New Convert to the Dark Side


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Big Al Mass
November 17, 2012, 10:11 AM
Hello everyone. I joined the forum recently and this is my first post. Yesterday, I received in the mail my first gun of any kind, a Pietta Model 1860 Army revolver. I am posting this to find out what I need to know to before I start shooting. I already have a vast knowledge of guns in general, both antique and modern, and would like to know what I should do first regarding cleaning and preparation of the gun before I load the first charge.

All help appreciated!

Thanks.

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Jim, West PA
November 17, 2012, 10:14 AM
WELCOME Annihilator I.
Go the top o' the page in this forum and there is a Sticky there with detailed info on all you need to fully enjoy this great and addictive hobby.

72coupe
November 17, 2012, 10:17 AM
Welcome to the site. I am a student myself. I didn't by my first black powder pistol (an 1851 Navy clone) until 1967.

Lots of people here willing to help.

bowserb
November 17, 2012, 10:19 AM
Welcome...but I think the Dark Side would be if you bought a Glock!

towboat_er
November 17, 2012, 11:30 AM
When I get a new one, the first thing I do is fire a cap on each cylinder. Then shoot the crap out of it.

30g fffg and 454 round ball.


Then clean it.

unknwn
November 17, 2012, 12:42 PM
Seeing as you have opted for an open top, there are a couple of things I'd recommend before you fire your gun.
Take it apart and look it over real close before you light any charges off. Now, is the time to determine defects that would best be addressed by exchange.
I just returned for exchange two out of three spare cylinders because the arbor hole wasn't bored/reamed to my satisfaction. Its best to return for a replacement now rather than complain after you have skewered the warranty by firing the gun.
Remove the nipples and Nevr-seez the threads.
Check the bolt and cylinder notches for fit and timing before you cycle the action. Its not hard to find problems if they exist. It is impossible to recuperate battered cylinder notches after the fact though.
Be ready to clean the gun properly after your shoot. An owner that is accustomed to smokeless guns might leave a BP gun sit too long after use and end up dealing with rust if they are not prepared to clean the gun well enough and soon enough.
If you like it that much (and I'm betting you will) , an open top can be well served by getting a cylinder loading stand. It will save much wear and tear on the arbor/frame jointing (yes, even steel frames) that occurs due to the stresses imposed by using the onboard loading ram.
Get your -dead soft- cast balls (pure lead) from a reputable source, harder alloys that result from using wheel weights for example will really make using the on board ram much more deleterious to that arbor/frame jointing over time.

Big Al Mass
November 17, 2012, 02:54 PM
Thanks guys!

unknwn - The reason I went for the Colt is my older brother bought a Remington and I found the grip of that one to be undersized for my gorilla mitts and felt that it was too front-heavy. Also, I like that both the barrel and the cylinder are removable for cleaning. The only things I have noticed after cursory inspection were:

1. The muzzle appears to be out of square, but the barrel is straight; Could the muzzle being out of square affect accuracy? Should I get it corrected?

2. After cycling the action, I noticed there is an area of peened metal 3/32 of an inch wide (measured with dividers and a precision ruler) on the right side of each locking notch. There is also a smaller peen on the left side of the notch; What does this mean and what do I do to fix it if it is detrimental?

3. I also noticed during cycling that the cylinder is not fully indexed until the hammer is pulled back until it stops past the half-cock position; Does this mean I have to replace the hand with a longer one or is it something I have to get used to?

bowserb - I would not buy a Glock even if I had a pistol permit! In my opinion, the only place plastic of any kind has in a firearm is to replace wood if it is warranted or desirable.

bowserb
November 17, 2012, 06:51 PM
Annihilator I, just don't say "never". I've had a Glock 19, carried it concealed for several years, and except for its lack of a safety, I have no complaint. Right now I carry a Springfield Armory XDM-45 4.5". It's a striker-fired polymer frame gun, but unlike the Glock, it has a grip safety like a 1911. I have an all steel pistol, a Colt XSE. With 8+1 rounds, it weighs 2lb14oz. My XDM weighs 5oz less, with five more rounds (13+1). Polymer has a place in modern handguns, so don't fight it. I've carried the Colt concealed a lot. However it is heavy, and the long barrel makes it a hard draw with my creeping arthritis.

loose noose
November 17, 2012, 08:55 PM
Annihilator I, Welcome aboard! Personally with the muzzle out of round? I would send it back, don't matter how straight the barrel looks.;)

MCgunner
November 17, 2012, 09:40 PM
1. The muzzle appears to be out of square, but the barrel is straight; Could the muzzle being out of square affect accuracy? Should I get it corrected?

I'm not sure what "out of square" is, not centered? Have a smith check it out if it's a question, just have him look at it. Might send it back if he recommends it.

2. After cycling the action, I noticed there is an area of peened metal 3/32 of an inch wide (measured with dividers and a precision ruler) on the right side of each locking notch. There is also a smaller peen on the left side of the notch; What does this mean and what do I do to fix it if it is detrimental?

Quite normal to have drag marks from the cylinder latch on the cylinder of a revolver.

3. I also noticed during cycling that the cylinder is not fully indexed until the hammer is pulled back until it stops past the half-cock position; Does this mean I have to replace the hand with a longer one or is it something I have to get used to?

It should lock in toward the end of the hammer's travel. If it's not locking in at all, there's a problem with timing. So long as it locks before the hammer reaches the rear, you're good. It should lock in about the time of the last click, when the sear notch is reached. It should happen WELL after half-cock.

What amazes me is the price of these little jewels. I bought my Navy brasser for 120 bucks on sale, 5" barrel. My 5.5" all steel Remmy was only $179 on sale and, heck, the regular prices ain't that bad! But, Pietta quality is astonishing considering the prices. I've not gotten one with bad timing or alignment, yet, knock on wood. But if I ever do, they say Cabelas (where I have bought my last two) will make it good. I'm sure it happens, but I'm of the opinion I'd get a Smith and Wesson out of time out of the box quicker than I would a Pietta.

Big Al Mass
November 17, 2012, 11:19 PM
By "out of square", I mean the face of the muzzle is not uniformly perpendicular to the side of the barrel, i.e. when I hold the gun muzzle up dead plumb, I see the edge of the muzzle sticking up beyond. It is probably only a few hundredths or thousandths of an inch and would not be noticeable to most people, but I noticed it by eyeball alone and verified it with a square just to be sure.

Regarding the peening, after closer study, I came up with what I believe is happening. The peening is occurring on the half-oval-shaped "trough" next to the locking notch. I think what is happening is the bolt is being released before it is aligned with the notch and striking the cylinder in that area. What can be done about that?

Concerning the cylinder's timing, let me take you through the sequence: as I draw back the hammer, the nose is dead-center on the space between the nipples when it reaches the half-cock position. Continuing past half-cock, when the nipple almost comes into line the bolt is released, but the sear has not engaged. When the sear is engaged, the cylinder is out of alignment by about a 1/16 of an inch and is fully rotated to proper alignment by pulling the hammer back past full-cock until it stops.

A fourth thing I just noticed now is that there is a gap 1/32 of an inch between the front face of the cylinder and the edge of the forcing cone and the cylinder can move forward and backward in that distance. Additionally, the wedge is sticking out 11/32 of an inch on the left side of the gun and will not go in anymore with moderate strikes with a 3 pound hammer and a wood block. Are these normal and acceptable tolerances for these guns to have?

arcticap
November 17, 2012, 11:22 PM
1. The muzzle appears to be out of square, but the barrel is straight; Could the muzzle being out of square affect accuracy? Should I get it corrected?

The muzzle not being square could affect accuracy but not necessarily. It could cause it to shoot more to one side than the other. But at handgun ranges it might not be noticeable, or the sights may be able to compensate for it. But untested, it's a slight defect which virtually all guns will have at least one of in some form or other.


2. After cycling the action, I noticed there is an area of peened metal 3/32 of an inch wide (measured with dividers and a precision ruler) on the right side of each locking notch. There is also a smaller peen on the left side of the notch; What does this mean and what do I do to fix it if it is detrimental?

Your notch peening may be common but some are worse than others. It sounds like it's bad enough for you to consider fixing it or sending it back. Pietta Colts do often require more home gunsmithing than their Remingtons.
Be sure to read the Pettifogger articles about tuning the Pietta Colt to see if you feel comfortable doing it yourself. If it's more work than you bargained for than consider sending it back. Sometimes tuning up a gun can require needing to buy replacement parts prematurely and/or tools.

1. http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Pietta_Part_One.pdf

2. http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Pietta_Part_Two.pdf

3. http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Uberti_Open_Top_Revolvers_Part_3.pdf

4. http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Uberti_Open_Top_Revolvers_Part_4.pdf

What is happening is that rather than locking bank vault tight, our cylinder is simply getting a wedgie from the bolt. Fitting the bolt is the main part of our tune up... On our project gun, the bolt does not fit the cylinder correctly. Widening the bolt slots in the cylinder is beyond the capacity of most home gun tuners, so the only alternative is to narrow the bolt head....

http://www.theopenrange.net/articles/Tuning_the_Pietta_Part_One.pdf

3. I also noticed during cycling that the cylinder is not fully indexed until the hammer is pulled back until it stops past the half-cock position; Does this mean I have to replace the hand with a longer one or is it something I have to get used to?

All I know is that the hammer is suppose to lock up at the end of it's travel so that the rear hammer sighting notch is in alignment with the front sight. But if reaching full cock takes too much effort even after the gun is broken in, then see what the Pettifogger articles or others recommend.
It's as easy to ruin parts by home gunsmithing as it is to fix them.

Big Al Mass
November 17, 2012, 11:51 PM
Thinking about it now, I believe that replacing the hand with a longer one that will index the cylinder into alignment before the bolt is released will kill both birds (the peening and the misalignment) with one stone. I don't have any problem tackling that job myself. I am very precise and good with tools. I disassembled and reassembled the entire gun this evening without needing to look at the diagram in the manual. After that, there is only the issue of the cylinder being able to move back and forth 1/32 of an inch.

arcticap
November 18, 2012, 12:41 AM
See denster's post #11 in this recent thread:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=685451&highlight=bolt

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 01:04 AM
Thanks. I did not think about the bolt because I did not have a clear grasp of its interaction with the hammer. I think that is the solution then. I will begin filing ever so carefully tomorrow. What about the front to back play in the cylinder?

unknwn
November 18, 2012, 03:20 AM
"...front to back play in the cylinder..."

I'd call that normal. Most all of mine have enough cylinder end play as to be audible when shaking the gun too & fro. It tightens up when the hand comes into play though.

J-Bar
November 18, 2012, 09:44 AM
The "bolt to notch" fitting problem is common with Piettas. I have followed Pettifogger's instructions on both Pietta and Uberti revolvers and I think he is a genius.

As to timing, that beveled lead-in on the side of each notch is there for a purpose. It funnels the bolt into the notch when the hammer is being cocked hard and fast. The peening you see is caused by the bolt being too wide for the notch and not settling all the way down into the notch. If you try to time the bolt to drop into the notch just as they line up perfectly, the cylinder will rotate past the bolt when cocking at speed.

If you go to a longer hand, you run the risk of getting the cylinder locked before the hammer reaches the cocking notch. I don't think you should be messing around with the hand or bolt cam on the hammer, for that matter.

These are not expensive guns so you are not risking a whole lot of money when you tinker with them. But you might wind up with some unexpected spare parts if you go too fast and have to buy a new one!

Especially since it is, in your own words, "the first gun of any kind" you have owned.

You may have received a Friday afternoon gun. If you are seeing that many signifigant defects, I would swap it out.

Driftwood Johnson
November 18, 2012, 11:25 AM
Howdy

I have an old brass framed Uberti Navy that I bought back in 1968. The muzzle on it was also cut our of square. I would not worry about it.

I have a pair of Pietta 1860s. I bought them a few years ago when they were on special at Cabellas. Frankly, and you are not going to want to hear this, I wish I had spent a few bucks more and bought Ubertis. In my opinion, Uberti does a better job fitting and finishing their BP revolvers than Pietta does. Your out of square muzzle is testimony to that. I was also less than pleased with the amount of burrs that Pietta left on the frames prior to case hardening. Once hardened, the burrs cannot be removed without leaving behind a mark.

As far as what to do to prepare it, the very first thing I do with any gun that I intend to shoot with nothing but Black Powder is to completely strip it down and remove all traces of factory oils and grease. I usually use lacquer thinner or paint solvent. No, it will not hurt the blue or the 'case colors'. I strip all the parts to bare metal, then I relubricate everything with a light coating of Ballistol. Ballistol is completely compatible with Black Powder fouling, not all petroleum based oils are. Then I put it back together again.

OK, I have one of my Pietta 1860s in hand. The condition you mention about the cylinder not going to battery until the hammer has been pulled back past full cock is very typical of many revolvers. No, it is not ideal. Ideally, the bolt should pop into its locking notch at exactly the same time as the hammer goes to full cock. The alternative is that if the bolt pops in place before the hammer goes to full cock, the hammer will never get to full cock. The hand will wedge the hammer from going all the way back. No, you should not install a longer hand. Just remember to give the hammer a good yank every time you pull it, so the cylinder always locks up. Alternatively, you could lengthen the hand slightly by peening the end with a center punch, but the hand may be slightly hardened and this may be difficult.

The problem of the bolt popping up too late has nothing to do with your hand, it is a timing problem with the bolt and the cam on the hammer. Ideally, the bolt should pop up about halfway into the lead in to the locking notch. That way, its impact will be absorbed by the full length of the lead in, rather than striking the edge of the notch.

Guess what? both of my Piettas do the same thing. I have run into plenty of Ubertis that do the same thing to. This is something that is probably beyond your expertise. With all due respect, the bolt is not too wide, it is popping up late. If it was too wide it would not fit into the locking notch and the cylinder would not lock up at all. Basically, the bolt leg is falling off the hammer cam just a little bit late. Adjusting this means either adjusting the hook on the bolt leg, or adjusting the top corner of the hammer cam.

Before you start filing, you really need to understand the relationship of the hammer and the bolt. It is complicated.

Frankly, with my Piettas I have not bothered, I just let the bolt rise late.

J-Bar
November 18, 2012, 11:43 AM
Howdy

I have an old brass framed Uberti Navy that I bought back in 1968. The muzzle on it was also cut our of square. I would not worry about it.

I have a pair of Pietta 1860s. I bought them a few years ago when they were on special at Cabellas. Frankly, and you are not going to want to hear this, I wish I had spent a few bucks more and bought Ubertis. In my opinion, Uberti does a better job fitting and finishing their BP revolvers than Pietta does. Your out of square muzzle is testimony to that. I was also less than pleased with the amount of burrs that Pietta left on the frames prior to case hardening. Once hardened, the burrs cannot be removed without leaving behind a mark.

As far as what to do to prepare it, the very first thing I do with any gun that I intend to shoot with nothing but Black Powder is to completely strip it down and remove all traces of factory oils and grease. I usually use lacquer thinner or paint solvent. No, it will not hurt the blue or the 'case colors'. I strip all the parts to bare metal, then I relubricate everything with a light coating of Ballistol. Ballistol is completely compatible with Black Powder fouling, not all petroleum based oils are. Then I put it back together again.

OK, I have one of my Pietta 1860s in hand. The condition you mention about the cylinder not going to battery until the hammer has been pulled back past full cock is very typical of many revolvers. No, it is not ideal. Ideally, the bolt should pop into its locking notch at exactly the same time as the hammer goes to full cock. The alternative is that if the bolt pops in place before the hammer goes to full cock, the hammer will never get to full cock. The hand will wedge the hammer from going all the way back. No, you should not install a longer hand. Just remember to give the hammer a good yank every time you pull it, so the cylinder always locks up. Alternatively, you could lengthen the hand slightly by peening the end with a center punch, but the hand may be slightly hardened and this may be difficult.

The problem of the bolt popping up too late has nothing to do with your hand, it is a timing problem with the bolt and the cam on the hammer. Ideally, the bolt should pop up about halfway into the lead in to the locking notch. That way, its impact will be absorbed by the full length of the lead in, rather than striking the edge of the notch.

Guess what? both of my Piettas do the same thing. I have run into plenty of Ubertis that do the same thing to. This is something that is probably beyond your expertise. With all due respect, the bolt is not too wide, it is popping up late. If it was too wide it would not fit into the locking notch and the cylinder would not lock up at all. Basically, the bolt leg is falling off the hammer cam just a little bit late. Adjusting this means either adjusting the hook on the bolt leg, or adjusting the top corner of the hammer cam.

Before you start filing, you really need to understand the relationship of the hammer and the bolt. It is complicated.

Frankly, with my Piettas I have not bothered, I just let the bolt rise late.
With much respect, the last 4 Piettas I bought had bolts that were too wide for a couple of cylinder notches on each gun. It's one of the things Pettifogger recommends checking and correcting. Whether or not it is a problem for this gun is something for the owner to check, but whenever the sides of a notch or lead-in is getting buggered, the micrometer can give some good information.

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 04:18 PM
Thanks for all your suggestions and bits of wisdom.

After further consideration, I think I will forgo filing the internal components. I may file the bolt a bit narrower because there is a small peen on the side of the notch opposite the lead-in groove.

As far as the barrel being out of square, as long as it does not affect accuracy, I'll just leave it alone. It is only cosmetic and I only care about function.

Back to other issues, how much of a gap should there be between the cylinder face and the forcing cone? Right now it is 1/32 of an inch. The wedge is sticking out 3/8 of an inch to the left and will not go in any further driving it with a wood block and moderate strikes with a 3 pound hammer. Also, the part of the barrel below the loading cutout is not contacting the frame, i.e. I can see daylight between the two. Should these parts be in contact?

shafter
November 18, 2012, 05:24 PM
I already have a vast knowledge of guns in general, both antique and modern

If you have a "vast" knowledge of ANTIQUE and modern firearms I would think you would know how to load and clean a C&B pistol. Just sayin. . .

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 05:41 PM
Ain't no call for that kind of talk, Mister. This my first real gun and I do not want to do anything that could result in a dangerous situation, such as blowing the thing up. I also want to address any problems the gun may have out of the box to ensure years of reliable service.

When I made that statement, I meant that I know a lot more than the average jamoke (no offense to the jamokes) about guns of various types.

72coupe
November 18, 2012, 06:21 PM
Don't use a 3 pound hammer on the wedge. You will break off the end of the arbor. I have done this with a much smaller hammer.

Now I don't use a hammer at all. I just push the wedge in and out with my thumb.

The barrel cylinder gap should be between 0.003 and 0.012 inch. Most people prefer something between 0.004 and 0.008 to allow for fouling build up. You should not rely on wedge fit to adjust this.

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 06:45 PM
OK, then. No more 3 pound hammer. As it sits now, the gap is 0.03125 inches. What do I do to reduce it?

J-Bar
November 18, 2012, 07:15 PM
Just curious...what did you use to measure the gap to 5 decimal places?

Driftwood Johnson
November 18, 2012, 08:01 PM
Also, the part of the barrel below the loading cutout is not contacting the frame, i.e. I can see daylight between the two. Should these parts be in contact?

Yes. There are two alignment pins mounted in the frame that should fit into two holes in the barrel. Whatever is preventing the frame and barrel from coming together is what is keeping your barrel/cylinder gap so large.

This is how the parts should look when the barrel is mounted to the frame.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/Cap%20and%20Ball/FrameandBarrelMated.jpg

Here is a photo of the pins and their matching holes at the base of the barrel. Inspect the parts closely to see what is keeping them apart.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/Cap%20and%20Ball/FramePinsandMatchingHolesinBarrel.jpg

This should be easy for anybody with a vast knowledge of guns in general, both antique and modern.

Sorry pard, but you really set yourself up for that. Perhaps your knowledge is not quite so vast as you think?

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 08:25 PM
Driftwood,

Very well then. I should have qualified that with the phrase "book knowledge". However, like my father always told me (like his father told him), as much as a person knows, there is infinitely more that they do not know. In that way, I am not above listening to other peoples advice and experiences to help improve myself.

I will disassemble the gun and see if the pins are too long/holes are not deep enough. Or maybe the back of the arbor slot needs to be filed?

J-Bar,

I used a stainless steel ruler that is graduated in 32nd's below the first inch and the gap measured 1/32 of an inch. I then divided 1 by 32 and got the decimal. That was just holding the ruler over the gap and eyeballing it.

I took the measurement again with dividers and it looks to be a quarter of 1/32 under 1/32, or about 0.02344.

J-Bar
November 18, 2012, 09:06 PM
Driftwood,

Very well then. I should have qualified that with the phrase "book knowledge". However, like my father always told me (like his father told him), as much as a person knows, there is infinitely more that they do not know. In that way, I am not above listening to other peoples advice and experiences to help improve myself.

I will disassemble the gun and see if the pins are too long/holes are not deep enough. Or maybe the back of the arbor slot needs to be filed?

J-Bar,

I used a stainless steel ruler that is graduated in 32nd's below the first inch and the gap measured 1/32 of an inch. I then divided 1 by 32 and got the decimal. That was just holding the ruler over the gap and eyeballing it.

I took the measurement again with dividers and it looks to be a quarter of 1/32 under 1/32, or about 0.02344.
OK, thanks.

I think I'm done here.

Driftwood Johnson
November 18, 2012, 09:19 PM
I will disassemble the gun and see if the pins are too long/holes are not deep enough. Or maybe the back of the arbor slot needs to be filed?


I'm sure everything was lined up properly when the gun shipped, so I doubt the pins are too long for the holes. And this has nothing at all to do with the slot in the arbor. Just inspect carefully to see why the pins are not bottoming in their holes. Put your file away before you damage something.

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 09:21 PM
How much of a gap is there between the wedge and the front of the slot in the barrel of your gun? Because in mine it is about 2/32 of an inch. And I have not done anything this evening except mill around on the computer, measure various parts of my revolver, and enjoy a home-made Twinkie.

Driftwood Johnson
November 18, 2012, 09:30 PM
Sorry, I don't understand the question.

Line the barrel up with the pins and give the muzzle a smack with the palm of your hand. The barrel should snug up to the frame. Then shove the wedge in place.

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 09:35 PM
The wedge has not been removed since I took the gun apart to clean it of oil and debris last night. It is in its slot as far as it will go. Looking at the wedge with the barrel facing to the left, there is a gap of roughly 2/32 of an inch. What is the gap on your gun?

Steel Horse Rider
November 18, 2012, 10:03 PM
Maybe you should stop by a local auto parts store and pick up a blade type feeler guage to accurately measure the gaps rather than using the steel rule and eyeball method.

Big Al Mass
November 18, 2012, 10:20 PM
Using dividers, I determined that the measurement is 3/64 of an inch. What should the dimension be in this location? Or should there be a discernible gap?

Big Al Mass
November 19, 2012, 03:15 AM
OK. Forget everything I have been rambling on about. I think the problem is the hole for the arbor is not deep enough. I would take care of this myself, but I don't have a drill-press. Does anyone know of a gunsmith in the Eastern Mass/Greater Boston area I can go to?

Driftwood,

The peening on my notches looks exactly like yours, but on mine it is on both sides of the notch. I also noticed I can turn the cylinder back by hand out of alignment. What should I do?

arcticap
November 19, 2012, 12:47 PM
I also noticed I can turn the cylinder back by hand out of alignment. What should I do?

Which mail order outfit did you buy it from?
You should probably send the gun back if possible for a refund or exchange since it seems to be unsafe & defective and you're not satisfied with the fit and finish.
Your credit card company may also be able to obtain the refund if necessary.
If they won't send you an exchange, consider traveling to a store where you can inspect the gun before purchasing it.
There's a Cabela's in East Hartford, CT (and in Scarborough, Maine if it's closer) where they often have plenty of BP guns in stock, just call to check their inventory first.
Or try Bass Pro in Foxboro, MA and see if they have any in stock.
Maybe a Colt isn't the best model for you and you would like a Remington 1858 instead. The Remington's fixed frame design will rarely ever have any barrel gap or barrel lug fitting issues.
It could be costly to send a brand new gun to a gunsmith to resolve such issues. But if you feel compelled to have it worked on, THR member
Hoof Hearted is an experienced and reputable cap & ball gunsmith with reasonable rates. And shipping wouldn't cost too much if using flat rate priority mail.

http://www.cartridgeconversion.com/

Gunsmithing Services are provided by Gary aka: Hoof Hearted (CAScity)
aka: Buckoff
aka: Mayor Maynot Killya SASS #8038

Specializing in Black Powder Italian pistols from Pietta, Uberti, ASM, Colt and other manufacturers.

Take a load off and peruse the site here. If you have questions send me an email buckoff@windstream.net or give me a call, 9 AM to 9 PM Central (TEXAS) Standard Time, (817) 219-2966

Big Al Mass
November 19, 2012, 08:21 PM
After more staring and pondering, I have figured out the problem.

I took the barrel off and was cycling the action and noticed that the cylinder was positively locked in place when I held it firmly against the frame. This got me thinking.

I put the barrel back on and tried the same thing. It produced the same result as with the barrel off.

Also, as I have mentioned before, there is a miniscule space between the end of the frame and the part of the barrel below the loading cutout, enough to slide a piece of paper between.

So the problem is that the arbor is too long, resulting in too much play in the cylinder front to back, resulting in the notches not being in proper alignment with the bolt and preventing positive lockup. Here is the solution as I see it:

1. File the end of the arbor very carefully until the space between the end of the frame and the part of the barrel below the loading cutout is gone.

If there is still too much play in the cylinder after that, here is the second thing to do:

2. Cut and shape a piece of steel sheet and place it around the arbor to act as a spacer to push the cylinder back and properly align the notches with the bolt.

Driftwood Johnson
November 19, 2012, 10:01 PM
Howdy

I really, really doubt that your arbor is too long for the hole in the barrel. Do you really think Pietta is shipping these things so that they cannot be assembled correctly? I strongly suspect you are not reassembling it correctly. After all, did you not state that this is your first real gun? Perhaps you are not quite as expert at this as you think?

I suspect the culprit is the wedge. The wedge on these guns can be a bit tricky to get lined up properly, and if it is not lined up properly it can be in the way of the barrel sliding all the way onto the frame.

First, before you do anything else, observe the orientation of the wedge to the frame. Notice which side of the wedge is up, because you may be removing it from the gun. By the way, this little episode should have taught you a very valuable lesson in gun disassembly. Always take note of the relationship of the various parts before you take them apart. If you had taken a good look at the relationship of the barrel and the frame before you took it apart, you would have known whether or not they were originally assembled properly or not. Now you are guessing. When I used to disassemble a gun that I was not familiar with for the first time I would make sketches showing the relationship of the parts, so I could reassemble them properly. Laying a part on a piece of card and tracing it is a good way to do that, indicating which other parts the part interacts with. Modern digital cameras have made this even easier. Just snap a few photos before you start, and as you go, so you have a record of how things are supposed to go together.

Enough of that lecture. Take your barrel in hand and pull the wedge as far out as it will go without coming out of the frame. The screw on the side of the barrel is there to retain the wedge. The wedge may come out in your hand, that is why you took a good look in the first place to see which side was up, in case it comes out. If the wedge is still retained by the screw, be sure it is completely perpendicular to the barrel. If it is angled, it can present part of its profile as an obstruction to the arbor, and I suspect that is what is causing you trouble. With the wedge withdrawn all the way, and perpendicular to the barrel, the barrel should slide nicely all the way down and contact the frame.

The wedge should look like this, it should be barely retained by the screw head.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/Cap%20and%20Ball/wedgeextended.jpg

With the wedge in this position, peek up inside the arbor hole in the barrel. The wedge should not be obstructing the hole at all. With the wedge in this position you should be able to slide the barrel down onto the arbor. If it does not go quite all the way, give the muzzle a good smack with the palm of your hand. You should not need a hammer, just a good blow with the palm of your hand should be enough to seat the barrel completely down, contacting the frame. Now before you drive the wedge back in, fold a piece of paper over once and insert it between the rear of the barrel and the front of the cylinder. Drive the wedge in until the piece of paper is being gently squeezed between the barrel and the cylinder. Remove the paper, your barrel/cylinder gap has been set the correct amount.

Regarding the timing issues we have been discussing, these are very inexpensive guns. I see Cabellas has them on sale for $199. I think that's about what I paid for my pair a few years ago. No offense, but for $200 you do not get a finely tuned gun. You just don't. That is a bargain basement price. Back in 1860, when the originals were made, there was a great deal of hand fitting done to them to make sure they operated perfectly. And back in 1860 they cost a good deal of money to pay for that hand fitting. There is very little, or none at all hand fitting done on these guns today. They are assembled from bins of parts and the type of hand fitting required to make the bolt pop up perfectly in the correct spot on the cylinder just does not happen. If they were leaving the factory perfectly timed, you would be paying a lot more money. Probably twice as much.

That's why I don't bother to tune mine so they are perfect. I don't shoot them that much, and they are good enough for me with the bolt rising a little bit late.

Cosmoline
November 19, 2012, 10:03 PM
I had a similar space on my Uberti when I reassembled it.

I tapped it home with a wooden hammer and the daylight went away, then I shoved the wedge in. The fit was just tight to start out with from the factory.

If you flush up the gap and the wedge doesn't fit, then you may have a problem.

Big Al Mass
November 19, 2012, 11:03 PM
Everything was assembled correctly. The problem was in fact that the arbor was too long by a few thousandths of an inch (I am just guessing, I did not nor have I the capability to measure it). After over an hour of careful filing, blackening the end of the arbor with soot, and test fitting the barrel, the gap between the barrel and the frame is nonexistent. The gap between the face of the cylinder and the barrel is enough for 1 thickness of ordinary paper to slide between with no resistance. Before it was big enough for at least 2 thicknesses to slide between.

As for the timing and lockup, it is fine now.

Driftwood,

I appreciate your suggestions and assistance, but I do not appreciate insinuating that I do not have the intelligence to know if my gun is assembled correctly. Also, I never thought that it was assembled incorrectly. I thought it just needed further hand-fitting, as I just discovered was the case. I don't want to be on bad terms with anyone, but I have a bit more intelligence than what I feel I am being given credit for. And I am not too afraid to roll up my sleeves and fix something myself, which seems to be a vanishing trait in this day and age.

If it was not your intention insinuate that, just say so. Like I said, I don't want to be on bad terms with anyone.

shafter
November 20, 2012, 06:29 AM
This site is full of some highly intelligent people who know far more than I will ever know about firearms. It's an incredible resource. When someone comes along who states that they have a vast amount of gun knowledge, but has never owned a real firearm before, and then proceeds to ask for help, and then gets mad at the advice given, it gets annoying. People are more than willing to help, just ask humbly and grow a thick skin. You'll need it when dealing with the internet.

That being said, a few thousands of an inch gap can still be due to a poorly fitting wedge. It's gonna loosen up just a bit after some steady shooting so hopefully you didn't make it worse by attacking it with a file.

Fotno
November 20, 2012, 09:34 AM
I'll be fifty in a few short years, and I've been shooting since I was a little kid. Even so, I learn something new practically every time I visit The High Road; but then I found out a long time ago you can't learn much if you already know everything.

There are folks here who have forgot more about firearms than I will ever know. If you take the time to listen, you'll find you can learn a whole lot.

Big Al Mass
November 20, 2012, 04:48 PM
Shafter,

You misinterpreted the intent of my previous post(s). I was not mad at all. I simply was expressing a difference of opinion. In addition, I was giving Driftwood a chance to explain his intentions with my most recent post. Also, see post #27 regarding the language of my opening post.

Back to my gun, when I received it, there was a gap present between the end of the frame and the part of the barrel below the loading cutout. The gap was large enough for 1 thickness of ordinary paper to be slid between with no resistance. The wedge (inserted from the left side looking from the breech) could only be inserted far enough for the retention spring to snap over the edge of the slot on the other side. Also, the gap between the cylinder and forcing cone was big enough to put at least 3 thicknesses of paper between and made me worry about excessive powder gas leakage at that point.

I removed the wedge (which was installed spring-up to begin with), the barrel, and the cylinder. I then reinstalled the barrel rotated 90 degrees and turned it (holding the gun muzzle forward) until the right side of the frame and the left side of the part below the loading cutout were aligned.

At this point, I observed that the arbor was inserted into its hole in the barrel as far as it would go and the gap between the frame and the part of the barrel below the loading cutout was still present.

After establishing that this was the problem, I set to work filing, going slowly and checking the relevant gaps for fit regularly. I did not attack anything with a file. Once I could not fit 1 thickness of paper between the frame gap, I judged my work finished. Also, after filing, the gap between the cylinder and forcing cone looked much more acceptable, more like the photo Driftwood posted in post #26.

That is all.

shafter
November 20, 2012, 04:52 PM
Good, I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Those 1860's are pretty nice.

Big Al Mass
November 20, 2012, 05:12 PM
Thanks. I intend to.

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