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 Post subject: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:22 pm 
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Can anyone explain what these are, exactly? I'm assuming they are the pins that slide back and forth freely (without the springs that would normally retract them. And since they slide back and forth, they will literally touch the primer, but not with enough force to be dangerous (until they are used in conjunction with released hammers . Still, aren't these a little dangerous? Are there any advantages to these?


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 Post subject: Re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:58 pm 
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jsvendon wrote:
Can anyone explain what these are, exactly? I'm assuming they are the pins that slide back and forth freely (without the springs that would normally retract them. And since they slide back and forth, they will literally touch the primer, but not with enough force to be dangerous (until they are used in conjunction with released hammers . Still, aren't these a little dangerous? Are there any advantages to these?


FIRING-PIN, FLOATING
A type of firing-pin which is unrestrained by a spring or other mechanical means.

FIRING-PIN, INERTIA
A type of firing-pin in which the forward movement is restrained until it receives the energy from a hammer blow. It is slightly recessed in the breech face before being struck by the hammer and is shorter in length than the housing in which it is contained. Upon hammer impact, it flies forward using only its own kinetic energy to fire the primer.

Unsafe, no, not really as most if not all, free floating firing pin guns have intercepting double sears (as do most if not all inertia firing pins). The firing pins are not heavy enough to have enough inertia to set a primer off unless slammed with considerable force on the muzzle. How much is that force? I don't know.

Advantages? Other than one less part to break (return spring) and foul, I can't think of any, but the free floating firing pin is supposed to be more reliable. Inertia firing pins don't have "primer drag" when opened after they are fired.

I am sure there has got to be some type of advantage, so I hope someone else will wade in on this one.

My Mendicute side lock has free floating firing pins, my Arrieta has return springs, hence, inertia firing pins.


Last edited by chorizo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:16 pm 
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Thank you, Chorizo. It just seems odd to me that when I tilt the gun forward, the pins slide out toward the breech of the barrels.


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 Post subject: Re: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:55 pm 
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jsvendon wrote:
Thank you, Chorizo. It just seems odd to me that when I tilt the gun forward, the pins slide out toward the breech of the barrels.


Yeah, me too! Free floating firing pins are much more "finicky" about proper length when it comes to firing pin drag upon opening.

It sure doesn't seem right when you see it the first time.

UPDATE: Definitions were pulled off of the SAAMI website:

http://www.saami.org/glossary/display.cfm?letter=F


Last edited by chorizo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:52 pm 
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Ok...I am confused. My understanding of firing pins in shotguns is different that that of rifles and pistols. First, most doubles guys refer to firing pins as "strikers", but wikipedia for example gives a completely different explanation of a striker. A "pin" for someone in the English gun trade is what we would call a "screw" --so all of this is somewhat relative I guess.

But as I understand it, there are three types of firing pins or "strikers" used on double shotguns: 1) rebounding strikers, 2) free floating strikers, and bushed strikers. There may be others.

As I understand it, a rebounding striker is actually part of a rebounding hammer, meaning the hammer and pin are one piece. When the gun is opened, the striker rebounds backwards as the hammer is cocked and pressure is taken off the spent primer. You usually see this system on cheap boxlocks like my old Arizaga.

Free floating strikers are separate parts. The hammer falls on on a separate piece of steel, simultaneously slapping a free floating striker that drives itself into the primer for ignition. Since there is no pressure on the strikers, they simply push back when the gun is opened. The firing pin then "floats freely" because it is not attached (i.e. part of) the hammer.

Then there are bushed strikers which use a coil spring around the striker to keep it retracted out of the stranding breech until struck by the hammer. As the gun is opened, pressure is released off the striker and it retracts back out of the primer and back into the standing breech. A variation of this is, disc-set bushed strikers in which the coil spring and the striker is retained by disc that spins out of the standing breech.

Free floating and bushed strikers are desirable because if they break, you just replace the striker. Rebounding strikers require that the hammer be replaced along with the striker. Disc-set bushed strikers is the most desirable of all, because the gun does not have to be disassembled to replace the broken striker.

Convenience and serviceability were major considerations in the development of English guns. Locks and disc-set strikers were items that were designed to replaced easily in the field. That is why English guns were often sold as "kits" that contained spare vee-springs, extra strikers, and tools to work on the gun (screw drivers and the disc-set striker tool).

Now, this is how I understand firing pins. No doubt that someone else has a better explanation. As a side note, in my attempt to confirm what I described above, I looked for references and came up empty.

Time to order McIntosh's "Shotgun Technicana"...


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 Post subject: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Well, some confusion on terms. These definitions are from SAAMI and Griffin & Howe:
http://www.saami.org/Glossary/index.cfm and http://www.griffinhowe.com/abbreviations.cfm

Italics are added for clarification by Chorizo!

FIRING PIN: ; also called STRIKER by the British
That part of the firearm mechanism which strikes the primer or the rim of a cartridge to initiate ignition in order to fire the cartridge.

STRIKER ; also called FIRING PIN by Americans
A rod-like firing-pin or a separate component which impinges on the firing-pin and strikes the primer to fire a cartridge.

BUSHED FIRING PINS - Circular steel fittings, about 1/2 inch in diameter, screwed into the breech face of a gun and through which the firing pins pass. Firing pin bushings allow the convenient replacement of broken firing pins. They also allow the renewal of an older gun where, over the decades, leakage of high-pressure gas from corrosive primers has eroded the breech face around the firing pins. In British: Disk-set strikers.

A bushed firing pin can be free floating (my Mendicute) or be inertia (restricted by a coil spring as is my Arrieta).

FIRING-PIN, INERTIA

A type of firing-pin in which the forward movement is restrained until it receives the energy from a hammer blow. It is slightly recessed in the breech face before being struck by the hammer and is shorter in length than the housing in which it is contained. Upon hammer impact, it flies forward using only its own kinetic energy to fire the primer. This can be called, incorrectly, a rebounding firing pin

FIRING-PIN, FLOATING
A type of firing-pin which is unrestrained by a spring or other mechanical means.

Free floating firing pins do not retract, but rest upon the primer upon hammer contact and are free to retract back into the fence when the action is opened and the hammer is cocked back.
The rebounding firing pin, as you describe, is really a rebounding hammer with the firing pin integral to the hammer (hammer nose). See the two definitions below.

HAMMER NOSE
That part of the hammer which serves as firing-pin.

HAMMER, REBOUND
A feature of some firearms, usually hammer guns, wherein the hammer, after striking the firing-pin, retracts slightly before coming to rest.

OK, let's to add to the confusion and to get this statement you will have to read the definitions:

In American, a firing pin is always a striker, but a striker is not always a firing pin.

When you pull a trigger a hammer can hit a striker, then a firing pin, then a primer, or a hammer can hit a firing pin, then a primer, or a hammer can hit a primer with its nose.

Do I have you all fully confused yet!

Because we Americans use different dictionarys than the Brits (Webster's) from the date of the Revolution, we have different words for the same thing!


Last edited by chorizo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:54 pm 
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Thanks for setting me straight! There are a lot of different ways to build guns and the vocabulary really gets confusing.

So, my question is, is there an advantage between inertia strikers or free floating strikers. Just to be sure, I check my Arrieta and it has inertia (spring loaded) disk-set strikers. Once the hammers are down the strikers protrude out of the standing breech until the hammers are cocked, at which time they retract into the gun.

My Uggie and my Union Armera was that way also.


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 Post subject: Re: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:09 pm 
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David Dabaco wrote:
So, my question is, is there an advantage between inertia strikers or free floating strikers.


Well, like I said earlier, I do not know! I do know that it is harder to "regulate" the firing pins on a free floating firing pin, because you got to get the pin "just right" to keep it from dragging on the primer on opening and the inertia pins pull back enough to barely protrude if they protrude at all.

On my Mendicute, I had really work to keep it from binding, yet maintain enough extension to fire the primers.

I believe that the advantage of the inertia firing pins is that they are less sensitive to primer seating depth and the advantage to free floating firing pins is that they have les moving parts to bind and when you replace them you don't have springs to worry about.

I think free floating firing pins goes back to the days of corrosive primers and ammo and that firing pins needed to be replaced more often and that springs were corroded and bound easily so were simply not included because of the complications that went with corroded springs.


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 Post subject: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:22 pm 
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Thank you, Mitch! I also have a Spanish double that has the free floating pins that slide back and forth. When I took her apart, there were no springs inside. Very odd, indeed! I'm actually a little surprised that they don't get caught and disrupt the closing of the barrels whenever I close the action. They just seem to slide into the action, or rather are pushed in by the edge of the barrels.

And you are absolutely correct in that the spring-less variety, or at least this one particular gun of mine, are easier to get at as all it takes is a thin bit screwdriver. On my other Uggie sidelock, the only way to get at the firing pins is to remove the 3-holed large diameter screws (that have the firing pins centered in them) that lie flush against the action face. You really need a special tool for that, I am told, although a pair of thin pliers will do. But I've yet to find a source for one of these specialized tools. I'm hoping one of the gentlemen on this forum might help.

This forum really is a wonderful place to learn about every aspect of shooting. I feel lucky to have stumbled across it. As I take apart my Ugartechea sidelock, with it's articulated front trigger, internally case hardened sidelocks, gas escape valves, etc., I've only come to appreciate the workmanship more and more. Next up, tightening the "bite" so the lever is once again right of center. And so it goes...


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 Post subject: re: Free floating firing pins on a Spanish side by side
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:42 pm 
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http://www.brownells.com/

Go under special tools, then shotguns. They have three types of tool to remove the bushing (disc) Two prong, two prong adjustable, and a three prong. You might have to search a bit, but the tools are there on their website.

That round thing with the three holes is called a bushing or a "disc" depending what side of the pond you are on. It is threaded and relatively easy to remove.

The bushed firing pin (or disc striker) is a much easier way to get at the pins in my opinion. You do not need to open or remove the locks to get at them.


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