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Cap jams


Make do
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Having been plagued with more cap jams than I think necessary, I recently embarked on a time intensive, possible dangerous method to prevent cap jams. Having no gunsmithing ability to install a cap rake or inclination to pay to have one put in I have tried various other solutions.

Aquarium tubing- didn't work not enough room, tube too thick

Cap guards - didn't hold together well still jammed.

Different nipples and caps - still had the problem.

Finally, I came up with a solution that is both possibly dangerous and taking an immense amount of time but seems to work.

I found some shrink fit tubing that I cut into small slices and put around the cap, I then one cap at a time use a heat gun to shrink the tubing. I know what you are thinking that is not a good idea heat and a percussion cap but it seems to work. Although I do wear a face shield and gloves I have not have one cook off. It seem the heat shrink is more sensitive than the cap. On two trips to the range and of approximately 100 rounds total zero cap jams. Anyone tried this or have a better solution? image.thumb.jpeg.1b880bbadf3c562addd05821abaa2518.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.194ad1427be0b2140a513e57e4b53d69.jpeg

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OK.  Your solution of Heat Shrink Tubing is a bit novel.  And, in my opine, not real smart.  Just because it has worked, doesn't mean it's a smart thing to do.

 

Those of us who shoot Cap Guns ALL THE TIME understand Cap Jam is always just around the corner.  First fix is to match your Nipples and your Caps to good fit.  Slix and rem#10 are a good bet.  Polish the contact face of the Hamme, buff away the burrs on the sides of the Hammer Safety Notch.  Buff away the sharp "fangs" at the bottom of the safety notch.  This will get you some relief.  The next step is a mechanical means of keeping the caps out of the hammer channel at that is usually a Cap Rake.  Bite the bullet and have Cap Rakes installed (by someone who actually know how).  You may still experience the occasional Cap Jam at the Water Table, but there is no Fix for that one.

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I first time you set off a cap I'm betting that you rethink the practice of using heat shrink. How long do you let them cool before handling them?

 

First question is what nipples are you using? If the answer is factory nipples then the first thing to do is buy a set of Slix, Treso, or Ampco nipples that are properly machined.

 

Then do like Colorado Coffinmaker says and clean up the hammer face with an India stone.

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Hi - I usually let them set about 1 min. I have purposely set off one of the caps with the heat gun to see how close it was to when the heat shrink sets and it is about 30 to 45 seconds with the heat gun till ignition and about 5 to 7 seconds to set the heat shrink.  I use Treso nipples with the recommended #11 caps - Have smoothed up the hammer face and defanged the edges. Just looking for a fool proof way to prevent, mostly because I shoot gunfighter and it is a mess when you have a cap jam. I have noticed that jams are much fewer (one per two or three stages) when I push the caps down hard onto the nipple - Don't feel very safe having the gun in hand pushing hard on the cap. I know some people set the cap with the hammer, but I seem to recall that isn't allowed is SASS. I do use a wooden dowel to push with, but it seems to mush a bit too much instead of seating the cap. How hard do people push to seat the cap? I am thinking maybe a hard plastic rod of some type, pretty sure something made of metal would not be a good idea. 

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I'm assuming your not going to try this method at a match?  Because I think you scare the bejesus out of the other folks there if you did that and you can't put the caps on before you go to the loading table.

 

I use an antler tip and don't push real hard; then again I use Rem #10s and Slix nipples. Don't use the hammer to seat them, bad idea.

 

It's pretty simple to install a cap rake if you have a drill and a dremel.

 

Are you using stock hammer springs or lightened? 

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2 hours ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

Those of us who shoot Cap Guns ALL THE TIME understand Cap Jam is always just around the corner.  First fix is to match your Nipples and your Caps to good fit.  Slix and rem#10 are a good bet.  Polish the contact face of the Hamme, buff away the burrs on the sides of the Hammer Safety Notch.  Buff away the sharp "fangs" at the bottom of the safety notch.  This will get you some relief.  The next step is a mechanical means of keeping the caps out of the hammer channel at that is usually a Cap Rake.  Bite the bullet and have Cap Rakes installed (by someone who actually know how).  You may still experience the occasional Cap Jam at the Water Table, but there is no Fix for that one.

 

Coffinmaker knows what he's talking about.

For me, a cap jam that ties up the gun, is one of the most frustrating things I know.

All my competition cap guns have something to prevent cap jams

Half of them have Cap Guards that were installed years ago by Rowdy Yates out West.

He's been retired for a while now, so Coffinmaker  fitted Cap Rakes to the other half

They are as reliable as cartridge guns, and I have just as much confidence in them as my cartridge guns

When I pull the trigger, I want the gun to go BOOM!

--Dawg

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Nope I do the caps at home one at a time keeping all other items out of the way, then at the range put the caps on like normal they will even run through a capper- Hammer springs are stock.  Haven't run them at a match yet - just trying it out. Looks like I should save up for some cap guard work.

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2 hours ago, Make do said:

...I have purposely set off one of the caps with the heat gun to see how close it was to when the heat shrink sets and it is about 30 to 45 seconds with the heat gun till ignition and about 5 to 7 seconds to set the heat shrink. ...

That statement indicates that what you are doing isn't as dangerous as some may have thought.  Still not the best fix for the problem, but I wouldn't worry too much about it in the mean time.

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When I first started shooting cap guns, I'd get caps back in the hammer channel all the time...  There was no one paving the way, so to speak, I learned by experimenting and trying what others did.  The closest I came to a fix came by wallering out the inside curve of the hammer.  Sometimes I've have 10 caps stuck down in there... and then one would be one too many and the hammer wouldn't contact the cap... Noticed my nipples were getting mushroomed... trimmed 'em back and cleaned them up...   NOTHING worked.  I finally sent my cap guns off to have the Manhattan conversion done.  Now with Treso nipples and Remington #10s, it's rare that I have a cap jam... but when I do... it's nearly always when I'm shooting C&B GUNFIGHTER!!!

image.jpeg.4400d499040c36ff290d605121587df8.jpeg

The slot in the hammer has been filled. This is a "in progress" photo.  

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When I used to do use heat shrink on caps I’d use a soldering iron from my electronics days to melt the heat shrink, much safer. I heated a cap for about 1/2 hour one day just to see if I could set it off, I couldn’t. I found this method was very time consuming and not worth the effort. 

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I think heat shrinking every cap would be so tedious it would make my head explode.  Not to mention having to make up extra caps in case you drop one.  I’m in agreement with others here, what you’re doing is a work-around for a problem.  I’d find out why you’re getting the jambs in the first place.  My ‘58 NMA’s were giving me fits with cap jambs until I talked to Fire and Fallback and found out that my mainsprings were too light, yes they set off the caps but the hammer didn’t have enough spring to keep the caps on after ignition.  Of course the right cap and nipple combination is a must, so far I’ve found that the SLIXX nipples work well with CCI #11’s as well as Remington #10’s. 

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Where can someone find a stiffer hammer spring - all I see online are lighter springs (Wolf) or stock springs. Or how about a gunsmith that is putting in cap guards?

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1 hour ago, Make do said:

Where can someone find a stiffer hammer spring - all I see online are lighter springs (Wolf) or stock springs. Or how about a gunsmith that is putting in cap guards?

 

Longhunter might.

 

The only other one I know of that does it, takes FOREVER.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Cap Guards & Cap Rakes

Both do the job

--Dawg

 

cap guard.jpg

cap rake photo.jpeg

Edited by Prairie Dawg, SASS #50329
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11 hours ago, Make do said:

Where can someone find a stiffer hammer spring - all I see online are lighter springs (Wolf) or stock springs. Or how about a gunsmith that is putting in cap guards?

 

It would help if you let us know what type/brand of gun you’ve got

 

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I shoot a Pietta 1861 navy.. would love to see more of the first picture Prairie  Dog posted it seems like a good solution. Which would be the best, easiest to attempt with a drill press?

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If you’re patient, and meticulous you can make a cap rake.  There are instructions and videos that will give you a good perspective of what needs to be done.  Here’s a couple by SASS members

 

 

 

 

 

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Take the J-B weld route and simply clean the "Safety" notch on the face of the hammer and fill it in with the J-B.

 

It is Waaaay better if you file that notch with a reverse bevel so the weld mixture is thicker at the rear than front.

 

I have two sets that I've shot for years with only filling the notch and using the Slix Nipples.  Perhaps about a dozen cap jams in ten years.

 

Your mileage may vary..

 

Ol'  #4

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The OP finally told us what kind of gun he is using but I still don't think other than "#11" he has identified what caps he is using.  I use to do the so-called Manhattan coversion and tried the cap rakes.  The Manhattan the way I did it by milling the frame is a lot of work and I personally did not like the cap rakes.  What I have been doing for quite a while is similar to what Old #4 recommended.  I mill the hammer face and solder in a piece of drill rod then face the drill rod so it is level with the hammer face.  I use a piece of drill rod that is big enough in OD to completely cover the nipple when the cap fires.  Then Slix nipples and REMINGTON #10s.  #11 is meaningless without noting the brand of cap.  As far as seating the cap I use a deer horn with a string tied to a dummy 12 gauge shell.  I wrap the string around the pusher and shell and it fits into my shotgun double loop shotgun belt.

 

P1050463.thumb.jpeg.3abb693f714378848ce778ce4b23c428.jpeg

 

P1050484.thumb.jpeg.f81a9ac0856d1ea9e541575fa563a367.jpeg

 

P1000281.thumb.jpeg.074551b053162f591a6440bf742be6fe.jpeg

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Make do said:

I shoot a Pietta 1861 navy.. would love to see more of the first picture Prairie  Dog posted it seems like a good solution. Which would be the best, easiest to attempt with a drill press?

I did the post with a drill press and clamped the frame in wood Jorgensen clamp. After drilling, cut a piece of the shank and inserted with a little Loc Tite stud mount. Used a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to make the slot in the hammer. I believe the drill size was 3/32,  recommended by Coffinmaker.IMG_20190818_154544.thumb.jpg.ab2aec0807952a04ee1430cdcb45175d.jpgIMG_20190818_174246.thumb.jpg.fd6d19ee8302c5f0d112ab6cf4ebcc1b.jpgIMG_20190818_174317.thumb.jpg.4e74cdc967754a2b1e229f23c9bfcb63.jpg

Edited by Eyesa Horg
Otto
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All I have as far as caps are CCI #11.  I have about 1000 of them and only 100 Remington # 11. I know that people like the remington and talk trash about the CCI but currently there are 0 Remington’s in my area and for that matter 0 CCI caps. Is the size of the post important on the cap rake? I was considering using the same size stud as the safety pegs.

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12 hours ago, Make do said:

All I have as far as caps are CCI #11.  I have about 1000 of them and only 100 Remington # 11. I know that people like the remington and talk trash about the CCI but currently there are 0 Remington’s in my area and for that matter 0 CCI caps. Is the size of the post important on the cap rake? I was considering using the same size stud as the safety pegs.

Rem #10s and CCI # 11s both should work. Also if you can find them Winchester caps are made by CCI and they work fine. Some folks don't like CCI 11 but they are actually a little hotter than Rem caps. I use CCI  #11 and my wife uses Rem #10, once in awhile she gets the CCI caps and can't really tell the difference. When you are seating the caps you should use a very firm slow push to seat them.

kR

 PS Rem 11s are not a good fit.

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