percussion cap problem

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by dsiefer, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. dsiefer

    dsiefer New Member

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    Hi all,

    I recently purchased a Cabelas Hawken Rifle, 50cal percussion model with double set triggers and I am having trouble getting caps to pop. This site looked like a good place to find help since I couldn't find any elsewhere.

    I am using #11 CCI caps. I bought fresh caps and that didn't seem to help. The caps will pop if I "slap" the trigger hard, but not if I gently sqeeze the trigger, or use the set trigger first. The caps are dented slightly but will not ignite. Obviously in a hunting situation I can't be jerking the trigger and still hit my target.

    Does anyone have suggestions for me to try? It would be greatly appreciated. I got into trad. archery a few years ago and thought I'd move more in that direction with my muzzleloader hunting. But I can tell you I'm already missing those 209 primers!

    Thanks!
  2. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

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    It might be as simple as replacing the nipple with a better-quality stainless steel nipple. Thompson/Center Arms sells them IIRC.

    I put a T/C nipple on a Traditions single-shot pistol with the same problem as you described and the misfires disappeared.
  3. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    Sounds like something is binding during the firing process. Have you disassembled to check for strange wear patterns?
  4. dsiefer

    dsiefer New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. The gun has only been fired twice so I don't think the trigger would be wearing yet. I dissassembled the trigger mechanism and nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. From what I've read on reviews it's a commom problem. I just haven't came across a common solution.

    I'll try a new nipple and see if that solves the problem.
  5. M. Demetrius

    M. Demetrius New Member

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    You'll be glad you chose a stainless steel nipple after you've cleaned the rifle a few times.
  6. Oldbull

    Oldbull New Member

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    verify that the lock is not binding (due to grease or other material) by removing it from the rifle and cleaning the lock. Be sure to check that the wood under the lock is not causing a hang up place, ie. splinter or wood chip. Look at the underside of the hammer and if necessary remove any casting waste material to ensure that the hammer is striking the nipple and the top of the lock plate. The last thing you can do is take a small file and clean up the flat spot on the hammer where it contacts the top of the lock plate. A small amount of metal removed from the hammer will allow the hammer to strike the top of the lock and the nipple. Good luck. If you have any questions write me back.
  7. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Pull the hammer and check for burrs on the machinning. I had to do some smoothing on a couple of them. Or, after firing a few hundred rounds, these burrs will wear off by themselves. ;)

    Pops
  8. eka

    eka New Member

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    Is the hammer face meeting the top of the nipple squarely? Without being able to see whats going on it's hard to tell. But, like others have mentioned. It sounds like something is interfering with the hammer fall. Whether it be some wood or metal. You have already done what was the logical first step, which was to try some different caps. Hang in there man, these things are not the most sophisticated of machines. A little tinkering around will show you the problem. If you have the patience for trad. archery, this is going to be a piece of cake. Check the stock inletting around the lock, my guess is your problem is lurking somewhere around in there.

    Report back on what your finding and we'll be at the very least sympathetic and hopefully helpful.

    Good luck,

    Keith
  9. dsiefer

    dsiefer New Member

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    Thanks again for the replies. The gun is new and reviews I've read said the factory nipple needs to be replaced to a Spit Fire nipple or Knight Red Hot nipple. Many reviews mentioned a similar problem.

    I tried filing the nipple down and it pops #11 caps with a little less force exerted on the main trigger but still not where I want it. And it still won't pop caps when I use the double set trigger.

    I am going to pick up a new 6 x 75 nipple and see if that takes care of the problem. It might be a hangup in the trigger mechanism also. There's a couple set screws and I don't know what those do and I'd rather not mess with them if I don't know what I'm doing. Of course there were no instructions on that in the owner's manual.
  10. ginoe

    ginoe New Member

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    how goes it? i've got the same new rifle & the same problem.

    we've probably read the same reviews so i went out & bought the knight red hot nipple .75mm (right pic) - i think it was mislabeled on the packaging because it does not look like the original nipple (left pic).

    [​IMG]

    i've ordered the lyman's .75mm nipple (since i've read this rifle is similar to the lyman trade rifle) they should arrive this friday. when they do, i will begin modifying one of them as you did by filing it down, maybe even buggering the hole a little wider too.

    i did notice i had to force the cap onto the nipple really, really hard to get a nice tight seat. the 1st hammer strike did not pop the cap, instead it seated the cap even tighter on the nipple. i had to re-cock & fire again, the 2nd strike would usually pop - but then it would not ignite the power.

    when this happened, i imagined myself as hatchet jack; frozen on the mountain side dead from starvation (or was it broken legs from a bear attack?). it was a good thing i brought my ar-15 to the range too. i packed the smokepole away & shot 200rds with the ebr.
  11. dsiefer

    dsiefer New Member

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    Ginoe,

    Keep me updated on your progress if you can. I'll do the same. I've got a buddy that's mailing me a cabelas spit fire nipple this week. I'll let you know if that solves my problem.

    The factory nipple cost me a buck this year. I stopped the deer at 35 yards and dopped the hammer unsuccessfully 3 consecutive times before he turned and trotted off.

    Now I can handle hunting in fridgid IA conditions but I will draw the line at hunting with a rifle that won't consistently ignite. Something has to be defective. It can't be that hard. I don't remember jeremiah johnson cussing misfires.
  12. ginoe

    ginoe New Member

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    yeah, the knight .75mm nipple must have been mislabeled/mis-packaged. replacement lyman trade rifle .75mm nipples arrived today.

    since i have 4 of them now, i took the original nipple to the dremel & filed it down so the #11 caps could fit.

    [​IMG]

    it pops the cap on the 1st hammer strike (not like before where it would take a 2nd strike).

    i went to another shop & picked up #11 magnum caps. they always pop on the 1st hammer strike no matter if i use the original nipple or the modified dremel nipple. they seem to fit much better. i did notice the #11 caps are stamped cci 10 but the magnum caps are stamed cci 11m.

    [​IMG]
  13. eka

    eka New Member

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    Stay after it boys, it really shouldn't be that hard. Heck, I've got way more confidence than that in my flintlocks. Without holding, feeling, touching, tasting, and banging around on the gun, I'm not sure what the problem is. But, don't give up on these old timers because they are really fun and when the bug bites it bites hard. You may very well be on to something with those nipples.

    Keith
  14. ginoe

    ginoe New Member

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    just got back from the range, 13 rounds all on paper. out or the box, windage was spot on. i only had to adjust the elevation. used the dremel/modified nipple.

    hornady 177gr .50cal/.490 ball
    prelubed .015 patch (tight, a little effort to load)
    prelubed .010 patch (not so tight, very little effort to load)
    pyrodex rs - 60gr/70gr/80gr
    cci #11 caps (sometimes needed a 2nd hammer strike)
    cci #11 magnum caps (always ignited on 1st hammer strike)
    stock iron sights

    25yds/1.5" = tried different powder grains/patch/cap combinations, spit & dry patch when i felt like it (not every shot) - didn't affect the shot placement on the target. got the shot in the same hole a couple of times.

    50yds/3" = wow, i can just see the target at this range (maybe in need a better type target image or more light to see it better). i should mount the peep sight but the tang needs a hole drilled. i'm having so much fun shooting this thing i don't want to wait for the gunsmith. i put a peep on the henry golden boy, it took 3 weeks.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  15. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My experience with bp is not as extensive as others here, I am sure -
    But I have several, and have repaired/modified them for one reason or another, so have SOME experience.
    But I am a retired engineer, and my old engineer sense tells me that the problem is not in the cap or nipple, even if the condition may be IMPROVED by modifying them.
    The double set trigger mechanism should have ZERO effect on the hammer drop force.
    The rapidity with which you squeeze the trigger shouldn't have any effect either.
    You (or a gunsmith) are going to HAVE to take this mechanism apart and see WHAT is interfering with the hammer fall in such a way that JERKING the trigger eliminates it.
    I am with the others here who spoke of a splinter, burr, woodchip, rough sliding surface, SOMETHING that when the hammer is released EASY without any jolt causes interference enough to soften it's fall, but when JOLTED it get's past it.
    Something is rough in there that needs stoned out to make it smooth.

    Just MHO, of course -
  16. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Dsifier, did you solve this yet?
  17. Oldbull

    Oldbull New Member

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    Another area that you can check is whether you have the lock bolts to tight. Back them off 1/2 turn and retest. Take a black magic marker and coat the edge of the mainspring. Install the lock like you would normally do and then cycle the lock. Remove the lock and see where the majic marker has left some marks. If you find marks then you have a choice of 1) leaving the lockplate bolts loose 1/2 turn or more or 2) using a small scraper to scrape off the wood where the marks are located. Repeat until the lock functions correctly. Be sure you have a "new" nipple installed first.
  18. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    I hear you, eka!;)

    At least with a flintlock you can SEE if you are getting spark or not....without having to grab hold of the spark plug wire while your Dad cranks the mower:eek: (Yes he did that, and it was a GREAT lesson, even if it was today and not in the 60s or 70s my great Dad might have gotten arrested for child abuse!)



    But I had that "three tries before it fired" experience with my first deer I got with the flintlock too...in a freezing rain, good thing it was a young stupid button (I don't shoot them UNLESS it's with the flintlock....)that stood there at 75 yds looking curiously at that orange blob in the poncho on the hillside making that clicking sound...


    And I was lucky it DIDN'T go off the SECOND click because I jerked the trigger so hard after carefully recocking I would have missed him by a mile!;)

    The third time was a charm, and he dropped....:)

    But at LEAST I knew what the problem was....and understood then WHY the old flintlock hunters in Europe used to say what I read they said in the 1700s....


    "GENTLEMEN don't HUNT in the rain!";):p
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