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Percussion Caps for Black Powder Cap and Ball Revolvers

Filed in Articles, Black Powder Shooting, Black Powder Supplies by on August 5, 2014 1 Comment • views: 8438

Remington No 10 CapsThe percussion cap performs the same job as the primer does in a modern pistol: The hammer or firing pin strikes it resulting in a tiny explosion which ignites the main powder charge.

One of the frustrating things new black powder cap-and-ball shooters encounter is that there is no dimensional uniformity across different brands if percussion caps of the same ‘size’.

The dimensions of primers are specified by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI). As a result, you can buy any brand of – for example – Small Pistol Primers and they will fit your brass. Unfortunately there is no SAAMI spec for percussion caps.

Perhaps in light of this, the instruction manual accompanying my Pietta 1858 New Army .44 Revolver does not provide any guidance as to recommended cap size. Cabela’s however must have done some research because the page for my revolver on their website says to use #10 caps. The consensus seem to be that Remington #10 or CCI #11 caps are the best fit. I’ve had no problem finding Remington #10 caps at my local gun store. They seem to be a perfect fit.

In my research on this topic I’ve located an excellent post on The Open Range forum, in which someone has measured many of the brands and sizes of available percussion caps and goes into extensive detail.  I found it very helpful:

http://www.theopenrange.net/forum/index.php?topic=9093.0

The little protrusions on the back side of your revolver’s cylinder where you install the caps are called nipples. Those nipples are replaceable. The nipples on my Pietta 1858 New Army .44 Revolver are threaded (6 x .75mm). If you so desired, you could by replacement nipples, switching from #10 to #11. Dixie Gun Works has a wide selection of nipples. You will need a Nipple Wrench to do the job.

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  1. steve jones says:

    Yes caps can be a pain.how ever there is light at the end of the tunnel, have to make a game out of life then its fun if you guys dont shoot flint and like makeing caps . Fosters quit making the tap o cap a short time ago Dont know why it was and is a sweet tool to have And We can still get the tool made by a few tool makers out there …fyi there is a gentalman out in california who will make one at a resonable price that wont break the budget You see then we have our own Quality Control rite in our own hands thanks for listening … steve jones

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