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Old March 19, 2000, 01:24 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: June 17, 1999
Posts: 532
A recent thread on "Cruiser Ready" got me thinking ...

I have a 30-yr old High Standard pump. Since I took ownership last year, I have not fired, not even pulled the trigger. I have worked the action (smooth !) a few times to make sure shells will cycle in & out. My question is, by pumping and never pulling the trigger, is the firing pin in a stressed 'cocked' position ? Is this good ? Should I pul the trigger to release the pressure ? Buy a snap-cap ?

It is stored unloaded, and if I ever loaded it I would not have one in the chamber, so would need to rack it to make ready.
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Old March 19, 2000, 02:07 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,126
You can find a lot of arguments about springs in compression taking a "set". I happen to believe that it would be unlikely in the case of a firing-pin spring. There would be no effect on the pin itself.

An occasional use of the trigger to "fire" the gun with an empty chamber should not harm anything. It is the possible great number of repetitions which could break something. A once-fired case would serve as well as a snap-cap for your described situation...You could just as well have the fired case in the chamber, as have it empty.

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Old March 19, 2000, 08:33 PM   #3
Big Bunny
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Join Date: August 9, 1999
Location: New South Wales - Australia
Posts: 605
I would personally be more worried about the hammer spring(s)being constantly under tension... but dry-firing metal on metal should be discouraged anyway, I feel.

Winchesters (Eg 1200s)can be 'snapped'with a pressed piece of wood or rubber (with the barrel off) actually pressed on the bolt head/pin and then re-assembled.. as you clean it.

I Feel an inexpensive snap-cap of non-corrosive material(plastic with kevlar incert?) may be best for your shottie.

But, why not join a club and actually shoot it !

***Big Bunny***
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Old March 19, 2000, 09:46 PM   #4
Ranger Chris
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Join Date: November 21, 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 12
I've read reports of snap caps (or expended shells) left in the chamber of stored shotguns causing rust in the chamber. In these cases the guns had been cleaned before storage, and the expended shell or snap cap was used to relieve tension on the firing pin spring. I'm an old timer, and have been using shotguns all my life. Usually before storing a shotgun, I'll pull the trigger to relieve firing pin tension. Sometimes I don't. Never had any problem with the firing pin either way. The Remington 870's my department used were carried with the chamber empty, and the firing pin tension relieved. The guns were unloaded and reloaded at each shift change with this protocol. I have no personal knowledge of any firing pin breakage from this protocol. As I'm retired now, it is not convenient to check with the Department armorer for his experience. But this protocol would have had his approval since weapon reliability and safety would both be considerations in the protocol.
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Old March 19, 2000, 10:39 PM   #5
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Join Date: January 21, 2000
Posts: 823
FWIW, both John Farnam and Gabe Suarez (who I understand is a registered member here) recommend letting the hammer fall on an empty chamber to make a shotgun cruiser ready in their shotgun books. I've never heard of a shotgun's firing spring failing but it can't hurt to play it safe.


Justin T. Huang, Esq.
late of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
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Old March 20, 2000, 06:27 AM   #6
Dave McC
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Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
My HD 870 has been stored "cocked" most of the time since the 1950s. No problems as of this date.
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