View Full Version : Worlds strongest nipple wrench

September 6, 2010, 07:20 PM
I need one because I have several cylinders one 1860 and 1 1858 that have nipples so tight that I cannot budge them. The 1858 is the worst because of the sharp edges around the nipple and the fact that the nipples are angled out from the center. I have tried WD40, heat etc and cannot budge them. I busted abot 4 wrenches trying to get them loose. Any suggestions. The 1858 is a Pietta and the 1860 is a Urburti.

September 6, 2010, 07:26 PM
Make one. Take a 1/4" drive 3/16" socket and cut a slot the size and depth of the nipple shoulder in the center. You won't be able to break it.
Oh yeah. Loose the WD40 and use a good penetrating oil first give it a day to work.

September 6, 2010, 08:13 PM
50-50 mixture of acetone and automatic transmission fluid. Let it penetrate for a few hours, then moderate heat.

2 suggestions for a wrench (denster's notwithstanding - a good idea that will work if you have the tools to make it): The Chapman's small ratchet with nipple bits as sold by The Possible Shop: http://www.possibleshop.com/s-s-nipple-wrench.html. Or, the RMC double ended wrench ML063: http://rmcoxyoke.com/rmcoxyoke_cfmfiles/product.cfm?msection=1958

After soaking in the penetrating oil mixture, put two dowel rods in two cylinder chambers and chuck them in a vise - this supports the cylinder without damage and allows you to apply high torque to the nipple. If you have the setup, use a vise on a drill press bench so that the nipple is aligned with the drill chuck. Unplug the drill and chuck the modified socket/wrench/nipple socket in the drill. Lower the press to engage the nipple with the socket and lock it down. Turn the chuck by hand to loosen the nipple. If you don't have the drill press/vise setup, you can just use a regular vise and your muscle applied to the wrench.

September 6, 2010, 08:42 PM
+1 on what Mykeal said especially the transmision fluid and acetone. It really works.

September 6, 2010, 09:02 PM
That RMC double ended wrench looks a lot like the wrench that comes in Cabela's starter sets. I hope it isn't, because I had a stuck nipple once and it warped wide open. That's when I bought the chapman ratchet nipple wrench.

I was going to make a bit for it for my rifles, but I started using silver anti-seize paste every time after that incident.

September 6, 2010, 09:43 PM
It's not.

September 7, 2010, 08:47 AM
I have broken several of the "homemade" wrenches. I even went to Sears and bought a Craftsman socket so I would have as good a starter piece as possible. Broke it.
Stuck nipples can be a real difficult problem and I, for one, have not found a solution.

September 7, 2010, 08:56 AM
Not letting them get stuck in the first place comes to mind.

September 7, 2010, 09:01 AM
wrapping the nipple with a single layer of teflon tape will allow to use a regular ol nipple wrench,you will never have stuck nipple with the teflon tape.

September 7, 2010, 10:43 AM
Not letting them get stuck in the first place comes to mind.
wrapping the nipple with a single layer of teflon tape will allow to use a regular ol nipple wrench,you will never have stuck nipple with the teflon tape.
All true, but not on topic. None of the guns I actually own have stuck nipples, now. However, many of the ones I've purchased have come to me with stuck nipples, and many more have been in guns I've worked on for friends/relatives. It happens. What the OP needs to know is how to deal with it when it does.

Wrenches & socket heads break for the same reason screwdrivers tear up screw heads: they either don't fit properly or they're not being used properly. Most of the 'unhardened' commercial wrenches don't stand a chance from the beginning - in addition to being loose they're hard to control and keep properly engaged, and once the lip starts to curl they're impossible to control at all. The dowel/vise/drill press technique will work with almost any close fitting socket or wrench whether it's been hardened or not because it keeps the geometry correct and allows you to apply all your strength as pure torque.

September 7, 2010, 11:50 AM
Great topic. I've bought several used weapons in the last couple of months, most have been unfired and sat around in cases for a few decades. Those were easy. I disassembled them with no problems and put some Thompson's Super Lube around the threads of the nipples. The prevention thing. Teflon never crossed my mind.

Some of the used ones had been fired but the previous owners had done their stuff and the nipples came right out. The Colt Walker had been fired the previous owner had not removed the nipples because they didn't own a wrench.:rolleyes: One of the nipples of course gave me some problems. I put it in a plastic bag and sprayed it with CLP. Let it sit for a couple of hours and sprayed it again. The next day it popped right out.

I've bought some heavy duty nipple wrenches from Taylors and Thompsons and made a couple of my own 1/4" drive 3/16" socket types, using a Dremel and a file. These work great and being able to ratchet the socket helps out.

I like the vice and dowel thing, with a little heat. It's definitely about technique, geometry, some patience and fore thought. Some nipples don't like muscle alone (Least wise this kind) and having to drill one out is something I wouldn't want to have a go at.

September 7, 2010, 02:01 PM
My experience with drilling was not pretty nor was it successful.

September 7, 2010, 02:23 PM
In the 40+ years I have been shooting ML guns, the best nipple wrench I have ever owned and used is by North Star http://www.northstarwest.com/northwest_gun.aspx
At least they were the best when Curly was still alive. I hope the tradition of quality has lasted without him.

September 7, 2010, 02:34 PM

I've drilled a few screws out of some modern weapons. But not lately. Not recommended for the faint of heart. It takes a vise and some preparation, with a real steady hand and nerve. None of which I have an abundance of these days, no to mention patience. So I'll do the prevention thing and keep my fingers crossed when it comes to cylinder nipples.

September 7, 2010, 06:15 PM
"50-50 mixture of acetone and automatic transmission fluid. Let it penetrate for a few hours, then moderate heat."

It sound a little like Ed's Red Bore Cleaner.

September 7, 2010, 06:46 PM
Drilling out a stuck nipple is, of course, the last resort, and it does take some seriously on purpose tools with experience.

I've found the MicroGrabit Kit by Alden Corp, sold by Brownell's (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/sid=16943/pid=0/sku/MicroGrabit_Kit) to be the best for gun screws and nipples. It's basically a set of small 'easy outs' with matched left handed metal drill bits. Follow the directions and while it's still not an easy task, these things do about the best job I've found of making it possible. I can usually save the threads with these things, if there are any left to be saved at all. Not cheap, so you gotta really want to save that cylinder, or else you're faced with doing several.

September 8, 2010, 02:27 PM
I'm still with the prevention thing but... as several people have pointed out they can come that way when we buy used weapons that have been sitting around for a few decades. I'm adding a couple of nipple wrenches to the collection.

The Pietta 1858 Remington replica that I own sat around since 1976, not being fired. I sprayed her down with Ballistol a couple of times and played around with the loading lever and clicked a few parts to loosen them up. Getting the cylinder pin out took a dowel and a hammer. I then took her apart and removed the nipples.

I cleaned her up real good and started putting them back in. I put some Thompsons Super Lube on the threads. All went back in ok, except for the last one of course and it just would not crank down. I finally took a second one out and it screwed right in to the empty slot. The first one of course did the same. Go figure that one out?

Any way this old gal is going to get a range trip in the near future. Like a couple of other Safe Queens she is way over due.

Some great stuff on here about dealing with stuck nipples. I've of course taken quite a few notes on it.

September 8, 2010, 08:54 PM
Loctite sells a product named Freeze & Release. It is an aerosol & is used to remove frozen bolts & the like.

September 8, 2010, 09:09 PM
this forum is a great wealth of information!..I was just coming in here to ask this very same question..where to get a nipple wrench thats of good quality..I just bought a pietta 1851 colt navy 36 caliber from cabelas, and didnt realize all the science that goes into bp shooting..every time I buy an accesssory..looks like I need something else..Got the balls, got the powder, got the caps...then I need wads...then "anti sieze" compound for the nipples..now they tell me I need a nipple wrench..then I need some sort of lube to smooth out the bore before firing..then I need a loading stand..I am wondering anything else before I go bankrupt??I bet old wild Bill never used almost none of this stuff..yet he was a pretty feared gunman..I wonder how he pulled that off??..lol

September 8, 2010, 10:30 PM
Can't get a grip on any of the nipples on my Ruger OA with the wrench provided in the gun case by Ruger. Eyeballing the wrench end of the tool provided can just make out the wrench angles and looks to me worn beyond use. Does anyone know of a socket that will fit these Ruger nipples.

Doc Hoy
September 9, 2010, 02:24 AM
I am wondering anything else before I go bankrupt??

Sixpack of Guiness Stout.

September 9, 2010, 03:26 PM
Won't just regular good ol' American lager give you all the beer muscles you need to remove said stuck nipples? A regular six pack of red snapper should do just fine.

I also have the RMC double ended nipple wrench. Its a pretty good choice IMHO.

p.s. On a Ruger Old Army a 3/16th socket in 1/4" drive works perfectly with factory nipples. No modification necessary...use as is.

September 9, 2010, 03:47 PM
Using the suggested mods to a 3/16" socket I was able to get two of the stuck nipples out of one 58 Rem cylinder but the one in the 60 Army feels like it was wekded in. I tried the suggestion of 50% acetone and 50% tranny fluid but that did not do it so I tried some heat and that still did not do it. I will have to break out my drill press vice and try the socket on it with that. If I ever get this one out I will always try some of the anti-seizure stuff on them all. I usually put Bore Butter on them but at least some of the stuck ones were new cylinders that I had shot only once.

September 9, 2010, 03:59 PM
Before you get too forcefull. Try the acetone/tranny fluid a couple more times. Try heating it then applying. It will work just sometmes take a little time to penetrate.

September 9, 2010, 06:05 PM
Yes, don't give up on the acetone/ATF too early. Give it time and several opportunities. Patience is golden when shooting and working with black powder.

September 10, 2010, 07:52 AM
I finally got it off. I had soaked it in the acetone/tranny fluid and heated that but it would not budge so I found my drill press vice and chucked an 8"
1/4" drive extention in with the 3/16" modified socket on it and raise the dp table up to the place where the socket ould engage the nipple with no vertical play or slipage. I tried twisting the chuck by hand but it still would not budge so I heated the area of the outside of the cylinder just below the nipple with the tip of a propane torch. I did not heat it but for a short time since I did not want to wait until the nipple itself would expand. I then twisted the chuck and it came loose. I now fell like celebrating. I will definitely will keep all of them well lubed but this cylinder was a new replacement that was loaded once since I got it.

September 10, 2010, 10:43 AM
Congrats. Persistance pays off. Now buy a small tube of never sieze and you are set for life.

September 10, 2010, 11:14 AM
Or any kind of "bore butter", it's all good now you got 'em loose.:)

September 10, 2010, 07:40 PM

That is persistance and a lot of work. Glad you pulled it off. Thanks for the detailed description. Several people here will no doubt be slapping some more lube on theirs in hopes of avoiding all that fuss.


September 12, 2010, 06:12 PM
Yesterday I bought a nipple wrench from Traditions. On the package, it says it's hardened. Yeah, right. What a load of crap. It deformed like it was made from butter on the first nipple, which was not all that tight. Part of the problem with this wrench is that they cut way too much material away, making the contact area very small.

Anyway, I thought I was being terribly smart when I "invented" a homemade wrench made from a 1/4" drive 3/16" nut driver socket. Just run a 3/16" mill bit through it to a depth of about 0.070". Then I found this thread and realized that this is a well known trick.:rolleyes: But anyway, here are the results:

The ruined traditions wrench, and my new one:

Figured I might as well fix the traditions wrench while I had the milling machine set up:

September 12, 2010, 06:38 PM

That is a nice set you have there. Glad to see you straightened out the Traditions one. The home made job looks great.

Thanks for posting it. The pictures of course say alot.

September 13, 2010, 02:51 AM
I picked this 3/16ths Socket at a Flea Market for $1.00. She works just fine on the Ruger Old Army Nipples. Later I she could get a slot cut into her for some versatility.

I'm also putting a check in the mail to Connecticut for a Pietta Replica of a Texas Colt Paterson this morning. So I gotta start cutting corners some where. This Black Powder Thing of ours can get expensive.

Doc Hoy
September 13, 2010, 06:04 AM
I have not made any comments in this thread yet but I have read every word.

Lot of good ideas here. I don't have anything to add except my silence.

Never pass up a good opportunity to keep your mouth shut.

September 13, 2010, 08:42 AM
I redraw attention to my post #13.
For a few dollars, those involved with 'stuck' nipples could save themselves a lot of aggravation.
BTW, I have never seen such a 'stuck' nipple. Even some very antique corroded and rusted guns rarely present such problems.