View Full Version : Success! a/k/a "the nipple wrench frustration"...

March 27, 2012, 12:15 PM
I've been working on my 1858 Remmies to get them set up for SASS/CAS in the Frontiersman category. As part of this process, I purchased some replacement (AMPCO/Treso) nipples. "All I had to do" (you've heard that one before, right? :rolleyes:), was get the old nipples out first.

The first cylinder was a breeze. #2....not so easy. Well, long story made short, three nipple wrenches later, I finally had success. I basically demolished two "store bought" wrenches and the 1/4" socket that I modified to be used as a nipple wrench before I received my "Ratcheting Nipple Wrench" (made by Cash) from the Possibles Shop yesterday. These nipples had been soaking in various things (to include WD-40, Liquid Wrench, Ballistol, etc.) for over 2 weeks. Maybe they finally gave up to the ever-present solvents OR maybe it was because the wrench actually fit better and provided more usable torque. My money is on the wrench.

So, I am now "sold" on the Cash ratcheting nipple wrench. And it was a whopping $12.95 plus shipping.

Oh yeah, I got my leather over the past weekend, so I'm now "certified" and ready to make smoke at our next match. :D

T6 a/k/a Chickahominy Charlie

March 27, 2012, 01:24 PM
I'm a believer. That was the only thing I found to get mine out too (the first time).

Andy Griffith
March 27, 2012, 04:46 PM
Now, if they only made a wrench tip to fit the nipples on the walkers and Paterson revolvers.

Doc Hoy
March 27, 2012, 06:12 PM
I got the idea from Mykeal.

Made a jig which fits in the cylinder and then the whole mess goes into a vice. the purpose of the jig is to hold the cylinder and prevent it from turning. The socket is cut for the nipple. The quarter inch ratchet does all the work. Close up the vice so the socket can't slip.


Here is another view that shows how the jig rides against the vice.


Andy Griffith
March 27, 2012, 08:43 PM
I like your setup Doc. I may have to try the same thing, but on a drill press.

In the past, I've applied heat, cold and generous amounts of penetrating oil and had them come out rather easy. I home built a wrench from a USA built 3/16" nut driver...it was hard, and hasn't slipped yet. I've meant to get one to cut and fit Dragoon/Walker nipples and work on one to fit Paterson nipples.

Fingers McGee
March 27, 2012, 10:38 PM
This nipple wrench from the Possible Shop is absolutely the best nipple wrench I have ever used. It will get anything loose. I've been using one for almost 20 years on rifles, single shot pistols and revolvers. I've broken just about every other make and model wrench there is out there; but this one keeps on.


Colt Universal Nipple wrench is made from carbon steel and has nipple slots of about .196” - .236” and .275”, and screwdriver tip. Combination wrench fits 1851, 1860 and 1858 Cap & Ball Pistol - AMPCO, traditions and Musket Nipples. By Pedesoli.

Universal Nipple Wrench 45-016 $26.95


March 28, 2012, 12:28 AM
I used a 3/16" socket (1/4" drive) and modified it with a dremel to perfectly fit the nipples on my 1860. I also went through a couple "regular" nipple wrenches that were too soft or too brittle. I know its painful but if you use a high quality socket it will easily overcome the nipple. Kroil works pretty good too!

March 28, 2012, 06:22 AM
My original scheme, which Doc successfully improved, used a drill press. Installed a small vise on the press table, inserted two dowels in the chambers and chucked the dowels in the vise, locked a socket modified as a nipple wrench into the drill chuck using a piece of hex stock, (unplugged the press!) ran the press head down to fit the socket over the nipple, locked the head down and turned the chuck by hand. The drill press and vise keep the geometry perfect and all you need to do is apply the force. Do not turn on the drill press.

Doc Hoy
March 28, 2012, 06:27 AM
I can't take credit for this set-up. Mykeal came up with it and indeed I think he uses a drill press. You can tell that with me, function is far more important than form. I should make the jig look prettier.

I go through this "take-the-nipples-out" routine with every pistol I bring into the house. I am one of those shooters who thinks you should be able to get the nipple(s) out of a black powder firearm.

In revolvers, specifically the cylinder is much easier to clean properly with the nipples out.

When I reassemble after cleaning, I don't make them very tight. Just snug.

I don't own a revolver with tight nipples.

March 28, 2012, 08:52 AM
I tend to leave my nipples in unless there is a problem. I take them out upon initial exam of the new acquisition but then re-install them with anti seize lube on the threads. They are a little harder to clean with nipples in but I go through a lot of Q-tips and canned air. I find no fault in anyone who is more thorough than me regarding gun hygiene.

March 29, 2012, 01:43 PM
I didn't see Fingers' "multi" tool nipple wrench, but I'd have tried that had I seen one for sale.

The modified 1/4" drive socket was looking good.....right up to the point when it snapped off one side of the socket. :eek:

I did see Doc's set up in another post (yes, I did some searching :rolleyes:), but that was a bit complicated for this country boy....;)

As an update, I bored out the nipple recesses (remember, 1858) as per some instructions I got from Noz some time ago in order to accommodate a capper, then replaced the nipples with AMPCO/Treso nipples yesterday. Yes, I used anti-seize.

Then, I went out to my little target range and let a few cylinders loose....while wearing my new leather!

My "new" lesson is that I need better lubrication on the cylinder pins. After only two cylinders each, they were starting to bind. Caps fell off ok....only one fell in the palm of my gun hand :eek: and I've got the burn scar to prove it. :rolleyes:

.....and I wanted to switch from smokeless because??????:p

T6 a/k/a Chickahominy Charlie

Doc Hoy
March 29, 2012, 02:00 PM
.......BP is more fun!

Andy Griffith
March 29, 2012, 02:53 PM
Talking about that...I too remove every nipple when I clean my revolvers. I did get a 6x.75 finish tap and run that down and through every gun that I use- it made getting the nipples in and out a breeze. I do lube the nipples with a bit of breech plug lube and it makes them even easier every time I take them out- and I have never had one back out during several cylinders full during a session. The Treso nipples can be a bit hard to start, but I only start them with my fingers.

I use a small pipe cleaner in each nipple and then throw them into an ultrasonic cleaner on low for a little while and my Treso's come out looking almost new.

Fingers McGee
March 29, 2012, 07:57 PM

Here's the link at the Possible Shop page. It's the one all the way at the bottom of the page.


How come you're not here at Ft Parker shooting????

Bill Akins
March 29, 2012, 11:01 PM
It doesn't matter if your revolver's got tight or loose nipples, because when hunting Elephant in Alabama the Tuscaloosa. http://forums.azbilliards.com/images/newsmilies/groucho.gif


Doc Hoy
March 30, 2012, 06:22 AM
That's irrelevant.

No, That your elephant.

Bill Akins
March 30, 2012, 08:27 AM
Speaking of Elephants, I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know. http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/9200000/Marx-Brothers-icons-marx-brothers-9268604-100-100.jpg

Attsa righta boss, you tell em. http://www.thelin.net/laurent/cinema/films/tt0038777/47997.jpg Honk honk! http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS5UY-RZSTWHXSN3UOmFnbHNLdeeCcFqZGi_fQT-cp2yJ1aE2cZ

Which reminds me, I resent that inuendo. And if I were a man I'd tell you a thing or two, and don't you let me forget it! The very idea. Just like I always say, when your relatives are at your door, it's because money came inuendo.

Speaking of loose nipples, here's how I tighten up the nipples on the cylinder of my 1858 Remington revolver.
Reminds me of Franco Nero unscrewing a revolver's trigger guard with his teeth in the spaghetti western movie "Django" (Wish I could use that Groucho pic here as an avatar, if we had avatars here).

Now say the magic woid and win a duck. (only old guy baby boomers will get all of this).


Bill Akins
March 30, 2012, 09:01 AM
Sorry guys, I couldn't resist the levity. Loose nipples made me think of the Tuscaloosa! But seriously, I gotta get myself one of those Cash ratcheting nipple wrenches. Great idea by the way on that vice ratchet setup by MyKeal and Doc.


March 30, 2012, 07:17 PM
I'm actually afraid to open this thread any more.:D

Andy Griffith
March 30, 2012, 07:57 PM
What is the torque value that nipples should be torqued to?

That's the sixty-four thousand dollar question... :D:p:D

March 30, 2012, 09:59 PM
Snug (aka seated) plus 1/4 turn, no more.

Andy Griffith
April 1, 2012, 12:25 PM
That was a joke. :rolleyes:

I tighten them until she hollers. :D

I was hoping someone would have asked if metric or standard. :D :p ;)

April 10, 2012, 02:24 PM
Sorry to drag up an old thread, but I've been busy.....:rolleyes:

How come you're not here at Ft Parker shooting????

Cuz I was supposed to be in mediation on 3/30. Of course, it was cancelled/rescheduled shortly before and I couldn't get the "logistics" in place on the short notice I had. We really wanted to be there, but.....:rolleyes:

Shot my '58 Remmies at our local shoot last weekend. The new nipples peformed well. Not one dropped cap. In fact, I shot my first clean match.....which since I was shooting BP wasn't necessarily "clean," but I managed to hit all of the targets. :D

I still have some issues with fouling in my rifle, but I think I have a line on how to fix that.

So, my follow-up question is this -- What do you guys recommend as lubricant for the cylinder pin? I've tried two things already and I'm not really happy with either one. I'm only getting 2-3 stages before I see binding and have to clean and relube.

T6 a/k/a Chickahominy Charlie

April 10, 2012, 03:03 PM
What I do for my Uberti Remingtons is to keep a small plastic squeeze bottle in my shooting box and between stages, after charging & greasing all loaded chambers I put a single drop of oil (I use olive but others like Ballistol) right at the juncture of the cylinder front and the frame. I then jiggle or twirl the cylinder a few times (holding the barrel up) to work it onto the cylinder pin. This 10 second procedure gets me through another stage or two without beginning to bind. If I'm shooting full loads (30grs powder) I do it each stage if shooting light loads (20grs) it's done every 2-3 stages. No need to pull the cylinder and get all messy. Save that til the final after match cleaning.

April 10, 2012, 06:55 PM
I would like to try the breech plug grease that I use on my nipples because the mineral oil that I use now dissipates pretty rapidly. The breech plug grease does contain some graphite which some folks can simply mix into the grease manually if theirs doesn't contain any.
I don't know if Vaseline would be any better than mineral oil since it contains the same basic mineral oil ingredient but in a different form, but it does melt at a relatively low temperature.
I think that some folks may use heavier synthetic greases, lithium grease or maybe even consider trying an anti-seize. But whichever product is chosen it would make sense to test each one out first to see how it works.
I also recall that some folks reportedly use Pam cooking spray (with olive or vegetable oil but not flavored) or its generic equivalent.
Sometimes competitive shooting requires trying out new products that a person may not normally try if only plinking because they have more time to wipe and lube between loading cylinders.
What have you tried that doesn't seem to last long enough?

April 11, 2012, 04:22 AM
Well, I hate to be the wet blanket here, but I've got a TDC ratcheting nipple wrench and I was able to bend that little sucker out of shape. I had a friend from here on the forum make me a new one out of a 3/16"nut driver - I bent that one out of shape. I'd surely like to find one that would hold its own with my C&B guns. :( :confused:

April 11, 2012, 09:11 AM
The obvious answer is to not let the nipples get stuck in the first place. I ALWAYS use an anti-seize material.
But if the gun came to you with stuck nipples then good luck. I have an ASM 1860 that I was determined to get the nipples out of it and wound up ruining the cylinder. I tried heat-cold-brake fluid-WD40-laquer thinner-and all of the various rust removing or rust loosening solutions over a period of weeks and one simply would not come out. I used every type of nipple wrench I could find and made a few from sockets and broke or bent them all. I finally broke the nipple off at the threads. I then tried to drill it out and the drill walked over into the body of the cylinder and ruined the threads.
The cylinder sets in a box to remind me to put the anti seize on the threads every time.
The remnants of the nipple are still stuck in the demolished cylinder.

A note: Even with the anti seize material on the threads I do not tighten the nipples. I snug them up until they stop turning and quit there. I guess you could call them finger tight but no more than that.

April 11, 2012, 01:01 PM
What have you tried that doesn't seem to last long enough?

So far I've tried regular gun oil (Hoppe's) and Ballistol. The Ballistol works well for 2-3 stages (2-3 cylinders), but it starts gumming up after that. The Hoppe's is a 1 stage only.

I've heard others talk about a grease of some sort, and that's what I was wondering about.

So, if you're using a particular type of grease on your cap and ball which allows you to shoot, say, 6-8 cylinders without binding on the cylinder pin area, I'd love to hear what you're using.


T6 a/k/a Chickahominy Charlie

April 11, 2012, 10:46 PM
i'm guessin the makers hire gorillas to tighten down them nipples :D

April 12, 2012, 09:51 AM
I make my own nipple wrenchs using 3/16 sockets. These are the best i have ever used.