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small pop and no bang?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by buggley, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. buggley

    buggley Well-Known Member

    i keep one muzzel loader around and while it is my favorite rifle to shoot i rarely take it out because i cant get it to go off. it was used when i got it but is in great shape. i noticed the nipple has a flat spot, it looks like it had been dry fired and some one filed it down to fit the caps. will a poor cap seal prevent it from getting enough spark to go off? i have cleaned the nipple and even took a small welders file to it it see if there was a stopage anywhere betweel the powder and cap and it all checks out. bad caps maybe? bad powder? or am i in the ball park with the nipple being bad? it is an investarms hawkins .50. it isnt a top name but at 45-50 yards off a rest i can put a round ball in the same hole over and over.
  2. toolslinger

    toolslinger Well-Known Member


    Please clarify. The cap goes bang but the powder does not ignite? Is that correct?
  3. buggley

    buggley Well-Known Member

    yup. i cant seem to get a charge to the powder even though the cap goes off.
  4. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    Did you load the gun with powder and patched ball to test it?
    Simply loading powder without ramming a ball on top of it to seal it may not create a noticeable explosion of a powder like Pyrodex. It needs to be compacted and sealed with the ball on top of it or a wad of compressed newspaper for it to be able to ignite with an explosive effect that you would be able to notice.

    Or you may not have not checked out flash channel thoroughly enough.
    Does air or liquid pass through the flash channel?
    If you blow through the nipple hole or push the ramrod with a tight lubed patch down the bore, does air escape out through the flash channel?
    You should surely hear the air hissing out of the nipple.
    Simply igniting a percussion cap should result in air coming out of the muzzle which can be tested for by doing it in front of paper or blades of grass and watching for movement.
    There could be a blockage of some sort that you didn't know about.
    Sometimes the blockage needs to be blown out by placing some powder under the nipple, or by using a wire and pushing it out in guns that have a straight flash channel.
    You said that it's clear, but are you sure?

    Another possibility is that the powder is bad, the granulation of the powder is too large, or that the powder chamber at the bottom of the barrel won't let the powder get close enough to the flash hole for for the cap flame to ignite it.
    But that's not quite the same as a flash channel blockage, or not sealing the powder with something to seal it off, such as with a compressed wad of newspaper.
    Did you actually load the gun at the range to test it?
    How did you test it with powder?
    If the powder was loose and didn't seem like it went off normally, then maybe it wasn't sealed with the ball or a wad to develop enough pressure to create an explosive effect, and the powder just fizzed. That's what it does when the powder is not properly sealed after it's loaded into the barrel.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  5. TNBilly

    TNBilly Well-Known Member

    you didn't mention a breach plug but if you have one it's possible it's cruded up. Pull and make sure.
  6. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    The breech plug and powder chamber can be scraped using a fouling scraper, or a bronze brush on the end of the ramrod, or by flushing it out with water without needing to pull the breech plug.
    That's not something anyone would want to do unless absolutely necessary to remove a stuck ball or something and nothing else works.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  7. buggley

    buggley Well-Known Member

    i have taken it to the range and tested with a patch and ball but it seem most of the time 1 in 10 go off. soak it over night when i clean it and can blow air through it but im not sure how much i am looking for. i dont think the breech plug will come out any more i cant get it to mve and i dont want to damage the metal trying ti get it to move. when i clean it i coak it in the tub with dish soap over night the rinse and scrub till the water comes out clean. if i blow air down the barrel i can get bubles out the nipple but i dont know how many bubbles to be looking for. it seems to be in good condition with no rust that i can see if it sat for too long with out oil can the flash hole rust over? i try to keep every thing oiled and i make sure to swab befor shooting so powder doesnt stick.
    the powder that i have is older i got it from a friend who had it stored in his shed. if it isnt stored right will powder go bad?
  8. Noz

    Noz Well-Known Member

    Buy a new nipple.
  9. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Well-Known Member

    Yea, a new nipple is a cheap start. A lot of times water and oil crud and rust will block the firing chamber. If you can get the little screw out of the bolster you can clean it out better.
  10. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Well-Known Member

    Try a new nipple, new powder, and a new tin of caps. Is the cleanout screw airtight? That may be your problem, just make sure it's not leaking or the flame from the cap might not be getting into the powder but escaping from a leak. Try plugging the nipple hole with your finger and blowing into the barrel to see if it leaks.

    Hope y'all get it working!
  11. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    Yep...new nipple, caps and powder. Then snap a cap or two before you load. That will help clear any lint, dust, thread from patches, etc. that might have gotten in the nipple or flash channel.
  12. buggley

    buggley Well-Known Member

    where can i get a new nippl for it? i have looked localy and found nitro nipples but the threads dont fit. the clean out screw wont budge i tried it today and it started to strip so i gave up on it>
  13. buggley

    buggley Well-Known Member

    my wife just asked what we were talking about...... i told her my nipple. she got so mad that i would post about my nipple :D shes a great gal
  14. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    It's hard to swab down into the powder chamber and flash hole to remove the oil. Maybe the oil is running down in there and impeding the spark.
    If it's clean it should be firing.
    But if a nipple is old and has an enlarged hole then that could hurt the ignition too.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  15. Skinny 1950

    Skinny 1950 Well-Known Member

    I have a CVA .45 cal. and it does the same thing,it has a drum sticking out the side of the barrel with the nipple attached. There is a screw on the end of the drum and I have to take the screw out to clean the passage after every shot for reliable ignition. It is a Pain in the A$$ and I am looking for a Flinter rifle... I have a flint pistol that is a lot more reliable.
    Here is a picture of the offending Lock:

  16. teddy52food

    teddy52food Active Member

    no bang?

    What powder are you using? Real black fires easier than the subs.
  17. buggley

    buggley Well-Known Member

    it is a pyrodex, i dont know much about BP i didnt know it was still sold i thought it was all subed now
  18. Stantdm

    Stantdm Well-Known Member

    I had this problem once on a rifle that always fired before I changed nipples. Nipples come in different lengths and I got one that was too long. It didn't allow the cap flame to get to the powder. Check, as best you can, that when seated the nipple is not longer than the distance to the bottom of the pathway into the barrel.
  19. Rem.222

    Rem.222 Well-Known Member

    Nipple is probily the problem and seek out some real blackpowder. I had a no name rifle years ago and was flusted by it until I change the nipples and bought real BP. It went off every time, it was more accurate and much easier to clean. Real bp has a bad rap it never deserved in my oppinion.
  20. Nappers

    Nappers Well-Known Member

    I read a story once that a guy used a Musket caps and nipple with pyrodex and it made his groups tighter.....

    Real BP is the best. Some say it's messier, but I clean my gun whether I use BP or shoot my centerfire's. I have not used pyrodex yet.

    That's funny about your wife, my GF says that men developed names for the parts, Nipples, Ram Rod, Balls, Ramming the ball, I said we didn't make the short starter name though..... :D

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