The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 16, 2014, 10:26 AM   #1
royboy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: April 1, 2012
Posts: 11
Snap caps

Just purchased a S&W Shield for my wife and was wondering if snap caps will cycle so she can practice handling it. Thanks
royboy is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 10:32 AM   #2
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 5,676
Not intended for this purpose

Quote:
wondering if snap caps will cycle
No Sir, as they create no pressure/force to do so. .....

Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is online now  
Old August 16, 2014, 11:06 AM   #3
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 7,977
Snap caps will feed from a magazine and properly eject by manually manipulating the slide. I do this often with my semi-autos when I want to check feeding. The snap-cap cartridges are well designed to fit in the chamber they are designed for, just like a regular cartridge.
Skans is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 01:00 PM   #4
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 5,325
If you mean for dry firing it and get used to the feel of it, snap caps aren't really needed.
They would be useful, though, for practicing loading, unloading and clearing the pistol.
__________________
Lock the doors, they're coming in the windows.
g.willikers is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 01:04 PM   #5
RX-79G
Junior member
 
Join Date: October 27, 2013
Posts: 1,139
If you're going to dry fire a fair amount, use a snap cap (purchased or homemade). Dry firing does damage either the slide or firing pin overtime. It is easy to find pictures of Glocks with failed breechfaces and HK revamped the USP firing pin because of dry firing breakages.

If you're cheap, a shell casing with a piece of leather jammed into the primer pocket will work, but may take some fussing to chamber on tilting barrel action.
RX-79G is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 02:11 PM   #6
AK103K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2001
Location: PA -- In the shadow of the Shade
Posts: 8,109
I like using snap caps for a couple of reasons.

One being, it cant hurt the gun doing so, especially if your dry firing a lot.

The other, and more important reason, you cant have a live round in the chamber, if the snap cap is there.

I prefer the ready made snap caps as opposed to the homemade variety. The main reason being, most of the ready made snap caps, dont look like a live round, and can be easily identified and not mistaken for one, or vice versa.

Another issue with the homemade variety is what you use in the primer pocket. Some things can degrade and come apart, and end up places you dont want or need them, causing you trouble at a bad time. Factory snap caps arent that expensive, and good ones, like the A Zooms, last a good long while.
__________________
“The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
AK103K is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 02:27 PM   #7
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,166
Leather in the primer pocket offers zero resistance to the firing pin. So does rubber, hot glue, and all the other stuff people use to make snap caps. If you are going to do a lot of dry firing, buy good factory-made snap caps.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 02:39 PM   #8
Knightsofnee
Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2013
Posts: 64
My Shield will feed A-Zoom snap caps from the magazine when cycled by hand.
Knightsofnee is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 02:43 PM   #9
AK103K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2001
Location: PA -- In the shadow of the Shade
Posts: 8,109
A-Zooms also feed fine with live ammo in the mag, and work great for stoppage drills while practicing at the range.
__________________
“The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
AK103K is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 04:56 PM   #10
RX-79G
Junior member
 
Join Date: October 27, 2013
Posts: 1,139
Quote:
Leather in the primer pocket offers zero resistance to the firing pin. So does rubber, hot glue, and all the other stuff people use to make snap caps.
What does this mean?

Leather certainly stops the firing pin from going too far, and it buffers the impact. How can something stop a firing pin with zero resistance?
RX-79G is offline  
Old August 16, 2014, 07:13 PM   #11
Yung.gunr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 11, 2010
Location: Phoenix area
Posts: 1,385
Snap caps are great for a couple reasons. Especially getting new shooters more comfortable with guns. My wife had not handled guns much at all when we got together. I used some orange plastic dummy rounds to help teach her how to load a magazine and to find a good way for her to rack the slide and then practice. It's good because you can feel more confident that you pulled it back far enough. Then when she got better I felt it was important for her to be able to load a mag and chamber a round in the dark. She got pretty good.

There is a lot of practice that can be done at home with snap caps or dummy rounds. Cycling the slide is not one though.
Yung.gunr is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 01:34 AM   #12
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,166
RX- the firing pin simply pierces the leather. The leather doesn't stop the pin-it travels until it hits something that will stop it. Silicone rubber, erasers, hot glue, etc.- none of them offer any resistance to a firing pin. Even if they did, after the first time they would be useless. Properly made snap caps have a sprung METAL disc in place of the primer.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 03:07 AM   #13
RX-79G
Junior member
 
Join Date: October 27, 2013
Posts: 1,139
Quote:
RX- the firing pin simply pierces the leather. The leather doesn't stop the pin-it travels until it hits something that will stop it. Silicone rubber, erasers, hot glue, etc.- none of them offer any resistance to a firing pin. Even if they did, after the first time they would be useless. Properly made snap caps have a sprung METAL disc in place of the primer.
Here's the firing pin side of the leather:

And here's the backside of the leather after several hundred dry fires:

Whachu talkin' 'bout?
RX-79G is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 06:10 AM   #14
AK103K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2001
Location: PA -- In the shadow of the Shade
Posts: 8,109
Quote:
Silicone rubber, erasers, hot glue, etc.- none of them offer any resistance to a firing pin. Even if they did, after the first time they would be useless. Properly made snap caps have a sprung METAL disc in place of the primer.
I used to use the red plastic and brass "Tipton", or whoevers name they are being sold under these days, and always found them lacking. That little spring loaded "primer" they have, would usually quickly end up jammed into the pocket, rendering it useless.

The other issue I had with them, was with a couple of the rifle calibers. They werent properly sized, and the bolts were hard to close to the point they wouldnt, and it was hard to get them out.

I dont know what silicone type material A-Zoom uses in their primer pockets, but Ive always found it to be very durable and have yet to have one come apart with use. The rims usually go before the rubber, and even then, thats after months of constant daily use.


Early on, I tried making my own, figuring Id save a few bucks, and decided it wasnt worth the risk or effort.
__________________
“The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
AK103K is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 10:29 AM   #15
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 5,325
Now come on.
I have some dummy rounds with bits of hard rubber glued in the primer pockets.
Very useful for reload and next shot practice.
Been using them for twenty years without any issues.
Also been dry firing the same pistol as long, mostly without anything in the chamber.
Countless times over the decades.
No issues there, either.
__________________
Lock the doors, they're coming in the windows.
g.willikers is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 10:47 AM   #16
AK103K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2001
Location: PA -- In the shadow of the Shade
Posts: 8,109
For the most part, except for .22's, I think dry firing wont hurt most things, unless youre "really" using them a lot.

In 55+ years of shooting, Ive only ever broke one firing pin, and it was a USGI M14 firing pin in an M1A, that was used in competition and the gun was dry fired in practice constantly as well.

As I said before, I dont think using them can hurt, as long as what youre using stays together, and doesnt leave little bits in the wrong places. Ive personally seen that occur, which is why I prefer properly made/designed factory made snap caps.

That, and they are an added safety measure, as you cant have a live tround in the chamber, if you load the snap cap. I still prefer things that can be instantly identified as such though, over things that look no different than loaded ammo.

If youre making your own, and they are lasting you 20 years of constant use, you may want to go into business for yourself, as you will likely make out real good. I have yet to find any commercially made snap caps that will last much past 6 months of constant, hard use. If yours are holding up that long, you got a winner.
__________________
“The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
AK103K is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 10:56 AM   #17
TunnelRat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2011
Posts: 4,575
Quote:
I dont know what silicone type material A-Zoom uses in their primer pockets, but Ive always found it to be very durable and have yet to have one come apart with use. The rims usually go before the rubber, and even then, thats after months of constant daily use.
Agreed. I find it interesting that some extractors seem harder on those rims than others. Sometimes the rims really get chewed up, other firearms not nearly as much. I also find that even if the rims don't break the rubber primer eventually gets such an indent in it that I wonder how much it is doing. But as you said that is after many many months of dry firing dozens of times a day.
__________________
Guns don't kill people. Apes with guns kill people! - Robin Williams
TunnelRat is online now  
Old August 17, 2014, 11:45 AM   #18
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 5,325
Quote:
If yours are holding up that long, you got a winner.
That's why I chose brass over plastic.
Can't remember what the rubber for the primer pocket is or where it came from.
Probably from the automobile world.
Might be from a suspension bushing or the like.
Definitely not pencil eraser.
__________________
Lock the doors, they're coming in the windows.
g.willikers is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 03:18 PM   #19
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,166
I may not be able to explain this properly, but I'll try.
Leather and hard rubber offer no resistance because the tip of the firing pin exerts quite a bit of pressure in a tiny spot. It simply either cuts through or crushes the material. The force of the pin needs to be distributed over a larger area. This is why commercial snap caps have a metal "primer" that is either sprung or cushioned underneath.
So, even though you think your homemade caps have been working, you just have been lucky all these years.
You can make caps that work, but it would involve using a metal disc that is primer diameter, that is glued in place with a thin layer of silicone rubber. The disc will absorb the blow from the firing pin and the thin layer of silicone rubber will cushion the disc. I would think that eventually the silicone would lose it's grip and the "primer" would fall out. This is why I suggest commercial snap caps.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 06:12 PM   #20
ttarp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 4, 2013
Posts: 317
I think if you changed it a bit and said rubber or silicone offer little, or less resistance than a factory snap cap you might get a better reception.

Quote:
Leather and hard rubber offer no resistance
^Issue is thats just flat out untrue. Little resistance maybe, but none? Insufficient perhaps but really?

For the record I advocate quality made store bought snap caps.
ttarp is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 08:29 PM   #21
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,166
OK- totally insufficient resistance. One the material is pierced, the resistance is practically zero.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old August 17, 2014, 08:43 PM   #22
RX-79G
Junior member
 
Join Date: October 27, 2013
Posts: 1,139
The real issue is stopping or slowing the firing pin before it strikes the inside of the slide. With a Glock, leather or rubber are probably not going to do that. With firing pins that can protrude further, a soft material may work, if they decelerate the pin prior to hitting the inside of the breech face or a stop pin, then they are doing the job.

The 9mm that I use mine for occasionally may be acting as Bill says - the pin will not protrude far enough to poke all the way through that leather. It probably is still getting at least a little benefit.

Thanks for making me look at that, Bill. If I do a lot more dry fire I'll grab some real caps, or make something with metal and RTV.
RX-79G is offline  
Old August 18, 2014, 10:32 AM   #23
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 5,676
ttarp + 1, Conditionally

ttarp + 1, Conditionally
Regardless, snap-caps are preferred and worth every cent !! ....

Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is online now  
Old August 21, 2014, 09:11 AM   #24
AdamSean
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2007
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Posts: 450
I own snap caps in every caliber that I own. It protects the pistol from any minimal damage from dry firing, teaches proper loading, unloading and clearing simulated jams; tactical reloads, and comes in handy at the range if someone puts one in your mags at random.

I love them.
AdamSean is online now  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13761 seconds with 7 queries