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Old January 5, 2012, 10:55 PM   #1
the rifleer
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Had a chain fire today

I had a chain fire with my ROA today. I was using it to its full potential and loaded it with about 40-45 grains of power, then seated the ball over it and capped it. I didn't use any grease over it or anything. It was a bit scary, but nothing was damaged and I was fine. The cap from the cylinder that fired blew off and poked my hand, but I an uninjured and the revolver wasn't damaged either. It still shoots fine.

I will admit that I have shot hundreds of shots and have never had this happen, I never use grease because it takes forever and is messy, but it it certainly the safe way to shoot these things. Thats basically the point of this post, You will get away with it for a couple years like I did, but eventually it will happen if you don't try to prevent it.

On a positive note, I outshot a friend who has a brand new glock with my ROA
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Old January 5, 2012, 11:43 PM   #2
deerslayer303
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Wow this stuff is scary, I was going to go with the wonder wad and thats it, but yeah I'm on the grease wagon now. And I haven't fired not 1 cap n ball shot yet ( or in my whole life for that matter). So maybe a wonder wad AND grease LOL
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Old January 5, 2012, 11:59 PM   #3
Fingers McGee
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Tight fitting balls & properly fitted caps will prevent chain fires. Lubed wads between the powder and ball are an added safety measure & help keep the fouling down.
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Old January 6, 2012, 09:45 AM   #4
Doc Hoy
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I have had....

....one chain fire event in my entire life.

It was on a C.O.M. Sheriff's Model 1851 pattern in brass frame.

The pistol was in good condition. I loaded an average load with a nicely fitting ball and grease over the ball (.375). I pinched the cap to get it to remain on the nipple and I think that was my problem.

I know there are those among us who will declare that pinching a cap is done all of the time and it is a safe and accepted practice which does not promote chain fires. But as the bullet fit well and the chambers were aggressively schmutzed I have to believe that the gases came from the aft end of the cylinder. I don't pinch caps any more.

The effect of that event was to loosen the arbor on this otherwise good shooting revolver.
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Old January 6, 2012, 10:18 AM   #5
Noz
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Rifleer, I'm curious. Did you look at the cap that blew off of the chain fired chamber?
I've had 4 chain fires before I changed bullet alloy and in every case the cap on the chain fired chamber was intact and not fired.
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Old January 6, 2012, 11:08 AM   #6
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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Why in the world would you shoot it without grease over the balls?? With
so much that has been posted on the subject, I just don't understand.
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Old January 6, 2012, 11:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Why in the world would you shoot it without grease over the balls??
Quote:
I will admit that I have shot hundreds of shots and have never had this happen, I never use grease because it takes forever and is messy
Kinda like " Why would you hop around in a field that has signs around it reading "Mines!" ?" "Because I have always done it and nothing bad has happened ....... yet." The instructions in my C&B guns warned about it..... I figured it was for a reason.

Thank your lucky stars it was not the bottom chamber ..... or several chambers ....
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Old January 6, 2012, 12:38 PM   #8
Fingers McGee
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Quote:
Why in the world would you shoot it without grease over the balls??
Cause it's not necessary if you use tight fitting balls and lubed wads.
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Old January 6, 2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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Actually with correctly sized balls made from the proper alloy in a gun with round chamfered chambers, the wad is not needed.
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Old January 6, 2012, 02:32 PM   #10
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I have to agree with Fingers and Noz. Grease over the balls is just messy and pretty much useless.
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Old January 6, 2012, 02:34 PM   #11
the rifleer
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Noz, the cap was blown off and basically looks how a cap looks after is been fired. I am lucky I didn't have the bottom one go off. I don't even know which cylinder it was, but it didn't damage anything.


Like I said, the point of this post was to let people like me know that it really does happen.
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Old January 6, 2012, 04:40 PM   #12
Noz
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kwhi43@kc.rr.com, You should come to Lenexa KS for the Prince of Pistoleers shoot in June 0f 2012. You'd get to see an assortment of Dark Lords practicing their lore.
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Old January 6, 2012, 04:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Thank your lucky stars it was not the bottom chamber ..... or several chambers ....
I've had all six go off, no biggie without bore pressure.
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Old January 6, 2012, 04:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
I know there are those among us who will declare that pinching a cap is done all of the time and it is a safe and accepted practice which does not promote chain fires. But as the bullet fit well and the chambers were aggressively schmutzed I have to believe that the gases came from the aft end of the cylinder. I don't pinch caps any more.
The one I have has #9 nipples. All I could get back in the day was #11 but like I said I can leave all the caps completely off of it and as long as the balls are lubed it will not chain.
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Old January 6, 2012, 09:39 PM   #15
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I am ordering amco nipples because they are supposed to fit #11 caps the best. Do you use them? I had a chain fire once when I bought an old gun from antique shop. Scared me! I thought the gun was broken until someone came along and said to grease chambers with vaseline. Don't use vas anymore. If I run out of wads, I use either Thompsons T7 blue lube or crisco. The problem is that it melts on warm days and is messy as hell. My biggest problem is caps! They either fall off or #10's don't pop!! Hey, check out case hardened uberti 1858's. They are expensive, but worth it.

WBH

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Old January 6, 2012, 10:36 PM   #16
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Lets take a closer look....

Quote:
the cap was blown off and basically looks how a cap looks after is been fired.
So possibly something caused the cap to detonate, right? Generally means contact with the recoil shield at some point on a chamber that is not in battery, right? On my one and only chain fire I do not remember finding the cap from the offending chamber. I wish I had paid more attention.

So a nipple not completely turned into the chamber, or a nipple that is slightly longer than is correct for the pistol, or a cap that was not pushed onto the nipple far enough. Or, more remotely, a fragment of cap got wedged between an unfired chamber's cap and the recoil shield.

Different nipple sizes in one revolver is not as uncommon as one might think. For those of us who remove the nipples every time the revolver is cleaned it is not hard to imaging a nipple that does not get completely turned in. Obviously it should not happen and is easy to avoid.

I use a little push stick to force my caps on but I can't say that I spin the cylinder through each position to check the relief between the cap and the shield at every location on every chamber.

On discharge, the cylinder comes back, the cap on a non-battery chamber bangs into the shield and Wham! In a perfect world this kind of thing should not happen but who says a chain fire occurs in a perfect world?
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Old January 6, 2012, 11:15 PM   #17
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I guess I should consider having lived a charmed life as I have never had a chain fire after about 25,000 caps busted in about 30 different guns. However, I am anal and use both a lube wad AND over ball grease. It's a little more messy but the fouling stays soft and I just lay a small bead around each ball with a curved tip irrigation syringe. I do not fill the whole rest of the chamber with grease which would be real messy since it gets blown away by the adjacent chamber when fired. I do fill the first chamber to insure the bore gets a good swath of grease. BUT(!), I use cheap, rotgut AUTOMOTIVE(!) grease over the ball and no problems 'cause it stays soft in the cold and doesn't run in the heat. The wads are soaked in a mix of deer tallow, beeswax & olive oil. I get more mess on my hands from putting in the wads than from the grease.
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Old January 7, 2012, 02:26 PM   #18
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Hhmmm....I have a question.

I've gotten the impression that using a lubed wad next to the powder could result in the lube bleeding into the powder, especially if the revolver is left loaded for a bit. I understand though that a lot of folks prefer to use a lubed wad between the powder & ball, as opposed to using grease over the ball.

My question is....Would a lubed wad over the ball be effective in preventing a chain-fire?--Patrice
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Old January 7, 2012, 03:31 PM   #19
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I kind of doubt a wad would have any more resistance to the flash and fire ball than a proper fitting lead ball. An other issue is shooting may cause some of the wads to move around and hang the cylinder up on the barrel base.

I used to use crisco and some goopy yaller looking bore grease stuff years ago but got sick of the mess that also seemed to attract loose powder from loading. Have been shooting with no grease for years and so far (knock on wood) it has not been a issue.

Any more I pretty much just shoot cartridges in the things and have yet to figure out any kind of a lube that would work with a wad that will lube things up and not make the cartridges fall apart. But oh well, experementation is half the fun of these things.
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Old January 7, 2012, 03:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
My question is....Would a lubed wad over the ball be effective in preventing a chain-fire?--Patrice

IMO yes, if they fit snug enough to not move during firing.
That could depend on the size, thickness and composition of the wad and the lube.
They can be coated with a hard waxy lube.
There's fiber gasket wads that aren't lubed that are cut over size.
And there's over powder cards of various thicknesses that can be cut to fit very snug.
These Ox Yoke Revolver Wonder Seals are designed to go over the ball and they aren't even made from dense felt.

http://www.cabelas.com/patches-solve...:referralID=NA

And dense felt is made in a variety of thicknesses that can be cut to be as snug as desired.
However a waxed wad or an over powder card could be placed under the ball with less risk of contaminating the powder compared to a wad that was saturated with a soft lube.

Last edited by arcticap; January 7, 2012 at 04:05 PM.
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Old January 7, 2012, 07:42 PM   #21
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OK -I ain't a rocket scientist. I know from years ago, that chain fires were caused by flash hitting the front of adjacent cylinder w/ enough to ignite that charge. YES -a lub wad over powder under ball should keep that from happening. Actually that is their main purpose--the other is to also keep barrel lubed better after firing. As far as promoting accuracy, I am not sure except that it might help compress the powder tighter and the ball seats more closer to the mouth of the chamber with a lesser load. You might want to get some other senior members to comment on that one before I get hung! But I think it is so.

I am now convinced about amco nipples. I hear alot about chain firing coming from the nipples. I have seen Rems throw off caps after a fire. Especially pietta nipples. w/ #11 If the adjacent cap falls or knocked off -yes a fire can explode that chamber. What is so funny--I see these guys use #10,s all the time but they never worked well in my hand. Either I don't seat them properly because they always fire after the second pull. I have seen some caps that are 10.4 size but don't remember the name. Amco supposedly will seat #11's perfectly
WBH
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Old January 7, 2012, 08:20 PM   #22
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Hardy, you're not getting them fully seated. They're not pressure sensitive so you're not going to set one off seating it with a dowel or gently letting the hammer down on it and using the hammer to seat it with thumb pressure.
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Old January 7, 2012, 09:49 PM   #23
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Be Kind

I have fired my black powder pistols approximately 100 times, and I have not experienced a chainfire despite the fact that I used lubed wads but no grease. There is no rule that gun butter or mazola oil must be applied.
Be kind to the poor guy who must have been shaken up by his mishap!
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Old January 8, 2012, 09:41 AM   #24
Doc Hoy
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TallRay

Welcome to the forum.
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Old January 10, 2012, 03:15 PM   #25
Hardy
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amco are english measurements instead of metric which match english caps
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