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How many rounds to break in?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by bg226, Jul 13, 2010.

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  1. Fremmer

    Fremmer Member

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    It seems that a gun either works right out of the box, or it doesn't. A box or two of ammo will smooth things out a bit, but generally won't cure a gun that is messed up and doesn't work right.
     
  2. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Guns and cars--another fatally flawed analogy.

    Your average gun has about two dozen parts. A few of those parts are machined to tolerances that may be measured in the thousandth of an inch, plus/minus several thou. The rest will be stamped.

    It may run at 300 rpm (5 rounds/sec) in the hands of Todd Jarrett, etc. For you and me, it will likely run at 120 rpm (two rounds per second)...for seven to seventeen rounds.

    Your car has many thousands of parts. The engine alone has several hundred parts, all machined to tolerances of thousandths (maybe ten-thousandths) of an inch. It will run at 4000-8000 rpm for thousands of hours, day in, day out with no failures.

    My point? A new Les Baer is a stone axe compared to a new Toyota Camry. Consider how far cars are advanced in the last 100 years compared to guns.
    Why is that? Sould be obvious. The expectation of the customer is the driving force.

    When I was a kid (60s-70s), cars cost $2000. They had steel dashboards, distributors with points, carburetors, drum brakes, bias ply tires, and were flat wore out by 40-50k miles. Back then, a 1911 was worth $75.

    The difference between my parents' 1963 Chevy and my 2003 Jetta TDI is profound. THey basically share nothing but the four tires attaching each to the ground.

    The difference between my daddy's Colt 1911 and my Les Baer is likewise profound--mine has an alloy frame, and thin grips....and....ummm. Mine feeds JHPs. Yeah, it has a beavertail. Better sights...better trigger and different hammer.

    Not quite the same order of magnitude as airbags, ABS, turbo diesel, radials, 4-wheel discs, etc..

    When you get right down to it, a pistol is a very simple machine, and, much like a bicycle, very difficult to improve upon.
     
  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Not a good comparison - Pistols do not have piston rings that must seat properly over time for peak performance.

    I would prefer to compare pistols to machines with many moving metal parts like transmission, sewing machine, mechanical watch, etc. All of these machines with metal-to-metal contacts work without break-in period from day one. How many would say, "Well, my swiss made chronograph needs a month of break-in to keep accurate time"? or a drag racer saying, "I need about 40 runs to get my transmission working properly"?

    When I was in the service, I was one of several designated persons assigned to maintain our unit's armory. I remember receiving a box of about 50 new 1911s for our officers - we were shocked at how "rough" they were! We spent many days cleaning, polishing and lubing the metal contact surfaces to make them function reliably so that they would work to defend the lives of soliders who had to use them.

    For me, break-in for pistol is removing metal that did not belong there in the first place due to variations in the manufacturing process for the pistol to function reliably. Modern CNC machining process and Quality Control/Assurance checks at the factory "should" sort out pistols that need further fitting/processing.

    I totally disagree. I investigate any malfunction I observe (mine or others I shoot with) to identify whether it was ammunition/reloading issue, user issue (limp wrist) or equipment issue. I view pistols as life-saving, critical equipment that must not fail like a Defibrillator or AED in the hospital. Occasional malfunction of these life-saving equipment will NOT be acceptable to anyone.

    Remember, if your ammunition/reload/pistol routinely/occasionally malfunctions at the range, it probably will when you use it for SD/HD - I would highly recommend that you investigate and resolve the malfunctions or seek the assistance of a competent gunsmith/armorer if you need to.

    If I bought a new STI Trojan, I fully expect it to function flawlessly from the first round. If it doesn't, I would be disappointed. :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010
  4. Mr.Davis

    Mr.Davis Member

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    I've never owned a gun (though my experience is limited) that required any breakin at all.

    However, my most expensive handgun is a Springfield XD, so obviously I'm not dealing with race guns.
    Most cars that I've seen (including my 2010 Made in the USA Hyundai Sonata) say to keep it under a certain RPM range or to allow a few thousand miles until best engine performance and gas mileage.

    Then again, that's a lot different than the engine seizing up every 20 miles for the first thousand :)
     
  5. KCMOgunner

    KCMOgunner Member

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    All new guns will "smooth out" the metal to metal contact surfaces and clean up any machining marks on those contact surfaces. But any failure from the get-go due to the production process isn't acceptable.

    You should never need to "break in" a gun so that it will properly feed/fire. Putting rounds through it like you normally would will smooth out the rough edges, simply making the gun perform slightly better. If your gun doesn't work right out of the box, send it back (unless its a race gun, they are in their own little world)
     
  6. jenrob

    jenrob Member

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    Les baer is not a race gun and they say to break-in around 500 rounds.

    Most semi-auto will function smoother the more they are shot.

    as for those saying that the have never seen an engine that required a break-in. Then you have never purchased a motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, and some autos. if you have then you haven't read the manual cause it states in the manual not to use full throttle and such till so many miles.

    Almost all rifle barrels have a break-in period, to function properly (better accuracy). Some as little as 20 rounds some up to 200 rounds.

    Rifles and pistol vary in this aspect as the more you spend on a rifle the less you have to put thru th tube to smooth it out as for a pistol the more you spend usually the tighter the builder has built the gun the more you need to run through it to get it smoothed out.

    This is not to be confused with function but I have seen higher end guns malfunction once or twice on the first 50-100 rounds and then never again in several thousand rounds.
     
  7. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Break-in should not be necessary, but I can live with a few sporadic stoppages in the first 200 rounds or so. Also, a few makers (notably Kahr) do specify such a period. But if it doesn't straighten up and fly right after that, it will be sent back as faulty.
     
  8. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Never heard of an engine that required a break-in to not stall, misfire, or otherwise operate properly.
     
  9. jetboater

    jetboater Member

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    That's why I don't own a Kahr and never will--when a manufacturer tells me I must fire 250 rounds to break the gun in before it's good to carry, I don't think that's the right gun for me.
    I usually put that many rounds thru the gun before I'm comfortable with it but that should be my choice---not due to some manufacturer requiring the user to make sure their work is correct.
     
  10. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    Any machine that contains metal or other parts that rub together with the resulting friction will 'seat'/conform to the other parts shape. The softer part will wear/conform the most. .

    All should shoot OOB, but virtually all will be smoother and more reliable after some number of cycles. Loose guns will require less break-in and tight guns will require more, because there is more friction.

    They "never" stop wearing due to the friction of parts; but the initial wear (from machine marks, flash, slightly out of spec. alignment, etc.) is the part we notice as 'scratchy, 'rough' or 'tight' and should smooth out probably at 500 rounds or less.
    Many 'trigger jobs' primarily speed this process up by smoothing the sear and hammer hooks.

    Even "springs" will "take a set" after being cycled for a while in the gun. (ref. gunsprings.com--Wolff Springs--for more info). They may be 'stiffer' at first.

    It depends on the gun and the precision of the parts it contains.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  11. duns

    duns Member

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    Some people seem to be saying that an autoloader should function faultlessly out of the box. I'm very inexperienced but none of my three autoloaders have been flawless out of the box. Two of them I suspect were just stiff because they have now been flawless for hundreds of rounds after occasional failures intially. The third, a 1911, sometimes fails to load the last round in the mag and I suspect this is a mag problem that will not go away with use. Based on my limited experience, a few malfunctions in the first hundred or couple of hundred rounds is nothing to worry about if thereafter it performs faultlessly for the next few hundred rounds.
     
  12. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Member

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    Any gun that does not function correctly right out of the box is a defective product in my estimation. If I'm buying the gun for self-protection why in hell should I have to do a "break in" before it will adequately defend me?
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  13. BeerSleeper

    BeerSleeper Member

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    Many posts now, saying either "It must function correctly out of the box, or it's defective" or "a break in period is reasonbable for (insert reason and/or comparison)"

    Why can't both be true? They are not mutually exclusive conditions. There can be the expectation that it will perform well, to a high standard, right out of the box, and yet, with a break-in period, improve even further.

    One one hand, most guns have a very small number of moving parts, break-in in the traditional sense, as thought of with a gas engine, should not be necessary. One the other hand, what kind of machine process could possibly hope to duplicate the effect firing 500 rounds has on (to choose one part for example) say, the rifling of the barrel?

    It should shoot great, right out of the box. At worst, it should need no more than a cleaning/oiling. If, after only 500 rounds, there is any change at all in it's performance, it had damn well better be an improvement.
     
  14. possum

    possum Member

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    i don't believe in a "break in" period, however i test a gun that i might carry and or use as defense at least 500-1000rds before i use it, if there is any magiclal break in period it would be taken care of it in that number i would hope. never had a gun that needed a break in period.
     
  15. GJW1911

    GJW1911 Member

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    I don't know about a "break-in period" but I would not trust to carry a gun unless I had put at least 250 to 500 rounds through.

    My Kahr CW45 was dead reliable out of the box, without their "break in" but I would not trust it until I had fired 500 reliable rounds (witch it did, right out of the box).

    My DW CBOB had a hiccup at around 50 rounds, but after cleaning and re-lubing its now at about 2k rounds without flaw.
     
  16. jonmerritt

    jonmerritt Member.

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    If you don't like it, don't buy it. End of story.
     
  17. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    You mean there are people who buy a new gun and don't immediately go shoot 200 or 500 rounds? Why'd they buy a gun? I like shooting.

    :)

    You know, if the manufacturer had to pay somebody to shoot a gun 200 times it would drive up the price of the gun. I'd rather pay less and have more money to buy ammo and do it myself.
     
  18. JK

    JK Member

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    It is an interesting idea that machined parts have to be rubbed together to make them fit. The three machine shop bosses I had in high school would have a fit. It's like telling them to use sandpaper instead of a tool to achieve a good finish on parts.

    There is a manufacturer out there that claims that their firearms require a 200 round break in. The only reasonable explaination for this is that they cannot make parts that fit and they are requiring the customer to do the QC work on the finished product.

    I guess if they say it often enough then people will accept that line of BS.

    If you buy any semiautomatic pistol it is a good idea to fire a couple of hundred rounds through it before you trust your life to the darned thing. If it does not work, including occasional misfires, then it is JUNK. Don't make excuses for your bad purchase, send it back.

    Sorry if I messed with some of your belief systems. I'm not trying to start a flame war here. I just want folks to know the difference between quality and salesmanship.

    JK
     
  19. BlayGlock

    BlayGlock Member

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    I do several magazines of my carry ammo and usually 100 rounds of some sort of fmj. I usually know if something is wrong pretty quick and whether or not I can fix it or if I should sent it back.
     
  20. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    you know, they could have their parts lapped and honed until they fit absolutely perfectly down to the ten thousandth of an inch......which in turn would raise the cost of your $500 gun to well over $1000.....


    .....or, you could spend $100-150 on ammo, shoot a few hundred rounds and achieve the exact same results

    i really dont see the fact that they require a breaking all that ludicrous..

    ...i mean, you wouldnt take your brand new, built from all new parts, never run engine down to the race track and run the hell out of it....it takes time for valves, seals, pistons to all seat correctly.
     
  21. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    Well..actually that would be a very good thing. That best way to seat piston rings,valves and camshafts is to "run the hell out of it".The best way to "break in" a car or anything else is to use it the way you will BE using it.
     
  22. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    That's odd, the new cars I've purchased said something different in the owner's manual. For instance, vary speed and don't cruise at one speed for extended periods (like most folks do when they use their vehicles on the highway.) Just one example. Another is, don't run the hell out of it. No jackrabbit starts, etc.

    Should I believe the car maker or you? You and your drag strip for a new car. HA.

    Ten or twenty years ago the car maker's required an oil change at 1000 miles during the break in period. My '10 made-in-Japan Highlander doesn't.

    Moving parts rub. Fact of life. They need to seat. Either the maker can do it and we can pay for it or we do it.

    John
     
  23. JK

    JK Member

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    I expect my firearms to function 100% when I plop down my hard earned money. I suppose someone could try to talk me out of that expectation. Maybe they could etch the "break in" requirement on the side of the slide assembly.

    Dang it guys, It's a pistol, not an automobile engine. I expect my car motor to function 100% with no miles on it. I do not expect to see pistons with failure to feeds and starter motors that don't work. I expect the engine to run on all brands of gasoline.

    The parts of a pistol are not FIT down to the ten thousanth of an inch. It's a pistol, not a swiss watch. Spring tensions, dimensional limits, plating adhesion, material specs, are things that are specified in engineering drawings. If the manufacturer keeps the product within it's own specs then there should be no problems.

    If you are OK with something that is less than functional, go for the pistol that looks good. Woship chrome.
     
  24. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    My experience with semi-auto's is that the magazine needs the break-in period more than the gun does.
     
  25. easyg

    easyg Member

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    "Yes sir, that new toilet I installed might leak a bit for the first 1000 or so flushes, but after the break-in period it should work just fine".

    :evil:
     
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