The importance of dry-firing

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report was requested by blog reader NotRocketSurgery. He’s been watching the NSSF videos on You Tube about shooting in the Olympics, and the subject of dry-firing comes up repeatedly. He wanted to know why. I’ll address this subject with enthusiasm, because this is something with which I actually have some experience.

Have you ever watched the Olympics and seen a slalom racer standing at the top of the course with his or her eyes closed, swaying as they envision running the course? We might have made fun of such behavior in the 1960s, but today we know that’s what all the winners do. They’re conditioning their minds to respond correctly to the course ahead of them.

Dry-firing a gun is like that, but it’s more than a century older. We don’t close our eyes, nor do we sway about, so onlookers don’t have quite as much to comment on. When we shoot our guns without discharging a shot (dry-firing), we’re conditioning our brains and many muscles to work together.

I don’t suppose there’s a machine the downhill skiers can get on to simulate the experience of skiing while standing still, but all world-class target air rifles and air pistols do have a dry-fire mechanism built in. To not have one automatically eliminates the gun from serious consideration.

Top target shooters spend much more time dry-firing their airguns than they do shooting pellets. How much more differs from shooter to shooter, but I’ve heard one Olympic air pistol shooter say the number is five times as much. So, for every shot that makes a hole in paper, the shooter has also fired five more shots without discharging the gun. And it’s very common for a world-class shooter to shoot a full match every day, which would be 60 shots for a man or 40 for a woman. And five times that much dry-firing.

How do you dry-fire a gun?
You don’t just pick up the airgun and start shooting. Practice in the dry-fire mode must be identical to shooting a match, though a target doesn’t have to be in a bullet trap or even the correct distance from the shooter, since it’s all a simulation. I am going to describe this from an air pistol shooter’s perspective, but what I say applies equally to air rifle shooters. The moves are just different.

For those who are interested, I wrote an extensive blog on the subject of shooting a 10-meter target pistol. Part 3 demonstrates raising the pistol and sighting. You do it this way with both live-fire and dry-fire.

When you dry-fire, you first go through all the motions of raising the pistol and settling on the target. That is not a random movement! The gun is held on the shooting table in front of the shooter in a certain and repeatable way, and is raised to the same height each time. Some shooters like to raise the sights above the bull and then settle back down until the sights are aligned with it. Others like to raise the gun until the sights come in line with the bull on the way up and go no higher. Each shooter has a preference; but whatever it is, they always do it the same way.

Once the sights are on target, the shooter has up to about five seconds to get the shot off. Much longer and the gun will start to wander more than a little, so timing is very important. An amateur might hold out for the perfect sight picture for twice as long as a world-class shooter, but you’ll see the top shooters lower their guns if they don’t get the shot off within the time limit.

Many shooters, including me, take up the slack of the trigger’s first-stage pull as the gun is settling into position. To someone who is not trained, this sounds dangerous, and it actually is — because their guns will go off at a time that is not entirely of their choosing. But a top competitor knows exactly where the trigger releases, and they can wait until the sights are perfectly aligned before applying the final few grams of pressure that cause the sear to release.

When the sear releases, the shooter continues to aim at the target, noting where the sights are. With some practice they learn to call their shots — which means they know exactly where each pellet went without seeing the hole it made in the target. This is something you can read about and never understand. As you train, it comes to you all at once. And when that happens, you never forget it. You’ll be able to call your shots from that point on.

After the shooter has called the shot (to himself), the gun is lowered to the shooting table, reloaded and the cycle begins again. There are 90 seconds for every shot in a formal match. It sounds like a rush, but it’s actually more than enough time for a well-trained shooter. You don’t lower the gun without taking a shot more than a handful of times in a match, if that much, so time is never your enemy unless you have an equipment problem. I never thought about the time remaining in a match. What I concentrated on was how many pellets remained in my pellet tray, because that told me where I was in the match.

The dry-fire mechanism
I told you that all world-class airguns have a dry-fire mechanism, but now I’ll tell you that some are better than others. Most of them have some sort of switch that is set one way for live fire and another way for dry fire. The guns that have that usually have a very realistic trigger-pull in the dry-fire mode.

I shoot a SAM M10 that was made through cooperation between Anschütz and Caesare Morini. I’ve never shot a full formal match with it; but back in the late 1990s, I did shoot it for the record several times. That was when I was shooting at my peak, so I noticed things more acutely than I do today. I found the trigger to be very nice, though by that time I’d tested enough FWBs, Steyrs and Walthers to know what a world-class trigger should feel like. The M10 has a good trigger, but it’s not as nice as an FWB P34 trigger, which was the last FWB target pistol I tested.

The dry-fire mechanism on the SAM 10 is a lever on the right side of the action. Pull is straight back and the trigger is cocked, but the hammer isn’t. When you pull the trigger, it releases the sear without releasing the hammer to strike the firing valve — hence the dry-fire. Those who own a gun with double-set triggers know the feeling of the set trigger breaking is not the same as the feeling of the gun actually firing. With an airgun, which doesn’t recoil or make a lot of noise when it fires, this feeling is much more noticeable.


On the SAM 10 target pistol, the dry-fire lever at the top of the receiver is pulled back each time to cock the trigger. You can feel the sear release when the trigger is pulled; but since the hammer was not cocked, it doesn’t strike the valve and no air is exhausted.

As nice as the M10 trigger is, the dry-fire device isn’t as nice as the FWB or Steyr dry-fire devices. Both of those guns feel as though the hammer is dropped when they fire in the dry-fire mode.

Other 10-meter guns have to resort to a gimmick of some kind to get into the dry-fire mode. The IZH 46M, for example, requires the shooter to actually cock the trigger by pulling the breech up, then locking it back down. By omitting the pump stroke, there’s no compressed air in the gun. When it fires, there’s nothing to release. The effect is the same, but a little more work is needed for each dry-fire shot.

Other guns require the shooter to unscrew the compressed-air tank part way. They can be cocked and fired and the hammer will fall, but there’s no air in the firing valve because the compressed-air reservoir has been disconnected.

What benefit does dry-firing provide?
Hold on to your hats, apartment dwellers! Dry-firing allows you to train in a tiny apartment without making any noise or having to stop any lead pellets. Do people really do that? You bet they do! Dry-firing can get you ready for a match just as well as shooting live ammo. It’s probably good to shoot a few pellets from time to time; but if you can’t, there will be at least a chance to shoot them when you sight-in before the match.

Another benefit of the dry-fire mechanism is that the trigger can be cocked for testing before a match without firing the gun. The trigger on every air pistol must pass a minimum 500-gram weight test before it can be permitted in a match.

But the biggest benefit of dry-firing is the practice it affords. When you do the same thing thousands of times in repetition, your muscles and nervous system become synchronized to a degree you must experience to understand. That’s why competitive shooters can release the sear at the exact instant they desire.

Follow-through is the name of the game
You’ve read the phrase “follow-through” many times. What does it mean, and why do we talk about it so much? Follow-through is when the shooter continues to watch the target through the sights after the shot’s been fired. If the gun is gentle enough, like an airgun or a rimfire, then follow-through lets the shooter see where the sights were in relation to the target at the instant of firing.

Follow-through is at the root of dry-firing. We dry-fire to train ourselves to follow-through; and it’s follow-through — and all that it entails — that makes a better shooter. Dry-firing the gun many times is what reinforces follow-through in a shooter.

57 thoughts on “The importance of dry-firing

  1. Very interesting. I’m not a great pistol shooter and own very few airgun pistols. None of them have dry firing capabilities.

    Why then have I bookmarked todays article?

    Because I know B.B. is a great shot with a pistol and he’s revealed many tips that work for him that might work for me. I just learned about two that I’m taking to the range next time to try out.

    The second reason for me to chime in is IMAGERY. B.B. said, “Have you ever watched the Olympics and seen a slalom racer standing at the top of the course with his or her eyes closed, swaying as they envision running the course? ”

    In addition to shooting I’ve also been passionate about other things. One of them is golf. Among others Bob Rotella was among the first to talk about the importance of Mental Imagery. The old thing about the mind not being able to distinguish between that that is clearly and concisely imagined vs. that that is experienced. Imagery.

    Before tournaments, in my youth, I would go out and practice hitting balls. Driving range, chipping, putting, playing, hitting balls from various distances from various locations on the course we were to play anticipating a bad drive or wind conditions, ect. Reality.

    I found, later on, that mentally, visually, playing the course, in my favorite easy chair, without distractions, made my scores lower. Visualization can make it happen. Now I’m on the golf course. When the actual shot off the tee “ruined” my imagery of the beginning of the hole it wasn’t mentally defeating since I still had an expectation of the score. Whether my goal was to birdie or par that hole now my psyche kicked in. Powerful.

    Don’t know if or how this applies to airgun pistol competition but it triggered an old memory. Good memory.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      I think the higher your score becomes, in target shooting, the higher it always tends to be. I was a 535-average shooter, but when I stopped competing I was on the cusp of going over 550 for the first time! Had I continued, that would have become my average.

      Mental imagery does work as described.

      B.B.


  2. Dry fire is pretty much mandatory for serious powder-burner handgun training. You can work on most of the significant skills without sending rounds downrange (draws, reloads, trigger control) anywhere you’re comfortable manipulating the gun. Some folks have reported improvements in their range time after extended periods of exclusively dry-firing for practice.


  3. Well, these days I’ve got plenty of stones on my road to sharpen my blade.
    A spoon of honey first. My mod-CFX got back into normal shape and groups shrank back to their normal size as the action got finally back into place, it even kept its zeroing. Time cures :)
    Now about a bucket of tar. Drilling’n’milling guys spent 2 months contemplating upon my drawings and they finally came to a conclusion that they need to clarify some things for themselves, specifically – is that so important for cutter to leave radii on exiting the body of detail. Worse than that they found a lost dimension – but it was calculable, we argeed on that. So those were reasons to postpone production for 2 months. Time is killing me.

    duskwight


    • Stones in my road to sharpen my blade…..I like that philosophy Duskwight! We share in your anticipation.It sounds like you have good machinists…..measure twice/cut once.LOL


      • Frank,

        It seems more that they were just enjoying their summer vacations ;) Actual work takes about 8 hours straight. I don’t blame them too hard, after all 2 monts is nothing compared to 3 years and I depend on them, but they had what was coming to them yesterday. Anyway, mistakes weigh less in kilobytes or on paper than when embodied in metal. Up to this day all I had to do was to assemble, so they did not set me up and I hope they won’t.

        duskwight


    • duskwight,

      What I find amazing is the difficulty you are encountering with straightforward machining! I can’t wait until someone comments in the future that they don’t see what is so difficult about designing a new airgun.

      All you gotta do…

      Hang in there! :)

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        Thanks, B.B!
        I’m doing my best and hold like I can do this for years.
        Those difficulties do amaze me too, but I guess it’s like weather – like it or not, it is here and it means to stay for some time.

        Designing a new springer is not this hard I guess – especially when one held and repaired a lot of them, and knows how they work and a little bit of math. The man must also have time and has access to some hand tools, some polishing stuff, measuring tools, turn lathe, simple milling machine and muffle furnace. Good knowledge of “where to get things” (eeer – a broadband internet as a substitute), brain.dll and straight_hands.ini are also a must for installation.
        I think building something similar in shape and function to TX-200 is not so much of a trouble as it seems at the first sight, well, of course if you know how to make things with your own hands. As far as I know, TX-200 and HW-97 in their childhood both were garage-built prototypes. Building something like JW is just anothe universe. More maths, more demanding tolerances and so on, two pistons mean three times more troubles :)

        However I must tell to anyone who wants to walk this way – be ready for setbacks. And consider your money and time the way samurai considers his life and service – the moment you started they are wasted and do not belong to you. Nevertheless – do it and come to the very end, to your first thousand shots from your own rifle. In the end – it worths it ;)

        duskwight


  4. Just like to toss this out there for non/new-shooters who may be reading this…Don’t dry fire spring-piston air rifles.

    Before I knew, I found out. :)



      • It was a few years ago, when I was just getting into airguns. What do new airgunners generally do? Go to amazon and order the cheapest, most powerful air rifle they can find in 5 minutes of searching! Well, thats what I did anyway, I believe it was a gamo or a crosman quest 1000x (shows how much attention I was paying :) )

        I didn’t order any ammo either, so when I got it I dry fired it a few times to get the feel of it. I did that every day until the ammo, hastily ordered, arrived in the mail. Imagine my consternation when I found that .22 pellets don’t fit in a .177 gun! This time a trip to walmart solved the ammo problem, but by now the seals were beyond wrecked. Not being very handy then (still not, but getting better) I gave it to a friend who said he could probably fix it. I imagine that poor gun is still sitting in his workshop, if not a landfill.

        So, thats my sad, sad tale. I pray no other newby airgunner shares my experience, but I’m sure many do and will.



        • Guest,

          That IS a sad tale! One that I hope doesn’t get repeated too often.

          However, here is an ironic bit of trivia for you. Sometime in the 1990s, Gamo ran ads telling their buyers their guns were safe to be dry-fired. They advertised that they tested them 10,000 shots without damage.

          B.B.


          • B.B.,
            So how true is this? Can you dry-fire a Gamo? My first springer was a Gamo CF-X, which I accidentally dry-fired a few times (and ONLY A FEW TIMES). Still works after several years.
            Victor


            • Victor,

              It was an ad campaign Gamo ran in the 1990s. That was before the CF-X.

              A couple shots should do no damage.

              B.B.


    • Glad you made this comment. I ruined a G1 Extreme one time by accidentally dry firing. Also, had a lemon Crosman springer from Fleetfarm on another occasion (which was replaced). I had a long conversation with the clerk that they shouldn’t put the guns out without trigger guards because most folks don’t know better, so they cock the gun and dry fire. I’m convinced this is why you can get so many lemons when you buy a springer from a retail store that doesn’t keep their guns tightly boxed!

      Maybe I’m imagining it. But it seems like that if you dry fire a springer without a pellet in it, their is no resistance to the spring slamming and that extra “oomf” can sometimes damage the gun. It is also why I don’t use those raptor pellets.

      In fact, on my Nitro Venom Dusk i broke the original scope, I believe, because I was using standard 7.4 grain Crosman pointed pellets (it is a 1,200 fps gun with light pellets). I think even then the force was too much, so i’ve been using 10.5 grain crosman premier ultra magnums since then and that seems to have fixed the problem.


    • Which is what makes tuning a two-stage trigger at home so difficult… I finally ended up shoving felt cleaning pellets into the breech just to give /some/ back-pressure doing the adjustments (for those without adjustable triggers on spring guns — you must cock the action to put pressure on the trigger linkage before you can feel the first/second stage transition… and since I favor a long first stage, and second stage with practically no movement it meant, in essence, tuning out the second stage completely and then bringing in enough second stage to have a firm transition… Lots of “dry fires”… And I’m not done yet).


  5. Hehe, that would be nice :)
    However I’m afraid of 2 things – 500 will make it profitable for them to put them into that horrid multi-axis Japanese MCU, fail first 2-3 and then optimize them for mass production so I’ll be forced to dedicate all of my time to assembling those 500 DWRs.
    Anyway, my current DWR is a testbed. Right now I’m developing bullpupped Mk.1 with 140×28 mm compressible volume and “floating fulcrum” side cocking lever to cock it. This will allow me to get rid of the receiver as a concept and simplify the system even more, making it much “flatter” – I hope at least 25 mm less. Stocked with a “big guy stock” Mk.0 is less than 1 m long, but I hope Mk.1 will allow me to make it no more than 700 mm and with power equal to D-350 or more. And then we’ll see about PCPs being so compact and so powerful and blah-blah-blah – but not simple, rugged and independent.


  6. I have watched the NSSF dry fire video you mentioned in the blog. If you do the math this guy dry-fired well over 10000 times per month or over 100,000 times between two matches with only 500 live fire rounds fired.

    An instructor got me serious about dry fire a year or so back. The best advise I ever got.


  7. I’m reminded of when Torsten Ullman was asked by the Soviet team (this was around 60 years ago, I think at the same even whent he let one of them with a broken pistol borrow his K38) how many shots he had fired the last month. [Looking in notebook] “Eighty three.” The Soviets shot around 200 per day but didn’t train more than him anyway.
    Closer to home I’ve just realised that Anschütz clearly says their model 54 rimfires are made to be safely dry fired. They don’t say that about the 64, which I just bought one of… And after not shooting indoors for many years I’ll replace my FWB 65 with something which can be dry fired.


    • Urban,

      I knew that some top-end rimfires were made to be dry-fired, and if it was any of them, it was going to be a target rifle. But I didn’t want to do all the research to find out what was okay and what wasn’t. With a rimfire, as you know, dry-firing the wrong gun will ruin it, by peening the rim of the chamber.

      Semiautomatic .22s should be designed to be safe to dry-fire if they don’t have an automatic bolt hold-open device, because how would the shooter know if the chamber is empty? The last shot would always be a dry-fire. The Ruger 10/22 owner’s manual specifically allows dry-firing.

      B.B.


    • Urban,
      Anschutz recommends that you use a firing pin made just for dry fire (54 action) or a snap cap (or even a spent case but only for two or three shots). The Truth is as long as the head space is correct you will not harm the pin or the chamber on either the 64 or 54 actions.


  8. Dry firing is something that is allowed during the preparation period of a match and is used to fine tune your position and NPA (natural point of aim).

    As a matter of fact I feel like the preacher that has the un-wed daughter come home pregnant! This Saturday (position small bore team day) in the NRA Championships at Camp Perry my daughter DQed (disqualified). She was dry firing and said “I was rely focused and in a rhythm, everything felt perfect. loaded and took the first shot and knew I pushed out at 2 or 3 o-clock in the 9 or 8 ring. I heard the command START! just as I was scoping and looked up and as far as I could see up and down the line everyone was staring at me. I just wanted to die!”


  9. I understand that dry fire training is important to competitors, but for me….
    Why dry fire when you can shoot pellets ? Even just shooting the pellet trap without a target.
    Nothing I have is made for the specific option of dry fire anyway. May not hurt some of them. Others, you DON’T DO IT.

    On the brighter side of this crummy day, P.A. had a spare barrel for me. Will be here tomorrow without the LONG wait of coming from over seas. Just hope it will be a good one.

    twotalon


    • Twotalon,
      Shooting is a hugely mental sport. In a competitive environment, especially among great shooters, consistency is everything. Most shooters struggle with their psychology, including the stress of firing a life round (i.e., pellet). Dry-firing allows one to train without the stress of shooting an actual round. It help bridge the gap between visualization and actually shooting for score.
      Victor


    • twotalon
      Your tight choke may be normal. I tried droping a BB through my s200 barrel, and it stoped at the choke but it fallls right through my 177 Air Force barrel. And the S200 shoots tighter groups then the Air Force Talon.
      Loren


      • There is more wrong with it than just a super tight choke. The bore is rough, and also has rings in it from the boring or reaming tool. At best with some work that I tried on it, it is a very nice (and expensive) short range plinker.

        twotalon


  10. For power burners, dry firing allows the shooter to see what influences he or she is introducing to shot execution that might throw sight alignment off. We can’t see the little mistakes we make when firing live rounds.

    Follow-through helps us solve the problem of anticipation, where we start to drop the gun a fraction of a second before we’ve completed shot execution. This really is an issue for most shooters. Follow-through also gives us a hint as to how we might be throwing out shots off. The reasons are many including; poor grip, inconsistent cheek-weld, jerking the trigger, too much or too little finger on the trigger.

    As B.B., noted, dry-fire and follow-through go hand in hand as required training and practice principles.


    • Victor,

      Thanks for that explanation about being able to see the little mistakes while dry firing that we can’t see when using ammo. I already visualize and get a lot of target time, but never did much dry firing. I think I’ll add that in now that I see why… Can’t hurt!

      /Dave


      • /Dave,
        You’re very welcome! Recoil will mask some errors. When performance seems to be on the decline, it’s good to check yourself by dry-firing.
        Victor


  11. Also, some shooters will use mirrors to extend the effective practice distance in a small room. This way they don’t need to use a smaller target that will fit within their aperture sights.





          • Elias,
            You aim at a target through a mirror. The distances are additive. If the target is at one end of the room, and the mirror is at the opposite end of the room, then if you position yourself next to the target and aim at the target next to you through the mirror at the opposite end, you almost double the distance that you appear to see through your sights. Of course, you can move yourself and/or the target closer to the mirror if that helps.

            One possible advantage to practicing with a mirror like this (assuming that the mirror is large enough), is that it also allows you to analyze yourself (i.e., position, hold, and even follow-though, among other things).
            Victor


  12. A while back, I found and purchased a book on target shooting, “Pistol Shooting as a Sport”. In that book, the author, Hans Standl, gave his readers the time limit of 2 seconds. That is, if you couldn’t get the shot off within 2 seconds when on target, put the pistol down and start over. BB, he’s a much sterner instructor than you :).

    Of course, if your bullets or pellets are not “liked” by your pistol/rifle, you’re wasting your time as I found out yesterday at the range. Seems my High Standard Victor prefers RWS100′s over Wolf Target Match ammo.

    Fred DPRoNJ


    • Fred DPRonNJ,
      What Hans Standl advises maybe fine once you’ve gone through years of refinement of the fundamentals. What works for one shooter may not work for your or me. At least not specifics like this.
      Victor



  13. An important thing to keep in mind regarding dry-firing is that you have to be careful that you don’t ruin your gun. Not all guns can be dry-fired without at least an empty cartridge.


  14. Dryfiring is pretty useful even on a flintlock. When I get the flint-ches, I dry fire (with set trigger) several times a day between matches, and it always helps. I also found that it builds strength and discipline in just the muscles you need to use to stay on target. I should do a lot more of it :)!

    I usually just shoot at close range with cheap pellets in my springers in lieu of dry firing, but I guess you could make a dry firing device for springers by inserting something with only a tiny aperture to restrict the air flow . Maybe I’ll try it.


  15. B.B.

    Thanks for the great explanation. I have only had a chance to scan the comments, so forgive me if I am asking something you already answered. Relative to dry firing, is there a simple rule that a person can turn to when deciding whether or not it is OK to dry fire. Let’s leave out the competition level models as those shooters are beyond such worries anyway, I would guess. But, for the rest of us, what is the guideline that keeps us out of trouble?

    NRS


    • For airguns… Don’t dry fire spring piston models — which basically means any thing that requires compressing a spring to cock the trigger.

      Single/multi-pump pneumatics and PCPs typically have a separate “bolt” which cocks the trigger independent of charging the air. These can probably be safely dry fired (PCPs will likely have an air charge that will cushion the fall of the striker) — it becomes a matter of whether one thinks striker impact upon the valve causes deformation&wear.

      Firearms: rimfires traditionally don’t take dry fire well. They rely on the firing pin pinching the rim of a cartridge against the chamber edge. Without the cushion of the copper shell, the firing pin can peen the back of the barrel. I don’t know how the competition guns work it — maybe the chamber is relieved under the firing pin?

      Centerfires are safer as the firing pin has nothing to impact against (OTOH, if you have a massive firing pin with a narrow support between the tip and whatever stops the pin from falling through the bolt, a weak pin could separate and send the tip down the barrel).

      Flintlocks should be safe — the flint may need to be knapped/replaced before actual shooting, but as long as it is hitting the frizzen it only sustains the normal wear and tear (though if “howstuffworks.com” is right, one is actually wearing away the steel from the frizzen).

      Percussion? I’d recommend installing a junker nipple (or nipples for repeaters) as the hammer hitting a nipple is going to peen it down, closing the opening… Heck, even using live caps but no powder only delays the duration before the nipple needs to be replaced — and means a nasty cleaning job after, to clean the corrosive percussion cap compounds from the gun

      Snap-Caps: they don’t last forever — I’ve had a few where the plastic “shell” has started to stress crack, sending the spring-loaded brass “primer” across the room (mine had brass cores — some use high density rubber instead). These cushion the firing pin making dry fire quite safe. Rimfire models aren’t really “snap caps” as they don’t recover from the firing pin impact — the plastic rim just gets crushed, so one has to rotate the “cap” before the next use (so much for double-action trigger pulls).

      {side note: my experience has been that most .22 semi-autos have just enough slop in the disconnector that one can hold the bold back 1/16-1/8 inch and still release the striker — the distance is enough that the firing pin won’t hit the barrel/chamber}

      {second note: the Thompson/Center [now part of S&W as I recall] Contender could be safely dry fired… pulling the trigger guard opens the barrel [to extract the fired cartridge and permit loading a fresh one] and cocks the internal striker. The external hammer had to be manually cocked. If you don’t cock the hammer, you can practice the trigger pull with release of the internal striker against the hammer sear. First generation hammers only had an “automatic” hammer block safety — pull the hammer back about 1/8 inch to let the block lift into place; second and third generation hammers have manual safeties that block the hammer from even being able to hit the firing pin(s) even if fully cocked and trigger pulled [3rd generation also used the safety lever to select between rimfire and centerfire firing pins; older versions used a screwdriver to rotate the hammer face}


    • NRS,

      There is no simple rule for determining whether a gun may be safely dry-fired. Let me give you one instance as an explanation.

      The Colt Single Action Army revolver can be dry-fired, but the first-generation guns have a fat firing pin that will peen the firing pin hole and damage the gun if dry-fired. So part of the design permits dry-firing and another part does not. Later generation single actions solved this problem.

      Every gun must be analyzed before you dry-fire it. Many will say in their owner’s manual whether dry-firing is permitted or not.

      That’s the best I can tell you.

      B.B.


    • Nuts. I didn’t ask the question very well. I should have said something to the effect of “dry firing an airgun without damage”. I am guessing that the damage comes when the hammer strikes valve. Would that be right? If there was no pressure on the back side of the valve (no air having been pumped, no CO2, etc.) or no spring compression, would damage result?

      Or, is this just something that is so obvious that I don’t even see it?

      NRS


      • NRS,

        There are three primary airgun powerplants. Pneumatics and gas guns typically can be dry-fired. It is spring-piston guns that cannot, because the piston isn’t stopped by a cushion of compressed air.

        B.B.


  16. According to Ruger, most of their guns can be dry-fired, including 10/22′s, and Mark II’s and Mark III’s. That I know of, no Anschutz rifles can be safely dry-fired. I used a spent cartridge for those.


  17. B.B.,
    As I’m sure you know, this is an article that is near and dear to my heart. I dry-fire all the time. Top smallbore shooters dry-fire more than live-fire. They also use SCATT systems to see the results of each trigger pull. Where some suffer is that they tend to be weak at shooting in wind. That’s a whole other topic of discussion that you might consider for a future blog.

    I personally have not figured out how to “dope” wind with an air-gun. I can with a fire-arm, but not with an air-gun. What say you about this? is it worth a future blog?
    Victor


    • Victor,

      Wind-doping with an airgun would be a wonderful article, but I’m not the guy to write it. Like you, I can’t do it.

      I could address the subject and what is involved, butI would be parroting things I have heard from others who can dope the wind.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Pellets have so little mass, that wind can do crazy things to them, much more so than even a .22 caliber rim-fire bullet. I’m inclined to think that beyond a certain distance, there isn’t much you can do as far as wind-doping with a pellet gun is concerned. So what might an approximate maximum range be? Might there be some air-rifle, optimum velocity, and pellet shape that would give us the best performance up to some distance? I know there are a lot of variables, but there has to be some cutoff point where we can say with high probability that we’ve lost all control. Just thinking out loud.

        Victor


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