I got my first 1858 BP revolver and I have to say it is probably one of the most accurate guns I have! At 25 yards, although shooting high, which I'm working on (see previous post) it is incredibly accurate. Off hand (two handed hold) it groups about 4 inches or so. I love it, although I have to admit it's a little scary putting those small caps onto the nipples with my not so delicate hands. I was wondering, has anyone had a cap go off while pushing it on to a loaded cylinder? The thought scares the heck out of me - I can't imagine the damage it would cause because when I'm placing the caps, my left hand is wrapped around the cylinder with some fingers are in harms way. Is it possible to set the caps off this way?
I also had a cap smushed by the hammer because it was a little canted. So now it's kinda on the nipple but not on the nipple and it's not coming off easily. I had to take a small knife and pry it loose. What are my chances of a discharge during this time?
I've been in combat and I can't begin to imagine what our soldiers felt when using this revolver in actual defense. Scary to say the least!
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September 29, 2008, 08:10 AM
At one time percussion caps used fulminate of mercury as the 'active' ingredient, and those caps were susceptible to ignition by scraping the material on the nipple end. Today's caps are only impact sensitive. They cannot be set off by pushing them on the nipple or by prying/scraping them off the nipple. It requires the rather sharp and heavy impact of the hammer to ignite the cap; in fact, a weak hammer spring is often the cause of a failure to fire as it did not impact the cap sharply enough. In 30+ years of shooting bp, and several years of participating in bp internet forums, I know of no incidents of setting off a cap while either putting it on a nipple or scraping a damaged one off a nipple.
September 29, 2008, 09:44 AM
My U-shaped #11 decapper is made out of brass, and the sharp edge of a thin piece of plastic or wood can also help to scrape off a tight cap.
Some folks have described using a piece of dowel to gently seat their tight caps which serves to protect their thumb from accidental ignition.
September 29, 2008, 10:00 AM
Never had a cap go off while I was putting it on.
BP's are just flat fun to shoot. Get a look at the other shooters faces? It's great.
September 29, 2008, 10:33 AM
In well over 40 years of shooting black powder, I too have never had or heard of an incident where a cap went off when placing it on or removing it from a nipple.
You might want to check out a Tedd Cash revolver capper. It is well designed and holds a lot of caps. I've had and used one for more than 10 years, and in that time it has proven its worth. I did have to slightly enlarge the nipple access areas on the cylinder of my Pietta 1858 NMA to allow the nose of the Cash capper to reach in far enough to properly place the caps however.
I have also read about guys filing down the capper nose to provide the needed clearance, instead of working on the cylinder, but have not tried it myself.
September 29, 2008, 02:42 PM
I've seen one photo of a feller's thumb when the above happened. It wasn't pretty. That said, I still seat caps by thumb pressure if I don't have something else handy.
September 29, 2008, 03:05 PM
I took a piece of 7/16 inch dowel, tapered the last inch or so, a little. Then I set the straight end into a wooden ball. It's really good for pushing caps down with.
Whatever you do, stop letting your hand get in front of the cylinder while you're loading.
September 29, 2008, 05:48 PM
Just got one of those Ted Cash revolver cappers for my Walker two weeks ago. Did have to file down the nose of the capper a tad - not a big deal and only takes a minute or two. Has to be easier than working on the cylinder entry (the capper is brass).
September 30, 2008, 12:09 AM
I made a caper for my revolvers it only hold one cap but it is easy to use and i can squeeze the cap before putting on the nipple. I made it out of plastic tubing and a piece of 1/8 wood dowel.