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What can a break-in period cure?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Skribs, Apr 29, 2016.

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  1. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    My general rule of thumb about break ins (guns, cars, whatever) is to follow the manufacturer's instructions. I'm inclined to give them a little credibility when it comes to their own products.

    If a manufacturer doesn't say anything about a break-in, then my assumption is that the gun should function without issues from the first round. Beretta, for example, has a machine that cycles at least some of their semi-auto pistols numerous times before they leave the factory. That probably has something to do with why they don't talk about a break-in period on their products.

    Other gun companies (Kahr is one) mention a break-in period and provide a round count. After that round count, the assumption is that the gun should function without issues. It's not a given that it will malfunction before that round count is reached, but if it does, it's not a big deal.

    That said, even during the break-in period, I wouldn't expect to encounter a lot of malfunctions. The break-in isn't supposed to work magic, just allow the rough spots to smooth out a little.

    I really don't care one way or the other. One way you pay a little more for the gun company to smooth things out for you, either by machine-cycling the action like Beretta does or in extra finishing operations. The other way you pay a little more for ammo and time to shoot the gun and smooth things out yourself.
     
  2. BigBore45

    BigBore45 Member

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    Lol. OK. Im gonna get in on this. Yes a RIA needs a break in period it's a cheap 1911.... Be realistic

    A gas engine in general needs to break in before you can reach advertised HP or torque ratings. Yeah it's true...
    Your car is not operating properly when new.

    However, I would expect an overly expensive nuclear whatever to work from the start. Just as I would expect a nighthawk custom 1911 to run from the start. But if your getting a 1911 at 500 bucks and you have to break it in to save 2500 dollars so be it.

    So I agree with both sides but looking at this as a budget 1911 that they let finish by a shooting and cleaning process then so be it. And glocks ar's any gun really outside of the custom guns need breaking in. They might not jam but I assure you after a few hundred rounds and a few cleanings they all have a smoother operation.

    I'm done, please don't get started on being an engineer, or I'll start loading blueprints of some real du!b s$:% I have had to fix because of engineers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  3. buckhorn_cortez

    buckhorn_cortez Member

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    I have a custom gun made by a well known 1911 pistol smith. He shot 200 rounds through it before it was delivered to me.

    In his letter to me documenting the pistol, he stated the gun should be kept well lubricated (he included a 4 oz bottle of the recommended lubricant) and shot for another 200 rounds. Then the gun was to be cleaned and lubricated before using it for competitions.

    I do know that some pistol magazines work better if they are fully loaded and left overnight so the springs are "set" to their working length and compression.

    Some HK pistols have had problems with "over sprung" recoil springs and work better if the gun is left with the slide locked open for a couple of days so that recoil spring is compressed and set to it's optimum working length.

    Whether you want to believe 1911's work better after a certain number of rounds or not, I would suggest looking at the frame rails of a new gun, and then again after shooting 1,000 rounds.

    You will see places on the rails that have been smoothed and polished from shooting - that's what's happening when you use the gun - things, in fact, do mate. When that happens, friction is reduced, the action works smoother and the gun generally works better.

    The trigger on my HK VP9 is another example. It's a good trigger from the factory, but after 1500 rounds, the trigger pull weight has dropped from 4.5 lbs to 4.2 pounds and the "gritty" feeling is gone as the parts have self polished against each other through use.

    You can claim all of the above are simply examples of manufacturing defects and shouldn't have come from the manufacturer in that condition.

    Or, you can live in the real world where you get what's delivered and things improve through use as they break in.
     
  4. Shaq

    Shaq Member

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    Most cheap guns require a break-in period. I've never owned any gun that did. (At least 75 autos).

    Perhaps I'm just incredibly lucky. Or....maybe I stick with quality.
     
  5. Shaq

    Shaq Member

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    Spot on. I think someone is so excited to buy a 1911 for $500-$600.00 they'll accept malfunctions & unreliability & rename it "Break-In Malfunctions" that will fix themselves with more shooting.

    You can pay that little - for a Glock, but not a 1911.
     
  6. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    If I buy a handgun and it won't function 100% reliably right out of the box, I feel that I did not get a good handgun.

    I have never had a new one that had problems with malfunctions and shooting it more helped. I certainly believe it's possible, but I haven't experienced it personally.

    I bought a cheap Tisas 1911 brand-new that has been 100% reliable from the first round I put through it. It is probably up to 5,000 or so by now. My stepbrother has had the same experience with his RIA.

    It seems like lots of them to smooth up a bit with use, though. My SP101 has, for instance.

    I buy used guns these days anyway, though, so it's pretty much a non-issue for me.
     
  7. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    Exactly what I've seen, it almost always improves triggers. The most extreme case I've seen was with my early model PM45, a notch actually wore in between the barrel hole and the guide rod hole in the slide, before it did it would FTF occasionally.

    Such a simple concept that seems to be so hard for some to grasp.
     
  8. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    SKRIBS, RIA recommends a 500 round "break in". They don't want to look at your gun unless you have done this.

    You think you have a feeding problem, but in fact, you really don't know and you won't know until you shoot the gun. Let us know when you have the opportunity to go to the range.
     
  9. rskent

    rskent Member

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    What can a break-in period cure?

    Well, for starters you would actually be shooting the gun.
     
  10. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    yeah that does tend to help with diagnosis.

    I once locked a PPK up with snap caps. It was so bad that I had to cut the snap cap out to clear the 3 point jam. that gun never had a failure of any type with real ammo.
     
  11. Harleytoo

    Harleytoo Member

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    I apologize for, probably, being harder on Cameron than I should have.

    Sorry man.

    Having grown up in a generation where we expected break in (rings on engines did need to seat, we knew things functioned better after a bit of use) it is my go to concept.

    To his and many others points, especially with new advanced metals, lubrication and manufacturer testing/break in prior to sale the concept or practice is much less common or necessarily needed.

    Again, I default to accepting some "light" failures due to this break in period and knowing enough shade tree mechanics/gun smithing to look something over and diagnose my own problem through feeding more through it/using it more.

    Sadly (and I say sadly because I think we have lost something in the process) all of this new technology brings with it a level of expectation, especially if you are not an old fart like me. So the mentality is to just send it back or replace it instead of figuring out what the root cause might be.

    I hounded my son when he did this and made him try to figure out failure (be it mechanical or just a life situation) instead of throwing his hands up and walking away.

    Now in the case of a 1911, we have a design that is pretty much equal to none. It has stood the test of time and we have learned to live with or understand its temperamental state or buy one that has already gone through some tuning. That said the basic design of a MilSpec 1911 is just as solid as the day it was designed. But it was made to be used in adverse conditions and to minimal tolerances (not fine tolerances we have come to expect in a modern firearm).

    All that said, I think Buckhorn did a fine job of explaining the situation (much better than I with far fewer words and no snarkiness). These custom builders run rounds through the guns they build for a reason beyond testing their design and component mix.

    Anyhow, for what it's worth, apologies to Cameron and just accept that I grew up breaking crap in and now-a-days that is far less needed.
     
  12. MislMan

    MislMan Member

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    I believe, as others have noted, the issue(s) lay in the expectations of the buyer. There are tolerances in every design and if you get something on the wrong end of a tolerance stack (example: one part max size the interfacing part min size) the buyer may percieve this as crap. This may also include finish grades. Things such as gritty trigger pull may result from a less than stellar (but acceptable to engineering spec) finish of parts. Something such as this may be overcome through use (break-in). The engineering uses these tolerances for mass production. Custom gunmakers ensure their tolerances are tighter and you pay for it. Yes, I'm an retired engineer from 30 years with missile system design and understand both instances serve their purpose.

    If you're working with the lower level items you may get a perfect product. Most will get the middle of the working item and a few will get some issues. Most are not show stoppers but they may make your experience a little trying. After all, we all sem to expect perfection of every product we buy now-a-days.
     
  13. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    My experience with 1911's over the years has been, if they were Colts/GI guns, they generally ran fine with what they were designed to run with, but even they needed work to run with other things, at least early on.

    The "clones", which were usually the ones that told you that you had to break them in, generally either worked from the giddy up (a few actually did), or didnt, even after the "break in" (the majority).

    What always annoyed me was, they expected me to do their job for them by breaking them in, and to pay for the time and ammo to boot. When you add that to the cost of the gun, its just insult to injury.

    These days, I buy things that work out of the box, and dont worry about it.
     
  14. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    I think Coodill nailed in post2 - 1st 2 sentences.

    That can affect every moving part of the gun.
     
  15. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    I don't view "break-in" in the sense being discussed. I think of it more as a probationary period. An isolated stoppage, two at most, if it doesn't happen again, within the first ~200 rounds is forgivable. If it has consistent malfunctions, shooting it more isn't going to fix it. I have had a number of guns, most recently a CZ P-07, that functioned perfectly from the very first round.
     
  16. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    The last 17 SIG's, and more recently, 15 or so Glocks I owned/own, all ran 100% out of the box. Just load the mags and go.

    The last half dozen or so Springfields, and a couple of Kimbers I had, all had issues, and some of them more so than just wearing parts in.

    Lots of wasted time and ammo there with the later, and the dog and kids learned all sorts of new words.
     
  17. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Because cars do have break-in periods.

    reliably no but 100% get real my powerstroke didn't start getting good mileage until it had over 40,000 miles on it.
    Most new clutches will be grabby for a few thousand miles until the disk and flywheel wear in a bit, same with brakes only much shorter time.
     
  18. TomJ
    • Contributing Member

    TomJ Contributing Member

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    I think much of this goes to communication issues. I picked up a Springfield 1911 in December. As a $1000 gun it wasn't inexpensive, but it wasn't a $3000 to $4000 custom 1911 either. Both Springfield and the LGS I had it delivered to told me it would require a 500 round break in. When I received it, the owner of the LGS, who is also a gun smith, told me it was pretty tight and again told me to put 500 rounds through it to break it in. I had a number of stove pipes during the break in period, and it's been flawless since then. I knew about the break in period before I ordered the gun, at which point it was my choice to move forward with it or look for a more expensive 1911 or another type of gun that arrived broken in.

    To answer the OP's question, the break in period fixed the stove pipe issues I was having.
     
  19. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    There are more parts in a car than just the motor. Gears benefit immensely from break in period. You can swap a ring and pinion and watch the steam come off the differential if you drive it in the rain, or better yet, drive it through a puddle and watch what happens.

    I'm a mechanical engineer as well. You can debate whether or not a break-in is necessary, but there isn't much debate as to whether or not it is beneficial.

    Asking what it can help? In general it can just help reduce friction and hang-ups which might resolve problems such as failures to return fully to battery. Or if you have the opposite problem where your ammo isn't 100% cycling the action because the spring is too strong, shooting it can help resolve that problem as the spring loses some of its strength. Even guns with relatively generous tolerances such as my Glocks have benefited from break-ins.
     
  20. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Occasionally POA vs POI.

    I have seen new pistols' POI not be consistent with POA but after several hundred rounds, become more consistent.

    When people complain of their new pistols shooting not POA and want to drift sights, I tell them to shoot a few hundred rounds before adjusting sights. Most of times, pistols end up shooting POA.

    I am not an engineer or machinist but after shooting several hundred thousand rounds in various pistols, I can say after several hundred rounds, trigger smoothes out and becomes cleaner which allows tighter shot groups.

    I used to think pistols needed "break-in" period and shot several hundred rounds of factory FMJ to smooth barrel/rifling but now suggest shooting pistols enough times to deem it reliable without malfunction/breakage. For my range pistols, that's several hundred rounds and for my carry/defensive pistols, it's several thousand rounds with at least a recoil spring replacement.

    YMMV
     
  21. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    Gets rid of the burrs. Smoothens up the action.
     
  22. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Harleytoo, I believe M-CAMERON owes you an apology as well (but I'm pretty sure since he's not gonna offer one, particularly after referring to you as a "moron"). My thanks for at least one person in this thread being a grown-up, though.

    For those that don't understand the concept of a "break-in period," I'm pretty sure you're not real mechanical engineers. There are still modern automobile manufacturers who recommended certain rituals during "break-in" periods and as far as guns go, definitely some require a bit of "break-in."
     
  23. PowerG

    PowerG Member

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    It often improves the quality of the trigger pull, dry firing (if applicable to the gun in question) will do the same thing. While a 500 round break-in will involve some cost and time, it's pretty easy to dry-fire 500 times in an evening watching TV or something. I have a 642 that an hour or so of dry firing did wonders for the trigger on, it's almost like a different gun.

    On an auto pistol the mating surfaces where the grooves and rails of the slide/frame interface will become more polished, allowing the recoil spring to use more of its energy chambering rounds rather than overcoming friction in that area. One area where every user will soon see the break-in through the parts becoming "shiny" where they mate, and showing you the place you need to oil. Kinda reaching for it, I know, but that's the theory. But it's not unusual to have FTF problems if this area runs dry of lubrication or gets too dirty on many guns, excessive friction in this area can definitely lead to problems.
     
  24. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    i dont really know what you are expecting me to apologize for.....

    as for me not being a real engineer......im not sure what you want me to do about that......send you a picture?......i can throw some technical jargon you way if you want.....that seems to be great at impressing people.

    but go back and read what i wrote......if your gun needs a "break in" to function......you bought a poorly made gun.......period.
     
  25. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    How about implying that another member is a "moron?"
     
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