An easy substitute dummy cartridge/shell can be made from a spent cartridge/shell casing. Perhaps you will want to mark the side of the casing with a laundry marker for easy recognition. OTOH, after dry-firing the same spent cartridge several times, as in trigger/action tuning, the dimple in the primer deepens, or, if in a auto/bolt action, the empty cartridge sorta creeps further into the chamber and loses it's ability to neutralize the firing pin/bolt rebound.
My fix was to poke out the "spent!" primer. You're destroying the cartridge for any other use anyway, so how you get the "spent!" primer out doesn't matter...drill, nail, whatever. Enlarge the primer hole into the case with drill, taking care not to distort the case or base. Next, fill the cartridge with common silicon putty, the sort you use for window/door sealer, to the point where the silicon fills and protrudes beyond the primer hole. After the silicon putty sets, use a razorblade to trim off any protruding silicon flat at the cartridge base. Make sure that the outside of the casing has no putty residue.
Now you have a dummy cartridge/shell with basically a rubbery primer that you can dry fire all you want without worrying about damaging the firing pin, and it took basically no time to make it!
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