Here's what you need to know about snap caps
Q: I am new to shooting and I keep hearing the term ‘snap caps’. What are they?
A: Snap caps protect your gun by relieving the stress on your firing pins when you are ‘dry-firing’ (that is when you are firing your gun without live ammunition). You might do this when you are practising your gun mount, your stance and checking your gun fit.
If you don’t use them then you will put a lot of stress on the firing pin and trigger. Over a period of time this could make replacement of the trigger springs become necessary and the firing pin could break.
They also help to absorb any moisture trapped within the gun and keep the gun bores lubricated against rust.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using snap caps in modern over-and-under shotguns?
A: There are no disadvantages and using them decompresses the mainsprings, which some argue could increase their lifespan. As described above, using them when dry-firing your gun will stop excess strain on the firing pins, which could cause them to fracture.
Diggory Hadoke, managing director of Vintage Guns and contributor to Shooting Times advises: “Certainly, gun locks should not be fired off without snap caps but as the caps wear pretty quickly, I’d not recommend repeated firing with them in place either.
“Some people prefer to store their guns with the locks fired, reasoning that it relieves tension on the main springs. In practice it seems of limited value. Nobody seems to worry that their ejector springs are always under tension.”