Percussion cap substitutes


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MCgunner
April 7, 2011, 11:33 AM
I bought these cap pistol caps a while back while looking for roll caps for my tap-o-cap. These are in a plastic ring and you can cut the metal cap out. About a size number 10 and fits my Navy perfectly. When they pop, they're quite a bit louder than CCI percussion caps. I'm pretty impressed with 'em so far. They light the fuse as quickly as anything. Anyone else tried 'em? I mean, they're a bit of a pain to cut out of the plastic, but then, the tap-o-cap routine is more of a pain by far. :D I got these things at Family Dollar.

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Busyhands94
April 7, 2011, 06:38 PM
you mean the plastic ones? i use them in my Remington rider pistol because they are cheap, i can get about 75-85 for less than a buck, and they ignite powder well. i have never had any problems with them going off when loading, and they work reliably all the time in my gun. i can even use a single cap to put a .17 pointed pellet through a pop can witch is pretty good for just a cap.

arcticap
April 7, 2011, 11:27 PM
I'm curious about whether plastic ring caps can cause corrosion and pitting or not.
The Canadian paper roll caps that my kids used to fire in their toy cap guns caused a lot of pitting and corrosion of the pot metal and cheap steel parts that their Parris guns were made of.
These toy caps may be hotter due to their chemical composition but maybe there's a catch to using them if they're corrosive.
Like most brands of items, toy ring caps may not all be the same either.
But it's good to know that there's an emergency alternative to percussion caps readily available since there are many Family Dollar Stores here in Connecticut and on the east coast too.
I'm glad that I stocked up on percussion caps when they were still cheap and on clearance at Walmart @ .99 - $1.50 per 100, and bought old discounted stock along the way at local gun shop closings and gun shows.
I even cleaned out the local Dick's Sporting Goods when they discontinued Remington 209's and put them on clearance. I bought about 1800 of them. :)

Busyhands94
April 8, 2011, 12:43 PM
i have been using them for a long time and you can still see all the lands and grooves in my bore. they are not corrosive, but they do leave a bit of residue behind. just make sure that you have a pin handy to clear the nipple every 50 shots and clean the gun well after use. it also will do you good to clean the bore once and a while to maintain accuracy, however with black powder it hardly matters. black powder is inherently messy. toy gun caps provide a wonderful airtight seal around the nipple due to the plastic stretching a little. i found that Cowboy brand caps work well but Ja-ru strip caps (the ones that are like a grid) are hotter and have more powder in them. however the only catch is that you get a rather weird look when repeatedly buying them, especially if you are 17 like me. I can't figure whether they are giving me a "you are 17 years old and you are still playing cowboys and Indians?" look or dismissing it as "you must be buying these for a younger sibling" look. it get's kinda awkward when you go to your local gas station and buy 8 packs of ring caps at once, but it is worth it! haha! however that is the only way i can shoot, finding regular percussion caps in California is practically impossible unless i were to order them online. and i like to shoot. i go through a lot of caps so this is the cheapest way to run my percussion guns. they are cheap, effective, you can buy them at any age from your local gas station, they don't screw up your gun as long as you clean it after use, they seal watertight, they don't frag and create shrapnel in smaller guns when the cap is less enclosed, they never blown up while you put them on the nipple as long as the nipple(s) are clean, and if you were to fire them in a revolver you probably would have no problems with the caps jamming the action due to the fact they are soft and can be squished out of the way if they fall in there. the only downside is they are a little bit awkward to buy in larger quantities. overall i would recommend them.

grxy
April 8, 2011, 04:52 PM
I don't see how the toy caps would be more corrosive than something
like pyrodex (which contains potassium perchlorate). I did try
the ring caps on my revolver. They did not ignite the pyrodex powder
that I was using.

The other thing was that I had to stretch and wiggle the cap quite a
bit to get it on the nipple. This worried me because primers are
friction sensitive, and if one went off while I was pressing it on the
nipple the jet of hot gases coming out of the nipple would seriously
injure my thumb!

ElvinWarrior
April 8, 2011, 11:42 PM
I think those cheap plastic toy caps are BETTER than the main stream brand metal ones !!! They seat down on the nipples FIRMLY, they are WATERPROOF, and, they go BANG with a B-A-N-G !!! I don't even bother with the Cap-O-Matic anymore at all !!! I just snip em off and pile them into the tons of old Remi and CCI cap tins I have stacked up all over the house that my cat uses as chase toys...

P.S... In case some of you are out in areas where you can't find them, you can get them online at several places that offer toy cap guns for sale.

These are $0.74 CENTS per pack, online

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x330/ElvinWarrior/8ShotRingCaps-074.jpg

These are a $1.89 per pack, online

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x330/ElvinWarrior/12shotRingCaps-189.jpg

These are a $1.35 per pack online. I leave the little tabs ON these guys, makes for a QUICK removal !!!

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x330/ElvinWarrior/13ShotStripCaps-135.jpg

Now, if we can only get these toy cap guys to start offering CHEAP BP for 1/3 the price everyone else wants... We would all be in HEAVEN !!!

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x330/ElvinWarrior/product-black.jpg

Sincerely,

ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

arcticap
April 9, 2011, 12:22 AM
The explosive material often used in caps is called Armstrong's mixture.

Armstrong's mixture is a highly sensitive primary explosive whose primary ingredients are red phosphorus and potassium chlorate, with sulfur and calcium carbonate present in small amounts. Commercially, it is used in extremely small quantities on the paper caps that are used in toy cap guns.[1] It has also been considered a suitable mixture for the primer used in guns after boron carbide has been added.[2] The explosive is extremely dangerous, as it can detonate from very small shocks and friction. It is especially sensitive when dry, and inexperienced pyrotechnicians who try to produce it often injure themselves severely in the attempt. Armstrong's Mixture is extremely unstable and can explode violently in an unenclosed space, i.e. a pile of the mixture with a fuse in it would explode in the same way as it would in a sealed container.[3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armstrong's_mixture

Toy caps using Armstrong's mixture appear to be corrosive:

It's called "Armstrong's mixture". It is very similar to the corrosive non-mercury primers in old military ammo. The potassium chlorate (some may use potassium perchlorate and manganese dioxide) is what makes it corrosive.

I dunno why I know this stuff...

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=351665

ElvinWarrior
April 9, 2011, 08:45 AM
Articap...

ALL the percussion cap formulas are corrosive... Black Powder residue is corrosive... For that matter, even the "Easy clean up" Black Powder substitutes residue is corrosive, perhaps somewhat less corrosive than actual Black Powder, but Corrosive none-the-less...

Christ, I think that milk, left out on a counter, dried, after a long enough period of time is "corrosive"...

The thing is, clean your guns properly after use, and make sure they are properly oiled down after cleaning.

Sincerely,

ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

arcticap
April 9, 2011, 09:40 AM
Articap...

ALL the percussion cap formulas are corrosive.

I don't agree since they are made with different ingredients and mixtures that have different properties.
The toy caps made with Armstrong's mixture aren't the same as modern percussion caps that are made with lead styphnate and which are considered to be non-corrosive. Some old imported brands of percussion caps that aren't made with lead styphnate may also be corrosive which is something to be aware of.

http://www.pyroguide.com/index.php?title=Armstrong's_Mix

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
April 9, 2011, 11:34 AM
It says right on my box of caps "Non-Corrosive"

mykeal
April 9, 2011, 10:18 PM
ALL the percussion cap formulas are corrosive....milk...is "corrosive".

That's completely missing the point. Some things are more corrosive than others. The combustion by-products from Armstrong's Mixture are certainly much more corrosive than those from lead styphanate.

Busyhands94
April 12, 2011, 08:47 PM
forgot to mention if you are in my position and are not 18 yet you can go buy as many as you like without any age restrictions. you can go buy them down the street whenever you want if you have a gas station nearby! of course my buddy who works at the gas station already knows i use them in my percussion firearms and does not mind that i go in and buy like 10 packs at a time, he agrees that it is very convenient for me!

Dave Markowitz
June 12, 2011, 07:39 PM
Dragging this thread back into the light since it's only a couple months old and it intrigued me when it was first active.

After reading this thread I picked up a package of "Super Bang Ring Caps (http://www.amazon.com/SUPER-BANG-RING-CAPS-Sold/dp/B0038KURLG/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1307911367&sr=8-9)" from the local grocer (link goes to Amazon). I finally tried them last night on my stainless Pietta 1858 Remington.

Out of 39 shots with the ring caps I had 2 or 3 misfires. The first time I had a misfire I tried recapping with another ring cap but it still wouldn't fire. I then put a CCI cap on the nipple and the gun fired immediately. I think the flash channel was at least partially clogged and the toy caps didn't have enough oomph to punch through.

The impression I get based on last night's trial is that these toy caps are viable substitute for commercially produced percussion caps, at least for use in percussion revolvers or rifles like my Hopkins & Allen underhammer, in which the nipple's flash channel goes right into the powder.

However, the toy caps aren't as hot as CCI or Remington percussion caps. Whether they'll work in a sidelock rifle like my Cabela's Hawken, or with BP substitutes like Pyrodex or Triple 7 are things I want to try.

The plastic caps stayed mostly intact on firing though some got pretty shredded. I was shooting 30 grains of 3Fg Goex under a wad and a.454 ball. I used the reamer on my SAK to pry the spent caps off the nipples.

They are corrosive but since I clean with water based solutions I don't worry about it.

But for just a couple bucks for 160 ring caps, they make sense for informal paper punching.

Ghost Dog
June 12, 2011, 09:50 PM
Dave, Thanks for bringing this back to our attention. I picked some of the plastic ring caps up last year to experiment with, I haven't had good luck getting them to light off Triple 7 or the shockley's Gold I have but I keep them aroun because they are a cheap alternative to using regular caps for clearing the nipples and drying the oil out off the cylinders before loading.

G D

Skinny 1950
June 15, 2011, 09:48 AM
I gave up using the plastic toy caps when a loaded cylinder when off as I was capping it. I was loading my 1851 Navy and putting the cap on when it went off,I found a big chunk of lead on the bench but it didn't damage the gun as the ball when out the side.
I wasn't happy with the #11 caps as they jammed the cylinder more often than not,that is why I tried the plastic toy caps (plus they are a lot cheaper). I have to shoot at a range and decided that these caps are not safe enough when others are around. I was wondering what would happen if a cylinder fired without being aligned with the barrel...it scared the crap out of me. :eek::what:

arcticap
June 15, 2011, 01:19 PM
I gave up using the plastic toy caps when a loaded cylinder when off as I was capping it. I was loading my 1851 Navy and putting the cap on when it went off,I found a big chunk of lead on the bench but it didn't damage the gun as the ball when out the side.
I wasn't happy with the #11 caps as they jammed the cylinder more often than not,that is why I tried the plastic toy caps (plus they are a lot cheaper). I have to shoot at a range and decided that these caps are not safe enough when others are around. I was wondering what would happen if a cylinder fired without being aligned with the barrel...it scared the crap out of me.

Thank you Skinny 1950. This could be a very significant safety warning regarding the use of plastic ring caps. If they are indeed more impact or friction sensitive than standard percussion caps then there can be additional risk to anyone on the firing line when people are using them.
If one went off when the cylinder is turning and not locked up then the ball wouldn't go out of the side of the gun or through the barrel completely, but may fire directly into the barrel face itself.
If their thickness causes contact with the recoil shield as it's turned or due to play or sloppy tolerances, then maybe there's a chance that it could fire off that way.
Percussion caps are exactly formulated to provide a known level of impact safety which unfortunately plastic ring caps may not be able to match.
There's other reasons too including the fit and dimensions of different brands of plastic ring caps that mean that they're probably not all equal in quality.
This really appears to be a notable safety concern, at least for using some brands of plastic caps with some guns.
Plastic ring cap users beware!

mr16ga
June 15, 2011, 06:39 PM
Geez I am old. I started using paper caps with a Tap-O-Cap back when they first started making them. I stopped using them because they seemed to have some kind of hard grit in them. at the time percussion caps were cheap and I would buy them by the 1000 at a time. I gave the Tap-O-Cap to my brother-in-law. I don't know if he still uses it. I like the idea of using the plastic ring caps I am going to try them ASAP. I was sad when I saw Forrester quit making the Tap-0-Cap. I read some where that you could use Ammonia Triiodide crystals for a cap substitute. I tried to make some Ammonia Triiodide crystals and all I did is make some everlasting blue stains on the bathroom counter top.
Warning Ammonia Triiodide crystals are very corrosive and very unstable.
SAFTEY!!
The Whole Production MUST BE DONE UNDER A FUME HOOD!! THE FUMES FROM THIS PROCESS ARE FATAL!!

Do NOT GET NITROGEN TRIIODIDE ON YOUR CLOTHES IT STAINS ANYTHING IT TOUCHES.

WEAR EARPLUGS WHEN DETONATING THE TRIIODIDE AND KEEP A FAIR DISTANCE! SHRAPNEL FLIES!!

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Make_nitrogen_triiodide#ixzz1PO6KfYaO

4v50 Gary
June 16, 2011, 01:21 AM
4F blackpowder to fill the nipple. Place a child's cap over it. Secure it with plastic and a rubber band. The cap will ignite the 4F which in turn ignites the powder. That's how it's done in China.

ofitg
June 16, 2011, 03:17 AM
Geez I am old. I started using paper caps with a Tap-O-Cap back when they first started making them. I stopped using them because they seemed to have some kind of hard grit in them. at the time percussion caps were cheap and I would buy them by the 1000 at a time. I gave the Tap-O-Cap to my brother-in-law. I don't know if he still uses it. I like the idea of using the plastic ring caps I am going to try them ASAP. I was sad when I saw Forrester quit making the Tap-0-Cap. I read some where that you could use Ammonia Triiodide crystals for a cap substitute. I tried to make some Ammonia Triiodide crystals and all I did is make some everlasting blue stains on the bathroom counter top.
Warning Ammonia Triiodide crystals are very corrosive and very unstable.


Mr16ga, potassium chlorate can be used for primer compositions - an excellent recipe includes potassium chlorate, antimony sulfide, sulfur, ground glass and sodium bicarbonate. If you're interested, I can post more details.

You might want to retrieve that Tap-O-Cap from your BIL.

4v50 Gary
June 16, 2011, 09:17 AM
ofitg wrote: Mr16ga, potassium chlorate can be used for primer compositions - an excellent recipe includes potassium chlorate, antimony sulfide, sulfur, ground glass and sodium bicarbonate. If you're interested, I can post more details.


Sure, share the details.

ofitg
June 16, 2011, 12:20 PM
OK, I apologize in advance for the lengthy post....

Here is the recipe from Tenney Davis's book, Chemistry of Powder & Explosives -

potassium chlorate ........ 50.54
antimony sulfide ........... 26.31
sulfur ......................... 8.76
ground glass ............... 12.39
shellac ....................... 2.00

The book warns that the sulfur and potassium chlorate will eventually "sour" in the presence of humidity, unless an antacid is present. Several years ago I mixed up the above recipe, and sure enough, the shelf life was limited. My homemade caps started misfiring after one year or so.

A few months ago, I mixed up a slightly modified version of the recipe -

potassium chlorate ........... 50
antimony sulfide ............... 25
sulfur ............................. 9
sodium bicarbonate .......... 1
ground glass ................... 13
shellac ........................... 2

I started off by mixing 9 parts sulfur with one part sodium bicarb, adding water to make a thick liquid, and then allowing it to dry. This should ensure that the sodium bicarb thoroughly coats the sulfur particles.

Next I mixed all the dry ingredients together and added enough denatured alcohol to form a "sludge" with a consistency similar to toothpaste. I packed this sludge into the empty percussion cap hulls (about 1/5 full) and let it dry.

It'll be a couple years before I know for sure about the shelf life on this latest batch, but I'm expecting the sodium bicarbonate to help.

mr16ga
June 16, 2011, 12:56 PM
By volume or weight?

ofitg
June 16, 2011, 12:58 PM
These are weight measurements.

I might mention, Hatcher's Notebook lists a similar compound which was used by the U.S. military about 100 years ago -

sulfur................................. 21.97
potassium chlorate .............. 47.20
antimony sulfide .................. 30.83

Hatcher's Notebook mentions that a previous compound had included ground glass, but it was dropped because some people were concerned about possible damage to the bore. Since you're worried about "grit", this alternative recipe might be more appealing. I cannot vouch for it, though, I've never tried it.

ak-kev
June 16, 2011, 05:03 PM
I picked some of the plastic caps up today and tried them when I got home on UNLOADED cylinders. My 1858 ignited all 6 of them perfectly, now I just need to see if its hot enough to ignite the powder. They fit absolutely perfect on my nipples, and provided a very nice tight fit that i would go out on a limb and say they would be water resistant. Not to mention they were $1.75 for 192 caps!!

Chase.
June 17, 2011, 12:48 AM
I've used these, but I prefer the metal remmington ones. The metal ones look better... I only shoot blackpowder to be traditional, so...

Although I heard someone say you can grind up strike anywhere match heads to make impromptu black powder, still waiting to try this.

Jaymo
June 19, 2011, 04:41 PM
Too bad they don't make 6 shot cap rings that would fit the Colt/Remington cylinders.
It would be convenient to be able to cap them all at once. The problem being the possibility of all 6 chambers going off(or any going off) with the cylinder out of the gun.
I did try ring caps once, years ago, on a Pietta 51 Navy. Worked just fine. I may have to swing by Family Dollar and pick up a pack to try again. Good to know there is a field expedient, emergency substitute available.
Perhaps the corrosive nature is a great excuse to buy Treso nipples.

I wonder if loading 5-10 grains of 4f before loading the balance of 2f or 3f would help with ignition?
Maybe grind up the tips of strike anywhere match heads and put a few grains of that in each chamber before filling with powder would help.
I've packed the noses of hollowpoint airgun pellets with ground up strike anywhere tips and they made a nice bang when they hit something hard.

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