Revolver chain fires

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by BIGBEAR, Jun 14, 2019.

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  1. Jan 18, 2020 #61

    Khufu

    Khufu

    Khufu

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    I have a dozen or so C&B revolvers, all repros, some of about all kinds. never had a chainfire in well over 40 years, and never seen one. I only put grease on top of the balls for a VERY brief MESSY period. an old timer (at the time, now I am) told me grease on the balls was silly and messy, he further said he learned to use "paste board" cut into over sized disks soaked in beeswax between the powder and ball, not to prevent chainfires, but to help keep the barrel and cylinder from fouling as much. he also told me that when using new nipples to dryfire them a few times to make the caps fit tighter, not to prevent chainfires, but to keep the caps from backing off and preventing the revolver from cocking. more sound advice was when cocking Colt pattern revolvers to point the barrel up to prevent spent caps from falling into the "lock works". his advice paid off, and after cases of BP trough these revolvers, no problems.
    I do maintain my revolvers, ensure the barrel wedge is tight and the cylinder gap is VERY small. I don't know why some people have chainfires, maybe the same reason some people dry ball, not paying attention. I am getting older, and perhaps some of these things may start happening to me.
     
  2. Jan 19, 2020 #62

    Stantheman86

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    Nobody in the 1830s-1860's and beyond, was greasing chamber mouths.

    Basically , my theory is, these revolvers were loaded with 6 combustible paper cartridges and that was your load. Make it work. In military use maybe 12 - 18 spare rounds were carried in a pocket or one of the seldom used belt cartridge boxes.

    I think we fire more rounds now, in the current "Blackpowder Revival " period of the 1960s-Present than was done in the original period (1836-1880s) when percussion revolvers were originally used.

    The "Revival " period of hobbyists shooting percussion sixguns has been longer than the original period and likely 10x as many repros exist than original pieces were made.

    So........more problems will surface due to more use. It's just a law of averages.

    The average user in "the period" probably didn't put the first 100 rounds through his percussion hogleg. Most people didn't unless you just liked to shoot. Ammo was hard to get and expensive. Chain Fires were likely far fewer back then because of this. Still, it appears the frames of the Colt and Remington were designed to mitigate this so it must have been a thought.

    Many more millions of musket and rifle rounds were expended during the ACW vs percussion revolver rounds so we have a much more vast pool of knowledge of Rifle-Musket use in combat.
     
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  3. Jan 19, 2020 #63

    Zonie

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    Were you there? I wasn't but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that more than a few men put grease not only over the loaded chamber ball/bullet but over the caps as well if they planned on protecting their loads in a revolver. Especially if it was rainy or there was a chance of rain in the area.

    Covering the mouth of the chambers with grease and the capped nipples as well would keep the powder dry and ready to go if it was needed.
     
  4. Jan 19, 2020 #64

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    The nearest I ever read was civilians and soldiers using wax from a melted candle to seal chambers and caps for a gun that was going to be kept loaded , like a house gun or a rancher's carry piece, or obviously a military issued revolver that was to be carried in damp climates.

    I'm sure there are exceptions to every rule , people do "gun crank" stuff now that makes you go "???" but I don't have to have been alive 150+ years ago to surmise that the average user of a percussion revolver wasn't carrying it with grease , lard , lube, fat or wax over the chamber mouths. This would get pretty messy in a hot climate too.

    Through my (relatively short compared to most of you guys) time shooting , and talking to "old heads", CAS shooters, history nerds etc it seems the overwhelming opinion on the "grease your chambers" thing started in the 1950s -60's when Spaghetti Westerns spurred interest in Percussion Revolvers and the Centennial of the Civil War did also. Also because relatively few shooters these days use conical bullets and nitrate paper cartridges.

    I don't know , does Dr. Nemeth who makes the YouTube videos with his combustible cartridges , advocate greasing chambers? He's more or less the authority on this stuff and even has a video of himself priming flintlocks from the cartridge. He seems committed to historical accuracy.


    Especially in military use , really don't think men were applying grease to chamber mouths. They seem to have had a "loading the revolver was done in camp" mentality but any reloading done in the heat of a gunfight or battle, I can assure you, no one was worried about greasing anything.

    If you look at period pictures of men with loaded revolvers , like this one of George Maddox, you can kind of make out just bullets in his chambers. I assume a man such as this wasn't using "prop guns" and pulled out his own pair of loaded 58 Remingtons. I see no grease in the chambers in the revolver on his lap.
    8628b11aa57048dbf51bdffb0b96d9f5.jpg

    My intent here is never to "argue" and I'm more than happy to be proven wrong, but my goal is to find out how these weapons were used in the period using 100% Historically Accurate shooting methods. A lot of what we do or know about muzzleloading started in recent history and just kind of became fact.
     
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  5. Jan 19, 2020 #65

    Blogman

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    Such trigger discipline. ;)

    * I do it*
     
  6. Jan 19, 2020 #66

    Stantheman86

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    I don't think people were as conscious of muzzle awareness or trigger discipline back then either :)
     
  7. Jan 22, 2020 #67

    wb78963

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    To compare a chain fire to an aviation truism on a wheels up landing.

    There are those who have had one

    Those who are going to have one
     
  8. Jan 22, 2020 #68

    JimCunn

    JimCunn

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    I hope I'm going to miss out on the wheels up. Been flying for 55 years and it hasn't happened to me yet. No ground loops either, so far. :)
     
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  9. Jan 22, 2020 #69

    USMA65

    USMA65

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    Plus, he has a wicked, surly look to him. Probably just as soon shoot you as to look at you. More likely than not....a conical man!
     
  10. Jan 22, 2020 #70

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    What if you flew in the Polish Air Force and your wheels didn't go up , and you got a new plane. I mean, it's hard to change.
     
  11. Jan 23, 2020 #71

    1911tex

    1911tex

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    52 years flying here....no problem with gear up when aircraft is fixed gear!
     
  12. Jan 23, 2020 #72

    bigstick6017555

    bigstick6017555

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    I too have been shooting c&b for over 45 yrs and have not had this chain fire problem. I have neither witnessed one or have known anyone that did. From my point of view I would be more inclined to blame it on sloppy reloading practice, and/or excessive cylinder gap allowing cylinder to slam back against recoil shield with nipples to long for clearance needed. Over the years I have had numerous c&b revolvers when loaded, that the caps (properly seated) would rub on recoil shield, and this was on revolvers that were clean, not shot multiple times. I always run tight as possible cylinder gap and .003 min. gap on properly seated cap and recoil shield, and very careful on powder spillage. Right or wrong it is just the way I have always done it.
     
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  13. Jan 23, 2020 #73

    JimCunn

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    The .44 Centaure that has given me repeated multiple chainfires on two different cylinders has minimal cylinder gap. I have never had a chainfire on any of my other percussion revolvers, so in my case, I doubt that it is due to loading procedure.
     
  14. Jan 23, 2020 #74

    Juice Jaws

    Juice Jaws

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    Hope this doesn't become another Civil War thread
     
  15. Jan 23, 2020 #75

    Stantheman86

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    I'd like to see any info of chain fires for "Colt vs Remington " type revolvers.
     
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  16. Jan 23, 2020 #76

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    I'm thinking of replacing the Dragoon I sold like 10 years ago but now I'm like , is it really worth it
     
  17. Jan 24, 2020 #77

    ugly old guy

    ugly old guy

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    IMHO if using the proper size ball so you shave a ring a couple thousandths off the ball when loading, the only way you will get a chainfire is from loose fitting or missing caps (one or more may have been removed by recoil).
    The caps have to fit snugly.
    I've known a few who put grease/lube over their caps to help prevent chainfire. I don't know if that works (They also used properly fitting caps), but I do know the lube made a big mess on the back of the cylinder, and frame, and messed up the movement of the hand, which affects the timing.
    After a couple shots they had to nudge the cylinder just a touch by hand, so the locking lug would fully engage.
     
  18. Jan 24, 2020 #78

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    I would say replacing the sketchy pot metal Italian nipples with Treso or those Slik Shot ones will improve cap fit
     
  19. Jan 24, 2020 #79

    nkbj

    nkbj

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    Belt and suspenders approach is good if you're shooting a Dance.
     
  20. Jan 25, 2020 #80

    Blogman

    Blogman

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    Huh?!?! :dunno:
     

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