Need advise on Mainspring.


June 18, 2006, 03:07 PM
Hi folks, Happy Fathers Day to all the dads' out there.
This may well be my first post here, but I have been a dedicated "lurker". I have been actually sitting in the very front row for some time now.

This forum is one of the best of it's kind, and has provided me with a lot of information about my BP Revolvers. Everything has gone really well until I broke a Mainspring in my 1860 Army a couple weeks back.

I ordered 3 Pietta mainsprings from VTI, but they were out, and offered a ASM Mainspring for a temporary replacement. Well, I replaced the was quite simple, and straight forward. Everything fell right into place. However, it is now out of time. When I cock the pistol the hammer lines up on the safety pin between the cylinders.

What did I do wrong??? :banghead:

Any, and all advise would be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully, Russ

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June 18, 2006, 03:31 PM
Russ, I'm probably the least mechanically inclinded here, the new mainspring the same length/shape as the old one? The reason I ask, it seems that if the new one is longer it won't allow the revolver to cock fully. Also, Ubertis (mine, anyways) tend to go beyond full cock. Did you try adjusting the trigger/bolt spring? Is it too loose/tight?

June 18, 2006, 07:00 PM
That's a good point pohill has.
If you lay the new by the old side by side and they are the same length, then it is a hand problem most likely.

June 18, 2006, 11:41 PM
I presume you can bring the gun to full cock. If so then it is likely a hand spring problem. Possibly broken. Less possible is that there is a burr on the hand or the hand window. Try holding the gun pointing straight towards the ground and cocking the hammer. If the cylinder goes to lockup then it is the hand spring.

June 19, 2006, 03:01 AM
See if the hammer goes back farther with the mainspring disconnected and clock properly. If it does then it should be as Pohill stated trim the mainspring to the same length as the old one or so the hammer will extend to it's fullest. A hammer can lock up with a too-long mainspring, but the bolt should not be locked in the cylinder slot.

Old Fuff
June 19, 2006, 10:59 AM
The original Colt 1860 Army revolver used a longer mainspring then the 1851 Navy because the latter gun had a shorter grip, and in both cases the mainspring was anchored at the bottom of the trigger guard. Replica guns were made the same way.

But some of the replica builders changed the arrangement by mounting the mainspring in their 1860 reproductions higher so they could use the same spring that was used in their 1851 Navy guns.

Look at your trigger guard and see if the mainspring is mounted above the bottom of the backstrap. If so you need an 1851 Navy sized spring. Otherwise an 1860 spring would be correct.

June 19, 2006, 11:24 AM
Thanks for all the courteous replies.....let me have some time to digest all that has been said here, and take a little closer look at things.

I checked the spring when I first got it, and it "appeared" to be the same as the old spring in both length, and width. I did notice it was somewhat difficult to install the grip assembly to the upper frame, but I contributed that to the strength of the new main spring.

Let me do some checking and I will get back to ya.

Thanks again for all the informative replies.

Respectfully, Russ...

Old Fuff
June 19, 2006, 12:29 PM

Don't do it that way, you'll bend the front of the trigger guard. :eek:

Assemble the trigger guard first, and tighten the three screws that hold it. Then with the mainspring hanging up-side down, start the screw that holds it. Then swing the spring up into place and bend it enough so that can can get the tip under the hammer and into place. Then finish tightening the mainspring screw.

June 19, 2006, 04:26 PM
What "Old Fuff" said. First the triggerguard frontstrap, then the mainspring, then the grips and backstrap. The mainspring has nothing to do with the timing of the revolver or how far back the hammer can be drawn. This still sounds like a hand or hand spring problem.

Old Fuff
June 19, 2006, 05:43 PM
The mainspring has nothing to do with the timing of the revolver or how far back the hammer can be drawn. This still sounds like a hand or hand spring problem.

You may or may not be right. If the mainspring is too long the front tip can hit the hammer and block its rotation. It's hard to say without having the gun on the bench, but if the spring tip is hitting the hammer you can see it when the backstrap and stocks are removed from the gun.

June 19, 2006, 06:41 PM
If the gun worked fine until the mainspring broke, and the only change was the mainspring, then it stands to reason that the mainspring is the problem, unless something was reassembled the wrong way.

June 19, 2006, 08:33 PM
As I understood the gentelman the problem was not with hammer rotation but with cylinder rotation. The cylinder is only rotating half the distance it should.
Once again it is not a problem with the mainspring it is a problem with the hand or hand spring. Just because the mainspring broke prior to the problem does not mean that replacing it has caused the problem. Just visualize for a moment how the parts interact during the cocking cycle and you will understand what I mean.

Old Fuff
June 19, 2006, 09:09 PM
You may well be right. But the hand is attached to, and advanced by, the hammer. If for some reason the hammer is blocked from rotating backwards the hand stops, and therefore the cylinder stop turning too.


As I said, if you don't have the gun on your workbench it's hard to say ... :)

June 19, 2006, 09:23 PM
I am back in business!

Don't know who to give the credit to, but all of had some great information that applied in one way or the other!

First off pohill....My initial measurement of the spring was off because the old spring was broke about .5" above the mounting hole...evidently I was letting one end, on the old broken spring, slip or move, just a bit with the first measurements, which were done on the kitchen table.......I put both pieces of the old spring on a piece of very sticky duck tape, butted the new one up to it, and ended up taking about .080 off the end of the new spring.

Denster...this time I polished the end of the spring after grinding it back. It "looks" even better than the old one.

Old Fluff...Bless you! Your words of wisdom has allowed me to re-install the new spring with "nary a bit" of resistance. I can only hope I didn't mess anything else up with my ignorance. Right now, she works like a charm.

You other guys....You have all contributed to my first hand knowledge of how this puppy works, and a little trouble shooting, if something should happen again. Thank you very much.

Many thanks to all you guys! I truly, truly, appreciate this. I would be lost without my old pistola. She has been a goodern though....somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to 6K rounds through it over the past 4 or so years, and she never missed a beat, until I somehow broke that stupid spring.

Respectfully, Russ...

PS: Don't you guys run off! I feel very fortunate to have found you, and I don't want to loose all this knowledge....if ya know what I mean. :)

June 19, 2006, 10:45 PM
Old Fuff

Of course you are right. If the hammer can't be drawn back the hand can't advance the cylinder.

Russ. Glad you got your lead launcher back in tune.

Old Fuff
June 19, 2006, 11:11 PM

Ya' know, we have a very active group of black powder revolver shooters on this forum that are "loaded" with a lot of knowledge. Anything and everything we know is free for the asking. One of them even wrote an excellent book on the subject. Go back in our search feature and you'll find a ton of good stuff. Then crank up your printer. :D

June 20, 2006, 12:30 AM
Glad you got it all back and working, Russ. One thing I learned about cutting and shaping a mainspring - if you even lightly scratch the spring horizontally, you create a weak spot, and it will break sooner than later. I read it, didn't heed it, and it happened.

June 20, 2006, 12:59 AM
One of them even wrote an excellent book on the subject.

If you are referring to MEC, I have the book "Percussion Pistols and Revolvers" by Johnny Bates, and Mike Cumpston. It is a good book and I have learned a lot from it. I said in the very beginning that I think this is the best web site of it's kind on the, I'm even more convinced.


June 21, 2006, 02:02 PM
Since there seem to be some new people on board and the sales seem to be falling off a bit, it may be time for some more shameless self-promotion:

Available at in Hardbound, PaperBack and E-book (scalable color pictures in the e-book if you can get it to download)

Also available by title search at United Kingdom, Canada,Germany, France and Japan- It appears a couple have even sold in Japan.

or at Barnes and noble:

or the Hastings Book site.

It is a bit too obscure to be stocked in any of their local outlet stores but is also available from a number of other internet sources at sometimes reduced prices.

Old Fuff
June 21, 2006, 06:03 PM
Good...! I knew I could get you too do it if I pushed a bit.

All of you should take note that the book is Fuff approved, with 5 stars... :)

June 21, 2006, 07:18 PM
Fuff approval is a much to be desired commodity.

also would recommend careful reading of the Gatofeo stickys at the top of this page.

June 22, 2006, 12:20 AM

Just out of curiousity, do you still get your full 64 cents or whatever from the reduced price sellers?

Be kind of a bummer if they negotiated your royalty down to allow them to sell more by undercutting the traditional sellers.



June 22, 2006, 12:31 AM
I think so. the only difference I know is that Barnes and Noble says they will pay a few cents extra commission on books bought from them.

June 22, 2006, 02:34 AM
I may have to go to Barnes & Noble to see if they may have one a them books...
All I gotta do is find someone to sell me a Remington Pistol Flask at a good price and will have enough Father's Day money left to treat myself to your book Mec...

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