Dry firing Cap & Ball Revolvers, a question

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by OrangePwrx9, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Member

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    Saw a thread on Dry Firing Cap & Ball revolvers a while back and the conclusion seemed to be that it could and probably would damage the nipples. Someone else noted that a properly built Cap & Ball wouldn't let the hammer touch the nipples, that there would be a small clearance with hammer down.

    If that's the case, why not just remove the nipples for dry firing?
     
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  2. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Burt Blade posted: "Do not dry fire any cap and ball revolver. Even if you take out the nipples, the hammer will bash on the frame."

    Steve499 posted: "About dry firing, I read on another forum that one could place a strip of leather which is thick enough to stop the hammer from falling on the nipple down in the hammer cut in the frame. The hammer is cushioned when it drops with no metal to metal contact at all. I tried it with my Remington and it works well."

    https://thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/new-to-the-black-1858-replica-many-questions.176028/#post-2158924
     
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  3. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    I use old caps.

    Todd.
     
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  4. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    I have my guns hammer face shaved down so that it barely reaches hitting the nipple or not even touching the nipple to where the gap between the nipple and hammer is only about the thickness of a sheet of paper. I can technically dry fire my guns with no damage and ive seen no damage at all from the hammer hitting the guns body so no need for leather strip etc. I did once put a strip of leather to try it and it was too thick to where it kept the gun from cycling properly. Since i make my own percussion caps I also have empty cap hulls that i will use on some guns where the nipple still barely touches my hammer face, although not using a cap still doesnt cause damage on these guns due to the hammer face barely even reaching the nipple. U can always dry fire without nipples on the cylinder...ive done it with no ill effect.
     
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  5. A C

    A C Member

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  6. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    I personally don’t understand the need for dry firing a cap and ball revolver, unless maybe you shoot competition. The lockwork and springs are relatively fragile anyway unless you’ve done upgrades. Why wear them out? Buy a Ruger vaquero for dry fire practice. ;)
     
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  7. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    I should have mentioned that my guns arent stock...i do my own upgrades and have made custom torsion wire springs to replace my trigger and bolt spring...so i can dry fire all day and not wear anything out. And some days i actually do play with them all day. Before customizing my guns i was always breaking sear springs and even main springs. But i think most of us in this forum are guilty of playing with their guns like spinning them, cocking and uncocking, fast draw and dry firing our guns...sometimes even in front of the mirror.
     
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  8. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    You don't understand?o_O

    Because; Outlaw Josie Wales!:evil:

    Todd.
     
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  9. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    I can see that. I wore the finish off my Old Vaquero .44 twirling it during the Tombstone era. Before I ever shot it once LOL
     
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  10. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Member

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    So wear and tear on the springs is the issue, not so much deformation of the hammer or frame.

    I dry fire these things enough to get a feel for trigger break and its effect on sight alignment. For regular practice, I've got Blackhawks.
     
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  11. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Dry firing without adjusting the hammer/nipple clearance will mess up the nipples, sounds like a personal problem, by flattening the ends of them. Removing them as stated above is easiest solution. Unless it is a REALLY cheap frame you won't hurt anything.
     
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  12. Hikingman

    Hikingman Member

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    I paid for a repair after this. It was my fault. Try not to dry fire ALL old guns for sport.
     
  13. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    Bear in mind that cap & ball revolvers often use case-hardened parts, not full hardened parts.
    Such parts have a hardened surface for wear resistance, but are still subject to deforming under impact.
    Dry-firing is a bad idea, whether you remove the nipples or not.
     
  14. misskitty2

    misskitty2 Member

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    if u have conversions ,buy snap caps they go in like a cartage
     
  15. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    I'm sorry but, my conversions are set up so that the hammer nose never touches the conversion ring . . . only the firing pin. The frame IS the "stop". That keeps the hammer from bashing (needlessly) the ring. The hammer /frame contact is fairly large so, no concern of damage to the frame or hammer. All my open top revolvers are cartridge guns and get cycled daily with (homemade) snap caps and absolutely no problems with frame or hammer problems!

    Mike
     
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  16. misskitty2

    misskitty2 Member

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    + on snap caps I have them for 38 and 45 cal seem to work well
     
  17. Captain*kirk

    Captain*kirk Member

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    I've used some home-made "snap caps" out of aquarium tubing. They have to be just the right length though, or they drag on the recoil shield. But they work once you get 'em right and cushion the blow against the hammer/slot as well.
     
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  18. grter

    grter Member

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    If your gun is fixed in a manner that the hammer does not touch the nipples AND YOU DON'T HAVE A FULL POWER STOCK MAINSPRING then probably yes. It would have to be configured to work with a reduced power mainspring (I would want it as light as possible.)

    I would be very reluctant to dry fire these with the stock factory mainsprings. I think in that case it could batter the frame. Not all frames are case hardened and even if so I still would avoid dry firing with a stock mainspring. Dry firing a gun with a hammer that touches uncapped nipples will produce some interesting mark patterns on your hammer face in addition to flattening the nipples resulting in reliability problems when live firing.

    I like the idea of using something to cushion the hammer blow on the nipples. I think used caps can only be used so many times before they are flattened so much that they don't provide much cushioning. The other ideas such as aquarium tubing and leather look good. New caps also have the priming compound in them that probably provides even more cushioning.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
  19. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    First off the frame is not going to get "battered" unless it's made of something really soft, like marshmallows. Having set up some of the lesser quality revolvers I can say the frame has never shown damage of any kind other then a shiny spot where the hammer contacts it. When I set one up I go for a .005 max clearance between the hammer face and the nipples, this allows you to dry fire the pistol without damaging it... hey if Ruger can do it on the Old Army why not on a reproduction gun?
     
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  20. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Which replica revolvers have casehardened frames? None that of which I am aware. The Italian replicas all have case colors on them but that is not the same as case hardening.

    Kevin
     
  21. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    From what I have seen from working on these things there is a hardened surface on all but the really low quality stuff. It may not be color case hardening but it's still hardened.
     
  22. grter

    grter Member

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    You may very well be right and granted you most likely speak from experience. You may call me irrational but I still am not comfortable having a hammer set up with the kind of force a factory mainspring produces frequently pounding the frame of a gun that my file so easily bites into. Maybe it is over reacting but I won't frequently dry fire an Italian replica with a factory mainspring.

    Another interesting thing to me is it seems the hardness of various Italian replicas made over the years (or maybe even currently?) can vary. How hard one is compared to the other continues to mystify me.

    Case hardening, fake case hardening, whatever it may be it's generally a very thin layer of surface hardening and there are likely others with no surface hardening at all.
     
  23. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    I have yet to run across one that wasn't surface hardened in way or another. When one is set up with the few thousands inch clearance from the nipples that force from the factory spring is spread out over a much larger area rather than on the very small area of the nipple. Have yet to see any frame damage from dry firing a properly adjusted revolver.
     
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