Is the crane easily damaged?


August 14, 2003, 04:59 PM
Is the cylinder crane easily damaged by rough or even normal handling?

The reason I'm asking is this. I bought my first wheelgun a few months ago, and made my decision according advice given in the article "How To Buy A Used Handgun" (in Guns & Ammo 2000 Annual) by Rober T. Shimek. He pays great attention in checking the condition of the crane. He also strongly warns about abusing the crane mechanism. However, he tells that he has accidentally sprung a crane "while handling a revolver in slow-fire and with great care", and also says that "I still do not know how I did the damage!"

Now I find myself being almost ridiculously cautious with my own piece :uhoh: (it's a stainless King Cobra, 6"). I open and close the cylinder with the utmost care. When someone else handles the gun and slams the cylinder closed, my hair raises and I want to start yelling :cuss: Cleaning the chambers worries me most: it sometimes takes heavy scrubbing, and substantial force and torque is applied to the crane. Would it be better to take the cylinder off for cleaning?

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J Miller
August 14, 2003, 07:53 PM

Cranes can be damaged. But in over 25 years of shooting double action revolvers, I have never done so.

I do not baby my revolvers. Nor do I flick my wrist,a la Hollywood, to close the cylinder, or slam them shut.
I close them with a deliberate motion and start shooting.

When I clean my revolvers, I always remove the crane from the gun, and pull the cylinder out of it. This makes it much easier to clean the cyinder and the crane.

S&W's and Colts use one screw on the side of the frame to hold them in.
I'm not sure about Rugers, and it's been so long since I've had a Dan Wesson I just plain forget.

I'd quit obsessing about the possible damage and just take reasonable care of your Colt and enjoy it.


4v50 Gary
August 14, 2003, 08:00 PM
I don't flick my wrist to close the cylinder of any of my revolvers but people have been startled when I yell at them about it. It's such a shocking thing to me and I don't even think twice about moderating my voice. I've never damaged a crane myself but I close the cylinder smartly when I'm shooting for time.

August 14, 2003, 09:31 PM
The major problem with damaged cranes was on the old pre-war Colt and S&W revolvers. Colt's especially had rather soft cranes and a drop to the floor, or a couple of "Bogart" slams with a flick of the wrist could bend them.

The post-war guns have much tougher parts, and the Colt Trooper Mark III/King Cobra revolvers REALLY have tough cranes.

I won't say you can't bend them, because I have seen some that were, but it takes deliberate abuse to do it.

With normal use and care you will never spring the crane on a King Cobra.
They're built like a tank, so don't worry about it.

Drifting Fate
August 14, 2003, 09:51 PM
Flicking the wrist to shut the cylinder is the only way I've seen a crane get damaged.

I won't swear to it, but it seems it probably has to do with the leverge on the crane from overcoming the inertia of the cylinder. I say this because I have, and seen people, be brutal slaming cylinders shut during training by pushing in on the cylinder. No crane damage from that, but take it for what it is worth.

Standing Wolf
August 14, 2003, 09:53 PM
When someone else handles the gun and slams the cylinder closed, my hair raises and I want to start yelling...

I'd do considerably more than just yell.

Cranes are pretty sturdy, but can be bent out of alignment by careless handling. I've seen a slightly bent crane or two on used guns in gun shops. Cranes—or "yokes," as they're also called—can be straightened or replaced, but it takes a good gunsmith to do straighten one, and not all replacements are simple replacements.

August 15, 2003, 06:07 PM
You can bend a crane if you shoot lead and it builds up on the cylinder face. Then, the cylinder has to be forced back in to get it by the forcing cone and that can bend the crane.

August 17, 2003, 12:16 PM
Thank you all, again, for sharing your knowledge and experience.

So, as far as I understand, the bottom lines are: the crane can't be damaged with normal, deliberate handling. Slamming and especially wrist-flipping must be avoided. If the cylinder does not close freely, one should not force it, but see what's wrong. And it's best to take the cylinder off for heavy chamber scrubbing.

August 20, 2003, 04:27 AM
Welcome ojh,

Seems like you have got it all covered now.


Jim K
August 21, 2003, 07:40 PM
A lot of old police guns got bent cranes from sudden contact of the cylinder with the cranium of some recalcitrant individual who didn't understand a previous message concerning his activities.

Yes, cranes are pretty rugged, but it is worthy of note that both S&W and Colt (I don't know about Ruger) fitted crane and frame before any further finishing was done and before any other parts were installed, and numbered them together. This ensured that those two parts were kept together during the rest of the manufacturing of the gun so the careful fit would be maintained.


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