CVA colt .44- cant get barrel wedge in!


May 20, 2006, 11:33 AM
I'm trying to finish this pistol and I cant get the barrel wedge in. It goes almost all the way through then it cants to the side and wont come out the other end. Do I need to remove some material off the barrel? The instructions for this are a little vague to me in the booklet.
Forum search didnt help much but sorry if this has already been posted.

If you enjoyed reading about "CVA colt .44- cant get barrel wedge in!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 20, 2006, 12:29 PM
Have you worked out where the wedge is hanging up - frame or arbour? Try the wedge in the frame without the rest if the gun fitted and see if the wedge passes through, then try the same with the separate arbour slot. If it passes through both when separated but not when joined it suggests a slot alignment problem to me. Once you know exactly what is causing the problem you should be able to work out the solution.

Good luck

Tight Wad :)

May 20, 2006, 12:52 PM
Tightwad, How much of the wedge should protrude on the opposite side. I
just read that if you go in too deep with the wedge the action won't work.
But here again that was in reference to a Colt Walker.

Old Fuff
May 20, 2006, 03:03 PM

The wedge isn't supposed to go all of the way through! You only drive it in far enough to hold the barrel. The extra is to take up wear over time goes by. And yes, it should be slightly slanted. Before driving in the wedge be sure that the barrel and frame are tight together at the bottom. Then tap in the wedge so only a little bit comes through on the other side.

May 20, 2006, 11:01 PM
And yes, it should be slightly slanted.

Good grief, it IS a wedge! A wedge is, by definition, a piece that is thinner on the entry end than at the back. That is its pupose. To draw something up, or to lift something up.

If you are going to remove any material, do it to the wedge, they are 3 to 5 bucks, barrels are something like 70. Man, I wish I had your problem, my wedge is too wide. I can file or mill that down. A skinny wedge requires a wider wedge, and probably a more expensive wedge.



May 21, 2006, 04:11 AM
What Old fluff said is exactly right with emphasis on "STOP" LoL! A wedge usually starts out going in to the point that the right side of the barrel assy. has the wedge about flush or a hair more.
All you need to do is push it in with a thumb or the heel of your long as it stays in you are good to go. Get yourself an 1858 Remington and you won't have to worry about a wedge.;)

May 21, 2006, 06:07 AM
The further you drive in the wedge the closer it will bring the barrel in to the cylinder. If you drive it in too far you'll end up with no clearance between them and the cylinder will bind.

I suggest you get yourself a lightweight brass headed hammer - about 4oz - and a feeler gauge. Tap the wedge in until you achieve a gap of around five thou (0.005") between barrel and cylider, then you'll have it set up about right.

Bear in mind that on the Colt guns, the barrel is all that stops the cylinder moving forwards and therefore controls what's known as 'end float'. If you have too large a gap, when the hammer falls it's impact will be absorbed in pushing the whole cylider forwards until it's stopped by the barrel. This will often result in a mis-fire.

Tight Wad

May 22, 2006, 01:43 AM
Somehow we're going about this all wrong.

The wedge won't go through. That means the slot in the arbor and the slot in the frame window are out of line. The wedge drives against the arbor slot, at the front, and when you drive it further, it cants back so much that it hits the frame window on the right side of the barrel, can't go into the other side of the window, to lock properly.

Driving the wedge, with a feeler guage, to get proper clearance, just means you have an improperly fitted arbor, too short. If you can tap the wedge and close up the barrel/cylinder gap, any, let alone enough to lock up the cylinder, you got a bad gun. (Man, how I hate to keep saying that, and how I hate that many of you think the barrel assembly should "float" on the arbor, you get to adjust your clearance.)

To the OP, if you have over about 1/16 of arbor showing in the front of the frame window, you CAN file or grind a little to allow the wedge to go all the way through, just try to stop when it JUST enters the other side of the barrel assembly. No sense filing so much you need a new wedge in 6 weeks. If you can't get it into the whole slot, try filing the wedge down, first, if you can get it to lock up, bye'm'bye, you will wear in enough that a new wedge should fit.

The wedge will ALWAYS cant back. You mate up with the arbor at that diameter, you mate with the 2 sides of the barrel assembly window on both sides, has to cant, slant, to the rear, single contact at the front, contact on both sides of the barrel assembly window at the rear.



May 22, 2006, 10:13 AM
thanks all for the replies, sorry I couldnt reply back sooner.
I think gmtaov has described my problem (better than I did, doh!). The wedge is getting hung up on the inside of the frame. And I can see that there is probably more than 1/6" of the arbor in the front of the frame window. The wedge will fit the frame window, and the arbor slot, just not at the same time.
I looked at it last night, took the whole thing apart again. And was thinking that the arbor may be too long. So maybe I was on the right track.
My question now is: Should I file the front of the arbor (the cylinder that inserts in the frame) or the inside of the arbor slot?

Sorry for my poor terminology, still a noob at these. gonna have to get in the habit of taking my camera to the shop with me too so I can have some pics to post!
Thanks again for everybody's participation.

eidt: also where do ya'll recommend getting new wedges from? looks like I'll be needing one, or two.
Thanks again.

May 22, 2006, 11:49 AM
Radd what make is it? When you push the wedge in is the barrel assy. properly fitted against the frame.(i.e. no gaps) if so leave it alone and shoot it. That's the way they are made. By no means do you need to file and mess up the wedge. If you have it in far enough and it's solid you are ok. It will break in and loosen up in time. Unless the arbor to barrel assy. is over bottomed there is no problem, and you see a gap. If it were overbottomed you wouldn't file or replace the wedge you would have to take down the length of the arbor (cly. pin) itself... and then I would suggest returning it for another one from where you bought it.

May 22, 2006, 12:50 PM
Made by CVA, I think its like this one:

The second one down on this page:

Except mine didnt come with any blue parts, I got it about 10+ years ago as a gift. I was able to get it fully assembled/timed except for the wedge and the plunger holder(?), then it got put back in the case and shelved. Got it when you could still buy firearms at Service Merchandise, makes me feel old.

I'm going to post some pics of the issue tonight or tommorrow, just to clarify, before I do anything to it.


May 23, 2006, 01:26 AM
Is the plunger in the kit bag?
I think your wedge is ok the way it is. Now as long as it goes thru the arbor to the barrel assy it's good, but it doesn't have to go all the way thru. Optimum is to see the wedge flush, but a couple three thou won't hurt it. A couple taps may put it flush to the barrel and that won't hurt it. Remember I said taps.
I didn't realize it was a kit. Have you done bluing...or browning/antique finnishes. That would be a candidate for the "Old West" look. Maybe someone here has instructions for the Antique finnish for you to follow.
I kinda like that look and seems to be easier than a perfect bluing job.
Be a lookin' for the pics.

May 23, 2006, 03:18 AM

Good grief, Sevice Merchandise? They've been out of business at least 10 years. You ARE an old fart, aren't you? (I might be a little older, so don't take the heat.)

When you assemble this thing, without the wedge in place, how much room is there between the cylinder and the barrel?. Much or not much?

If a ton, you might, just might, have a too long arbor/cylinder pin. We simply do not know. Take a few pics when you do get it and the camera in the same place at the same time.

Your link to "like these" was shocking. About 30-40 bucks less than a pre-built pistol from any reputable maker. I, for one, would rather buy one pre-made and polished/blued, than a grab bag of parts that had to be assembled, fitted, polished, blued.

Hey, that's the way I DO buy them, so no problem.

A 32 cal rifle, now, I would consider a kit.



May 23, 2006, 09:47 AM
alright I took some pics:

w/ wedge

You can see that the cylinder is pretty much up agains the barrel. I should have put something white behind the frame window, but I think you can see that the front of the arbor is not lined up with the window. The wedge is getting hung up on the inside of the frame.
Also dont mind the surface rust :o I think it will all come off and it should finish up just fine.

Sorry if I didint mention it was a kit, been extremely busy week, my multi-tasking is multiply kickin my butt :banghead:

Thanks for all the help this has been a great forum.

May 23, 2006, 10:24 AM
Good pics Radd. After seeing those I'd say it may be an over bottomed arbor. I say may be only because there is no gap between the forcing cone of the barrel and cylinder with out the wedge in. Should be at least a .002" to .006" gap. The wedge can't go in any farther as the barrel is hitting the cylinder and the brass frame at the locating pins. Will have to check th end of the arbor to see if it's bottomed or not on the inside. If it isn't bottomed I would lap the cylinder down or face the forcing cone back a .002". then fit the wedge.
Dang that's a good one I smell smoke. Hope this helped some.

Radd I'm gonna try to send a friend over here to look at your dilema...he's a dang good gunsmith.
Let me see if I can reach him.

May 23, 2006, 11:14 AM
Like SG said, the wedge will go in without filing. I have several guns with a wedge that goes in crooked. Work it work it...give it a downward whack, then a straight in whack, or tip the barrel up with your hand...whatever it takes to get it in. Don't file, don't drive it in too far...welcome to the world of Colt.
Yeah, SG, it's me...

May 23, 2006, 12:20 PM
Howdy Pohill(Wedgemeister)...recognized ya. Everything dryin' out over your way? Hope so, then you can train that Colt 1861 Navy. Dang it that's a nice one. Ya got me eyeballing Even Cabelas catalog, there 1861 navy I think is a Uberti price is like $239.99. From the pic it looks like the same finnish my 1851Navy has along with Walnut grips.
Catch ya back at camp.

May 23, 2006, 11:04 PM

Your wedge still looks too wide to me.

The picture with the wedge started shows little clearance on the "in" side.
The top down picture shows about 15 deg cant, too much.
The pic of the "out" side shows about 1/5 of the wedge hitting the inside of the barrel asembly. Some of the pics seem to show gap at the barrel frame mating faces, some don't show any gap. Could be the ones that do are from mismatches of the "kit" feature of the pistol, need some filing polishing, and blending in. Same for the cylinder gap. If you showed a gap at the faces and the cylinder gap was not there, could be the barrel is too long to the rear, I don't think that is one of the things they would let a kit gun go to a hobbyist with. That is more than most kit builders would be expected to be able to fix.

As far as the cylinder gap, for the hell of it, is the hammer holding the cylinder forward to close the gap? As has been mentioned, the barrel is all that stops the cylinder from going forward too far, but it SHOULD, hell, HAS TO show no gap when held forward. Like the guy above said, that's all that holds it back. Well, yeah, it does, but that is the design of it.

One thing you haven't said is that the cylinder locks up, so I am assuming it does not.

I still think your wedge is too wide. Ala Chicoine, and thank you for your dimensions, Dave, the Colt '51 and '60 wedge is .475 on the front and .525 on the rear, and is 1.075 long. You mention "shop" a couple times. Hope that means you have measuring tools to measure the wedge.

Regardless of the wedge dimensions, if the dimensions of the slots in both the arbor and barrel window are too small the wedge will still have to be filed down. You have arbor metal showing in the front side of the window. I like that. I would sooner make or modify a wedge to fit than to modify the pistol parts to suit the wedge. The wedge is a throwaway part, the wear and get replaced. The main parts of the pistol are not throwaway parts.


May 26, 2006, 11:51 AM
well after some consideration I decided to work on the wedge. I got it to fit and the pistol functions pretty good. It worked flawlessy unitil I took it all apart to see if I did something wrong, before I posted this question. I put it back together and it still works but every once in a while it wont catch on the second click:confused: . I'll have to take it apart again to see what I did wrong.

So now all I got to do some sanding and put a finish on it. Think I'm gonna take smokin_gun's advice and do an antique finish on it. Then get the stuff and learn how to shoot it!
I appreciate everyones input and putting up with a noob.

May 27, 2006, 01:49 AM
Hey, Noob,

Take it out and shoot it, now that you got it together.

THEN, do your antiquing.

First, slip 6 caps on the nipples and step out the door and see if they snap off. Then, go to the range and shoot a few cylinders full.

THEN, decide if you want to ruin the appearance.

To me, they look best in the blue, and any flaws cleaned and reblued. Gunmetal is supposed to be blue-black. It is only the British and I think, also, the US forces in the "War of Northern Aggression" who thought that the troops would be less idle if they had unblued firearms, prone to rust, that they had to keep spotless, just to keep idle hands busy.

Blue is best, I don't care how many like the uncared for look.


May 27, 2006, 08:39 AM
Blued is not best, what is best is what you want.

May 27, 2006, 11:08 AM
geez George, you do sound like an old fart!;) (reference to earlier post ;) )

Thanks for advice though. I think I'm still a good ways away from finishing, this thing is pretty rough around the edges. I guess it would be a good idea to go ahead and get the rest of the stuff and see how it shoots.

I had never seen an antique finish on one of these pistols before and thought it looked a little more unique, but I'm not sure I want my first one to look like a British replica since I'm not British. I'll have to research it I guess.

Where is the best source for parts and shooting supplies that most of ya'll use? I saw that numrich's has parts but the barrel wedge assembly is like 30 bucks. Anybody else carry these.

Thanks again to all that replied, I appreciate it.

Old Fuff
May 27, 2006, 11:16 AM
Go to:

Be sure to order a copy of their catalog - over 700 pages :what: for $5.00.:)

But I warn you... This stuff is very adictive. :evil:

May 27, 2006, 11:16 PM

You're right, what you like is what you should go for. Others have said the same thing to me, THEY like "defarbed", so, go ahead. I don't like it but it's not my pistol.


Hell, I am an old fart. I should have put a couple smileys after that Noob thing. It wasn't meant to be a noob downer, just to tell you to enjoy it as is, shoot it a while, then do whatever you want with it. Change the color, shorten it, whatever.

When you've done that, go get another one. One ain't gonna be enough.



Forgot to say, Go to They carry most of the CVA parts, and their prices are reasonable, and shipping pretty quick.

May 27, 2006, 11:35 PM
gmatov, I agree with you about guns being blued myself, but really in the end it doesn't matter what you or I think. It comes down to what he wants. Me personally I would blue it too.

May 29, 2006, 12:04 AM

Call me George, please, when you reply. I had to make a unique name to enroll, but I do sign off as George.

I like ALL blue steel for gunmetal, and the deeper and blacker it is, the better the polish is before it is blued, the more I like it. I DON'T like parkerized finishes, except on original 1911s. Even 1911A1s, nice, shiny, blue looks good. The original shoud look like the original. Hell, I am not even sure that John Browning DID have the first parkerized. The original might have been polished well, and the military decided they wanted it matte black, or dark grey.



Old Fuff
May 29, 2006, 01:33 AM

For the record...

The first military and all commercial 1911 pistols were finished in a high-polish, deep black color (called "charcoal blue") that shouldn't be confused with "niter blue" or "fire blue" that was lighter and more blue then black in color. Charcoal blue was a heat process that went back to the era of cap & ball revolvers, and was highly labor intensive - which is the reason it went out of the picture during the 1920's. Parkerizing didn't come into the picture until the very late 1930's, and then only on military arms.

Original cap & ball revolvers didn't look like they'd been dragged behind a pick-up truck until after many years of hard service. Their owners for the most part carried them in full-flap holsters and tried to protect them from the elements. The "beat-up look" is a modern fad that isn't supported for the most part by history. The reason one sees so many original ones that are abused is because the better ones are secured in rich folks private collections.

May 29, 2006, 03:17 PM
Duplicate Post

May 29, 2006, 03:21 PM
Senior Member
Blued is not best, what is best is what you want.

I must say I like the look of a well used Rev and have seen many that have the bluing worn off. I also like a fine Belguim Blue, Charcoal Blue, or the polished Blued finnish they come with. I was tellin' um that the "antiged finnish caue it's easier for one who hasn't blued a gun... plus I think it would look great.
I think Dwave has the all time best answer what is best is what you like. I don't post judgements on what others like. And a 100 year old gun that has been used will have a degree of the bluing gone...even a new one that is used/fired and holstered it has wear. Anyway I like um all...LoL!
Which is an original which ain't? HeHe!

May 30, 2006, 01:02 AM
Old Fuff,

I screwed up in my original post. John Browning did NOT parkerize the original 1911, the pre A1. I did not know that parkerizing did not start till when you say.

Sam'l Colt blued all his, and the 150 year old remnants are judged by the amount of blue left. 5 or 10 % is worth thousands more. So, are the worn out modern pistols actually representative?

A cowboy who earned 20, 25, 30 bucks a month buys a 20, 25, 30 buck pistol, and will let it rust to a nice 2006 "patina"?

He will protect that thing with any grease he can get, if it has to be getting to the head of the line after breakfast, and the first swipe of bacon fat. Or not eat the gtrease off his plate, better use is to protect his gun. And, go hungry because of protecting his gun, because fat was a big part of the menu.

Gone to bed, gotta go to a funeral in the AM, and don't like to get up in the AM.



May 30, 2006, 01:22 AM
The key words were, it's not just what you like it's what the owner of the gun likes. Comprende? :O)
I happen to like both so I guess it's hard to argue this point...LoL!

Ps just cause a Rev looks antique sure don't mean it's worn out. What's worse rebluing a 1st generation Colt say with 55% bluing left on it, or defarbing a $179.99 Rev simply because you like it...???

Talk about wastin' $ ...HeHe!

May 30, 2006, 08:14 AM
No way I would touch an original revolver with blue just to make it new. I will do it on a newer one and have done it. I touched up my Pietta 51 the other day. I reblued the cylinder face and some other areas but I would NEVER reblue an original even though I think blue is better.

May 30, 2006, 10:29 AM
hey guys, nice debate ya'll got going on, didnt mean to start something. :o

I started sanding the grips, and its shaping up nicely.
Those are some nice pics smokin_gun posted, I like the look of all of those.

As the brass gets shiny on some spots of mine and with it having the carved cylinder and all, I can see a nice contrasting dark blue and maybe a cherry'ish grip. I think I can get it to look as good as the pic that came with it. That would look pretty sweet on display, and at the range.
I have some casey's perma blue that I'm going to try to reblue some of my old rifles with, figure it'd be good practice. If I can get it dark enough I'll go with that.
I guess that means I'll have to get another one to do in the used/antique look, just what I need another hobby that I dont have time for.:)
My wife will be thrilled too. ;) at least this hobby doesnt envolve baking cosmoline slathered stocks in the oven, hey I thought it smelled good. :)

Ill post pics of the finished product and a range report too.
Thanks guys,

May 30, 2006, 11:40 AM
Lookin' forward to the pics Radd!
I still wanna try the Belguim Blue formula I aquired, but don't have a candidate for it yet...donations are welcome...HeHe!
George and I go back quite a ways, and are good friends. We always have healthy sometimes lengthy discussions on topics concerning BP Revs...right George?

May 30, 2006, 11:32 PM
George, I also prefer my guns to have as dark of a finish as possible. Now on the Parkerized finishes I don't have a problem with them. I have a Colt 1911a1 .45 from 1946 and it is parkerized and I like the finish on it. I wouldn't have the blueing stripped off to parkerize it, but I would by one that was.

Smokin_Gun, Nice pictures of the guns there, wish I had a few of them myself! When I get some cash I will though. It's addictive.

May 31, 2006, 12:38 AM

That we have. I know you like the look of a beautifully finished pistol as much as I do. I know that if you found a touch of rust on a Smith, a 500 buck gun, you would be frantic, "How'n hell could I let it get RUSTY? I clean 'em and oil 'em, and that damned stuff still blooms."

And, I know if you got a "defarb", bare metal, grey metal, it ain't gonna have rust on it.

YOU know that If I had a pistol from the 19th century, with 5 % finish, I would not reblue it. I am NOT sure that I would not shoot it!


I love beautifully blued steel. I have owned one parkerized 1911 (non A1), like the straight mainspring housing, and the other non improved aspects, which escape me at the moment. Trigger, grip safety spur, etc. Was stolen from me, worse the luck. Like to get another, but they are too high for my pocketbook, at the moment. Buy 3 BPs for one of them.

I wouldn't blast a blued model to Parkerize, might polish a Parkerize to blue it.

I also don't like the Remington Express models of the 870, my 870 BC Trap model looks a hell of a lot better. I can't even give the damned thing to any of my kids. They want to go out and buy blued steel models.

I have SS pistols, Ruger SBs, I have a Rem nickle and gold plate model 58, love the looks of it, the rest are Smiths with a fantastic Smith blue, and some cheaper. Rifles, I have a SS Interarms 7 m/m Mag, black chromed or whatever they do to color that steel, a Browning BLR in 7 m/m-08 that was rebarreled by P. O. Ackley, and the most fantastic blue you will ever see.

I LIKE BLUE, period. If you want to strip 'em to grey scrap look, be my guest. Just don't ask me to say, "Wow, that's cool!"



May 31, 2006, 01:13 AM
The antique finnish isn't bare metal...most use Brown(bluing) or plum brown, then lightly steel wool with 0000 to lighten the tone of the browning. Some use Bluing and simply polish it with the wool to give it a worn look but the steel is still protected and the finnish looks good..
And yes I do like a well finnished Blued Rev... (and I say cool ain't to them too...LoL!):cool:

May 31, 2006, 01:30 AM

I know they ain't totally unfinished. They just got a, to me, ugly, finish. A worn out old pistol made in 2003. That ain't the same thing as a pre 98 piece. They've earned their looks, like you and I have earned our grey hair and wrinkles.

Ah, well.

The boy's dad was interred, today. The damned Navy rep got lost. One Seaman, a girl recruit, was there to fold the flag, the E-6 who was supposed to come play "Taps", got lost, got there after it was over. I expected a 3 gun rifle team, from the local VFW, or AMVETS.

Ah, well, what you gonna do?



May 31, 2006, 01:58 AM
You gotta know the E-6 Sailor was watchin' and chucklin' with St. Peter. Sayin' "SITREP SOS OWOK...OVER". (Situation Report Same Old **** Otherwise Ok)
Things don't always go as planned and a Military Man expects it. He was Honored in Passing as a Veteran with all due respect. I am sure it the family and friends were bothered by the misdirection. But he looked down and smiled.

If you enjoyed reading about "CVA colt .44- cant get barrel wedge in!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!