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Percussion cap failure to fire

PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
Is the most common cause for the failure of a percussion cap to fire the fit of the cap to the nipple? An old CVA side-lock cap and ball rifle seems to have a very tight fit of #11 cap to the nipple, and an occasional failure to detonate the cap, which I suspect isn't seating fully and bottoming onto the nipple. I think that the first blow of the hammer actually pushes the cap fully onto the nipple; I have already pushed it on as hard as I can push with my thumb or finger. The cap seems a little flattened, and always pops the second time. I believe the spring driving the hammer is OK, it seems like (?) a hard and fast hammer fall. The caps are RWS (the only local brand #11's), seem in good shape. If this makes sense, would the fix be polishing the outside diameter of the nipple a bit, to reduce the diameter a thousandth or so and make it easier to bottom the cap?

Comments

  • 44caliberkid44caliberkid Member Posts: 925 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yes, removing some material from the nip would solve your problem. If you can get Remington #11's they are slightly larger and would probably fit the current nipple.
    You can put the threaded end of the nipple in your drill, and hold the drill in a vise, then use some sandpaper to turn down the nipple.
  • firstharmonicfirstharmonic Member Posts: 1,020 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Shootist,

    Sounds like you've disgnosed what is a fairly common problem and have already described for yourself the best solution. Been there; done that. Quite a few times, as a matter of fact. Just chuck the offending nipple in a drill press or hand drill and use some very fine emery cloth backed by something flat (like a small ruler) to polish down the nipple ever so slightly. Good luck.
  • ken44-40ken44-40 Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What everyone else said. Or you could replace the nipple with a Hot shot or spitfire nipples from Cabelas or any of a number of muzzleloading suppliers. Sounds like your stock CVA nipple has gotten mushroomed from use (dry firing??). I've always used RWS 1075 caps on my muzzleloading rifles (Pedersoli/CVA/Hatfield) without problem.
  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks all for the replies; I'll polish the nipple down a bit. I do like to support my local gun store, they have been great with Gunbroker buys and sells for me, and they stock the RWS caps only. Though I guess they'd order me in some if I bought a quantity. There actually was no appearance of dry-firing and flattening damage, just a tight fit.
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    I have a container of #10's that almost always take a second hammer fall. I use them to help me learn to not flinch at the range. I would not do that during hunting though ... I'll be using #11's for sure. Nothing quite like a click ... when you want to hear a bang!
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    Which is the larger diameter ... #10 or #11 ... memory ... I'm losing it!
  • firstharmonicfirstharmonic Member Posts: 1,020 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by andersk
    Which is the larger diameter ... #10 or #11 ... memory ... I'm losing it!


    #11
  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Follow-up report: polished the nipple, and found it did have a very small amount of mushrooming near the end (this showed up when I was spinning the nipple against a flat-backed sheet of 400 grit paper, as a dark ring). With everything trued up, and now polished quite slick, I can feel the cap as it bottoms on the nipple, still fitting snugly enough to not fall off. Fires first time, every time. I had bought this rifle used, I had been told it had never been fired, and the bore was perfectly new looking, but it must have been dry-fired a couple times.
  • rgergergerge Member Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I had this problem with a few cva's years ago, I just replaced them with musket nipples, big difference. I have sausage fingers anyhow and can't even pick up those #11's.[^]
  • swearengineswearengine Member Posts: 1,329 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by andersk
    Which is the larger diameter ... #10 or #11 ... memory ... I'm losing it!



    #10 is .163 inside diameter

    #11 is .160 inside diameter

    #10 is larger
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    In order to take care of the "mushrooming" effect I have taken off the nipple and put it in a drill and took off a little metal with a file. Not to fancy but it works.
  • rgergergerge Member Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Just today had this problem with a '51 navy today, kind of a "frankenstein" pistol made up of spare parts. I backed the nipples out half a turn to get them closer to the hammer to unload it, I wasn't sure if it would chain fire on me, it didn't.
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    Wait a minute here ...

    Just when I hear that #11 is larger, then I get these measurements

    #10 is .163 inside diameter

    #11 is .160 inside diameter

    #10 is larger

    Which one is correct?
  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    In my experience, with same-brand (RWS) caps, the #10 is smaller than the #11. I have been lead to understand that there is a variance from brand to brand, and I can see that comparing one brand's #11's to another brand's #10's might lead to confusion.
  • 44caliberkid44caliberkid Member Posts: 925 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    #11's are larger. I have been shooting C&B pistols in competion for 25 years. There is a varience between manufactures. There is no standard measurement or spec to adhere to. In general, Remington #11's are the biggest size 11 caps I have found. CCI caps tend to be slightly smaller in whatever number. There may even be variances from lot to lot, it's not an exact science.
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    Thank you for setting me straight ... now I just have to wait until the 1st of December and go * me a deer! No, I forgot ... range time first!
  • mbsamsmbsams Member Posts: 1,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have been shooting cap and ball for more than 30 years - I have never, and I mean never had a cap fail to fire - an old timer showed me how years ago - here's how it's done -- WITH DUE CAUTION about where you point that thing - very gently lower the hammer on the cap - use your thumb on the hammer spur to press (swage) the cap (#10) onto the nipple. Keeps the caps tight and won't fall off either.
  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ah, interesting you should mention the "swaging" on of the cap; I have recently learned to do the same myself, and as you said, it practically guarantees things will work. I haven't had one crush and go off that way (yet), but the advice to point in a safe direction is also well-said, just in case.
  • k_townmank_townman Member Posts: 3,588
    edited November -1
    Shootist-
    One of the best things you can do with that sidelock is to replace the #11 nipple with a musket cap nipple. Sure did a world of good for my sidelock CVA.
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    Now I'm using Remington #11's on my Hawken ... they work fine! They fit good and fire every time.
  • gregoryhart1gregoryhart1 Member Posts: 518 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I had an unusual problem with my KY pistol awhile back. The cap would fire but the charge wouldn't go off. Scary to say the least. What it turned out to be was a groove had eroded in the nipple next to the barrel where I couldn't see it. This would allow fire from the cap to leak out instead of firing the main charge. I replaced the nipples & now it fires first time, every time. I've also experienced such hangfire after the bore got dirty from repeated shooting at the range. Now I run a dry brass brush down the bore every 2-3 rounds.
    GH1[:)]
  • machine gun moranmachine gun moran Member Posts: 5,198
    edited November -1
    When I shot a lot of percussion, I bought caps a little big and squeezed them oval as I capped the guns. They strayed on. Tight caps that split when pushed on were a curse to stay in place.
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