Get rid of stuck nipples!


A Pedersoli cross-wrench is eligible for the job

Every black powder fan wonder to shoot original muzzleloaders. But if you managed to do so, you will soon face a common problem: how to get rid of a nipple, which was stuck through centuries! That issue came across when I shot my Colt 1861 Navy revolver. For the first time, the struggle comes with full photo coverage!

In some cases, the nipples can be removed easily, even if they seem to be rusted together with the cylinder. Be patient, strengthen your nerves and start the process fully focused. Ready? Go.

1. The hard way

First, place the cylinder in streaming hot water. Because of the high temperature, the metal parts will start to separate from each other. You can facilitate the process hitting the stuck nipple very gently with a hammer. But be careful with the other parts!

Then wipe dry the cylinder. Place it in a good amount of high viscosity oil for a few days. The oil will start to creep in the rusty thread.

If you feel the right moment has come, grab the nipple wrench. Do not start with a cheap-o everyday use tool, invest your money to a quality steel tool. Wrap the cylinder in leather and release the brute force. If your wrench is made of good steel, it will not bend. Push the wrench against the nipple and twist until you hear a click, when the thread starts to release the nipple. If you were not successful in the first place, throw the whole thing in the junk back to the oil.

2. The harder way

Sometimes, nipples will not come out even for the third our fourth try. Or, you just screw up the flat face of the nipple and no wrench will ever be able to lock against it. This time, enough of pretty words. Bring up the heavy artillery!

In this case, our nipple-blaster was a drilling machine. I started with small bits and never exceeded the 3mm drilling bit. When you have finished with drilling, put a file into the hole and give it a few taps with a hammer after putting the cylinder on a wooden surface to save it from damage. It sounds barbaric, but it’s extra effective. Then grab the file with pliers and give it a turn. The nipple will start to thread out after a few try, if you are lucky (and if you have not skipped the oil bath-part).

However, I do not recommend to do the second part alone, at your DIY table. Please accept my advice and give it to a qualified gunsmith. If you screw your weapon it will be an irreplaceable loss, and you will mourn it throughout the rest of your life.