Getting caps to fire reliably

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by valen, Jul 21, 2016.

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  1. Jul 21, 2016 #1

    valen

    valen

    valen

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    I'm having a hard time getting the caps on my Pietta 1860 revolver to fire reliably. I've switched out the OEM nipples for Track nipples and I'm using the caps track recommends, CCI No. 11s. Everytime I get 2 to 3 in a string of 5 shots that fail to fire. If I turn the cylinder around and wack that chamber again, those 2 to 3 will fire on the second strike. This makes me think that I'm not seating the caps correctly, so I whittled down a piece of dowl rod to use as a tool to push the caps into place. I think I'm seating the right, but still can't get 2 to 3 out of five to shoot on the first hit.

    Any advice?
     
  2. Jul 21, 2016 #2

    necchi

    necchi

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    I'd be checking the hammer for any wear marks and making sure it's not dragging and lubed properly and/or the hammer mainspring for proper position and mounting,, maybe even replace the mainspring.
    A replacement spring isn't too expensive.
     
  3. Jul 21, 2016 #3

    Billnpatti

    Billnpatti

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    It surely does sound like a cap seating problem. It could be an "operator error" or, less likely, it could be a manufacturing error. Using the dowel to make sure that the caps are properly seated is a good idea. You might also try removing all of the nipples and trying to seat a cap on each one to see if any of them happen to be too large to allow the cap to fully seat without extra pressure on them. Even better would be if you have a micrometer to measure each nipple to see if any are larger than the others. That would create a seating problem. At any rate, my theory is that the caps are not being fully seated on the nipples. Of course, I am assuming that all of the caps are good caps. If you have a bunch of crappy caps, then that is a different problem. I use CCI magnum caps and never have a problem with them not firing.
     
  4. Jul 21, 2016 #4

    Don

    Don

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    Sounds like you have a weak main spring or the hammer is being inhibited some as it falls. Check the hammer fall first then consider changing the main spring.

    Don
     
  5. Jul 21, 2016 #5

    ZUG

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    I think this is your problem also :hmm: . Try this - cut a 1/4" wide by about 3" strip of "file folder paper" and place it over the nipple (cock the hammer first) then pull the trigger. Do this on all the nipples with six individual strips of "file folder paper". Compare all the impact marks from the hammer blows. If there are any light imprints you may need a new spring OR there maybe some difference in nipple size or depth of "spotface" on the cylinder where the nipple seats (rare). The hammer maybe not totally contacting the nipples also - you have to investagate more :v .
     
  6. Jul 21, 2016 #6

    Larry Akers

    Larry Akers

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    The hammer maybe not totally contacting the nipples

    Actually, in a properly tuned and adjusted C&B revolver the hammer should never come in contact with the nipple but stop against the frame with the face of the hammer .002-.003" short of striking the nipple. This still gives .035-.040" of "crush" to the cap which is more than enough to cause detonation.

    I would agree with others about cap fit, and to check for binding of the hammer. I would suspect interference between the frame and the side face(s) of the hammer. The last thing I would suspect is a weak spring--but they are not unknown.
     
  7. Jul 21, 2016 #7

    1860 Army

    1860 Army

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    You may also want to disassemble it to see if a piece of a cap is not stuck.
     
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  8. Jul 21, 2016 #8

    Patocazador

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    If they are firing on the 2nd strike then that indicates they are not seated. Change to #10 caps or get nipples that accommodate #11 caps.

    Buy or borrow some #10s to try just to make sure. It's easier than replacing the mainspring.
     
  9. Jul 22, 2016 #9

    ZUG

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    . This is true but how many FACTORY built revolvers are properly tuned??? If you use a thick enough piece of "paper" you will see if the hammer is contacting each nipple the same. The OP has to do some investigating and eliminate all possabilities no matter how remote they may seem :v .
     
  10. Jul 22, 2016 #10

    Mean Gene

    Mean Gene

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    Try replacing the nipples with an aftermarket nipple, I switched to Slix shot and haven't experienced any problems.
     
  11. Jul 22, 2016 #11

    piper987

    piper987

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    Make sure you don't need the longer version of the TOW nipples. I had that problem. It was my fault. there are short and long nipples for the colt clones. Makes a huge difference.
     
  12. Jul 22, 2016 #12

    Billnpatti

    Billnpatti

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    Don, you may have a good idea there. I don't know why I didn't think about the main spring as being a possible source of the problem. However, I think it could be that when the revolver was last assembled, the tensioning screw on the mainspring may not have been properly adjusted. I think I might give that possibility a good look first before spending money on a replacement spring. What do you think?

    Binding of the hammer is a possibility but I don't think a very great one. Pietta usually does a good job of finishing and fitting the parts but looking at that possibility is easily done and worth giving it a look-see. :thumbsup:
     
  13. Jul 22, 2016 #13

    Don

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    Colts don't have a main spring tension screw but Remingtons do. Someone else mentioned the possibility of a spent cap getting in the way. A good chance of that if the gun was fired prior to the problem cropping up. Those caps can get blackened by fouling and can be hard to see. I'm still betting its either the main spring or the hammer slot in the frame is too tight. Hard to say without looking at the gun my self.

    Don
     
  14. Jul 22, 2016 #14

    valen

    valen

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    I'm going to do a complete tear down this weekend and see what the insides look like. I'll keep you all updated
     
  15. Jul 22, 2016 #15

    azmntman

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    My favoritist postol, a 1849 pocket, has a single nipple that is not correct, cant push onto nipple as the end is not long enough :shocked2: I ordered new nipples from TOW and they will not fit, will find time to get a "good" nipple to TOW to match soon as I need to get out with it soon. I drew a hard to get tag for deer in muzzleloading season (Unit 9 for you fellow AZ residents) and would like to tote it with me.
     
  16. Jul 22, 2016 #16

    bubba.50

    bubba.50

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    I bought a Ruger Old Army off my brother once. he'd read in the manual you could use #10 caps so that's what he bought. never had a single one to fire on the first strike & never had one fail to fire on the second strike. so, I'd run them all around the cylinder one time & then they'd go bang.
     
  17. Jul 22, 2016 #17

    Patocazador

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    #10s work fine on all 3 of my ROAs with the original nipples.
     
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  18. Jul 22, 2016 #18

    Billnpatti

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    Yeah, Don, you're right about Colts not having a tensioning screw. I forgot about that since I don't have any Colts. Mine are Remingtons. Doing some stoning work on the hammer slot is a good idea. That and going over the sides of the hammer to remove any possible burrs. Pietta has a history of doing good work when they build their guns but stoning the hammer slot and the sides of the hammer are part of slicking up any revolver. So, I am in agreement with you about doing a bit of gentle stoning on the hammer slot and the sides of the hammer. If that solves the problem, fine. If not, then it is time to think about replacing the main spring. They are not all that expensive anyway. :thumbsup:

    Right after first posting this, I went back and reviewed a video on You Tube about disassembly of a Colt. It occurred to me that he could make a shim of some kind and put it behind the mainspring to increase the tension. This is not the best way to solve a weak main spring but it could be used as a diagnostic method to see if it is the mainspring before spending money on a new one. Just a thought.
     
  19. Jul 23, 2016 #19

    Heelerau

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    Valen, check your cones have not a slight mushroom that may make seating caps difficult, the other thing, check the inside of the hammer and the slot the hammer falls in the back the frame does not have a buildup of hard fouling.

    good luck

    Heelerau
     
  20. Jul 23, 2016 #20

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    Are the caps that fail to fire the same chamber?
    Are the same nipples the ones that fail to fire?

    Lets look at the nipples first. Since the caps eventually fire, I don't think that main spring tension or dragging of the hammer is the issue unless the hammer in dragging on the slot in the cylinder.

    Since the caps fire on the second try, it seems to me that the problem is in the nipple. Get a dial caliper or a numerical drill gauge and measure the diameter of the ends of the nipple cone. They should all be the same diameter. Use a file or stone to turn down the cones to the diameter of the nipple cones that reliably fire. Hold the nipple in a drill with the chuck on the outer band of the nipple away from the threads. Number 11 nipples should be a bit larger than number 10. Most replacement nipples will be sized for number 11 caps. The catalog description should state the size of the compatible nipple.
     

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