Pietta 1860 bolt dropping too early.


Bill Akins
January 7, 2011, 05:09 AM
I have a Pietta 1860 .44. It is nickel and gold plated with faux ivory grips. I got a great deal on it and shoot it even though some people might not shoot a gold and nickel plated piece like this. I have had some gold plating come off on the front of the cylinder and around the front outer edges of the cylinder. I called Traditions where it came from and told them about the gold plating coming off and talk about customer service! They sent me a new gold plated cylinder at no charge! The one they sent isn't fluted like mine, but that's okay, since I bought it second hand, they didn't even have to do that. Needless to say I was very pleased. But that isn't my problem. This is....

My bolt is dropping into the cylinder stops lead in too early. When the cylinder travels about 3/32nd's past half cock, the bolt drops. The bolt rides centered in line with the lead in cutout, but drops and does so way before it should. It has really marred the look of my cylinder. I've read Mr Pettifogger's tutorials on the Pietta but his one on the Pietta did not address EARLY bolt drop, just late bolt drop.

I have been shooting black powder revolvers for years and had to fix them by hammer elongating pawls, filing cylinder locks, cutting barrels and rammers down to make a shorter revolver, fixing broken springs, broken bolts, etc. But I have never had a bolt drop early. Usually it drops too late and pings the stop recess on the cylinder. Without disassembling the revolver I think I know what it already is. The leg on the bolt stop is possibly worn and is causing the bolt to drop too early off of the hammer cam. It could also be a weakened tempered spring tension bolt leg causing it to drop off the hammer cam too early. It could also be a worn hammer cam, (but that would be my last choice of the problem). I'm not a newbie at this, just that this is the first time I have had a bolt drop too EARLY. I know that you don't want to bolt to drop right on top of the cylinder stop because that would work okay if you cock the gun slowly, but if cocking it faster, that could cause over travel and preclude it locking. The bolt should start dropping when the lead in cuts align with the edge of the bolt. But this bolt is dropping almost a 1/4 inch before it aligns with the beginning of the lead in cut.

So my question is, without having to order a new bolt from Traditions or Pietta, is there any way to elongate the bolt leg to cause the bolt to drop later? Since the bolt is a tempered spring, I can't elongate the leg by pinging it like I can a pawl. Is replacement my only option?

Sorry for the bad quality my camera does on close up shots. And the gold of my cylinder makes it hard to not get glare. But hopefully you can see somewhat the marring of my cylinder that the early bolt drop has caused. The mar marks are almost a 1/4 inch BEFORE the lead in cut. Luckily I have a brand new unfluted cylinder if I ever want to display the revolver. But I'll continue to shoot with this gold plated fluted cylinder or replace it with a blued one for shooting if eventually necessary. The nickel on the rest of the revolver is still perfect. I'm just wondering if bolt replacement is my only option?





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January 8, 2011, 08:35 AM
The leg of the bolt that rides on the hammer cam could be the right length, but may be slipping off the hammer cam because it is not being held onto the hammer forcefully enough. It happened to me once...I found a cap fragment lodged between the bolt leg and the hammer cam.

Stop guessing. Take the gun apart and look in there. Clean it thorougly, and gently spread the two legs of the bolt a tad to make sure the leg is forced to ride on the cam as long as it can.

If that does not solve the problem, I think you are faced with replacing the bolt. You would have to fit the new bolt to the cylinder notches as well as re-time the bolt drop by dressing the new leg if you go this way. I know of no way to lengthen the old bolt leg.

January 8, 2011, 02:54 PM
What J-Bart said.

Fingers McGee
January 8, 2011, 07:58 PM
+2 to what J-Bar said

Bill Akins
January 9, 2011, 04:22 AM
Thanks for the response J-Bar.
I'm going to take it apart and inspect it like you said J-Bar. But I don't know about trying to spread the legs of the bolt gently apart to make it ride on the cam longer. Since the bolt is actually a tempered spring, it could easily break the leg off if I tried to spread it. If nothing is in there impeding the cam to bolt engagement, I'll probably just have to get a new bolt and since they are usually a tad oversize, file it to fit. Once I have the new bolt in hand though, I will try spreading the old one just to see if that would fix it and then I would have the new bolt as a spare.

January 9, 2011, 08:04 AM
The bolt leg material is actually quite thick and short. There's little chance of breaking it unless the material has become brittle, in which case it should be replaced. I've never broken one.

The two legs should be parallel to slightly apart. Squeeze them together with your fingers and they should return to original position. If they don't, then it's unlikely they will stay apart once installed, and the spring should be replaced.

If the legs are bent together they should be spread apart. If they pass the squeeze test above you can force them apart enough to get them to take the required set and it should last.

January 9, 2011, 03:02 PM
No one has mentioned it but the hand being wore too short can cause the same problem. Not starting to turn the cyl. soon enough after the bolt unlocks. Wear on the hand can be more then the cyl. lock for it takes the most abuse if the gun was cocked hard and or fast a lot. For the hand stops the hammer travel when the cyl. locks up.

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