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Login Name Post: drilling out a nipple        (Topic#245015)
Pete D. 
45 Cal.
Posts: 975
03-17-10 05:33 AM - Post#837117    


Quick question. Would there be any problem resulting from enlarging the spark channel in a nipple by drilling it out? I read repeatedly about shooters enlarging the vent/touchhole on flintlocks. What about making a nipple channel about the same size, about 1/16"?
I wonder if the "blowback" would damage the hammer?
Pete
"Only hunting and mountain climbing are sports. The rest are just games." R. Ruark


Edited by Pete D. on 03-17-10 05:36 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
mykeal 
58 Cal.
Posts: 2147
mykeal
03-17-10 05:59 AM - Post#837119    

    In response to Pete D.

Enlarging the flash channel in a nipple is not the thing to do. Yes, you will get increased blowback - I doubt the hammer will be damaged but performance will be affected.

The thing to strive for in a nipple flash channel is actually a smaller hole. That concentrates the hot gases into a plume that goes further and stays hotter longer. Enlarging the flash channel via gas cutting is (next to mushrooming by dry firing) the way a nipple eventually wears out. It slowly becomes less and less able to concentrate the gas and you start to get intermittent FTF's.

The pan of a flintlock is an entirely different environment than the tip of a nipple under a percussion cap. The performance of a flintlock can sometimes be improved by enlarging the touch hole as it gives a larger area for the hot gases to enter. However, that can be overdone.

 
smokin .50 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4471
smokin .50
03-17-10 07:53 AM - Post#837141    

    In response to Pete D.

mykeal is dead-on target!

I'm not saying that this is your case, but I've found that most folks looking for "the big flame" in a nipple (as well as those who switch to musket nipples & caps) have chronic ignition troubles due to not cleaning the rifle thoroughly, using a sub for powder, or a combination of the two. I put this out there for the benefit of all, and hope that this isn't indicative in your case (I'm assuming it's not). A clean & dry flash channel will produce enough flame from a standard #11 cap to ignite most all powders. A Magnum #11 WILL ignite all powders!

Now for a little science behind why a new nipple works better than a worn-out one: Simply put, the extra gases blowing out the nipple raise the hammer to a varying degree, thereby introducing an unknown variable into the burning sequence of the powder charge, which results in a unsteady loss of pressure which then opens-up your groups due to loss of velocity to a varying degree.

Since my rifle likes the standard factory nipples (which cost only $7.95 for a pkg of 3), and I can cut a playing card in half at 25 using them, I use the standard nipples even though they will wear-out sooner (by erosion as mykeal noted), I simply keep an eye on them and replace at the first sign of wear, prior to a big match . Other Forum members will swear by the replacements cause they work for them......your mileage may vary.

Nice weather this week--so get out there and make some smoke!!

Dave

 
ohio ramrod 
75 Cal.
Posts: 5732
03-17-10 10:56 AM - Post#837207    

    In response to Pete D.

I have shot percusions for over fifty years and have found that.028 to .032 flash channel gives the best performance for my rifles. I use a number 60 drill (.040) as a gauge to tell me when th nipple has been (burned out) and should be replaced. It has been my personal experience that flash channels below . 028 are subject to pluging. But I realise that others may have different experiences.

 
Pete D. 
45 Cal.
Posts: 975
03-17-10 03:29 PM - Post#837306    

    In response to ohio ramrod

Thank you, all. What happened was that I found a nipple in my "stuff" that had a very long threaded shank. It occurred to me that it would fit a gun that I have if it were cut down. But then the channel might open up. Hence the post.
Pete
"Only hunting and mountain climbing are sports. The rest are just games." R. Ruark


 
Norinco 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1169
03-17-10 03:57 PM - Post#837317    

    In response to Pete D.

What about chrome lined nipples? Are there any?

 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
03-17-10 03:59 PM - Post#837320    

    In response to Norinco

I know of no chromed-lined nipples. There are Platinum-lined nipples used by the Slug Gun shooters, because of the HUGE powder loads they shoot, and the very high chamber pressures produced. They are VERY EXPENSIVE, and I have never heard of anyone using one of them on an ordinary Side-lock MLer. There simply is no need.

Paul

 
mykeal 
58 Cal.
Posts: 2147
mykeal
03-20-10 07:26 AM - Post#838379    

    In response to Norinco

  • Norinco Said:
What about chrome lined nipples? Are there any?


Current 'technology' in nipple materials is either stainless steel or a proprietary bronze alloy called Ampco. And, of course, the platinum ones mentioned above.

I've had very good results with Ampco and good results with stainless steel; both are big improvements over the regular OEM nipples. I've never used the platinum ones so I can't say one way or the other if they're worth the money. Based just on material properties it seems they would perform very well.

Nobody makes a chrome plated nipple that I'm aware of. I would think controlling the flash channel dimension through the plating process would be quite difficult, thus expensive, and with the Ampco competition, ultimately not worth it.

 
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