New pistol break in questions

New pistol break in questions

This is a discussion on New pistol break in questions within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; So I searched. I read bunches of threads. I found that some people suggest 50-100 for break in. Others, more, with ccw9mm (I think that ...

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    Member Array Workaholic's Avatar
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    New pistol break in questions

    So I searched. I read bunches of threads. I found that some people suggest 50-100 for break in. Others, more, with ccw9mm (I think that was the handle) going as far as ~1000. This tells me a lot about mindset for break in as far as quantity. And quality, well, that's a box or 5 of each brand you can get, including sd rounds.

    But, out of everything I found, I didn't find what I was looking for. The other night, I had a thought. And, it didn't make sense to me. When you replace or add a barrel to a rifle receiver, you're supposed to shoot it in. Fire a shot. Use copper solvent, then clean. Then do all this again, like 5 times. Then do it with three shots in between. Then 5. And, some places suggest 10 as well. Depending upon how far you follow this, you are looking at up to 95-100, or more, with a lot of solvent and cleaning involved. Even if this is a 8.5" AR pistol barrel, this is suggested. But it doesn't seem to be suggested for pistols? Am I missing something here? Is, perhaps, the thinking here, that since pistols aren't designed for distance or accuracy, so why bother? I'm confused. Any clarification on this would help. Thanks in advance.
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    Senior Member Array M1911A1's Avatar
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    In my way of thinking, one fires sufficient "break-in" shots to prove the pistol's reliability.
    To me, this includes running it dirty, to see whether that has an effect.
    I never needed more than maybe 200 shots to do this.
    (But then, my pistols had first been "tuned" by a really good gunsmith.)

    The shoot-clean-shoot-clean that you mention is, to me, more a rifle-velocity process than a pistol one.
    Pistol velocities in my own guns do not result in deposits of massive and destructive amounts of jacket fouling.
    I did get lead fouling, though, which I removed (when I was doing practice for competition) about once a month. It comes out easily with a Lewis Lead Remover (which Brownells still sells).


    BTW: I enjoy seeing your Roth-Steyr pistol in your avatar. Any luck getting cartridges for it?
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    I have never approached a new pistol with the concept of "break in". I take it to the range and shoot it. After some number of trips/rounds that I deem appropriate, I determine if it is reliable and accurate enough for my taste. The concept of break in never factors in for me. I suppose, if a gun manufacturer included a specification, by design, that states that "x" number of rounds are necessary before the gun can be evaluated, I would take that into account. But if the number or break in rounds has been determined by a collection of internet forum posters, brand fan boys, and shooter hearsay, it isn't much to hang one's evaluation on.

    Shoot it until you have decided it is or isn't reliable enough.

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    Do things continue to work in after a certain # of rounds in pistols? Sometimes. Is the weapon functional and reliable are the two meaningful criteria. Pistols that require extended break in periods to be functional and reliable are usually neither. Smoothing out over time is different from functional and reliable. If I get 300-500 rounds reliably through a pistol (including non-FMJ carry rounds) itís reliable enough for me to carry. If the trigger keeps getting smoother after that - bonus! Companies that claim a required break in period as their excuse for the pistol being unreliable are ones that will never sell me a pistol.
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    If I fire a couple of mags with no issues, I follow that with a few hollow points to be sure they feed OK. If there are no issues at that point I'm good to go. It's a mechanical device, if you fire 500 or 1000 rounds just to "break" it in, all you are doing is getting closer to a possible failure point. All mechanical devices at some point may malfunction, some are more likely to than others, that's the reason I stay away from certain manufacturers.
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    I just try different types of ammo so I know what my pistol likes to eat and what it does not.
    I have only used the barrel break in procedure of swabbing barrel between rounds with my rifles.

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    It really depends on the style of the build for the pistol.

    A lot of polymer guns that have very little in the way of rail surface contact, usually require only a magazine or two of your chosen round to verify function of the components.

    All steel guns with much more slide to frame surface contact and lugged barrel/slide cuts may require more shooting to polish in and smooth out.

    The type of barrel cleaning you mentioned is inconsequential for a handgun, and in general only used on a very target specific purpose rifle, and is a waste of time on standard hunting rifles or sporting rifles.
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    For me, breaking in a pistol is easy, I always clean and lube it first, then I shoot a few boxes of different fmj through it. If it's jamming in any way after 100 rounds, I deem it untrustworthy for carry and it will be a "range use only gun".

    If all goes well after 150 fmj, I'll shoot a box of my chosen carry ammo to make sure it likes it. Then I will clean and lube it and put it into my carry rotation if desired.
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    I generally go thru a box or two or three of practice and carry ammo. I shoot it strong hand, weak hand, upside down, sideways, fast, slow, good grip, poor grip, close range, extended range etc. If it is reliable and SD accurate thru all that - I consider it good to go.
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    I don't care for the idea of a "break-in" period for an auto. I think there should be a break-in for me, as the gun's owner, to make sure I have a feel for it and it has no factory defects and that I have chosen suitable ammo for it. IIRC, I may be wrong, but I think Kahr recommends a 500 round break-in. I think that is crazy. A quality gun should work first time, every time, new, right out of the box.

    One observation I will make about over 50 years of shooting Colt, S&W and Ruger revolvers is that I never even think about a need for "break-in" with a wheelgun. You put bullets in it and it shoots. Period.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Workaholic View Post
    So I searched. I read bunches of threads. I found that some people suggest 50-100 for break in. Others, more, with ccw9mm (I think that was the handle) going as far as ~1000. This tells me a lot about mindset for break in as far as quantity. And quality, well, that's a box or 5 of each brand you can get, including sd rounds.

    But, out of everything I found, I didn't find what I was looking for. The other night, I had a thought. And, it didn't make sense to me. When you replace or add a barrel to a rifle receiver, you're supposed to shoot it in. Fire a shot. Use copper solvent, then clean. Then do all this again, like 5 times. Then do it with three shots in between. Then 5. And, some places suggest 10 as well. Depending upon how far you follow this, you are looking at up to 95-100, or more, with a lot of solvent and cleaning involved. Even if this is a 8.5" AR pistol barrel, this is suggested. But it doesn't seem to be suggested for pistols? Am I missing something here? Is, perhaps, the thinking here, that since pistols aren't designed for distance or accuracy, so why bother? I'm confused. Any clarification on this would help. Thanks in advance.
    What you describe is a common practice used by benchrest shooters to achieve the absolute best accuracy from a rifle (sub MOA) and not really needed for handguns, as others have said 100-200 rounds is usually sufficient for break in.
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    Distinguished Member Array RedSafety's Avatar
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    I went through a box of 9mm when I first got my EDC. There was no group. The next 40 rounds were for my CCW class qualification, different brand. I qualified on the first 20, no practice needed. I thought it was the ammo that made the difference. Nope, the second box of the same brand as the first box gave me a nice orange-sized group at about 10 yards, where I normally practice. It only took a single box of 50 to condition the barrel.
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    I have a friend who was a Marine sniper in Viet Nam. He uses the one shot and clean for five sessions, then five shots and clean for five sessions, then ten shots and clean for five sessions for every new handgun and rifle.

    I shoot a box or two of my favorite ammo in my rifles, revolvers, or range pistols. For any pistol planned for self-defense carry, I shoot around 200 to 300 rounds of inexpensive FMJ ammo to check for infant mortality. I then put a box or two of several different types of self-defense ammo through them to check for ammo sensitivity. I usually have 400 to 500 rounds through it before it is acceptable for self-defense carry and cleaned the first time.
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    My personal standard is 200 rounds minimum, that includes testing every magazine that will be used (with a semi-auto), and using the ammunition I intend to carry. In the event of any problems or failures I change one thing at a time (different ammo, different magazines, etc).

    One thing that seems to be overlooked in many threads on this topic is making sure that the point of impact matches point of aim. I have seen many pistols and revolvers that will not shoot to point of aim at any reasonable handgun range. Some may require sight adjustment (windage, elevation), some may require changing out either the front or rear sight, and some will prefer different ammunition.

    I mark each magazine to indicate which pistol it has been proven to function properly with.

    Many years ago I worked with lots of cops who shot all of their range qualifications with .38 Special target wadcutters, then loaded up with .357 magnum ammo for the street. Many times I demonstrated to them that the point of impact of these two ammo types can differ by as much as 6" vertically, and frequently 2 to 4" horizontally, on a target at 50 feet (our indoor range). This could potentially mean up to 18" vertically, and 6 to 12" horizontally, at 50 yards (our outdoor range). Similar issues will be seen when comparing 9mm 90-grain JHP to 9mm 115, 124, or 147-grain.

    Ammunition choices can cause lots of problems; feeding from the magazine, extraction, ejection, overall accuracy, and almost certainly in point of impact in relation to point of aim.

    Everything must work together properly (ammunition, magazines, pistol, speedloaders, whatever is involved).

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmf552 View Post
    I don't care for the idea of a "break-in" period for an auto. I think there should be a break-in for me, as the gun's owner, to make sure I have a feel for it and it has no factory defects and that I have chosen suitable ammo for it. IIRC, I may be wrong, but I think Kahr recommends a 500 round break-in. I think that is crazy. A quality gun should work first time, every time, new, right out of the box.

    One observation I will make about over 50 years of shooting Colt, S&W and Ruger revolvers is that I never even think about a need for "break-in" with a wheelgun. You put bullets in it and it shoots. Period.
    Bravo. Kahr was precisely who I was alluding to in my post. Iíve always gotten rid of autos that had problems out of the box. So, never a Kahr in my life.
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