View Full Version : Disintegrated Caps

July 6, 2004, 02:00 AM
I shoot an Old Army and use 40 grains of Pyrodex because I am lazy and don't want to fool around with fillers or wads. An H&G conical and a dab of Crisco and I'm all set. :D
Trouble is the caps get blown to smithereens, and sometimes tie up the cylinder. I tried new factory nipples and also Uncle Mikes. Always did it. Just a minor nuisance, and the gun certainly shoots very well. I just ordered a Bowen sight for it. Anybody got any ideas ? I use CCI magnum caps and I can shoot forty rounds, a flask full, without any cleaning or poking out ther flash holes and never have a hang or misfire. Thanks!

July 7, 2004, 01:06 AM
Might switch to Remington caps, not quite as hot. Also, when you cock the hammer to fire, pull the gun up a bit. That was a standard practice with the origional Colt's, Remingtons, Whitneys and the like...as it kicks the cap out a bit to the side or down as the hammers brought back. Might also pinch the caps (a bit oblong) before putting them on the cones... or into a capper...seems to help keep them on the cones after being fired.
Since the ROA is based (very loosely) on the Remington format, you can expect some problems with cap jams. One of the weaknesses of the enclosed frame designs, is that these are (were) more prone to trapping the cap. With the Remingtons, it's not uncommon for the cap pieces to actually get inside into the pawl and hand, really locking it up, until the screwdriver comes out. One of the reasons that the Colt design ,was more popular in it's era, was the cap issue. Colt's tend not to get the cap in the works, and if locks the cylinder, fairly fast to kick out the wedge and clear it.
Unusual you're using conicals. Most stick to the roundballs. Better range and accuracy though...
Might think about mixing your crisco with some soft wax.

July 9, 2004, 10:26 AM
Good news, then not-so-good news.

faraway is essentially correct, and it's not a big deal.

Unfortunately, disintegration, thereby tying up revolver, is inherent in the technology. Relationship of firing pin's [impact] slot in frame to pin itself is one key factor. Tighter fits yields less room to trap cap (could have spelled it with or without "r" ). Recoil shielding also controls where cap scraps wander.

NOTE: I refer to firing pin, but that's just a convenience. You know what I mean.

Although the Old Army has a couple of questionable features, I suspect that in these two areas, the revolver is about as advanced as it can get -- without going to a separate cap cover plate.
I saw a .31-caliber Remington revolver that had such a plate. Bizarre looking but there was nowhere for the cap to wander. Each cap was completely enclosed except for tiny hole for firing pin.

I've seen similar technology on early cartridge revolvers, especially BIG bore British revolvers that were bought and used by officers in west Asian and African colonial wars. British Enfield and Adams revolvers were simultaneously ineffective as well as unreliable. That's why revolvers such as Trantor's .577 had a market. This is not the rifle cartridge from a revolver, but a huge pistol cartridge. I suspect its impact was similar to being hit by a swinging refrigerator.

July 11, 2004, 01:08 AM
Well, I bought 5,000 CCI mag caps, so I guess I got to love 'em for a while.
When I got the Old Army. I had a bad problem. It wouldn't fire. :mad: Click,click,click! The second time around, usually they would go off. I tried different caps, different nipples, No Good! Finally I sent the gun back to Ruger and they said there "was a problem" and sent me another one. To this day I can't figure out what was wrong with it!
So just to be sure, I bought the CCI mags. I tried a capper, but they are more trouble than they are worth with this gun. So I just put them on with my fingers and push them tight with a piece of wood dowel. The gun is absolutely reliable with 40 grains of Pyrodex. As I noted, I shoot 40 rounds at a session and don't clean or poke out the flash holes.
I bought a four cavity conical bullet mould from H&G right before he sold out. $$$ I also use range scrap instead of pure lead. They are a little harder to seat, but no problem. I don't know what the average accuracy expected of these guns is, but when I shoot at a bowling pin at 25 yards, I usually hit it, and more than half the time at 50! I did have the trigger worked on which was horrible! :barf:
What are the not liked features of the Old Army, and why mix wax with Crisco?
I get no leading. How did Clint Eastwood keep the caps on the spare cylinders he carried??? :rolleyes:

July 11, 2004, 12:17 PM
A soft wax mixed in with Crisco, helps to keep the fouling soft, and since it doesn't melt/run out as quickly when the gun is fired, or a hot day...seals the chambers better. Much less potential trouble if there's a lose fitting ball in a chamber.
Clint, don't know. Old times, the caps were pinched a bit, then candle wax was dripped around the cones. grease sealed the chamber ends. Sealed it from weather and kept them in place. Usually carried in a leather pouch or thick cloth bag, kept the cylinders from getting knocked around. Probably, fairly few people beyond officers/military actually had the extra cylinders.
A bit wierd, but during the California/Colorado gold rush...there were people who actually made money loading the percussion pistols (especially pocket ones) for other people. Very careful about it...and did extra things like load a few extra grains into the caps/cones to ensure ignition. And also, many really weren't that familiar with revolvers, these were very expensive and high tech for a while. (although later some posts gave out a few Dragoons to travelers, not a common practice though...) Many people first saw revolvers during the civil war.
Old Army, doesn't balance as well as a Colt Navy. Essentially a assemblege of the better features of both the Colt and Remington style design. And typical for Ruger, a bit clunky in balance. (Actually the same criticism was levied on the Remingtons, and certainly for the Dragoons) And many get hyped 'cause it's not 'authentic'.
Really, who cares?. It goes bang!...or boom? And if the ROA was around in the origional period, it probably would have been well regarded. Although it can't take the charge of a Dragoon, or change cylinders as well as the Remingtons...many would have liked it as a 'horse killing pistol". The really weird (or appalling stuff) like the Whitneys, or Savages, nobody is likely to make as repliguns anyway. (expecting the Lemat) Although one I'd like to see the Starr remade, very important weapon for the period. Likely not due to liability nonsense however...alas.

July 12, 2004, 12:42 AM
Luckily I am not a sophisticated enough shooter to fault the Old Armys balance! :) I might give the wax a try if I can get it to work thru the little "cake decorator" grease gun I got from Dixie. Seems most of it blows out after the first shot anyway. The conicals fit pretty tight. Thanks for the comeback. The LeMat is interesting. How is the metallurgy? Some of those guns seem pretty "soft".


July 12, 2004, 10:44 AM
Oh well, my favorite type of caplock revolver, is the 3rd model Dragoon. which in addition to weighing as much as a cast iron frying pan, balances about the same too... Still fond of them, plus it's always interesting to be shooting at 100 yds or so, with a system that old.

On some of the repliguns, horrible metal. Colt, Uberti, Ruger no problem. One time I had a Dragoon from another maker, which actually blew the chambers out of round. Also the wedge was so soft it deformed in normal use. Lemat, don't know, never seen one. Mainly have owned Colt Dragoons/Navies and Remington Armies.

July 13, 2004, 01:10 AM
Thanks for the info. I was wondering about the Ubertis. I guess the Ruger is safe. Same frame as the Super Blackhawk, right? :)

July 15, 2004, 07:04 PM
Gascheck: Your hangfires may be caused by nipples being slightly too short. Distance between impact nose on hammer and top of nipple is critical for reliable cap ignition. And the revolver that Ruger kept may have had hammer face, hammer nose, or frame face slightly out of spec. This may have been causing short hits on your caps. It may have been cheaper for Ruger to replace the revolver rather than diagnose and repair. Think of a computer hardware problem. Solution is REPLACE not REPAIR.

Nipples are not intended to last forever. I understand that many competition cap lock rifle shooters replace nipples every 25 shots. I suspect those who do this don't trash the replace nipples, they just relegate them to non-competition.

You can test for this problem by using heavy-duty aluminum foil shims. It's kludgy, but it'll work.

You can also use your micrometer and some arithmetic to calyculate if this is your problem.
The offending feature of the Old Army, for me, is that swapping loaded cylinders (if you can pry one away from Ruger) is nearly impossible. When you withdraw the cylinder pin, the entire assembly disassembles itself. For six shots the Old Army is as reliable as any other first-class percussion revolver.

July 17, 2004, 12:47 AM
Installed a Bowen sight on the Old Army because I like the one on my Blackhawk. Yesterday, from a rest, I got about 2 1/2" groups at 25 yards but they are 6" high. I kinda figured this was going to happen because I calipered the old sight notch before removing the old sight. I filed down the boss like Bowen suggested in the instructions and the only thing left is to remove the sight screw clip ring which I don't want to do if possible. Probably would have to send the sight back to Bowen if the screw and little ball and spring did escape. :(
I just emailed Bowen for suggestions. They were very helpful in the past. A higher front sight blade would be the best answer. Know where to get one?

You would think with all the CNC machinery, it would be impossible for Ruger to make a bad part. I really believe they don't test fire them.

I have many cartridge pistols but I REALLY like the OA!! Thanks much for your comebacks.