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Old October 8, 2009, 12:44 PM   #51
michael t
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Lets see people called KelTecs junk because owners did a fluff and buff. Yet it ok to shoot 500 rounds to do what the KT owners did with out shooting. Be cause these non KT,s are a quality made pistols and need broken it .:barf:
I have several Colts 1 Dan Wesson 1 American Classic and I remove each from box made sure barrel was clear oiled the slide rails and went to shooting 50 to 100 rounds then a cleaning. No failuers accepted I have never saw, the need to break in . Military didn't give you 500 rounds to break in you 1911 in WWII, The 3 pistols that didn't pass this test was a Llama . Para Ord and a Kimber All were replaced by Colts that did hit the range running and are still running
They should work out of the box. period

What about the average joe man or woman that buys a pistol for SD at home Loads it and puts it in the drawer . If they need that pistol they should expect it to work right out of box . No break in needed Remember we are not average gun owners We shoot more in a year than most people will shoot in a lifetime. But I feel Mr joe, "I might shoot it some day" desevers a quality pistol for his money. One that will work right from box Or else the manufacture needs to held accountable if needed and failed . After all he bought it with understanding it would work if needed. If company insist on break in Then as said before enclose a coupon for said amount of ammo To finish what should have been done at factory and big warning lable We left pistol unfinished you must finish the final fitting. by shooting
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Old October 8, 2009, 12:46 PM   #52
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They should work out of the box. period
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Old October 8, 2009, 04:10 PM   #53
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The most complicated machine made is the space shuttle and it's millions of components. Do you see that being broken in or red-lined? "Houston, we're going to fly for an hour at 600 mph to break this baby in, copy?"
And every piece that moves has been 'broken in' during test and sell off.
You don't understand the engines have all been run up in test stands?
The solid rockets are the only thing that cannot be easily tested, so they are inspected like all get out.

AND.... How does the metal in a gun know when to stop wearing after the breakin period.
Never lapped parts together have you?

Irregularities in the surface you are trying to reduce stick up higher.

The pressure on these 'bumps' is very high.

As the surface irregularities smooth out the pressure is applied over a larger and larger area.

At that point the pressure stops causing much wear at all.

The expensive guns have been oversold as being 'tight.'

It makes people think they are better.

The cheaper guns have less (if any) hand work to polish mating surfaces.
They may be about as they came off the cutter.

While a mill or lathe can leave a pretty smooth surface (especially if run at low feed rates with plenty of lubricant and a new sharp cutter) that takes time, adds to tool cost, cutter wear, and increases costs.

Detroit caught on long ago and has gone to great pains to reduce the amount of 'break in' required on engines.
But the better surface finishes require money.
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Old October 8, 2009, 07:45 PM   #54
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Do you actually break down a weapon in the middle of a range session and clean it for no other reason than having fired an arbitrary number of rounds?
VHinch -

Actually - I don't go to a range as I can shoot just out my back door. I don't shoot more than 100-150 rounds of center fire ammo at a time either. And when I do shoot more than 200 rounds, it is with a .22 - I do actually quick clean on my 5th box or so.....22 ammo is like any other ammo. Some brands fire dirtier and some cleaner. I will never be at a place to shoot 1000-2000 rounds in a weekend...too expensive for one thing.

I don't see any difference in our opinions as you state that you haven't had any FTEs. You shoot yours dirty. I shoot mine cleaner. I just don't get the gunk/junk being abrasive enough to do much....grit factor - ya know. What is the "grit" factor on that dirty gun gunk?

Let's let "Mythbusters" have at this dialog...

This leads to the bigger discussion of this break in period - how many manufacturers actually state as such in their manual? Anyone have specifics [PLEASE not automobiles] in pistol terms where manuals indicate “break in”?

Also - it is a question, to me, of reliability out of the box.
In short - would you rather have a firearm that is 100% reliable every time you pull the trigger [independent of ammo failure], has adequate accuracy [barring user error] or one that you need to "break in" to get the reliability?

I just read a review about the two Nighthawk GRPs –custom made, of course. The author was quite clear about tolerances in 1911s: Too much Slop and too tight makes for a something that is inherently inaccurate or something that will have issues.

He cleaned and shot both those 1911s before firing – 250 rounds each – no failures. The article to me was another “ah ha” moment about what I consider to be the “myth” of “breaking it in”.

The quote the drove it home:

“The whole sloppy/reliable vs. tight/accurate business is a false choice. Don’t make it loose or tight. Just fit the parts right...”

American Handgunner , Volume 33, Number 6, Issue 202, page 60...
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Old October 8, 2009, 08:29 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by spodmo
I just don't get the gunk/junk being abrasive enough to do much....grit factor - ya know. What is the "grit" factor on that dirty gun gunk?
Couldn't tell you what the grit factor is, no idea. What I can tell you is that it does make a difference. Not speculate, not guess, but tell you from actual experience based on many thousands of rounds every year through 1911s. I also know that Les Baer, who in my opinion builds the best 1911 on the planet and who knows a lot more about the 1911 and it's tolerances than anyone here says it works, so who am I to argue with the man?

Keep in mind though, that in my example I'm referring to one very specific type of firearm, that being custom and semi-custom 1911's that are hard fit and have very tight tolerances. In that application, regardless of what the actual grit of the gunk is, there is grit there, and it is bearing against operating surfaces under pressure. In a production gun with tolerances so loose you could throw a screaming cat through them though, you wouldn't even notice a difference.

Originally Posted by spodmo
how many manufacturers actually state as such in their manual? Anyone have specifics [PLEASE not automobiles] in pistol terms where manuals indicate “break in”?
The only one that immediately comes to mind is Kimber. Not a great example for me, as I don't think much of Kimber, but it does answer your question.

Before firing the pistol for the first time, Field Strip and clean the firearm following proper procedures (see DISASSEMBLY, CLEANING and LUBRICATION and ASSEMBLY Instructions in this Manual). Kimbers firearms are quality custom pieces. Our firearms are hand fitted to tight tolerances. For proper Break-in of the firearm shoot 400-500 rounds of Quality Factory Ball (230g. FMJ). Ammunition, cleaning and lubricating the gun every 100-150 rounds.
I've said it twice now, but I'll repeat it. The weapon should NOT need a break in period to run correctly, and the break in period should not be used as a catch all for a weapon that doesn't run correctly. That doesn't mean the break in period doesn't serve a purpose.
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Old October 20, 2012, 11:38 AM   #56
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Break in period

I shoot 150 to 200 rounds of ball ammo FMJ then shoot a box of carry ammo then carry it. You of course will put more rounds thru it as you practice with it.
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Old October 20, 2012, 12:46 PM   #57
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Springs usually have a noticable loosening after 500 rounds. If they sold you the gun with weaker springs initially they would be unacceptably loose once you got into higher round counts.

Also a look at a painted gun's rails will show a suprising amount of wear does in fact occur. Yes, perhaps they could be mated more perfectly at the factory but chances are you are not paying enough for the manufacturer to do so.
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Old October 20, 2012, 12:51 PM   #58
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If the firearm's instruction manual comes with a break-in pre condition for normal operation then one should not be surprised when it doesn't until such period has been completed.Analogies to machines,internal combustion engines and even violins are just that,a firearm is none of those and should perform as represented immediately after purchase,rationalizing malfunctions is what has caused what comes pretty close to unscrupulous merchantability.
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Old October 20, 2012, 01:10 PM   #59
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About the only reason these days is

1. You have a gun from a mfg that has erratic or poor quality control and you need to find out which you got.

2. The other is called infant mortality syndrome. If something is bad, it will generally reveal itself fairly early. Ergo some shooting.

3. Your gun may not like certain rounds and you need to find that out if you are not going to shoot the same thing.

4. It gets you experience with that gun if you don't have it (though not listed and may not be needed if you have same mfg in otter caliber or even identical.

That said you can also have a part this is not right and takes a long time to reveal itself. Do the best you can with short term test and hope its fine in the long run.
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Old October 20, 2012, 02:57 PM   #60
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Some pistols do need it. A good thing to do is do your homework before hand and see if one does. Now my SA ultracompact v10 did but its also a 1911 that is way shorter and runs off different system such as no bushing bull barrel and a mini full length guide rod. it did need about 500 rounds of 230 grain ball. but my milspec ran great right outta the box. just how it goes sometimes.
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Old October 20, 2012, 03:13 PM   #61
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brickeyee wrote:

Irregularities in the surface you are trying to reduce stick up higher.

The pressure on these 'bumps' is very high.

As the surface irregularities smooth out the pressure is applied over a larger and larger area.

At that point the pressure stops causing much wear at all.
This about sums up "break in'. Most guns, especially semi's, have metal surface to surface contact areas that need to self whatever degree. Some more than others. Its not rocket science.
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Old October 20, 2012, 06:52 PM   #62
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As a passing thiught on this very interesting topic.I wonder what the Army Ordnance Brass reaction would have been had Master J.M.Browning told them that them M1911s would not be operational until somehow they had been properly broken in.
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Old October 20, 2012, 11:16 PM   #63
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I expect the gun to run well out the box, after it's cleaned and oiled. Those who choose to buy a high-end, tight, custom gun, may expect it to require a break-in. That's ok if they're made aware of that before the sale, either through their own research, at the point of sale, or in the owner's manual.

I'd be upset if my $500 gun malfunctioned and was told by the manufacturer to call them back after I fired another 400 rounds. To me, a break-in period is one day and 50 rounds. Crazy, I know.
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Old October 21, 2012, 12:15 AM   #64
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Break-in is definitely not a total myth. For example when I got my Springfield RO, it locked into battery so tight that you had to give the slide a very hard yank to get it out of battery. After a few hundred rounds, the slide racks smooth as silk.

That said I think break in is overstated by many people. A gun may need a bit of use for parts to reach their optimal condition but that's no excuse for a gun that won't work out of the box.
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Old October 21, 2012, 12:56 AM   #65
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Old thread... but since people decided to resurrect it...

Wear fitting of parts during break in helps the gun run smoother.

The gun should function well right out of the box... just a few malfunctions, maybe a failure to fully enter battery, thats not an automatic reason for concern... repeated issues are a sign of a problem.

If you get a few malfunctions not ammo related in the first couple boxes of ammo, then its not a big deal, if after a few more boxes they go away.

If you have several non-ammo related malfunctions in your first box of ammo through the gun, then it can be a sign of issues.
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Old October 21, 2012, 06:38 AM   #66
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Because under a scanning electron microscope those perfectly machined surfaces that look smooth under the naked eye (or a loup) are covered with jagged mountains and valleys and create friction.

A semiautomatic gun is like a car engine, not a space shuttle. It has metal parts rubbing against each other, parts that need to be well-lubricated and broken in--especially when there's a tight fit, like on some 1911s. It's better to make a tighter fit and let it rub down than make it looser and work "out of the box."

You can polish it, but if you take too much off you may ruin the fit.

...also, the wear won't continue at an accelerated rate once the parts have "mated" to one another--that's why after a break-in your gun won't die 2000 rounds down the road.

Last edited by thedudeabides; October 21, 2012 at 06:47 AM.
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Old October 21, 2012, 07:58 AM   #67
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"Break in" means "we didn't do a very good job fitting the gun's parts and we didn't test it but it's yours now so please go away and deal with it. If you call us and complain we'll advise you to buy more ammo and keep shooting it. Maybe it will simply start working". Pretty sad. The part that astounds me about this is all the people that believe it. That's exactly why it works. The oft repeated statement that a firearm is just like a car's engine is pretty silly too. I have never seen a 1911 that had piston rings and crankshaft bearings in it. If this "break in" theory was true consider how many millions of rounds are wasted by the U.S. military and the nation's law enforcement while they "break in" new weapons. I am sure the U.S. Marines or the Navy SEALS wouldn't have any problem sending men into a battle with weapons that arent quite "broken in" yet and may jam every other magazine.

Last edited by drail; October 21, 2012 at 08:11 AM.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:12 AM   #68
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When I got my first Kimber and read in the manual about the "break-in" I thought jeez, shouldn't a $1200 gun work right out of the box? So I grabbed 400 rnds of my reloads and headed to the range. I didn't expierence one malfunction and I did notice that the action became a little smoother. If I had expierenced multiple malfunctions I would have screamed bloody murder. I agree a gun should function right out of the box and I don't mind putting a few hundred rounds thru it to achieve the end result. Hell, I bought it to shoot it!
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:50 AM   #69
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I think that a gun should work out of the box. I don't believe in any of the BS that you need to feed X amount of ONLY BRAND Y ammo through it so that it will work properly--and don't bother sending in the misfeeding, misfiring, FTE POS in until you do.

It's why I don't own a Kimber anymore and no one with their perfect, flawless, "broken in" Kimbers can convince me to buy one again. If a gun doesn't perform flawlessly the first 50-100 rounds I get it, it's going back, as did my Kimber, despite the protestations of their customer service department and my apparently logical argument of "why should I keep wasting ammo on this thing if every 25 rounds I have a major issue?" That was my target pistol, BTW, so if it didn't work right it was just an irritation over wasted money and not a crap my pants moment.

With that said, I think a semiautomatic gun is like a simple engine. Compressed gas, high pressures, moving parts in need of lubrication, low friction (supposedly) surfaces rubbing against one another. Unless you spend a few grand on a well-polished and fitted 1911 from a boutique manufacturer, most semis will feel a bit rough and gritty when new. Especially metal ones. Plastic guns are all rattly and bendy and I have no damn clue what a tight fit on one should be like, or such a thing is even possible. So that's all I mean by a "break in" when I talk about it.

Guns that I can afford will work more smoothly (maybe it's a perception) after a few thousand rounds, because everything has had a chance to smooth over. Of course this may be anecdotal and the reason "broken in" old guns feel smoother is because they were made when people gave a crap about their manufacturing process whereas today they are slapped together in a hurry with no concern for QC, and that's what I feel when I buy CPO these days.

That's why I bought Sigs, because they all worked right out of the box... Until their Custom Shop botched a SRT job for me.


tldr: If a gun doesn't work out of the box, send it in. Cheaper guns tend to "feel smoother" after a break in. Maybe it's perception.
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Old October 21, 2012, 04:41 PM   #70
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Wear fitting is a real thing... No machined part is perfectly smooth, no matter how sharp the tooling.

Break in is not an excuse for a badly assembled/fitted gun.
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Old October 21, 2012, 09:04 PM   #71
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I don't accept that premise on a carry piece and view those makers who brush off critcism regarding their offerings as lacking in basic Quality Control...Kimber in my experience, despite their advertising hype and slick magazine add's, should spend some add'l time on finish fitting their guns, especially for the blown out prices they charge. If it took me 200 rounds to get the company to address malfunctions, in a gun I'd just paid over a grand for, I'd never trust the gun or them, again. For any defensive pistol, or revolver for that matter, 100% reliability or very, very close to it, is the minimum. Best Regards, Rod
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Old October 21, 2012, 10:12 PM   #72
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I think people get a few things confused when it comes to "break in"

First any gun I buy, even a revolver, gets a "shake down" session or two with anywhere from 200-1000 rounds down range to make sure all works, that I am understanding it and it's needs and that it likes whatever I am feeding it, likes how it is lubricated etc. Isolated issues discovered and corrected in this period are not in my mind "failures" so much as learning, what does the gun like / dislike, etc. Anyone who buys a gun for "serious use" and does not do this is not doing themselves any favors.

2 such examples of things discovered doing this:

1. Sig P229 stainless .40 cal. First 100 or so rounds fired were WWB from wal mart. Accuracy was markedly lacking. Thought I had a dog of a gun. TAP carry ammo, CCI blazer and American eagle FMJ all showed expected excellent sig results. For whatever reason WWB in this gun produced poor groups.

2. Glock 17 - used / as new in box. Multiple FTF's on first outing with FMJ practice ammo. A quick field strip, lube and was running fine. Best guess was simply not enough lube and or gummy, old lube.

None of these findings were the fault of the gun and were somewhat interesting things to learn.

Now on to actual "break in". Of course metal parts are going to seat better and better for some period of time as the work against one another. Heck half the art of fitting some parts to one another like say slide / frame fit consists of lapping the two together. How much this matters varies with the application, the tolerances and materials being discussed however it is always happening to some small degree.

Where the breakdown occurs with the "break in" concept is when people use it as an excuse for a gun that is blatantly non-functional out of the box. My expectation is good, normal function out of the box and if anything even better / smoother function with time. The 2 makers I know of that reccomend break in are Kahr and Kimber, neither of whom I really care for and one of which (Kahr) i have had major issues with a gun that never ran. I agree with many who state that break in is an excuse for poor manufacturing often times.

I disagree that 1911's need break in, mine from higher end / semi-custom makers have never needed this nor would I have tolerated it if they did.

Les Baer is an interesting maker in that his guns are fit tighter than avarage when compared to peers such as Brown, Wilson, etc. Yet I have not seen or had Baer guns fail to run reliably out of the box either. Biggest complaint with the Baer guns is usually needing a bushing wrench to get the thing apart. I also don't see too many Baer guns that are used that one can detect as having "become lose". In fact most people I know wait for their barrel bushing to loosen up with time, it does not and they end up lapping it a little. I don't know why Les builds them this way and others do not, neither is "wrong" they both work and work really well. You pay your money and take your choices.
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Old October 21, 2012, 10:34 PM   #73
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I didn't say new cars require a break-in period. I said new motorcycles do. This is definitely mentioned in HD owner's manuals, and by dealers and mechanics.
Because HD's are worthless boat anchors! 1912 technology at 2012 prices

How's that overweight, underpowered, turns-like-an-oil-tanker potato potato machine working out for ya?

I'm done trolling. HD's still suck btw.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:58 AM   #74
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Yes they do. I think the point a lot of people are missing here is that while "breaking in" does smooth rough parts a little it is completely unnecessary for those parts to be smooth for the gun to function. Millions of military weapons have rough parts in them when new but still function reliably. But when a manufacturer tells customers to keep "breaking in" the gun when it won't function out of the box it is a scam. You want to see roughly finished parts in a gun? Look inside any Ruger revolver that has not been smithed. They're full of burrs and rough bearing surfaces. But I have never seen one that wouldn't function 100% out of the box. While it would be nice to have finely polished bearing surfaces in a new gun it's considerably more important to the user for it to run out of the box. The only exception I see to this would be Les Baer's guns (especially the wadcutter guns). But they are built for an accuracy standard that few others are even thinking of offering and few customers need or want. Most Les Baer's are so tight when new that a lot of guys can barely pull the slide back (even with the hammer cocked). But this is only done so that they will stay tight for a very long time. And they do. A gun that was never tight when new and doesn't function isn't going to start working because you put 500 rounds through it. It's poorly fit.

Last edited by drail; October 22, 2012 at 08:14 AM.
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Old October 22, 2012, 08:59 AM   #75
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I've never had a pistol require a "break-in" to function properly. I do thoroughly clean and lubricate any new firearm I buy prior to shooting, though.

Kahr claims their pistols require a break-in, but my CM9 has functioned flawlessy from the first shot. The slide did get easier to manifulate after the few 100 shots or so though.

Everyone claims that 1911s require a break-in to function properly as well, but my Colt Government XSE has also been 100% from the first shot.

I have had pistols that required some shooting before the trigger smoothed out and began to feel "right," including the afore-mentioned Colt, and a Walther P99AS that had a gritty trigger when new, but broke in to a buttery-smooth feel.

Last edited by Fishbed77; October 22, 2012 at 09:06 AM.
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