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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any advice for getting a Colt Replica to ignite the percussion caps in a consistent manner?

I am experiencing about a 30% failure rate. I've never had a misfire or hangfire when the cap ignites, only a failure of the hammer to ignite the cap. I've worked the edges of the hammer with a stone to ensure that it drops smoothly; the pistol cycles fine; it is derned accurate when it fires. I've taken it apart several times and cleaned it thoroughly....no signs of any trigger/hammer or spring problems. At first I thought that cap debris might perhaps be the cause, but she fails on the first cylinder as well. Is there such a thing as heavier main springs for these replicas or am I goofing something up?

I'm using #11 CCI Caps behind 85 grains of Black Powder.............

......just kidding. The pistol seems to like 25 grains of Pyrodex RS (it thinks it is a rifle.....shhhhh...) behind .451 balls.

I'd be delighted with this thing, if it would only fire regularly.

Thanks,
James
 

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I only ever had failures to ignite with tight #11 Italian caps I bought years ago. Is there any chance the nipples could be just a tad short?? Also, is it always the same chamber(s) or totally random (use a dot of nail polish to mark - you can always remove it)?? No roughness in the forward throw of the hammer (burrs in the pin or screw that the hammer rotates on)? Have you tried other lots of CCI caps or just one lot (I had a lot of #550 small pistol primers that had a very high % of misfires but would go off on the second try). Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow Fred. That's a fine list of things that I overlooked which might just lead to success.

I'll go back and take a closer look. I'm getting misfires on more than one cylinder (nipple) and I think that it is unrelated to the specific nipples, but I may not have watched carefully enough.

The primers all came out of two tins that I bought together......hmmmm, I'll try another.

The hammer throw seemed a bit rough at first, but it has improved with time and after I smoothed out the edges of the hammer. What I did not look at closely though, was the pin. I need to check that as well.

The one thing that I think might be contributing to the misfires is that the hammer on this pistol does not strike exactly centered on the nipples. The cylinder seems to be timed/aligned well with the barrel, but the hammer drop is slightly off to the left side, the same on each cylinder/nipple. The hammer certainly strikes the primers, but the left edge of the nipples contacts the edge of the groove in the hammer (without a primer), with most contact on the right side of the hammer groove. The caps seem to seat well on the nipples and I never had one fall off during firing (40 rounds or so). They nearly always shatter and blow off when they fire.

Thanks a bunch for your time and the great suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I tore it all apart again, cleaned it thoroughly again, stoned the hammer real good, and treated her to some Breakfree.......now, I have a 19th century firearm that smells like an M-16! And shoots about as reliably as the early models did......

The hammer pin looks great, but the machining in the slot that the pin runs through (in the hammer) is real rough. I tried to smooth that out some, but did not make much progress.

Anyway, I put her back together and I pressed on 6 caps. She fired all 6 just fine. I pressed on another 3 with a different capper and she fired those as well. So, perhaps there's hope for this one. When I get the chance, I take her out and launch a few more lead balls downrange.
 

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Glad you had some luck. I would recommend that you NOT dry fire any percussion revolver unless the manufacturer says in writing that it is OK. Frankly, I don't even dry fire my Ruger Old Army. I think 0.001" on a nipple could make a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A fine Cap & Ball shooting day in Oklahoma....!

I finally found some more time to devote to this Model 1851 Pietta Repro-Colt. She performed flawlessly. Not a single misfire. I am well pleased and motivated once again.

She shoots about 15" high at 25 yards, but windage is only an inch left. From what I've read, that is about normal.

Yippie!
 

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Just try different caps. As I recall mine was picky at first.

I know I have had good luck with German/Italian caps. Seems like CCI and remington gave me troubles. They just didn't fit on "deep" enough? But I tried Remington again the other day and they were fine.

A friend of mine just picked up a new 51 the other day - same problem. Tried some of mine and he was fine.

Also, some of the brass frames are a bit tight and the hammer drags. A little use or work with a stone will make them much more reliable.

Lots of fun
 
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