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Chain fire!!

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kh54

45 Cal.
Joined
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I haven’t been able to find number 10 caps for some time so I’ve been making do with 1075s or 11s for all of my revolvers. I sometimes have to pinch my number 11 caps to keep them on the nipples, and although others say this is inviting trouble, I don’t know what else to do except not shoot my revolvers at all – obviously not an option.

I haven’t had any problems until the last trip to the range with my Uberti 1861 Navy. This wasn’t my first chain fire but I’ve only had one before. When I pulled the trigger on the second or third shot I felt something wrong and my first thought was chain fire, but the chamber next to the one that I just fired was ok and I didn’t see any stray holes in my target. So I thought maybe I was wrong about the chain fire and kept shooting. The next two shots were good, but then I discovered the empty chamber. The loading plunger in the pic below should give you a clue to what happened. (Look closely!) I didn’t dare shoot anymore until I had taken the gun home to clean and inspect it. Fortunately, there’s no damage and all is OK. Anyone else have a chain fire like this?
 

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I had one last month in a .36 Brasser

It was my fault, I was using CCI #11 on nipples re-sized for red toy caps

Similar scenario.....I fired 3 shots then went to clear a cap jam and realized the next chamber was empty. And I loaded 6. At some point the adjoining chamber went off and the ball probably just blooped out and glanced off the barrel.

Luckily the ball has very little velocity with just a little bit of chamber ahead of it
 
We warn and we warn, but....

OK, so you had your first chain-fire. I haven't experienced one yet, which puts you one up on me. Now, learn from the experience:

  1. If you have number 10 nipples, you need number 10 caps.
  2. if you can't find number 10 caps, either don't shoot the gun or get some number 11 nipples for your gun, then you can shoot #11 caps.
  3. If you can't find #11 nipples, then you can't safely shoot your gun.
  4. Read the Fine Manual and follow the clearly written instructions.
  5. Don't worry. You aren't the first one to do something foolish and you won't be the last. ;)
Percussion revolvers are designed to survive chain-fires. I would suspect that this does not add much comfort the the actual experience, and just because it was designed to survive a chain fire does not mean that it will actually survive one. You stated that not firing your revolver(s) is not an option. Groovy. Firing it with improper caps is not really an option either.

Good luck!
 
That being said, I've pinched #11 caps to fit on Pietta nipples 100s of times in the past few months alone and probably 1000s of times in my lifetime up to now.

My only chain fire to date was from using #11's on nipples way, way too small and that were turned down to only accept toy caps. So that was foolish on my part

The fact that the bottom chamber facing the loading lever went off leads me to believe your gun needs .380 balls and .375s were loose, allowing flame to get past the ball
 
Read the Fine Manual and follow the clearly written instructions.

My manual says to shoot patched balls in my 1777 musket and An IX pistol... so paper cartridges are no good?

@kh54 Thanks for posting about this, I've heard of, but never seen the results of a chain fire. Glad there was no damage!
 
I haven’t been able to find number 10 caps for some time so I’ve been making do with 1075s or 11s for all of my revolvers. I sometimes have to pinch my number 11 caps to keep them on the nipples, and although others say this is inviting trouble, I don’t know what else to do except not shoot my revolvers at all – obviously not an option.

I haven’t had any problems until the last trip to the range with my Uberti 1861 Navy. This wasn’t my first chain fire but I’ve only had one before. When I pulled the trigger on the second or third shot I felt something wrong and my first thought was chain fire, but the chamber next to the one that I just fired was ok and I didn’t see any stray holes in my target. So I thought maybe I was wrong about the chain fire and kept shooting. The next two shots were good, but then I discovered the empty chamber. The loading plunger in the pic below should give you a clue to what happened. (Look closely!) I didn’t dare shoot anymore until I had taken the gun home to clean and inspect it. Fortunately, there’s no damage and all is OK. Anyone else have a chain fire like this?
You might consider using percussion cap keepers that can be made from small surgical tubing or purchased cut in quantity on ebay. I've used them successfully as they grip a cap on a nipple for both #10 or #11 caps and even tight enough to stop moisture. I never had one fly off with the spent cap.
Below is an old forum thread of what some members think of about pros and cons about cap keepers. All I can say is that they work for me.

https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/threads/percussion-cap-keepers.82745/
 
I haven’t been able to find number 10 caps for some time so I’ve been making do with 1075s or 11s for all of my revolvers. I sometimes have to pinch my number 11 caps to keep them on the nipples, and although others say this is inviting trouble, I don’t know what else to do except not shoot my revolvers at all – obviously not an option.

I haven’t had any problems until the last trip to the range with my Uberti 1861 Navy. This wasn’t my first chain fire but I’ve only had one before. When I pulled the trigger on the second or third shot I felt something wrong and my first thought was chain fire, but the chamber next to the one that I just fired was ok and I didn’t see any stray holes in my target. So I thought maybe I was wrong about the chain fire and kept shooting. The next two shots were good, but then I discovered the empty chamber. The loading plunger in the pic below should give you a clue to what happened. (Look closely!) I didn’t dare shoot anymore until I had taken the gun home to clean and inspect it. Fortunately, there’s no damage and all is OK. Anyone else have a chain fire like this?
Your nipples are too long on that gun. Chain fires often happen when a capped chamber detonates against the frame under recoil. Caps that are too tight a fit stick out out and can also cause detonation.
 
My manual says to shoot patched balls in my 1777 musket and An IX pistol... so paper cartridges are no good?

@kh54 Thanks for posting about this, I've heard of, but never seen the results of a chain fire. Glad there was no damage!
Well, as can be seen in the manual fragment I posted, I am supposed to shoot much heavier loads than my 70 grain maximum charge weight. I'm also supposed to use thicker patches than I use. (different thread about a different gun)

I've been shooting for more than fifty years. I kinda know when the rules can be bent... and which rules can be bent as well as how far they can be bent. Someone who shoots a revolver with #11 caps on nipples designed for #10 caps... after already experiencing a chain fire... clearly does not have enough experience to know when the rules can be amended. Certainly he doesn't know how to make paper cartridges... when you started out, did you know how?

The OP should stick to the manual until he has survived long enough to gain some experience. Shooting a revolver with loose-fitting caps definitely qualifies as a foolish act... but I have done foolish things myself, as have you and the rest of us. We learn by experience and that which does not kill us makes us wiser... (sorry for misquoting Fred).
 
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We warn and we warn, but....

OK, so you had your first chain-fire. I haven't experienced one yet, which puts you one up on me. Now, learn from the experience:

  1. If you have number 10 nipples, you need number 10 caps.
  2. if you can't find number 10 caps, either don't shoot the gun or get some number 11 nipples for your gun, then you can shoot #11 caps.
  3. If you can't find #11 nipples, then you can't safely shoot your gun.
  4. Read the Fine Manual and follow the clearly written instructions.
  5. Don't worry. You aren't the first one to do something foolish and you won't be the last. ;)
Percussion revolvers are designed to survive chain-fires. I would suspect that this does not add much comfort the the actual experience, and just because it was designed to survive a chain fire does not mean that it will actually survive one. You stated that not firing your revolver(s) is not an option. Groovy. Firing it with improper caps is not really an option either.

Good luck!

Never heard of a chain fire damaging a gun or shooter.
The balls only come out of the adjacent chambers at about 150 fps.
 
Ok I use #11 caps on my #10 nipples, so for my knowledge and experience as well as understanding I have got to be doing something correct or I am the luckiest guy alive never a chain fire, as a matter of FACTS I am gonna slap up a video of Old Ranger
Do they exist obvious yes no one is 100% on Cause, been doing this 15 years now, knock on wood, has not happened. Now when I first started "Chain Fire" happens from the front, suggesting grease and wads to prevent, last 5-6 years been a heavy swing "Chain Fires" only happen from the "Rear" as to say 100% sure as to cause it is all a guessing game, I am pleased no one injured. To lay Blame as to "Over Sized Caps" as long as 1 cone/nipple covered your fine. Wads/Grease? questionable at best. I use dry wads, non lubricated eh fouling the same either way and the dry wads do not contaminate my powder. But alas I digress I am an odd-ball duck
 
Mike your absolutely right. Remington # 10 & 11 are the exact same diameter, only differ in length. CCI's have a little bit different dimensions. I've only shot black powder for 20 years But I have been shooting for over 50. I had my first chain fire two weeks ago when the cap on the nipple came off next to the chamber that was firing. They were all # 10 remington caps which my pistol was designed for. I also use wonder wads under the 44 cal ball. Poo happens to everyone unfortunately. And we all learn from everyone's mistakes or mishaps.
 
In sixty-five years of shooting, I have never had a single chain fire (maybe the chance), the exact opposite of hang fire...
Some questions you should ask yourself:
- What is the size of the caps for the nipples (#10 or #11 and the size of the nipples)?
- Diameter of the nipple holes?
- New or old nipples?
- What powder do you use?
- How many cylinders were fired without cleaning?
Normally the chain fires are rarely coming from the front, mostly when the cylinder is greased at each chamber, so see all that can be wrong at the rear side...
 
Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve also enjoyed the comments. Very informative and entertaining.
 
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