View Full Version : T/C White Mt Carbine issue

December 12, 2008, 06:05 PM
Hello folks!
I am new to this site and was hoping I could learn something I should've learned years ago. I have a .50cal T/C White Mt. Carbine and was recently deer hunting this week and had my rifle refuse to fire on my command. I was drawing my sights on a nice deer about 50yards away at the time, too. Here's some background and tell me what you think..
My rifle was squeeky clean leaving the house for the woods. I hunted nearly all day in weather that started as rain but ended up snowing. Frequently I wiped the snow from the barrel and off the buttstock. Later in the day I spotted the deer. It was only 50yrds or so away - should've been an easy shot. When I pulled the trigger the hammer fell and NOTHING happened. I attempted two more times with the same cap and nothing! I wasn't sure if my cap was wet or not so took it off and put a different (dry) cap on. First time firing the gun went off and so did my deer - another story. I removed the nipple and cleaned, cleaned touchhole and made sure everything was clean and dry. Next day, hunted all morning in sub-freezing weather (~23degrees F) then attempted to fire on my way out of the woods. Gun would not fire. Recocked and attempted 2x more. No fire. Changed caps. No fire first attempt, fire on 2nd attempt. Can't be crushed or wet cap as changing caps had same result. (Remember, there was no fire on both days.) Could the action have been frozen enough to slow the hammer speed, hence force hitting caps? I used to have a 'spacer' placed on the nipple during off season to rest the hammer on. Could the spring have taken on a new resting position and does it now need replacing? Everyone else on the site who's had a similar rifle speaks greatly of it, I've had nothing but bad luck. Considering in-line unless I can figure this one out. :confused:

December 12, 2008, 08:50 PM
If you are using #11 caps I would suggest switching to musked nipple and caps. First I would try popping some caps off before loading just to see if it is the hammer spring or not. if they go off everytime not spring, it may also be bad caps I got a bad batch of remmington caps once some had lost the paper inside the cap and wouldn't fire. If you have freinds who shoot try to borrow a few caps or let them have some of your caps to see if they work on there rifle. good luck

December 12, 2008, 09:46 PM
I had switched from no. 11 to musket caps for the same reasons as above - no fire when needed. There is no one I know if that uses a percussion type rifle for muzzleloading. Most people I know have switched to inline ignition.

December 12, 2008, 10:59 PM
Not a weak spring, but perhaps grease/oil in the lock mechanism that solidifies in the cold and inhibits the hammer fall. After a few cycles it loosens up a bit and finally works. Next day, cold again, slows down, cycling frees it up again. A fairly common problem (!) up here. How often do you remove the lock and clean it out?

Switching rifles to fix a problem like this is a pretty expensive solution to a problem that a little inspection and thinking can solve.

December 13, 2008, 11:16 AM
To be frank, I have never (until now) removed the lock mechanism to inspect or clean. I am suspecting moisture may have been inside and because the rifle was outside in plenty of cold and previous day was a drenching. I sprayed and wiped WD-40 all around/into the lock once removed. I did not disassemble but am considering it. Not sure if WD-40 is the proper lubricant to use - was wondering if some kind of silicone may be better. I plan on leaving the rifle outside in below freezing weather and snapping some no.11 and/or musket caps to see if the problem still manifest itself. I have not had many rounds through the gun - probably less than 100, certainly less than 200.

December 13, 2008, 12:27 PM
WD-40 is not a lubricant, it's a water displacer. Moisture in the lock is not going to affect ignition. Any good gun oil will do in the lock just don't get any petroleum based lube in the bore. If it's popping the caps it's not a spring/action problem. If it's not popping the caps I suspect the caps are bad or you're not seating them fully. If you're going to be hunting in the rain a piece of saran wrap over the muzzle and another piece over the nipple under the cap will keep moisture out. No need to remove either to fire. I've been shooting bp for 39 years in all kinds of weather and never had a misfire that wasn't my fault or bad primers. Remingtons are notorious for losing the priming charge. The only thing I use musket caps on is a musket. I don't use hot caps or 209 primers and I certainly don't and won't use an inline. BTW, my cousin and BIL both use inlines and both have lost deer due to non firing situations. I've never lost one with a sidelock.......................So far.:D

December 13, 2008, 01:42 PM
If it's popping the caps it's not a spring/action problem.
Well, maybe.

His problem, if I understand it, was that it was that the hammer fall did not ignite the cap on 3 successive attempts, in cold, wet weather. He replaced the cap and it fired on the next attempt. The next day the problem repeated, under the same conditions, except this time it took 5 cycles to ignite the cap. Although he 'cleaned' the gun, he does admit the lock had received no maintenance.

Under those conditions the hammer fall is at least suspect. It is entirely possible that a buildup of grease/dirt under the hammer arm or in the bolt hole, in cold, wet weather, would inhibit hammer function, and cycling the hammer could loosen it up to where it was once again effective. That could account for why it worked after several attempts.

Of course, there are many possible causes, and I'm not saying this is the only one; it's just something to consider. If the lock had received some maintenance, then it's very unlikely that it's the cause, but many people never remove and clean their locks, and I've seen this more than once. Certainly caps that are not properly seated are a common cause of cap FTF, but after 3 hammer strikes that problem should have been fixed, so I have to wonder about the hammer force.

WD-40 will suffice to clean the lock. It will not, however, provide any useful lubrication. Frankly, a very little amount of light machine oil after cleaning is fine, since the interior of the lock is unlikely to be exposed to bp combustion byproducts. Better yet mineral oil based solvents such as Ballistol or Butch's Bore Shine will both clean and lubricate the area.

December 13, 2008, 05:52 PM
one small thing to look for, if using #11 caps, are there any left in the hammer itself, I have had them stick or peices of them stick in the recess in the hammer itself and the copper is so soft it may not strike hard enough to fire cap, if you are using musket caps this can not happen as you have to physically remove them.

December 14, 2008, 01:41 AM
Why not give one of these replacement nipples a try? :)

Red Hot Replacement Nipples



Spit Fire Replacement Nipples



December 14, 2008, 12:01 PM
Don't lose heart and stick with that White Mountain and musket nipple. I have taken a few deer with this exact set-up. However, this past summer I had a simular problem with another side lock with a #11 nipple. Had more than my share of hang-fires and mis-fires. Changed to a new S.S. nipple and now only had mis-fires. Checked the contact face of my hammmer and it was hitting at about 2/3 of it's face. Chamfered the outside edge of nipple just a bit, to allow for the slight radias of the cap radius and the problem went away for good ??? I hope !! :rolleyes:

Be Safe !!!