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Okay this one is going to generate some different answers.

Exactly how likely is a chain fire under normal shooting conditions. A broad question unfortunately but I'll elaborate a bit.

I have been "told" that Ox-Yoke wads negate the necessity to cover the ball with grease - True/False

In the event of a chain fire are the guns 1851 Navy or Dragoon designed to minimize the possibility of injury to the shooter i.e. missing fingers etc.

I'd like to hear from not only those who have had this happen and how they think it occurredd and those who have never had it happen why they think they've prevented it.

My grandson (13 years old) goes shooting with me and have let him fire my 1851 on a couple of occasions (usually he's a shotgunner). My fear is that if something goes wrong and I bring him back to his mother missing some parts I will be beaten until my ears bleed.

Remember, I'm ignorant and my BP shooting career started on Xmas day. All help will be appreciated.

TNX
 

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Chain fire in cap and ball revolvers is generally misunderstood. Most folks address it from the front end, making sure to seal the chamber mouths with grease over the balls. This effort is, for the most part, misdirected. Grease will help keep fouling soft, but it has little to do with preventing chainfire. If the ball is properly over-sized -- it should be ig enough that there is a ring of lead swaged off as it is opressed in to the chamber -- there is no risk of sparks migrating from one chamber to another loaded chamber.

The real risk of chain fire comes from the nipple end. If the caps are not tight-fitting and properly seated, fire can and will jump easily from one chamber to another, whether the front end is grease-sealed or not. Most folks want caps that are easy to slip on, and this is the wrong way to go. Your caps should be sized to fit the nipples your gun has or, looking at it another way, nipples should be sized so that caps fit very tightly. If nipples are too big for your caps to snug down, it is very easy to chuck each one in to a drill and, using a file, turn them down so the caps will be a proper fit. If the caps are too big for the nipple, get smaller caps or larger nipples. Note -- caps of a given size, say #11, vary significantly in size from brand to brand and even, sometimes, from lot to lot in the same brand.
 

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Go to this forum: http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/f...a7525654db83682e61d9f8695107a6d/fbb_uid/9617/ . Go to the pistol section. There was an excellent thread on this subject the other day. Keep using the grease and/or Wonder Wads. If your chamber is out of round, a slight oval shape, there is a chance a spark could reach your powder. Like pisgah mentioned, a lot of chain fires come from the nipple end. A cap that doesn't fit properly can slide of under recoil. I was using #11 caps and squeezing them to fit snug. Still, some caps would back off. I switched to #10 caps and they work fine.
 

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Go to this forum: http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/f...a7525654db83682e61d9f8695107a6d/fbb_uid/9617/ . Go to the pistol section. There was an excellent thread on this subject the other day. Keep using the grease and/or Wonder Wads. If your chamber is out of round, a slight oval shape, there is a chance a spark could reach your powder. Like pisgah mentioned, a lot of chain fires come from the nipple end. A cap that doesn't fit properly can slide of under recoil. I was using #11 caps and squeezing them to fit snug. Still, some caps would back off. I switched to #10 caps and they work fine.
I do not know what you are shooting, but I used to have a Ruger and it was designed for the #10 caps. I also recall that the Reminton caps worked best. They have a corrugated side on the cup that expands out a bit. That was a really good pistol! Sold it!
 

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I had two cylinders chain fire on me in a Navy Colt once. Not something I want to repeat. I am not sure how it happened, but it happened. I was not injured, other then scared. The revolver was damaged and I ended up selling it. Use the right cap for the revolver, and I use the wads also, but still grease the cylinders. I figure take all the steps necessary to not have this happen.
 

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I use the Wonder Wads in both a 44 and 36 colt and have had no problems with chain fires, I don't grease over the ball, but I do make sure of the cap fitting snugly. Grease can't hurt, but with regular BP, I have shot several cylinders full without cleaning and without a problem.
 

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I used to shoot Goex 3f out of my revolvers all the time and then one day I tried APP 3f. Man I was hooked. I shot all day, never had to break the gun down and clean it or swab it. And at the end of the day clean up was excellent. And actually 30 grains of APP 3f seemed to have a lot of power. This was in a Pietta .44 caliber 1858 New Army Target model revolver.
 

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Years ago, in the early 1970s, I experienced a mutliple ignition with the same revolver on three separate occasions, over at least a year's time. I received no injuries.

The revolver was a brass-framed copy of the 1851 Navy in the unauthentic .44 caliber. I believe the maker was Armi San Marcos. It was a roughly made revolver, but okay to learn the basics.

Back then, I loaded it with:
DuPont FFFG black powder
.451-inch ball cast of cable sheathing, which is pure lead
Crisco over the ball
Remington caps, No. 11. The caps were not pinched into a slightly ellipitical shape but just pushed onto the nipples.

In each incident, the chamber in line with the barrel fired, of course. But other chambers fired as well.

1st Incident: Chamber to the right of barrel (at 2 o'clock as seen from behind) went off. No damage to gun.

2nd incident: Chamber to the left of barrel (10 o'clock as see from behind) and the 6 o'clock chamber (in front of the rammer) went off. Ball from 10 o'clock chamber no found. Other ball stuck in rammer cavity but popped out when pried with screwdriver. No damage to gun.

3rd (and final) incident: Chamber under rammer went off. This time, the ball bent the rammer screw, upon which the rammer pivots. Also warped the area where the barrel assembly fits onto the two pins in the frame.
I couldn't remove the ball, which was flattened like a wad of gum, so I gave the whole revolver to a gunsmith for parts.

A few years later, when I bought my next cap and ball revolver, I began using larger balls and pinched the caps into an elliptical shape to better cling to the nipples.
More significantly, heeding the written advice of the late gun writer Elmer Keith (who learned how to load his first cap and ball sixgun from Civil War veterans), I began using greased felt wads between the ball and powder.
At first, I used a mix of paraffin and Crisco for the lubricant. Later, I used lard with a little paraffin to stiffen it.
Wads were cut from a felt hat with a 3/8-inch hole punch (for .36 caliber).

Today I still use felt wads, but purchase the 1/8-inch wool felt by the sheet from DuroFelt of Little Rock, Arkansas. It's real wool, not synthetic, and one large sheet that costs around $27 will make thousands of wads.
For nearly 10 years I've used a home-brew lubricant that others have since dubbed, "Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant" because I've been such a proponent.
The recipe is 1 part canning paraffin, 1 part mutton tallow, 1/2 part beeswax. All measurements are by weight, not volume. Using anything but the ingredients specified here results in a decidedly inferior product.

The upshot? I've yet to have a multiple ignition since I began using a slightly larger ball, greased felt wad, and pinched the caps to cling better to the nipple. I rarely put grease over the ball; a greased felt wad holds plenty of lubricant.
I do not like the dry lubricant used in Wonder Wads. It doesn't keep fouling soft enough for my likes. On the rare occasions I've purchased Wonder Wads, I dip them in melted Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant.

In my .36s I use .380 balls. In my .44s I use .454 or .457 inch balls. The Ruger Old Army requires .457 inch balls. If I owned one, I'd experiment with .460 inch balls.

I'm not one of those who believes that multiple ignitions begin from the front. Rather, I believe they begin at the rear of the cylinder, when a loose cap falls off before firing, or is jarred off by recoil.

I believe I am one of those rare individuals who has experienced a multiple ignition. Many warn about such an occurence but apparently few have experienced such an event.
 

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Havent had it happen to me but watched one go off.

The guy did everything right as far as I could tell from what I know of his loading technique.

30 grains of Pyrodex, lubed felt wad, then seated a .454 lead round ball (Pietta recommends .454 for that pistol) then he greased over top with Crisco.

He did use a different brand of same #10 cap than normal. Use to using Remington, but this time used CCI.

It fired the correct chamber and the upper right chamber looking at the revo from behind. No damage to him or the revolver.

he did say he thought he peed his pants a little.
 
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