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Old July 6, 2008, 04:16 PM   #1
Oquirrh
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My first!

CHAIN FIRE. (And I had wondered if chainfires were myth.)

It was on my new Uberti Remington '58. It was a result of recoil knocking a cap off the nipple to the left of the one the hammer hit. I didn't realize it at the time. But I did a quick post mortem and no cap remains could be found on the chain fired chamber.

I got two booms separated by a split second. No damage to the rev, just burnt powder on the left side of the barrel and frame. I was at the range and no one else even noticed.
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Old July 6, 2008, 05:50 PM   #2
Hawg
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Did the chamber that chained have lube on it or a wad? When a chamber chains it blows back through the nipple so there's not going to be any cap left. I've tried to get a 58 to chain through the nipple and couldn't do it.
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Old July 6, 2008, 06:17 PM   #3
GNLaFrance
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You deliberately tried to cause a chain fire? Please let me know if you're ever coming to Maryland, I will plan a trip to New England, Canada or Ohio while you're here.

Most chain fires are through the nipple. How a spark of burning powder is supposed to get past a tight-fitting lead ball to the powder behind it is something I can only wonder about. Caps that are too small and split on the cone and caps that are too big and fall off the cone are by far and away the chiefest cause of chain fires, IMNSHO.
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Old July 6, 2008, 07:35 PM   #4
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I agree that the lack of a cap post incident is not enough to do any more than suggest that perhaps the chain fire started from the back. If it started from the front the cap would certainly be blown off if it had been in place.

I've seen no evidence to show one way or the other that chain fires predominantly start from either end. And no, trying to induce chain fires by deliberately misloading does not constitute conclusive evidence. Chain fires are chaotic events, in the sense of that arcane science. They are the result of an uncommon chain of several small events. The plasma can and does go anywhere, and it can sneak through a tiny opening, even a temporary one. Sometimes it goes far enough with a hot enough temperature to set the powder off, and sometimes it doesn't. To say that any given experiment is conclusive one has to show the plasma either did or did not reach the powder and that it still had sufficient thermal energy to cause ignition when it did. That can be done with sufficient instrumentation, but none of us has the money to do that.

Many people have presented deductive arguments on either side, but that's all they are. The bottom line is that it CAN happen from EITHER end, so the best defense is attention to proper loading with proper components: balls and caps that fit.
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Old July 6, 2008, 07:41 PM   #5
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GNLaFrance, yes I have. I started shooting bp revolvers when I was 12(I'm 51 now) and didn't know anything about it. I didn't know about lubing the balls or wads. I was using #11 caps on #9 nipples and they frequently fell off under recoil. I was also using over 40 grs. of bp. I had chain fires galore until I figured out about lubing the balls. I never had another one after I started doing that even with the caps falling off. Then I started hearing from people like you that just repeat what they've heard about chains always coming from the nipple end so I loaded up my 58 and fired two cylinders full just capping one chamber at a time to see if it would chain and it didn't. BTW SASS rules allow loading six chambers but only capping five on the firing line. If there were any danger or history of chain fires from doing that they wouldn't allow the practice. I'm not saying it can't happen and Oquirrh's chain might very well have come from the nipple end but if so I think it's a rare case.
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Old July 6, 2008, 07:42 PM   #6
Oquirrh
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Can't be conclusive...

After the shot I had no cap on the chain fire chamber. It could have fallen off before I shot and been lost on the ground.


Or... It was blown off by the chainfire that had detonated past the ball. I checked for the remains of a cap between the nipple and frame, but couldn't find anything.

This is the load i used on that particular cylinder -- in descending order from the muzzle end of the chamber. the revolver is a Uberti '58:

.454 Round ball -- cuts a nice lead ring. NO GREASE ON TOP OF BALL

lube pill (beeswax, parafin, olive oil) NO WAD

cornmeal (about 17-18 grains)

20 grains of Triple 7.

RWS #11 CAP on a Treso nipple.

The chain fire came on the second shot. i.e. I fired the first shot normally, recocked and fired second shot that was followed in a fraction of a second by the chain fire out the 10-11 o'clock chamber.

I wasn't greasing because I was using Triple-7, which is allegedly clean. And i get very good lead rings out of this rev. For the chain fire to have come past the ball it would have had to jump that tight seal, burn through the grease pill and the cornmeal. I don't know enough about pyrotechnics to say how likely that would be.

(btw, i wrote this while the above two posts arrived.)
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Old July 6, 2008, 07:47 PM   #7
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There's a guy on another forum I frequent that had a 60 Colt and never used lube or wads. He always used bp and then tried Triple 7. His first loading set off all six chambers. Needless to say he never used Triple 7 again. I always figured it went past the balls but Triple 7 is hotter than bp so maybe it did go through the nipples. I agree it is unlikely it went past the lube pill and filler. I don't think I want to use Triple 7 in a revolver. I wouldn't anyway because it costs twice as much as anything else.
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Old July 6, 2008, 07:55 PM   #8
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I'm ecumenical when it comes to propellants

I can't get BP around here--45 minute drive for KIK.

Pyrodex costs $15 a bottle. Triple-7 $18-$19. A CAS shooter recommended it ("Price works out the same because you use less and it's clean.").

This was my first bottle and it does seem at least as accurate as the other stuff. I don't like the CRACK! in makes as well as the BOOM! of bp.

(BTW, I also tried that Heritage/Shockley gravelly stuff and its seems inconsistent -- and expensive.)
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Old July 6, 2008, 08:07 PM   #9
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Pyrodex costs 16 here. Triple 7 costs 26. Pyro gives you more shots per lb. than black because it doesn't weigh as much. Triple 7 gives more because it's 10-15 %(depending on who you talk to) hotter than black.
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Old July 6, 2008, 08:22 PM   #10
GNLaFrance
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg Haggen
GNLaFrance, yes I have. I started shooting bp revolvers when I was 12(I'm 51 now) and didn't know anything about it. I didn't know about lubing the balls or wads. I was using #11 caps on #9 nipples and they frequently fell off under recoil. I was also using over 40 grs. of bp. I had chain fires galore until I figured out about lubing the balls. I never had another one after I started doing that even with the caps falling off. Then I started hearing from people like you that just repeat what they've heard about chains always coming from the nipple end so I loaded up my 58 and fired two cylinders full just capping one chamber at a time to see if it would chain and it didn't. BTW SASS rules allow loading six chambers but only capping five on the firing line. If there were any danger or history of chain fires from doing that they wouldn't allow the practice. I'm not saying it can't happen and Oquirrh's chain might very well have come from the nipple end but if so I think it's a rare case.
Okay, first of all, I said most, not always. If you're not going to bother reading more carefully, there's no point to this. If I only repeated crap I hear without thinking about it, I'd still be a liberal.

40 grains? Had to have been a Walker Colt, nothing else will hold that much.

I've only been shooting BP revolvers since I was 40 and I'm 52 now. I met David T.T. Smith, got his book and some others, read up and knew a lot about it before touching off my first one, unless you count not understanding how important it was to have snug-fitting caps (I have since learned, of course). I have never used wads or grease and never had a chain fire. My opinion about chain fires mostly coming from the back through the nipple is based on the opinions of much more experienced shooters and serious thought.

I've had exactly one AD in my life, with a .380 pocket pistol; I put a hole through a desk and my computer tool kit, and it was more than enough to convince me to never allow it to happen again. Intentionally trying to cause one is an idea I can't get my head around. ASAIC the whole idea of ADs is to make damn sure they never happen.
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Old July 6, 2008, 08:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GNLaFrance
40 grains? Had to have been a Walker Colt, nothing else will hold that much.
Nope, I've put 42gr. FFFG Goex with a .457 ball into my 23 year old Pietta 1858 NMA before & on occasion will still load 40gr. into it for the shear fun of it "BTW with 42gr. there is no room for a wad just a touch of lube over the ball" & although I've had a few chain fires I usually account it due to me not checking my balls for flat spots or the security of the caps.

& before it's said, I've been shooting my grandfathers C&B revolvers since 78' & have owned my first one in 81' so I do have some experience in shooting & enjoying them & before I was able to purchase my M1911A1 .45ACP in 90' have used my Pietta 1860 Army as a home defence weapon because it was compact for tight quarters & I knew what it's capabilities were when I loaded it correctly.
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Old July 6, 2008, 08:53 PM   #12
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Like I said I was 12 when I started. I've been shooting bp for 39 years and I learned the hard way, from experience. The gun was a 58 Remington and yes it'll hold 40 grs. if you carve the front of the balls off.

[QUOTE you count not understanding how important it was to have snug-fitting caps][/QUOTE]

That's the point I was trying to make, it's not that important. I never had another chain with that gun as long as I lubed the balls. Remember I was using #11 caps on #9 nipples and they frequently fell off. I did the experiment with the same gun I used back then. If cap fit was so important SASS wouldn't let you load six chambers and leave one uncapped.

Quote:
My opinion about chain fires mostly coming from the back through the nipple is based on the opinions of much more experienced shooters and serious thought.
Exactly. Mine are based on personal experience, not what someone else said.

Quote:
trying to cause one is an idea I can't get my head around.
I had hundreds of chains when I was 12. Didn't scare me then. It's nothing to be scared of now.
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Old July 6, 2008, 08:53 PM   #13
GNLaFrance
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Well, okay, I guess chain fires just aren't that big a deal for you guys. Have fun. Try not to get hurt too bad.
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Old July 6, 2008, 09:00 PM   #14
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, okay, I guess chain fires just aren't that big a deal for you guys. Have fun. Try not to get hurt too bad.
It's ok to disagree, nothing like a friendly rebuttal once in awhile. I've never been hurt with a chain and I'm not about to endanger someone else with one. I use wads for the most part now or lube the balls. I just did the experiment to prove what I already knew.(to myself)I know I'm not going to change anybody's mind and I'm not trying to get anybody to do anything they think is dangerous. It's always best to err on the safe side. I'm just teling MY experience. BTW I did hurt myself once with a bp revolver. I pinched the crp out of my finger on the loading lever.
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Old July 6, 2008, 09:05 PM   #15
Raider2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg Haggen
BTW I did hurt myself once with a bp revolver. I pinched the crp out of my finger on the loading lever.
Haven't we all.

My 60' Army has bit me more than once when I try to hold the lever like I do with my 51' Navy but knock on wood that has been the only injury.
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Old July 6, 2008, 11:51 PM   #16
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Oquirrh. take a look at the following: If you happen to have fffg 777 it's a little hotter yet. youor 20gr of777 is safe enough, but I would be aware of the fillers unless using BP. I never use fillers fur anythin' just the lube pills. I set the ball down on what ever charge I load and shoot it. Anyway wanted to tell ya bout this here page. Here's the link.

http://www.hodgdon.com/loading.html

Use data specifically developed for Triple Seven FFG only.

All charges of Triple Seven or Pyrodex should be measured by VOLUME not weight. A simple, adjustable blackpowder measure is the correct tool for this job. All loads listed in this brochure are measured by VOLUME.

Triple Seven is a high energy product designed to provide the muzzleloading hunter with higher velocities when used in the same VOLUME as blackpowder. To duplicate a blackpowder load velocity using Triple Seven, you must decrease the powder charge by 15%. *See WARNING below.

Pyrodex is lighter in weight than blackpowder and weighs only about 70% as much as blackpowder. However, because Pyrodex yields more energy per pound than does blackpowder, the same volume of Pyrodex gives similar performance to blackpowder. Pyrodex loads given in this manual for muzzleloading guns are measured by volume, not weight.

Triple Seven In Cartridges: Use data specifically developed for Triple Seven FFG only. Cartridge loads should be used exactly as listed in this pamphlet. You may safely use a card or polyethylene wad up to .030" in thickness to protect the base of the bullet. Loading density should be 100% with light compression not to exceed .100". Testing has shown that Triple Seven will perform best when the bullet just touches the powder. Allow no airspace between the base of the bullet and the powder.
Do not reduce loads by means of filler wads or inert filler material such as Grits, Dacron or Grex.
Do not heavily compress powder charges. The use of filler wads, inert fillers or heavy compression may cause a dangerous situation, which could cause injury and/or death to the shooter, bystanders or damage property. Do not create loads for cartridges not listed. Contact Hodgdon Powder Company for recommendations concerning other loads. *See WARNINGS below.

I recemend you conider the cylinders chambers as cartridges.
Sheared the frame pins off my Pietta 1860 using this stuff with a normal load 28gr FFg777.

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Old July 7, 2008, 01:08 AM   #17
Oquirrh
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yowl, sg, thanks for the heads up

this is getting way too complicated. If I use 20 grains of 777 in a rev, how do I know the ball is 'just touches the bullet' w/o a gap or compression?

I like the balls near the end of the chamber since it would seem to aid accuracy.

It seems like I have a choice of full 777 loads in my '58 remington or just use Pyrodex.

btw, i loved the lawyerspeak: "may cause a dangerous situation, which could cause injury and/or death to the shooter, bystanders or damage property."
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Old July 7, 2008, 03:09 AM   #18
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Oquirrh, I have tried cornmeal and other breakast cereals. Also tried a graphite product made to raise the volume in my C&B Revs. It don't make a bit of differance in accracy, just makes a mess. Now those fillers may and must work in a Black Powder cartridge conversion or cart. gun you have to card the load so as not to mix the pwowder and filler. Not needed with a C&B from my experiance. If I use a load of 25gr then a lube pill in my Rem, I press the ball down tight on it and it sits the same place in each chamber every time. I got targets saved to prove it. Better yet come on down for a weekend and I'll show ya...HeeHee!
Your loads are fine at 20 -28gr with that ffg777, but don't compress that stuff just bring the ball done till you feel it. It may seem complicated but it ain't one you dial in on doin' things the way you like um and the stuff you wanna use cause it works for you, it'll be like puttin' on your favorite Levi's.

*Fillers are a big waste a time in a C&B in my opinion.*

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Old July 7, 2008, 04:12 AM   #19
Hawg
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Quote:
Fillers are a big waste a time in a C&B in my opinion.
I never use them either but I use 30-35 grs. of powder.
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Old July 7, 2008, 06:58 AM   #20
Oquirrh
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Thanks

I'm going to try some full loads in the '58s, if the accuracy holds--my filler days are over.

I've got a healthy respect for 777 and One thing I'm still not sure about is: Will the Remington's rammer put a ball safely in contact with 20 grains of powder? (I wish the cylinders were glass so I could see what's going on in there.)
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Old July 7, 2008, 07:43 AM   #21
Hawg
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I'm not a paper puncher but I can consistently hit a soft ball sized target at 25 yds. using 35 grs. with all of mine. They might do better with lighter charges but I like the buck and roar too much to use wimpy loads.
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Old July 8, 2008, 04:27 AM   #22
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The Rem loading ram will seat a ball on 20gr of powder. Put 28-30gr on it, hell mine hold 40gr of BP. If take 40gr(BP)-15%=34gr (777ffg) so
30(BP)-15%=25.5(26)(777ffg)... not complicated, see? So last one load
35(BP)-15%=29.75(30)(777ffg)

So you can load from 26gr-34gr of ffg777 safely per Hogdon's instruction.
This would equate to 30gr-40gr of the Holy Black Powder.

Don't sweat it load um up the nail some bean cans, make um fly and hit um in the sky...HeeeHeeeHeee!

Go have fun and make some cans jump in between punchin' paper...It actuall helps you steady yourself on paper by practicing on can and such. I like usin' the larger Carnation Creamer Bottles full a water up to 25yds after that 50-100yds it's 1gal milk juggs full a water. LoL! They are fun....

Let us know how all turns out...Got my .36 Euroarms Hawes L.A. Rem to day, along with a .31 Rem Pocket, and an ASM 1860. Slicked up the .36 Rem works are workin like a Swiss clock

See Ya,

SG
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Old July 8, 2008, 10:20 PM   #23
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robhof

My brother is a professional photographer and has access to a variety of equopment, including a high speed digital camera. He has shot me shooting my Ruger Old Army at night and it looks like I'm holding a hand full of fire when it goes off. The flame is back past the wrist around the front and back of the cylinder; so any gap, front or back is an open invitation to ignition. I make sure the caps are tight and use lubed wads under the tight fitting ball and so far 12 years no chainfires.
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Old July 8, 2008, 11:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
I don't like the CRACK! in makes as well as the BOOM! of bp.
I would venture a guess that the "crack" is the sound of the ball going supersonic. You could back off to a lighter charge and see if it goes away.
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Old July 9, 2008, 06:31 AM   #25
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I've never used triple 7 (costs to much) but since it burns faster I doubt it will sound like bp even with reduced loads which ain't no fun BTW.
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