View Full Version : Stuck nipples

Doc Hoy
November 14, 2010, 03:23 PM
Just wanted to update an issue that came up a while back.

I had two spare cylinders with the nipples stuck in them. Would not budge for love nor money. Rounded off two nipple wrenches in the process.

During the conversation many helpful suggestions were forwarded but three were used to remedy my situation.

1) Half and Half solution of Acetone and Automatic Transmission Fluid. Soaked the cylinder in it for a week

2) Make your own nipple wrench from a 1/4 drive socket.

3) Make a jig with some dowels to hold the cylinder in place.

Another suggestion was to apply some heat. I opted not to do that because of the flammable liquids involved.

Another suggestion had me using the jig and the nipple wrench in a drill press to exert downward pressure on the nipple. Instead of a drill press, I put the whole mess in a vice to hold the nipple wrench firmly on the nipple.



Instead of dowels for the jig, I used aluminum round stock. I left the plate long enough to catch the guides on the vice and prevent the jig and cylinder from rotating when I turned the ratchet.

Even with all this hoopla, I still nearly ruined the fabricated nipple wrench.

November 14, 2010, 04:16 PM
Should have just dunked the cylinder in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes and then took them out.

November 14, 2010, 05:55 PM
Thanks for the tip. That's a unique way to do the pressure. I start with stuck parts using heat. If that doesn't work I use heat and apply ice or one of those ice packs to chill it fast...this works more times than not. But like heat, you may have to do it a few times to finally get the parts to break free. Otherwise I clean and cook small parts to loosen them in an old crockpot filled with full strength antifreeze on low heat overnight. If this doesn't work the part are usually beyond being taken apart.


November 14, 2010, 07:24 PM

Thanks for the update. Interesting applications of the ideas.

November 14, 2010, 08:05 PM
Another nice "How to" !! ... :)
Keep on keeping on. ..... ;)
Anymore, you have me looking forward to what you are working on. .... :o

Be Safe !!!

Doc Hoy
November 15, 2010, 03:55 AM
Hawg and Bill,

You are right. The "boil it" and the "alternating heat and cold" were also suggestions. Sorry I omitted them in my post.

As I said, I did not want to rely on too much heat but boiling would have fit the bill. I have never been successful using heat, I think because it takes me too long to get to the removal operation. The part cools down and it is as though nothing ever happened.

Mykeal and Pahoo,

Thanks. I sure do like working on these pistols. It is a way to extend the useful season into the cold winter months. I just finished a Leech and Rigdon, which I was describing over on "Blackpowdersmoke" forum. But now I am down to just one pistol project. (1858 Remington .44 with a four inch barrel.) So I am in the market for some clunkers.

November 15, 2010, 09:21 AM

Go see your LGS and talk to them about contacting you when a 'clunker' comes through their door. It could generate positive PR for them and you can get your project guns. :D

Doc Hoy
November 15, 2010, 09:41 AM
Not a bad idea! There is a new shop opning up around the corner from me too.

I have my name in at several pawn shops but they don't get much business in black powder.

Craigs list will not let me advertise for items wanted if the item happens to be a "firearm!?"

But the gun shop is a good idea.

November 15, 2010, 03:56 PM
What I have found is that if you apply heat, just heat the side if the cylinder underneath the nipple that you are trying to loosen with the tip of a torch. You want to expand the threads in the cylinder but apply torque to the nipple before the nipple heats up to the temprature of the cylinder so that there is a temperature difference between the two.

From a previous thread:

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.

Last edited by mrappe; September 10, 2010 at 06:54 AM. Reason: mistyped

Doc Hoy
November 15, 2010, 07:37 PM
I will tell you....I hope I never have this problem again but dealing as I do in clunkers which I enjoy restoring, my sense is that it is a good skill to remain current on.

I must also hasten to say that the reason I bought a set of deep sockets to make nipple wrenches, is that the deeper the socket, the more often you can true up the wrench jaws. As I said, I nearly ruined this one on these two cylinders but there is plenty of metal left onthe socket to dress it up.

Andy Griffith
November 16, 2010, 09:57 AM
Never thought of using sockets- that's a good idea. :)

Always used nut drivers. The one I picked up at the hardware store is USA made, and I have rounded off the nipples a bit before getting them out- it has got to be some kind of really hardened steel. :eek:

November 21, 2010, 08:59 AM
I made my first nipple wrench out of an allen wrench. It worked fine until I ran into the first suborn nipple. The second was made out of a socket. It wasn't that I was too cheap to buy one at the store, but I couldn't find one locally when I needed it, and I didn't want to pay $6 shipping for a $5 nipple wrench. The socket idea was so easy to make with my dremel, and worked so well that I never bough one.

Oh by the way, once you have a nipple wrench built out of a socket, you can use an impact wrench :) Just don't use the impact wrench to put them in:D

November 21, 2010, 05:50 PM
Doc Hoy

I love that set up. That's some heavy metal piece of equipment and the jig to hold the cylinder in place with the dowels is a great idea.

I've gone a few rounds with some nipples in a few of the replicas I have. I've used the vice and wooden dowel thing. Along with lots of soaking and Liquid Wrench or Blaster, with various nipple wrenches both commercial and home made sockets. Good stuff.

Originals of course are a different story. The Colt pocket pistol still eludes me in getting the nipples out. I'm sticking to low impact stuff for right now. I have little doubt were it a replica a little rougher action would have already done the job. But... it's a patience thing.