1858 Pietta Army Cylinder Problem

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After several outings at the range, I took my Pietta apart and cleaned it. I decided to take the nipples out as well. Maybe a mistake as I cannot get one of the nipples to start back in. I got 5 of them in with no problem but the sixth will not start. I have the proper nipple wrench. When I start it, I can feel it catch and then at about 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn I can feel it come out. I tried for an hour and finally gave up (came close to throwing it across the shop!!!). Must be buggered up but not sure how it got that way. I guess I will need to start a tap in it but do not know the correct size and doing that makes me a bit nervous. When I got the gun new from Cabela's I shot it quite a bit. Then I replaced the nipples with new ones from Track of the Wolf and all was well until this happened. Any suggestions or do I need a gunsmith? Thanks.
 
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Thanks for the reply. Not sure but does not look damaged to me. I did try several other nipples and they would not start either. The nipple I am trying to fit did go right into my spare cylinder, so I don't think it is the nipple.
 

Johnny Tremain

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When I start it, I can feel it catch and then at about 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn I can feel it come out.
Sounds like a cross thread catch. Run your finger over the end (some use their tongue)
If you fell a bump, sand it down smooth. If you dont check the cylinder Which is harder, but might have a burr on it.
 

n.h.schmidt

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Piettas are 6X.75. If you have a few spare nipples you could sand or file a long taper on one. That may allow you to start it in and smooth it out. You still have plenty of thread so it's not a safety problem.
 
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The nipples in a Remington go in at an angle to the cylinder bores. A taper tap will hit the cylinder side before it's all the way in. A plug tap may work but I don't know for certain and a bottoming tap would be very difficult to start. The angled nipple hole means you can't run a tap through from the chamber mouth like you would with a Colt.

The cylinders aren't all that hard and it doesn't take any effort to damage the first thread. I've found a short straight piece of vacuum or aquarium tubing that is a snug fit on the cap portion of the nipple is handy to start them with.
 

ernbar

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I always use my fingers to start the nipples. Don’t use the wrench until you know they’re started properly.
I do too but I put the nipple on and rotate counter clockwise till I feel a click then rotate clockwise. That click tells me the nipple threads were properly aligned with the cylinder’s.
 
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I use a 2 inch piece of silicone hose that squeezes over the nose of the nipple, that makes starting the nipple into the cylinder much easier. You can get a better feel of the threads starting correctly
using it. I have accumulated all the taps and dies for all the nipples that I own, as I have had the same experience as described here. Even the most careful person can get burned every now and then.
 

borne2fly

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I do too but I put the nipple on and rotate counter clockwise till I feel a click then rotate clockwise. That click tells me the nipple threads were properly aligned with the cylinder’s.
After several outings at the range, I took my Pietta apart and cleaned it. I decided to take the nipples out as well. Maybe a mistake as I cannot get one of the nipples to start back in. I got 5 of them in with no problem but the sixth will not start. I have the proper nipple wrench. When I start it, I can feel it catch and then at about 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn I can feel it come out. I tried for an hour and finally gave up (came close to throwing it across the shop!!!). Must be buggered up but not sure how it got that way. I guess I will need to start a tap in it but do not know the correct size and doing that makes me a bit nervous. When I got the gun new from Cabela's I shot it quite a bit. Then I replaced the nipples with new ones from Track of the Wolf and all was well until this happened. Any suggestions or do I need a gunsmith? Thanks.
As others have said, run a tap through it. These guns are pretty roughly made, lots of sharp edges that were never de-burrred, no chamfering on holes, etc, and the threads are no exception. Mine had a few stubborn nipples right out of the box and a pass with a tap fixed it. If you re-tap the holes, be mindful that they sit at a slight angle to the cylinder, and if driven in too far the tap might contact the chamber wall. That would not be good.
 

M. De Land

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I use a 2 inch piece of silicone hose that squeezes over the nose of the nipple, that makes starting the nipple into the cylinder much easier. You can get a better feel of the threads starting correctly
using it. I have accumulated all the taps and dies for all the nipples that I own, as I have had the same experience as described here. Even the most careful person can get burned every now and then.
It doesn't help aligning the nipples as they are all canted at a bit of an angle generally ! That angle may preclude inserting the tap from the chamber front but it's a good idea and worth a try . I'd also advice taping the upper portion of the tap in cased it contacts the chamber mouth.
 
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Unfortunately the tap is too long to go in at the angle needed from the chamber mouth. If one cut the tap at the top of the threads it probably would be short enough to work without hitting the chamber walls but then how would you drive it? (I have my own ideas on how that might be done but I'm not going into them here.)
 
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