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Making my own caps

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by raa-7, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. raa-7

    raa-7 Well-Known Member

    I've been making my own percussion caps ever since shooting supplies started to get scarce. You guys are the ones that got me started in all this Bp shooting, and ever since I got started I've enjoyed it so much that I hardly even shoot a cartridge gun any more !(except for my shot guns) Anyhow I was running short on caps one day and couldn't find any at all, and decided that I better come up with something so I could keep shooting my BP guns. Now these caps are not precision quality,and you'll see that in the pictures but they damn sure work good and honestly I really haven't had any misfires with them ! I would say like one out of every 50 might be a little weak because of a weak paper cap. But for paper caps that's great ! I also use the red plastic caps. You can buy them in the dollar stores cheap (Shhhh ! don't say it loud the companies will probably raise the prices on them :p) These plastic caps will fit in place of a #11 , you just have to push them on a little bit, and they wont fall off either. If you have any doubt what so ever about one working,, (here's the trick) take that little piece of white paper out of it with a straight pin. It's not hard to do or even that time consuming, and if you think it is,, well,, your playing in the wrong hobby ! By taking the little piece of paper out that makes for a sure path for the spark to get to the powder ! I did a little experimenting with this too and that paper will clog up the little flash hole going through the nipple. The compound in these plastic caps are more than likely corrosive but I've been using the heck out of them and as long as I keep everything clean after shooting they have not caused -ANY- kind of damage in the chambers on revolvers or in the barrels in any of my guns. I'll continue to keep using these until we can get percussion caps like we used to.(Hopefully that won't be too far into the future ! The paper caps I get are also from these Dollar stores. I don't remember what I payed for them,I found a good deal one day at a Dollar General that was moving or whatever they were doing and for 1.50 a pack of I think 6 little boxes with 5 little rolls per box and I bought 10 packs of them. Honestly ,I had to leave a few in case some little kid wanted some :) I remember the caps we had when I was a kid and they were like fire crackers going off ! You guys that grew up in the late 50's -60's know about those, and even in the 70's I think. But I remember hitting single rolls with my dads little sledge hammer with a welding mask on and gloves! That was fun back then ! So any how, two per cap on those. (paper caps). I make my own caps with aluminum cans. Soda cans, beer cans ,and they work great ! I tried aluminum from those Turkey roasting pans (the softer aluminum) but they fly apart too easily and wont direct the spark charge through the nipple as well as the stronger aluminum caps I make. I know that this all seems a little involved and all, but you'll see how much faster you'll get once you have it "down pat" . What I do is make a few each day when I have time. I'll even be makin caps while I'm on THR trying to find out where to buy some caps. I don't know Exactly what they put in the real ones but when I do find out I will see what I can do. Its only a matter of time. It's all "trade secret" and I know some of it, but not all of it. Here's some pictures of my caps and how I make them up. It's easy once you get into it. I did not make them fast at first,, it takes a little practice !And I know many won't even bother with all this but it's paying off for me. Anyone that does give it a try and wants to know more just private message me and I'll be glad to tell you what I know ! Oh the metal rod I use is the perfect size rod for making the #11 size ones. It's that rod in your bathroom sink that pushes the stop for the drain ! One of these days I'll make a good proper punch out of maybe....some pliers ?? Thanks for reading all this :D [​IMG] This is the punch I use to make the aluminum circles with, it's from one of those little brass, door scopes you look through to see who's knocking :p it's part of one actually.You can use a .45 acp shell if you sharpen the opening.Thats what I started with ! The bolt is just so you can hit it with a small hammer. [​IMG] [​IMG] Once you punch out a bunch of your aluminum circles then you take 3-4 of them and cut them with a scissor like this - sorry about the picture but you leave enough in the middle of it so it has some meat left so it doesn't fall apart when you push it into the hole on your red oak block. Any hard wood block will work fine. I'll let you know what size bit I use,I have to look.. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] my camera is from the 1800's so bear with me ! [​IMG] Once you push the piece of aluminum circle piece in the hole and it forms into a cap,, take a pair of tweezers and what I do is scrape the side of it and it comes right out .Now you have good solid caps :D[​IMG] I know my camera is bad but I had to show this. The caps are really consistent in shape and size ! and like I said I tried softer aluminum but its not as good,thats why they use copper,its perfect. That's enough blurry pictures but you can basically see how it's done.Thanks for putting up with me and my camera ! :D
  2. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing that. I think its great and could come in really handy if the cap situation doesn't improve soon. So...you put two of the paper caps in each tin cup huh?
  3. Captain*kirk

    Captain*kirk Well-Known Member

    This is WAAY cool. I believe the reason Forster discontinued making the Tap-O-Cap was the roll caps made in China today (DEFINITELY not the Kilgore's of our youth...Amen to that, brother!) are both weak and corrosive.As a side note, the red plastic caps are also made in China and are also supposed to be corrosive as well (never tried first-hand)
    I love your ingenuity in making the caps themselves. Who needs a Tap-O-Cap? All we need is a better priming compound or a source for decent roll caps.
    Thanks for posting this. Great explanation even if the pix are a bit blurry!
  4. DoubleDeuce 1

    DoubleDeuce 1 Well-Known Member

    Very cool idea. Now we just need the formula for the ignition material.:cool:
  5. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Well-Known Member

    Great idea for metal caps. Yall might look for roll caps made in Germany...about .02 grains of powder per cap or make your own priming powder from strike anywhere match tips. Either way this stuff is called Armstrongs mixture, a mixture of potassium perchlorate and red phosphorous...corossive you bet, but nothing that a good cleaning cant handle.
  6. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Well-Known Member

    After fulminate of mercury went by the wayside, primer material for percussion caps and cartridge primers was potassium perchlorate, which has now been replaced by lead styphanate.
  7. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Well-Known Member

    Try crushing the very ends of the strike anywhere matches in a pestle and bowl thingie adding some alcohol. Mix it up until you have a slurry. Using an eye dropper put a drop or two of the slurry into your aluminum cup and let dry. Your mileage may vary.
  8. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Well-Known Member

    BTW if you use roll caps get a 1/8" od ticket punch to make your own little caps for your cups.
  9. Zarthab

    Zarthab Member

  10. raa-7

    raa-7 Well-Known Member

    Yep two caps , just punch em out with a paper punch that's all. I make these, a few each day so they add up.
  11. raa-7

    raa-7 Well-Known Member

    Yeah I use a hole punch for the paper caps and put two paper caps per aluminum cup. With these you have to be careful too, just like anything with BP shooting because if one flies apart when its fired. It doesn't take much for that to happen. I wont put 4 caps in one because of that. Yeah,, your eyes might be protected but you'll get shrapnel in your face for sure. I hope the situation with the caps not being in stock will get better !
  12. Skinny 1950

    Skinny 1950 Well-Known Member

    I tried using the red plastic caps with an 1851 revolver and it went off as I was capping it, shaved some lead off the ball and hurt my finger..good thing I was pointing downrange and there was nobody next to me. I quit using them because it was a really unpleasant experience.
  13. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Well-Known Member

    I've heard second hand info of a guy who knows a guy type of story of the same thing so I've never tried the plastic caps.

    I guess it would be somewhat safer in an inline like a Tingle Pistol.
  14. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting this. I currently have ~1200 caps on hand so won't need any for awhile but if they stay scarce, I'll be pulling this thread up and trying it for myself.

    Reading this makes me ashamed for cussing because my CCI caps don't fit any of my guns' nipples good. A little squeezing is a lot easier than making my own would be.
  15. raa-7

    raa-7 Well-Known Member

    Yeah some times I would complain about them too not fitting some guns and pushing them on more and more :p and it's a wonder I haven't set any off, but I'm careful about it.
  16. raa-7

    raa-7 Well-Known Member

    Here's a "Tap O cap" produced cap [​IMG] Honestly I like my caps better, they're a lot tighter. I would still like to get a Tap O cap if I can ever find one .
  17. Pete D.

    Pete D. Well-Known Member


    I like your idea and how you made it happen. Very nice.
    I have a Tap-o-cap on the shelf and a supply of European caps....should I ever need them. But...I may just go ahead and copy your idea in any case.
    Questions: what is the diameter of the disc before it gets put into the red oak block? Copper? What gauge sheet did you use?

    Also: thanks for that info about strike anywhere match tips and alcohol.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  18. raa-7

    raa-7 Well-Known Member


    I use aluminum from any soda/beer/juice can that's made of aluminum. 99% are the same gauge (thickness) and you can also use copper sheet of the same gauge (not sure exactly but I'll post that ) I started doing this a couple of years ago when I saw that something was wrong with the way supplies were not in stock every where. I'll be damned if I cant have a way to fire my guns.The size of the discs are .455 ,and I used to use a sharpened/beveled .45acp casing (make sure the primer is spent) and The thickness is 0.005" on the aluminum from the cans ,so that should be fairly easy to find on -line. I'm going to do some serious experimenting with fabricating a tap o cap, only mine will produce a much neater/tight cap like what we're used to. I have been looking for a long time for a tap o cap and I will somehow find one so if you hear of one please let me know. Also you can send me private messages if you have any questions about making the caps this way or any questions you have . I also make wads/over the powder wads with a punch that works great if you want to see them let me know,it's a lot cheaper than buying those 40-50 dallar punches(after S&H). I make everything that I use for BP shooting except for lead ! for ammo, I can only buy that or find it I cant make it :p Thanks for the thumbs up on the idea about the caps. -ron raa-7
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  19. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Years ago I bought and still have a Tap-O-Cap. They work on my ROA, but not on my piettas. Could probably drill out the nipples, but haven't messed with it.

    I see these exploading targets and wonder if the stuff in them might work in a cap? Anybody know anything on this?
  20. robhof

    robhof Well-Known Member


    The exploding targets are tannerite; 555 fertilizer and aluminum powder, it's called a binary as it's made from 2 stable components. It usually requires a lot of pressure to cause detonation, maybe too much for hammer detonation and getting mixture right for tiny amounts and stable may be a problem. Most tannerite targets are mixed just prior to use, don't know about the storage life after mixing.

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