Shotgun firing pin damage

This Browning 325 dates back to 1994 according to the serial number and came in for a problem when firing the second barrel so I expected an inertia block issue or similar.The gun itself was in staggeringly good condition for a 25 year old example and the issue was a combination of 25 year old grease and oil the had solidified and gummed everything up.

As part of the cleaning process the firing pins come out and they were equally gummed up so I suspect someone gave a liberal squirt of something many years ago.

 

 

During the initial inspection I had noticed one of the firing pins was quite badly pitted, in fact this image does not do the damage justice and this brings me to the subject of this post. Firing pins, over time the can become burnt and pitted. This is down to many factors including poorly set firing pin protrusion and mass produced cartridges, the primer cups are thin, the pin strikes the cup and pierces it and a load of hot gasses vent backwards, gas cut the face of the firing pin and force debris through the firing pin aperture into the important parts.

The issue gets worse now as that firing pin face, once burnt, becomes rough and this means primer cups pierce more easily and it becomes a vicious circle.

This is not an occasional issue either, we have had three shotguns come in this week and all with exactly the same story, purchased second hand elsewhere then to use for work of some sort and the firing pins are burnt, latest was a Lincoln 20 Bore and this really annoys me as the seller either knows and does not mention it, or is too lazy to check the gun over before it goes out.

Of course you can always replace firing pins however the damage is being done, so take a look when you next clean the shotgun, damaged pins are easily identified with a decent light or a torch, and take a look at the primer cups on the cartridges you shoot before you throw them in the bin. Pierced primers are easily identified and it might mean it is time to change your pins, or maybe change to a different cartridge. One final note, firing pins are a set length, shortening them to polish out the damage can lead to light strikes and is seldom successful as it is not an easy job to put the correct radius back. Get yourself a couple of new pins, change the spring(s) at the same time and you are good to go.

And why am I telling you this? Because you need to know.

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