revolver timing


August 5, 2008, 03:35 PM
often see threads asking if a cylinder from one Mod.29 can be used in another Mod.29. if timing is correct,ect,ect,ect. but I have seen black powder shooters swap cylinders in B/P pistols without any problems,especially the 1858 Rem. pistols.I have a spare cyl for my 1858 that I use ,have a club member that has a rack of 6 spare cyl. that he uses when he's B/P this just pure luck or is there something I'm missing here?? jwr

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August 5, 2008, 03:43 PM
A SA Black Powder gun is not a DA Model 29?


August 5, 2008, 04:12 PM
I don't think the question was deserving of a flippant answer. A blackpowder SA revolver has the same requirements as any modern revolver; the cylinder needs to be locked into alignment with the barrel. So I guess I will echo the original question. How do the BP shooters get away with using multiple cylinders without fitting?

August 5, 2008, 05:23 PM
Sorry if I hurt your fillings.

But the answer really is in the way the two guns work.

A SA hand is mounted on the hammer, and it and the cylinder ratchet are more closely comparable to a bumper-jack then to the S&W hand & ratchet.

With the SA, once the bolt drops in and locks the cylinder, you can't pull the hammer back any further, period.

The hammer is supposed to contact the grip back-strap and stop, but if it doesn't, the hand is built like a tank, and it won't be damaged.

The S&W hand is mounted on the trigger, not the hammer, and is much thinner & much more delicate then a SA hand.

It depends as much on the width of the hand as the length when setting the timing, as it must slip off at exactly the right time or it will be damaged, or the cylinder will lock up either in SA, or else in DA, or maybe both.

It's really hard to explain in a post, but it really is because one is a SA, and the other is a SA/DA.

Since the SA/DA's hand & ratchet operates differently, they just require more precise & delicate fitting to work right in both SA and DA operation, especially on the older S&W's.

I think the new ones with the CNC'd frames, cranes, and ratchets, and MIM hands & bolts probably come much closer to having interchangable cylinders then the older hand-fit S&W's.

But I don't know for sure if that is true or not.


August 5, 2008, 09:11 PM
RCmodel: Good post. I know little about black powder revolvers so when, in the movie "Gettysburg" I saw Jeff Daniels with his ?Colt? apart so he could slip on a loaded cylinder, then reassemble it with some obvious familiarity(tapping the muzzle against a rock to set everything in place!) I was entranced. Did they do that in the Civil War? What quicker way could there be to reload a revolving pistol?

If a bit off thread, sorry. But I would love an answer.
Cordially, Jack

August 5, 2008, 10:44 PM
Yes, they really did carry spare loaded cylinders and swap them out. Generally though, they just carried a bunch of extra loaded revolvers. My father in law is pretty well read on the Civil War, while I've only looked into it a little---but it was apparently common for a soldier to carry from two to six revolvers if he could get his hands on them.

August 5, 2008, 11:03 PM
Sorry if I hurt your fillings.
My tooths are fine, thank you. :D

Let me pose another question: Why is swapping unfitted cylinders into modern SA guns such as Single Sixes and Blackhawks discouraged? They are SA, like the BP guns.

August 6, 2008, 07:50 AM
Black powder or smokeless, the cylinder needs to be matched to the revolver. You would need a Pietta cyl for a Pietta clone, same for Uberti. You may need to do some hand fitting for proper function. They are not always a 'drop in'.
I"m working on spare C&B and cartridge cylinders for both my BP Colts. It was common to carry spare, loaded cylinders for C&B revolvers. there was no need for spares with a cartridge revolver.
The timing on a DA is a bit more complicated. If you had a spare M29 cylinder, it may or may not time correct. On the new cnc stuff everything is pretty darn close.

August 6, 2008, 12:56 PM
Let me pose another question: Why is swapping unfitted cylinders into modern SA guns such as Single Sixes and Blackhawks discouraged? They are SA, like the BP guns.I really don't have the answer to that.
Other then Ruger says so, so it must be true! :scrutiny:

But there have been several changes made in the Single-Six and Blackhawk lockwork over the years.

And they are cartridge relvolvers.
They have to maintain proper headspace and endshake to even work.

Headspace is something BP revolvers don't have to worry about, or deal with.

And even the lowly .22LR & .22 Mag generates more pressure then BP guns, let alone all the Magnum calibers the Blackhawk is chambered in.

Even a little miss-alignment goes a long way when you are shooting 40,000 PSI Magnum loads.


August 6, 2008, 02:16 PM
No matter the brand, caliber, or style, proper fit should be assured when swapping cylinders. Within that caveat, I have found a whole lot of Rugers to swap and the fit to be just fine, thank you. One day I was at the range and remembered I had brought my feeler gauges home, so whipped them out to check a new Single Six. Well, two shooting companions also had the same guns. We got to talking and it turns out all 6 cylinders would swap around, with the exception of one 22 Mag. cylinder going to 0.011" cylinder gap in one gun, which is "out of spec" in my/our book. Guns were made over an 8 year span. Not too shabby dimensional control.

August 6, 2008, 03:39 PM
having swapped a a number of cylinders in single actions, both cap & ball and cartridge, and a few cylinders in S&Ws, I have had far more problems with cylinder gap and end play that with timing.

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