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Old May 12, 2011, 04:37 PM   #1
Scooch
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Capping Safety

I've been reading about capping on this forum and the issues involved with too small, too large, pinching the caps, and proper seating. I have been using my fingers with a high percentage of success but I've read about "cappers" and using a small dowel to seat the cap.

The dowel idea seems reasonable but I'm concerned that tapping a cap onto a nipple with a dowel could set it off and thus, fire the gun (I load with the cylinder/gun assembled). I don't own a capper, yet.

Should I be concerned? I've had a few caps not fire on the first stroke but having been seated by the hammer, fire on the second. I don't like the thought of seating caps with a dowel but maybe my trepidation is just naive.

What's the best way?

Thanks.
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Old May 12, 2011, 04:51 PM   #2
Hawg
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Thumb pressure is all I use. Caps are not pressure sensitive. You can put all the pressure you want on them and they wont go off. They are impact sensitive so I don't think I'd go tapping on them with a dowel or anything else.
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Old May 12, 2011, 04:56 PM   #3
rebsr52339
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Capping

For safety sake you should be using a capper RATHER than installing the caps with your fingers and especially not "tapping" them on with a wooden dowel. Pushing them on is a better alternative. I have several cappers, old models, from the 70s and they work great. Would not cap any other way. There is always the situation when you may "need" to cap one with your fingers. Just use common sense. My three cents worth.
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Old May 12, 2011, 05:43 PM   #4
arcticap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooch
What's the best way?
The chance of a cap going off due to finger pressure or static discharge is much less than being struck by lightning.
AFAIK only a very few cases have been reported.
However that minute chance is the reason why using a push stick or a capper is the safest method, and some clubs mandate it.
Anything beyond that is to be aware that the possibility exists, however remote.
Every individual makes their own decision about how they chose to cap.

Last edited by arcticap; May 12, 2011 at 10:24 PM.
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Old May 12, 2011, 08:01 PM   #5
tpelle
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Whether or not i use a capper depends, to a great extent, on the weather. In warm weather I just seat the caps with thumb pressure. But in cold weather, with numb fingers, I find it too difficult to handle those tiny caps so I use a capper.

Also it seems like my Remington clone has very small cutouts in the cylinder, making it hard to get my fingers in there no matter what the weather, so for the Remington I normally use an in-line capper, which a modified slightly to fit the Remington cylinder. I don't have that problem with my Colt replicas.

I believe that making sure your nipples and your caps are compatible is of utmost importance. I have, over time, gravitated to CCI #10 caps, as the longer skirts on the CCI caps, over, say, Remington #11's, help prevent unfired caps from falling off the nipples during recoil. I firmly believe that this goes a long way in preventing chain fires. Some nipples, however, that exhibit a lot of taper, will not accept the CCI #10 caps unless you re-shape the nipple by chucking it in a drill or drill press and running a file against the side of it to reduce the taper.

Also, I think it's a dangerous practice to pinch caps to get them to stay on the nipples. An oval cap on a cylindrical nipple exposes the priming compound of the unfired caps to the flash and blowback from the chamber that is fired, and can produce chain fires as well.

JMHO. YMMV.
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Old May 12, 2011, 08:29 PM   #6
Hawg
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Quote:
Also, I think it's a dangerous practice to pinch caps to get them to stay on the nipples. An oval cap on a cylindrical nipple exposes the priming compound of the unfired caps to the flash and blowback from the chamber that is fired, and can produce chain fires as well.
I don't buy that, never have. The reason I don't is I have an older one made in 69 that takes #9 caps. All I could ever find back in the day were #11. So I was pinch fitting down two sizes. Now leave the over ball lube off and it will chain every time but you can just cap one nipple at a time and it wont chain at all.
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Old May 12, 2011, 09:32 PM   #7
MJN77
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I've been shooting C&B revolvers since 1996. I havn't loaded a gun yet, that I didn't pinch the caps first. Out of lord know's how many hundreds of thousands of rounds I have fired (and caps I've pinched) in fifteen years, I have had exactly ONE chain fire. (that's why you do not use under sized balls, kids) I have loaded with/without grease over/under the balls, and never saw a difference in performance. I've shot with no grease at all. The only reason I use grease, is to keep fouling soft. Everyone has their own way of doing things. Some make sense, some make less. Follow the basic safety rules, and you'll figure out your own way of doing things.

Just my experiences.
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Old May 13, 2011, 11:52 AM   #8
Scooch
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Thanks

Thanks to all for your advice. I guess I had assumed the the dowel would be used to actually "tap" the cap on instead of apply pressure that a soft thumb otherwise couldn't. Makes sense now. I suppose I'll pick up a capper as well. I'm always good with adding a new tool to the box.

I've had the best results with fit and performance from CCI #10 caps. Although I've never tried the Remingtons. CCI's are a snug fit on all my guns, sometimes too snug, thus the seating problem. I tried #11 caps, thinking my Walker would need them due to the size of everything else on that gun. They fit but would often fall off in recoil or split and get into the cylinder ratchet. The 10's are a tight fit but I'd rather need to seat them firmly than have the other problem.

Again, thanks for the input.
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Old May 14, 2011, 08:25 AM   #9
pohill
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From an old Colt Industries pamphlet:
"Percussion caps are now made in sizes from nine to thirteen. Ten and eleven are the best numbers for the small and medium-sized arms, and twelve for the larger sizes, although, as different-sized nipples are sometimes met in specimens of the same model, no hard and fast rule can be given. It is better to have caps slightly too large than too small, as large caps can be pinched together at the bottom enough so they will stay on the nipples, but small ones must be driven down on the nipple by the blow of the hammer, and this process frequently cushions the blow to the extent of producing a misfire."
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Old May 14, 2011, 01:17 PM   #10
ZVP
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I saw a post somewhere comparing the different sized caps and it showed that the numbers aren't a designation for the diameter but instead the length.
Several brands were measured and each had differences in the diameter AND length!
The only rational way to discover which Cap is best is to try them all and see which works best?
Stock Italian nipples vary and do so between manufacturers too. If you have a Tesso set then perhaps you can use many brands but otherwise the game of testing is necessary.
Squeezing the Cap with your fingers is safe, as is pressing a Cap home on the nipple with a Dowel. Neither will produce a detonation. Caqps are designed to be hit HARD with the Hammer. A tight fit and seal are the important part.
I have gotten used to Remington Caps and use #11 exclusivelly on my revolvers. I have gotten the correct pinch down and use a tapered dowel to press the caps on. It's a lot the matter of developing a"feel" during the capping process, and once you get it your shots will become consistantly good.
You can't get completelly away from caps falling off, as recoil will knock some off as will backfire from ajoining caps being shot (Gas does escape at the Cap) and it can loosen the surrounding caps.
Generally speaking, just get familliar with one brand and size of cap and most of all be consistant with your pressure against the base of the cap.
There is a reason man went to cartrige ammo and it's consistancy, with BP Cap and Ball guns we just try to do our best and it usually works!
HTH,
ZVP
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Old May 14, 2011, 01:30 PM   #11
Rifleman1776
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ZVP said:
Quote:
Several brands were measured and each had differences in the diameter AND length!
The only rational way to discover which Cap is best is to try them all and see which works best?
Stock Italian nipples vary and do so between manufacturers too. If you have a Tesso set then perhaps you can use many brands but otherwise the game of testing is necessary.
Finally the only words of real wisdom anyone needs on this subject.
Try the fit, try another for fit, try until you find a fit.
And/or buy new nipples. A minor expense, yes. But it will get and keep you in the game. When you get the fit, buy your caps by the 1,000.
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Old May 14, 2011, 06:33 PM   #12
bedbugbilly
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The references to the use of a dowel to seat caps is in regards to using the dowel to push the cap on and seat it - some folks use a popsicle stick instead. I'va always used my fingers to place caps on a revolver and thrumb pressure to seat them. Never had a problem with it and never seen anyone have a problem. I do use a Ted Cash "capper" to cap my rifles - mainly for the convenience and when I used to hunt in nasty weather, it saved dropping the caps from cold thumb and finger. In shooting NSSA and musket, I always have seated the cap by placing it on the nipple and applying pressure with the thumb to seat it - I don't know of a musket shooter in NSSA that does it otherwise - but I could be wrong. I've never heard anyone advocating using a dowel to "tap" a cap on a nipple - let's face it guys, COMMON SENSE should tell you that you don't "tap" a cap that is designed to go off by impact. When I hear os such things - I always say a litter prayer that I am down the firing line - waaaaaay down the firing line - from the yahoo who is foolish enough to even think about seating a cap on a nipple by "tapping" it - and let's hope he has the muzzle pointing in a safe direction down range when he's doing it.
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Old May 14, 2011, 07:46 PM   #13
Newton24b
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you can try this

you want to see if things are truly safe to do, well its easy.

if you want to determine the safety in general, or the safety percentage of using the revolvers hammer to push the cap down on your cones, simply do so outside while its unloaded.
cap each percussion cone with empty chambers, then use the hammer to "seat" them down. simply keep track of how many times you set one off while getting rid of an entire 100 count cap tin.

and simply do that for using that popsicle stick, and bare fingers.

if you want to get real scientific, try it with your favorite capper.

then if you still have caps or doubts, take a nipple out of the cylinder, put a cap onit and start dropping them on a hard surface in your garage to see how much hieght is needed to set it off.

i think wed all like to know.
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