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I have a few pistols that still need breaking in and I heard that keeping the firearm locked back for a week can help the spring tension loosen up and help the break in period. Is this true? Also, what else does firing the weapon really "break-in?" The feed ramp, barrel, etc? Thanks!
 

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Very few makers require a break in of any kind. Kahr being one I can think of. If anything, you need to break yourself in so to speak with each new gun, to learn the sights, trigger, recoil impulse, etc.

As to you question on the springs, leaving them compressed doesn't affect them at all. Cycling them (compress and release) is what loosens them up, and even that takes 1000's of cycles to have much effect. Same goes for magazines, leaving them empty or loaded makes no difference in how long the springs hold up. It's about how many times they're cycled, and again, it may take thousands of cycles to wear them out.
 

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The spring force will ease a bit after repeated cycling. Keeping the slide locked back for a minute or a week won't make any difference - it's the compression/relaxation cycles that reduce the spring force a little.

Conversely, the myth continues to propagate about "resting" magazine springs by unloading the mag. Nothing could be further from the truth. Leave 'em fully loaded, half loaded or empty makes no difference as far as spring life is concerned; it's the cycling between compressed (or tensioned) and relaxed that eventually results in a loss of spring rate.

Mr. Thin just provided the same advice moments ahead of me. Great minds run in similar channels!
 

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I have owned a lot of different guns over the years, very few of them needed any kind of breakin. The last one was a S&W Shield. It had a stiff slide. After two days of constant cycling the slide, it was smooth, and precise. It in my opinion had very little to do with the springs. when it was cleaned after the cycling [and without firing it], It was filthy inside! All the mating surfaces just needed some time to smooth out. DR
 

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x2 on not breaking in the gun. Throw a little oil in it, go to the range and shoot it and dont worry about it any more than that. Nothing needs to be broken in on a properly built gun.
 

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Ok, I guess I have a different perspective.

When new, Glocks are loaded with a copper colored grease that helps break in the gun. I suspect it has a abrasive in it that helps polish internals.

When I got my Glock 26, I couldn't force 10 rounds in the mags because the springs were so tight. I loaded 9 and let it sit for a few days and then loaded the 10th with no issues.

Kel-tecs notoriously need a break-in where you shoot hot rounds for the first two to three hundred rounds.

My Para 1911 Expert Commander had issues for the first 50ish rounds where the slide was locking back with a partially loaded mag.

So, while manufacturers may not specify a break in period, many guns need them in order to function properly.
 

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Ok, I guess I have a different perspective.

When new, Glocks are loaded with a copper colored grease that helps break in the gun. I suspect it has a abrasive in it that helps polish internals.

When I got my Glock 26, I couldn't force 10 rounds in the mags because the springs were so tight. I loaded 9 and let it sit for a few days and then loaded the 10th with no issues.

Kel-tecs notoriously need a break-in where you shoot hot rounds for the first two to three hundred rounds.

My Para 1911 Expert Commander had issues for the first 50ish rounds where the slide was locking back with a partially loaded mag.

So, while manufacturers may not specify a break in period, many guns need them in order to function properly.
Dead on as far as Kel-Tec goes although I disagree with the hot round part (at least we're the PF9 is concerned). I cant comment about there other models.
 

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Very few makers require a break in of any kind. Kahr being one I can think of. If anything, you need to break yourself in so to speak with each new gun, to learn the sights, trigger, recoil impulse, etc.

As to you question on the springs, leaving them compressed doesn't affect them at all. Cycling them (compress and release) is what loosens them up, and even that takes 1000's of cycles to have much effect. Same goes for magazines, leaving them empty or loaded makes no difference in how long the springs hold up. It's about how many times they're cycled, and again, it may take thousands of cycles to wear them out.
Excellent answer. I believe that Kahr's recommended break-in is to acclimate the shooter to the gun, as much as it is to work any mechanical bugs. Kahr pistols, especially the micro's, have, almost, zero tolerance to user error.
 

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In certain guns, a break in period may be because the springs may be a little stiff. This was the case with my G23. I experienced several stove pipes in the first 100 rounds. After that, it cycled every time.

Here is the hoedown on springs; properly heat treated, a new spring will relax to a point and remain at that level for a long time. Racking the slide back and leaving it that way does not degrade tension. If it did, your car springs would be useless in a month or so. Repitive, cycling is what causes fatigue.
The
Glock suggests replacing the recoil spring after 5000 cycles. HK suggests replacing recoil springs after 30,000~40,000 cycles. Not all springs are created equal.
 

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What I consider a "break-in" period has nothing to do with springs, but friction contact points.
When I get a new (or used) gun I disassemble it.
I look for anything left over from the manufacturing process, shavings, etc.
I clean and lubricate the gun.
I then dry and/or live fire several hundred rounds.
This will now show the shiny contact points. These point may get a light polish. If my personal preference calls for a spring change I will do this now.
That's my "break-in".

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I too consider break-in to be more "Operator break-in".. Each gun is different.. Even down to the same brand and model. The operator of said firearm has a break-in period to get used to how that gun runs. IMHO
 

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Everything they say is true. Many engineers have confirmed this. After springs take their initial set the only thing that causes wear is cycling between compressed and uncompressed states. Keeping them fully compressed does not cause fatigue.


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Everything they say is true. Many engineers have confirmed this. After springs take their initial set the only thing that causes wear is cycling between compressed and uncompressed states. Keeping them fully compressed does not cause fatigue.


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Not to be disagreeable but I've read counter arguments solicited from those professing to be engineers also
 

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I'm going to go with the majority opinion on this one. Also heard stories of 1911 mags found loaded in the gun since WW2 that fired with no malfunctions.


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I vet handguns. I do break in my bolt action rifles, but that only involves shoot, cool, clean and repeat.
 

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My Glock 9mms didn't need any breaking in what so ever. Both of my Glock 20s did. After a couple hundred rounds they started cycling 100% reliably.

On rifles Ill normally fire a round, clean it, fire 5 or so more rounds then clean it. Fire a box or so, bring it home and clean it. Does it help? No clue, but I hear it does. I bet it something the gun cleaning kit companies came up.
 

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Most new pistols won't need a break-in, but I have had a few that did. I typically take a new gun to the range, lube it liberally, and then run 150 to 200 rounds through it. At this point I don't get worked up over any malfunctions. After the first range date, I take it home, strip it and clean it. Off to the range for another 150 to 200. At this point I would expect to see no malfunctions, but I've seen one or two that still needed a little more love. At the next range day, if I have any more issues then I'm watching them carefully as I document the issue to send it back to the factory. Funny enough.... it seems to be the really expensive guns that get to go back, and the low dollar guns like the Glocks, Shields, PPQ, etc run like a champ out of the gate.

If you have a new gun that needs to be "broken in" but you can't get to the range... I would lube it up good and then spend some time in front of the tv racking the slide and practicing some dry-fire to get used to the trigger. I would think this would do a lot more than to just lock the gun open. I'm a mechanical engineer, and if the springs are designed properly, simply holding them under tension won't really do anything.
 
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