View Full Version : 1860 Army cap issue

October 19, 2010, 09:55 PM
I got a new 1860 Army 44 from Cabelas yesterday. I have not fired BP in it yet but did put on a #10 CCI cap and fire the gun. The cap split in three pieces. Same for a #11 CCI cap as it split too. Both caps were pushed down tight on the nipple. Any suggestions?

Secondly, I had a cap on the nipple and was ready to fire as a test when my wife said don't shoot now until I go in. I hand released the trigger and when I got ready to shoot the gun was locked up. The hammer would not pull back and the cylinder would not rotate. I was able to pull back the trigger far enough to get a small screwdriver and pop off the cap. When I did the trigger went forward and then it would pull back to fire or safety position as normal.

My question on this is ....when the gun locked up, fortunately the chamber was empty. I did not have to worry about a misfire with anything more than a cap. But if it was loaded, I may not have been very comfortable trying to get the cap off the nipple.

Any suggestions if it happens again?

Doc Hoy
October 20, 2010, 05:55 AM
One of the foibles of BP shooting is that the caps almost always fragment as you describe. In my experience you should be using number 10 caps on that Colt. In a Colt revolver the design of the pistol seems to invite fragments of the detonated cap to come to rest in the works. Some shooters will tell you that if you tilt the pistol high and to the right (if you shoot right handed) after each shot the spent cap will clear out of the pistol. It is a technique that becomes habit to some shooters. The Remington design doesn't seem to suffer from this cap swallowing problem.

It is almost certain that you will find a piece of the cap has wedged itself between the wrist of the hammer and the frame. This is preventing the hammer from moving all of the way forward reseting the bolt. The bolt must be reset before the hammer can be moved back creating the lock up condition. DO NOT FORCE IT.

Turn the pistol upside down and carefully work the hammer carefully back and forth. It may move as much as an eighth of an inch. This may work the cap out of the pistol allowing it to fall to the floor. Unfortunately the hammer may not move at all making this a fool's errand.

In this case the pistol may have to come apart to release the offending fragment. The sequence is; 1) take off the barrel and cylinder if it will come off. (Depending on the position of the bolt, the cylinder may not want to come off. Careful not to scratch the cylinder with the bolt.) 2) Take off the backstrap. Use the right screwdriver so as not to bung up the screwslots. 3) Take off the trigger guard first loosening the screw on the mainspring. I have done this about a half dozen times to unjam a pistol and the fragment always seems to drop out by the time I have got the trigger guard off the pistol.

Some shooters have developed modifications to the pistol (Colt clones) to prevent the cap from getting into the action. Other shooters do the "Colt wave" as I described above to remove the pieces of cap. Personally I do not do anything. I get a cap somewhere in the pistol about every fourth time I go shooting and in the vast majority of cases, it drops out without dismantling the pistol. I am not even sure I pay attention to cap fragments until I have fired all six and am ready to reload. Then I look at the pistol and hope that all of the fragments fell onto the shooting bench. If I don't see enough fragments on the shooting bench to make approximately six caps, I put the pistol down on the bench, genuflect, face Mecca, and repeat the following phrase. "Lord, Please remove the cap fragements from my Colt." Just kidding and no offense intended to the Christians, Muslims, or others in the group.

October 20, 2010, 08:51 AM
That was exactly what I needed.

October 20, 2010, 09:37 AM
I have 6 1860 army's. The one's from Cabelas are Pietta's. And can come with either #10 or #11 caps. Personally I switched out the nipples with #11 Treso nipples that can be found on most internet shooting stores. I shoot CAS and have little problem with these with caps. One important point is you MUST seat your caps firmly by pushing it down onto the nipple. I use a wooden dowel. Don't be afraid to push hard. As far as your gun locking up, I have yet to get a new 1860 Pietta or Uberti that did not need some tuning. What I do when I get a new gun is to continually work the action, hundreds of times. Usually while watching TV. This will help remove some of the rough edges from the action. (However, as you start this watch for signs on the cylinder of wear that indicate that it is not locking up properly and is out of time. If this is the case as it often is you need to get someone to adjust it.) Then I take it apart and look for places on the parts that show signs of wear, then lightly go over them with a fine stone. One thing about these and other cap & ball guns is you must learn it inside and out because you will need to tear it down often. I would also go to Brownells and order a new spring kit as most factory springs don't last long if you shoot often. Do not get competition springs as they lighten up the action, which is ok if you use a conversion for cartridges, but for Bp and caps you need the more powerful action. Plus do yourself a big favor and don't shoot true BP. You will spend more time cleaning the gun than shooting it. And you MUST clean it immediately. Use APP or Triple 7 that only need water cleanup.

Doc Hoy
October 20, 2010, 09:46 AM
Chuckwagon + 1.

Some shooters actually put valve lapping compound in the works to hasten the wear-in that Chuck is talking about. I have never tried that and can't speak for or against it.

His words on Treso nipples and eleven caps match my limited experience.

Another thing to get hold of is a decent set of hollow ground screwdrivers if you don't already own some.

Fingers McGee
October 20, 2010, 11:15 AM
Plus do yourself a big favor and don't shoot true BP. You will spend more time cleaning the gun than shooting it. And you MUST clean it immediately. Use APP or Triple 7 that only need water cleanup.

I must respectfully disagree with this assessment. Real blackpowder is not any more difficult or time consuming to clean in a C&B revolver than any of the subs. Water is all that is required. I shoot fffg BP in my '61 Navies in CAS competition have never found the need to "clean immediately".

October 20, 2010, 12:38 PM
I strongly agree with Fingers on this.

October 20, 2010, 06:42 PM
I strongly agree with Fingers on this.

Me too, even Pyrodex cleans with water and doesn't need cleaning for a few days.

October 21, 2010, 08:16 AM
Let me explain further. When I shoot BP with the piettas, even after cleaning and oiling, they rust, badly. It has to be the steel used for the gun. The 1st time I shot BP with them I cleaned them, put them away, went back a week later and the barrels and cylinders were coated in rust even thought they were coated with Ballistol. So I stay away from the true dark side. Until I switch to treso nipples i had leave them soaking in oil to prevent the rust.

Doc Hoy
October 21, 2010, 10:49 AM
I have had one foot on my cleaning soap box for the greater part of this conversation and now am prepared to step all the way up.

I clean EXTENSIVELY in soap and water every time I shoot. I take the pistols down to parade rest leaving almost universally, no two parts still assembled. Nipples come out of the cylinder every time as do the internal parts. I don't take the barrel out of the frame on a Remington, nor the arbor out of a Colt (Pretty obviously, but I had to say lest someone think I have gone arond the bend.) They go back together after oven drying with a good coating of Rem Oil. I rem Oil the nipples before they go back into the cylinder. It takes about an hour to clean two pistols.

This prompts comments from a few others in the group who feel my cleaning practices are over-the-top.

I then store the pistols in socks in a dresser drawer or put them back in the display case behind glass.

I regularly shoot Pyrodex, Triple 7 and GOEX.

My pistols never rust. I don't own a pistol that I can't get the nipples out of.

October 21, 2010, 11:11 AM
I also just got an 1860 from cabelas, and two of the nipple on my cylinder are bigger than the other 4. I used cci #10 and on the bigger two nipples they wouldnt fit, but on the other 4 they worked.... can anyone tell me whats wrong here? I also got a spare cylinder, and its the same with it... so I think I'm just gonna take the good nipples of the spare and put them on the gun cylinder and have a good cylinder. then order a new spare, and take the other good nipples from the spare (2) and then put them on the new spare, then return the bad cyilinder full of bad nipples! gee thats a mouthful!

Doc Hoy
October 21, 2010, 11:43 AM
If you pull the nipples out of the cylinder, you risk being told by Cabela's that you voided the warrantee by your action. It will be difficult to get the nipples out without making some detectable marks on at least some of them.

Your new pistol and cylinder should not require two different size caps. Send them both back unfiddled with.

Might want to preface it with a call to the customer service people. They might authorize you to mess with the nipples but I doubt it.

This kind of sillyness with new revolvers having different size nipples is way out of line on the part of Pietta. The ultimate check on QC is done by the buyer. Unless cabela's is taken to task, they will not fix it because in their mind, it is not broke.

October 21, 2010, 06:52 PM
Your dead on with the cleaning of the pistols. If you don't clean them that way they will leave you standing at the shooting line with a silly look on your face. :confused:

Andy Griffith
October 21, 2010, 07:17 PM
I'm with Doc on taking the whole gun apart for cleaning.
I have some friends I shoot with that do not, and they never seem to have any problems, but I tried it one time and won't ever try "half doing" it again.

I only shoot blackpowder exclusively, and take out the nipples and have pipe cleaners and baby bottle brushes to get inside the nipple holes, nipples and chambers. After getting everything all cleaned, I throw everything into a warm (200F) oven to assure it's dry then wipe it down with bore butter while still warm so it gets into every nook and cranny.

There is no reason that the nipples provided shouldn't work...I'd say the threads in the cylinder might be a bit rough, but that was covered in another recent thread. The Treso nipples are the way to go to be able to use the #11's...if you have plenty of #11's. :D

October 21, 2010, 08:49 PM
McPhee; I had the same problem with CCI's I switched to Remington # 10's and they work great now.


October 22, 2010, 12:46 PM
The bluing on the barrel of the 1860 Army is coming off in flakes exposing the bare metal. I have to return it to Cabelas for an exchange.

Other than two caps it was unfired and not out of the house except for shooting the caps.

I hate it when things go wrong as I really was looking forward to shooting it this weekend.

Doc Hoy
October 22, 2010, 01:11 PM
That certainly is a bummer

October 22, 2010, 01:48 PM
McPhee said: The bluing on the barrel of the 1860 Army is coming off in flakes exposing the bare metal.

Sounds more like a paint than blueing. Blueing changes the color of the steel, it may wear off, but flake off??? Never.

October 25, 2010, 10:04 AM
I shot 5 stages at the Missouri State Championships in Branson, Missouri last Friday. I wiped the face of the cylinders of my Pietta 1860 Armys and re-lubed the arbor. I shot 5 stages on Saturday. I put the guns in the zip up blanket and put them in the trunk of the car. I'm going to go get them in a few minutes because Momma say they stink up her car. Monday is a busy day for me so I won't get them cleaned today. I might get to them tomorrow and when I do I will spray the entire gun with moosemilk (7 parts water to 1 part Ballistol). Remove the cylinder and run a 12 ga mop in each chamber, toothbrush the nipples without removing them and blow the majority of the moisture off with an air compressor. I'll run a bore snake down the barrel and with the tooth brush knock off the accumulated fouling around the forcing cone. Blow dry. I wipe the fouling, softened by the moosemilk, from the frame, arbor and hammer paying more attention to the hammer. Blow dry.
Re-assemble and spray entire gun with Ballistol, wipe dry and put them away for the next session. I won't spend 30 minutes cleaning all four guns, 1866 rifle, double barrel 12 and the two Armys.

Last year I had difficulty with an 1860 at the South Regional SASS shoot in November. I put the gun in it's sock and got out a backup. I got my guns out to shoot the first spring match the first weekend in March and realized that I had not cleaned the gun since shooting it in November. Not recommended but no problems, no rust. Followed the regular routine, repaired the problem that caused it to be put away and went to the match.
There is a whole lore of voodoo magic that is attributed to the horrors of black powder clean up that is a big bunch of hogwash. Water cleans the black powder fouling and Ballistol protects the metal.
It's easier to handle than smokeless, especially if you shoot a lot.
I have never spent hours with brass brushes and bore cleaner trying to get the leading and brass fouling out of a black powder gun as I did when I was shooting exclusively smokeless.
My only warning would be to be careful with the subs, 777, APP, Pyrodex etc. These CAN cause rusting problems but not real black.
This is not a commercial for Ballistol, but it works. There are other products that work as well but none I have found that work better.
I tried a new*"wonder" gun oil that was being passed out at a shoot. I got 2 stages fired, 10 rounds from each gun, and the cylinders locked up. I had to take them apart and re-lube the arbors with my homemade Pearl lube.

mike in nc
October 25, 2010, 05:30 PM
you said,
"I have 6 1860 army's. The one's from Cabelas are Pietta's. And can come with either #10 or #11 caps"

I am curious, how do you know which ones fit, or is it just a matter of trying each to find out?

October 26, 2010, 10:01 AM
Option "B":eek:

If they misfire on the first strike & then fire on the second they are too small. (the first hammer strike drives them onto the nipple enough for the second to ignite them.)

If they fall off no matter what you do then they are too big. (You can pinch them to make a better fit but there is some discussion on whether this increases the chance for multiple chamber ignition or chain-firing)

mike in nc
October 26, 2010, 06:48 PM
thanks for the info, that is good to know, actually had that happen last time I was on the range. misfire on the first strike that is, did not happen the first time I fired the gun with the same caps, I will have to check to make sure I have all the fouling off the nipples

October 31, 2010, 07:31 PM
I wouldn't use #10 caps on a Pietta. Try Remington 11. But, I have found that these Italy made guns aren't always perfect. The wedge is too tight. And that can cause rotation problems. Also, the frame channel where hammer flows through to hit nipple is sometimes rough causing drag. I know a lot of you guys will disagree but I file my channels on new guns so hammer doesnt catch. I pull back hammer w/ trigger held and feel for roughness in the channel holding hand. If it feels rough then polish. If you know a good gunsmith and afraid to do so $40 +/- will save you that grief. And if you take your gun down to to all parts, you better know what you are doing:)

October 31, 2010, 08:16 PM
Wait-maybe I got to ahead in this post. Sorry. But gettin back to bluin flaking, I've never seen that happen unless folks tried to redo them. I know I have never been successful in rebluin a barrel using all kinds of different chemicals and processess. There is always a flaw--rust lines and the bluin comin off. DANG IT:( But I also meant to say as far as roughness in the hammer channel and roughness in the hammer hand channel when polished and slicked down always helped me shoot these with better action and little jamming. And ballestol mix is the best.