nipple replacement

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kemart17

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ok guys, im sure there is no 1 size fits all answer to this question. how many shots can be expected from a nipple. what is the best indicator that it is used up. i currently have 100 shots thru the the first nipple used on my gun. its a .36 cal underhammer that i built. powder charges ranged from 10 to 20 grs.
 

Zonie

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The life of a nipple depends on what it is made from and the load the gun is shooting.

Some of the Italian guns come with carbon steel nipples. These are ok but because carbon steel isn't rust or heat resistant they will wear out. How fast? I'd guess they would be good for at least 500 shots if the gun is shooting patched roundballs.

Then there are the stainless steel nipples. Stainless steel doesn't corrode (easily) and the high nickle and chrome in them is very resistant to heat they can easily last for several thousand shots with patched ball loads. The stainless steel these nipples are made from is a Martensitic 400 series stainless which is hardened for long life.

The Ampco nipples are made from a special hard, high temperature copper alloy. They will last at least as long as the stainless steel nipples if not longer.

Getting back to the life of a nipple, the biggest thing that wears them out is called hot gas corrosion. When a high pressure flame is blown thru the nipple it eats away the material it comes in contact with. The faster it moves and the hotter it is, the more wear it will produce.
Patched roundballs don't have much resistance to the gas pressure so they move down the bore rather easily and don't produce very high pressures or temperatures, even with a fairly stout powder load. A heavy bullet on the other hand have a large resistance to being accelerated so the gas pressure and temperature are very high. The high pressure blows more of the hotter gas thru the nipple and greatly increases wear. Just a few hundred shots with a heavy bullet and a moderate amount of powder can wear out the nipple.

This is the reason the guys who shoot these long range, bullet shooting guns often buy Platinum lined nipples (even though they cost an arm and a leg). Platinum is extremely resistant to hot gas corrosion so if the gun is going to be shot a lot, paying the extra money is worth it.

I know of a number of modern alloys that would be excellent for use as a nipple. These are used in jet engines for the turbine blades and stator vanes in the hot section where they happily live at temperatures of over 2000°F in a corrosive environment .
They are made from nickle, tungsten, cobalt and chromium which makes them quite expensive (but cheaper than platinum). They also are very difficult to machine making grinding or cutting with tools made from tungsten carbide almost mandatory.
Maybe someday someone will tool up to make some of these?
For anyone interested in making these I suggest at the bottom of durability and easiest to machine start with Inconel 718, or move up to Hastelloy "S" or "X" or Haynes 25 or 188. Some of the Stellite alloys would also work well.

Can't you imagine the talk at the shooting range? "Well, I was using Inconel 718 but it didn't give me the life I wanted so I switched to Haynes 188. Talk about long life! Why, I shot well over.........." :D
 
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I find the AMPCO bronze ones to last the longest. The heavier the charge the faster it will erode, but with only a 10 to 20gr charge, they should last a long time. Once your accuracy starts dropping off, then I would change it.
 
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I knew my nipple on my old TC 50 Hawken was due to be replaced when it started to blow the hammer back to half cock with heavier charges(80-100 grains). It probably should have been changed long before that, but didn't give any serious evidence of being worn. I hadn't been doing serious target work, so if there was a drop in accuracy it didn't show up in casual shooting.
 

kemart17

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ok guys, im sure there is no 1 size fits all answer to this question. how many shots can be expected from a nipple. what is the best indicator that it is used up. i currently have 100 shots thru the the first nipple used on my gun. its a .36 cal underhammer that i built. powder charges ranged from 10 to 20 grs.
thanks for the info. i have a stainless nipple in it. and ordered 3 more from track, so i should be good for awhile.
 

Feltwad

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Some of the old nipples that were made in the early percussion period of 1820,s onwards are still in good shooting condition ,I have several shotguns with these type of nipples and are still shooting well.
Feltwad
 

Griz44Mag

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It's nice to have extra nipples.
When I clean, I remove the nipple and drop it in MAP to soak for a few hours.
I put the gun back together with the alternate nipple and the soaking nipple goes in the box until the next cleaning.
 

Mad Professor

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The life of a nipple depends on what it is made from and the load the gun is shooting.

Some of the Italian guns come with carbon steel nipples. These are ok but because carbon steel isn't rust or heat resistant they will wear out. How fast? I'd guess they would be good for at least 500 shots if the gun is shooting patched roundballs.

Then there are the stainless steel nipples. Stainless steel doesn't corrode (easily) and the high nickle and chrome in them is very resistant to heat they can easily last for several thousand shots with patched ball loads. The stainless steel these nipples are made from is a Martensitic 400 series stainless which is hardened for long life.

The Ampco nipples are made from a special hard, high temperature copper alloy. They will last at least as long as the stainless steel nipples if not longer.

Getting back to the life of a nipple, the biggest thing that wears them out is called hot gas corrosion. When a high pressure flame is blown thru the nipple it eats away the material it comes in contact with. The faster it moves and the hotter it is, the more wear it will produce.
Patched roundballs don't have much resistance to the gas pressure so they move down the bore rather easily and don't produce very high pressures or temperatures, even with a fairly stout powder load. A heavy bullet on the other hand have a large resistance to being accelerated so the gas pressure and temperature are very high. The high pressure blows more of the hotter gas thru the nipple and greatly increases wear. Just a few hundred shots with a heavy bullet and a moderate amount of powder can wear out the nipple.

This is the reason the guys who shoot these long range, bullet shooting guns often buy Platinum lined nipples (even though they cost an arm and a leg). Platinum is extremely resistant to hot gas corrosion so if the gun is going to be shot a lot, paying the extra money is worth it.

I know of a number of modern alloys that would be excellent for use as a nipple. These are used in jet engines for the turbine blades and stator vanes in the hot section where they happily live at temperatures of over 2000°F in a corrosive environment .
They are made from nickle, tungsten, cobalt and chromium which makes them quite expensive (but cheaper than platinum). They also are very difficult to machine making grinding or cutting with tools made from tungsten carbide almost mandatory.
Maybe someday someone will tool up to make some of these?
For anyone interested in making these I suggest at the bottom of durability and easiest to machine start with Inconel 718, or move up to Hastelloy "S" or "X" or Haynes 25 or 188. Some of the Stellite alloys would also work well.

Can't you imagine the talk at the shooting range? "Well, I was using Inconel 718 but it didn't give me the life I wanted so I switched to Haynes 188. Talk about long life! Why, I shot well over.........." :D


Zonie, we had some issues with strength and corrosion in a part used in a scientific instrument. It was part of a press, used in a corrosive environment.

We tested a few alloys, hastelloy and inconel among them. The hastelloy c276 was unaffected sitting a week in a mixture of concentrated hydrochloric and hydrobromic acids made in a paste of potassium bromide. We used that alloy and our machinist said it was some of the toughest stuff he worked with. I imagine that nipples made of that might last as long as a barrel, w/PRBs.
 
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