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Damage by releasing slide on empty chamber

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Blakenzy, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. Blakenzy

    Blakenzy Member

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    When looking at a used pistol I always wonder "was this gun abused?", and try to find signs of abuse.

    Supposedly dropping the slide on an empty chamber is very bad for the health of a pistol, and yet alot of people seem to do it. Now, I don't know exactly what gets broken when doing this and I would like to see what damage produced by repeatedly releasing the slide on an empty chamber looks like.

    It would be great if any one could post photos of a pistol damaged by those actions, or at least describe what to look for.
     
  2. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    How is dropping the slide on an empty chamber less damaging than firing the weapon?

    Did you have a particular pistol in mind? I honestly don't think it's an issue with a quality item.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You will be looking for damage a long long time before you find any.

    Although it is considered bad form, especially amounst hand-fitted match gun shooters, actual damage is just not going to happen on a duty weapon.

    And yes, it slams shut much harder then it does when actually shooting it.

    Friction from stripping a round out of the magazine and feeding it into the chamber slows the slide considerably. Upward pressure of rounds in the magazine against the bottom of the slide slows it even more.

    But nothing is going to fly off or break if you do it occasionally.

    What is more damaging to many guns is single loading a round in the chamber and then dropping the slide on it.

    In most Browning designs like the 1911, that forces the extractor to flex way out to snap over the case rim.
    Normal feeding out of the magazine allows it to slide up under the extractor and puts no strain on the extractor at all.

    [​IMG]
    rcmodel
     
  4. Blakenzy

    Blakenzy Member

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    That's why I would like to see pictures (or at least a description) of the damage. I hear it alot but have never seen/noticed it myself.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, a picture or description would be pretty hard to come by.

    See, if there isn't any physical damage, you can't take a picture of it!

    On 1911 Match guns, with very light trigger jobs, the sear is not protected when you drop the slide, unless you hold the trigger back like it would be if you actually shot the gun and the slide cycled.

    But that's about the only example I can think of where damage would occur.
    Again, it would not be a factor in a duty gun with a normal trigger pull setting.

    [​IMG]
    rcmodel
     
  6. possum

    possum Member

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    droping the slide on an empty chamber as oppssed to letting off thousands psi of pressure inside the weapon everytime you fire, hot gases and carbon being blown all over the gun inside and out etc.

    i see no harm in it and have no problems with any of my guns that i have done it too. if you think that it is an issue, or don't fll comfortable doing it, get some snap caps, or just don't do it.
     
  7. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    It might be a problem for high strung prima-donna race guns, but is no problem at all for any quality working gun.
     
  8. wally

    wally Member

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    I won't buy a used handgun without doing to be sure the hammer doesn't follow from a bubba trigger job.

    The gun is designed to handle the stresses imposed on it and the slide moving forward expects to be cushioned by the force required to chamber a round. But any gun has to stand up to a fair amount of it as it will happen if the mag fails to lock back on the last shot -- which in my experience is the most common mag failure assuming its feeds reliable initially. That said, being tacticool and repeatedly doing it while mindlessly watching TV could eventually lead to damage from the excessive stresses.

    --wally.
     
  9. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Member

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    I've done it for a great many years after cleanings and range sessions without issue. Especially my Colt Mark IV pin gun and my Delta Elite. As hard as the DE slams, you'd think it would be damaged if any, but it isn't.
     
  10. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    I think you will grow bored with it long before any slides or frames get battered. ;)

    On hammer-fired autoloaders, it is also a legitimate functional test to see that the hammer doesn't follow the slide down. But if it is someone else's gun, ask first - this is simple courtesy.
     
  11. isp2605

    isp2605 Member

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    Exactly. Dropping the slide on an empty chamber would cause tuned match guns problems. Some guns it wouldn't take too many times, other guns might not show problems for some time. I don't know if current, standard carry guns would be hurt or not but it was something you didn't want to do on a tuned target 1911.
     
  12. boonie

    boonie Member

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  13. steveno

    steveno Member

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    maybe it will hurt a gun and maybe it won't but it is very bad manners
     
  14. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    I wouldn't do it to someone else's gun but I recall reading that Browning intended for dropping the slide to be the correct procedure when he designed the 1911 and Colt literature from back in the day stated that this was the proper way to close the slide on an empty chamber. I really doubt that any harm would ever be done to a 1911 by doing this and I have done it since 1973 when I got my first 1911 (and I still have that one, BTW) without any damage visible.

    But like I said, sort of uncool to treat another man's gun in any fashion that he might find objectionable.
     
  15. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I don't know if it is realistic, but this is what the Springfield Armory manual says:
    The slide of a 1911-A1 pistol should never
    be released on an empty chamber; especially one
    which has had an action job. Releasing the slide on
    an empty chamber causes damage to the breech
    face on the barrel and undue stress on all action
    parts, including the hammer and the sear. This will
    ruin the action job performed on your pistol
     
  16. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Don't do it in a store on a virgin gun. I avoid it on mine, but I won't say never.
     
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Rather than beat on this dead horse again...I invite the non-believers to examine the gun and figure out exactly what parts bring the slide to a halt.
    Look closely. There's more to it than you think.
     
  18. Big Boomer

    Big Boomer Member

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    From what I have seen, excessive abuse on this from a 1911 will cause hammer follow through as it is very hard on a couple of specific parts.

    1. The slide stop: without resistance from the magazine follower/round pushing up against the slide slowing it down, and without resistance of having to chamber a round will cause undue wear on the slide stop and the frame where it will peen the frame quite nicely.

    2. The sear: Personal experience is that it produces undue wear and tear on the sear causing it to be battered, causing hammer follow through. I had to replace my internals because of this. Lesson learned.

    Now on my say XD I really don't worry about it.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Okay. We've got the slidestop crosspin and the holes in the frame. Anything else?

    (By the way...The animation is good, but the bullet exiting the barrel before the slide moves is wrong.)

    Only if the hammer follows and the half-cock whacks the sear. Hammer followdown is most often caused by the trigger bumping the disconnect and rotating the sear enough to get it loose from the hammer hooks. Aided by, but not caused by the little bit of inertial hammer "bounce"...this is mostly a sear spring issue, exacerbated in part by an underpowered mainspring. More likely if the hammer hooks are squared and shortened. Less likely if thehooks are .025 inch long and left slightly undersquare.
     
  20. AKCOP

    AKCOP Member

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    Whoa I like that animation, it's a Hollywood version right, never runs out of ammo!
     
  21. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    (I've been told) The extractor is designed to be holding a round when the slide closes. If it slams home empty, there is no cushion, and it hits the edge of the barrel full force. I suppose eventually this would break it.
     
  22. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    I had always heard that on 1911s, the locking lugs on the top of the barrel and the inside of the frame (see animation above) could become battered if the slide was dropped too many times on an empty chamber. The chambering of the round sorta "cushions" the impact of the two surfaces when they mesh.

    That may only be an issue on 1911s that aren't exactly in spec.

    Now, whenever I reassemble my 1911 I do several function checks to insure everything (especially safety features) work properly. I hand loaded some dummy ammo that I using worn out cases (no primer and powder). I insert it into a mag, then drop the slide on the dummy round in the mag to test for hammer follow-through.

    Good insurance.
     
  23. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    If everything is to spec, the extractor won't contact the chamber face.

    It's the lower lug that takes the pounding...and it takes it low...near the tips of the feet. A linkless barrel tolerates it better, but still subjects the slidestop pinhole in the frame to impact stresses that can egg-shape the hole or even crack the frame in the bottom of the hole. Aluminum alloy frames are especially vulnerable to this.

    The occasional event won't hurt...such as checking for hammer followdown, or a failure to lock the slide on empty...but it's not a good thing to get in the habit of.
     
  24. BobbyQuickdraw

    BobbyQuickdraw Member

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    The Beretta 92 series is designed to allow single round feeding when the magazine is either missing or somehow jammed within the weapon, without incurring damage.

    Just a little extra tidbit!

    As for the topic at hand, I don't like to drop the slide on an empty chamber. Sounds violent. Loud. Serves no purpose. I've done it and I'll do it again, but its something I avoid mostly.
     
  25. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    So was the 1911...hence the call for an extractor made of spring-tempered steel. You don't really think that a sharp cookie like John Browning and a team of Colt's top engineers overlooked the possibility of having to single-load the pistol in the event of a lost or damaged magazine...do ya?
     
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