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epm729 06-18-2020 05:12 PM

Broken firing pin
Had my first ever firing pin break on Tuesday. Took my SA M1A out to the range and on the 32nd round, clic. Ejected the round and no indent at all. Got the rifle home and disassembled the bolt. The tip of the pin was gone. Lucky I had a spare and changed it in a few minutes. Does this happen often or is it a once in a great while occurence. Thanks, Eddie

ernie 06-18-2020 05:19 PM

In many years of shooting matches I only had one break and it broke at the tail. In that time over 25,000 rounds fired. Mine broke at Camp Perry of all places. Quick end to that match.

nf1e 06-18-2020 05:34 PM

Doesn't happen often, but when it does, a spare in the range bag can be a life saver.

Ted Brown 06-19-2020 12:21 PM

I've replaced several broken firing pins in customers rifles over the years, but in a lifetime of shooting, I have only broken one in my guns. I always keep a spare in my kit when I go to practice or matches. I do the same with extractors and other bolt internals. Seems like there is always someone who breaks an extractor during a match.

epm729 06-19-2020 08:27 PM

Thanks for your replies. I purchased a new spare firing pin for my emergency kit. From now on I won't go to a match without it. Regards,Eddie

M14 06-20-2020 08:39 AM

Anyone carrying a spare pin, don't forget your protrusion gauge or calipers, and a file. If it is too short, nothing you can do, if too long, you have to file it down and round (radius) it out. Spec is .044" to .060".

You can use the tail feature on your calipers to read the spec if you hold the calipers straight up, or plumb. Sit one side edge on the firing pin tip and extend the tail down to the bolt face and do it several times, while holding the tail forward with your other thumb. Close enough.

I set most of them around .050" to .053" on commercial bolts that have this problem. Haven't seen but a few g.i. bolts have an issue with protrusion, except ones that use commercial firing pins.

I picked up a five line SAI down in Chalmette La. at Geeck's urging, when his friend Lee saw it in a pawn shop and called him about it. I went down and rode with Tony to the shop to see it. When I got it back to my shop and started checking it out, it was all TRW and had a protrusion on the pin of .068" .......and the headspace was 1.627" !!! WTH?

So, I called SAI and found out it left the factory in that exact configuration on May 5th, !990. I could tell it hadn't been shot much at all, and knew why. It would have had extraction problems all the time, and failures to go to battery with certain ammo.

I got her all fixed up now and she shoots great. She looks great too in her woodland camo g.i. stock and handguard from the factory. Been wanting one of those for a long time. I guess good things do come to those who wait.... But, 30 years? Okay, I'll take it.

As for breaking a pin, I never had it happen yet in many, many thousands of rounds through hundreds of M14 type rifles. I have seen a chipped nose on a couple and replaced them. Tiny chips, but enough to throw off the proper radius, and maybe stop a pierced primer from occurring.

epm729 06-20-2020 10:29 AM

Thanks M14, I make sure to do that. Eddie

epm729 06-20-2020 02:26 PM

Measured the protrusion .053.

M14 06-22-2020 07:06 AM

Great, it's just right.
On the .044" low end you could have light strikes with some deep seated primers on some foreign ammo. Rare, but it happens. Well done!

Ted Brown 06-25-2020 01:37 PM

Dry firing is a great way to practice, but it does stress the firing pin which may lead to premature breakage. However, firing pins are cheap, they don't break often, and practice makes perfect.

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