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Old June 8, 2008, 09:40 PM   #1
Oquirrh
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Frozen nipple in ROA

My Ruger Old Army has a stuck nipple and, despite gallon of penetrating lube, the hex is stripped. How do I get it out--a small easy-out?

The nipple's not mushroomed, but I'm afraid if I keep shooting it without getting the nipple out, it will be that much harder later.
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Old June 8, 2008, 10:24 PM   #2
mykeal
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If you've rounded off the shoulders on the hex shape the only answer is to drill it out.
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Old June 9, 2008, 05:18 AM   #3
Oquirrh
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thanks

Sounds like a job for a gunsmith or machinist.
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Old June 9, 2008, 10:47 AM   #4
playtheblues
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How about an "easy out"?
BB in SC
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Old June 9, 2008, 11:20 AM   #5
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As mykeal has mentioned, you may have to drill it out. It all depends on how badly stuck you are and the condition of the hex sholders. Try this in this order. One problem is that the rust has not soaked up the penatrating oil. Try this.

1) Apply some heat and cycle it that might give you a little expansion to allow the oil into the threads. I had to do two nipples for four days before I got them to move.

2) Try to tighten just a little bit then loosen.

3) Drill it out and then use an easy out but if you use to small of an easy out, you will snap it off. The nipple vent allows for good centering for your drilling.

4) If you are not comfortable at all with any of this, send it in to the factory as they do these routinely or get with a local smith.

5) Whenever you reinstall the nipples, use a lottle copper based anti-siez on the threads and you will never see this problem again !!!

(Never say Never)

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Old June 9, 2008, 11:25 AM   #6
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Unless you have used an easy out before, I would suggest your local smithy. It is very easy to mess up the threads if you don't have experience with one.

The biggest problem I see with ANY powder gun, is people over tightning the nipple. Be it on a rifle or a pistol, neither of them need the nipple to tight, and should be loosened, and lubed after every use of the weapon.

I see this all the time with rifle shooters, that shoot hammer type side locks. They will clean the nipple, by pushing hot water up and down the barrel without removing the nipple, and think they have a clean weapon. This will work OK if you never have to take the nipple out, but they get a big surprise when they have to replace a worn nipple, and figure out that it is frozen solid.
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Old June 9, 2008, 11:40 AM   #7
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Easy-outs can work, but I don't much like them for a seized thread, because they're small and brittle. If you do break one off, it will just make it more difficult (and likely expensive) for the smith to fix the problem. I would much prefer to bore the threads out to the minor diameter, then use a tap to clean them up. But if you don't have the proper equipment (milling machine or lathe) then probably best left to the smith. It's possible with a drill press, but you'd still need to know what you're doing.
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Old June 9, 2008, 12:24 PM   #8
Oquirrh
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good info

I got the revolver at an estate sale -- dirty. When I cleaned it up, all the nipples came out (and they were bears) save the one. I didn't have a ruger wrench, so I filed the end of a 3/16 socket flush to get a good grip. But the nipple in question had already been bunged up and I couldn't get a grip.

I've shot it several times and remove and lube the 5 nipples (except the stuck one) every time. I soak the stuck one in penetrating oil every time, too. I don't use anti-seize, but I don't crank 'em down either and they come out fine.

The only smith I can trust charges big $$$$. I've used easy-outs on automotive and boat bolts, but nothing this small.

I think i'll do the heat deal and try to get some penetrating oil in. Then, I'll carefully try an easy out.

If it doesn't work-- I'll give it to the gunsmith. But I think I'll shoot it a few more times first--the nipples are in good shape.

Thanks again, the quick response and good info is priceless to knuckleheads like myself.

BTW, how did the ol' boys get stuck nipples out on the frontier?

Last edited by Oquirrh; June 9, 2008 at 12:26 PM. Reason: another ?
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Old June 9, 2008, 01:02 PM   #9
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Another thing you might try with the penetrating oil and thermal cycling is vibration. Use a chunk of brass to rap the cylinder and/or nipple and set up some vibration. Sometimes this helps the oil to penetrate.
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Old June 9, 2008, 01:41 PM   #10
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<5) Whenever you reinstall the nipples, use a lottle copper based anti-siez on the threads and you will never see this problem again !!!>

GREAT advice!
Bill in SC
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Old June 9, 2008, 04:56 PM   #11
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use PB Blaster, heat and whacks with a brass punch and repeat a few times. Rugers are famous for wring the top off or rounding the flats. you might try a prick punch on the edge of the nipple to break it loose. E-Z out is last resort if comes to that call Ruger for a return or find a pistolsmith.
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Old June 9, 2008, 07:25 PM   #12
Oquirrh
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Weekend of adventure...

Come my day off, I'm going to put all the above wisdom to the test.

Heat, precision whacking and penetrating oil. (Did somebody say liquid nitrogen?)

I've got an easy-out that fits in very nicely to give it one last shot--with the ruger hex buggered, an easy out is the only way to get any leverage.

I also got the no. for a gunsmith who works out of his house. I'll call him, see what he says and otherwise send it to Ruger.

BTW, has science moved forward on penetrating oil since Knock 'er Loose and WD_40?

thanks
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Old June 9, 2008, 08:33 PM   #13
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Woo-hoo!

You guys are gods to me!

I had a little time on my hands, so I heated the nipple, sprayed WD-40 in it then clamped it in a wooden vice. I put a 3/16 socket over it and banged it several times, as I pressed down and twisted tiny amounts.

I thought at first I had totally stripped it because the socket was spinning-- but it was coming out.

I replaced the nipples with some Tesos that didn't fit my Uberti Pocket Colt. They seem perfect... could that be right--are Uberti and Ruger nipples the same thread size? (I snugged them up with a litte anti-seize goop.)

That's a monkey off my back. Thanks, again.
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Old June 9, 2008, 09:23 PM   #14
playtheblues
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Glad you got it out, and... without the easy out. Someone mentioned messing up the threads with the easy out since this was a small task. Could happen if not careful. However, in the event of that unfortunate circumstance, it would just have to be re-tapped. No biggie.
BB in SC
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Old June 9, 2008, 10:01 PM   #15
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My wife hates frozen nipples!! Sorry, had to do it.
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Old June 9, 2008, 10:45 PM   #16
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Wink, wink, say no more.

Naugthy bits are not proper topics for discussion here bkcraun.
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Old June 10, 2008, 07:05 AM   #17
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The small and medium frame Ubertis use 12x28 nipple threads, the same as the Ruger Old Army. The large frame Ubertis (Walker and Dragoon) use 1/4x28 nipple threads.

The Ruger Old Army OEM nipples are longer than the OEM Uberti nipples, however. Using the Uberti nipples could result in an occasional failure to ignite the cap.
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Old June 10, 2008, 10:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
However, in the event of that unfortunate circumstance, it would just have to be re-tapped. No biggie.
Well.... usually no biggie. Each time damaged and re-tapped, threads will lose some of their integrity and depending on just how badly damaged, could in fact pose a problem. If they were re-tapped, but leaving only a small percentage of intended engagement, the nipple might thread in fine, but the weakness of the threads might lead to unintended consequences.
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Old June 10, 2008, 12:35 PM   #19
Oquirrh
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TNX yet again....

Thanks mykeal, your detailed info is invaluable.

You pointed out: "The Ruger Old Army OEM nipples are longer than the OEM Uberti nipples, however. Using the Uberti nipples could result in an occasional failure to ignite the cap."

These were the Teso nipples that were too long for my Colt Pocket, so they may work in the Ruger. I will measure to be sure. Otherwise the Ruger nipples are in good shape except for one hex being bungled up.

BTW, I got a line on a second-hand '51 Navy. If I do the deal I'll post pics.
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Old June 10, 2008, 06:04 PM   #20
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I should point out that my measurements of length are overall length, and include the threads. The numbers you really need to compare are the lengths from the tip of the nipple cone to the point where the nipple seats on the cylinder - that does not include the thread length. If I get a chance tonight I'll check those numbers.

Update:
Got the numbers, and it turns out it really shouldn't matter.
The OEM Ruger nipples measure 0.277" from the tip of the nipple cone to the thread bearing surface. The OEM Uberti nipples measure 0.268 on the 1862 Pocket Police, 0.278 on the 1873 Cattleman and 0.285 on the 1861 Navy. Not much difference. Treso's three 12x28 part numbers measure 0.274 on the 11-50-12, 0.293 on the 11-50-16 and 0.276 on the 11-50-30.

Last edited by mykeal; June 10, 2008 at 08:00 PM.
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Old June 11, 2008, 11:26 AM   #21
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Pinpoint heat on the nipple only. The metal has nowhere to expand except in length, and when it cools it shrinks a minuscule amount. Then use Kroil penetrating oil on both ends, let it sit for a day or two, and give it another try.
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Old June 12, 2008, 04:33 PM   #22
Oquirrh
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proof in the puddin'

I shot the Ruger with the Tesos in place and it worked great. Why on earth did Ruger go to hex nipples?
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Old June 12, 2008, 06:55 PM   #23
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Nipples and nipple wrenches for C&Bs only have two bearing surfaces. When the ROA was developed, it was thought that having six bearing surfaces would eliminate the broken wrench/stripped nipple problem and allow more torque to be applied in case of a stuck nipple.

I guess the jury is still out on that one.
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