Bad firing pin or bad bullet??

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by cdmorten, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. cdmorten

    cdmorten Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2003
    I went deer hunting yesterday and my friend's rifle didn't fire for 3 shots in a row. He was shooting some kind of Winchester ammo. He put a new shell in the chamber and put the rifle back on safety and then moved it to fire and it fired. The weird part, and I'd like you guy's advice on this, is that the primers of those 3 shells were dented.

    Any thoughts on what might be going on? He shoots a newer Winchester 30-06. I'm not sure of the model, but he bought it last year and it's sort of a standard grade rifle with a synthetic stock.

    Is it possible to hit the primer hard enough to dent it, but not hard enough to ignite it??

  2. LB

    LB Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2004
    Yes, possible. It could be excessive headspace, or if it was a cold day, too much lub on the firing pin internals, and a stiff grease can slow down the speed of the travel enough to result in a weak strike. As you mention applying and releasing the safely, it could be that the blocking mechanism is interfering with the fall of the sear?

    Have it looked at, by a professional. LB

    edit: just occured to me. The primers can be rendered inactive if the action and ammunition is liberally sprayed with WD40. That's been reported before.

    [ 11-14-2004: Message edited by: LB ]
  3. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver Official LRH Sponsor

    Jun 12, 2004
    Everything LB is certainly correct, another possibility is that something is rubbing the striker as it is released.

    A primer need a certain amount of penetration from the firing pin to cause the priming compound to ignite.

    Just as important as penetration is velocity of the impact. One can take a primer in a vice and crush it slowly and it will never explode. Onthe other end, tap one on a concrete floor quickly with a light hammer and they will fire easily.


    My point is that even though you getting a noticable amount of firing pin penetration in the primer cup, if something is slowing the firing pin, it may not be striking the primer with enough velocity to set off the priming compound.

    You said that the rifle fired after the safety was switched on and then off. This is where I would start after the bolt as been cleaned free of any lube, inside and out, mainly inside and the firing pin protrusion measured tomake sure it is adiquate.

    If the safety mechanism is catching the striker some as it falls and slows it down this could certainly be the problem.

    I also agree with LB, take it to your local smith and let them get this fixed, there is nothing harder to shoot or more unsafe then a rifle that you do not know when it will or won't fire.

    Good Shooting!!

    Kirby Allen(50)