Shooting For Success

The goal is the reasonable expectation of reliability. Upon firing, the percussion cap frequently explodes and flares. Ideally the fragments will travel with the cylinder around the breech face and fall free at the capping window. Holding the revolver level or executing the ill-conceived “Gunfighter Flip” while cocking allows the burst fragment to fall down on the hammer face and into the inner workings of the action, locking everything up as tight as the southern aspect of a north-vectoring mallard. Cocking the arm with the muzzle at a downward angle minimizes this and the absence of grease-imbued fouling on the hammer face and breech virtually eliminates the problem.

If, as is often the case with the pocket models, there is insufficient clearance between cylinder and the right side of the breech, cap travel can be freed up without visible mischief by increasing the clearance. Should fouling become excessive, cleaning the arbor and other close components ought to maintain smooth function. A drop of spit on the arbor can also be beneficial.