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Old July 13, 2000, 10:37 AM   #1
tyro
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Thinking of practicing techniques at home between visits to range for training and pracice (first session at the range starts later this afternoon). Would dry firing 870 be damaging to the gun? Any advice about what and how to practice (for HD) between training/practice sessions at the range?
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Old July 13, 2000, 12:00 PM   #2
Hueco
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Yup, you can dry-fire practice at home. Here's what ya do:

1) Take the gun from the rack/case/locker

2) Check and make sure it is unloaded, rack the slide a few times gently to make sure there are no rounds in the magazine

3)Leave the room where you keep the ammunition

4) Load the snap-caps

5) Practice

6) Remove snap-caps

7) Return gun to rack/case/locker.

I'd advise you to always keep the snap-caps in the "practice room" and the live ammunition somewhere else. That way, you will limit the amount of risk of confusing the two.

Hueco
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Old July 13, 2000, 02:24 PM   #3
Dave McC
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Hueco gives good advice, Tyro, here's my two cents.

Practice mounting a bit every day until you're grooved in, like a golf swing. Then, practice some more,as well as range training. ANY of the clay sports is good for beginners, just for handling practice, as well as firing the thing. Do not be discouraged if you miss a lot at first, we all do.
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Old July 13, 2000, 02:50 PM   #4
Jeff, CA
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With a pump, practice pumping the action vigorously, immediately upon the trigger breaking. Do it until it becomes habit, then you'll never have to think about it.
 
Old July 13, 2000, 03:36 PM   #5
tyro
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Before reading the above advice, I had got the 870 and intoductory instruction from the dealer this afternoon, who said I could dry fire the gun at home without doing it any damage (he said nothing about snap caps). So, as soon as I got home, I did some dry fire practice, THEN I read the above about snap caps. QUESTIONS: (1) Did the dry fire without snap caps damage the gun? (2) How do I get snap caps? Can I just empty some shells and use the empty casings? The dealer/trainer said I did not need to come back to his range for practice, and gave the impression that his range was a club for which I am neither qualified nor to be considered a candidate to become qualified. So you guys are the only source of information I have. I'm a bit disillusioned at this point, with a lot of questions which go beyond the subject of this thread (dry firing)....questions about the spread of shot so wide that a significant portion was off the silhouette (the dealer/trainer said this is normal, and that the goal in home defense is to make the intruder decide to leave, and that if the first shot does not make him leave, I should just keep pumping and shooting until he decides to do so...What if he has a gun? Oh, he will be too distracted by the BB's to use it....)....
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Old July 13, 2000, 03:36 PM   #6
tyro
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Before reading the above advice, I had got the 870 and intoductory instruction from the dealer this afternoon, who said I could dry fire the gun at home without doing it any damage (he said nothing about snap caps). So, as soon as I got home, I did some dry fire practice, THEN I read the above about snap caps. QUESTIONS: (1) Did the dry fire without snap caps damage the gun? (2) How do I get snap caps? Can I just empty some shells and use the empty casings? The dealer/trainer said I did not need to come back to his range for practice, and gave the impression that his range was a club for which I am neither qualified nor to be considered a candidate to become qualified. So you guys are the only source of information I have. I'm a bit disillusioned at this point, with a lot of questions which go beyond the subject of this thread (dry firing)....questions about the spread of shot so wide that a significant portion was off the silhouette (the dealer/trainer said this is normal, and that the goal in home defense is to make the intruder decide to leave, and that if the first shot does not make him leave, I should just keep pumping and shooting until he decides to do so...What if he has a gun? Oh, he will be too distracted by the BB's to use it....)....
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Old July 13, 2000, 05:25 PM   #7
Ledbetter
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tyro,

Go back through the archives of this forum ("Shotguns") for lots of good info, better than your dealer, from the members here. Snap caps are better for your firing pin in the long run, and afford good practice in pumping, ejecting and loading and unloading. Your gun is still okay.

Practice what you learn here at various target distances. You should be confident in your ability to "distract" any bad guy with your 870 and the proper load.

Be safe,

Ledbetter
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Old July 13, 2000, 06:16 PM   #8
tyro
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Many thanks, Ledbetter. I still do not know what a snap cap is. Is it just a shell that has been fired and is now empty - so that all I have to do is fire off four shells and then use the empties as they are after the firing?
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Old July 13, 2000, 07:18 PM   #9
jthuang
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A snap cap is a specially designed inert round. Depending on quality, it is usually constructed of aluminum or plastic, and incorporates a small area around the "primer" to cushion the impact of your firing pin.

Dillon Precision sells aluminum (A-Zoom) snap caps. You can also find Pachmayr plastic snap caps, which incorporate a spring-loaded cushioning system for the "primer" area. The cheapest are the Saf T orange plastic snap caps, which are just plastic shells without any special features.

I don't know about the Remington 870 (I tend not to go through my dad's stuff any more since he discovered I had copied the keys for his Porsche back in high school ) but I'd bet that 870s have a firing pin spring.

In such an instance, dry-firing will not hurt your gun but it never hurts to have snap caps for practice. My Benelli M1S90 has a firing pin spring so I use the Saf T snap caps, mostly for practice of reloading and switch-to-slug drills.

Yes you can use an inert hull if you resize the hull back down to factory spec -- I'm sure you can do that with a shotshell press, although I don't know first-hand since I only reload metallic cartridges. Since the primer has already been fired, a home-made dummy will not have the cushioning effect on the firing pin, unless you replace the dead primer with an eraser from a pencil or something similar.

Be forewarned that it can be easy to mix up "dummy" rounds made at home on the reloading press and live rounds. For that reason, I use the orange Saf T snap caps, because then I know I can't get my snap caps mixed up with my live rounds.

HTH,

Justin



------------------
Justin T. Huang, Esq.
late of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
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Old July 13, 2000, 07:25 PM   #10
Jeff, CA
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A snap-cap is a dummy round with a dummy spring-loaded primer intended to absorb the firing pin blow. You can get them at most any gun store, or from places like Cabela's, Cheaper Than Dirt, Brownell's and Dillon. The less expensive ones are plastic, and the rims tend to get chewed up; some have a brass head and plastic body, and they tend to come apart after a while. Dillon sells a brand called A-Zoom, which are all aluminum. I've never used them, but all the reports I've heard say they're pretty good. They're $10 per pair in 12 gauge. Fired rounds with the opened crimps cut off would probably work in a pinch.
 
Old July 13, 2000, 07:25 PM   #11
Jeff, CA
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Beat me to it.
 
Old July 13, 2000, 07:53 PM   #12
Hueco
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In some instances, the firing pin can be crystalized, and without proper support upon firing...it can crack and break. With no cushion, it's a dynamic force instead of a static force. Your gun is ok though, only firing hundreds of times will hurt it...50 times won't. But you need more practice than 50 lousy times. Don't use a spent shell, it's almost worthless, and dangerous too. Practice, pratice, practice.


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Old July 13, 2000, 08:19 PM   #13
Dave McC
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The guys covered snap caps pretty well, now dry firing...

I've heard that dry firing an 870 in cold weather may possibly cause the firing pin to snap. In all my years, including teaching all those rookies in all kinds of weather, including very cold weather, I've not seen any break.

As for disappointment, keep on with it. Things WILL improve. Feel free to E me at dmccracken@home,com, if you'd like ti discuss something privately...
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Old July 14, 2000, 09:02 AM   #14
K80Geoff
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I have a set of snap caps that I found in the local gun store. They are black lexan with a spring loaded primer. They came in a package of 3.

They are perfect for learning how to cycle the action on my 870. Load up the magazine and practice. Of course you will have to chase the caps all over the room after you are through, but their tough construction makes them practically indestructable. I cannot remember the brand.

Some of the more expensive snap caps are not as durable. I once purchased a pair of caps for my ruger 20 ga. The ejectors ripped off the flange of the cap first time I used them.

Several of the high end suppliers of British double guns have snap caps that are gold plated! if you are interested.

Just some more drivel you probably didn't need to know


Geoff Ross

------------------
One reason to vote in the next Presidential election.

It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!

[This message has been edited by K80Geoff (edited July 14, 2000).]
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Old July 14, 2000, 07:39 PM   #15
MrBlonde
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Dry fire on snap caps. From what I understand dry firing a shotgun is really bad for it.
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Old July 14, 2000, 10:14 PM   #16
PJR
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Dry firing on high grade double shotguns is not recommended but for an 870 or similar gun you can snap to your heart's content. I've owned an 870 that has had thousands of rounds through it and been dry fired without snap caps at least an equal amount of times.
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