Link to the "Making a Colt CapnBall Work"


September 12, 2008, 02:02 PM
The recent article I mentioned awhile back is now in The Open Range. Here's the link.

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September 12, 2008, 02:35 PM
Very interesting - thanks

September 12, 2008, 02:57 PM
Very good information.

September 12, 2008, 07:23 PM
That is so cool. My WALKER needs that bad. Very Very Bad. i can never shoot more than two cylinders without having to take it apart

September 12, 2008, 08:06 PM
Im not doing it. For one my time is very short for the next few weeks. I called up my local gunsmith talked to him about doing some work on my WALKER. Taking it in tomorrow. Here is the run down on problems.

1. Shoots excellent but you can only get around 2 cylinders through it. Then you have to take it apart to remove spent caps.

2. Caps is a major problem with this. Its a cimaron made by Uberti.

3. Already put treso nipples on it. Doesnt help.

Here is the problem. That groove to the right that most of the frames have to allow spent caps to fall through. Well the Walker does not have it. So if a piece comes off it will either get wedged in between the cylinder and frame. Which locks up the revolver or falls behind the frame into the works. The only luck i have ever had with it is to put a dab of grease around the nipples. To keep the fired caps in place. So right now i am almost just shooting with the R&D cylinder as you cant shoot it cap and ball.

So called up my gun smith told him about the problems and about the modifications. He said to bring it in with both cylinders and the paper work on the modification. Im going to see if he can put that groove on the right side as well. All my other guns work so good. But i have to get him involved to get this gun to shoot correctly. While i am at it im going to have him take it apart and smooth out the action some more. He is estimating he can do it all for about 60.00. Thats going through the action cleaning it up. Making sure both cylinders are matched perfectly to the timing on the revolver. Then doing this modification.

Burt Blade
September 13, 2008, 09:14 PM
I know the author of this article personally. "Utah" is a SASS shooter and an all-around Good Guy. As demonstrated in the article, he is also exceedingly clever.

September 13, 2008, 10:07 PM
I like it, I may have to give it a try on my Pietta '60 Army since it does have that issue every once in a while.

Luckily neither of my Remington Copies have given me any issues with cap jams especially where the cap gets into the workings like Colt copies do.

September 15, 2008, 08:23 AM
If they could get them to shoot without using power tools, so can I.

Old Fuff
September 15, 2008, 10:05 AM
Hint: They did have power tools - at least at the Colt factory. They were run by overhead belts, that in turn were powered by a central steam engine.

But you have a good point. If you review contemporary literature from the middle 19th century you will find occasional references to cap fragments jamming a revolver, but the problem wasn't common. Obviously the military services of the time couldn't tolerate a situation where guns constantly got jammed up at a critical time.

Also keep in mind that during those days C&B revolvers were the only kind there were. Metallic cartridges hadn’t been invented yet, so the use of these guns was universal, and the problem had a much greater opportunity to happen.

So why didn’t it?

The answer largely is because the lockwork was adjusted so that the cylinder would start rotating almost immediately after the hammer moved backward, leaving too small an area for the cap to fall in. Also the fired caps tended to split, but not fragment; and shooters would often tip the revolver to the side, or hold it over their shoulder up-side down while they cocked it.

And yes, fixing the timing is something you can do with hand tools.

September 15, 2008, 10:49 AM
Great Googagly Moogaly. :D What an answer to that age old question.

However, instead of a cut-off disk, I am thinking that a milling cutter would do better as you do not have that arc cut into the hammer and can only remove as much metal as would clear the pin. From the look of that hammer, you still have plenty of striking area over the cap, but why reduce what you have. I'd only take as little metal off as possible.

I've seen the MEC instructions about widening the channel for the caps to fall out of, but this helps get those caps into that channel. What an idea!

Now to put it to work!

The Doc is enthused now. :cool:

September 15, 2008, 11:40 PM
I've seen the MEC instructions about widening the channel for the caps to fall out of...
Got a link? I want to purchase two more '51 Navies when I get home and have them all slicked up. I'm was thinking about having cap guards installed, but if I can do this mod and Mec's mod that you spoke of, I just may not need to!

September 16, 2008, 07:23 AM
mec's instructions are in his book, Percussion Pistols and Revolvers, History, Performance and Practical Use on page 94. It's available from The pictures are not good, so here's a couple I made using my '62 Pocket Police.

September 16, 2008, 08:09 AM
Ah, thanks again mykeal!

September 16, 2008, 08:53 PM
Wow good info.

September 17, 2008, 05:51 AM
Hey mykeal (or anyone else who might know), would deepening the cap channel reveal the softer steel underneath and cause the frame to have to be re-case-hardened?

September 17, 2008, 07:13 AM
Depends on how the frame was color case hardened. The surface chemical processes would certainly be removed, while the older bone and charcoal process would likely be deep enough to not be affected.

However, as far as needing rehardening - I don't see why that would be necessary. There are no loads or impacts of sufficient strength in that area to make that necessary. You'd want to be sure to get it clean every time you shot the gun, but that would be easy - it's accessible and all it would take is a quick swipe with a solvent or hot water soaked patch.

September 17, 2008, 07:30 AM
Thanks again. I might use some cold blue or some such to re-coat the surface if need be.

September 27, 2008, 08:45 PM
Don't have the pin in the revolvers yet, but I did do MEC's cap channel deepening and radiusing this Friday. I found it to be very easy with a new diamond burr bit that I got this week. My Dremel Tool broke and while searching for spare parts on the web, I found a website that sells discounted Dremel bits. I got the Diamond Round Bit set.

With a light touch, some burr-saver, and patience, I cut a nice deeper channel. I need to smooth it a tad and then I will blue it.

The Doc is out and amazed how easy this was. :cool:

September 27, 2008, 09:06 PM
woooow Dr Law whats the web site for the diamond bits

September 27, 2008, 10:40 PM
Pics Doc, pics!!!


Trigger Hippy
September 27, 2008, 11:13 PM
I've also heard of people cutting surgical tubing into little cap sized bits and sliding them over the caps on the nipples to hold them in place.


September 28, 2008, 06:32 AM
Pulp, Mykeal super info I'm going to have find a good gunsmith in my area. Ithink I'm going to have the channel cut deeper.

September 28, 2008, 02:14 PM

Not an advertisement. I just got fast service and good stuff from them.

The Doc is out now. :cool:

PS, photos will have to wait a bit.

October 5, 2008, 12:48 PM
we shoot a lot of black powder , do not mill the frame ,on newer bp pistols we find we have to fit two main springs we have had to do this on our last 4 bp pistols as they now seem to be comming from the factory with weak main springs ,letting the hammer rebound on firing also the works nipples holes have been oversised and we had to change them solving the problem immediately ,tilt the pistol to the right just before cocking the old timers had to do this as well on the colts .

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