Ignition woes

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gun_painter

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I've been having some ignition problems with my CVA hawken. I'm using CCI #11 caps that are new, but whenever I go to shoot my rifle for the first time of the day, it takes a few caps before i'll finally get the charge to go off. Now when I get ready to load the rifle, I run 2 dry patches to soak up the oil left in from the cleaning, and I snap 2-3 percussion caps before dropping in powder and ball. I still don't get a ignition for the first cap. The nipple is clear, I take the screw off the drum and can see it's clear in there. I'm at a loss. I'd like to get this licked prior to deer season, any suggestions?

Also, when dropping the powder charge down the barrel, isn't the powder suppose to be down in the drum for the cap to ignite? I had a charge I couldn't get to go,period, so I pulled the screw from the drum and looked in there and didn't see any powder. Pulled the ball, and cleared the rifle, patched it, reloaded it after snapping a couple more caps, and then it shot just fine. Once I get a shot out of it, it's fine. I get some hangfires from time to time too, a clear snap...boom, with enough time in between to audibly hear both reports separately. Maybe I need to blow high pressure air through the drum before the first shots of the day?

Branden
 

Grenadier1758

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@gun_painter, you are on the right track to identify your problem and using some dry patches to soak up the oil. But your track is a bit short. Your CVA Hawken has a chambered breech which means that your dry patches can't get into the chamber to dry it out. Do a search on the forum for CVA breech. Well here's a link to a cut away of the CVA breech.
Why is this 32 crockett so difficult to clean? | The Muzzleloading Forum

Now how to get that oil out of the chamber. The problem starts when you clean the rifle and put your rust inhibiting lubricant down the barrel for storage. If you store the rifle muzzle up, that oil just pools up in the breech and dries to a gel like goo that will clog your flash channel. Improvement 1 is to use an evaporating rust inhibiting protectant such as Barricade which dries to a very thin film. Improvement 2 is to store your rifle after cleaning with the muzzle down so the oils can't pool up in the chambered breech. Improvement 3 is to use a small brush (22 cal or 30 cal) with a cleaning patch wet with rubbing alcohol to dry out any oil that might remain in the breech. Remove the nipple and run a pipe cleaner from the nipple seat or from the screw hole in the drum into the firing chamber. Improvement 4 is to use that alcohol dampened patch to wipe the bore with your cleaning jag. Now fire a (non corrosive) cap to verify the flash channel is clear and you should be ready for the range and hunting.
 

Semisane

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I suspect you can solve your problem by running a very wet 91% Isopropyl alcohol patch down the barrel and pumping the patch vigorously to blow some alcohol out of the nipple before the first loading. Give the alcohol a few minutes to dry before dumping the powder.
 

gun_painter

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@gun_painter, you are on the right track to identify your problem and using some dry patches to soak up the oil. But your track is a bit short. Your CVA Hawken has a chambered breech which means that your dry patches can't get into the chamber to dry it out. Do a search on the forum for CVA breech. Well here's a link to a cut away of the CVA breech.
Why is this 32 crockett so difficult to clean? | The Muzzleloading Forum

Now how to get that oil out of the chamber. The problem starts when you clean the rifle and put your rust inhibiting lubricant down the barrel for storage. If you store the rifle muzzle up, that oil just pools up in the breech and dries to a gel like goo that will clog your flash channel. Improvement 1 is to use an evaporating rust inhibiting protectant such as Barricade which dries to a very thin film. Improvement 2 is to store your rifle after cleaning with the muzzle down so the oils can't pool up in the chambered breech. Improvement 3 is to use a small brush (22 cal or 30 cal) with a cleaning patch wet with rubbing alcohol to dry out any oil that might remain in the breech. Remove the nipple and run a pipe cleaner from the nipple seat or from the screw hole in the drum into the firing chamber. Improvement 4 is to use that alcohol dampened patch to wipe the bore with your cleaning jag. Now fire a (non corrosive) cap to verify the flash channel is clear and you should be ready for the range and hunting.

Oh man...that really explains it, I had no idea that's how it was, and that makes a whole lot of sense! Alright, when I clean the rifle here in a bit from todays shooting (I did a cursory cleaning, not a full cleaning yet), i'm going to use a .22 bore brush with a patch to get that little chamber clear, and tomorrow when I shoot again (I love country living where my range is my back yard), and i'll patch the bore, then use denatured alcohol (I have a lot of that around that I use for degreasing acetone sensitive parts before painting 'em), blow it out with some air because i'm impatient, and give that a shot.

I'll report back my findings, appreciate it very much.

Branden
 

Phil Coffins

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The above is good, it is the nature of your rifle. For absolute first shot reliable I remove the barrel and pore a small amount of lacquer thinner in then with a dry patch pump it out the nipple. A few more strokes with dry patch then pop a cap. Load as normale and if your rifle is anywhere close to good it will go off perfectly.
 

mooman76

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Also a better nipple will help. Hotshot or spitfire are a couple of them that help get the spark to the powder charge better for more reliable ignition.
 

rafterob

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One detail missing here. What type of powder is being used? Synthetics can be a little difficult to ignite in the CVA breech. If that is the case, magnum caps usually solve the issue. But I do think the main issue here lies in the cleaning and oiling of the gun. I have a CVA Mountain rifle and a Traditions Hawken. Same "CVA" type breech. All I ever do is clean with warm mildly soapy water and rinse with clean warm water. Dry it out and lightly oil. My rifles are stored laying down so they would be unlikely to have oil pooling in the breech. At the range I run one dry patch down the barrel and snap off one cap. Never a hangfire. No alcohol, no air, no lacquer thinner, no WD40, etc..
 

Cherrybow

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I always lay a Kleenex or light leaf or something over the barrel when I pop a cap to clear the channel. If the Kleenex blows off the barrel its clear of obstructions. Obviously, if there is some obstruction it will not blow off the Kleenex. I have also had better luck with the hot shot nipple on my CVA.
 

Red Owl

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The way I was taught was before loading the gun, snap a cap and have the muzzle near sand or tall grass- so you can see the sand or grass move from the blast- you then have a clear passage. The cap may also burn up some oil if present. Then powder and patched ball- should be good to go. I swab between shots but you have to be a little careful that you don't push burnt powder residue in the bore down to the drum area and plug it. Some folks just pour in the powder (goes past the residue) and then a patched round ball- that also pushes down the residue which gets pushed out with the next shot.
Gun oil turns into a brown tar. I usually precede all of this by running some patches with rubbing alcohol to get rid of the oil before even snapping the first cap.
 

BP Addict

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I have shot many, many CVA Cap-Locks over the years. The first thing I do is swap out the Nipple with a Mountain State Muzzle Loading “Spitfire” Magnum. As you can see from the photo, they have a coned end that goes in the gun which helps spread the flash out. I was experimenting with Triple 7 a while back and these are the only nipples, I’ve found that will ignite it reliably. For some reason, they don’t like CCI caps. Often times the first hit seats it and the second fires it. I’ve been using Remington #11s for over a decade now with no mis-fires. They claim to be 40% hotter. Compared to what, I don’t know. They are similar in power to the CCI Magnum.

I don’t know what your cleaning regiment is but we had a guy in our Muzzle Loader club who was continuously having problems with mis-fires. Come to find out, he was only “Field” Cleaning his guns at the range. This is basically wiping the barrel with patches and cleaning solvent which apparently was pushing crud in to the Patent Breech. He was not taking his guns home afterwards and swabbing them in a bucket of hot soapy water thereby flushing the crud out the drum with the nipple removed.

By the way, I don’t store my guns with the with the muzzles down and have never had a problem with mis-fires due to oil solidifying in my breech. But hey, whatever works!

Hope you get your problem fixed!

Shoot Straight!

Walt
 

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necchi

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Oh man...that really explains it, I had no idea that's how it was, and that makes a whole lot of sense!
Good to see you took Grenadier1758's advice to heart.
Another simple and very effective tip is to slap the side of the rifle near the breach after tossing the powder charge, a good "knock" helps settle some of the charge down into the fire channel and drum. It's just something I always do with the spanish drum breeched guns.
 

BS

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Not sure if you have room under the hammer, but I switched one of my rifles over to Musket caps.

They have a lot of FIRE!
 

SDSmlf

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As long as you can shoot when you want to in your backyard, suggest you try any and everything suggested above, just DO NOT oil the bore when finished cleaning. Let the gun sit overnight, and see what happens the next day when you attempt to light it up. If the cap goes off and you are using blackpowder, the gun should go off, unless something is blocking the fire channel. If you find the ignition problems go away with this experiment, there is a pretty good chance that the oil and how you were using it in the bore created your issues. As an FYI, here is what the fire channel in your gun most likely looks like.
1628020436856.jpeg
 

Britsmoothy

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Exactly why I don't use oil in a muzzleloader and only ever use my patch grease.

Why, because when you think you've cleared the oil you haven't and it only takes the slightest of residue to destroy ignition.

I lost to many shots in the field and then lost time fiddling to get the thing to go. Ever since my switch no issues.
 

Oldbear63

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Can anyone tell me exactly what diameter the hole in an efficient nipple is? I have one that seems to measure .034" and another that is .045".
 

Frontier's

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The Spitfire nipple (Hollow base ) or the Knight redhot are the best.

i didnt see what powder you are using, but if its not real black, powders such as pyrodex or t7 are harder to ignite and a nipple upgrade is a must.
 

gun_painter

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The Spitfire nipple (Hollow base ) or the Knight redhot are the best.

i didnt see what powder you are using, but if its not real black, powders such as pyrodex or t7 are harder to ignite and a nipple upgrade is a must.
Great video, I didn't think to hit the side to help move powder into the drum, that's a good idea. I'm using Pyrodex BTW. I need to bite the bullet and order real BP and have it shipped to me. I have a source for Swiss, but anyone have a source that has Goex, Eynsford, or Schuetzen that has it on hand?

Branden
 
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