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Thread: Is a vent pick / nipple pick needed on a caplock?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub pwc's Avatar
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    Is a vent pick / nipple pick needed on a caplock?

    If so, how do you get it around the 90 degree angle in the bolster? I have a CVA Mountain Stalker and never shot it before but I'm assembling the accouterments required. Also, a Traditions #11 nipple wrench doesn't fit, even though I've read it is supposed to. My 3" crescent does, but Iwould like the right tool for the right job. Thanks, ahead.

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    Boolit Master
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    Nipples can get plugged, remnants from fired Caps or powder, so I would carry something to clean it with. You can buy or make your own easily. Use whatever wrench works for you. I have one rifle that is very difficult to get a wrench on without removing it from the stock or removing the hammer
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    Boolit Man
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    Not sure how the bolster is on a cva but most rifles have a clean out screw or plug in them. That way you can run straight through channel. Has someone replaced your nipple possibly maybe to a musket nipple...is it square. Just go buy another usually using a crescent wrench ends up scratching stuff up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwc View Post
    If so, how do you get it around the 90 degree angle in the bolster? I have a CVA Mountain Stalker and never shot it before but I'm assembling the accouterments required. Also, a Traditions #11 nipple wrench doesn't fit, even though I've read it is supposed to. My 3" crescent does, but Iwould like the right tool for the right job. Thanks, ahead.
    It is only the nipple itself that it needs to pick. The angled path beyond the nipple is of much larger diameter, and what you need there is water, preferably hot enough to dry out the barrel before oiling.

    Back in the days when the muzzle-loader was the state of the art product, it was uncommon to have a cleaning-out screw. What you more often see is a tiny vent surrounded by a platinum disc. It has very little purpose in most guns, but I suppose it might have been intended to reduce the tendency for pressure to raise the hammer and thus permit erosion of the nipple. I think it could only be worthwhile on guns such as the heavy-bullet long-range match rifles.

    I don't wireally like the idea of unscrewing the nipple any more than you have to. I always think of the stage magician, Chung Ling Soo, actually William Elsworth Robinson, who used to catch a marked muzzle-loader bullet in his teeth. His trick involved loading the gun conventionally, but firing a concealed blank charge in an extra barrel disguised as the ramrod tube.

    The trouble was, rather than deface his own carefully marked bullet, substituted for the audience volunteer's by a beautiful young Chinese lady with a false bottom, he used to unscrew the breechplug every night. Eventually the threads wore, the hot gases penetrated, and he caught the marked bullet with his cervical vertebrae instead. Worn nipple threads won't kill you, but penetrating fouling can certainly promote rust, and the threads end up even looser. If you find yourself in this situation, Track of the Wolf can supply oversize taps and nipples.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Usually before installing the nipple I will take a pipe cleaner and run it in the hole and around the corner. I use the long ones the shops sell for cleaning the gas tube on AR-15 rifles. If it comes out black.......clean the bore some more as there is goop in the bottom of the bore!

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    You might stop by Harbor Freight and pick up one of their five piece Airbrush Cleaning Brush sets. They range in size from large musket cleanout screw to conical part of #11 nipple, and the set costs a couple bucks. They are stout enough to push through the crust of cap fouling that cruds up the barrel end of the drum, and can be reused for quite a while until they get so bent and twisted they can't be straightened out any more.

    For the tight part of the nipple, the snipped-off end of a G or B string from a guitar works great, especially if you leave the wrapping on for a handle. On my finicky .32, I find that one misfired cap leaves enough obstruction in the nipple that it's worth poking it out before using a Magnum cap for a second try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethemgo View Post
    Not sure how the bolster is on a cva but most rifles have a clean out screw or plug in them. That way you can run straight through channel. Has someone replaced your nipple possibly maybe to a musket nipple...is it square. Just go buy another usually using a crescent wrench ends up scratching stuff up.

    Do not remove "clean out" screws. They are not intended to be removed.

    As was also said, don't remove the nipple every time you clean. Remove it maybe once a year for inspection and re-lubing. Otherwise they WILL eventually blow out from thread wear.

    I prefer room temp water over hot water, to avoid flash rusting.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Bub pwc's Avatar
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    Lethemgo - no the bolster and nipple are original. I bought the gun new 15 years ago for my grandson to use in 4H shooting. I always used boiling water to clean out with a 'mop' on the rod, followed by a final oil patch. I've never shot it but I think now is the time to begin. The thread on making your own black powder has gotten me interested in front stuffers again.

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    I usually on my Hawkins take it out of the stock put it in a can of warm water and use a bore mop and it will suck the water all the way through bore. A jag and patch work to but maybe not as good. You might have to remove nipple .
    Muzzleloaders....why don't you pick one up and smoke it sometime

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  10. #10
    A nipple pick is quite handy for poking in some powder into the breech when you eventually dryball.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I use CVA sidelocks all summer in a kid's program. Everyday I pull the nipple and clean-out screw, wash in a water based solution, followed by a pipe cleaner. Treat with an oil and install with anti-seize. Others don't recommend this procedure, but I've done so for 15 years plus with these guns and they all shoot like new. Except for bent sights & broken ram rods, these less than expensive guns shoot great. I do have a welder's file set (folds up into a thing like a jackknife) of various round files to clean stubborn residue from the nipple and flash channel. Use your best judgement.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    i've read that the "clean out" bolster screw is actually a safety feature to blow and vent should something seriously go awry.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    There are different size nipple wrenches and some come with a nipple pick. I've never had to use one though.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Permatex {Anti-seize Lubricant} sparingly applied to vent liner & nipple thread will guarantee either's removal when desired. As far as I know the constant removal of nipple & vent liner at each & every barrel cleaning is unwarranted. When either (nipple or vent) is re-screwed without lubricating their threads? That's >__ "a bad habit"

    Suggestion:
    Before a percussion barrels initial powder charging.
    Its capping and re-capping thus firing two or 3 nipple Caps not only clears the nipple orifice it also moves most debris laying in the Drum/Snail and firing channel. Doing before first Charging will decrease miss-firings substantially. Although

    the vent on a flintlock does require a Vent Pick always be handy. Especially when not using the >manufactures suggested< Pan Priming powder. i.e.__3 gr. of 4-FFFF. OR {filling [half] of the Pan's capacity.}
    Last edited by OverMax; 04-09-2018 at 11:14 PM.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Traditions #11 nipple wrench doesn't fit,
    That's because its nipple is European made. Which requires a Millimeter size wrench.
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    I made two firing-pin retaining collars for my Pieper 24ga breech-loader from a 7/32in. hex wrench, which I have a nut driver (like a screwdriver for nuts) to fit. I am surprise nobody seems to have got around to making hexagonal nipples.

  17. #17
    I've got a Ruger Old Army that has hex nipples. I believe they are aftermarket but don't know the brand.

    Overmax has the advice I would give. Nipples should almost never need a pick. Snapping a couple caps should clear it and pumping cleaner through it from the bore should keep it clear.
    A flinter needs a pick and many including myself, poke through the vent hole every shot.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagrantviking View Post
    I've got a Ruger Old Army that has hex nipples. I believe they are aftermarket but don't know the brand.
    The hex nipples are not aftermarket. That's the way the ROA nipples are shaped.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    I use CVA sidelocks all summer in a kid's program. Everyday I pull the nipple and clean-out screw, wash in a water based solution, followed by a pipe cleaner. Treat with an oil and install with anti-seize. Others don't recommend this procedure, but I've done so for 15 years plus with these guns and they all shoot like new. Except for bent sights & broken ram rods, these less than expensive guns shoot great. I do have a welder's file set (folds up into a thing like a jackknife) of various round files to clean stubborn residue from the nipple and flash channel. Use your best judgement.
    ^^^^^^^ follow this advice
    I've shot ML for 48 years pull nipples after every shoot. Never had to use an oversized one yet!!!
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master greywuuf's Avatar
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    I have taken to keeping one of those fairly flexible round dental pick brushes in my field bag ... It will clean a nipple pretty well and used just right can be coaxed around a corner. Don't need it often but I once got some moisture in the breach area and made kind of a goo that blocked everything up good.....

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