Revolver Jam


September 14, 2008, 10:30 PM
Today I was out shooting at targets with my Colt Pocket Positive (I was with a deputy sheriff qualifying for my concealed carry permit). After shooting 10 rounds, I loaded it again and when I cocked the hammer it wouldn't go all the way back. Several times I let the hammer down and tried to cock it, but it woudln't go all the way back to full cock. So I swung out the cylinder and rotated it and put it back in and tried again, and the hammer still wouldn't go all the way back. Then I swung out the cylinder and tried to cock the hammer with the cylinder out and was able to pull the hammer all the way back. So I put the cylinder back in and it worked okay.

I have never had this happen with a revolver before. Can someone tell me what would cause this? And what can I do to prevent it from happening again? Before putting the gun away I put three drops of oil in the hole where the hand is, thinking that maybe something is dirty in the parts down there.

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September 14, 2008, 10:56 PM
When you close the cylinder, do you then spin the cylinder? I have a Colt and I've never had one jam on me. It almost sounds like the gun is 'out of tune'.

September 14, 2008, 10:59 PM
go to

September 14, 2008, 11:13 PM
Make sure there isn't any crud under the ejector when you clean it. I'm not familiar with Colts but I know that wil lock up a S&W.

Jim Watson
September 14, 2008, 11:38 PM
It will darn sure lock up a Python and those old Colts were fitted up just as closely.

September 15, 2008, 12:46 AM
While I was trying get it to work, I didn't "spin" the cylinder, but I did rotate it about 3/4 turn after I swung it out. When I cleaned the gun after I got home, I looked under the ejector and there was no crud there. I'm stumped.

September 15, 2008, 02:21 AM
When I cleaned the gun after I got home, I looked under the ejector and there was no crud there.

Well perhaps the crude dropped out and that is what allowed the gun to work after your problems ? There are other area's to look at , but it sounds like the cylinder was locking up and when the hand traveled to the ratchet on the cylinder it could not push or rotate it.

That however is a guess - and could be caused as stated by something under the extractor star not allowing it to comletely close, it could also happen if something jammed the cylinder from the front at the forcing cone area (barrel to cylinder gap) . Another possible cause could be a cartridge not completly seating in the chamber. Try holding the cylinder from rotation, and cocking your hammer - if the hammer comes back to the same point as when you were having trouble then it was likely cylindr binding from one of those three mentioned possible causes.

If different , then the problem could of course be in the internal mechanizim, from either a chunk of crud , wear that caused binding, the hand getting stuck on a burr in the frame slot ?

I would do a full cleaning and inspection - if you don't see a problem then it was likely crud somewhere - if it happens again perhaps you will be in a position to analyis it closer at the time of occurance. Good Luck - might want to shoot it awhile to make sure problem is not cronic before depending on it for a carry gun.

September 15, 2008, 02:52 AM
I had that happen to me once. It wound up being one of the bullet casings was out of spec. and the head spacing in the revolver didnt allow it to spin. I just took that bullet out and replaced with another and all was well.

September 15, 2008, 03:14 AM
I had a similar thing happen years ago with a smith 586,, I drew down on a suspect that appeared to be walking down the street (at nite) w/a shotgun. when he saw me he threw the thing to the asphalt. Turned out to be a bar with a large spring on it? ( made a weird sound when it hit the ground). He walked away from me, when I told him to stop! As I stepped away from my patrol car , He turned around and reached into his waistband, I saw a flicker of metal come out. I started to pull the trigger ,when he dropped a knife to the ground. I came close to completing the firing cycle but stopped just short. The revolver jammed,with the hammer back?? Never had this happed before or since. He and I were both lucky that happened.:what:

September 15, 2008, 08:51 AM
Obviously the Cylinder is not indexing and that is a "Carry-Up Failure". Perhaps your Hand (not sure what Colt calls the part) is worn. Unlike a S&W, the Colt is height sensitive, not width sensitive. Sounds like a vintage revolver that needs a bit of work. TOGGLELOCK

Old Fuff
September 15, 2008, 09:26 AM
The Colt Pocket Positive has a hammer block safety (that's where the "positive" comes from). It moves up and down in front of the hammer, and behind the cylinder latch pin. If the cylinder latch pin sticks and doesn't seat fully into the ratchet star the safety may be blocked, and as you described the hammer won't go all of the way back. When the cylinder is swung out the latch pin is free to go forward, and things will work fine. When you close the cylinder the pin may not seat again, and you're back to square one.

Given the age of the revolver (the last ones were made in 1940) you may need to have a QUALIFIED gunsmith disassemble the lockwork and give it a good cleaning. It also wouldn't hurt to replace the latch spring.

The Pocket Positive is a fine little revolver, and I suspect all it need is a little service work.

September 15, 2008, 11:04 AM
I have 2 police positives and they are worn to the point where this sometimes happens. Mine were built in the 1920's and are showing their age. I shoot them with mild loads and slowly. No parts are available for complete rebuilds, unfortunately.

September 15, 2008, 11:18 AM
I'm going to throw my two cents in with those who suspect out of spec ammo.

I had it happen to a Ruger I was shooting once. I thought I had buggered something up pretty good, but when I inspected the ammo there was one case with an out of spec case head that would contact the frame of the revolver and bind it up.

Really scary thing is this was with Personal Defense ammo.

September 15, 2008, 11:59 AM
Same with me average_shooter. Mine was with remington hollow points that I paid 30 bucks for :barf:

September 15, 2008, 01:27 PM
Thanks guys for all the input. I learned some new things. And thank you Old Fuff for such an easy to understand explanation of the "positive" feature.

Even though this pistol was made in 1913 and is 95 years old, it appears to have not been used very much at all. And I only shoot standard velocity factory ammo. For now I will assume that this incident was caused because a little bit of something got stuck somewhere; maybe the extractor star, cylinder latch pin, or under the rim of a case. If it happens again then I will look for a competent gunsmith who can work on it. From now on every time I load it to carry for self defense, I'm going to make sure that the hammer will cock all the way back okay, and the cylinder will rotate all the way around.

Is disassembling this gun to give the lock mechanism a thorough cleaning something that a mechanically inclined person like myself could do without messing it up?

September 15, 2008, 01:33 PM
I'd suggest this before you attempt it.


September 15, 2008, 02:39 PM
+2 make sure you go through the book thoroughly you have to under stand what your doing before you take it apart otherwise your going to be taking it to a gunsmith in a shoebox full of parts. helps to take pics on a cell phone too.

September 15, 2008, 02:45 PM
Could it have possibly been a high primer?

Old Fuff
September 15, 2008, 03:22 PM
Could it have possibly been a high primer?

Sure, but it all so could have been caused by several other things, and the problem is to discover what, without being able to examine the gun.

Trickshot: If this should happen again, lower the hammer and then without opening the cylinder, push hard on the cylinder latch to move it forward - if it will go. Then try cocking the cylinder again and see what happens.

If that revolver hasn't been detail disassembled, cleaned, and relubricated since 1913 I think I know what is causing your trouble.

September 15, 2008, 03:28 PM
That would have been the first thing i checked was a high primer. but after removing and reinstalling the cylinder it cleared up. A high primer would have still been there

Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 15, 2008, 03:30 PM
It goes to show, for a personal defense weapon to rotate the cylinder to be certain it rotates freely with the defense rounds you have in there (me included).:uhoh:

September 15, 2008, 05:44 PM
I would inspect the fired cartridges in the gun, see if the primers had backed out enough to cause the cylinder to bind up with primers pushed too tight against the frames flash plate.

This happen to me one time, as the gun had been taken down a few thousands on the flash plate area. The brass always has to rebound off the flash plate keeping the spent primers seated in the brass.

This only happen when using low pressure .45 Colt loads in a converted .455 S&W long as velocities were kept at around 850 to 900 fps, everything was fine.


September 15, 2008, 07:21 PM
Also if you were shooting reloads, the case head can get a nick in it or the primer may not be seated all the way. Either can cause that too happen.

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