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

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by MCMXI, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  2. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    If it's a newer gun it has a removable firing pin, if not then he has to return it.
  3. paul105

    paul105 Well-Known Member

    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

  4. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

    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.

  5. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    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 Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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

    such is not the case with rimfires
  10. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    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.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  11. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    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!!!

    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.
  12. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    Just because Ruger designed their revolvers to withstand dry firing abuse does mean that dry firing is OK. I stand by my comment.
  13. Walking Dead

    Walking Dead Well-Known Member

    I thought only MIM parts in revolvers broke. Weird...
  14. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    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)
  15. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    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 ... 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."
  16. paul105

    paul105 Well-Known Member

    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.

  17. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

    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.

  20. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    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 ...

    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.

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