More Cap Making Observations

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I've been using one of the commercial "kits" to make percussion caps for about a year now. I admit to only making a few hundred until now. I was just using them at the range while continuing to use store-bought caps in the field. For the time being, there are no store-bought caps to buy. Additionally, I hit some snags with my caps. For the first time, a few caps did not explode (at a range session). I do not know if it is because they were loaded poorly, 6-months old, or some other factor. Introduce a new rifle. This rifle shredded the caps. Previously I was getting quite a deformed cap upon firing, but this rifle apparently has a sharp nipple with a lot of taper. Some of the caps ended up with the nipple coming through and the cap remains down on the nipple, like the nipple punched a hole in the cap. Actually, some fail to fire caps did end up with a hole in them.

I've changed a few things and made a big improvement. I bought the thinnest brass and copper sheets I could find at the francise Art stores. They all ended up too thick. I went back to the good old soda can, but instead of a single ply, I folded the strips and made double-ply. These are much more rigid caps. They stay together and some could be re-used (not that I'm going to use them). I had concerns about the two layers separating but that has not happened.

I mix the priming compound in a glass dish. I began using an "Artistic" paint brush with "real hair" to mix and fold the 4 ingredients in the glass dish. This brush is about 5/8 wide. It allows me to get all the fine powder into one spot and fold it over and over. It easy to move around and separate the priming mixture throughout the glass dish.

For putting the priming mixture into the caps I was just pouring it in there from the little scoop that comes with the kit, or a teaspoon. I got some little plastic funnels from the doctors office. They go on the thing they look in your ears and nose with. The tip of this fits in the percussion cup just right. I use the amount of mixture I want in a little scoop and pour it into the funnel. The wider part of the funnel helps get it in there without spillage. Then I ease up the funnel and the mixture stays put in there.

I was mixing Acetone and Duco in a little cup and trying to drizzle it into the percussion cup. Now I just put a small amount of acetone on a teaspoon and squirt in a few drops of the Duco. Using a wood stick, I mix it right on the spoon and then "walk" a drop off the end of the spoon using the wood stick, and into the percussion cup.

One rifle has nipples that are apparently a slightly different size or configuration than my others. These home-made caps go on kind of loose, they are too open to close around the contour of the nipple. I take the nipple and hold it in a pair of pliers with rubber ends. Then I put each cap on that nipple and give it a little squeeze to form it to the nipple. It will twist back off. Of course, use safety precautions. These caps still work on the other nipples because they will expand when I push them down onto the nipple, so no problem there. It worth a few minutes at home to form-fit the caps than to do it one at a time on a nipple that is installed on a loaded rifle.

WIth a few changes, my caps are more durable, more reliable and better fitting. Always open to learn another way to make the caps even better! Who knows when they're back in the stores and how long you have to stand on your head - or in line - to buy them.
 

n.h.schmidt

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You can use brass and copper. You can buy K&S roles of Soft brass and copper. Stock #6010 for the brass .It's .005 thick 36 guage 12" x 30". You could make 1440 caps out of that with no mistakes. Easily ordered on line. I see you have started using two ply pop can for your cups. They do work better and cause a lot fewer cap jams in the revolvers. A pipe cleaner makes a real good dipstick to get a drop in the cups.
 

n.h.schmidt

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Some of us have been doing this for years.. I have had several dead ends on making these. Now the results are very good and down right cheap. Using the pop cans a hundred caps cost about $.20. Using brass or copper about $1.50 per hundred. They are slow to make though.
 

Jacobcp23

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I haven't bought the tool off of 22 reloader yet but I may buy it in the future. Looks like a great tool and I've read alot of great things about it. I wanted to comment and let y'all know that you can also make the caps with out the tool. Y'all may already know this but I've seen a couple videos on yt of a guy using a couple boards and a star bit or cut off screwdriver to punch the disk through the holes he makes with the boards. He uses a 9/16 hole punch to cut the disk out of the cans then burns the thin outside coating layer off with an alcohol burner before he punches them through his two board system. Try searching "percussion caps without a die" on yt. It's very interesting and good to know . You never know, may be in situation one day where you don't have tool but need caps. But it makes me wonder and ask the question, do y'all know of any other ways to make the percussion cap housing without the tool?
 

Nobade

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All I would add is to buy your primer mix chemicals from a pyro supply house or even on Amazon, and save a bunch of money. A pound of each one will make a lifetime's supply.
 

n.h.schmidt

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I watched the video. I give him a big E for effort. Not for me though. I would not make very many before I quit and I don't give up easily. I have been able to punch out the cups for 30 years with a original Forrester die. I went to a home made copy of the auto-cap.Now I use the cap maker die. It's a quality made tool. My only complaint is that the metals you use will hang up and refuse to feed some times. Nobade is a old hand in this.
Nobade is right about buying the supplies from other places. The antimony sulfide can be a problem at times.Seems to be sold out a lot.
 
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I, too, ordered the cap maker last week, punched out about 60 of them, charged them and shot a number of them on Saturday out of the .32 and the .54. Not one fail to fire.
Tin of Fresh Made Caps.jpg



This is what I've learned:

The shot filled rubber mallet works better than the palm of my hand.
Much less culls when running the punch with the length of the can, up and down, than side to side across the metal of the can.
Using a designated dipper has to be more consistent than eye balling the charge in the S dipper that comes with the kit. I've since glued a small rifle primer to the end of a skewer stick as a better means to drop equal charges into each cap.
They are not aesthetically pleasing to look at using a single ply of pop can aluminum, but they work. They really work well.
I'll use more Duco next time I mix with Acetone. Some did start to crumble in the caps and the glue will hopefully negate that issue.
Even a thin layer in some of the caps fired as robustly as those filled fuller. The primer mix dried overnight and was plenty capable of firing the rifles with aplomb.
Single Ply.jpg



I had a bit of time this afternoon and a couple more prepped aluminum can sheets ready, so while waiting on phone calls so I commenced to give it another go. After punching out a small coke can and a normal 12 oz can worth of caps single ply I remembered a fellow on another forum saying how much better two plies work. The last can folded over only produced half the caps (54 count) per 12 ounce can does, but what nice looking caps those are. Much more sturdy and actually better looking by far. Don't think I lost any to poor forming with the tool, either. They fit on my rifles nipples perfectly, as well. I will take the two ply caps hunting, whereas the single ply caps will be for range work.
2 Ply.jpg
 

Jacobcp23

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I'm going to buy the tool. It's on my list of items to get. It seems like a must have if you own a percussion cap revolver or rifle. I am very interested in what other options exist out there. As of now other than the tool from 22reloader all I've seen are two other ways and those are the hole punch to make disk then push through some homemade blocks and I saw a PDF for making a tool similar to the 22reloader tool. Im new to this but it really peaks my interest and I feel like there's something else out there I just haven't found it yet. Seems like there be an easy way to utilize those percussion cap protectors sold on ebay that are a tube like object that protect cap from water and falling off. I'm going to keep researching and see what else I find.
 

rdmiller

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I received the tool a few days ago. Made around 150 caps, single layer. Maybe 20% misformed and unusable. I sawed a kerf in a piece of scrap hardwood just wide enough to fit a cap into. I can line up about 50 caps. Used straight acetone on one batch, alcohol on another. The alcohol took 10-15 minutes longer to dry. The powder fell out of a good number of caps. This is the first I have read about using Duco. What is the mix ratio?
 
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The Duco diluted with acetone works. Also try putting the caps in cardboard punched with a pen
as a holder. Get some ultimate hold hairspray and spray the caps good at about 8 " Let
dry. Works for me. Faster than one at a time. Most hairspray dries good and is flammable.
 
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