Frozen Nipples


April 14, 2010, 06:45 PM
No I don't live at the North Pole and mine are just fine...thank you very much!
This has to do with my new Pietta 1858 New Army Police revolver. Seems someone at the factory screwed the nipples in with a breaker bar! Was able to get two out but the other four are in so tight I ruined my nipple wrench.
Called Cabelas and they are sending out a replacement cylinder and a new wrench (even though I didn't purchase the wrench from them)!!! Gotta love those folks!!!!!!
Any good ideas on how to get these nipples out? I don't want to put a propane torch on the cylinder and ruin the blueing but do have a good heat gun...any other ideas worth trying?? If I can get them out I will keep both cylinders and pay Cabelas for the one they are sending.

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April 14, 2010, 06:49 PM
Use a soldering iron and apply heat directly to the nipple. It won't have the same effect as heating the cylinder which would cause a little expansion, but a few cycles of hot and cold might help loosen it up.

April 14, 2010, 06:51 PM
I like to soak my reels in Kroil (a penetrating lubricant) and never have problems with 'em in salt water. Kroil might work, just pour some in a coffee can and place the whole cylinder in there for a few days.

April 14, 2010, 07:46 PM
Put it in boiling water for about 5 - 10 minutes or so using an improvised dutch oven arrangement. An empty food can 1/2 filled with water placed inside another small pot of rapidly boiling water works. Just be sure to wear some oven mitts when you decide to pick up the cylinder. Since they're not rusted in place the nipples should be easy enough to remove.

April 15, 2010, 08:49 AM
Break the tits off and then drill the nipples for an easy out. Hammer it in and then apply pressure to turn them out nice and easy.

April 15, 2010, 10:08 AM
I agree with the boiling as well. You're not going to get it hot enough to ruin anything, but since the nipple will expand faster than the cylinder, they should come off. Might want to add some butter to the water for additonal lubrication.

And after you're done, you can make black powder spaghetti!*

*Note: Don't do this.

April 15, 2010, 07:25 PM
since the nipple will expand faster than the cylinder
won't that make it fit tighter into the threads of the cylinder? don't I want the cylinder to expand away from the nipple threads instead?

Break the tits off and then drill the nipples for an easy out

These are brand new nipples...that idea would be my last ditch effort!
Boiling seems like a good idea but why one pan inside the other and not just boiling the cylinder in a large pot?

April 15, 2010, 07:39 PM
I only do it that way to keep the cylinder farther away from direct heat since the temperature of boiling water is plenty hot enough.
All of the steel expands including the chamber threads.
It just usually works, plain & simple.

April 15, 2010, 07:41 PM
HAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, but that thread title and that first sentence literally made me "lol" hahaha
April 15, 2010, 07:53 PM
You guys are too wierd. I'm glad I shoot a Flintlock. All I worry about is my
Frizzen staying hard!

April 15, 2010, 09:24 PM
Artic...after I posted at 4:25 I took the cylinder into my little shop and dug around in my BP range box and found another nipple wrench. It's of much higher quality...heat treated steel...and fit better. I normally don't use WD40 on my guns but figured I would try it so sprayed some around the 4 frozen nipples and applied judicous heat from a propane torch...just enough to make the cylinder a little hotter than too hot to touch. Taking the T-handle off the nipple wrench I put a large Visegrip pliers on the end, tapped the wrench snugly onto each nipple and with some effort was able to remove all the nipples w/o marring them or the cylinder!
I think I know what's causing this problem...looking at the nipple seats on the cylinder they are bare steel...obviously Pietta is blueing them with the nipples installed which allows blueing salts to seep down into the threads or around the seat holding them down tightly. Perhaps they are not allowing the parts to sit in the wash tanks long enough or the water displacing oil long enough to neutralize this? Just a guess on my part. The first two nipples came off was the other four that were on there like a gorilla with a breaker bar installed them!!!!!! Anyway...I'm happy that I was able to solve this problem and I will keep and pay for the new cylinder on it's way from Cabelas.
Many thanks to all of you for your time and suggestions! :)

April 15, 2010, 10:32 PM
Success! :)

April 15, 2010, 11:43 PM
And I think you've put the finger on the mystery of brand new nipples sticking on new Pietta revolvers.

April 15, 2010, 11:43 PM
Another fella finds himself in hot water on account of nipples.

Didn't we just do a thread on lubricating nipples?

April 15, 2010, 11:45 PM
Didn't we just do a thread on lubricating nipples?
Yes, but his problem was with a brand new revolver. He hadn't been able to remove them to apply the lube.

April 16, 2010, 12:07 AM
I too went and purchased a better nipple wrench to try and break mine loose. The first one came out with no problem, the second one twisted the cheap trations wrench like melted butter. My Pietta was new and had only fired 12 rounds through it and decided to do a complete tear down for cleaing. I have revoved the cylinder and left it soaking in PB penetrating oil that will loosen anything even my tight wallet that gripps my money. Put the cylinder in pan with dish liquid bring it to a boild for about 5min with no luck. My second nipple wrench of higher quaility started twisting the ends open so I stopped as not to do any damage to anything. Contact Pietta about problem and they suggest using one of their wrenchs or the nipples are frozen in from powder and just replace cylinder. 10lb hammer comes out next with a rosebud tip if if damages it well would have to buy a new cylinder anyway.

April 17, 2010, 10:49 PM
Having inspected the nipples closely today I can say without any doubt the blueing salt is the culprit! On all four nipples there were traces of the white salt present at the top of the threads and a little bit under the seat. I cleaned the threads with a toothbrush and applied high temperature, disc brake/water pump, (lithium) grease and reinstalled them. I don't think I will have that problem again with that cylinder. Will see what the new cylinder brings forth when it gets here on Tuesday...the replacement from Cabellas. Will keep you posted if you all are interested. I did ask Cabellas to make sure the nipples on the replacement were loosened before shipping, but we shall see if customer service honored my request.

April 18, 2010, 08:32 AM
Very interesting. Thank you.

April 18, 2010, 09:40 AM
Glad you got your nipples out. I had the same problem a few months ago with my Pietta '58 Remy. After destroying my wrench I made one out of a 1/4" drive socket. I think I used a 5mm. Don't think I'll ever buy another nipple wrench because this one is almost unbreakable and will last me from now on.

April 18, 2010, 05:44 PM
I made one out of a 1/4" drive socket. I think I used a 5mm.
Great I have to see if I have one of those in my tool box!
Thanks for the tip!

April 18, 2010, 10:31 PM
It wasn't my idea. I picked it up on THR. From what I can understand it's been around for a while. But whoever idea it was has my thanks.

Jim K
April 18, 2010, 11:00 PM
The main problem (other than junk nipple wrenches) is that the wrench tends to jump off the nipple, chewing up the nipple. If you have access to a drill press, here is the way to do the job easily, even with old rusted in nipples.

Pad the drill press vise and clamp the cylinder in, rear end up. Take the cross bar out of the nipple wrench and chuck the wrench tightly into the drill press. Bring the press down onto the nipple, turning the chuck by hand to get the alignment right. DO NOT TURN ON THE POWER!

Now, lock the press down or hold it down tightly and turn the chuck, bouncing it back and forth if necessary. Since the wrench cannot come off the nipple, its force will go into turning the nipple. With a good wrench, this will work 99.99% of the time.

Nipples on other guns, like muskets, can be handled the same way if a suitable wrench is available or can be made. Of course, the padding and support will be as needed and the job may require an extra person for long arms.

Tight screws will usually respond to the same treatment, using a stubby driver bit instead of a nipple wrench.


April 19, 2010, 02:41 PM
Jim...good idea but my problem was the wrench fit fine and wasn't coming off the nipple. It was simply too soft for the job at hand and I actually bent the jaws of the wrench and broke one side eventually ...turning the wrench by hand! The other wrench was properly heat treated and so hard that twice the visegrip pliers slipped and only scratched the blueing ...never digging into the metal itself.

April 19, 2010, 02:46 PM
Two things I used to do when thengs get really stuck, Dry Ice or Oil of Wintergreen. If its because the factory over torqued them then I'd pack the cylinder in dry ice for 30 minutes or so.
DO NO FORGET dry ice is super cold and can cause burns, use gloves etc as required.,
If something is stuck because of rust Oil of Wintergreen has worked everytime for me.

April 23, 2010, 08:57 PM
posted by Bluehawk Having inspected the nipples closely today I can say without any doubt the blueing salt is the culprit!

Thanks for passing that info.

When I need to apply heat to frozen screws and nipples I use a hand held 'Hair Blow Dryer' along with penetrating oil. The Blow Dryer is great for getting the area plenty hot w/o fear of overheating. ;)


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