500 Round Break in Necessary ?

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Ordguy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
159
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LA
Occasionally I have read on the Forum that a pistol has to be broken in by firing 500 rounds.

Can't find anything about this in any of the manuals for my firearms. Okay, why not ask the manufacturer. The Ruger website has a Tell the CEO option. Wrote this there today;

"On the Forum's I frequent there are comments about the 500 round break-in period for 1911's.

None of the manuals I have contain anything about "break in". Is there in fact recommended number of rounds to break-in a new pistol ?

Personally the only pistol I have that required "breaking in" is a Beretta and it took close to 1000 rounds to be reliable."

Surprised I received this reply so quickly, here it is;
On Oct 31, 2015, at 5:06 PM, Ruger Website <[email protected]>

A good pistol should require no break in.

Mike Fifer
 

Jim Puke

Hunter
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South Georgia
Guns vary...but you do want to shoot the gun enough to make sure that it is reliable, if you intend to carry it.

I bought my son a new RIA 1911 for his 16th birthday...6yrs ago...on Friday. He fired it 2rds in the backyard Friday morning before going to school. He did not have the opportunity to shoot it again...until we took it to a steel challenge match the next morning (Sat morning)...he shot the 125rd course and won his class with a new out-of-box 1911...it did not bobble a round.

Like I said, guns vary...although, I will say that we have NEVER had a 1911 or any other that required 500rd to breakin.
 

RugerHound

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Casa Grande, Arizona
You might be mixing your pistol up with a Harley Davidson which (they say) 'needs' a 500 mile break-in period. ;)

Jim Luke covered the topic quite well... Put a few mags through it and make sure it's reliable. Clutch 'er, gas 'er, drive 'er and watch 'er.
 

exavid

Hunter
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Medford, OR
I have had many new guns over the years all functioned well out of the box but most of them got smoother and better with use. Guns are machined to very excellent tolerances these days but the working parts aren't always polished which is what happens with use. Most of the pistols I own had bluing or some finish in the sliding parts. The parts work a lot easier and smoother when that wears down some. One thing most noticeable to me with auto loading pistols is that operating the slide to cock the pistol gets a lot easier after a few hundred rounds.
 

GunnyGene

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Monroe County, MS
All mechanical systems follow what is known in Reliability Engineering as the Bathtub curve. Simply explained it is that statistically (meaning a significant test population of that system) the system will have a higher malfunction rate at the beginning of it's life cycle (infant mortality stage), followed by a steady state lower malfunction rate for the majority of it's expected total life span, then lastly show an increase in malfunctions as it nears the end of it's designed life. The length of time or number of cycles at each of these three stages depends on many factors, including system complexity, quality of materials, engineering & manufacturing, and in-service use and care.

The only thing a break in does is get you past the "infant mortality" stage faster.
 

Mike J

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Aug 5, 2007
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GA
Some people do a 500 round reliability test before they carry a gun. Some of the higher end 1911 manufacturers do I believe have explicit instructions for the number of rounds, type of lubrication, etc. for a break in period. Personally if I have a couple of hundred rounds through a gun with no failures & I have fired enough of whatever design of hollowpoint ammunition I want to carry through it to verify it will feed reliably I feel comfortable with it. Some guns do get smoother with use. The trigger on my old Ruger P- series improved considerably after about 500 rounds but with a Ruger I wouldn't worry about a break in period too much.
 
Joined
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Greenville, SC: USA
I never thought of it as reliability... I agree with Ruger that a good quality gun should function from the get go.... but there is a break in period to smooth things out. I've always thought with semi-auto pistols that several hundred rounds should be put through it before making any changes.
 

GunnyGene

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blume357 said:
I never thought of it as reliability... I agree with Ruger that a good quality gun should function from the get go.... but there is a break in period to smooth things out. I've always thought with semi-auto pistols that several hundred rounds should be put through it before making any changes.

Why doesn't the manufacturer "smooth things out"? Because they have to meet a price point.

An analogy: Professionally built race car engines don't require a "break-in", but a new passenger car engine normally does. That's because of the difference in design engineering (including materials) and manufacturing quality. A race car engine is designed & built to much higher standards specifically to avoid that infant mortality stage as much as possible, and therefore costs a great deal more. Same with firearms or anything else. You get what you pay for.

When I was with Boeing, a customer picking up a brand new 767, etc. would fly it from the factory directly to an airport and pick up it's first load of paying passengers. No "break-in" period needed. If we had built them to a lower standard, the initial cost would be much lower, but the consequences of that would be significantly higher.

That's what you're paying for when you tell a custom builder to build you a custom match grade sniper rifle, and price is not an issue. :)
 

opos

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Where the debris meets the sea
I've been a fan of CZ pistols for a long time....they are a wonderful pistol but they do have some "quirks"..they are not highly fishished inside as in the case of many Combloc pistols...and it takes a bit of shooting to get everything running nice and smooth..I just purchased a model 97 .45cal CZ a few months back...had shot about 200-300 rounds through it an had 2 little issues with the trigger mechanism..contacted CZ..they sent a mailing label...off it went...came back within a week and the problem was a slight burr which probably would have worn in with more use but they took care of it immediately...

I've always figured a couple or three hundred to run the pistol in...then maybe 100 rounds of whatever ammo you decide to use...I shoot handloads and find that after about 100 rounds I'm either comfortable with the load or need to do more work...With the CZ they have a "happy spot" that seems to be easy to find and that's what I try and load for...Works for me.

Had a little Bersa pistol once...it never did get "broken in"..just broken...My Ruger Revolvers get better triggers the more I shoot them and things like really tight fit pieces tend to work in...I'm not much for digging in and changing springs or trying to polish things...I try and shoot the gun the way it was built...if something is obviously wrong I get it fixed but I do like to give things a chance to wear in.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Lake Lure NC USA
A lot of good info above.
A quality item SHOULDN"T need a break in period. And even quality items get tested prior to selling them.
Mass produced items get less attention to details, and a shorter test run.

A handgun requiring 500 rounds to break it in? Not necessarily.

But,, to buy a firearm, if it's to be used for important things like hunting or self defense and NOT test it for function, reliability, accuracy, etc is just plain stupid.

I have had many ladies come to our NRA WOT clinics with brand new guns, some of which they had been carrying, that someone else loaded for them, having never fired a round.
 

vito

Hunter
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Jan 2, 2005
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Northern Illinois
Not so much a break in period, but a way to find out what ammo a particular gun handles well or not so well. My P97 will shoot anything that I put in it, without any problem since the day I bought it new 20 years ago. I found that my sr40c did not like the cheap Russian ammo that I tried, but handled all U.S. factory loads just fine. Plus I just want to know that a gun is reliable before counting on it. I had a ultra compact Kimber that gave me endless problems, and Kimber said to make sure I fire about 500 rounds before deciding if I need to send it back for repairs. I did, and then sent it back to them. Twice. Then I traded this gun off. Obviously I am glad I tried the gun extensively before using it as a carry gun.
 

Pat-inCO

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In the AZ oven (Phoenix basin)
If you look in the manuals you will find that they say you should not consider
a new Kahr "reliable" until after you have put two hundred rounds through it.

Back in the 90s I started with a procedure that has yet to fail me. Every new
pistol gets a detail strip, clean, and lubricated. I then sit at night, watching
TV and hand cycle the action and dry fire it, somewhere near 450 to 500 times.
After that process I detail strip it, clean, lubricate it and head for the range.
I have yet to have a failure in any that I have used that process on.

YMMV!
YOU do what YOU like. :D

Reassemble is the obvious step not mentioned.
 

stevemb

Hunter
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Aug 8, 2012
Messages
2,769
I like Pat's common sense approach, above. Like Contender, I've seen quite afew people show up with NIB handguns for their first course/class. You know that several oppurtunities for mal-functions drills will arise soon. The "tighter" the pistol, or the smaller the pistol, the more I'd heed the advice to break it in before trusting my life to it. Pat's version will save you some money and familiarize you with your new purchase. You will still need to try your intended choice of carry ammo, and remember to try it with every magazine you have for the pistol.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
9,469
Location
Woodbury, Tn
I have never put 500 rounds through a gun before carrying it. I do put 100-200 rounds down range for familiarization, and to identify potential problems. The first problem I encountered with a potential carry gun (P-11)was a failure to go into battery ( FTB). I didn't know about KelTec's need for a fluff and puff back then. I did one and voila it has run well since. I bought a brand new S & W 4506, that did the exact same thing. Lack of lube being the culprit this time too. Little things like that could spoil your day if carried right out of the box. Good luck.
gramps
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,200
Location
So. Florida
I call it 'break in' and I have found guns work and shoot better after 500 rounds. Is it necessary? - I don't think so but what is the alterative? :D
 

mohavesam

Hawkeye
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
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Location
Rugerville, AZ
500 rounds to be reliable... adcopy written by someone getting a kickback/free ammo from an ammunition maker.

This is 2015; any handgun that isn't reliable (with good factory ammo) right out of the box, isn't worth your time, money, or safety.
 

blackhawknj

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
1,945
I have been shooting regularly since the 1970s and it seems to me this "break-in" business started in the last 20 years or so. Back in the Good Old Days (or the Dark Ages if you prefer) the only cautions I recall were to ensure proper functioning of magazines in semiautos-if you have a big match coming up or will be carrying seriously don't rely on those battered old GI magazines you filched while you were on active duty. I did have an experience with my Colt Mark IV a few years ago, I bought a spare Mark IV slide with the small letters and factory sights, I had to use a little (VERY little!) grinding compound to get it to function on my Mark IV. A Colt slide not fitting on a Colt frame-?
 

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