Percussion Revolver - Caps only fire on 2nd try?


September 6, 2006, 03:38 AM
I recently tried out my new Pietta 1860 Army (Colt clone) revolver. Everything seemed okay, except that about 80% of the time it fails to fire on the first try. The second try on any given cap almost always worked. I'm using CCI #10 caps. I'm wondering if:

(1) These percussion caps are hard?

(2) I'm not seating them properly (maybe the first hammer drop seats them properly)?

(3) The original nipples are bad?

(4) The hammer spring is weak?

I was careful not to dry fire it before. I did fire two caps on each nipple before loading for the first time (this is where I first noticed that multiple tries were generally required to get the caps to fire). I didn't clean the revolver very carefully before shooting it for the first time (I know I should have, but my window of opportunity was small, so I didn't take the time).

What do you think is wrong?



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September 6, 2006, 04:45 AM

For me remington caps worked best

I had to seat them pretty hard tho

I used a piece of antler cause if a cap goes off on your thumb it will blow a hole through it.


September 6, 2006, 06:06 AM
I had the same problem with CCI caps. I think their #10s are more like 9.5s ;)

I've switched to RWS now and much improved.

If you will take the eraser end of a pencil and push down on the caps really good you'll likely see your failure rate drop some.

The shape of the CCI seems to make it hold off somewhat from actually seating completely on the nipple. The first blow of the hammer deforms the cap enough to seat the rest of the way and the next strike fires it.

RWS caps don't seem to do that as often, but I do notice I need to pinch them more for them to stay on the nipple.

Cincinnati Slim
September 6, 2006, 10:27 AM
Howdy Pards,

I've had nothing but problems with CCI caps lately.:mad:

Didn't notice much difference between Remington and CCI in the past but the last couple of tins have been really unreliable. Both in #10 regular and #11 magnum style.

The best thing you can do is to replace the original nipples on your 1860 Army with a set of Treso ampco alloy nipples or a set of hardened stainless nipples from Thunder Ridge Muzzleloading. A lot of folks report excellent results with Tresos. The TRM stainless jobs fit Remington #11 caps perfectly. This combo is super reliable and also solved most of my 1860 Army's "cap eating" problems. The flash hole is smaller than the stock nipples so there is less "blow-back" to knock the cap fragments back into the hammer slot and into the action. I've measured the stock nipples with a micrometer and found a pretty wide variation in diameter and height. The Treso and TRM units are much better in every regard.

Get new nipples and some Remmie caps and end your aggravation !


Cincinnati Slim

Plastic Cowboy
September 6, 2006, 12:03 PM
I have the same problem with CCI #10 (they are just too small)
Go with Remington #10, they work perfectly in my Pietta 1858 Remington.

Might be able to use CCI #11 but I have never tried this so its only a guess.

Always remember to pinch them a little so they dont fall off during recol:)

September 6, 2006, 01:14 PM
Hmmmm. I've used a variety of caps -- depending on what's available at the store -- and never had this problem. My first guess would have been a weak or even cracked mainspring.
The only time I've had "duds" is usually on Colts, when a bashed cap falls into the frame under the hammer, and stops the hammer before it contacts the cap.
I haven't had problem with CCI caps. But definantly try Remington or others, as the prior posters suggest.

Carl N. Brown
September 6, 2006, 01:45 PM
My 1851 had some ignition problems, until I
disassembled it and removed three flattened
caps that had fallen into the lock-works. (My
son had complained the action felt rough when
he cocked the the hammer.)

September 6, 2006, 03:29 PM
Yeah I started off with a can of CCI 10s and had the same problem. They are a bit small for the nipples. I had to press down insanely hard to get them to seat. I changed over to CCI 11s and havn't had the problem since.

September 6, 2006, 03:58 PM
I use only CCI caps and the #10's on my 1860 Pietta need to be hammer seated or use a wooden dowel to seat them tight...or get #11's and slightly squeeze them before placing them on. Same goes for the Uberti 1858, Pietta 1858, 1851 Navy Uberti, and Colt Signature Dragoon...all fire reliably when seated properly.
I will say that the Rem caps with the split tail design are a hair bigger.
But I don't use either CCI or Rem Mag caps they aren't really made for Revs as far as I am conserned.
Hope this helps.

September 7, 2006, 12:43 AM

Thanks for all the tips and advice. I'll keep my eyes open for another brand of caps, and meanwhile, I'll be sure I seat the CCIs firmly with a dowel or something (I was just using finger pressure). I will also consider replacing the nipples with better ones if this problem continues. I don't think having cap fragments in the action is my problem, since the gun is new and had this problem right from the beginning - but I'll watch for that as well.

I must say, in spite of this issue (which I think your advice will resolve), I'm VERY happy with this revolver. It seems very well made - tight tolerances, very solid cylinder lockup, smooth action - I'm really impressed with the look, feel, and handling of this replica. When I took it apart for cleaning, it went very smoothly (easier than I expected), and it went back together just as easily and solidly. This Pietta revolver is a much nicer gun than I expected for under $200.

Thanks again.


September 7, 2006, 10:54 AM
I have a Pietta 1851 Navy that had the same problem with CCI caps. I use Remingtons now and don't have any problems. The caps were too small and the 1st hit would set them against the nipple, then the 2nd would set it off.

1911 guy
September 7, 2006, 08:15 PM
I'm going to second the motion to change your nipples. A baggie of six from DGW or similar companies will run you just a few dollars and will likey be better made (more uniform in size). I'd get the #11 nipples because that size seems to be more widely available.

Carl N. Brown
September 11, 2006, 05:41 PM
Worse case scenario: using #10 caps on #11 nipples.
Don't laugh. I tried to use #11 caps on a musket nipple.
Not very good ignition.

September 23, 2006, 08:29 PM
I agree with 1911. Change the nipple and go #11. Less problems and more available.

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