How to use snap caps

by Erik  

Snap caps are a great way to test the functionality of your guns after repairs, modifications, or a good cleaning. They are made in nearly every caliber and are fairly inexpensive.

What do I use snap caps for? For the most part I use them to test magazines, extractors, and chamber feeding. It's obviously safer than using live ammunition, and it's reusable which makes buying snaps caps a long return on investment. I often use them to test extractors if I do a complete strip of a rifle or pistol. I also use them to test magazine springs and/or their proper function after magazine cleaning.

Snap caps can also be arbitrarily loaded into a magazine along with live ammunition. Once given to a shooter, in the course of shooting they may notice a flinch or other negative moment while expecting a live round.

On more than one occasion I have done this and caught myself heeling. Heeling is dropping the muzzle down slightly due to the expectation of recoil. As a shooting instructor, I usually load a snap cap into the chamber without the shooter knowing. I can then gauge their level of readiness for live fire by their movements just before the trigger pull. In the video below, I demonstrate how I use snap caps to check proper function of the magazines.

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