Broken firing pin on Freedom Arms Inc Field Grade .44 Mag?


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1858
August 14, 2011, 01:16 AM
A friend of mine was left a Freedom Arms Model 83 Field Grade .44 Magnum by one of his best friends (fellow Army rifle team shooter) who was killed in Afghanistan last year. He took it the range yesterday for the first time and it simply wouldn't ignite the primer of a chambered round. He asked me to have a look at it and I'm convinced that the firing pin is broken. The firing pin doesn't protrude past the breech face when the hammer is released. There is mention of a manual sliding bar safety but I don't see how that could be causing the problem. Any suggestions other than send it back to FA? If the firing pin is broken, is it easy to replace?

I'm not familiar with FA but I was very impressed with the quality and fit. The cylinder has to be the tightest fit (smallest clearances) of any I've seen on any revolver. There's virtually no cylinder gap between the cylinder and forcing cone or the rear of the cylinder and breech face. I now find myself wanting a Premier Grade .454 Casull with a 4-1/4" barrel.

He's asked me to put together a few hundred rounds of .44 Mag suitable for hunting sheep, goats, pigs etc. He was shocked at the cost of factory ammuntion so I've suggested a Hornady XTP 240gr JHP in front of H110.

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918v
August 14, 2011, 11:21 AM
If it's a newer gun it has a removable firing pin, if not then he has to return it.

paul105
August 14, 2011, 11:33 AM
On newer model FA Model 83s (and all M97s), the firing pin is easily replaced. The pin/spring is held in place by a threaded bushing accessible via the rear of the gun when the hammer is cocked. The bushing has a flat blade screw slot. See photo below.

If your gun doesn’t look like this, you have an older model and it will have to be sent back to the factory to be retrofitted with the replaceable firing pin setup.

In either case, call Freedom Arms 307-883-2468, ask for John, describe the problem and he will take care of you


http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n172/Paul105_photo/P8140006.jpg

bergmen
August 14, 2011, 12:49 PM
Yes, I would highly recommend calling FA as mentioned above. This weapon is in a class by itself and the gurus need to be consulted for any repair work. There may be other things that need attention as well that may not be obvious to the casual observer or qualified gunsmith.

There is some reason why the firing pin broke. The folks at FA are the ones to check it out to make sure all is well.

BTW, I have a new Model 83 in .454 Casull. It has only had a few cylinders through it but I cannot see how my grandkids could ever wear this thing out. It looks like it is built tough enough to drive railroad spikes with.

Dan

918v
August 14, 2011, 01:31 PM
There is some reason why the firing pin broke.

Yes, it must have been dry fired excessively. No need to send the gun back if it has a removable firing pin. There is nothing complicated about it.

Guillermo
August 14, 2011, 02:56 PM
it must have been dry fired excessively

why would a Freedom Arms revolver be susceptible to this?

A Smith, Colt or Ruger can be dry fired many thousand times and not fail?

351 WINCHESTER
August 14, 2011, 04:18 PM
The older s & w's would break f/p's too. Rugers broke transfer bars and I'm sure Colts broke too. A little bit of dry firing probably won't do much harm, but then again it might and break at a really bad time. Seing the Freedom Arms f/p setup reminds me of a cheap German .38 that a friend of mine had. It quit firing. I looked it over and the bushing had backed out so I just screwed it in and it worked fine.

918v
August 14, 2011, 04:38 PM
why would a Freedom Arms revolver be susceptible to this?

A Smith, Colt or Ruger can be dry fired many thousand times and not fail?

Any firearm is susceptible to this. Dry firing is stupid. It causes the FP to impact against the frame. FPs are designed to impact against a primer cup. This is basic firearms 101.

Guillermo
August 14, 2011, 05:12 PM
It causes the FP to impact against the frame

the firing pin on all of my center fire weapons impact nothing if dry fired.

such is not the case with rimfires

Loosedhorse
August 14, 2011, 05:32 PM
the firing pin on all of my center fire weapons impact nothing if dry fired.If the firing pin is contained in the frame (see illustration, FP circled), then when the gun is dry-fired without snapcap, the FP hits the frame or the fully compressed FP spring. The point of the pin contacts nothing, that's true; but the shoulder hits the frame or spring, and that can eventually break the pin.

1858
August 14, 2011, 05:38 PM
Thanks everyone.

paul105, his firing pin doesn't look like yours. In fact, it looks just like the firing pins on my Ruger Blackhawks so it must be an older model. I could push the firing pin with a small punch so that it bottoms out in the frame, and the rear of the firing pin was recessed below the frame, but no part of the pin extends beyond the breech face. I'll tell my friend to send it back to FA. As you mentioned, perhaps it'll come back with the new style firing pin.

I think the mystery of how it broke has been solved. When my friend received the FA just a few weeks ago from his freind's estate, he dry fired it hundreds of times without a snap cap. When he told me that at the range on Friday, I told him that part of the firing pin is either in his carpet, his wife's vacuum cleaner or their dog!!!


Any firearm is susceptible to this. Dry firing is stupid. It causes the FP to impact against the frame. FPs are designed to impact against a primer cup. This is basic firearms 101.

Ruger specifically states that dry firing their revolvers is not a problem and no snap cap is required. I have a pair of USFA Rodeos that require snap caps to dry fire. Whether or not a revolver requires a snap cap to dry fire isn't a factor for me when choosing a revolver.

918v
August 14, 2011, 05:43 PM
Just because Ruger designed their revolvers to withstand dry firing abuse does mean that dry firing is OK. I stand by my comment.

Walking Dead
August 14, 2011, 05:44 PM
I thought only MIM parts in revolvers broke. Weird...

Guillermo
August 14, 2011, 05:46 PM
but the shoulder hits the frame or spring, and that can eventually break the pin.

I see your point.

Years gone by I read a piece by Grant Cunningham.
He said that Colt's firing pins seem to be harder, thus more brittle.
He absolutely suggest snap caps with them.

I also remember that he said something to the effect that such is not a problem w Rugers.

Don't know remember what he said about Smiths (probably something in between)

1858
August 14, 2011, 06:00 PM
Just because Ruger designed their revolvers to withstand dry firing abuse does mean that dry firing is OK. I stand by my comment.

918v, thanks for making me do a search on this. I use snap caps in my Rodeos and don't dry fire my Rugers, but if I ever do, I'll be using snap caps in those too. I found this piece of information on dry firing Ruger revolvers ... HERE (http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/?p=2784) ... and it makes a lot more sense to me than Ruger's blanket statement.

"So, is it safe to dry fire your pistol? We contacted Ruger and asked their technical advisors to see what they had to say. According to them, dry firing is perfectly fine on all of their modern centerfire firearms for clearing the weapon, dropping the hammer/striker, or just trying out the trigger. However for practice, they said you should definitely use snap caps. And that just makes sense. When practicing for USPSA Limited Revolver, I’d regularly go through 100 trigger pulls a night, on snap caps as that was how I’d been taught. Ruger technicians confirmed for us that if you’re going to be practicing with your revolver or semiautomatic pistol, you should seriously consider using snap caps."

paul105
August 14, 2011, 06:20 PM
Page 18 of FA83 Owners Manual:

4. It is not advisable to dry-fire your revolver, as this may
damage the firing pin. Freedom Arms has snap caps available
for all center-fire calibers.



I broke a firing pin on the above pictured .475 LB. At the time I also had an early .454 without the replaceable firing pin. I sent the .454 in to have .45 LC cylinder fitted, and had them install the replaceable firing pin at the same time. I think it cost $80.


Paul

1858
August 14, 2011, 06:36 PM
paul105, I don't think the FA came with a manual. Even if it did, my friend certainly didn't read it. Like a typical male, he was using his iPhone at the range to search for the manual online after he'd dry fired it numerous times and experienced a problem. I can't be hard on him since he received the revolver after the loss of one of his best friends, plus he's an internationally decorated Marine Corps and AMU pistol and rifle shooter so I tend not to tell him anything.

918v
August 14, 2011, 06:58 PM
Well, there you go. James Bond does not need to be told what to do as long as Q is there to fix his equipment.

bergmen
August 15, 2011, 12:29 PM
918v, thanks for making me do a search on this. I use snap caps in my Rodeos and don't dry fire my Rugers, but if I ever do, I'll be using snap caps in those too. I found this piece of information on dry firing Ruger revolvers ... HERE (http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/?p=2784) ... and it makes a lot more sense to me than Ruger's blanket statement.

"So, is it safe to dry fire your pistol? We contacted Ruger and asked their technical advisors to see what they had to say. According to them, dry firing is perfectly fine on all of their modern centerfire firearms for clearing the weapon, dropping the hammer/striker, or just trying out the trigger. However for practice, they said you should definitely use snap caps. And that just makes sense. When practicing for USPSA Limited Revolver, Id regularly go through 100 trigger pulls a night, on snap caps as that was how Id been taught. Ruger technicians confirmed for us that if youre going to be practicing with your revolver or semiautomatic pistol, you should seriously consider using snap caps."

I'm not sure how much to trust this resource (CheaperThanDirt). This guy doesn't seem to know that bolt actions can be de-cocked by holding the trigger while closing the bolt, no need for a snap-cap.

There are other issues with the advice given but that is fodder for a separate thread, no need to hijack here.

Dan

1858
August 15, 2011, 03:53 PM
I'm not sure how much to trust this resource (CheaperThanDirt). This guy doesn't seem to know that bolt actions can be de-cocked by holding the trigger while closing the bolt, no need for a snap-cap.

There are other issues with the advice given but that is fodder for a separate thread, no need to hijack here.

Dan

Dan, feel free to elaborate on the dry firing issue. I have all the information I need to pass onto my friend re his FA, but the topic of dry firing is an important one. Ruger does state on their website HERE (http://www.ruger.com/service/FAQs.html#Q42)...

Can I dry fire my Ruger revolver?
Yes. All Ruger revolvers can be dry fired without damage, and dry firing can be useful to familiarize the owner with the firearm. However, be sure any firearm is completely unloaded before dry firing!

... but they don't go into specifics. What has Ruger done to the design of their firing pins that makes them less susceptible to damage from dry firing? The firing pin is struck by the transfer bar which is struck by the hammer. The firing pin is spring loaded but its forward movement is stopped by some part of the frame if it doesn't contact a primer or snap cap ... right? Or is the spring/travel so long that the firing pin's inertia is arrested by the spring? Is the firing pin softer than those from other manufacturers? Lots of questions that are moot if one uses snap caps.

bergmen
August 15, 2011, 04:52 PM
Dan, feel free to elaborate on the dry firing issue. I have all the information I need to pass onto my friend re his FA, but the topic of dry firing is an important one. Ruger does state on their website HERE (http://www.ruger.com/service/FAQs.html#Q42)...

Can I dry fire my Ruger revolver?
Yes. All Ruger revolvers can be dry fired without damage, and dry firing can be useful to familiarize the owner with the firearm. However, be sure any firearm is completely unloaded before dry firing!

... but they don't go into specifics. What has Ruger done to the design of their firing pins that makes them less susceptible to damage from dry firing? The firing pin is struck by the transfer bar which is struck by the hammer. The firing pin is spring loaded but its forward movement is stopped by some part of the frame if it doesn't contact a primer or snap cap ... right? Or is the spring/travel so long that the firing pin's inertia is arrested by the spring? Is the firing pin softer than those from other manufacturers? Lots of questions that are moot if one uses snap caps.

I just checked my Bisley and when the hammer comes completely to rest with the transfer bar fully engaged (trigger fully depressed), the firing pin still has a little freeplay (I can push it forward slightly against the return spring pressure.

So that means the firing pin isn't slammed against the stop with the hammer stroke, it floats. Also, the surfaces where the hammer strikes are broad, flat and tough. I cannot see any evidence of hammer strikes even though I've dry fired it many times.

I can see that Ruger has dealt with the dry firing issue by excellent design and actually stating in the manual that dry firing is acceptable.

My Smith & Wesson, Marlin, Winchester, Browning (and others) manuals say nothing about dry firing at all.

On dry firing of .22's - if this was an issue, all of the manufacturers would recommend the use of snap caps or polymer practice rounds as the last round loaded into a magazine. My lever and semi-auto .22 rifles are shot until they run dry, it is almost impossible to visually check to make sure I'm not firing on an empty chamber although I try to do this. Bang, bang... bang, bang, snap.

I have not checked the firing pin design on my Marlin 39A but I am pretty sure it is an inertial type with a travel stop that would prevent a strike on the edge of the chamber (no marks exist there). And this is a 30+ year old gun. My Browning .22 auto, same there, don't know the design but still no strike marks (this is fairly new, though).

I would just think that there would be a hell of a lot of busted .22 rifles out there if dry firing was so hard on them. I never hear of this.

Just my thoughts...

Dan

918v
August 16, 2011, 10:11 PM
Heard of momentum? The firing pin will continue forward under it's own weight after having been struck by the hammer and will impact against the frame.

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