Is it safe to straighten a firing pin?


November 12, 2007, 11:53 PM
I originally posted this in another subforum but no one seemed to be up on the safety aspects.

I have a JC Higgins Model 20 12ga shotgun (Sears Roebuck branded High Standard Model 200) that recently had a part fail. The firing pin retaining pin broke and allowed the firing pin to come out of its channel. When I operated the action, the pin was bent slightly. It was a very slight bend. In fact, it would almost fit back in the channel with the bend in it.
I took it out to the garage and did some tapping with a hammer and straightened it right out. I was curious if the firing pin is still safe to use or if I'm just asking for trouble and a much more broken gun.

I haven't yet reassembled the gun so don't fret. Also, the price to replace the firing pin, retaining pin and spring is under $20 so its not like I have to salvage anything.

Cliffs: Am I gonna blow shards of steel into my face using a straightened firing pin in a 12ga?

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November 13, 2007, 01:57 AM
Usually a hardened part for long wear. I would replace instead of trying to repair.

November 13, 2007, 02:50 AM
Bending hardened steel may or may not work. If it was really bent , I;d say no.
For the cost of the new one I'd get the new one.:uhoh:

Jim K
November 13, 2007, 05:55 PM
I have straightened several firing pins of that type and the owners had no further problems. My feeling is that if the pin is not cracked or showing any signs of damage, it should be OK.

But just so you understand the concern, if the firing pin should break, the front part can jam in the forward postion so that as the gun is closed, the firing pin digs into the primer of the shell before the bolt is locked and nasty things happen very shortly thereafter.


November 14, 2007, 02:33 PM
This Model 20 is a pump action, right? I seriously doubt that even if the firing pin were protruding from the bolt face all the time, that you could close the action hard enough and fast enough for the round to go off before it is chambered.

The danger, IMO, is that if the firing pin is protruding from the bolt face, it may "slam fire", i.e. fire upon closing of the bolt. While this may surprise you and may even require that you put on clean underwear, it is not likely to be dangerous as long as the gun is pointed in a safe direction. I don't see how it would harm the gun either as the bolt would be closed the instant before the shell fires. At least that's how I see it.

November 15, 2007, 01:36 AM
The pin isn't showing any damage, but for peace of mind I ordered the new parts. I should have a new firing pin, retaining pin and spring in the next week or so. I was also going to send this gun to my dad if he decided to get back into hunting. He just moved and supposedly they've got some wild turkeys in the area.

Thanks all.

Jim K
November 15, 2007, 04:36 PM
Hi, Pete,

The danger in a protruding firing pin depends on exactly when it fires a round. If the bolt can close and even partly lock before the firing pin digs into the primer, things will probably happen as you describe. BUT, if the primer is touched off BEFORE the gun locks, the bolt will be blown back, the case will burst and high pressure gas will be loose in the action. Almost certainly the action will be wrecked, and in some guns gas could injure the shooter.


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