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1911 dry fire

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james r chapman
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Post by impalanut 3/14/2020, 11:04 pm

Just got this gun. For dry fire I just cock the hammer, I don't have to rack the slide, correct?

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Post by john bickar 3/15/2020, 12:10 am

Smart question, and I'm getting out my popcorn.

1911 dry fire Giphy
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Post by LenV 3/15/2020, 3:24 am

Totally ignoring what damage you may do or not do to the sear by just pulling the hammer back (lots of theories out there) I rack the slide so I don't have to change my grip. It's easy. Just grab a hold of that great big dot your not using while dry firing and while holding the trigger back cycle the slide. Magazine out and pistol cleared of course.

Len     No Dot? If your shooting Bullseye you don't need more than a 12# recoil spring. It is still easy.
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Post by Steve B 3/15/2020, 11:30 am

john bickar wrote:Smart question, and I'm getting out my popcorn.

1911 dry fire Giphy

We really need Likes on this forum...

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Post by Steve B 3/15/2020, 11:34 am

I always rack the slide while holding the trigger fully depressed.  On my guns I have found that the feel of my roll triggers is different if I only cock the hammer as opposed to racking the slide.  During dry fire I'm looking for exactly the same feel as when shooting, this method works best on my guns.

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Post by mikemyers 6/1/2020, 6:07 pm

If the feel of the trigger is noticeably different between pulling the hammer back, or racking the slide, then it seems obvious to get the gun to feel as much as possible when you're shooting it.  .....but why "hold the trigger fully depressed"?  

Does this discussion apply to all 1911 guns, or only (especially?) those with a roll trigger.


While I'm asking, at the range, the original instructions for a 1911 were to press down on the slide lock, which would release the slide.    Elsewhere I read that it's better to pull back on the slide and release it.  Is one method worse than the other?
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Post by dronning 6/1/2020, 7:49 pm

Hold the trigger back after dry firing and rack it.  That will essentially repeat what happens during live fire including trigger reset.

I only pull the slide back far enough to reset the trigger and I don't drop it.
- Dave
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Post by mikemyers 6/1/2020, 8:15 pm

mikemyers wrote:..........While I'm asking, at the range, the original instructions for a 1911 were to press down on the slide lock, which would release the slide.    Elsewhere I read that it's better to pull back on the slide and release it.  Is one method worse than the other?
Sorry, I lost track of things.  The second part of my question referred to live fire at the range, not dry-fire.

The slide is back, a new magazine goes in, and one needs to release the slide so it goes forward and does what it needs to do.
The original manual for the 1911 said to just push down on the slide release, and the slide will go forward, and be ready to shoot.
What I've been doing during practice is to pull the slide back slightly, then release it.
Which is preferable.

The earlier part of my post was about dry-fire.  I should have explained what I meant better.
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Post by james r chapman 6/1/2020, 8:17 pm

I believe JMB designed the slide release for combat situations, probably not anticipating whimpy loads on paper targets.
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Post by mikemyers 6/1/2020, 8:28 pm

Jim, if you've never seen this, you may enjoy reading it:
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM23-35.pdf

Cleaning the gun with soap and water....
....and cleaning it for the following three days....
....where does one go to buy sperm oil nowadays?

...and about accuracy:
  "The drift is slight at short ranges and that for long ranges is immaterial, inasmuch as the pistol is a comparatively short-range weapon."
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Post by Asa Yam 6/1/2020, 10:07 pm

mikemyers wrote:....where does one go to buy sperm oil nowadays?
Read somewhere the closest thing these days is Automatic Transmission Fluid.  That is what modern versions of "Ed's Red" use.  For a copy of the recipe for "Ed's Red", see https://www.frfrogspad.com/homemade.htm.  Actually, the recipe at https://blog.roninsgrips.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/EdsRed.pdf states that Dextron II (ATF) is a modern substitute for sperm whale oil.

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Post by radjag 6/1/2020, 10:57 pm

JB, you are definitely what used to be called, back in the old country, "A right cheeky bugger!"

(and no apologies for whatever weird interpretation those words might currently get in this modern PC, etc., age!)

Cheers.

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Post by jglenn21 6/2/2020, 7:45 am

Sperm oil was used on tranny fluild way back as a friction modifier. It was replaced by modern equivalents. Mobil one tranny fluid makes a great lube for the 1911
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Post by mikemyers 6/9/2020, 11:33 pm

LenV wrote:Totally ignoring what damage you may do or not do to the sear by just pulling the hammer back (lots of theories out there) .......
For as long as I've had 1911's, starting in the late 1970's, I was told to pull the hammer back, then dry-fire.  

As to lots of theories, does anyone have any hard facts one way or another?

I guess tomorrow I can call someone, maybe the people at Les Baer if they're working, and ask how they do it.

In the meantime, I can find lots of discussions that say it's fine to cock the hammer and dry-fire:
https://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=374883
https://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?72887-Thumb-cocking-for-dry-fire-bad&p=704362#post704362 

I couldn't find any discussion saying it was not a good way to dry-fire.

I guess I should ask Dave, or Jon, or one of the other excellent gunsmiths who participate here.
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Post by David R 6/10/2020, 7:58 am

My thoughts.

Releasing the slide release on an EMPTY chamber lets the slide fly forward slamming into the breech.   This jars the gun possibly making the sear hop off the hammer.     
Its a function test of a 1911.
It can be caused by trigger bounce.
This is called hammer follow.

When this happens the hammer is caught on the half cock notch.  It can mess with the perfect stoning on the sear/hammer relationship.   Some are set up to only catch the half cock notch on part of the sear that is not used to fire the gun.  Most are not.

Using our delicate hammer and sear relationship, Hammer follow will show up  easily.

SO, instead, hold the trigger back when the slide is dropped. First, this pushes the  disconnector down when the slide starts to move and the trigger bow can't move the disconnector which moves the sear.  Now with the trigger back and disconnector down, its just the hammer and sear.  A lot less to jar or disturb.  

Holding the hammer back keeps it off the sear completely.  It can't do anything because you are holding it.  

Dropping the slide with a loaded magazine inserted slows it down quite a bit.  This means it does not SLAM into the breach and jar the fire control parts near as much.  

I hold the trigger back every time.   
You can hold the trigger back or the hammer for complete peace of mind.

Using sling shot or slide release, for me is a non issue.    I use the slide release.  I don't think it will ever wear out.   Either one works fine as long as you hold the trigger back.

I shoot other disciplines.   The slide release is MUCH faster than sling shot.
If you have a buffer, slingshot may not be possible because it uses up some of the rearward slide travel.  Each gun is different.

IF your gun does have hammer follow, it needs to be looked at.

I am not a gun smith.  If i am wrong , please correct me.

David waiting to get back to it R.
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Post by mikemyers 6/10/2020, 9:57 am

impalanut wrote:Just got this gun. For dry fire I just cock the hammer, I don't have to rack the slide, correct?
I know there are several discussions mixed in here.  Regarding what you posted, with no explanation as to "why" I was taught 40 or so years ago to NEVER allow the slide to slam home on an empty chamber.  I think you guys have answered the "why", but I never got to even ask why - I just followed what I was taught, and I've read this from many sources now.

The question from 'impalanut' is the same question I've been asking.  

On an empty gun, with or without an empty magazine in it, or maybe with a lead-filled magazine for better practice, whether or not we can dry fire a 1911 endlessly, by pulling back on the hammer, aiming the gun, and try to fire the gun without disturbing the sights at all.  I guess I should try this with a dime balanced on the slide, as one final check, but in my opinion it's obvious watching the dot whether it moved AT ALL when the gun is fired.  I've done this so much I can tell by feel, without even watching the dot.....     and there are evenings when I'm watching something on TV that doesn't require my full attention, that I will dry fire the gun over and over and over to verify the the gun doesn't move when I'm not thinking about it.

The goal, I've been told, is to let the subconscious fire the gun, rather than the shooter thinking when to fire.  

The trick that 'cranky thunder' taught me, was to oh, so, slowly, add pressure to the trigger, trying to delay when the gun fires, as much as possible.  Since I'm trying to NOT make the gun fire, I'm always caught by surprise when it does finally fire.

There are two things to look for - is the gun moving because of something I'm doing wrong (jerking the trigger, pushing or pulling on the trigger with my trigger finger, etc., etc, OR is the gun moving when I fire because I'm reacting in advance to knowing the gun will fire.

Unless someone proves why this will damage the gun, I can do it on and off for hours, until firing the gun becomes as natural as breathing.  After it fires, I pull the hammer back, and repeat.  And repeat for several times, then take a break, and then continue again.  If I didn't stop myself, I can easily do this for two hours.  I can elaborate if anyone wants me to, but that's a different discussion, trying NOT to do all the things people here and in books and in videos say leads to inaccurate shooting.  Bob Letham's video "Aiming is Useless" is so true, but there is more to it than what he explained - although everything else is irrelevant until one learns that TRIGGER CONTROL is the key to shooting better.
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Post by dronning 6/10/2020, 11:22 am

Ok at least NEVER pull the hammer back with your shooting hand because you are disturbing your grip.  Then ask yourself does my hammer have side to side play (they all do to some degree).  Can you guarantee you're not putting sideways pressure on the hammer.  Sideways pressure on the hammer however slight seems like it may wear things differently than using the slide. 

Trick for long dry fire sessions if you use the slide: 
#1 only pull the slide back far enough to reset the trigger - DO NOT let it drop.
#2 replace your recoil spring with a super light one (7lb) or cut off a few coils of an old spring.

- Dave
Plus when trying out Brian Zins trigger at a clinic I was instructed DO NOT reset the trigger with your thumb or drop the slide.  Under penalty of bodily harm LOL.
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Post by mikemyers 6/10/2020, 2:14 pm

dronning wrote:......Then ask yourself does my hammer have side to side play (they all do to some degree).  Can you guarantee you're not putting sideways pressure on the hammer......
Just one small comment - the way to test this, is to set yourself up for dry-firing, but don't actually "fire".  Instead, quickly remove your trigger finger from the trigger.
If the gun moves to the right or left, you were putting pressure sideways on the trigger.
If the gun remains still, you weren't.

About the other things, did Brian explain why he didn't want people to pull back on the hammer to cock the gun?
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Post by dronning 6/10/2020, 3:58 pm

mikemyers wrote:
dronning wrote:......Then ask yourself does my hammer have side to side play (they all do to some degree).  Can you guarantee you're not putting sideways pressure on the hammer......
Just one small comment - the way to test this, is to set yourself up for dry-firing, but don't actually "fire".  Instead, quickly remove your trigger finger from the trigger.
If the gun moves to the right or left, you were putting pressure sideways on the trigger.
If the gun remains still, you weren't.

About the other things, did Brian explain why he didn't want people to pull back on the hammer to cock the gun?
Please reread my post nowhere did I mention anything about the trigger!

I was talking about when you cock the hammer with your thumb.  You don't have to put enough pressure to move the gun to make the hammer move from one side to the other when pulling the hammer back.  It has nothing to do with the trigger.

I didn't ask Gunny to explain, I just took his advice.  I envisioned the hammer sear relationship and what is happening when a hammer isn't coming back the same every time, like when you use the slide to reset the hammer.

Example: lets say you always put slight pressure to the right, that means the right side of the hammer hook where it meets the sear would get more pressure on the right, PLUS you are probably putting downward pressure too.  Both of these forces are avoided if you use the slide.
- Dave
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Post by mikemyers 6/10/2020, 7:15 pm

Oops, sorry, I read that incorrectly.  

I never thought about putting side pressure on a hammer - but if I'm firing my revolvers, in single-action mode, I'm always cocking the hammer....     I'll stop posting here, and just read for a while.  Thanks!
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