Firearm Test Firing Safety Tip

Ken Brooks

with Ken Brooks, AGI Gunsmithing Instructor and
owner of PISCO Gunsmithing in Oregon.

As a gunsmith or even “gun tinkerer” there often is a need to test fire a firearm either to determine what the problem is, or to see if a repair has been successfully done. In this video AGI Master Gunsmith Ken Brooks shows how he safely tests a rifle when it has no stock.

4 Responses to Firearm Test Firing Safety Tip

  1. Good advice Ken.

    My first gun I ever owned was an SKS. A neighbor owned a Russian SKS and one day we got talking about them. I mentioned I have a new, unfired Chinese SKS I need to take to the range to try out. He put the bug in me by saying he heard the barrels on the Chinese models have been known to burst when shot from brand new and recommended I shoot mine from the hip with the head turned away in case the barrel burst.

    Being totally new to guns I was really a bit daunted so I bought a Hyscore shooting rest. You can strap a rifle securely onto it and remotely fire a gun with the plunger “linkage” supplied with it. I made the recommended platform to mount the Hyscore to it and it worked good. Same idea as what Ken showing.

    To this day I think the reason some SKS barrels may burst is because some bores may be loaded with cosmoline and get fired before cleaning it out, resulting in excess barrel pressure (over pressure) from the obstruction of the cosmoline.

    One day I seen a fellow at the shooting range and before getting to chat with him for the first time I was watching him load up his SKS then watched him fire the first shot … a big ball of smoke left the muzzle on the first shot. Later when we got talkin’ he mentioned that his SKS was brand new and he just fired it for the first time. I don’t think he removed the cosmoline from the bore, hence the big ball of smoke.

    Stay safe people.

    Thanks for the video Ken.


  2. Used this method a few years back to proof a Muzzleloader Barrel after picking up the tip somewhere from AGI. Worked great! Strapped it to a tire and used a good length of fuse to set it off. Everything went well. Had it not I still would have been safe because I was plenty far away.

  3. The owner’s manuals for my guns usually said to clean the bore (or at least run a dry patch through) before firing for the first time. Makes sense that military surplus rifle would be packed in cosmoline when put into storage.

  4. When I was a kid,many,many many years ago I used the same method to shoot a broken ramrod out of a black powder Hawkins.I know I know,but I was just a…….un-informed teenager who thought it was a good idea.Fortunetly gun and teen survived,never to repeat dumb move again

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