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Old January 12, 2010, 02:56 PM   #1
nodamidis
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Snap Caps - What are they and how do I use them?

I received a handgun for Christmas. One of my friends, who knew about the gift, gave me a package of snap caps. I understand that you use snap caps to practice trigger pulls by dry firing and loading magazines. I am very anxious to try them out, but I have been reluctant to do so because I don't know what will happen when I put one in the chamber and pull the trigger. I am assuming that there is no gun powder or propellant so I won't blow a hole in my bedroom wall, but can someone tell me what to expect. Also, how can I remove the snap cap from the chamber? Will it eject after I pull the trigger?

Sorry for the stupid sounding question, but I am very new to guns and shooting, and I want to be super cautious about everything I do with the gun.
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Old January 12, 2010, 03:15 PM   #2
ZeSpectre
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If you could tell us what brand of snap cap and what type of firearm (pistol or revolver) we could probably give you more specific details.


In terms of a general definition...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snap_cap
Quote:
A snap cap is a device which appears similar to a standard firearm cartridge but contains no primer or projectile and is used to dry fire the weapon. Snap caps usually contain a spring-dampened false primer which absorbs the force from the firing pin allowing you to safely test-fire the gun without damaging the components.

Rimfire weapons, and some centerfire weapons of older design should never be test-fired with the chamber empty as this leads to weakening and possible breakage of the firing pin and increased wear to other components. In the instance of a rimfire weapon, "dry firing" can also cause deformation of the chamber edge. For this reason many shooters use a snap cap to cushion the weapon's firing pin as it moves forward.

Snap caps do have usage as a training tool to replace live rounds for loading and unloading drills, as well as training for mis-fires or "jams".
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Old January 12, 2010, 03:19 PM   #3
dondavis3
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I use snap caps for all of my guns.

I use " A-ZOOM " Safety snap caps -

They have some kind of business relationship with Pachmayr.

You can find the all over the internet or at www.pachmayr.com

They are very high quality.

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Old January 12, 2010, 03:21 PM   #4
nodamidis
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I don't have the snap caps package with me, but I am going to use them with my Springfield Armory XDm 9mm. I am assuming that they are appropriate for the pistol because they were given to me by someone who knows a lot about firearms. Of course, I will be reading the package closely to verify their appropriateness. I wanted to try them tonight when I get home from work.
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Old January 12, 2010, 03:43 PM   #5
stacks04
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i wanted to quote your last post to point out a flaw in your logic that hopefully you change. please dont take this as an insult as i read your new to guns and ammo. you stated that the snap caps where given to you by someone who knows about guns, and you ASSUME based on that, that they are ok. when it comes to firearms never assume. making assumptions could lead to a very hard lesson. your doing the right thing by doing some of your own research and asking those who may know. if your still unsure call the manufacturer. they will answer your questions with certainty. good luck in your shooting and practicing your second amendment rights
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Old January 12, 2010, 03:51 PM   #6
nodamidis
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You're right. I should never make assumptions like that. No offense taken.

As an aside, I didn't realize just how complicated firearms are, and the instructions that come with the firearms themselves, as well as all the cleaning gear, accessories, etc. pretty much assume that you know what you're doing. Perhaps I should start writing a book: Everything You Wanted to Know about Firearms and Were Afraid to Ask. I've taken a couple of shooting courses (rifles and pistols), but I have never seen a course on how to clean your gun, sight in your scope, etc.
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Old January 12, 2010, 03:57 PM   #7
wingspar
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What brand are they? I have some Triple K snap caps. They should have the caliber stamped on the snap cap. Mine say 9 Pb, which stands for 9mm Parabellum.

Obviously, they come in different calibers. I’m not good with hand guns, never really have been, so I bought some snap caps to help me with my trigger pull, as I feel my technique probably leaves something to be desired. I load a couple of snap caps randomly in the magazine so that I have no idea when they will be loaded into the chamber, and I video taped myself, and posted in a forum to get feedback on my technique, as it was obvious to some what I was doing wrong. They are good to use for training, or to use around the house for dry fire practice. Just make sure they are the correct caliber for your gun so that you don’t do any damage to the gun.

Google your gun on YouTube, and there will probably be a bunch of videos on cleaning and care.
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Old January 12, 2010, 04:42 PM   #8
oneounceload
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AZOOMS are machined aluminum (and are actually sold as proving dummy rounds)

To answer your question, you will have to work the slide manually to extract the snap cap after pulling the trigger. All you will hear is the hammer striking the "firing pin" of the snap cap
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Old January 12, 2010, 05:03 PM   #9
dondavis3
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+1 oneounceload

A-Zooms are high quality.
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Old January 12, 2010, 09:12 PM   #10
wally626
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If they are 9mm snap caps just make sure the gun is not loaded, go in a room with no live ammo, load the snap caps into an empty magazine, verify the gun is still unloaded then chamber a round. Point in a safe direction and pull the trigger. You do not need them to dry fire your gun, but they don't hurt. You can also use them to practice loading and unloading and seeing what the ammo is doing during the loading process. It also gives you something to cushion the blow of the slide if you want to practice slingshoting the slide and such.

There is a lot of stuff on the internet about cleaning of handguns and that sort of thing. The manual is the first stop, but do a search on "Cleaning XDm" should get you plenty of video hits. Watch several because some people really do not know what they are doing, so seeing many will help you sort out good advise from so-so advise.
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Old January 12, 2010, 09:27 PM   #11
dondavis3
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I called Springfield and asked them about "dry" firing and they told me to use snap caps.

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Old January 13, 2010, 08:44 AM   #12
nodamidis
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Thanks for all the great advice. The snap caps that my friend gave me are Traditions. They are 9mm, so they will work with my gun. Probably not the highest quality. They are definitely plastic. I loaded them into one of my magazines last night but didn't dry fire the pistol. I wanted to read all your responses first and I pinched my finger working the slide--another rookie mistake--so I left the actual dry firing for later. I will probably dry fire it tonight.
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Old January 13, 2010, 09:41 AM   #13
oneounceload
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Watch those plastic ones - I have had them for pistols and shotguns - the RIMS are the weakest point and are always breaking off rather easily - and they can gum up the works.

Once you've worn them out, get the aluminum ones from someone like AZOOM
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Old January 13, 2010, 09:57 AM   #14
nodamidis
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I ordered a package of A-Zoom snap caps. I want to do things right with this pistol.
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Old January 13, 2010, 12:44 PM   #15
NavyLT
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Ask an experienced shooter to take you to a range and teach you. They should be delighted to - I know I would be.

Here's a couple of tips that have worked extremely well for me.

First - trigger pull, expecting the gun to fire and aiming. If your goal is for accuracy vice speed (and it should be at the beginning) then this is how I teach.

1. You can do this at home: Know you gun - this is where the snap caps come in. Lock the slide to the rear, insert a magazine loaded with one or two snap caps, let the slide go forward under it's own power, either by pulling back on the slide all the way and let it go, or by pressing down on the slide stop lever. This is the correct way to load the gun - let the slide go freely from its rearward position - don't ease the slide (ride the slide) forward. A gun is made from very high strength steel, it won't hurt it!

2. You can do this at home: With the gun loaded with a snap cap, gently squeeze the trigger. What you should feel is little resistence in the trigger at first, then some resistence, then the hammer or striker will fall which is when the gun would fire. Pull the slide back all the way by hand, watch a snap cap come out of the gun, and then repeat step one to load another. Pay attention to where you meet resistence in squeezing the trigger - up to that point is called free play in the trigger.

3. You can do this at home: Tape a target to the wall. Now, in between steps one and two aim at the target. You should find plenty of examples on the internet regarding the proper sight picture for aiming. Concentrate not on squeezing the trigger, but on maintaining the accurate aim at the target. Begin to squeeze the trigger. You need to be less concerned about the aim up to the point that the free play is gone and now you are that point of resistence in the trigger.

At this point hold the trigger right there and concentrate on your aim. When the proper aim is obtained, gently begin to squeeze harder on the trigger. If your aim drifts off (and it will), maintain constant pressure on the trigger until you begin to come back on target with your aiming, and as you approach the exact aiming point, squeeze slightly more on the trigger. When the hammer or striker falls, it should be a complete surprise to you, but you should be aimed exactly at the target.

4. At the range with live ammo: after the gun is loaded, repeat step 3 exactly like you did at home. A lot of people make the mistake of getting their aim exactly right and they think to themselves, "That's it! That's perfect! I've got to make the gun go off NOW while I am on target!" and they jerk the trigger, making the shot go off target. Instead, don't even think about the gun going off. Concentrate on gently applying more pressure to the trigger as your aim approaches the desired point on the target.

5. Does your gun have a rail to mount a laser on? If it does, get a cheap laser, I mean like $15 to $20 bucks, and mount it on there. That laser isn't meant to be using for aiming in this case - what you want to do with it is with the snap caps in at home, practice keeping the laser on a tiny target spot taped to the wall throughout the trigger pull until the hammer or striker falls.

Those steps above, and not even thinking about having to force the gun go bang helped improve my accuracy immensely. I qualify expert on both the 9 mm pistol and the M-16 rifle in the Navy.
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Old January 13, 2010, 01:35 PM   #16
cfiben
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i don't think you need this in any guns except revolvers, i have dry fired my glock thousands of times, with no problem, and a snap cap is about the same price as a firing pin, anyway.

Useless...
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Old January 13, 2010, 01:48 PM   #17
ZeSpectre
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Quote:
a snap cap is about the same price as a firing pin, anyway.
Maybe, but not the same price as a new slide if you peen the firing pin hole open due to the excessive force of the firing pin slamming into it.
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Old January 13, 2010, 04:16 PM   #18
Chipperman
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Quote:
i have dry fired my glock thousands of times, with no problem, and a snap cap is about the same price as a firing pin, anyway.

Useless...
You are entitled to your opinion, certainly, but realize that dry firing is not the only use for Snap Caps. They are also very useful for practicing failure drills. Have a friend load a Snap Cap somewhere in the mag. When you are firing and the gun suddenly goes "Click", you can practice your tap-rack-bang.
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Old January 13, 2010, 04:36 PM   #19
Shawn Dodson
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I share the same opinion about snap caps. A waste of money (at least for any application I might use them for).

I do, however use handfuls of dummy cartridges to train for clearing stoppages.

See: http://www.stactionpro.com/
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