Is dry firing likely to break the firing pin of a gun produced in the last forty years?

  • Last Post 28 January 2023
John Alexander posted this 20 January 2023

Have any  of you broken a firing in a modern rifle by a respected major manufacturer?

I know it happens with guns from smaller shops that may not have the understanding or control of the metallurgy needed. Design also undoubtedly plays a role

I have done a lot of dry firing over a long period of time and never had a firing pin failure or other damage to the gun that I detected.  Have I just been lucky?


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RicinYakima posted this 20 January 2023

Bought a Colt Cobra, air weight Detective Special, in 1970 when I graduated from LE Academy. I shot it a lot with ammo, and many times that dry firing, as for many years as it was a primary carry weapon. In about 2003 the tip of the firing pin broke off. Gunsmith had to order a firing pin, as he had never seen one break before. 

As a collector and restorer of 1903 Springfields, I have gotten a lot of parts over the last 50 years. I have never even seen a broken striker (firing pin) in all those years. The best I can tell is that they made those thousands of spares because of pierced corrosive primers in the olden days. 

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 20 January 2023

I've had the transfer bar break.

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Bill2728 posted this 20 January 2023

I acquired a 1910 Winchester 94 that had a broken firing pin (now replaced) but have never had one break in a modern firearm. 

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Glenn R. Latham posted this 20 January 2023

I bought a ca. 1968 Winchester 94 that had a broken firing pin.  The bolt face around the firing pin hole was a little buggered up too.  Replaced the firing pin and cleaned up the bolt face, shoots fine.


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barra posted this 21 January 2023

If the firing pin is bottoming out on the end of the bolt because it has nothing like a primer to stop  it then eventually through enough blows on two hardened and tempered thin steel surfaces eventually something must give, peen or shatter.   
Believe it’s call fatigue or something like that.

Thats my thoughts on it.

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John Alexander posted this 21 January 2023

You are correct for some materials (aluminum) but not for steel.  Steel can break in fatigue, but only if the stress level is high enough AND there are enough repetitions the number required is often in the millions.  Below a certain stress level, steel will wear out all the testing machines without breaking.


Think of the connecting rod in a truck engine with 500,000 miles on it (billions of stress applications). They used to break "throw a rod" That is almost unheard of now because they are designed to keep the stress level  too low to break in fatigue. 

So a particular firing pin might, or might not, break with 20 K dry shots or it might not break after a trillion. The reason I asked the question is to find our what experience tells us.

Sorry for more than you wanted to know about fatigue.


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Ed Harris posted this 22 January 2023

When I was at Ruger this was a common question at armorer school classes. I would have one of the students build and gage up a new gun on Monday. We'd then taken it over to the inspection cage and fixture it in a vise, using an eccentric cam in a Bridgeport milling machine with a cyclical counter, dry firing the gun at 120 strokes per minute. Each morning the students would file in and check the counter. At the end of the week the gun had over a million dry fire cycles on it, we removed the gun and had them inspect it. Everyone commented about how smooth the action was. Returned gun to guy who built it. If you have a Bridgeport mill at home you can do a Newport action job on it.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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barra posted this 22 January 2023

I stand corrected.

‘Hey , they only made me go to school till I was old enough to kick out.embarassed

 I have broken a couple of firing pins in a H&R single shot centre fire rifle.No dry firing.

Seen a few peened rimfire chambers.

ohh a couple of shot gun firing pins from dry firing

.Not from me.

I ain’t no shmit or nuthin thou.

So what I knows or sawed don’t really count I s’pose.

How can you tell if you bought a real gun or not.

If I am allowed to fondle a gun in a shop I’m sure they won’t be happy if I go around dry firing it.

Or maybe I should to test it if it ain’t just a polished turd they are trying to sell me.



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John Alexander posted this 22 January 2023


I apologize for the tone of my last post.  I didn't intend it that way but it see that it was stupidedly tone deaf. I understand how it had to sound to you. Your post was effective and I deserved it. I thought my rambling might be of interest of others thinking of fatigue.  I tend to ramble in old age.

Also thanks for the mention of several firing pins breading in your experience.  I have seen the breeches of old 22s with peening but in a long life of shooting and dry firing I have never had a broken firing pin nor know of one second hand.  i started the thread to see other's experience.



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jeffhouck posted this 23 January 2023

The original firing pin in my '86 Win. finally broke after 130 years. I've owned it since 1970 and have used it hard in my years of ownership. I have no idea though of how many total rounds were put thru the gun. All the firing cycles were for live ammo, no dry firing, since I've owned the rifle.


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RicinYakima posted this 23 January 2023

So John, not a single tale of broken firing pin in the 40 year old firearms. 

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Hornet posted this 23 January 2023

  I'm on my third firing pin on a Marlin Model 62 (mid-60's) in .256 Win Mag. I'm not sure about the dry firing history before I started playing with it. The original broke and I replaced it with a reproduction that broke after maybe 300 rounds. Bought another reproduction and examination of it and the second one showed that the flat on the side of the pins was not straight in line with the pin centerline and was camming the tip sideways in the hole in the face of the breechblock, which likely caused the breakage of #2. I filed the flat straight on #3 and it's held up for a few years and several hundred more shots.

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Bill*B posted this 23 January 2023

I bought a Sauer 101 several years back, and it arrived with a broken firing pin. Sauer supplied and installed a new one at no charge.  I have no idea why this happened in what was essentially a new gun, but it shook my confidence in the rifle.  I've never had a firing pin break during my personal usage.

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comprschrg posted this 28 January 2023

I had a ruger lc9s that broke the tip of the firing pin/striker off. Pretty sure it was from dry firing. It takes you by surprise at the range. Why won't my reloads work !!!

Ruger sent a replacement. No problems in a few years. doesn't get dry firerd anymore eather

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