Weary of the Wedge ?


Cincinnati Slim
November 14, 2006, 11:46 AM
Howdy All,

Just wondering here...

Here's one fer all you cap and ball gunsmith types.

Colt revolvers have been around for about 150 years now and we're all still fiddling around with that dumb little wedge to hold the gun together.

Once ya get it filled and fitted to easily slip into and out of the frame the stupid little spring/screw arraingement that's suposed to capture the thing just interferes with easy use or fails altogether and lets the little wedge fall out and get lost in gravel or tall grass somewheres.:banghead:

Ain't somebody come up with a latch, toggle, thumbscrew arrangement that's better than this half*ss solution ? :confused: I carry a couple of spare wedges to replace the almost inevitable loss of the original. So far I've been lucky.

Now I know y'all Remmie shooters are gonna feel all superior about this situation but the Colts sure are a lot easier to keep clean the way they separate into their component parts. You can shove a patch through the barrel real easy or even just dunk the barrel into hot soapy water while its off the gun. I like using a cylinder loader for it's consistent pressure and to save wear and tear on the arbor/loading lever assembly. So I'm knocking the 'ol wedge into and out of the slot an awful lot !

Any bright ideas folks ?:confused:

Cincinnati Slim

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November 14, 2006, 02:19 PM
Actually, in reading through old Colt patents, the wedge screw was also meant to be used to set the "depth" of the wedge.
One of my revolvers, a Colt Signature Series .36 1861 Navy, is so trouble free, I'm betting (well, Monopoly money) that I can switch out a cylinder as quickly as a Remmie shooter.

November 14, 2006, 02:26 PM
I also have a .36 Colt 1861 I can take apart and put together very easily like that ... except mine is a Uberti I got from Dixie Gun Works. But it's still a good revolver!

Cincinnati Slim
November 14, 2006, 03:07 PM
I hear you fellas.

My Pietta 1860 works purty good.

I honed the wedge until it was nice and smooth and it slips in and out fine.

But still, holdin' a gun together with a chunk of iron shoved through a slot ?

You'd think somebody would have some up with a better solution.

People have been tinkerin' with these things for 150 years or so.

Maybe a little toggle lock thing to hold in and/or and capture the wedge ?

If somebody invents a retrofit that attaches to the existing screwhole by the wedge slot there's me and about a million other Colt shooters who are prospective customers !:o

Ideas anyone ?


November 14, 2006, 03:16 PM
Colt DID come up with an improvement of the wedge arrangement.

It is called the Model 1873.

Face it, the only reason why we fool with the things is for the nostalgia, if you were to come up with some kind of " gee whiz wedge replacement" it just wouldn't be right.

Jim K
November 14, 2006, 04:13 PM
I agree on getting rid of the wedge. My S&W 686 doesn't have one. If you like to play with antique type guns, you go along with antique design.


November 14, 2006, 04:22 PM
Rogers and Spencer (http://www.civilwarguns.com/0005.html). I shot an open-top Colt for around 8 years, then bought the Rogers. Actually had the bucks for a LeMat, but had an attack of common sense (dammit :( ). You can't pop cylinders quickly, like a Remmie, but it's a solid gun.


November 14, 2006, 04:39 PM
Cincinnati Slim, I'm with you. I actually spent quite a few brain cells thinking of a wedge replacement, maybe something adjustable, expandable, spring loaded...the problem is, I didn't have any EXTRA brain cells, so when I finally came up with a million dollar idea, it fizzled away.
One thing that worked pretty well on my 1860 .44 Pietta - I replaced the wedge screw with one that has an oversized head, which puts a downward pressure on the wedge and holds it in tighter.
Also, on the same gun I noticed that there was an up and down wiggle between barrel and frame (guys on the other forum, bear with me - they've heard it all). George ( gmatov) pointed out that maybe the arbor was bottoming out in the arbor hole, creating a fulcrum. I think he was right. I put a shim where the barrel and frame meet, around the alignment pins, and the wiggle is gone. I thought about filing the arbor (cylinder pin) down but, hey, if the shim works...

November 14, 2006, 05:42 PM
3fg, thats 3 words! :)

Rogers and Spencer

November 14, 2006, 06:13 PM
Dealing with the wedge is sorta like dealing with loading lever drop on the Walker and LeMat. It's part of their character, and part of why they kept improving guns. Sorta like getting cap fragments in your arm from an underhammer, it's just part of the experience. Think of how many others before you had the same experience, grumbled about it, and wondered what could be done. Yer livin' history now! :)

November 15, 2006, 09:09 AM
Here's what I would do if I had an extra wedge to play with.
1. braze a small extension(blob of solder) on the spring(right side), and file a notch under it, so that it could be un-locked from the right side of the barrel by simply depressing the blob. I currently use a golf tee to depress this spring, then whack with tap hammer.

2. On the opposite side, drill a hole out near the edge of the wedge that will serve as a pivot point. Now create a piece of steel that is about an inch and a half long and has a channel, this fits over the wedge, and is pinned with one of those automobile expansion pins. Cut the excess off top and bottom. The idea is to create a lever that your finger can get under and assists in prying out the wedge.

The only remaining problem I see is that barrel removal is still sticky. I have to futz with mine for several minutes to break it loose, but my Colt is still relatively new..


November 15, 2006, 11:19 AM
"The only remaining problem I see is that barrel removal is still sticky. I have to futz with mine for several minutes to break it loose, but my Colt is still relatively new.."

Do you use the loading rammer to push the barrel away from the frame?

Plastic Cowboy
November 15, 2006, 01:49 PM
Line up the cyclinder so that the loading ram contacts the space between two firing chambers. Then pull the loading lever to push the barrel off of the frame.
Remember that these were combat handguns and are meant to be serviced in the field.;)

November 15, 2006, 02:12 PM
Yes, I've tried that... Once the wedge is out I use the same golf tee so as to not scratch the chamber, but it is still stiff... I am hoping that lots of goop from my BoreButter/canola mixture will help loosen things.


November 15, 2006, 05:56 PM

You don't know how lucky you are. Most guys are complaining that the barrel is sloppy on the arbor.

The only thing I would reccommend is to check for a swell, bulged metal at the wedge slot. If it was hammered in at the factory, may have peened it just a bit. Touch it up with a fine file if it is.
The wedge isn't supposed to go all the way through. The spring offers resistance to moving. The "hook" on the end is supposed to catch on the wedge screw so you don't lose it when you dismount the barrel. If it will come out, the spring sucks. I have a no name 36 that has such a weak spring I can take it out without taking out the screw.

My ASM Mod 60 has a good spring on it, aftermarket. Got it from the gun works, make that a dot com and you should find them. Won't slip out from under the screw.



November 16, 2006, 02:48 AM
Why did you smooth the wedge? I've never heard of such a thing. It's meant to be a tight fit, needing a good rap to remove and seat. No it's not the best system in the world, but that's the way Sam designed 'em and it seemed to work OK on hundreds of thousands of revolvers. Some things are meant to be left alone.

November 16, 2006, 07:33 AM
To the Colt Purists...
The Wedge rules. The Wedge is my favorite part of my revolvers. I would not change a thing about the Wedge. Living with the Wedge is living with history, which means, due to the fact that solid framed revolvers came next, my little wedge "what if" mind games are on track with 19th century designers of top straps, including Samuel Colt.

I added a screw with a bigger head because the one that came with it made no contact at all with the Wedge. I put a shim next to the Wedge because the exit slot peened out a bit and the Wedge didn't make contact.
Also, the Wedge screw, as I said, was meant to be a Wedge Depth Setter, not just a Wedge Spring Catcher.
My Pietta 1860 .44 had some wedge issues, my Ubertis and my Colt have no problems at all with wedges.
Long Live the Wedge...

November 16, 2006, 08:54 AM
On my 1860 Pietta, the spring is an enigma.. I never fully understoon the mechanics of how it did its job... I know it holds the barrel assembly in place, but where is the point that causes it to become snug.. I have heard it is not supposed to go all the way through, mine extends by about a thirtysecond's inch. I thought the spring was SUPPOSED to lock it in place.. From what I am hearing this is not the case. The spring on my Colt does little or nothing to keep it from falling out.. and for the most part, its usually better if I do take it all the way out or it winds up catching someting and preventing dissassembly. I am hearing that some have gone to a larger Screwhead, but I can't tell if the one I have should be tightened or loosened... it sticks if I try and totally remove the screw.. and even when screwed all the way in, there is a space, in other words the screw head does not sit flush against the barrel.

I would like to find a setting (via honing or otherwise) that allows for quick assembly/disassembly with no other tools. And I don't what to have to take my shoe off and use that... but first I will need to know what causes it to stay put... where is the point that grabs it, surely not the spring.


November 16, 2006, 09:00 AM
Right on Pohill! You're the Wedgemiester! People have some troubles with Colt wedges in the beginning of their Colt cap&ball life span. Somewhere along the line most people just accept the simple and efficient mechanical device and deal with it in some mechanical way.
The wedge helps to develope mechanial aptitude. :what: When the wedge spring hook gets in the way of the wedge removal it's because of the hook being too straight up and down sorta(Pietta not Uberti). A bevel can be filed on it to help it slide under the sharp edge on the barrels off side upper part of the barrel wedge slot. Usually the spring being harder than the barrel actually deforms that upper wedge slot sharp edge and creates a very small bevel on the edge on it's own. It shows from the shiny that appears when the bluing on the upper edge of the slot is removed by the wedge spring hook deforming it. It's a small deformation and doesn't really readily show but it's the way the spring hook finds an easier way to get under the edge of the barrel wedge slot to get out.
A person can do a little judicious filing there on that spot on the barrel wedge slot to hasten the slight bit of deformation the wedge spring hook makes to get the wedge out easier. A person can just leave it alone and let the gun "break in" over time on it's own and the wedge will become easier to get in and get out.
A small bevel can be filed on the wedge corner that contacts the off side rear of the barrel slot so it can get seated in front of the rear of that barrel slot easier to fully seat the wedge. Of course a person may find that hitting the wedge at an angle ,kinda towards the rear of the gun when installing it, helps get the wedge in.
A small gunsmith ball peen hammer helps. People don't carry little hammers in the field so putting a small bevel on the wedge corner that first contacts the off side rear of the barrel slot can help making a wedge that can be seated by hand when changing out preloaded cylinders. Once that is done a wedge can be easily made to be seated by the palm of the hand with maybe a little tap with the wooden top of a small screw driver.
A person shooting cap&ballers should always have that little screw driver on hand anyway. Making a small sheath for it so it can remain on the gun rig belt is a good idea. Just as the sheath for the powder flask and the one for the spare preloaded cylinder can be put on the cap&ball revolver gun belt rig.

In the old days people were said to use the preloaded cylinder to loosen the wedge so it could be finger pulled to where it hooked behind the wedge screw head to remove the barrel to change cylinders. The empty cylinder was used to give the wedge a tap to firmly seat it when it's installed to ready the revolver for further shooting. That field disassembly of the barrel and cylinder to reload a spare cylinder was expected to be done by soldiers in a matter of seconds and was considered a big plus for the Colt. That is how the wedge should fit. It should pop loose with a small rap to be finger pulled to hook on the wedge screw head. The wedge should be able to be installed about 3/4th's of the way into the wedge slots and then need only a small rap with the empty cylinder or the head of a small screw driver or even the palm of the hand to seat it to put the gun into battery.
A wedge usually breaks in on it's own from use but a person can do some judicious filing on it to hasten that process. I've done that to some Colts just for the heck of it so that the wedge can be hit with the palm of the hand to remove it and hit with the palm of the hand to seat it. That's the way a Colt can and should be when a person wants to change out preloaded cylinders easily in the field.
Sam Colt actually had a good idea about designing the first Colt revolvers to be able to be disassembled by removing a wedge to remove the barrel and cylinder. In it's day when guns where cap&ballers that design was the best to facilitate easy field stripping to reload or clean. The Colts where considered faster to reload than the Remingtons since the Remingtons had the base pin fouling syndrom and stuck when fouled. I don't think the wedge is an ill design for the Colts. The wedge is one of the most fundamentally sound mechanical applications ever devised by man. Equal even to the lever and the fulcrum.;) If you own a Colt it's inevitable that the :banghead: will eventually turn to:D once the shooter embraces the "wedge". Pohill "The Wedgemiester" is a good example of that syndrom. ;) If there are problems with the wedge not hanging on the wedge screw so it doesn't get lost in the gravel or grass a person has to learn to not pull or hit it too much to make it pass by the screw head or ,as Pohill has done, install a screw with a bigger head or install a wedge with a better hook on the end of the wedge spring.

Most anything that has to be done to facilitate the operations the wedge should and can perform can be readily seen and remedied by most any gun owner if the problems are defined properly and the solutions are discovered. See ya Buds.

November 16, 2006, 09:50 AM
Great post, great post!... especially the part about the 2nd cylinder as the tool being used... that was one of the things confounding me... I couldn't imagine "Tuco the rat" using a tap hammer to change out the cylinder. Or any other Civil war era soldier, for that matter..

It kinda made sense to me that they would have a spare loaded cylinder, but I didn't make the connection... I also didn't understand that the sole purpose of that spring is to retain the wedge and keep it from falling out during the disassembly and reassembly process.. I actually thought the design was such that the burr on the spring was to keep the wedge locked in place during normal firing..

In reading your description and from my experience, getting the wedge in is not really a problem. Getting the spring to NOT lock to the barrel on the off side is a problem, and it sounds like I can file either the spring, or the barrel.. is there an advantage to doing the barrel over the spring itself?

Thanks again.. I am looking forward to buying an extra cylinder for the Colt now. At least once I get the one I have to easily disassemble...


November 16, 2006, 10:16 AM
Hats off to Rifle (Co-Inventor and Distributor of Junk Yard Dog Lube Pills, of which I cannot say enough good things) for another insightful posting. Another Copy, Paste and Save...(and you know, down the road, the time will come when I try to pass off your knowledge as mine haha)

I will add that the Walker nipple wrench, with it's offset (or centered) screwdriver head on one end, is a great tool for depressing the wedge spring and pushing the wedge out.

Just remember, once you depress a Wedge Spring, you gotta cheer it up somehow or your life will be miserable.

November 16, 2006, 11:07 AM
Thanks Franco and Pohill. Franco it would be easier to file a very small bevel on the barrel slot where the spring starts it for you and with time finishes it too. A Uberti wedge may be able to be installed and their springs have a beveled to it from the factory. Pohill thanks for the good words on the lube pills. Hope people heed your opinion of the lube pills and use them on the powder and under the balls of their cap&ballers even if they just make their own. Lube pills under the balls of the cap&ballers are the best way to have a more convienient and satisfying cap&baller shooting experience. The pills work better ovr the balls than greasy stuff because they stick where you put them and don't get blasted away by prior chambers firing. Someone should market the danged things for people besides my little fun thing selling a box of them here and there. Them danged lube pills belong in every muzzleloading blackpowder shop in the country and abroad. No kidding. Elmer Kieth used wool wads from old hats(people back then were cool and wore more cowboy hats) saturated with lube. Wonder why he didn't think to mix wax with the lube and by-pass the wool wads? He wouldn't have had to work making wads from those stinking old hats from every smelly sweaty cowboy or vaquero in the west. hee hee hee

November 16, 2006, 01:14 PM
I read this thread with interest. I received a repro 1860 as a gift, and I can't find instructions anywhere on how to remove the wedge. From this thread, it appears that it is to be 'hammered' out? How do you do that without scratching/damaging the gun? What tools do you use. Thanks for the assistance...

November 16, 2006, 02:16 PM
A long time ago I bought a small set of punches to use on the Colt wedges. You can use a small screwdriver it you're careful with placement of the end, which is what I used before that. I also bought a hammer with plastic tips at a hardware store, which is very useful.

November 16, 2006, 07:19 PM
I took a file to the frame post on my 1851. I filed it until I could slide the wedge far enough to have it firmly catch in the other side. I've never had it come loose and I can easily push it out with my thumb. It took several hours to do since I kept checking tolerances so I wouldn't file too much. A few dips in gun blue and you're done.

J.T. Gerrity
November 16, 2006, 10:55 PM
I have a small brass punch that I use to loosen the wedge on my Colts. Got it from a blackpowder shop, and it works great and does not mar the finish like a screwdriver will. I just keep it and a small hammer in my shooting bag, so that it's always with me when I'm in the field.

I have to say that I'm glad to hear people sticking up for Colt's design. You're always hearing folks (many who have never spent much time actually using one of the guns) speculating as to how the design is inherently weak due to the lack of a top strap, or that the wedge is a pain, or that the guns can't be accurate due to both of the above reasons. On the contrary, these guns have proven to be reliable and accurate, and have withstood the test of over 170 years worth of time. Original pistols are still found whose action is crisp and tight. They certainly proved themselves during the Civil War, where Colt's pistols outsold all other types, and were looked upon with fondness and respect by the troops who used them.

I say "hear, hear" to Col. Colt and his marvelous machines!

November 16, 2006, 11:52 PM

"Hear, Hear" to you, too.

It's as clean and simple a design as could be hoped for in a BP pistol.

You have a wedge,a hand and spring, a trigger, bolt and combination spring, and a hammer and mainspring. Add the cylinder as a moving part and you have a maximum of 8 moving parts. I don't count the loading lever and parts, as there are Colt's without them.

They have withstood 170 years of use. They will withstand thousands of rounds of shooting, yet some want some kind of toggle linkage to remove the wedge for them. Lanyards of some type to keep from losing the wedge from a poorly fitted wedge, NOT one that is mebbe a little snug, but one that has a bad spring, and there seem to be too many of those.

Cheaper to take a 10 thou flat spring than to make an original style from solid spring steel.

Yet, the one with the good spring costs no more, indeed, depending on your supplier, may cost less.

Repeating myself, here, but stories are written of the original shooters, them what needed them to conduct their part of a war, TAPPING the wedge out with a fresh cylinder, slipping in the reload, TAPPING the wedge back in with the empty cylinder. AND, I'd bet the reload was capped.

No hammer and brass drift for them boys, if it snagged, they got a wedge that fit. If no armourer available, peen the old wedge to allow you to keep fighting.

Pretty near as efficient a fighting machine as was ever created. AND, 170 years old.



November 17, 2006, 06:38 AM
S. Colt's 1st design, the Paterson, had no wedge spring. His last design, the 1862 Pocket Police, had no wedge spring. How important can the wedge spring be? If shooters want to play a "what if" mind game with the wedge, so what? S. Colt did...

As far as a Colt being "Pretty near as efficient a fighting machine as was ever created"... Efficient? How much powder goes towards propelling the roundball or conical? If they were so efficient, why are they obsolete?
No bigger Colt fan exists than this poster, but let's be serious...

November 17, 2006, 07:59 AM
Pohill, I get yer point. I did read in some history somewhere that "back in the day" a person felt ready to take on just about any happening and thought they were prepared when they carried a Colt revolver. Mind set of the old timers. hee hee

November 17, 2006, 08:15 AM
We had a newbie ask, and I realized nowhere in this thread is there a post of the Colt and the spring/burr that needs to be depressed. So I'm answering the call. Here's my Colt, and if you blow it up you can clearly see the small dents I have placed in the barrel just forward of the wedge. This was before I realized that the burr was catching the spring and NOT allowing it to be hammered out.. Subsequent to that discovery, I sharpened a golf T so the tip looked like a Jeweler's screwdriver, and then I could reliable tap the wedge out, albeit I needed a small tap hammer, which I could not understand. Thinking the soldier in the field surely did not have a brass tack hammer hanging from his belt... Then the connection of dots occured when it was suggested that they used the 2nd cylinder...
Now I'm gonna hone down that region so it taps out with a roll of Quarters wrapped in black electrical tape.. Its just too scary to tap with a loaded cylinder capped or not since I wouldn't want the loads in the cylinders to be rattled.


November 17, 2006, 08:23 AM
In its day, it (a Colt revolver - any Colt revolver) was a marvel of invention. And still, today, there just is not a prettier, nicer shooter out there. They are still deadly accurate, fairly dependable, powerful...but they do have their limitations, as do all firearms. The wedge is its weak spot, but not enough of a weak spot to prevent the gun from being all that it is...
Told ya there ain't no bigger Colt fan than this shooter...(I'm the guy who traded a beautiful, well made, accurate, trouble-free Uberti Remington for a Colt Paterson and never looked back - though I do want another Remington).

November 17, 2006, 10:48 AM
I don't need no steeenkeeng wedges! I shoot Remmies!

No offense intended to the Colt admirers out there, it's already been a long day, and I couldn't resist.

November 17, 2006, 11:13 AM
No offense taken. We Bruins fans know that you Minnesotians haven't been the same since you lost your North Stars... he he

November 17, 2006, 11:43 AM
I thought you guys were all making fun of me!

Learned something new today :-)

November 17, 2006, 12:51 PM
No offense taken. We Bruins fans know that you Minnesotians haven't been the same since you lost your North Stars... he he

We didn't loose them, we know exactly where they are. They were stolen from us by Norm "Greed".

November 17, 2006, 05:55 PM
Even though I'm more of a Remington fan, you'll never hear me knocking the Colt design. It fits and points better than the Remington and is plenty accurate. Plus, they just look good!

November 17, 2006, 06:08 PM
Given the option between a colt army or a remington new army, I would take a Colt any day. The balance and feel of the colt is alot better. I've handled several remmies and I haven't found one with the balance I'm looking for.

November 20, 2006, 02:32 PM
After reading through these threads I wanted to pass along the results I found. I removed the wedge from my Pietta Colt and hit the small burr on the spring a couple times with a sandpaper drum on the dremel tool. I polished the edges in particular, and just barely hit the center. The result was much better performance. The wedge seems to lock just as tightly, but now a tap with the 2nd cylinder and the wedge becomes loose enough to pull fully back to the screw head, and then the Lever against the spent Cylinder and the barrel comes right off.

Thanks guys.. this makes BP ops for the Colt much easier.


March 23, 2007, 04:35 PM
A few thoughts re wedges:
Firstly, we shoot these old pistols because we enjoy them - there are of course better better ideas than the wedge, but if we really don't like it we can buy a Glock!

Now lets really look at the wedge and give Sam Colt credit for working out a good and practical solution for the problems of his time. He decided that dismantling the pistol was the way to go for cleaning and swapping cylinders in combat. Right or wrong that was the the thought behind the design.

Pohill put his finger on the wedge essentials in post #2. The purpose of the wedge is obviously to hold the gun together, and the "depth setting screw" is surely to provide a datum ensure that it is put back in the same format as before dissembly.

It would be essential to get your pistol "back the way it was" to preserve the sight base from the hammer-sight to the barrel mounted fore-sight. Also the wedge setting would control the gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone.

I think we can forget about using the hook at the end of the spring as a guide. The datum we need to set is where the stop on the left side of the wedge comes against the depth-setting screw.

March 23, 2007, 11:07 PM
The question seemed to be, how do you keep the danged wedge from coming out. Well I believe the idea was solved along time ago by an unknown engineer.

I believe they call it a cotter pin fellows. Take your wedge out, drill a small hole in it on the end, and insert the wedge into your Colt, and then push a cotter pin or a piece of wire thrugh the hole to keep it from falling out.

I do know its an inconvenience, but cotter pins and the like do work to keep the hook on my tow chain on the chain.... And if it works for pulling trees down it should keep the cylinder in place.

March 24, 2007, 12:11 AM
I have an 1851 Navy .44. I use a small wooden handled screwdriver for the complete dismantling (SP). With this screwdriver I partially remove the barrel wedge screw and then give the opposite side of the wedge a small "pop" using the wooden handle as a mallet. This removes the wedge enough to pull the barrel off. i may be mistaken but the screw is not meant to be totally removed but in fact hold the wedge in the barrel while allowing you to pull the barrel away from the cylinder.

A soldier in the CSA easily could have had this tool with him.

I ain't hitting anything with a spare cylinder that is loaded and capped.

BTW this is far and way my favorite firearm and ten times more fun to shoot than any other gun I have. Colt did this very right!

The "hand cannon" kicks butt! Get some!!

March 25, 2007, 01:27 PM
Okay, stupid question after reading this thread, but now having three 'Colt's, (.31 Wells Fargo, 1862 .36 and 1860 .44 - all Uberti) and having to whack the wedges on the first two :cuss: and using only finger pressure on the 1860 to get it out, :p I wondered how the old-timers and soldiers in the Civil War did things.

Anybody know?

The Doc is out now. :cool:

March 25, 2007, 04:33 PM
I wondered how the old-timers and soldiers in the Civil War did things.

Anybody know?
I suspect just like we do -- finger pressure on the ones that can be pushed out, and some makeshift tool on those which need encouragement.! :D

March 26, 2007, 12:13 PM
I just got to wondering because in all the museums I have been in, you don't see any tools marked as being used for that purpose.

The Doc is out now. :cool:

Old Dragoon
March 26, 2007, 01:38 PM
I made a short ram to clear cartridges from my Armory Converted Original Remy, I put a piece of antler for a knob of sorts on the dowel. I had cut the piece at a branch and a piece of that antler branch , (like a finger stop) is what I use to depress the spring and this also moves the pin into the bbl slot. Doesn't mar the finish. My wedges are thumb pressure tight.

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