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Thread: Nipple removal advice needed

  1. #1
    Steve Weems is offline
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    Nipple removal advice needed

    Recently acquired a Model 1861 by Schubarth in rough but restorable to firing condition. As usual ( at least for me) the nipple is beat up and looks to be rusted in. The couple I have had to remove in like condition in the past have been tough. I hate having to drill them out. Glad to hear advice on what works from the many others who have had to remove rusted in nipples in the past. I have the barrel upside down right now with penetrate hoping this will help.

  2. #2
    MR. GADGET's Avatar
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    Evapo rust works great.
    Place some in barrel and soak breech.
    Heat a little and try.

    Another is Kroil and soak it down for a week or so.
    Then try with a little heat.
    MR. GADGET
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    I recently had the same problem with an original Colt 1851. Obviously, you would have to improvise a means of doing on a musket what I did on this revolver cylinder but it could be done. After trying mild heat (Boiling water and also oven on 250 or so), cold (freezer), PB Blaster, Kroil, 50/50 ATF and Acetone, jarring the nipples by rapping vertically on a nipple wrench on each one, all to no avail.....I put a strap wrench around the cylinder and clamped the strap-clad cylinder in my drill press vise (A piece of leather might have worked too, but I was able to use the handle of the strap wrench to hold it still). I made a nipple wrench by using a cut-off wheel to cut a notch in a 1/4" drive 5mm deep well socket (You could probably find a square or 8 point socket for a musket nipple). I put a 1/4" ratchet into the socket and used my drill press to put down pressure on the top of the ratchet, locking the spindle when I had it in position. Then used the ratchet to loosen the nipples. Once they moved just a hair, I tightened them back up and loosened them again repeatedly until they were free enough to take out by hand. At that point, I released the spindle lock and allowed it to move back up and repositioned for the next one. After weeks of trying everything under the sun, I had them out in 20 minutes. I just needed something to hold the nipple wrench down preventing it from raising itself off the nipple and rounding out the notch. The extra leverage of the ratchet was more than I could get from the little cross bar handle of my nipple wrench too.

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    Brush/scrape off any dirt, grime, rust from around the nipple/bolster interface.

    Spray it with Liquid Wrench. Several applications over a day or two... Let it work its way into the threads.

    Make a wrench as Hal mentioned... Put the wrench on the nipple and smack it with a hammer - Not enough to kill it, but don't baby it either. Shock is a good thing for breaking the bond between threads....

    As Hal mentioned, tighten/loosen/tighten, even if there is no perceived movement at first. Heat CAN be applied, but its pretty dicey because you don't want to mess up the bolster... But if you have to, make sure you use MAP gas and be quick about it... Again, you're trying to break the galvanic bond between the nipple and the bolster...

    Getting that grip and hence torque on it is the most important thing. If you end up rounding off the nipple, look into extractor sockets. Basically, socket with teeth in them that will grip anything...

    Go slow, and don't give up!!

    -Boots
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  5. #5
    John Bly is offline
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    Make sure the barrel is not loaded before applying heat. You might be surprised how many of them are still loaded. I had the good fortune of working in a job shop, machining and fabrication for over 35 years. I found the best way is to place a 1/4" or 5/16" nut over the exposed part of the nipple and tig weld it to the nipple. This is after at least a week of soaking in Kroil or PB Blaster. Let it cool and it should back right out. The heat is absorbed into the bolster and loosens the rust. If it breaks off with the 1st try, do it again. I have never had to drill one out yet. I'm now retired and still take them into the place I worked and get one of the best welders to do the job for me on the side.

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    More fun when you heat one that is still loaded?
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  7. #7
    Ben Nevlezer is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal View Post
    I recently had the same problem with an original Colt 1851. Obviously, you would have to improvise a means of doing on a musket what I did on this revolver cylinder but it could be done. After trying mild heat (Boiling water and also oven on 250 or so), cold (freezer), PB Blaster, Kroil, 50/50 ATF and Acetone, jarring the nipples by rapping vertically on a nipple wrench on each one, all to no avail.....I put a strap wrench around the cylinder and clamped the strap-clad cylinder in my drill press vise (A piece of leather might have worked too, but I was able to use the handle of the strap wrench to hold it still). I made a nipple wrench by using a cut-off wheel to cut a notch in a 1/4" drive 5mm deep well socket (You could probably find a square or 8 point socket for a musket nipple). I put a 1/4" ratchet into the socket and used my drill press to put down pressure on the top of the ratchet, locking the spindle when I had it in position. Then used the ratchet to loosen the nipples. Once they moved just a hair, I tightened them back up and loosened them again repeatedly until they were free enough to take out by hand. At that point, I released the spindle lock and allowed it to move back up and repositioned for the next one. After weeks of trying everything under the sun, I had them out in 20 minutes. I just needed something to hold the nipple wrench down preventing it from raising itself off the nipple and rounding out the notch. The extra leverage of the ratchet was more than I could get from the little cross bar handle of my nipple wrench too.
    Hal,
    Great idea using a drill press to apply down pressure! I can usually McGuyver a way to make something work but never thought of that. Thanks!

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    I wish I could say it was my idea, but I found it on the internet. It sounded like a good idea, but coming up with an easy way of not ruining a 160 year old cylinder scene was my biggest obstacle to using it. In retrospect, I wish I had tried it first.

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    Likewise, I have used a bench vice to keep a nipple wrench seated on a nipple while turning it.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
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  10. #10
    Steve Weems is offline
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    Nipple Removal advice

    Thanks to all the above for their input on nipple removal--this should come in handy to many others besides my self-- Steve

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