Rifle that will not fire ????

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by LDBennett, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    A friend brought me a Interarms imported Italian made 50 cal black powder percussion fired rifle to "fix". He consistently gets failures to fire (after many attempts it has never fired, ever) but his "setup " is weird to me as is all this black powder shooting.

    He replaced the cap nipple with one that has a 0.028 inch hole through it and is tapered from 0.163 to 0.174 inches where the #10 cap is suppose to go.

    He is using American Pioneer Powder 50 cal sticks. Their web page says to use two of those sticks with the 178 grain ball he is using. Since that info is not on the bottle (2 sticks) I suspect he may have only been using one but I'm not sure.

    The ball is a Hornady #6090C for 50 cal Muzzleloaders at 0.490 inches in diameter. They just drop down the barrel so he must have been using the patch material I found in his kit. There was also some pre-lubed patches which American Pioneer Powder says NOT to use since their powder is not suppose to require any lube at all.

    I want to start at square one with the setup he was using unless there is a compelling reason to not use any one of his component choices. So to be sure I get it right before trying to shoot this beast I want to know if:

    Does anyone sees a problem with his setup?

    I did test the barrel with compressed air and the passage ways from the barrel to the nipple freely flows air so I don't think there is any blockage there. I wonder if the powder sticks are a poor choice and the problem. The company is still around and you would think if this was a problem they would be long gone since he bought this gun four or five years ago.

    I have some Pyrodex P (FFFG equivalent or so the bottle says) is this "wrong" for this gun? Do I need to get some FFG old fashion black powder? The instruction manual for the gun says 90 grains of FFG or 70 grains of FFFG. Does that mean I can use the Pyrodex P? Hodgdon seems to say no and that I have to use their FFG equivalent Pyrodex .... period, no discussion.

    Any help with this will most assuredly be appreciated.

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  2. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    I suspect that a percussion cap is not "hot" enough to ignite the "sticks" reliably.

    I have never used any Pyrodex product because it typically produces less velocity for a given charge than "Black Powder". If Hogddon says "No", I am not going to recommend otherwise.

    I would get a pound of "Black Powder" or the recommended Pyrodex grade.

  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    What other choices do you have for percussion caps? The ones he bought were CCI No. 10. Is there a hotter version that will fit the nipple?

    I just looked up CCI caps and it appears the CCI 11M cap is expressly for igniting black powder replica powder and pellets (which is the powder my friend bought). I'll see if I can get some of those before I cart this monster to the range to test it.

    I want to test his kit supplies just to make sure he didn't do something wrong. He bought them all at a Black Powder store where you would think they would not sell him something wrong. I think he said he went back to discuss his problem with them and they sold him a different nipple. I only found one nipple in the kit (.028 inch hole apparently for #10 caps).

    When I go to the store for the caps I'll make sure the nipple I got is correct too.

    Thanks for the tip. I would not have thought that the caps might not be energetic enough.

  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Whether he used one or two sticks should have no bearing on whether or not it will ignite. Back when I was shooting black, I hunted with 90 grains and target shot with 45. Both fired. Used CCI caps. I always used black powder. The only sub that was around, back then, was Pyrodex, and it cost too much.

    Pyrodex P is pistol powder. It is the equivalent of 3F, and should be used in pistols 31 to 50 caliber and rifles 45 caliber and below. You can use it, in larger caliber guns, but it is not as efficient in the bigger chambers. It likes small chambers.

    If I was you, with what you have, first I'd just pop a couple of caps. If you have a clear passage for your fire, when you pop a cap on an empty gun you hear this "hollow" sound in the barrel. Once I had the right sound, I'd pour about 30 grains of that Pyrodex P down the hole and pound a wad down on top of it pretty tight. Cap that and fire it. If it goes bang, and it probably will, then the problem is the powder sticks.

    Pyrodex is harder to light off than real black powder. Pyrodex makes a powder stick (they call 'em Pellets), and I believe they have black powder on the bottom of them. The black catches and ignites the Pyrodex. It may be that American Select is also harder to light off. Your friend may end up having to drop 5 or 10 grains of black down the barrel before dropping the sticks.

    I believe the reason for the use of shotshell primers, in the inlines, was because of the difficulty of igniting the substitutes. 209 primers have much more flame than a #10 cap.

    I thought the number of the cap was the size. The "M" on that one may certainly mean it is hotter, but the 11 should mean it is larger than a 10. If the 10s he has fit, the 11s should be too big.
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Frankly. I am a flintlock man except for percussion revolvers. I have never personally used anything but the real thing (Black Powder) for propellant in loose powder and ball arms. I have seen people have problems with the substitute propellants.

    Therefore, I am not likely much help here. What Alpo states, I have no disagreement with.

    I am not going to go into detail here; and I am certainly not advocating the use of anything but Black Powder or "approved substitute propellants" in loose powder and ball arms.

    However, let it suffice to say that I know that a percussion cap will ignite Bullseye reliably. A percussion cap will not reliably ignite propellants like Unique and some others.
  6. ist,is this an inline rifle or side lock,if side lock,you cannot use stick powder at all.i have used pyrodex at times but i am now using 777 in my tc renegade,no problems with ignition.also you cannot use pellet type propellants.i suggest that you first replace nipple,most are either standard or metric yours my guess would be metric.after that try a powdered type propellant,i think your problems will be gone....old semperfi
  7. I think that the problem has been stated above, IF side lock style them the sticks will not work at all no matter what cap you use. IF inline then I would put a new nippl on it but from what I am reading, am suspecting a side hammer thus the sticks will not work as Old Semperfi has stated. I would get some loose pyrodex or black powder. Rule of themb is 50 cal and below, FFF, 50 cal and above, FF and yes 50 cal will usee either.
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    More details:

    The nipple I called out before was NOT used in the gun as the threads are wrong. The nipple that came with the gun has a hole that is 0.039 inches. I found it loose buried in his "kit" of stuff. I did find I had some #11M caps but my friend was using #10's.

    I looked at the American Pioneer Powder web site and they do not directly say to not use the sticks in a side lock so I sent them an email asking them about that. I will freely admit that not using Sticks in a side lock makes a lot of sense to me but I want to determine exactly why this gun won't shoot, not just "shotgun" it by changing everything.

    Thanks for all the comments so far. I learned a lot!

  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    American Pioneer Powder got back to me and repeated what several of you here said: Use loose powder, not sticks in a side lock black powder rifle.

    So I'm off to the range today to try it and expect it to be fine, as there appears to be nothing else wrong with the rifle. This episode of my friends's goes to show, again, that you can not trust the guy behind the counter in a gun store. The guy sold him the sticks of powder and #10 caps knowing he had a side lock muzzle loader. But some blame goes to the powder company who never say on their web page or on the bottle of sticks that they should not be used with side lock rifles. Oh well.

  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    It works!!!!! I verified it at the range today and saw the hole in the target from the ball.

    I shot the balls my friend had in his kit with 70 grains of Pyrodex P (FFFG) and CCI 11M caps. That was the first shot out of that gun. He has been trying to make the stick powder work for a couple of years. Thanks for all the help offered. You guided me in the right direction. I just knew it had to be something simple like using the right powder!

  11. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    Huh, I never wouldv'e figured that. Go figure. Oh well. I guess I learned something too.
  12. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    Knoxville Tennessee
    I was goin to tell you its the powder sticks but I see you got it figured out. As far as performance and reliability of the powder I would go with GOEX, We have been using the stuff for yars and love the results. Never did much care for Pyrodex cuz it tends to leave more residue.
  13. quigleysharps4570

    quigleysharps4570 Active Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Yep...Goex, Swiss or Graf&Sons (Wano).
  14. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    My concept of "fixing" my friends gun was to prove to myself that it had to be something simple. He obviously didn't research anything but just kept plugging alone with the stick powder. One post here and I was set off in the right direction and an email to American Pioneer Powder solved the problem. I made the unfireable gun fire! I care not what loose powder he uses. I used Pyrodex because I had it. He can work out what he wants to shoot now that he knows it won't shoot those stupid sticks.

    Again, thanks to all!

  15. Little Rooster

    Little Rooster New Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    Old Dominion
    The sticks or pellets were meant to be used with Shotgun primers(209's) in in-line type sudo muzzel loaders.
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