Main Springs on colts and remi repos


July 9, 2009, 07:42 AM
I have two cap and ball revolvers an 1860 steel frame.44 cal made by Pietta as well as an 1858 Remi steel frame. 44 cal made as well by Pietta. I had gotten the colt 1st and had troubles with misfires due to the nipples that came with it. I had asked yawl here what to do? Yawl had said get some good nipples, I did It solved that problem.( by the way thanks guys) It also has had problems with caps get stuck and jamming the works up. Again I asked yawl and as always yawl were so kind as to tell me about some "mods" posted by "Utah, SASS#11601. Installing a pin behind the caps and nipples that fits within the channel already on the colts hammer as well deepening the "cap channel" on the frame and such. I have completed all of that but a broken arm has pervented me from testing it all.

Well where is all of this going???? when I have been cleaning and using the Remi, I have noticed that the " Main spring tension on the hammer" is much stronger than that of the colts. I'm guessing (only just guessing) that the Remi's "spring screw" design is able to put much greater tension on the spring than the colt design. so all of this leads me to these questions:

1st is this due to the colt design?
2nd or a weak spring?
3rd if its due to a weak spring, where is the best place to get a stronger one?
4th has anyone of yawl tried doing a mod on the colt, with fitting the colt with a main spring screw like the Remi design has, to place more tension on the spring?
and last if anyone has tried this kind of mod did the spring last under greater pressure?

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Shotgun Willy
July 9, 2009, 09:48 AM
I've got an 1860 also, and it's main spring is kinda weak, too. Somewhere on here, there's a thread showing how to put a thin piece of leather between the spring and the front strap, which'll give it just a little more bit of tension. I did this on mine and it helped, a lot.

July 9, 2009, 09:53 AM
Looks like your becoming a accomplished table top gunsmith. Variations in main spring tension is common in both the Colts and Remi's.

Adding a 'tension screw' to a Colt sounds like a good experiment.

AGI has an old video/DVD on "heat treating for Gunsmiths" The make a main spring from scratch if I remember correct. You can rent this vid at If your interested PM me and I well review my copy and confirm if it has the main spring info on it.

July 9, 2009, 09:54 AM
Most folks prefer the lighter spring,buying after market springs or even grinding the stock ones into a ''cobra'' shape to get it.This gives you the mondo cool ''snikity'' gunfighter action,resulting in faster follow-up shots, and more accuracy.The downside is that, taken too far,it can result in a lack of reliability,failing sometimes at setting off the caps.VTI Gunparts has the stock new spring if you want to restore yours to out-of-the-box stock stiffness.

July 9, 2009, 10:11 AM
The leather strap trick I've tried and it did help a lot, I guess what I'm really trying to prevent is "hammer blow back". I can see clearly where this happens on the colt a great deal, where as on the remi there is little or none, with the same nipples being used on both. My feelings are that this may be caused by the weaker spring on the colt. and on the Remi design, a newer design ( the colt design dating back to the 1851) that perhaps the designers at Remi saw this and decided a stronger spring tension would help prevent this. The down side being harder to cock and a slower follow-up shots. Any thoughts are welcome.

Das Jaeger
July 9, 2009, 11:26 AM
think installing Treso niples helps lessen blowback of hammer .
Personally I like the Colt feel better anyway .
I have never had a problem with caps not popping on any of my Colts ?
I do like the idea of the adjsuting Mod , easy to do too . Let me know when your done ! :D And how it works for ya . Just remmber that most of those Colt trigger guards are brass . A brazed in steel sleeve that screws into the brass , braze it , and tap out the steel to fit the adjsuter screw would be the smart way to do that . Id'e be tappin it first before install though , hee hee hee :D

Das Jeager, good thread here !

July 9, 2009, 11:43 AM
The Remmie pocket models do not have the adjusting screw,and owing to the design,not really room to put one in the conventional spot.on one of mine,some enterprising soul drilled and tapped in an 8-32 allen head through the backstrap.It doesn;t look too awful,it sits just below the surface of the backstrap metal,so it doesn't interfer with my hold. The ''period correct'' allen head is a bit of a bummer,but it's so small no on notices it's there-except me.

July 9, 2009, 11:53 AM
Lots of good ideas here.

First of all, I don't believe the problem is inherent with the Colt design. I rather think you have a weak spring, and since the leather wedge helped but not enough I'd think the next move should be a new spring. Another idea would be to replace the leather wedge with a wooden one that's thicker; it can be adjusted (thinned) if it overdoes the force. Attempting to redesign the spring mechanism to add an adjusting screw is a (permanent) refinement of that idea (changing the spring fulcrum to get a different stiffness) and we don't know if it will really help. The thicker wooden wedge may tell you that it won't, and a new spring is in order. Or it may work well and putting in the screw mod is an upgrade in that redesign.

July 9, 2009, 02:11 PM
To strengthen a spring, Pettifogger took another spring and cut it short, then put it under the mainspring in the Colt. By adjusting the length of the "helper" spring, he could adjust the tension of the hammer. Of course, the helper spring could only be adjusted by shortening it, so start longer than you think you need.

Pietta's Remingtons have always had too strong a spring, they are thick, and the angle of the slot in the frame is such that it pre-loads the spring too much.

July 10, 2009, 12:14 AM
My mainspring on my Pietta snapped in two after shooting it 100 times (not all at once, though :)). I ordered a replacement through VTI, but they were out of the originals, so I ordered a high speed lightweight spring months ago. I didn't have any troubles out of it until yesterday, every other cap didn't ignite, I had to hit every other cap a second time, on all three cylinders.

How can I stiffen the competition spring up? If I turn the adjustment screw, it makes the spring overtight and it slips out of the hammer, so the screw is a hair away from the spring, so it's not sticking out in the grip.

July 10, 2009, 12:42 AM
One other thought on the Colt getting cap jams. It is not always due to blowback (although a weak spring is asking for it). If you have already replaced the nipples with smaller flash hole types like the Tresos then there are a couple of other things you can do:

Shoot a lighter bullet (no conicals)
Shoot less powder (go from 30grs to 25 or 20grs)
Shoot a slower powder (FFg rather than FFFg to get a flatter pressure curve)
Weld up or put JB Weld into that little safety notch in the bottom of the hammer face where caps can get blown into and be pulled off the nipples when fired. We never use the safety feature in CAS as all loaded guns are carried with the hammer down on an empty chamber and a lot of Colts don't even have the safety pins on the back of the cylinder anyway. Just be sure to clean out the notch so the weld adheres well.

July 10, 2009, 05:46 AM
To answer a lot of the questions: "Yes", the nipple upgrade was the 1st thing tried, I've never loaded conicals in either pistol, only .451, 100% lead round balls from Hornady. I've adjusted the tension by 1st doubling the leather strap and for the last 100 rounds or so tripling it. The max load in my revolvers I use is 25 grs., I started Goex fff, now I use Swiss fff. The pistol still has the same main spring that it was made with.

July 10, 2009, 04:34 PM
When I put a leather washer under the mainspring of my Colts it always reduced the tension by allowing the spring to tilt a bit. If you used a metal washer it will pull the spring a bit farther away and make the tension greater. That's my understanding/experience with it.

July 11, 2009, 08:21 AM
Ok how this???, I know the supplier that most use (Here is the states) is "VTI gun parts". Can any one tell me where I could find a stronger than stock main spring???

Shotgun Willy
July 11, 2009, 11:04 AM
Ok, my memory's more than a little foggy this morning, but the spring on the SAA may be interchangeable, and stronger? I seem to remember seeing that around here before, but couldn't pull it up using the search function.
Anybody else remember, or know better?

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