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JSF01

Revolver nipple replacement

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About a year ago I picked up an old replica Colt Paterson. It has an issue reliably setting off the caps and I suspect the issue are the nipples. Unfortunately the nipples on it are not standard, and just to remove them I had to get a special tool made. Now that I can get them off it's time for me to find replacements for them, which seems to an even bigger issue. Now I don't know much about black powder firearms but I am assuming that the thread measurements on the nipple are done the same way as a standard bolt, and the diameter is measured over the threads of the nipple. On mine it measures 3/16"/#10 or 4.73mm, which does not match any size nipples I can find (assuming I am measuring it right). Does any one happen to know of a place where I might find such sized nipples?

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About a year ago I picked up an old replica Colt Paterson. It has an issue reliably setting off the caps and I suspect the issue are the nipples. Unfortunately the nipples on it are not standard, and just to remove them I had to get a special tool made. Now that I can get them off it's time for me to find replacements for them, which seems to an even bigger issue. Now I don't know much about black powder firearms but I am assuming that the thread measurements on the nipple are done the same way as a standard bolt, and the diameter is measured over the threads of the nipple. On mine it measures 3/16"/#10 or 4.73mm, which does not match any size nipples I can find (assuming I am measuring it right). Does any one happen to know of a place where I might find such sized nipples?

First thing I'd do is figure-out which Itralian gun maker made the piece.  THEN, I'd call VTI Gun Parts and chat with someone about your revolver.  VTI stocks all sorts of parts for Itralian reproductions, and they're especially helpful with regard to nipples, especially on Pietta and Uberti models.  Not too many makers made Colt Patersons, since hardly anybody actually shoots them.  They're more of a Collector Piece and folks tend to put them in shadow boxes with other Old-Timey acc's from the period, like a ball mold, flask, a tin of old caps, etc.

 

I'd call Gregg or Brenda Dixon and chat first before making a trip all of the way out there for just these nipples since they stock nipples but not every hard-to-find example.

 

I'd also show-up to an Old Bridge Black Powder League monthly Shoot so you could get $200 worth of training for the $20 Match Fee.  We hold them on the 1st Sunday of Each month (NOT Easter!) and they're open to the Public ($20 Non-Member Match Fee).  You'll leave with a whole new understanding of Black Powder and be kicking yourself in the arse that you waited a year to do so, lol!

 

If you need directions or have other questions, please feel free to PM me.

 

Dave Rosenthal

NRA Distinguished Expert in both Black Powder Pistol and Rifle

OBRPC Black Powder League Revolver Champion

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First thing I'd do is figure-out which Itralian gun maker made the piece.  THEN, I'd call VTI Gun Parts and chat with someone about your revolver.  VTI stocks all sorts of parts for Itralian reproductions, and they're especially helpful with regard to nipples, especially on Pietta and Uberti models.  Not too many makers made Colt Patersons, since hardly anybody actually shoots them.  They're more of a Collector Piece and folks tend to put them in shadow boxes with other Old-Timey acc's from the period, like a ball mold, flask, a tin of old caps, etc.

 

I'd call Gregg or Brenda Dixon and chat first before making a trip all of the way out there for just these nipples since they stock nipples but not every hard-to-find example.

 

I'd also show-up to an Old Bridge Black Powder League monthly Shoot so you could get $200 worth of training for the $20 Match Fee.  We hold them on the 1st Sunday of Each month (NOT Easter!) and they're open to the Public ($20 Non-Member Match Fee).  You'll leave with a whole new understanding of Black Powder and be kicking yourself in the arse that you waited a year to do so, lol!

 

If you need directions or have other questions, please feel free to PM me.

 

Dave Rosenthal

NRA Distinguished Expert in both Black Powder Pistol and Rifle

OBRPC Black Powder League Revolver Champion

Under the barrel it is marked "MOFRA" which through my research I think means it was made by MOFRA di Mainardi A., though MOFRA di Mainardi A. was not a registered gun manufacturer in Italy until 1971 and the date code on it is 1967. I have seen reference to a "mofra" manufacturer as well in lowercase letters though no farther information weather it's related or not. From what I understand was that during the 50s-70s there was a number of small mom and pop manufacturers that were not licensed by the Italian government to sell completed firearms, so they would manufacture the parts for the bigger manufactures that had a licence to sell completed firearms and did not always put there own proofs on them. That could explain the discrepancy with it predating MOFRA di Mainardi A. as being a registered  as a gun manufacturer if before they had there own licence they were manufacturing for a bigger company. I have not found any sure indicating of which major manufactuer MOFRA was affiliated with, though I suspect it was Pietta (or possibly simply been bought out later by Pietta) since it has a 9 1/2 inch barrel, which is the same length as ones that have been made by Pietta. On the other hand from what I read at least some Pietta parts like screws do not fit the Paterson replicas marked MOFRA so it could be completely unrelated too.

 

I had originally loked at the VTI gun parts website for Pietta, but they are showing the Paterson as taking the same nipples as their 1851 1861 1860 and 1858, which should be the 6mm nipples which are way to big. I'll give Dixon a call when I get the chance, I have just been real busy lately. I'd love to attend a Black Powder match I won't be able to any time soon (I have a deployment coming up). Just this year I finally started trying some shooting competitions and enjoyed them quite a bit despite coming in last (well technically the IDPA style shooting match I did I only came in second to last though I am pretty sure the person behind me was the 12 year old kid that had been there).

 

I have thought about possibly taping the cylinder to accept more standard larger threaded nipples as I suspect it would be a lot easier and cheaper then having specialty nipples made. Do older replicas have any special collectors value to them which which I should consider before I were to re bore the cylinder? Other worst case if I can't find the right sized nipples would be finding a new cylinder which would cost over $100 (assuming I could find someone with them in stock), plus nipples and I could not be sure that more modern Pitta cylinders would even fit.

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reproductions are worthless.

 

ignition failures can happen with bad caps, or the space between the hammer and the nipple face is to large.  occaisonally a cylinder can be made wrong, and said nipple could set too low.  i've talked with a few people who've found that adding washers to nipple to close the gap helped.

 

have you made sure the flash hole is clear?  caps have the same consistant color on the inside?  hammer face isn't banged up?

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reproductions are worthless.

 

ignition failures can happen with bad caps, or the space between the hammer and the nipple face is to large.  occaisonally a cylinder can be made wrong, and said nipple could set too low.  i've talked with a few people who've found that adding washers to nipple to close the gap helped.

 

have you made sure the flash hole is clear?  caps have the same consistant color on the inside?  hammer face isn't banged up?

The flash holes are clear, and I have tried a couple of brands of caps all to the same affect. The hammer face looks and feels smooth to the touch, but the nipples themselves are pretty banged up and level across the top as if part of the edge had been beating down a bit on all of them.

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I'd love for some friends and I to be able to take an in-person look at this gun.  Sounds to me that there could be a replacement part (that you know nothing about) causing the problem.  Over-sized or undersized replacement hammer can cause such problems, and there are other things as well.  You're describing "mushed-down" nipples, which will bring the caps further away from the hammer strike, which in turn will result in poor ignitions.  Mushed nipples can also make caps "ride high" and not be correctly seated firmly onto the nipple, which will result in the need to strike the caps twice (just like a mushed cap on a rifle) in order for ignitions to occur.  Mushed nipples are a BIG problem either way (as you've discovered).  Mushed nipples are from dry firing and playing with the gun, so if the cylinder doesn't have a huge drag mark on it (from LOTS of use as a toy), I'd start thinking that the wrong sized nipples were installed from the get-go.  Again, tell-tale signs an expert would look for.

 

I think finding a replacement cylinder for this model won't be easy, but it may be the cheapest way to get the gun firing reliably again.  Paying a Machinist to manufacture new nipples would be much more than the $100 you quoted.  There are a few Gunsmiths that specialize in tuning and adapting replacement cylinders and cylinders that accept center fire ammo (conversions).  I'd reach-out to them to see if they have ever dealt with a Paterson and have any leads or parts in their drawers.

 

Another thought with regard to cap fit:  Some older revolvers use 10 3/4 size caps from RWS.  Since you already have the nipple removal tool, I'd consider trying 10 3/4 size caps to see if they reliably ignite.  If the orifice that directs the hot spark into the main charge is NOT eroded from excessive ignitions, then taking a little meat off the nipples to make the caps fit better is also an option prior to replacing the entire cylinder and its' nipples.  Again, it would be nice to see what it's doing in person....and I just happen to have a tin of 10 3/4 RWS caps....

 

Hope this helps.

 

Dave

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Maybe when I get back from my deployment we could meat up some where and you can take a look.

Yep, let's make that a plan.  Please come as my guest and thanks for your service to our country!

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