The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Black Powder and Cowboy Action Shooting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 28, 2007, 03:45 PM   #1
Malamute
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 6, 2004
Location: Rocky Mts
Posts: 820
Colt cap question

In reading of use of Colts percussion guns in the Civil War period, it has been mentioned that the type of cap had a great bearing on the relibility of the guns. Some caps broke up and got pieces in the gun, tying it up, and some did not, and were specifically recomended for Colts pistols. What brand or type caps are available today that are best for use in Colts type guns for best reliability?
Malamute is offline  
Old July 28, 2007, 04:54 PM   #2
mykeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 2,759
Cabela's lists CCI and Remington, each in both #10 and #11 sizes.
Dixie Gun Works lists CCI and Remington, again both in #10 and #11, plus RWS, a German brand, in #11.
Graf's & Sons lists CCI only, in #10 & #11.
Midway lists CCI only, in #10 & #11, but all are shown as out of stock with no backorder!

The issue seems to be getting the right size, rather than any particular brand. It may require changing the nipples that come with the gun for an aftermarket brand like Treso that are a known, more consistent size and quality.
mykeal is offline  
Old July 28, 2007, 05:38 PM   #3
Malamute
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 6, 2004
Location: Rocky Mts
Posts: 820
It's not the size that I'm asking about, it's the tendancy of the caps to break apart into small pieces that cause the problems. The origianal Colts were recomended for use with caps such as Ely's Double Waterproof. These caps had a thicker copper to reduce the occurance of the cap breaking into fragments and tying up the gun. This apparently was a cause of some concern in that different caps were required for different guns. The caps generally available today are not the quality of the Colts type caps judging from the number of posts on various forums mentioning Colt type guns becoming disabled from cap fragments.

The matter was disccused in a letter from Major R.H.K.Whitely, writing from the New York arsenal on July 5, 1862, to Brigadeer General J.W.Ripley, Chief of the Ordnance Department in Washington.

'First, a cap suitable for Colt's pistol does not suit either Savage's or Starr's, because the main spring is too weak to explode it.
Second, a cap suitable for savages or Starr's pistol does not suit Colt's because the hammer drives it in pieces, a fragment often lodges in front of the cock, and renders the arm useless after the first fire...............Therfore, I am compelled to have two qualities made, onr for the Colt's answering in thickness to the Ely's double waterproof, and the other for Savage's and Starr's to Ely's metal lined.' Ripley forewarded the letter to Major W.A.Thornton at West Troy Arsenal and requested the he 'please see that all revolvers made for this Department are suited to fire the same caps as Colt's Army pistols.' From "Guns of the American West" by Joseph Rosa.

30-some years ago I recall using differant caps that had varying characteristics, some would fragment badly, some would ballon out and split, but not fragment, and some would stick on the nipple badly, making reloading tough, as the caps had to be removed from the nipple with a tool.

My question is, is there a cap available today that does not break into small fragments and tie up Colt's type guns?
Malamute is offline  
Old July 28, 2007, 09:08 PM   #4
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,471
I used to use RWS caps, which didn't split. But there is no free lunch; they had to be pulled off the nipples by hand, which was more of a nuisance than dealing with split caps. (I don't know if RWS caps are still available.)

One good point about the Colt open frame was that when caps got into the action, they could be shaken out if the trooper put the gun back over his shoulder and shook it while cocking. Most of the time, the split cap would fall out. That motion was passed down and got to be such a habit that the cavalry did it long after they went to the Model 1873.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old July 28, 2007, 09:09 PM   #5
mykeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 2,759
Interesting information, thanks for the post.

I use CCI's in my Colts (actually, in all my c&b guns) and have been since the mid 1970's. I have also used Remingtons, but they were hard to find for a while and I just got into the habit of buying CCI's.

Anyway, I've never had a problem with CCI's fragmenting. I have had occasional problems with them coming off the nipple and jamming the cylinder after firing. I've always considered this a problem endemic with c&b weapons, so I developed a cocking technique to help shed the expended cap overboard. It consists of rolling the gun to the right and slightly upward as I pull back the hammer, thus allowing the cap to fall free if it should come off the nipple. This usually works well, but I do still get the odd hangup now and then.
mykeal is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07500 seconds with 9 queries