My "good deal" has turned out to be alot of work!


45-70 Ranger
April 19, 2011, 06:48 PM
Hey guys,

About a month or so ago I happened upon a super clean .51 Navy Steel frame by ASM. A 1998 production and looked like it had only been fired a few and then cleaned up and then ignored. I was happy as a lark when I got it home and fired 6 rounds just to make me happy. It worked well then.

A few days ago I decided to take her out for some serious evaluation on my range. 130 Lee conicals and about 18 gr. of BP gave some good results. Hit high, and about 2" left at 10 yds. Nice feel though:). Cleaned her up and then switched to T7 for more testing.

Well, with the same conicals and a load of about 15 gr. of T7 it was shooting ok group wise, same high and left, but the loading lever dropped several times! I was stunned. Never have I had a revolver that did this. I've had over the past 45 years dozens of C&B's and never seen this happen.

Looking closely at the spring pressure on the catch, it appeard to be the same as many others I've had. The lug was cut a might light and I opened it up about .003" to allow for a deeper grab on the lug from the latch. This was no help. Still drops with a moderate load.

The lever is straight. The catch is sharp without burrs. But the lug, although it appears to be at a perfect right angle, must be bent forward a tiny bit and thus the catch is not going deep enough to hold the lever in place. Normally I'd put a little heat to the lug and tap it back a bit to correct the problem. But I can't tell really how deep the dovetail is cut in the barrel and it it is simply pressed into place or silver soldered as well. I doubt that ASM ever silver soldered a lug, but some others I've worked on in the past were.

I guess my "good deal" was not so good after all as far as getting a weapon that I didn't need to do much to huh? I can hear Rosanna Rodannadanna saying "Ya know it just goes to show.....It's always something.":banghead:


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April 19, 2011, 09:24 PM
Maybe it would be worth switching powders for use in that particular gun.
Besides the 777, will any other fffg powders cause the latch to drop?

April 19, 2011, 09:55 PM
noise deleted

April 19, 2011, 09:56 PM
Buy the conversion cylinder, and dump the loading lever in the parts box...

April 19, 2011, 10:16 PM
I dunno? Replace the spring in the latch?

April 19, 2011, 10:19 PM
+1 clambert, just needs a spring

April 19, 2011, 10:23 PM
I bought a Pietta made SS 1858 shorty a year ago that showed up like this:

Is your lug bent forward like that? Several others had seen this issue. I sent it back to Cabelas and they sent me a good replacement.

April 20, 2011, 01:35 AM
Just sharpen the tip of the lever plunger to make it more wood chisel shaped. i.e. a sharp single bevel so that it mates onto the barrel catch a bit deeper. Give it a sharper taper. You can also file the barrel catch so the bottom of the notch is parallel to the barrel (horizontal) so the lever plunger is riding on a flat surface. That way the upward motion of the barrel lifts the lever up and doesn't let it slide off. I've had a couple of ASM 44 Navies do that and a little work with a file fixed it for good. It is an easy fix and no big deal. They are my favorite and most serious match guns.

April 20, 2011, 01:42 PM
Had the same problem with my full sized Remington '58.
I recut the notch and the bevel but it still fell once in a while.
It just ended up being a loose screw on the frame. Easy fix.

Foto Joe
April 21, 2011, 01:49 PM
So far I've had his happen on three different guns. An ASM Dragoon, a Pietta '60 Sheriff and a Uberti '62 Police. Each one was caused by the lug loosening up in the barrel and within 100 rounds of the first drop, deploying itself onto the ground.

I'm considering stripping the bluing off the Sheriff and having that one silver soldered mainly because that one is still giving me fits.

45-70 Ranger
April 23, 2011, 06:40 AM
Measuring the lug with a small guage and such I noted that it is indeed leaning forward by a couple thousands of an inch. Moreover, the lever has a fore and aft play in that it appears the piviot point is off as well. I know that this must have a bit of play in order to not bind in use, but I believe this one has more than needed.

Guess the best thing will be to heat the lug (lightly) and peen it back a touch. The matter of the loose lever may be best addressed with building a bushing to lessen the play in the slot where it's attached to the barrel.

Thanks a bunch for sharing your thoughts and ideas on the repairs. Back when I was gunsmithing all the time, I repaired a few dropping levers on a couple of Walker repo's but that is a horse of a different color huh?

As to the problem using FFFg of BP, it did it a couple of times and even when I cut back on the T7 charges it would fall a bunch. I'll get this thing fixed and going soon enough...

Maybe in the future I'll drop in a conversion and have some fun with that. (Wink to BHP FAN!)


April 23, 2011, 05:59 PM
I was able to get a tighter fit between plunger and lug by simply snapping the plunger forward a few times. The plunger retaining pin was bent keeping the plunger from sticking out as far as it should have. I held the plunger in all of the way with a screw driver tip and then slid the screw driver off of the plunger. The plunger snapped forward and straightened out the retaining pin.

45-70 Ranger
April 23, 2011, 08:30 PM
Okedoke, the lug was still undercut a tad. Fixed that. The lug was also moved back about 2 degrees. Fixed that. The spring was removed and a heaiver one put in it's place. Fixed that. The slot in the latch was deburred and allowed better movement. Fixed that. And the loading lever retaining screw piviot hole was heated, peened tighter, and re-heat treated to close up a slight oblong hole. Fixed that.

Big test: Fired 24 rounds with 130 conicals with 14.8 gr. by weight (20 gr. by volumn) of T7. Not one single malfunction of the lever, latch, or weapon. So, now my good deal has been a bit of work (I retired from the gunsmithing world ya know) but now I'm a happy camper:D

Gentlemen, all of you had contributed to making this weapon a good working pistol again. I thank you all! Just a bit of sighting work and I'll have a real shooter for sure in the 36 class again. (Oh by the way, the 2nd Mod Dragoon and the '58 Remmy are talking bad about this "new kid on the hip":rolleyes: They'll get over it:D

Thanks guys,

April 23, 2011, 11:32 PM
I guess I lucked out. My ASM Walker won't drop the lever even with a chamber FULL (80-90grs) of FFF and a ball mashed down on top.

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