Cap for Small Arms
The cap for small-arms is made of copper. It is very slightly conical, with a rim or flange at the open end; it has four slits, extending about half the height of the cap. The cap is charged with fulminate of mercury, mixed with half its weight of niter, the object of the niter being to render the fulminate less explosive and to give body to the flame. To protect the percussion powder from moisture, and also to secure it from falling out, it is covered over, in each cap, with a drop of shellac varnish. The copper for making the caps is obtained in sheets forty-eight inches long and fourteen inches wide, weighing three pounds; a variation of four ounces, more or less, is allowed. The copper should be pure, free from seams, holes or blisters, well annealed, and as evenly rolled as possible, with straight and smooth edges. The copper is cleaned by immersion in a pickle made of one part (by measure) of sulphuric acid and forty parts water; it is scoured with fine sand and a hand brush, and washed in running water; after which it is well dried in clean sawdust and rubbed over with a cloth slightly oiled; it is then ready for the machine.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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