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Old 05-16-2017, 11:52 PM
Wagonmaster Wagonmaster is offline
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Default How do snap caps work?

Are snap caps a one time use only? or with a package of 5 are they usable over and over? Do they make any kind of noise? I have a year old Shield and haven't been able to get out to a range, or even country shooting, so would like to do some dry firing and have read that it's good to use snap caps. I assume they kind of take the shock off the interior of the gun, sort of like if the gun had an actual firing pin.

Is there any particular favorite brand, or are they all the same?

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Old 05-17-2017, 12:31 AM
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I don't know how they work but they are good for hundreds of dry fires each. The primer is a hard rubber material, and there might be a spring inside though I'm not sure.

I use the A-Zoom brand I think they're called.

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Old 05-17-2017, 07:56 AM
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They have a little spring under the primer area. You can shoot them thousands of times. It absorbs the impact of the firing pin. Otherwise, the firing pin can slam forward further than usual causing damage. You want to use them for mainly hammered guns.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:13 AM
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They have a little spring under the primer area. You can shoot them thousands of times. It absorbs the impact of the firing pin. Otherwise, the firing pin can slam forward further than usual causing damage. You want to use them for mainly hammered guns.


Right - from what I've always been told it's impossible to damage a striker fired gun by dry firing it.


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Old 05-17-2017, 08:31 AM
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Right - from what I've always been told it's impossible to damage a striker fired gun by dry firing it.


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That's hardly the truth.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrod View Post
That's hardly the truth.
Not really as per Smith and Wesson

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.

Q:Why can't I dry fire my .22 pistol or revolver?

A:Dry firing a S&W .22 pistol or revolver will cause damage to the firing pin.

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Old 05-17-2017, 09:15 AM
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I make my own using actual cases with no powder and some silicone in the primer pocket.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowlette View Post
Not really as per Smith and Wesson

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.

Q:Why can't I dry fire my .22 pistol or revolver?

A:Dry firing a S&W .22 pistol or revolver will cause damage to the firing pin.

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By all means, if it floats your boat, keep doing it. But for anybody else, the use of snap caps is advisable. Better yet, go into a gun shop and start dry firing their bolt action rifles.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:40 AM
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I make my own using actual cases with no powder and some silicone in the primer pocket.
That's what I do also. No need to spend as much on snap caps as a box of ammo.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowlette View Post
Not really as per Smith and Wesson

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.

Q:Why can't I dry fire my .22 pistol or revolver?

A:Dry firing a S&W .22 pistol or revolver will cause damage to the firing pin.

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Unlike center fire snap caps, commercial .22 cal rimfire snap caps do tend to wear out. The best solution I've found is to run size 4-6 wall anchors in (all) my .22's.
They fit perfectly, are reasonably tough and cost about $3.50/100 at your local hardware store.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:17 PM
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I make my own using actual cases with no powder and some silicone in the primer pocket.
Wouldn't the silicon slowly disintegrate into tiny pieces over time and gum-up the works?
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:31 PM
greeenteeee greeenteeee is offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrod View Post
By all means, if it floats your boat, keep doing it. But for anybody else, the use of snap caps is advisable. Better yet, go into a gun shop and start dry firing their bolt action rifles.
Ask first, they'll say no.

S&W does say it's okay, as does Sig, but I use a snap cap for my DA/SA.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:39 PM
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Wouldn't the silicon slowly disintegrate into tiny pieces over time and gum-up the works?
Never had that problem. When it gets dented enough I just remove with an exacto and reapply.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:01 PM
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You can also use glue from a hot glue gun. That works great

The silicone you use matters I use 100% silicone like the loctite brand, not the cheap stuff that is a mixture.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by eb07 View Post
You can also use glue from a hot glue gun. That works great

The silicone you use matters I use 100% silicone like the loctite brand, not the cheap stuff that is a mixture.
I use Permatex ultra grey. I'm not sure if it's 100% silicone but it's about the best I've used.
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:40 PM
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Default They are ridiculously expensive...

Make your own. If you shoot them where they need replacing, make some more,
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:45 PM
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Default I dry fire my S&Ws

..because S&W says it's ok. I don't dry fire anything else. If you aren't going to be fired a lot, I put a cartridge with a used primer on it in the chamger. More than that I get fancy with the snap caps.

Gunstores default to 'no dry firing' but I know which ones of MY guns that I can dry fire or not.
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:20 PM
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I dry fire just after field stripping, cleaning then oiling to make sure everything is correct and working properly.

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Old 05-17-2017, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eb07 View Post
I make my own using actual cases with no powder and some silicone in the primer pocket.
Same here, but I go a bit further. I de-prime a fired case, put some silicone inside as well as in the primer pocket, and seat a bullet to the correct OAL. I then paint the whole thing black with a Magic Marker so I don't mistake it for a live round (or vice-versa), and I end up with a dummy round/snap cap that'll feed manually from the mag and last for hundreds upon hundreds of "shots".
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
Same here, but I go a bit further. I de-prime a fired case, put some silicone inside as well as in the primer pocket, and seat a bullet to the correct OAL. I then paint the whole thing black with a Magic Marker so I don't mistake it for a live round (or vice-versa), and I end up with a dummy round/snap cap that'll feed manually from the mag and last for hundreds upon hundreds of "shots".
Mine are "loaded" as well. Painted red with sharpie. They also double as speedstrip and speedloader practice dummies.

Last edited by eb07; 05-17-2017 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:17 PM
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With the exception of 22, the old archaic thinking that dry firing is bad for your gun still hangs on somehow. With today's modern steel, dryfiring is ok and it's 90% of your SD preparedness training, as any good instructor will tell you. The old revolvers that have the firing pin on the hammer are the only ones I know of that can't be dry fired. Modern revolver hammers drop onto a pin, and are safe to dry fire. But the specific question here pertains to a Shield...not a .22, not a bolt action rifle.
Modern striker fired pistols are good to go.
The only 22 that I've heard of that is good to fire is a Ruger SR22 pistol. It states such right in the manual.
As for snap caps, for those of you that don't reload, there's a guy on eBay that makes snap caps out of a bullet/casing/silicone. He sells them in different calibers and group sizes. If you search snap caps on eBay, there should be many sellers who have them. I have a training partner slip one/some into an otherwise live mag, and they simulate malfunctions wonderfully. Just make sure your training partner watches for them when you eject the "malfunction."
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:58 PM
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That's hardly the truth.


Just learning here... if SW says yes, what's the harm or why do some disagree?
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:59 AM
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Just learning here... if SW says yes, what's the harm or why do some disagree?


Because there are a lot of older shooters here that had that mindset drilled into them many years ago with equipment that no longer exists.


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Old 05-18-2017, 12:59 PM
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Because there are a lot of older shooters here that had that mindset drilled into them many years ago with equipment that no longer exists.


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^^^^^^This times ten.....older mindset.
For the same reason that people now understand that smoking doesn't "aid in digestion" anymore, like they told us back in the 60s. New technology has brought about better steel components, and various new alloys for that matter. Take for instance my S&W Governor.....it's a giant chunk of "scandium" that's pretty damn light. It dry fires nicely.
And since S&W says go ahead, dry fire away, then they can fix or replace it if it breaks.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:08 PM
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As one who has had a failure by dry firing without snap caps, I use them. I use the Tipton as it has a spring beneath the "primer". The spring loaded snap cap was recommended by Ruger. I will continue using them.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:33 PM
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As one who has had a failure by dry firing without snap caps, I use them. I use the Tipton as it has a spring beneath the "primer". The spring loaded snap cap was recommended by Ruger. I will continue using them.


Was it with the so called "equipment that no longer exists?"
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:46 AM
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the firing pin retaining pin broke. sent gun back to Ruger and they fixed, sent back with note to use spring loaded snap caps. nothing complicated.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by gideon2086 View Post
Because there are a lot of older shooters here that had that mindset drilled into them many years ago with equipment that no longer exists.


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Yeah, you gotta love those "when I was growing up we did it like this" relics.
How about the ones that are determined to change their oil every 3K miles? My 75 year old dad still does this. I stopped buying oil for him a long time ago when I found out he was wasting oil like this. SMH!
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:28 PM
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FYI. Dry Firing a rim-fire firearm lets the firing pin/striker impact directly on the breech face resulting to damage to the firing pin over time. Nothing to absorb the impact but the breech face metal.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by oldiegoldie View Post
As one who has had a failure by dry firing without snap caps, I use them. I use the Tipton as it has a spring beneath the "primer". The spring loaded snap cap was recommended by Ruger. I will continue using them.
What kind of firearm were you dry firing when it broke? rimfire? centerfire?
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SportScout View Post
Just learning here... if SW says yes, what's the harm or why do some disagree?
S&W provides lots of guidance, including the following from the Shield manual:

Quote:
NEVER KEEP AMMUNITION IN THE SAME LOCATION AS THE FIREARM. Store each in a separate and secure place.

ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION THAT IS SPECIFIED FOR USE WITH FIREARMS every time you handle your firearm for cleaning and maintenance.

Never load your pistol until you are sure of your target, what is beyond it and are fully prepared to fire.
Do you follow each of the above to the letter? If not, you hopefully understand what S&W was trying to convey and appreciate the circumstances in which the guidance should be followed or other circumstances in which the guidance may not need to be applied.

Regarding dry firing, consider what is different about dry firing compared to live firing. In live firing, a cartridge in the chamber limits the firing pin's forward movement. If there is no cartridge in the chamber, something else stops the firing pin's forward movement, whether that may be the firing pin crashing into the front of the firing pin channel or possibly the firing pin stopping when the firing pin spring is compressed to its minimum. Cartridge substitutes allow the firing pin to operate as it is designed to regularly do during live firing.

As to advice on dry-firing, S&W is undoubtedly correct that dry-firing a modern pistol is not going to quickly cause its failure. But dry-firing without a cartridge substitute does place unusual stresses on some of a pistol's parts, that could or would eventually lead to failure.

Since I do not know how much dry-firing would be excessive, spending a few cents to make a dummy cartridge or a couple of dollars for snap caps is a cheap form of insurance against the possibility of eventually damaging my guns.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:12 AM
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They have a little spring under the primer area. You can shoot them thousands of times. It absorbs the impact of the firing pin. Otherwise, the firing pin can slam forward further than usual causing damage. You want to use them for mainly hammered guns.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:04 AM
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What kind of firearm were you dry firing when it broke? rimfire? centerfire?
Ruger LC9. 9mm.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gc70 View Post
Since I do not know how much dry-firing would be excessive, spending a few cents to make a dummy cartridge or a couple of dollars for snap caps is a cheap form of insurance against the possibility of eventually damaging my guns.
Tried to make my own with black RTV, til I realized I need a way to have the shape of a bullet. I have some poly snap caps that could be replaced, they wore out too quickly to buy. A-zooms seem okay, but the casing started to wear-- had to grind it smooth time to time.
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Old 05-21-2017, 12:46 AM
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I use snap caps in my model 19-4 just to be on the safe side. I also use them for speed loader practice. I put 6 expended cartridges in the chambers and put my speed loader in the single pouch that I carry CCW. So, I "fire' the six expended rounds in the chambers, and then go through my reloading technique with the snap caps. I practice this with my eyes shut about 60% of the time. The remaining 40% of the time, I practice whilst never looking down at my revolver. I keep my eyes forward into the target zone.
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:54 AM
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Yeah, you gotta love those "when I was growing up we did it like this" relics.
How about the ones that are determined to change their oil every 3K miles? My 75 year old dad still does this. I stopped buying oil for him a long time ago when I found out he was wasting oil like this. SMH!
Lol. I love the 3 month time limit also. I used to work for valvoline and they drill this into the customer for obvious reasons ($). I still remember a guy coming in at 4 months with only doing 1k miles SMH.
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