Leather nipple protector as safety

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

50cal.cliff

58 Cal.
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
2,343
Reaction score
1
Not sure this is the right place for this, so if not please move it to the right area!

I am asking because I seem to remember this coming up before but so far I haven't been able to find it with the search feature.

I have a friend and we are talking about doing some hunting this year and he comes out with his cap lock and there is what I would call a nipple protector on the nipple, hanging by a braided string from the trigger guard.

So I said to him, been practising squeezing off a few shots huh?

He responds with, yep it can be used like that but I use it as a safety!

So I had to ask, you mean you cap and carry it with that over the nipple and cap? Wouldn't the cap fall off when you pull it off!

Never had it to happen he says!!

So you ever worry the hammer is gonna hit the leather hard enough to split it or something and you get a premature--------firing???

He says, there is three layers of leather on the top where the cap will strike!!!

So I got to ask. What do you all think of such a get up??? Safe or not???
 

BrownBear

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
14,767
Reaction score
244
I won't do it. I get nervous at the thought of brush grabbing it and pulling out of there, letting the hammer snap into place on the cap. Might or might not set it off, but I'm not willing to place my bets on those odds.
 

jrmflintlock

45 Cal.
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
1,030
Reaction score
124
Location
Nothern Nevada
I used to use a .32 cal case with a wire loop around the base, secured to a leather thong. on my CVA Varminter (Before I converted it to flint)

The case is long enough that there is nothing touching the cap and just snug enough to stay on the nipple. I would set the hammer down on it when walking through the woods. Easy enough to remove when I pulled the hammer back to shoot at tree rats and bunnies.

You can see it if you zoom in.

 

coloradoclyde

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
15,601
Reaction score
52
I clamped a nipple in a bench vise and put a cap on it, then covered it with .20 thick leather and hit it repeatedly with a hammer until it went off....Surprisingly, it only took a few hits.
 

Artificer

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
9,666
Reaction score
1,005
If the three layers of leather are thick enough (probably when glued together?) and stand high enough above the cap on the nipple, it might work OK. Even better if the leather was large enough around so the outer rim of the hammer would be stopped by leather before the inner flat surface of the hammer came into contact with the nipple.

Perhaps the ultimate Nipple Protectors during the period of this forum were used by the British Army on their Enfield Rifle Muskets, Rifles and Musketoons. This link shows a modern reproduction along with an original on a Rifle Musket and a separate original one. These had hardened leather or gutta percha tops that were meant to stop the outer rim of the hammer from hitting the nipples. These were not really designed for safety, but to stop damage to the Iron Cones/Nipples used at the time. The South used them and made some homemade ones out of lead as well, that have been dug near or on original battle field sites.
https://www.regtqm.com/Nipple-Protector-p/gun-029.htm

I used to use those nipple protectors to dry fire the locks of WBTS rifle muskets, to test trigger pull as I worked on them. However, it got a little expensive to do it with these nipple protectors.

Then one day I happened to look at a few modern made plastic cartridge cases for Smith Carbines that had been fired so many times they developed splits in the cases. The rear end of these cases is solid except for the small hole in the end. I drilled the hole larger for the nipple and cut the cases short enough I could use them for dry firing Rifle Muskets. Even so with as many times as I needed to dry fire the rifles, I had friends save all the split cases for me, but had to wind up buying new ones just to cut down and use as mentioned above.
http://www.lodgewood.com/Smith-Plastic-Cartridge-Case_p_211.html

Gus
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Zonie

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
MLF Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2003
Messages
30,211
Reaction score
2,726
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I don't think a leather pad that can rest against the cap is very safe.

As colorado clyde mentions, it doesn't require direct metal to metal impact between the hammer and the cap to cause it to fire.

Any impact, even if the blow of the hammer is transmitted to the cap by leather, can do the job.
 

Patocazador

54 Cal.
Joined
Aug 24, 2013
Messages
2,093
Reaction score
108
Location
Central Florida
Zonie said:
I don't think a leather pad that can rest against the cap is very safe.

As colorado clyde mentions, it doesn't require direct metal to metal impact between the hammer and the cap to cause it to fire.

Any impact, even if the blow of the hammer is transmitted to the cap by leather, can do the job.
I agree completely.

I use an aluminum empty inverted cartridge case over a capped nipple. If I lose it when cocking the hammer, no biggy.
 

50cal.cliff

58 Cal.
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
2,343
Reaction score
1
Guys I appreciate the imput. Gus, I have seen those before for the Enfield.

So as my count at present we have two NO's and three that use a metal or plastic cartridge to act as there safety in the field!

I am not saying that I like this show but when it comes to watching anyone hunt with a traditional muzzleloader on TV. There ain't much to choose from.
The show Sasquatch, Mountain Man. he blew his own finger off with a 50 cal. ball!
He had a habit of carrying his rifle over his shoulder by the end of the barrel. You can google it and see how he used to carry his rifle. He hung the hammer going thru some brush and she went boom and lost his finger that was in front of the barrel.

I have never had but one accidental discharge and to this day I am not sure how it happened. My father had one of those 22 caliber lever action unspeakables.
It had been riding under his truck seat for some time. I wanted to take it on my trapline and with his permission I got it out from under the seat.

It was covered in dust. So I took it to the back porch and was wiping the dust off with a rag!!As I wiped it down and there was some dust in and around the action, I took the rag and was popping the area with it. You know like the shoe-shine boy used to pop the shoes!!

Only other good practices of handling a gun kept me and anyone else from getting hurt. I had the barrel pointed upward, away from me and away from the direction where anyone else in the house was.
The rifle fired and I was still standing there with my mouth hanging open when my Father came running in from the other side of the house!!

To this day the only thing I can figure is as I was popping the rifle with the rag it caught the hammer and pulled it far enough, not enough to engage the half cock but, far enough that when the hammer fell it fired the rifle.

That scared the bejesus out of me and instilled a whole new chapter in what been taught about gun safety!! A loaded gun is a loaded gun and a moments lapse in good judgement can be the only one you may get!!

I have got to give this some more thought. I know often you only have a short moment to get that shot off. The time it takes to cap at that moment may not be time you have!!
However I can't get over this little voice in the back of my head saying, "this ain't a good idea"!! :hmm:
 

Scott_C

36 Cal.
Joined
Sep 3, 2005
Messages
103
Reaction score
8
I've used a small triangular scrap piece of suede leather over my cap, under the hammer for at least 20 years - never had a cap fall off or an unexpected firing. But I'm not smacking it with a hammer or dropping my rifle either. I think it helps in wet conditions too.

I had lots more issues when I didn't use one and carried my rifle at half cock - like the cap working loose/off.
 

50cal.cliff

58 Cal.
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
2,343
Reaction score
1
I may have to do some experimenting with this idea. I like the idea of having the cap on, sometimes it is just that moment you have to raise the rifle, clear the cap and shoot.

Whatever I come up with will have to withstand a few hits from the hammer. For just in case!

Not that I plan on dry firing I just want to know there is no chance of a firing if the hammer gets pulled back to just before half cock!!
 

Pete44ru

45 Cal.
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
736
Reaction score
20
I routinely protect my bare/capless nipples from damage with a piece of leather on a thong around the hammer, which also helps protect a loaded (but uncapped) barrel from dampness/humidity (In my state, a muzzleloader is considered to be "unloaded" for transportation is the nipple isn't capped).

BTW - since I'm a stand deer hunter, I only cap my rifles after I'm seated.

 

54ball

62 Cal.
Joined
Aug 23, 2004
Messages
2,745
Reaction score
113
50cal.cliff said:
I may have to do some experimenting with this idea. I like the idea of having the cap on, sometimes it is just that moment you have to raise the rifle, clear the cap and shoot.

Whatever I come up with will have to withstand a few hits from the hammer. For just in case!

Not that I plan on dry firing I just want to know there is no chance of a firing if the hammer gets pulled back to just before half cock!!
You have to accept this fact. A capped or primed muzzleloading rifle is inherently dangerous and should be handled accordingly.

No doo-dad or gadget store bought or homemade is going to change that. One should never develop a false since of security in such a add on, that it changes how they handle their rifle.

I have considered such but since I must handle the rifle as if there is no safety feature ( there really is not, add on or otherwise) So.....

Why bother? :hmm:
 

Grimord

Fyrstyk
MLF Supporter
Joined
Apr 9, 2014
Messages
829
Reaction score
192
Location
SE CT
I have used a cut down .223 brass case as a nipple cover. I punch out the primer & tread a leather thong thru the hole and attach it to the trigger guard. The case fits snugly over the capped nipple.
 

robinsroost

50 Cal.
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
1,186
Reaction score
26
Location
Logansport, Indiana
I use a 3/4" square of truck inner tube in a similar fashion. I punched a hole in one corner and tied a 6" piece of waxed linen cord through the square and tied to the trigger guard. I cap the rifle and place the square on the cap then lower the hammer on the square. When I cock the hammer the square falls to the side. Keep yer powder dry.......robin :hmm:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Mar 31, 2014
Messages
333
Reaction score
10
Definitely not safe.

Instead of having the cap on the nipple, make a small thick piece of square or rectangular leather tied to a short leather thong, which would then be tied to the trigger guard.

Make a hole in just big enough to hold snug a single cap or maybe even three, when ready to make a shot, put the hammer at half-cock and use this leather capper on the nipple.

This is a much safer way to deal with having a shot ready in the field. An extra leather flap on the capper might provide additional protection.

The concept is similar to this product: http://www.octobercountry.com/leather-capper/
 
Last edited by a moderator:

don hepler

58 Cal.
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
2,260
Reaction score
0
I use the rubber sink washers over the nipple for dry firing. Never tried them as a safety.

A capped rifle, is ready to fire, and I treat it that way. Not any different than modern rifle with the safety on. Both can be knocked off, in a variety of different ways.

Handling firearms is always, a risk.

Be careful Be safe.
 

Feltwad

45 Cal.
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
904
Reaction score
268
Enclosed is a patent that did do away with a nipple protector known has a grip safety and was useful in dense under growth , it seemed it never crossed the pond but was used by top gun makers in the UK
Feltwad

 

Artificer

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
9,666
Reaction score
1,005
Very interesting. Probably no one wanted to pay royalties or for permission to use the patent here in the U.S.? Wonder if they were imported or made under license in Canada?

Gus
 

rdstrain49

40 Cal.
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
Messages
460
Reaction score
2
When it comes to weapons, any weapons, the only truly reliable safety is between your ears, not some doo dad as 54 put so well.
 
2
Top