.
I've never used snap caps in a center fire handgun.

Dry firing seems to smooth out the action.

After reading these comments I just ordered a 6 pk from A-ZOOM based on comments here. It's cheap insurance.
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:07 AM
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I have been a competitive shooter all of my adult life. I have broken three S&W firing pins (apparently, I am sometimes a slow learner). I have learned my lesson. Now, I still dry fire but NEVER, NEVER, NEVER without snap caps. Word to the wise...

It has been suggested by those who know, that it can take up to an hour to re-set your brain. So, I do not pick up any handgun for an hour after I have dry fired. A famous Border Patrolman accidentally shot and killed his best buddy by failing to heed that admonition.

Just a thought...
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ContinentalOp View Post
Another safety tip: Use a dedicated room for dry fire practice. If you don't have a room to use (i.e., you live in a studio apartment), at least have a dedicated area. And in this dedicated room/area, no live ammo is allowed while dry firing, only snap caps. I also make frequent checks to make sure I only have snap caps.

Even with this precaution, pay attention to where the muzzle is pointed. Use a safe backstop, even if it's just boxes filled with books, for example. There are kevlar dry fire "targets" available for this purpose.

Lastly, and this may sound funny, but when I'm done with my dry fire practice and I reload my carry/self defense gun, I say out loud, "This gun is loaded" three times. I find it helps me "reset" my mind that the gun is loaded.
Extremism in the defense of body parts, is no vice.
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Old 03-29-2020, 04:41 PM
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Do any of you with experience with .38/.357 snap-caps have a recommendation on which are "Best" (quality in terms of long-term use)?

I use them for practicing reloads with my speedloaders.
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Old 03-29-2020, 05:24 PM
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As I mentioned in my post, I like A-Zooms. I've been using the same sets for several years now. So far they've held up pretty well.
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Old 03-29-2020, 05:57 PM
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Has something changed in the last 30 years that makes it okay to dry fire a quality revolver thousands of times without snap caps? No. Is it okay to do a few times to check function? Yes.

If you have some mechanical ability a trigger job on a 686 is not hard to do. Jerry Miculekís DVD ďS&W TRIGGER JOBĒ will step you through it. Of course you will have to judge whether or not it is then a firearm you can trust your life on, because you will be the one doing that. If itís a range toy; thatís not really important, as long as its safe. There are plenty of recommendations on this web site for gunsmiths that can make your trigger ďsmooth as butterĒ. Thatís not hard to do with a K,L,N frame; not happening with a J-frame, thatís by design.
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