Normal break in, or serious QC issue?


PDA






Tirod
September 21, 2008, 06:25 PM
I've run across an issue that has surfaced more than once over the last few months, here, and on other forums I've participated in over the years.

It's less about whether a QC issue actually exists. It's about the perception of the owner of a mechanism who finds his expectations weren't met in function, fit, and finish.

Knives, guns, cars, it boils down to a sense of outrage that some small item or feature has a perceived blemish. New gun? Expects 100% functional reliability from loaded magazine #1 on, never has any FTF/FTE, and completely understandable and intuitive-to-them handling.

I've read and experienced that all firearms require a break in of xxx rounds by the maker, correct lubrication and cleaning, specifically recommended ammunition or what to be avoided. And yet we see posts about these items being ignored simply because the owner insists it should work anyway, no matter what, and a long rant against the manufacturer in not meeting their expectations.

Maybe I'm getting too old, or just old enough to know better, but what's going on with that?

I usually check to see if good advice is given, and if so, grab a bag of popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show. I'll keep doing that - but it arouses my curiosity about what how little they think they know. Aside from the perception of supernatural omniciency I demonstrate to my awe-struck wife and kids, maybe they should try to keep a non-judgmental and learning attitude like me . . . :evil:

If you enjoyed reading about "Normal break in, or serious QC issue?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Wes Janson
September 21, 2008, 06:43 PM
Some people simply demand that every firearm be an AK-47. Not much can be said to that.

Eric F
September 21, 2008, 06:50 PM
I dont think there is anything that does not require a breakin when new. Break in might be normal usage 1 time cleaning or time/milage. Some stuff comes prebroken in.

And yet we see posts about these items being ignored simply because the owner insists it should work anywayof this I can only say if I had a gun that was new and it had problems in the first 10 rounds it had problems no matter how many more rounds I put through it. I dont exactly feel like a certian amount of rounds qualifies a gun as broken in, and trust is earned not given. I will trust a gun after 2 mags worth of flawless function, I wont trust a mag unless it has functioned normaly for 5 full uses.

but broken in, in my case can be called 10 rounds I guess.

KiltedClaymore
September 21, 2008, 06:53 PM
Some people simply demand that every firearm be an AK-47

hey, if a russian tank sergent can make a gun a gorilla couldnt break, why cant someone else with our fancy comuters and R&D teams?

fastbolt
September 21, 2008, 08:21 PM
People can have an amazing range of perceptions and expectations. Mind boggling at times. Makes the world an interesting place at times.

I remember when I was another ordinary member of the firearm owing & using crowd. I'd been shooting since I was 5 years old and owned a respectable number of firearms. I listened to folks in gun stores and read all the magazines. I considered myself to be rather well informed and experienced in many firearms-related matters.

Then I entered the LE field. I discovered that relatively few folks working in the field were any more informed than other folks not working in LE. Cops who had an interest in being on a shooting team, and/or in one of the shooting sports (IPSC, PPC) were ahead in this regard, but generally no more so than what was required for their specific interest. Those interested in hunting and other sport-related shooting venues seemed about the same as the non-LE folks I'd known over the years. Carrying a badge didn't automatically imbue them with any more interest, or knowledge, than their non-sworn fellow citizens and neighbors.

After several years I became interested in becoming a LE firearms instructor, and then becoming trained as an LE armorer for various firearms a bit later. That was what finally opened my eyes to the whole 'firearms-as-equipment/machinery' concept. When you get the chance to see how many of the firearms actually perform when handled and used by LE folks, under varying circumstances, with different ammunition, maintained by different folks, etc., etc., you can start to realize how they're really just pieces of mechanical equipment after all ... ;)

Listening to experiences and related information from a combination of factory reps, repair technicians, engineers, armor instructors and even other LE armorers ... and then encountering situations yourself ... you can start to see how things may not consistently be quite as wonderful as when portrayed in gun magazine articles & advertising or in company brochures. :scrutiny:

Sometimes things fall outside the optimal tolerance range of production and assembly. Sometimes parts may unexpected fail or prematurely wear. Sometimes another non-firearm manufactured item (ammunition) may result in an equipment (firearm) functioning issue. Sometimes the operator (owner/user) may unintentionally, and unknowingly, contribute to such a 'problem'. Sometimes some folks may expect 'more' for their hard-earned dollars than might be received. (How about those folks who knowingly purchase a 'service-type' pistol, expecting cosmetic perfection?)

If a firearm for which I'm trained as an armorer exhibits a problem due to fitting, tolerance, breakage, premature wear, etc. I'll replace the part(s) as recommended by the manufacturer and restore the firearm to whatever is considered to be normal factory specifications ... perform the appropriate bench checks and live-fire tests ... and once I've determined the equipment (firearm) is now functioning according to reasonable standards ... I'll go on down the road and turn my attention to something else.

Naturally, it's not unreasonable for folks to feel more strongly connected to personally-owned firearms than those just given/issued to them for 'service usage'.

I've become much less inclined to participate in threads where folks are passionately arguing about the downfall of modern civilization because a $700 'service-type' pistol they bought wasn't carefully hand-crafted and thoughtfully boxed in a velvet-lined teak box in the same manner as one produced for collector purpose or the high-end, custom market.

I do sometimes suspect that some folks aren't exactly as realistic in their understanding and expectations as they might be when it comes to some things involved in safe firearms ownership and usage ...

For example, when a semiauto pistol experiences a feeding or functioning issue because of an ammunition-related issue which may occur less frequently with higher quality ... and probably higher cost ... ammunition.

Or, how ammunition can itself sometimes exhibit some range of tolerance variations when it comes to production and QC.

Or, when someone doesn't understand, or refuses to acknowledge and accept, that firearms knowledge, skills and techniques are something learned, maintained and refined.

Or, that some firearms may require 'more' of the owner/user in some respects than other firearms.

Or, that some situations and environmental conditions may not always provide for optimal firearm functioning.

Or, that firearms, as machinery, do require some reasonable maintenance from time to time.

I'd think that a practical, realistic attitude toward what might be considered reasonable expectations might help reduce the potential for disappointment.

Experience ... and age ... might help with that, upon occasion. ;)

Just my thoughts.

Officers'Wife
September 21, 2008, 08:26 PM
I was always told that 90% of equipment complaints are caused by lack of operator skills.

Selena

Pop's2
September 21, 2008, 08:30 PM
fastbolt

Well said..........

Eric F
September 21, 2008, 08:31 PM
great post fastbolt

green country shooter
September 21, 2008, 08:50 PM
As more and more people lead essentially digital lives with no connection to practical matters such as nature or how to fix a car, their expectations for machinery seem to rise to the point that any malfunction at all is unacceptable and grounds for a major rant.

KiltedClaymore
September 21, 2008, 09:01 PM
hey, when the average modern american says he wants something "now", he/she means "yesterday you $*&%!"

3KillerBs
September 21, 2008, 09:08 PM
OK, I'm guilty. I expect a brand-new piece of equipment that cost hundreds of dollars to function flawlessly with minimal cleaning/maintenance for at least several years.

You get that from ordinary tools and appliances, why should a gun be any different than a dishwasher, a drill, or a ceiling fan?

The cost of even an "inexpensive" gun -- several hundred dollars at least -- is a SIZABLE chunk of money. Something that costs half as much as our mortgage payment had BETTER work right from day one into the forseeable future.

I'll read the manual and take proper care of any guns I buy but I expect them to WORK every single time I use them until they are either damaged by some sort of accident or accumulate significant age just like any other piece of machinery.

jonmerritt
September 21, 2008, 09:10 PM
If a piece of equipment that I am using does not function properly, my first check, is to make sure I am operating it properly. If I pull the trigger and it does not fire, did I leave the safety on? did I insert the magazine properly? I don't blame the equipment untill I am sure it was the equipment. most of the time it is human error. I have had high dollar equipment fail just as often as low dollar equipment, within certain limitations of course. I kind of like having to tweak a firearm to be what I like, to me it makes it more of a part of me. strapped to my side, waiting to be called into action. If your life is depending on it, or someone elses, you better know that equipment, like it is a part of you. So you can depend on it. Because your life will, at one time or another depend, on that equipment (Partner) So get to know it, intimently, tweak it to work properly every time you use it in practice,there will come a day, when it is not practice, and no matter if you paid $200 or $200,000 for it. If it fails, your done.

3KillerBs
September 21, 2008, 09:30 PM
IMO, assuming that I am using it correctly, a BRAND NEW piece of equipment should work flawlessly with minimal routine cleaning and car for a considerable period of time without any "tweaking".

I hold guns to exactly the same standards I hold for everything from a manual can opener to an automobile.

fastbolt
September 21, 2008, 09:37 PM
The relative cost of a product may not always be a relevant yardstick by which to measure the potential for the absence of operating or functioning problems occurring during the owner's usage.

Motor vehicles are becoming increasingly expensive.

Anybody ever see the service dept folks at their dealerships sitting around on their hands with nothing to do, regardless of how expensive the vehicles may be on the market?

Also, sometimes the most expensive vehicles may still experience a problem related to what might be considered a relatively reasonably priced part/component.

I remember when the cost of a good quality firearm hovered around either side of a hundred dollar bill. That cost didn't seem all that inexpensive to me back then, as $600-$800 doesn't seem exactly inexpensive to me now. Affordable, perhaps, but not inexpensive.

Personally, I've found electrical equipment can be particularly vexing when it comes to either operator error or simple parts failures requiring repair or eventual replacement.

I also remember when 5,000 rounds was considered to be a respectable service life for a military grade sidearm, too, and 80 rounds per year was the expected training use which might be expected of the sidearm.

Then again, military specifications and requirements often consider the slides and barrels of pistols to be 'disposable parts', too.

If folks were to fully understand the specifications to which the product they were considering purchasing was produced, including firearms, maybe they wouldn't be so disappointed when something happened that required correction, repair or more maintenance than that involved in basic field-stripping and cleaning.

I'd really like to own a self-cleaning, self-repairing firearm capable of self-diagnosis and owner/user notification of pending problems, myself. :neener:

I'd also like smart ammunition which has been painstakingly hand checked after normal production which borders on handcrafted attention, and which is at the extreme upper range of quality control standards ... all for an affordable, inexpensive price which I can then shop around and try to reduce even further. :rolleyes:

Sighting assistance (Smart Sights tm :) ) for aging eyes past the half century mark, which would be easily visible in any and all environmental conditions, wouldn't be unwelcome, either. ;)

fastbolt
September 21, 2008, 09:43 PM
oops dbl post

Aguila Blanca
September 21, 2008, 10:33 PM
I've read and experienced that all firearms require a break in of xxx rounds by the maker, correct lubrication and cleaning, specifically recommended ammunition or what to be avoided. And yet we see posts about these items being ignored simply because the owner insists it should work anyway, no matter what, and a long rant against the manufacturer in not meeting their expectations.

Maybe I'm getting too old, or just old enough to know better, but what's going on with that?
What I find curious is that it seems to be the makers of high dollar guns that play the "break-in" card a lot more than the garden variety makers. A firearm isn't the lunar landing module -- people have been making essentially the same thing for over 100 years. IMHO, when I buy a firearm I expect that it will work from round number 1, and I do not think that's an unreasonable expectation.

The manufacturer has no knowledge of or control over what the buyer's purpose or need for a gun is. Some of us own multiple firearms and enjoy messing with them. Other people may suddenly find themselves in an uncomfortable situation of NEEDING a gun ... like right now ... to protect against a real-world threat. Maybe they only have time to buy one gun, maybe they can only afford to buy one gun, or maybe nobody told them they should buy three to be sure one of 'em will work. So Suzie Q needs a gun to protect herself against the ex-boyfriend who has promised to beat her senseless now that she broke up with him. She hears that Kimber or Les Baer makes good guns, and she thinks a "good" gun will be more reliable than a cheap gun. She buys it, the ex-boyfriend breaks into her house, she pulls the gun, and it doesn't work.

Oops. Poor Suzie forgot to read the fine print, where it says the gun needs to have 500 or 1000 rounds run through it to "break it in." Well, too late now. Suzie's dead. The irony is that she'd have a better chance of getting a reliable 1911 out of the box if she bought a $400 Rock Island. They don't tell you to "shoot 500 rounds and then call back if there's still a problem." If you have a problem with a new Rock Island -- they fix it. Most Rock Island owners report no problems. Read any of the 1911-related forums, though, and you find all kinds of complaints about Les Baer and Kimber pistols not working. Sure, some do -- but for that kind of money, they should ALL be 100% reliable out of the box. We're not talking about a toaster oven or a blender here -- we're talking about a weapon, something that some people may rely upon to save their lives. "Shoot 500 rounds and then call back" is not an acceptable response when the thing I need to defend myself doesn't work.

When the United States Government had four different companies churning out thousands of M1911A1s every day during WW2, do you suppose they sent each pistol to a range and had someone fire 500 rounds through it for "break-in"? No way. They were expected to function and, for the most part, they did.

Why are we so willing to give the manufacturers a free ride on reliability now? It simply doesn't make sense. A firearm that won't fire is a paperweight, and I cannot understand why anyone would contemplate spending $1,000 or $3,000 or even more on a paperweight.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

3KillerBs
September 21, 2008, 10:45 PM
Exactly, Aquila.

Does anyone think that a dishwasher should require several hundred loads to break it in? That the chop saw they use in their garage a couple weekends a month should require anything but reasonable cleaning and the replacement of worn blades for several years of normal use? That they should expect missed pictures now and then from their digital camera?

Wes Janson
September 21, 2008, 10:48 PM
So Suzie Q needs a gun to protect herself against the ex-boyfriend who has promised to beat her senseless now that she broke up with him. She hears that Kimber or Les Baer makes good guns, and she thinks a "good" gun will be more reliable than a cheap gun. She buys it, the ex-boyfriend breaks into her house, she pulls the gun, and it doesn't work.

Oops. Poor Suzie forgot to read the fine print, where it says the gun needs to have 500 or 1000 rounds run through it to "break it in." Well, too late now. Suzie's dead.

I can think of a thousand other ways in which Suzie Q can autodarwinate by failing to exhibit proper caution or undertake appropriate measures to safeguard her own well-being. It is not the product's fault if Suzie Q neglects to seek out a basic level of knowledge about the given product. Nor is it the product's fault if Suzie expects that merely purchasing the given product will convey the necessary level of skill and knowledge necessary to utilize it for its intended purpose.

Aguila Blanca
September 21, 2008, 10:57 PM
Nor is it the product's fault if Suzie expects that merely purchasing the given product will convey the necessary level of skill and knowledge necessary to utilize it for its intended purpose.
Suzie could be the IDPA Ladies national champion. If the gun won't shoot when she pulls the trigger, she's still dead. Your argument is a non sequitur.

KiltedClaymore
September 21, 2008, 11:00 PM
once again, thats why suzie should have bought a 12 gauge Mossburg 500 (with 18 inch barrel and 8 round magazine) or an AK-47. if the gun has the proven history of being able to take a beating with a rock and still work, i'm sold. usualy these types of guns are pretty inexpencive as well. that means i can get multiple guns for what some pay for a single gun. or i can buy a ton of ammo to get good with the gun i bought for less than someone else.

Samgotit
September 21, 2008, 11:06 PM
The audiophile world is essentially the same way: Your speakers should sound better after xxx number of hours; your cables need to "burn-in"; you need to run your CD player for a week while you are at work. Funny thing is, I've not heard of a single manufacturer that offers their products "previously burned-in". Why? It's hogwash feed to the consumer through an IV. This is, most likely, to avoid returns by buyers with remorse or, more simply, returns of substandard products. Break-in may be a bit more palpable in the purely mechanical world of firearms, but I'm suspect.

RPCVYemen
September 21, 2008, 11:12 PM
What I find curious is that it seems to be the makers of high dollar guns that play the "break-in" card a lot more than the garden variety makers ...

That's because the high dollar gun are 1911s. I am only about half kidding. :)

It seem like all of the major makes have at least one service grade weapon that goes bang every time the trigger is pulled. If it doesn't go bang every time the trigger is pulled, then it's a defect.

But when a 1911 fails to function properly, it's one of two things:


It hasn't been broken in.
The shooter must have been limp-wristing it.
Must be a bad magazine.
Mus be the wrong ammo.
It can't possibly be a design or manufacture defect - I paid too much money for this 1911 to admit that ...


There was a time when American car manufacturers had elaborate "break in" requirements, including special grades of oil, limited speeds for the 1st X thousand miles. If you don't believe me, ask your grandpa. :)

It wasn't possible to design and build a car that didn't require a break in period. That was an absolute fact.

Then a new breed of car (or car manufacturer) came along and said that was malarkey, and designed cars that were ready to go 300,000 miles from the get go with just regular maintenance.

Ooops!

Mike

Eric F
September 21, 2008, 11:31 PM
There was a time when American car manufacturers had elaborate "break in" requirements, including special grades of oil, limited speeds for the 1st X thousand miles. If you don't believe me, ask your grandpa thats because piston rings didnt come already"run in" like they are now. Engines now are built lower end first then a drill like machine is hooked up to the crank shaft and the crank shafts are rotated for a certian amount of revolutions and at a certian speed to break in the rings. Also engines are built out of better materials and better tollerances and more consistantly. how is this gun related?.....its not but this part is.

For the most part 1911 guys get really up tight about the mythical break in on their guns. Why? I dont know I never have, as I said before if a gun had problems with the first 10 or so rounds it always had problems. Providing I had a known good mag to start with.

KiltedClaymore
September 21, 2008, 11:36 PM
and who buys a 1911 as their first gun without some research or cursory knowledge of firearms?

Eric F
September 21, 2008, 11:40 PM
and who buys a 1911 as their first gun without some research or cursory knowledge of firearms?
I did when I turned 21 before the internet was in full swing. It happens even today. Clueless first time gun owner saw "1911 movies" for a few years prior to being 21 does not know any savy 1911 owners or even shooters in general, sees a 1911 in the trader and buys it or goes to a gun shop and the sales man sells the low end 1911 to him thats been on the shelf for 4 years because its low end and over priced.......but it happens.

KiltedClaymore
September 21, 2008, 11:44 PM
and how did that turn out Eric? first time you take it out it wont play nice(meaning: not work well)?

Mcuraddoc
September 22, 2008, 12:07 AM
OK, I'm guilty. I expect a brand-new piece of equipment that cost hundreds of dollars to function flawlessly with minimal cleaning/maintenance for at least several years.


Agreed...

Eric F
September 22, 2008, 12:14 AM
and how did that turn out Eric? first time you take it out it wont play nice(meaning: not work well)?
Um no my first 1911 worked great with ball, I dumped a lot of mods into it then sold it to upgrade to a double stack. I didnt know any shooters so I didnt know about break in I just shot it and it worked. I had to do some mods for swc and JHP to work.

KiltedClaymore
September 22, 2008, 12:16 AM
glad to hear it! :D


imma still stick with my cheap ugly guns though.

Eric F
September 22, 2008, 12:18 AM
My current 1911 is a RIA 38super $299 new have about a grand all together into it after my mods(counting my reloading equipment and brass)

rfurtkamp
September 22, 2008, 12:45 AM
Normal break-in imo shouldn't be more than 3-4 boxes of shells.

When I had to deal with manufacturers on behalf of customers, the 'shoot another 500 rounds to see if it fixes it' CS was infuriating at best - telling a customer they need to spend another $150 on .45 ammo to 'maybe' get their $800 gun to work doesn't fly real well.

Yes, many problems are user-related, especially 1911s and smaller autos. But when lemons occur, I want the S&W and Sig service of old: they take it back, fix it, and make it right or replace it.

If a gun is finicky enough that it requires specialty ammo etc, it should IMO be on the hang tag provided by the manufacturer.

Arkady
September 22, 2008, 01:36 AM
I'm not a big believer in break-in periods.

When I spend my hard-earned money on a new gun, I expect that the maker's quality control department is not staffed by idiots.

It had better work right the first time. Do I still test it to be sure? Yes. Am I more forgiving of failures in the first few rounds? Yes. But that still means that your QC screwed up. That's why I don't own Kel-Tecs anymore: You ARE their QC department.

Tirod
September 22, 2008, 02:26 PM
Comparing electronic/electric devices to mechanical ones is not apples to apples. The whole point of electrical stuff is to be able to factory check operation before shipment, and decrease mechanical setup and break-in to reduce customers perceived quality issues. Still, computers and lap tops are run in for 24hrs to see if they keep working.

I note that a lot of electric stuff on cars fails a lot earlier than the motor at 250K miles. Starters, alternators, fuel injectors, fuel pumps, sensors, door locks, windows, CD units, etc just stop when they go bad. But, the motor still runs, transmission still shifts, differential still turns the wheels, so there it is on the used car lot, waiting for the next user. Gun stores are full of the same, 98k's, old revolvers, 1965 lever actions still going bang every time. Not always pretty, missing a sight elevator maybe, but still functional.

My 1966 17 transistor radio, however, is a piece of junk. Sure, it still gets a signal and makes audio. I don't see many old used electronics filling up a trade paper to sell nationwide. Mechanical guns, cars, yeah.

Electronics is a new age pacifier, and sets up unwarranted expectations. Mechanical devices actually last far longer and give better service - when you break them in right. Demanding that they perform out of the box with perfect performance at the lowest possible cost is unreasonable.

If Suzy Q does buy a 1911 for immediate personable protection - as an IDPA champion, she would go shoot 200 rounds out of it to ensure herself it works right - it's a professional habit that has been explained far longer than she has lived. George Nonte didn't write to do that by making it up himself, he learned it in the '50's/'60's . And when multiple suppliers made 1911's, it was common knowledge that all mechanical devices had to be broken in to get the parts worn into a working relationship. Malfunctions were expected - and owners a lot more experienced at getting over it. It was new. After awhile, it earned the "old, trusty, reliable" moniker, or it was gotten rid of.

Yesterdays common knowledge is no longer applied, nor sometimes even applicable, but the common sense still stands. Demanding something new out of the box to be 100% reliable without any proof it can - especially if it involves your life - is unrealistic.

So, expect a few teething problems with a new gun, regardless of the hype about the brand. It should give far longer service than the cassette player in your 75 Dodge New Yorker. Should you still have one.

3KillerBs
September 22, 2008, 09:24 PM
Tirod, that's nonsense.

If a mechanical device can't work without a "break-in" then the thing is poorly designed and the manufacturer should be compensating for their inability to create a solid piece of machinery from the get-go by doing the "break-in" in the factory.

For something comparable in price and greater in complexity: How many boards do you expect to mess up "breaking-in" a new table saw? How may times do you expect your new riding mower to fail to start or to fail to actually cut the grass before its "broken in".

ANYTHING bought brand new ought to work flawlessly first time out. That's what brand new is about -- not yet subjected to the wear and tear that causes malfunctions.

In the days when parts were made by hand there might have been some justification for a break-in period because humans are not capable of consistent perfection. But in the day of computer-controlled machinery capable of working to microscopic tolerances there's simply no excuse.

If you enjoyed reading about "Normal break in, or serious QC issue?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!