Video: Can You Dry Fire Without Snap Caps?

   05.13.20

Video: Can You Dry Fire Without Snap Caps?

Can you dry fire a gun without a “snap cap” in the chamber? In this video, YouTuber TheYankeeMarshal talks about snap caps and dry firing, and he does a pretty good job of explaining things.

I’ve never seen this guy before, but his explanation was correct and clear — especially with the nice animations provided in the video.

For the uninitiated, a “snap cap” is a dummy cartridge placed in the chamber of a firearm for the purposes of cushioning the firing pin when said pin flies forward after the trigger is pulled. And “dry firing” is the act of pulling the trigger as if you were firing live ammo, but without live ammo. Dry firing is often used as a training aid for handgun shooters.

The condensed answer to the main question is:

  • You should always use a snap cap with rimfire firearms.
  • You probably don’t need to use one in a centerfire firearm.

There are exceptions, such as really small guns, cheaply-made guns, and really old guns… but most of the time you can dry fire a centerfire firearm without causing it any damage.

But he does do a good job of explaining how and why you can damage a centerfire gun by dry firing, so at the end of the video you should be well-equipped to decide for yourself whether or not to use snap caps in your centerfire firearms.

Here’s the video:

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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