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Bear Claw
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PostSubject: Cleaning The Nipple   March 10th 2014, 8:58 am

No, not that nipple! The one on your sidelock.

Anyway, it a chore most of us don't put much thought into. Some soak it in various solutions. Some just wipe it off, and call it good.

I was cleaning mine yesterday, and a light went off. I felt a little silly for not thinking of it before.

Normally, I use alcohol on the outside with a toothbrush to remove all the fouling. That works good, and dries off fast. I then use a nipple pick to clean the flame hole, and call the cleaning done.

I then started to think about the flame channel of the nipple. I never gave it much though before. I started to think about how I used to clean the breech plug in an inline. If you think about it the nipple is basically a small breech plug. How do we clean the flame channel in an inline breech plug? Yep! We use a drill to scrape out the carbon left from the primer. A percussion cap is just a small primer, and it leaves the same carbon in the nipple as the 209 primer does in the inline breech plug.

So, I started to look for a drill bit that fit in the nipple flame channel. I found one that was a perfect fit, and stuck it in the nipple channel, and twisted. I was shocked at the carbon that poured out of the channel. It looked just like what pours out of the inline breech plug.

Now you know how to properly clean the nipple. Do it first when the nipple is dry. Scrape out the carbon, and then use your favorite method to clean the rest of the nipple. A toothbrush and alcohol is my way. Then I wipe it off with a clean patch.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 10th 2014, 9:41 am

Never thought of that Pete , thanks for the tip.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 10th 2014, 12:33 pm

I've always soaked the nipples in 409 cleaner and then use a pick and the wooden end of a cotton tip applicator (Q Tip type) in the large end. It always gets gunk out of there. Then I brush it with a toothbrush and finish with alcohol.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 10th 2014, 12:55 pm

I normally dip mine in a ballistol solution over night and blast some carb or brake cleaner through it for a final cleansing , seems to work ok as it is shiny afterwards.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 10th 2014, 2:27 pm

Trust me. The drill does a better job, and takes 5 seconds. No soaking is needed at all.

Just like it's the best way to do it in inline breech plugs.


Spit...I hate to tell you this, because I like Ballistol too, but I use it for rust prevention only. It's the worst for removing carbon. I saw a few tests on it, and it failed bad. It's just mineral oil with a few other ingredients that don't help with carbon removable.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 10th 2014, 5:47 pm

Yep, been cleaning the nipple flame channel for a long time.  "Uncle Joe", my muzzleloading mentor in southern MD, taught me that stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 10th 2014, 7:40 pm

I figure it out for myself.  clown 

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 11th 2014, 8:50 am

Not saying my way is better Pete , just the way I always did it. Your way will be used next time I clean the nipple  Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 11th 2014, 8:52 am

I just think it's hard to soak that hard carbon out of there. It's not like powder fouling. It's from primer/caps.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 11th 2014, 8:57 am

I had a case once where the carbon came loose while at the range and caused a lot frustration due to misfires , in desperation I removed the nipple and out came this hard black little cylinder .

Turned the nipple back in and the gun worked like a charm once again.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 11th 2014, 8:58 am

As a test. If the nipple in your gun is clean from your soaking. Go run a drill in it to see if you get any carbon out of it. If you don't then the soaking is working for you.

The drill has to be the right size so it scrapes the sides. Too small won't be as good.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 11th 2014, 8:40 pm

Pete, I like that idea and I am going to try it! I use musket nipples (the bigger the better) lol , but it should work with a bigger bit.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 12th 2014, 9:34 am

I don't think the soaking alone does the trick , might the carbon cleaner I use afterwards that really cleans it.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 12th 2014, 9:39 am

Well, whatever method you use now. Do it, and then try the drill, and see if you get anything out with it.

Personally, even if the soaking works 100%. I'd still rather just twist a drill, and be done. I like to keep cleaning as simple as possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 12th 2014, 9:41 am

I agree , and your way is a lot faster as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 31st 2016, 2:52 pm

Muley wrote:

So, I started to look for a drill bit that fit in the nipple flame channel. I found one that was a perfect fit, and stuck it in the nipple channel, and twisted. I was shocked at the carbon that poured out of the channel. It looked just like what pours out of the inline breech plug.
Or you can use a torch tip cleaner.  It works just as well, and they come as a set of different sizes.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 31st 2016, 5:13 pm

If a little is good, more is better, right? I was cleaning my nipples one day and noticed a .036" drill fit a Hot Shot and decided to enlarge all my nipples to .036". Later, I thought "How about .040"?
Now they are .042", but it didn't happen in one day. Pin-vise drilling is slow and boring, .001" at a time. Don't skip a thou unless there is no drill available.

    -Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 31st 2016, 5:15 pm

not exactly, larger means more gasses coming back at you and higher pressure pushing on your hammer. I run a knight red hot which is around .028" and its been flawless with bp subs so far.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 31st 2016, 5:31 pm

I meant that in jest. I had a T/C Hawken in the mid-'80s that blew back to half-cock after 27 or 28 shots without wiping. Spit patch and Pyrodex.

   -Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 31st 2016, 5:48 pm

I slightly enlarge the flame channel in all my nipples. I don't have a drill small enough to fit it. A 1/16" is way too big. I use a dental bit that my dentist gave me. It's tapered from very small to a larger diameter up the shaft. They get dull and dentists usually chuck 'em.

If you find an older dentist who still does some of his own lab work, he'll have some. The young ones don't know what lab work is, they send it all out to a commercial lab.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   March 31st 2016, 7:49 pm

OSR wrote:
Muley wrote:

So, I started to look for a drill bit that fit in the nipple flame channel. I found one that was a perfect fit, and stuck it in the nipple channel, and twisted. I was shocked at the carbon that poured out of the channel. It looked just like what pours out of the inline breech plug.
Or you can use a torch tip cleaner.  It works just as well, and they come as a set of different sizes.
I'm not talking about the small flame hole. I'm talking about the larger flame channel. I don't believe torch tip cleaners come that big. Maybe, i've never used any.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning The Nipple   April 1st 2016, 6:37 am

For years I have been using a ultra sonic cleaner for jewelry cleaning to clean the nipples on my percussion guns.  I use Hoppes #9 as the soaking solution.  I leave the nipple in the cleaner for a few hours, and it comes out sparkling like new.  Never had a problem with ignition since i started doing this.  It may take longer to clean a rifle, but I feel the cleaning is part of the process of shooting BP guns and i accept it and enjoy it.  How sick is that?
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