Dry Firing a Glock - My Conversation with Glock Tech Support [Archive] - Glock Talk

PDA

View Full Version : Dry Firing a Glock - My Conversation with Glock Tech Support


dhgeyer
11-05-2012, 07:40
Just got off the phone with Glock Tech Support. This question came up in another thread and got a little contentious. It's something that I had never heard of being an issue, and I do dry fire my Glocks sometimes, so I wanted to know.

First, let me say that there is nothing in the current Glock Owner's Manual that says dry firing is harmful. The Tech Support (TS) person I spoke to even mentioned that.

The specific question I asked was "Has there been a change in Glock's OFFICIAL position on dry firing their pistols in the last year or two?". The answer I got was "I recommend that if you dry fire the pistol other than what is needed for disassembly you use a snap cap.". I pointed out that I had not asked for his personal advice, and repeated my original question. Then he said "No, there has been no change in Glock's position on dry firing.". That was when he mentioned that it is not discouraged in the Owner's Manual.

I pressed the conversation further. I asked if moderate amounts of dry firing are likely to be harmful. I mentioned that I tend to pick the gun up and dry fire it maybe 10 or 15 times every week or so. He said, emphasized really, that that is not going to cause any problems. He went on to say that damage to the breechface can occur when people dry fire their pistols for hours at a time.

I asked if I would get the same answer from different TS reps - and specifically asked if Glock had instructed him to answer my questions as he had done. He said no. He said that what he had told me was just general knowledge among Glock TS reps.

I don't think anything he said was unreasonable. If I dry fired my gun for hours at a time I would expect to, at least, break some striker tips. I wouldn't expect to break right through the breechface, but I guess we have to add that possibility to Glock's known "issues". But it will take a huge amount of dry firing to do that, and even then it's a rare occurrence.

So, the Readers' Digest version is: The first thing out of their mouth is "use a snap cap" if you don't specify how much dry firing you do. If you specify moderate dry firing they will tell you it's OK. And there has been no change in Glock's official position on this practice.

SJ 40
11-05-2012, 07:56
Put me down in the snap cap camp,having seen pictures here before of broken through,cracked breach faces.

When I am specifically dry firing my Glocks,not for five or ten dry fires but I'm talking about fifteen to thirty five minute dry fire sessions.
As I do for all my firearms no matter the manufacture but then again that's just me. SJ 40

dhgeyer
11-05-2012, 08:24
Put me down in the snap cap camp,having seen pictures here before of broken through,cracked breach faces.

When I am specifically dry firing my Glocks,not for five or ten dry fires but I'm talking about fifteen to thirty five minute dry fire sessions.
As I do for all my firearms no matter the manufacture but then again that's just me. SJ 40

Based on everything I have been able to pull together, including my conversation with TS earlier, I wouldn't disagree with you. I've seen those same pictures, by the way. The amount of dry firing you do will add up. I don't do anything like that amount of it with any firearm I own. Never have. I do just enough of it to keep a feel for the trigger. For me that doesn't take much.

mongo356
11-05-2012, 08:53
My dry fire is consistant with yours, maybe a few times a week, as I'm sure like a majority of the Glocking population.

Take this for what it's worth and I have nothing to support this other than it was from a guy (Jansen) that took the 3 day Advanced armorer's course. Here is a little tidbit I picked up from Robb Jensen at M4carbine.net 07-08-2011:

Do the Gen3 guns have MIM parts?
All Glocks meaning Gen 1, 2, 3 and 4 have always had cast/MIM locking blocks and extractors.

Gen 1, 2, 3 had tool steel firing pin/strikers.
Current 3s and 4s now MIM firing pin/strikers.

Some firing pins both tool steel and MIM firing pins have been breaking when used with a lot of Winchester NT (non-Toxic). This ammo has a very small very HARD primer made in Pakistan. This primer is also well known for breaking a lot of decapping pins when it accidentally gets into your brass at the range when you attempt to decap the primer on your reloading press. The reason it breaks the tip of the firing pins is because it's actually almost as hard as the firing pin and on a Glock (and many other striker fired pistols) the firing pin stays forward in the slide during extraction and ejection and the case is dragged across the tip of the firing pin a little as the barrel unlocks. This is the reason why you see the drag/smear on primers from ammo shot in striker firing pistols like Glocks and Kahrs.

NT has a long way to go.

Glock has also seen some damage from Blazer aluminum case ammo as well. This is from flame cutting the firing pin and breach-face. This occurs because the aluminum case allows hot gases to escape around the primer which damage the firing pin and breach-face. This ammo is not recommended in Glocks.
FWIW I've shot a lot of that through Glocks with no problems. But our instructor shot thousands upon thousands of rounds through on of his Glocks and it actually even cause failure at the breach-face and the firing pin broke through it.

Beanie-Bean
11-05-2012, 09:29
Interesting information--thanks for the posts, guys.

I've used Winchester LPP for my .45ACP and 10mm loads without issue, and the majority of my loads have been using CCI 300 or 500 primers. Again, no issues.

Funny to see the note about the Blazer aluminum ammo, because isn't that what Glock uses to test-fire the pistols? At least that's what I've found in the little envelopes that shipped with my pistols.

di11igaf
11-05-2012, 09:33
Interesting information--thanks for the posts, guys.

I've used Winchester LPP for my .45ACP and 10mm loads without issue, and the majority of my loads have been using CCI 300 or 500 primers. Again, no issues.

Funny to see the note about the Blazer aluminum ammo, because isn't that what Glock uses to test-fire the pistols? At least that's what I've found in the little envelopes that shipped with my pistols.

My thoughts exactly. They've been using it for a while to test fire guns for warranty/repair as well as new glocks sent out.
The last 2 glocks have had these aluminum cases in the box.
Pretty sure my older glocks were brass but its been too long.

SouthpawG26
11-05-2012, 09:42
Many competitive shooters, me included, do up to an hour of dry fire drills, 6 days a week. This amounts to thousands of dry fires each week. Yet the instances of broken stock strikers and breech faces seems surprisingly low among the competitive crowd, AFAIK.

SJ 40
11-05-2012, 10:31
My dry fire is consistant with yours, maybe a few times a week, as I'm sure like a majority of the Glocking population.

Take this for what it's worth and I have nothing to support this other than it was from a guy (Jansen) that took the 3 day Advanced armorer's course. Here is a little tidbit I picked up from Robb Jensen at M4carbine.net 07-08-2011:

Do the Gen3 guns have MIM parts?
All Glocks meaning Gen 1, 2, 3 and 4 have always had cast/MIM locking blocks and extractors.

Gen 1, 2, 3 had tool steel firing pin/strikers.
Current 3s and 4s now MIM firing pin/strikers.

Some firing pins both tool steel and MIM firing pins have been breaking when used with a lot of Winchester NT (non-Toxic). This ammo has a very small very HARD primer made in Pakistan. This primer is also well known for breaking a lot of decapping pins when it accidentally gets into your brass at the range when you attempt to decap the primer on your reloading press. The reason it breaks the tip of the firing pins is because it's actually almost as hard as the firing pin and on a Glock (and many other striker fired pistols) the firing pin stays forward in the slide during extraction and ejection and the case is dragged across the tip of the firing pin a little as the barrel unlocks. This is the reason why you see the drag/smear on primers from ammo shot in striker firing pistols like Glocks and Kahrs.

NT has a long way to go.

Glock has also seen some damage from Blazer aluminum case ammo as well. This is from flame cutting the firing pin and breach-face. This occurs because the aluminum case allows hot gases to escape around the primer which damage the firing pin and breach-face. This ammo is not recommended in Glocks.
FWIW I've shot a lot of that through Glocks with no problems. But our instructor shot thousands upon thousands of rounds through on of his Glocks and it actually even cause failure at the breach-face and the firing pin broke through it.
When one thinks about the registration cases included with a new Glock,two rounds or what few rounds used for checking repairs done by Glock,even I don't think it's enough to cause any degree of flame cutting.

I have a pair of colt type, 1851 navy's converted to cartridge.
The base guns are Pietta's ,not known for hard steel used in their construction.

After five years of constant use three times a month,50 rounds per match per gun minimum,for all but four months of winter. Are just starting to show flame cutting at the muzzle end on the arbors,where the barrel attaches.

The flame cutting seems to go about 60 to 75 thousands into the arbor and then stop or decrease to a negligible amount there after,the arbors are .43 in diameter.
These are shot with black powder which burns hotter than smokeless but at less pressure than smokeless.

The flame cutting on the arbors much resembles the flame cutting that the S&W model 19's in the top straps were famous for,although my S&W 19 is now thirty five years old and isn't anywhere near cutting through the top strap.
It too reached a certain depth and stopped cutting to any degree.
I know flame cutting directly depends on the amount of usage but also know that once it occurs it only reaches a certain point before decreasing the amount of further cutting action.
If you only ever shot Blaser aluminum cases out of your gun maybe it may lead to cutting but having experienced it in a couple of platforms it's not a overriding worry of mine.
SJ 40

dhgeyer
11-05-2012, 10:55
Glock has also seen some damage from Blazer aluminum case ammo as well. This is from flame cutting the firing pin and breach-face. This occurs because the aluminum case allows hot gases to escape around the primer which damage the firing pin and breach-face. This ammo is not recommended in Glocks.
FWIW I've shot a lot of that through Glocks with no problems. But our instructor shot thousands upon thousands of rounds through on of his Glocks and it actually even cause failure at the breach-face and the firing pin broke through it.


It's interesting that you raise this issue. In the photos that I have seen of failures that were attributed to dry firing, the damaged area was the size and shape of the case head, not the striker. Following is a photo, taken from another forum. The thread was like this one: a discussion of dry firing.

http://www.gallery1700.net/linkto/failedslide01.jpg

The photo shows two examples, but both follow the case head curve. A striker poking through on its own would make a much smaller hole, obviously.

So I think it's possible that some, or even all, of the failures attributed to dry firing are actually due to live firing. If a slide cracked in this manner from firing, the broken piece would not necessarily fall out in its own right away, as the pressure from firing would tend to push it back into the slide, where it would be pretty well supported. As soon as you dry fired it, though, it would be pushed out.

So, I theorize, maybe there are no failures of the slide in the breech face area due to dry firing. Perhaps dry firing merely makes the problem that was already there obvious.

I have not seen a photo of a failed breech face that looks like it was caused by the striker poking through. Has anyone else?

Maybe this is another case of Glock blaming the user for a manufacturing defect.

M 7
11-05-2012, 12:05
Very informative, thanks for starting this thread, dhgeyer.

Looks like those of us who like to dry-fire a lot can keep on keepin' on.

SJ 40
11-05-2012, 12:12
It's interesting that you raise this issue. In the photos that I have seen of failures that were attributed to dry firing, the damaged area was the size and shape of the case head, not the striker. Following is a photo, taken from another forum. The thread was like this one: a discussion of dry firing.

http://www.gallery1700.net/linkto/failedslide01.jpg

The photo shows two examples, but both follow the case head curve. A striker poking through on its own would make a much smaller hole, obviously.

So I think it's possible that some, or even all, of the failures attributed to dry firing are actually due to live firing. If a slide cracked in this manner from firing, the broken piece would not necessarily fall out in its own right away, as the pressure from firing would tend to push it back into the slide, where it would be pretty well supported. As soon as you dry fired it, though, it would be pushed out.

So, I theorize, maybe there are no failures of the slide in the breech face area due to dry firing. Perhaps dry firing merely makes the problem that was already there obvious.

I have not seen a photo of a failed breech face that looks like it was caused by the striker poking through. Has anyone else?

Maybe this is another case of Glock blaming the user for a manufacturing defect.D H Geyer
Their maybe something to this statement.

So, I theorize, maybe there are no failures of the slide in the breech face area due to dry firing. Perhaps dry firing merely makes the problem that was already there obvious.

I have not seen a photo of a failed breech face that looks like it was caused by the striker poking through. Has anyone else

We don't know exactly what the direct inside surface of the breach face is machined to,square,radiuses' or what the exact finished contoured shape is or maybe some of the GT members do know. SJ 40

DustyDawg48
11-05-2012, 13:15
It's interesting that you raise this issue. In the photos that I have seen of failures that were attributed to dry firing, the damaged area was the size and shape of the case head, not the striker. Following is a photo, taken from another forum. The thread was like this one: a discussion of dry firing.

http://www.gallery1700.net/linkto/failedslide01.jpg

The photo shows two examples, but both follow the case head curve. A striker poking through on its own would make a much smaller hole, obviously.

So I think it's possible that some, or even all, of the failures attributed to dry firing are actually due to live firing. If a slide cracked in this manner from firing, the broken piece would not necessarily fall out in its own right away, as the pressure from firing would tend to push it back into the slide, where it would be pretty well supported. As soon as you dry fired it, though, it would be pushed out.

So, I theorize, maybe there are no failures of the slide in the breech face area due to dry firing. Perhaps dry firing merely makes the problem that was already there obvious.

I have not seen a photo of a failed breech face that looks like it was caused by the striker poking through. Has anyone else?

Maybe this is another case of Glock blaming the user for a manufacturing defect.

I'm with you on thinking that it has to be issues with actually shooting the gun versus dry-firing. I think that it's possible that dry-firing possibly contributed to the condition but I can't imagine the breech being damaged and it breaking right at the same point as the case rim. Makes you wonder what caliber is shows up with the most. If it were something along the lines of the .40 S&W or .357 SIG that was a high-pressure round or even the 10mm where it was just punishing the breech face and after thousands and thousands of rounds coupled with the dry-fire...maybe that is what finally caused the breakage.:dunno:

GlockWheeler
11-05-2012, 14:14
Interesting mention regarding the use of aluminum casings and flame cutting of the breach face on a Glock. The agency I work for had one Glock 22 suffer this type of wear while using Blazer aluminum ammo for qualification shoots. In the end, CCI/SPEER replaced the complete upper slide asembly, including barrel and it now has three different serial numbers for the frame, slide and barrel (I now own this pistol after LE trade in when we traded in for G21's). There was even erosion of the firing pin hole.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m242/rparrish_bucket/100_0579.jpg

DustyDawg48
11-05-2012, 15:13
Interesting mention regarding the use of aluminum casings and flame cutting of the breach face on a Glock. The agency I work for had one Glock 22 suffer this type of wear while using Blazer aluminum ammo for qualification shoots. In the end, CCI/SPEER replaced the complete upper slide asembly, including barrel and it now has three different serial numbers for the frame, slide and barrel (I now own this pistol after LE trade in when we traded in for G21's). There was even erosion of the firing pin hole.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m242/rparrish_bucket/100_0579.jpg

Yikes, but awesome that they bought the parts necessary to fix what their product may/could/did/allegedly caused.

This is absolutely the first I've heard of this; I've had 7 Glocks and while I'm short a few my oldest and truest, my Gen 3 Glock 21 hasn't shown a single sign of issues. I've probably dry fired the thing about 30-50 thousand times over the years that I've owned it. Has to be a mix of ammo, caliber and the dry fire finishes it off.

Probably time to buy some snap caps anyway; I can never get the Glock to auto-forward when I do the 'insert the mag at X-Angle to get the slide to release' trick with any sort of regularity. I can do it with any of my M&Ps but my G21 just won't do it! :crying:Practice time and maybe insurance time with the snap caps.

abcomputin
11-05-2012, 15:56
Wouldn't the live firing exert rearward pressure on this area and dry firing put forward pressure on it? Looks to me to be caused from dry firing. Also, the area surrounding the cracked area is solid behind it, the dry firing induced crack took the path of least resistance. Just a thought/theory.

dusty_dragon
11-05-2012, 16:00
got to jump on the train and ask some questions on dry firing here, hope you don't mind, but so i don't have to start a new thread:

i don't dry fire my glocks for training purpose, i just dryfire it when putting the gun back in the case after the last round on the range and after re-assembling after cleaning.
so to say i dryfire 2 times each range trip, after last round, after cleaning an re-assembling.
would you recommend a snap cap?

if yes, which kind of snap cap? A ZOOMs, isn't their case harder then bras? won't they harm the extractor more?

or better take plastic ones, like those:
http://www.battenfeldtechnologies.com/tipton/catalog.asp?family=snap-caps

don't get me wrong, just don't wanna save the FP and breechface at the cost of another part suffering.

i know this is more a kind of theoretical discussion, cause i suppose dryfiring 2 times each range trip will not harm the gun, but i'm interested in not doing more harm then good to other parts of the gun (like extractor etc).

dhgeyer
11-05-2012, 16:36
got to jump on the train and ask some questions on dry firing here, hope you don't mind, but so i don't have to start a new thread:

i don't dry fire my glocks for training purpose, i just dryfire it when putting the gun back in the case after the last round on the range and after re-assembling after cleaning.
so to say i dryfire 2 times each range trip, after last round, after cleaning an re-assembling.
would you recommend a snap cap?

if yes, which kind of snap cap? A ZOOMs, isn't their case harder then bras? won't they harm the extractor more?

or better take plastic ones, like those:
http://www.battenfeldtechnologies.com/tipton/catalog.asp?family=snap-caps

don't get me wrong, just don't wanna save the FP and breechface at the cost of another part suffering.

i know this is more a kind of theoretical discussion, cause i suppose dryfiring 2 times each range trip will not harm the gun, but i'm interested in not doing more harm then good to other parts of the gun (like extractor etc).

Nobody, not Glock or anyone else, would suggest you get a snap cap if all you're doing is dry firing twice per range trip.

Dry firing will never in any way harm the extractor. The only parts even being talked about with respect to dry firing are the striker and the breech face.

dhgeyer
11-05-2012, 16:42
Wouldn't the live firing exert rearward pressure on this area and dry firing put forward pressure on it? Looks to me to be caused from dry firing. Also, the area surrounding the cracked area is solid behind it, the dry firing induced crack took the path of least resistance. Just a thought/theory.

Well, we're all just theorizing, and yours is a theory. You could be right. But I still vote for live firing causing fatigue, and the breech face failing, or at least being fatally weakened, prior to dry firing pushing it out. Otherwise, why is the entire area the size of the cartridge case head detached? The metal isn't any thinner there than where the striker strikes. In fact it's thicker, because the striker channel isn't as big as the cartridge case head.

dusty_dragon
11-05-2012, 17:05
@dhgeyer:
okay, so dryfiring twice per trip wouldn't be a problem.

with the extractor i suppose you misunderstood me, i don't meant dryfiring will harm the extractor, but the use of AZOOM snap caps, cause their material is harder than brass.
what i wanted to say with that is, that AZOOMs may save the FP/breechface etc. but is it possible to harm the extractor and extractor spring with the use of AZOOMs?

so will saving one part (FP/breechface) harm another one (extractor/extractor spring)?

mongo356
11-06-2012, 00:23
Well with regards to the pictured breech face failures.
1-I think it its a rare problem possibly combination of dry fire and weak metal on those particular guns.

2-not sure but I don't think the firing pin or the hole for the sleeve is as large as the broken area pictured, ie size of the case head??

mongo356
11-06-2012, 00:29
Well, we're all just theorizing, and yours is a theory. You could be right. But I still vote for live firing causing fatigue, and the breech face failing, or at least being fatally weakened, prior to dry firing pushing it out. Otherwise, why is the entire area the size of the cartridge case head detached? The metal isn't any thinner there than where the striker strikes. In fact it's thicker, because the striker channel isn't as big as the cartridge case head.

Agreed. That's was what I was trying to say above
/
Guess I missed your post somehow?

glocktecher
11-06-2012, 10:13
Based on what you posted regarding your conversation, I am surprised he did not hang up on you.

Too

Much

Time

On

Hand!

JBP55
11-06-2012, 10:58
Based on what you posted regarding your conversation, I am surprised he did not hang up on you.

Too

Much

Time

On

Hand!

This.

dhgeyer
11-06-2012, 12:20
And this, folks, is what the ignore list is for.

rajbcpa
11-06-2012, 15:53
for clarification, aluminum is never used as a ammo case material as discussed above.

the shiney silver ammo cases that are included in some of the factory shipping boxes and which evidence the factory firing tests are made from brass which has been nickle plated to prevent tarnish.

empty nickle plated cases can be reloaded the same as straight brass cases.

i like nickle plated brass but many reloaders do not. apparently, they don't last as long as straight brass....

SJ 40
11-06-2012, 16:40
for clarification, aluminum is never used as a ammo case material as discussed above.

the shiney silver ammo cases that are included in some of the factory shipping boxes and which evidence the factory firing tests are made from brass which has been nickle plated to prevent tarnish.

empty nickle plated cases can be reloaded the same as straight brass cases.

i like nickle plated brass but many reloaders do not. apparently, they don't last as long as straight brass.... In this case you may want to rethink your statement.


http://www.blazer-ammo.com/


CCI/Speer has been loading this particular ammunition for more than thirty years,it's not something new.

This is some what newer like the last three or four years or so,while I can't prove it my best bet is CCI is loading it for Cabellas. ETA actually looked at the Cabellas listing and it now states Blazer on the box


http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shooting/Ammunition/Bulk-Ammunition|/pc/104792580/c/104691780/sc/106633080/Herters-Select-Grade-TNJ-Handgun-Ammunition/1261880.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fshooting-ammunition-bulk-ammunition%2Fherters%2F_%2FN-1104709+1000003627%2FNe-1000003627%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_106633080&WTz_l=SEO%3Bcat106633080

Aluminum is also used in the construction os some manufacture of snap caps.

SJ 40

RageEffect
11-06-2012, 17:13
When looking at that damage,
One thing always comes to mind. When you etch class and then hit it with a solid object it breaks along the line. I feel like the case pushes back and weakens a circle, over a long period of time, and the pin is like the glass breaker tool hitting the circle out that was "cut"

faawrenchbndr
11-06-2012, 17:18
for clarification, aluminum is never used as a ammo case material as discussed above.

the shiney silver ammo cases that are included in some of the factory shipping boxes and which evidence the factory firing tests are made from brass which has been nickle plated to prevent tarnish.

empty nickle plated cases can be reloaded the same as straight brass cases.

i like nickle plated brass but many reloaders do not. apparently, they don't last as long as straight brass....


You don't get out much, huh?!?

CCI has been producing ALUMINUM cased ammunition for 10 years!
It's called Blazer,......ever heard of it? :dunno:

tango44
11-06-2012, 17:25
My G26 has 8K rounds and still counting.
I dry fire it every single day and a lot more Saturdays at the range, no problem at all.

SJ 40
11-06-2012, 18:11
I found this in conjunction with Frankfort Arsenal testing back in the 1960's.


Aluminum was tested in the 60s

There is presently not an aluminum alloy-that I know of-that can consistently withstand the chamber pressures generated by modern high power rifle cartridges. When aluminum cased rounds are fired with high chamber pressures the expanding gases can, on a random basis, create a high velocity flow path of molten metal through any structurally weak points in the case (either caused by damage or design) and the high temperatures of the propellant gases can actually ignite the aluminum particles and cause a complete burn-through and fireball within the weapons chamber with resultant catastrophic results. This flow or venting usually takes place through the case head, around the primer or if there are folds or scratches, on the case body side walls. There have been developed ways to prevent burn-through by using liners and coatings inside the case, but they add to the cost of manufacture and take up powder space which usually causes an unacceptable reduction in pressure and velocity.

Frankford Arsenal, during the 1960's, had a major development program directed at aluminum alloys and aluminum cases for 5.56MM and 7.62MM ammunition, but after a 5-year effort could not solve the random burn-through problem. The Arsenal concluded that eventually higher-strength aluminum alloys would be developed by industry that would solve this problem, but to date, none that are cost effective have been made available that I know about.

As you know, aluminum cases have been used with success in lower pressure pistol and revolver cartridges (apparently with chamber pressures below 40,000 psi the burn-through phenomenon does not take place). Aluminum cases have also been used effectively in medium caliber cannon and artillery rounds when weight is a prime consideration.

Frank Hackley

Their maybe more to the flame cutting and blow by than I first would have thought.
At what PSI/CUP does it become a problem,I know that it states 40,000 but that is very close to the 36,000 operating pressures of , 9 mm, 40 S&W,357 Sig pressures are closer to that of say 7.62,5.56. Rethink time,big time rethink time.

ETA I found a bit more history for CCI/Speer Blazer development.

In 1980, CCI entered the centerfire ammunition market with BlazerŽ. This innovative products used aluminum cartridge cases and high-tech manufacturing processes to create effective, low-cost ammunition for training and practice. In 1980, CCI entered the centerfire ammunition market with BlazerŽ. This innovative products used aluminum cartridge cases and high-tech manufacturing processes to create effective, low-cost ammunition for training and practice.In 1980, CCI entered the centerfire ammunition market with BlazerŽ. This innovative products used aluminum cartridge cases and high-tech manufacturing processes to create effective, low-cost ammunition for training and practice. A Brief History Of CCIŽ BlazerŽ Centerfire Ammunition
Including some Frequently Asked Questions
In the late 1970's, US ammunition makers were faced with increasing costs and competition from cheap imports. At CCI-Speer, our premium LawmanŽ ammunition with high-performance bullets appealed to serious sport shooters and peace officers, but was more than the casual shooter needed. We set out to find a way to offer these shooters economical ammunition that could be priced lower than many imports yet provide American-made quality. As the 38 Special was the most popular handgun cartridge then, the project was known internally as "Low-cost 38's."

We knew that the cartridge case was the single most expensive component of a modern cartridge. Significant costs savings in the other components were not realistic, so we investigated ways that would take costs out of the case without compromising safety or function. The areas of raw material, production processes, labor, and scrap rates all had to be considered.

Raw material costs vary through the year with supply and demand, but we could take cost out of a case by investigating materials other than cartridge brass. We looked at other grades of brass, several classes of polymer plastics, steel, various grades of aluminum, and other materials. Of these, the best candidate was an aircraft-grade aluminum that could be heat-treated for strength. Although cartridge brass and this grade of aluminum cost about the same per pound, one pound of aluminum yields more cases than one pound of brass. We had a material-now the question was, "Can we build cases at a decent internal cost?"

To do this, it meant having a good process and controlling scrap rates. We found the equipment needed to form and heat-treat aluminum cases. We sourced a raw material format that reduced scrap rates from the 30 percent of conventional case forming to a tiny two percent. Over the period of a year, scrap rate improvement alone would yield impressive savings.

We entered this project targeting the 75 percent of the shooting market that does not reload, so several aspects of an aluminum case that affected reloadability played well with a cartridge for the non-reloader. To discourage reloading of Blazer cases, and to gain a small savings on primer cost, we elected to go with efficient Berdan priming. In the Berdan system, the anvil moves from the primer to the case. Adding a Berdan anvil to a case is free; in a Boxer primer it is a separate part with its own cost.

Original Blazer cases used an odd primer diameter (0.195 inch) to further discourage reloading. This was eventually changed when we started loading higher pressure cartridges like the 9mm Luger and 357 Magnum. They needed the extra material in the case head that a 0.175 inch primer pocket affords. From that point on, we used a standard .175 inch Berdan pocket in all cartridges that took a small pistol primer.

An early problem came up. Although cases were heat-treated "by the book," they were not springing away from revolver chamber walls as they should. We discovered the problem was "the book," not the material. All published aluminum heat treat references were prepared with large part like landing gear struts in mind. The techniques did not translate to small parts. Out of necessity, CCI rewrote the book on aluminum heat treatment. We made numerous breakthroughs in this field that gave us a strong case and a leadership position in this technology.

The final case was ready for market. The savings were partially due to getting more cases per pound of raw material, but the savings in processing and the all-important scrap rate were as significant. The economical case was a multi-discipline success that grew directly out of smart engineering.

The cases were done, and a new, more efficient loading line was built to reduce direct labor costs and increase throughput. The later had a remarkable positive effect on the bottom line. We went "outside the box" to develop a loading system that was not previously used for centerfire ammunition. It was safe, efficient, and enabled us to change caliber set-ups easily to quickly react to incoming orders. In 1981, the first Blazer ammunition was introduced to the market. It was 38 Special, loaded with a 158 grain round nose lead bullet. Blazer was on it way.

Today, Blazer is a highly evolved product. Through constant testing and improvement, we have overcome the objections that traditional shooters found to a non-brass cartridge case. The number of Blazer calibers increased to 13 today. We offer a selection of bullet weights and types not found in most imports or "white box" domestic ammo.

SJ 40

dhgeyer
11-06-2012, 18:26
Side note - not really relevant. I did something today that I never did before. I opened the envelope with the factory supplied fired cases (2 were in there). They were Blazer aluminum with the N-R (Not Reloadable) headstamp. But, I noticed that they appeared to be Boxer primed. I decapped one, and it was indeed a Boxer primer. Didn't Blazer aluminum ammo used to be Berdan primed to make sure no one would attempt to reload them? Or is my memory playing tricks on me?

SJ 40
11-06-2012, 19:17
Side note - not really relevant. I did something today that I never did before. I opened the envelope with the factory supplied fired cases (2 were in there). They were Blazer aluminum with the N-R (Not Reloadable) headstamp. But, I noticed that they appeared to be Boxer primed. I decapped one, and it was indeed a Boxer primer. Didn't Blazer aluminum ammo used to be Berdan primed to make sure no one would attempt to reload them? Or is my memory playing tricks on me?Yes as the information I was able to turn up and it was a non standard primer diameter.
They CCI also went on about no additional cost to form a Berdan anvil ,where as the additional cost of a Boxer anvil.

Appears as if some things have changed at CCI with Blazer but then again what doesn't change over time. SJ 40

dhgeyer
11-06-2012, 19:38
Yes as the information I was able to turn up and it was a non standard primer diameter.
They CCI also went on about no additional cost to form a Berdan anvil ,where as the additional cost of a Boxer anvil.

Appears as if some things have changed at CCI with Blazer but then again what doesn't change over time. SJ 40

Being a curious sort, I went ahead and reloaded one of the 2 fired aluminum Blazer cases. The primer pocket is standard small pistol, and the primer seated normally. Resizing, expanding, and seating with normal taper crimp caused no problems. I stripped my G19 and tested the fit of the round in the chamber. No problem.

So there is nothing physically stopping anyone from reloading Blazer aluminum 9mm cases. I AM NOT SUGGESTING ANYONE DO THIS. AS SOON AS I WAS DONE WITH MY LITTLE TEST I PULLED THE BULLET AND DECAPPED THE ROUND AGAIN. SHOOTING SUCH A RELOADED ALUMINUM CASED ROUND COULD BE QUITE DANGEROUS.

SJ 40
11-06-2012, 19:43
Being a curious sort, I went ahead and reloaded one of the 2 fired aluminum Blazer cases. The primer pocket is standard small pistol, and the primer seated normally. Resizing, expanding, and seating with normal taper crimp caused no problems. I stripped my G19 and tested the fit of the round in the chamber. No problem.

So there is nothing physically stopping anyone from reloading Blazer aluminum 9mm cases. I AM NOT SUGGESTING ANYONE DO THIS. AS SOON AS I WAS DONE WITH MY LITTLE TEST I PULLED THE BULLET AND DECAPPED THE ROUND AGAIN. SHOOTING SUCH A RELOADED ALUMINUM CASED ROUND COULD BE QUITE DANGEROUS.Interesting none the less,things have changed for Blazer. SJ 40

dakrat
11-06-2012, 20:50
Based on what you posted regarding your conversation, I am surprised he did not hang up on you.

Too

Much

Time

On

Hand!

I am sure the rep's eyes are hurting from rolling the whole time...

I shoot competitively and does hours of dry firing per week and never a problem with any of my CENTER FIRE firearms.

seed
11-06-2012, 22:23
When looking at that damage,
One thing always comes to mind. When you etch class and then hit it with a solid object it breaks along the line. I feel like the case pushes back and weakens a circle, over a long period of time, and the pin is like the glass breaker tool hitting the circle out that was "cut"

Very well illustrated. Add to that the fact that the nitriding process is actually a hardening process and that in areas where the metal is thin, it can make the metal relatively brittle (worse in some cases than others, due to variations and imperfections in the process execution). Perhaps in examples where the breechface failed, it was only a matter of time.

Personally, I use snap caps. And when disassembling my Glocks, after checking and rechecking to make sure the weapon is clear, I'll often insert a plastic mechanical pencil (with the shirt clip broken off) down the bore, eraser end against the breech face and then pull the trigger so that the striker tip hits the eraser. Peace of mind. Again, I check and recheck the gun to be sure it is empty before doing this.

DonGlock26
11-09-2012, 08:56
I think MIM parts fail a lot more than solid steel parts. Glocks and Sigs prior to the MIM revolution seemed to work and work and work. Now, with MIM, firing pins are breaking in many different brands (S&W Bodyguard .380's for instance). I had a Sig firing pin positioning pin on a P229 break in half and fall out of the slide. Sig has since went back to rolled pins. What more proof do you need that MIM parts in many cases are substandard. I'm putting my money into older Sigs and holsters and ammo. I don't want any more MIM guns.

clarkz71
11-09-2012, 10:15
for clarification, aluminum is never used as a ammo case material as discussed above.

the shiney silver ammo cases that are included in some of the factory shipping boxes and which evidence the factory firing tests are made from brass which has been nickle plated to prevent tarnish.


As mentioned, the fired cases that come in the Glock
box (little yellow envelope) are Blazer aluminum cases.

firstg19
11-09-2012, 10:38
If I'm doing extensive dry firing I use snap caps. If I'm just pulling the trigger here and there, I don't worry about it. Snap caps are cheap enough to not worry about it

LuckyG
11-09-2012, 10:54
IMO regardless of any gun damage, real or theoretical, snap caps should be used for dry-fire practice. A blaze orange or red dummy in the chamber during a press check shows positively that the chamber is not loaded with a live round. An "empty" chamber in bad lighting when you're tired or in a hurry can prove to be deadly.

In our NRA courses we highly recommend dry-fire and the use of snap caps. It is a procedural safety related issue, not a gun damage issue. The bonus is that with the caps you don't have to worry about gun damage in any gun. I am obviously not talking about using caps with other procedures like prep for disassembly or whatever.

HK Dan
11-09-2012, 14:09
I AM that competitive shooter that was talked about earlier. While working my way up to Master class I dry fired for 30-60 minutes a day with my G35 Limited gun and my G17 SSP gun. We're talking about 10s of thousand of reps. I have never used a snap cap and have no incidents of breech face damage. I discount the whole topic as worthless worry-wartism.

TnShooter83
11-10-2012, 00:04
So will steel case etch or flame cut the breech face?

RM686
11-10-2012, 00:51
not trying to hijck this thread but with so many people dryfiring do you notice on an empty chamber the front sight jerk when the striker hits the brech face. I know you have to hold the pistol very firmly to avoid this. maybe with a live round the primer absorbes the impact of the striker? None of my other guns do this but they are not strikler fired. This cant be good for accuracy if the moves off target at inginition?
Or if this is not normal what could be the cause of the gun jerking?

SouthpawG26
11-10-2012, 01:30
not trying to hijck this thread but with so many people dryfiring do you notice on an empty chamber the front sight jerk when the striker hits the brech face. I know you have to hold the pistol very firmly to avoid this. maybe with a live round the primer absorbes the impact of the striker? None of my other guns do this but they are not strikler fired. This cant be good for accuracy if the moves off target at inginition?
Or if this is not normal what could be the cause of the gun jerking?

This is indeed due to the striker reaching the end of its forward travel, bumping into the slide, rather than having the striker tip hit the primer. Not an issue in live fire, therefore.

With your hammer fired guns, you will usually experience much less dry fire impact because:
-the firing pin has a spring that dampens and counteracts the forward hammer strike;
-the firing pin is usually a bit lighter than the Glock striker;
-the hammer fired gun is probably also a bit heavier than your Glock.