Removing Frozen Black Powder Nipple


June 28, 2005, 12:09 PM
Anyone know if there's such a thing as a really good, strong nipple wrench specifically for removing a frozen blackpowder nipple? I mean something made of steel as good as gunsteel so it won't break. I tried the usual kind from Dixie but one of the ears broke off and the exposed metal at the break made it look like it's made out of some kind of cast or base metal. Absolutely no good for a frozen nipple. Thanks in advance for any help.

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June 28, 2005, 12:25 PM
Most wrenches seem pretty poor when the nipple is frozen on. I made my own out of a hss round. I just cut a slot with a dremel that would fit over the nipple, of course I broke the tit off the nipple before I used it so that I didn't have to drill a hole. Another thing that will work is a screw extractor, you probably will have to drill the nipple to use it.

June 28, 2005, 12:56 PM
In the past, I've just used an EZOut/screw extractor and replaced the nipple rather than trying to reuse it.

June 28, 2005, 01:28 PM
Indeed a hss (drill stock) if ground carefully should take a lot of torque. It has helped me in past to put whole cylinder in to some sorta release agent - and found on one occasion that model airplane fuel (methanol mainly) seemed to penetrate enough to help - followed by drying off and a spell in the freezer!

June 28, 2005, 02:12 PM
Don't forget the Kryoil.

Jim K
June 28, 2005, 09:08 PM
There are some good nipple wrenches available without making your own.

The main problem is that the wrench tends to slip off the nipple, rounding the nipple shoulders, and here is the way to prevent that.

First, soak the cylinder in a penetrant.

Then, drive the cross handle out of the wrench. Chuck the wrench in a drill press. Set the cylinder up in the vise with leather padding and tighten it down. Adjust the table and vise to bring the stubborn nipple under the chuck, and lower the nipple wrench onto the nipple, turning the chuck and adjusting the vise as necessary to mate the wrench to the nipple.

With the nipple wrench on the nipple, hold the drill press chuck down or, if possible, lock it in place. DO NOT turn on the power. Using hand pressure on the chuck, unscrew the nipple, You might have to work the chuck back and forth a bit to break the nipple loose, but the pressure of the press head keeps the wrench from riding up on the nipple and rounding the shoulders.

If this doesn't work, then you will have to drill the nipple out, but that is only necessary on nipples that are really rusted in over many years.


June 29, 2005, 09:16 AM
Soak for 24 hours in Kroil or kerosene.

Jim Keenan offered the very best way to remove any frozen screw.

If the nipple is really frozen and replacements are available the EZ-Out and drill chuck may be the only way to go but try this as a last resort if you are working an original gun and nipple combination.

Use your screw plate to check the thread dimensions and remember to chase the nipple port with a correctly sized tap to clean it out.

Put a thin film of RIG gun grease or anti-seize grease on the new nipple threads before you screw it into place, this will help prevent the nipple from seizing again.

Jim K
June 30, 2005, 07:45 PM
As Onmilo says, the technique I described can be used with any frozen screw, just substitute a short stubby screwdriver tip for the nipple wrench.

I use the blades sold for use with hex-type screwdrivers or power drivers and modify them if necessary, including grinding the blade back to where it is very short to reduce breakage.


July 13, 2005, 04:34 PM
A good friend made me a nice wrench out of a Grade 8 bolt. If I can't get it out with that, (hasn't happened yet), I'd use an EZ-out. Now, stuck breech plugs.... :banghead:

July 16, 2005, 07:33 PM
IT'S OUT!! thanks to a combination of all you pards' suggestions: entropy, Jim Keenan, Onmilo, longrifleman, P95Carry, rbernie, and Chawbaccer.

The critter is a CVA (Connecticut Valley Arms) single-shot "Prospector" pistol made around 20 years ago I bought at the Las Vegas gun show. The nipple was so stuck I broke a nipple wrench trying to get it out.

So I put the gun frame in a vise with the nipple end up and tried needlenose pliers and screwdriver blades but it would not budge. I even broke one of my needlenoses. I decided to leave it like that for two weeks, alternating penetrating oil and then kerosene around the nipple to soak in. Then I bought size 1, 2 and 3 screw extractors at my local hardware store, and ended up drilling holes in the nipple to try the extractors. I saw right away I'd need to drill a hole for a #3 extractor because the smaller ones would probably break. Luckily, the hole for #3 was not so large that it would hurt the threads inside the gun frame. So I hammered the #3 extractor lightly into the nipple and had to keep tapping it in so it would not slip inside the nipple. I put a large crescent wrench on the square end of the extractor and then started to tap the whole affair into the nipple once with the hammer simultaneous with every slight counterclockwise push with the wrench, and after four times the nipple started to come out. YAY! Looking inside of the barrel, I saw the bore was in very good shape, and needed just some cleaning; no rust.

I was going to replace it with one of my Pietta revolver extra nipples but found out the Pietta ones were smaller with a finer thread. So I called CVA, who doesn't make that gun anymore, and they referred me to Deer Creek Products (all black powder) in Waldron, Indiana. They sold me the correct nipples, size 1/4 28, stainless steel, and mailed them to me in a couple of days. Deer Creek came though with flying colors as did you all guys. I'll post again to let you know how it fires. Thanks again. This is a great forum.

July 16, 2005, 07:38 PM
Most pleased to know you have a successful result. Your ''tap/twist'' method is a useful one - often it's a problem keeping enough ''bite'' with an extractor.

After (probably) some extreme pucker :p - ain't it great when that very first hint of release is felt, followed by a bit more and then it turns properly. Very satisfying indeed.

Thx for coming back with the result. :)

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