Author Topic: A Mystery  (Read 3710 times)

Offline ssb73q

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A Mystery
« on: May 17, 2016, 12:04:59 PM »
Hi, a couple of weeks ago I had my son-in-law out shooting his Pietta 1851 using a number of precharged cylinders loaded with the sub Black MZ. The cylinders were also capped with the new high flame temperature Remington #10 caps. Those cylinders were loaded and capped a number of months ago and stored in my gun safe. When a loaded cylinder was loaded in the revolver, none of the caps would fire. We tried a couple more cylinders with the same result. Somehow the caps became useless. I recapped the all the remaining cylinders and chambers and then the 1851 fired all chambers with no issue. I had thought that maybe the problem was the lubed wad somehow contaminated the cap until today. Today I went out back with a dozen precharded and capped 1860 cylinders loaded about the same time as the .36 caliber chambers. The .44 caliber cylinders behaved like the .36 caliber, no cap ignition. The old caps were replaced with fresh Remington #10 caps and there were no fail to fire for the remaining shooting of the 1860.

How the Remington #10 caps became inert is a mystery to me. I have had cylinders precapped with Black MZ and CCI caps for many months without ever a fail to fire. I can only surmise that the Remington caps are affected somehow by chemicals in the Black MZ. In the past I have seen that Black MZ is brutally corrosive to brass, maybe it is also to the Remington copper cap?

BTW, each chamber has the powder separated from the ball with a lubed wad and grease sealing wad. I'm pretty sure that the lube isn't creating the problem.

A future test may consist of using straight BP and the Remington #10 caps to see if the problem is the Remington cap or the Black MZ.

I still have a dozen 1858 cylinders loaded at the same time to test, but I am saving them for when my son-in-law comes out with his 1858.

Have you ever experienced cap failures when your cylinders have been loaded for a long time and capped?

Regards,
Richard
 
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline G Dog

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2016, 01:56:37 PM »
I have never had that happen.

Something contaminated those #10's.  But the question is what and how?  Were the cones dry and oil free prior to being capped? 

Offline ssb73q

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2016, 02:55:47 PM »

  Were the cones dry and oil free prior to being capped?

Hi G Dog, yes.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline Fingers McGee

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2016, 04:46:06 PM »
I've never had any experience like what you describe.  Of course, I've never loaded and capped spare cylinders either.  In fact, I've never loaded spare cylinders for any of my C&Bs.

Be that as it may; something introduced moisture or some other contaminant that would cause a failure of the cap to go off.  Good luck in tracking down the culprit.
Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee - AKA Man of Many Colts; SASS 28564-L-TG, rangemaster and stage writer extraordinaire; Frontiersman/Pistoleer, NRA Endowment Life, Central Ozarks Western Shooters
Cynic: A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they should be.  Ambrose Bierce

Offline wicket

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2016, 04:26:07 AM »
  It would be simple enough to set up an experiment with an empty cylinder, switching propellants and lubes in various chambers. Something must be out-gassing by way of the nipples and killing the primers. Are temperatures stable where you store the loaded cylinders?

Offline ssb73q

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2016, 08:14:22 AM »
Hi wicket, the loaded cylinders were stored in my gun safe that is in an unheated closet. There has never been a hint of rust on my firearms stored in the gun safe so I assume that moisture isn't an issue. I never had this problem with CCI primers. Irrespective of the reason, I will not preload or cap cylinders until the day or so before needed, they will never again be stored capped.

Some day when I am bored to death I will run an experiment to determine how the Remington caps went inert. The problem with long term experiments at my age is if I will be able to survive the result.  )lI )lI

Regards,
Richard

There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline wicket

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2016, 10:48:47 AM »
Richard, black flies may have gotten into your gun safe and devoured the priming composition in the caps. Check under the cushions for shed wings, and don't nick the gall bladder in the process, it will taint the meat. (7+"

Offline ssb73q

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2016, 11:35:44 AM »
Hi wicket, you may make lite of this, but if your gun don't shoot it could be panic time.  (7+" (7+" (7+"

I checked around the cylinders with a magnifying glass and found no shedded black fly wings.

On the serious side, I have seen some reports where C&B revolvers loaded over 100yrs ago still discharge as if they were loaded yesterday.

My original report may have more value to anyone using a C&B for personal defense. Yes, there are still a few out there.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline Hawg

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2016, 03:59:24 PM »
Been plenty of people killed from loaded guns and artillery rounds buried in the ground for over 100 years. Not the priming charges of course but the powder is still good. I've fired powder taken from an original gun that was stored in an old barn for God knows how long.

Offline wicket

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2016, 06:06:01 PM »
  On the other hand primers these days contain a variety of chemicals along with the styphnate, nobody seems to know what's in Black MZ, and almost anything can turn up in gun lube. If I was toting a replica cap and ball revolver for personal protection (which I wouldn't) I'd stick to blackpowder and ordinary Remington or CCI caps, and no lube. It worked for Robert E. Lee, so there's a reasonable chance it would work for me too.

Offline G Dog

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2016, 08:52:11 PM »
This thread is aptly titled.  IT IS a mystery.

I have mentioned elsewhere that I once kept a Pietta Remington cylinder loaded with 30 grains Pyro P, a dry Duro-Felt wad, a .454 with lube on top and capped with a CCI #10 for sixteen months.  I took no special storage care.  It was sitting on my desk much of the time or inserted on a frame for non-shooting forest walks, sometimes in pretty damp weather.  At the end of my little experiment the five loaded rounds fired just fine. 

I went for ten months on another … same load (but sans wad), same storage (read lack thereof) and the same good result x5.

Offline wicket

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2016, 07:00:07 AM »
  So it is the black flies.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2016, 07:51:09 AM »
This thread is aptly titled.  IT IS a mystery.

I have mentioned elsewhere that I once kept a Pietta Remington cylinder loaded with 30 grains Pyro P, a dry Duro-Felt wad, a .454 with lube on top and capped with a CCI #10 for sixteen months.  I took no special storage care.  It was sitting on my desk much of the time or inserted on a frame for non-shooting forest walks, sometimes in pretty damp weather.  At the end of my little experiment the five loaded rounds fired just fine. 

I went for ten months on another … same load (but sans wad), same storage (read lack thereof) and the same good result x5.

Hi G Dog, I never had a problem before using Black MZ and CCi caps with cylinders stored as long as the problematic cylinders. I am strongly leaning towards some interaction of Black MZ and the new "hotter" Remington Caps.

Maybe I will really need to run this experiment: Load up three cylinders, one with Black MZ and CCI caps, one with Black MZ and the new Remington caps, the third one with Olde Eynsford BP and the new Remington caps. All cylinders loaded with .454 cast (at the same time) balls, Sagebrush lubed wads, and Walters 0.030" 45 Colt barrier wads.

Store for 6 months and then test fire the cylinders.

Maybe even spray the cylinders with insecticide to keep the black flies out?  (7+" (7+"

Regards,
Richard
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 07:52:55 AM by ssb73q »
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline wicket

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2016, 09:13:56 AM »
  You might want to treat the wads as a variable too Richard, something could be out-gassing from the wad lubricant and reacting with the caps, or reacting with something in the Black MZ which in turn is reacting with the priming compound in the caps. I think your suspicion regarding the corrosive nature of Black MZ in contact with brass has merit, but you really can't safely rule out anything just yet, with the exception of the bullets. Something I automatically do with the home-brewed components I sometimes employ is to store them (powder excepted) under refrigeration at around 35 degrees fahrenheit. You might try keeping one loaded cylinder inside a baggie in the refrigerator to determine whether the suspected chemical reaction that's potentially killing your primers is affected by temperature.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: A Mystery
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2016, 10:11:27 AM »
Hi wicket, preloaded cylinders of Black MZ and CCi caps never had any issue. They all used the same wads and were stored the same. The same items to preload cylinders using the new "hotter" Remington caps have the problem of not firing.

Where do I stop with the variables? Strength of the earth's magnetic field, temperature variation, barometric pressure, day of the year, number of cats in the house, number of cloudy days, serial number of the caps, phase of the moon, number of sunspots, number of bottles of scotch in the liqueur cabinet, etc. are all variables. When do the experiments end?  )lI )lI )lI

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!