View Full Version : Dry Firing 1858 Remmington

November 18, 2009, 04:20 PM
I've been cautioned against dry firing my Pietta 1858 Remington NMA Cap & Ball, so I haven't been doing it. I have, however, been trying to figure ways to practice the different aspects of shooting with it.

If I take 5 caps, scrape out the primer powder from inside them and place them on the nipples (over *uncharged* chambers, of course), will dry firing the gun hurt it? My guess is that this won't do any more harm to the nipples or hammer than actually firing the gun, but I thought I'd better ask first.

I have Tresos nipples.

Doc Hoy
November 18, 2009, 05:17 PM
You could take the nipples out completely. Or get you a spare cylinder without any nipples in it. Or get you a spare cylinder with the nipples already hammer up, then it won't matter.

November 18, 2009, 06:09 PM
I think that dry firing the nipples repeatedly even with empty primers on could still lead to damaging them.
While in theory there may be a slight space between the hammer and nipple just narrow enough for the hammer to contact the primer, in reality the hammer often can come into direct contact with the nipple face which means more battering of the primer.
Being made from a malleable metal, the copper primer initially absorbs the impact and protects the nipple from being deformed. But I think that the more that action is repeated, then the thinner that the primer can become and the less protective that it will be.
But that's just my guess.
It might be okay for several hammer hits or even for scores of them, or maybe not.
But why risk damaging the nipples? :rolleyes:

November 18, 2009, 06:53 PM
I don't wanna hear how scraping out live caps worked out for you, so just take the nipples out of the cylinder & snap away :)

November 18, 2009, 07:01 PM
I don't want to do this with any kind of regularity at all. I'm just wanting to analyze my hand movements real closely and see how much my hand moves when I actually pull the trigger. I'm trying to determine if my hand is more stable if I pull the trigger with just the tip of my finger or if it's more stable when I pull back with the first joint in my finger. I've seen both ways recommended and concluded that I need to analyze what works best with *my* hand and *my* revolver.

I guess the nipples don't make any significant weight difference so I can remove them and test things out. That makes sense unless there's something else I need to consider. Thanks!

November 18, 2009, 08:38 PM
I'd worry about the hammer banging into the nipple, frame, whatever, with no cushioning whatever.

Suggestion: How about cutting a thin piece of leather (or even cardboard) to slip inside the hammer groove to cushion the hammer so there's no metal-to-metal contact.

November 18, 2009, 08:40 PM
Taking the nipples out would let the curve of the hammer hit the frame. I don't think I'd want to take a chance on buggering either one up.

James K
November 18, 2009, 08:44 PM
In a percussion revolver of the Colt type, the hammer stop is the frame. Ideally, the hammer will never touch the nipples even if the cylinder is all the way back. In most repros (and a lot of originals) that is not the case, but that is the way the gun should be set up.


November 18, 2009, 09:23 PM
Jim's right about the frame being the hammer stop in the ideal case. But, it's not an ideal world, at least not yet. Removing the nipples shouldn't damage, and so far in my experience, hasn't damaged, the frame.

A good compromise is to stop by the auto parts store and get some small diameter rubber hose (aquarium tubing works best if you have a pet store nearby). Cut out a half dozen little donuts to slip over the nipple cones and fire away.

November 19, 2009, 09:37 AM
Reading this thread gave me an idea. I grabbed some rubber caps that are used on vacuum ports for automotive applications. Once I found the right size in my rubber draw I was good to go. You would wear them out eventually but for what you want to do they would work.

Springfield Kid
November 19, 2009, 09:55 AM
Dry fireing any gun isn`t a good idea , they make snap cap cartridges for dry fireing cartridge guns and the hammer springs aren`t as stout as they are on cap & ball revolvers .
Tempting yes , but so are alot of things we shouldn`t do .

November 19, 2009, 12:54 PM
Thanks for all the ideas! I dry fired 4 times (removed the nipples) and now I'm going to go back to the range and check what I observed with real bullets.
Nothing appears to be broken.

November 19, 2009, 01:02 PM
My Uberti made 1858's hammer was making the oh-so-slightest contact with the nipples. I took a file and removed a hair off of the hammer's surface. Now the hammer doesn't hit the nipples but DOES hit and ignite the caps.

November 19, 2009, 01:43 PM
A trigger over-travel is the best thing to do to a revolver. You can take off
the trigger guard and drill a small hole say 6-40 and put a set screw in it. This
can be adjusted to stop the trigger after sear release. This screw in not seen
after you put the trigger guard back on.

James K
November 19, 2009, 07:21 PM
I goofed on my note as I was thinking of a Colt type revolver, but the Remington hammer stops on the frame also. It is just easier to keep the cylinder set up right as the cylinder can't be forced back.

A trigger over-travel screw could help the trigger pull but of course doesn't affect the hammer-nipple contact.


November 19, 2009, 08:47 PM
I was thinking Colt too.:o

November 19, 2009, 10:23 PM
I guess someone needs to come up with snap-nipples. ;)