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Sedalia Dave

Preventing chain firing

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Preventing chain firing

 

This ties into something I discovered on one of my sets of 44 C&B revolvers. 

 

I noticed that even though I was shaving a nice lead ring off the ball that the balls in some of the chambers seemed loose. The act of firing the revolver would cause some of the balls to shift forward in the chambers and no longer be seated on the powder. Careful observation revealed that there was a slight lip on some of the chamber mouths. It was too small to measure but it could be felt if you used a sharp pointed tool and carefully pulled it out of the chamber some of them felt different than the others. 

 

Got with a friend that had a lot of different piloted reamers and found one that would just fit into the chamber. I don’t remember exactly what the reamer was originally designed for but it might have been a 45 ACP throat reamer.  

 

We carefully added a slight chamfer to each chamber. On some of the chambers there was very little resistance. In other there was a significant initial resistance but after a few turns the effort to turn the reamer fell in line with the other chambers.

 

So that each chamber was consistent, we used tape to mark the reamer so that we took the same amount of material off each time. The resulting chamfer extended about an 1/8th of an inch into each chamber and probably only increased the diameter of the chamber mouth less than a thousandths of an inch. 

 

Haven’t had time to do any range testing due to work and the weather but plan to soon.

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I have always used a Ballistol moistened wad cut from a cardboard milk carton for an over powder wad to help prevent a chain fire. Haven't had one - yet (knocking on wood).

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The cylinder walls should be straight.

Any taper at all allows the ball to become looser as it moves in the cylinder.

During recoil, the ball will start to move and there is nothing to stop it from continuing after the initial tension is broken.

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From the '70s to today, I like lubed Ox-Yoke "Wonder Wads" loaded over powder & under balls for both a small filler & lube carrier in everything from my .36 caliber Patersons, 1851s, .45 Dueling pistols, to my .53 caliber Hawken, whenever, the load will not sit in the firearm more than a couple of hours.

 

Otherwise, making sure the powder charge is large enough to fill the chamber (most revolvers have a smaller diameter in the chamber area than the ball), seat the ball directly on top of the powder and use Remington or TC "Bore Butter" to seal the open end of the chamber. 

 

I only like milk carton wads under flat based bullets to act as a gas-check and seal from the bullet's lube from contaminating the powder... i.e. in cartridges...   and where possible with a grease cookie between the wad and bullet base.  Hence my 28gr of 2F Goex under a variety of bullet weights in the 45 Colt... my soft recoiling and all day shooting load in the 45 Colt from both revolvers & leverguns.  No cleaning between stages, not even necessary for 2 day shoots.  (As long as there's only 10 stages... more than that and the over-night cleaning becomes a good insurance policy that you'll complete all 12 stages with no problems).  In my guns... YMMV.

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1 hour ago, Cliff Hanger #3720LR said:

The cylinder walls should be straight.

Any taper at all allows the ball to become looser as it moves in the cylinder.

During recoil, the ball will start to move and there is nothing to stop it from continuing after the initial tension is broken.

 

Agreed but if there is even a tiny lip or burr at the chamber mouth then no matter how straight the walls are in the rest of the chamber the damage to the ball has already been done.

 

The area that we applied a taper to was limited to the first 1/8th of an inch of the chamber. I doubt if the taper was even a thousand of an inch.  The remainder of the chamber was left untouched.

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Dave, I agree with what you are saying.

Chamfer vs slight starting taper.

 

Not a tapered chamber!

 

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All of my 51’s have been reemed do that I must use 380 balls. I can only assume that they are also consistent and don’t have the issue you had. Two birds with one stone. 

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A greased hard 0.03" felt wad prevents this: cleans the chamber after the powder charge and also when the chamber is fired

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I have shot cap and ball pistols for 63 years.  Started with a 1860 Colt 4 screw carried during the States Rights fight by my neighbors grandpa.  I have shot different cap and ball guns made from 1820's to 2018 and never had a chain fire, with any gun with more than one chamber.  The only ones I have seen were caused by a crack between chamber walls, using the wrong size caps with one or more coming off.  I use black or 777, lube felt wad, and over sized lead balls.  Even if the chamber mouth is small the lubed felt wad stops any chance of fire getting to powder.

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A fun article from the past. (Dec 2003)

Old Scout wanted to demonstrate what happens when a chamber fires that is not behind the barrel a few other interesting conditions.

 

http://www.brimstonepistoleros.com/articles/capping.html

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Dave I did the same to my 1860 Army revolvers 

I put a 1/4in cork wad over the powder then set the ball on top then I put 1/4in grease plug on top of the ball, I now have a chamber that is filled to the top of the  cylinder 

Clueless Bob and I will be shooting Frontiersman at or May Monthly come on out and join us and we can talk about it 

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I haven't found Chain Fire to be an issue.  And I shoot a lot of Cap Guns.  It is important the chamber mouth be nice and smooth.  I have found, reaming the chamber mouth can cause excessive fouling of the Arbor in front of the cylinder.

 

Basically, I load 451 Round Ball in my .44s, directly on top of my preferred load of APP.   No lube cookies, no lube wads, no grease gob on top of the ball.  then FULLY seat the Caps.  for my .36s, I load .380 EPP UG - 36 cast projectiles directly over my load of APP.  No cookies, No wads, No globs.  In none of my shooting has this resulted in Chain Fire.  Thousands of rounds fired.  

 

It's important to shave a full ring off the ball or projectile.  That seals the chamber mouth.  Fully seat the Caps.  Seals the nipples.  Don't know that I need or want to anything else.

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