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I think snap caps for your high end shotgun will be the best money ever spent. For around $12-35 you can use them after shooting to release firing pin and assure your hammer spring wont become weak and cause misfiring and factory rebuilding of your shotgun. TRUST ME!!!

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of course i know these things!

but why do you need them? can't you just pull the trigger after unloading to release the firing pin?


NEED is a big word, yes you could just pull the trigger if you really really wanted to store your gun with the hammer down. Like I said I think they are great for becoming familiar with the workings of a new gun, or for making sure the gun still works like you think it should after you make a big change without having to use live ammo right away.


Springs that stay extended or compressed don't wear out it's the movement between extension and compression that wears them out.



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I asked my buddy to weigh in on this subject a while back.


He has a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in machine design and strength of materials. Alas, I have only a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering, so obviously, he's smarter than me.


His answer?


It depends.


It depends on the material and the level of stress seen in the sprung (cocked position) and the unsprung (hammer down) position.


Metals used for springs DO INDEED take a set, that is, if kept in a stressed condition for long periods of time, the metal will actually "creep" (and yes, that really is an engineering term.) Which is why your hammer springs get shorter over time, because regardless of whether the hammer is cocked or uncocked, the hammer spring is under stress. Its just under higher stress when its cocked.


However, cycles (each time you take a shot) will fatigue a spring as well. And in the case of someone who shoots 5,000 targets a year, spring fatigue due to cycles may indeed be the governing cause of spring weakening, and not creep due to storing it in a stressed position.


So, for guns used occasionally, like hunting guns, snap caps may indeed extend the life of the hammer spring.


On the other hand, for guns that are used regularly, like competitive trap guns, chances are that using a snap cap may be of limited benefit.


Will a snap cap harm anything? Oh, probably not.


Do you NEED them? Oh, probably not.


I use my snap caps for practicing mounting my gun and improving my swing to the target in my basement.


As with all things...your mileage may vary.


Probably the right answer is, if you shoot A LOT with your guns, you should replace your hammer springs periodically.


If you DO use snap caps before you store your guns, make doggone sure its really a snap cap and not a live round!

Edited by timb99
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