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Hardcase
May 28, 2010, 02:55 PM
Heheh, well, this is a little embarrassing. We've been shooting this old rifle of my great-great granddad's for who knows how many years using black powder that my grandfather poured in an old tobacco tin and a little wooden box of caps. About 50 grains of black powder and a fiber wad makes a nice cloud of smoke and a suitable bang for saluting.

Well, today I got all the gear out because it appears that the weather will be not so foul on Monday for Memorial Day, so we can haul the old boy out for the annual salute. Except that the box is empty. I vaguely remember saying that I'd buy some more caps after last Independence Day. Oops.

What size caps does the old feller use? Just plain old number 11 caps?

thallub
May 28, 2010, 04:48 PM
You will need winged musket caps. They look like this:

http://www.civilwaroutpost.com/m7_view_item.html?m7:item=N20

surbat6
May 28, 2010, 04:55 PM
The standard size for U.S. percussion muskets is (ready for this?) musket caps. They're often called "top hat" caps, because they have four flanges around the open end that make them look like little top hats. They are larger than the #10 and #11 caps most of us are used to. I have a reproduction pecussion carbine that came (2nd hand) with two nipples - one for musket caps and one for #11's.
If you remember the top hat shape of the caps you used before. It's simple which ones you need. None of the smaller sizes have the "hat brim".
If your grandfather's rifle is an original 1861 Springfield musket, PLEASE clean it carefully before putting it away. It's fine (as far as I'm concerned) to use an old musket that's been checked out as safe to shoot, but keep in mind that these guns are always increasing in value...unless somebody doesn't care for them and they rust all to blazes.
If, anywhere on that musket, it is marked something like "use black powder only" it's a reproduction (black powder was the only kind there was when the originals were new), and the readon you should clean it thoroughly is out of respect for your grandfather's property.

Hardcase
May 28, 2010, 05:51 PM
Well, that would explain why they don't look like my pistol caps. I was sort of hoping that maybe something had changed since whenever my grandfather bought those caps that we used.

In fact, now that you mention it, it's pretty obvious that the pistol caps are too small for the rifle.

If your grandfather's rifle is an original 1861 Springfield musket, PLEASE clean it carefully before putting it away. It's fine (as far as I'm concerned) to use an old musket that's been checked out as safe to shoot, but keep in mind that these guns are always increasing in value...unless somebody doesn't care for them and they rust all to blazes.
If, anywhere on that musket, it is marked something like "use black powder only" it's a reproduction (black powder was the only kind there was when the originals were new), and the readon you should clean it thoroughly is out of respect for your grandfather's property.

Excellent advice, for sure. It gets a thorough scrubbing twice a year - Memorial Day and Independence Day. It's been passed down to the eldest son, starting with my great grandfather and I got it a year or two ago. Its value as a relic of the Civil War is, as you say, increasing, but its value as a link to my family is, of course, incalculable.

http://www.fluidlight.com/images/guns/GHDunn_1861_Special_1.jpg

http://www.fluidlight.com/images/guns/GHDunn.jpg