Snap Caps Or Not?


Dear Bruce,

Do you recommend storing a shotgun (Browning 425) with snap caps in place so that the gun is stored with the firing pins “relaxed” ie. load snap caps, pull trigger (twice) to release spring pressure? Does it harm a shotgun to store it with the firing pins under spring tension?

Thank you for the efforts put into your web site. It is “the best”

Thanks, C

Dear C,

I store my guns fully assembled and muzzle down in the gunsafe with the hammers cocked. I don’t use snap caps for storage. Your 425 has coil springs and “relieving” the tension really doesn’t help much. First of all, dropping the hammers still leaves the springs under considerable tension. Secondly, modern springs really don’t take much of a set. All the modern cameras made today cock immediately after firing and remain fully cocked at all times. They don’t have any problems.

I’ve never had a hammer spring failure in any coil spring O/U, nor have I had any light strikes attributable to weak springs. I do replace all the springs in any of my guns at around 50,000 rounds. This just makes commons sense for a competition gun.

The early 325s did have the reputation of having the opening lever spring break, but that has long since been fixed. Using snap caps wouldn’t have helped that at all.

The only thing that I use snap caps for is when I am dry firing the gun to test the trigger or for practice. I do a lot of dry firing at clay targets. You would be amazed at what you learn when the gun isn’t jumping around in your face.

As an addendum for all you side by side owners out there with leaf springs, I know that it is the custom to store with hammers down on a snap cap. You might be interested that Robert Churchill, the gunmaker and promoter, advised storing the guns with the hammers cocked. He said that the difference between the cocked and uncocked pressure on the spring was insignificant. It’s under quite a bit of tension either way. To be fair, many other sources advice storing with hammers down. It’s up to you.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC

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