Colt or Remington revolver blueprints.


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MattMaier
March 2, 2014, 06:25 AM
Does anyone know where I might be able to find dimensioned drawings for Colt or Remington cap and ball revolvers? I purchased the prints for the 1851 Navy from Western Sky Publishing but I found them somewhat lacking in key dimensions on several parts. I could tell that their drawings were not made by an engineer, or a machinist for that matter.

What I am interested in are all the Colt revolvers from the Paterson up to the Navy, and the Remington revolvers in .36 and .44 caliber. You don't suppose that either of these companies would archive these drawings, and if so provide a hobbyist with copies of them?

If there are any other sources for blueprints that anyone knows of, I would love to hear about them. I'm not in a position to buy an original example due to the expense and I'm also shying away somewhat from buying a replica because of possible changes from the original design.

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Old Fuff
March 2, 2014, 01:18 PM
This may come as a shock... :eek:

Colt may have never made a complete set of blueprints for their cap & ball era revolvers. At the time parts were checked with precise gauges, at each machine – and also by floor inspectors.

This practice continued as late as World War Two. When the U.S. Navy requested a full set of prints for the 1903/08 Pocket Model pistol, Colt couldn’t provide they because they themselves didn’t have any. Before World War One the Army ask for a set covering the 1911 pistol, and again they couldn’t come up with one. In the end Springfield Armory had to make they’re own, based on observed examples selected at random.

MattMaier
March 3, 2014, 12:47 PM
Huh, that's interesting. I did not know that. I've also been trying to research 19th century manufacturing techniques and it never occurred to me that they may not have actually worked from blueprints all the time. I guess I've fallen into the trap of thinking like a modern machinist. :D

Old Fuff
March 3, 2014, 12:59 PM
To make matters worse, Remington went through a series of buyouts when the company became part of a larger corporation. After each the new owners did some housecleaning, and old blueprints and other "worthless paper" :uhoh: were disposed of.

Regarding Remington New Model reproductions, you are correct in thinking they aren't exactly dimensioned to match the original, partly to foil those who try to make copies into the real thing for fun and profit.

rcmodel
March 3, 2014, 01:22 PM
On top of that, the original Colt factory was destroyed by a fire in 1864.

If there had of been any blueprints for guns prior to that, they where burned.

http://www.nytimes.com/1864/02/06/news/great-fire-hartford-colt-s-pistol-factory-burned-one-man-killed-another-missing.html

rc

MattMaier
March 3, 2014, 06:02 PM
Well, I can't say I'm not disappointed, but I was prepared for there not to be any prints available. I did learn some interesting historical information though, so thank you. :)

Old Fuff
March 3, 2014, 06:59 PM
Try the following links:

www.dixiegunworks.com

www.vtigunparts.com

Dixie Gunworks offer an appoximately 700-page softcover catalog for $5.00 postpaid. :what:

You will find it filled with interesting information, and they also offer some replacement parts for original Colt and Remington cap & ball revolvers.

VTI Gunparts is a well known and respected source for cap & ball parts that fit various makes and models of replica firearms. They know what fits what.

Also, while the replicas are not exactly the same as the original guns, they are very close. If you had both an original and copy together you'd have to look very carefully to find any difference, and I doubt that anyone that wasn't looking would notice.

Jim K
March 3, 2014, 09:36 PM
Worse, not only did the factory not have drawings, no one did. Designers, whether free-lancers like Browning or factory designers like Pedersen, worked in steel, not on paper. They got something that worked, then delivered or sold the idea and the working model to the factory. The company then took the pieces, set up tooling (jigs and fixtures), made Go/No-Go gauges for each part, and it was production time. Drawings were uncommon and often no more than sketches taken from the master model.

As to having something that some other factory could use, why would they want to do that? Even in the Civil War, when the government contracted for rifle muskets, they delivered a working model to the contractor saying, in effect, "make us a bunch of these."

Jim

rcmodel
March 3, 2014, 10:11 PM
Steel?
Colts first revolver pattern was carved out of wood.

But Jim K is exactly right.

If a modern designer handed one of the machinests in an a factory a set of paper blue-prints in 1860?
7 in 10 would roll them up and swat flies with them, because they wouldn't know what else to do with them.

Most of them could only read at a grade school level, maybe?
They had apprenticed under a gun maker at 10 or 12 and learned to make parts with first a broom, and then a file.

Steel Snap-Gage's and precise steel patterns, and being told to 'make it exactly like this!' or 'make it exactly fit this' was something you didn't need a Math & English college degree to understand by the time you were old enough to be trusted to do it.

Reading a blue-print is probably something a lot of them couldn't do yet when they died of old age at 40 something.

rc

triggerman770
March 4, 2014, 05:43 AM
the original colt machinery for the old C&B guns were sold to Armi San Marco
who made the revived guns for colt back in the 90-early 2k. since then another Italian gunmaker has acquired them. not sure if it was pieta or the one Beretta bought out. If you could find some of the drawings from Armi San Marco it might get you close

MattMaier
March 4, 2014, 07:43 PM
Eh, I'm just going to save up for an original gun and make some prints based on that, for my own personal fulfillment.

It's been interesting though, learning how machinists worked back then. I guess there weren't trade schools like we have today. Many people weren't literate, but that didn't mean they weren't smart. They had to learn these skills from the ground up, sink or swim.

I've been meaning to visit a museum in Windsor, VT that is set up in an old arms factory. They have a bunch of 19th century gun manufacturing machinery. That would be a treasure trove for me.

beag_nut
March 4, 2014, 08:56 PM
Eh, I'm just going to save up for an original gun and make some prints based on that, for my own personal fulfillment.

It's been interesting though, learning how machinists worked back then. I guess there weren't trade schools like we have today. Many people weren't literate, but that didn't mean they weren't smart. They had to learn these skills from the ground up, sink or swim.

I've been meaning to visit a museum in Windsor, VT that is set up in an old arms factory. They have a bunch of 19th century gun manufacturing machinery. That would be a treasure trove for me.
You MUST go there! I went a few months ago, and it is great. Especially see the 4-in-1 machine, used on Navy destroyers, which they have, and the 1860 rifling machine. A very rewarding experience.

Jim K
March 5, 2014, 05:42 PM
There was a whole terminology used in those days. A pin didn't just fit in a hole - it could be a "slip fit", a "friction fit", a "press fit", a "loose fit", a "tight press fit", etc. Since everyone knew exactly what those terms meant, guns usually had interchangeable parts.

Jim

Andy-McPocket
August 10, 2014, 09:19 PM
Hi all, Just came across this thread
Re: dimensions of C&B revolvers, for the past month or so I have been attempting to make a non firing replica (I'm in the UK) of a Colt Walker.
Like the OP states the working drawings available online are sadly lacking in accurate dimensions so to overcome this I scaled up the Walker drawing I had downloaded from http://www.the-blueprints.com using a hit or miss method in Photoshop.
The barrel length dimension of 9" was my starting point.
Once I had that about right I dragged the (Marquee Tool) over a part I wanted to know the size of that is not dimensioned, copy then new and a new box will give you the dimensions (in my case I used decimal inches)
Like I said this is a bit hit or miss but if you look at the measurements that ARE on the plans they are in fractions so a little guess work using the decimal inch from Photoshop to the nearest 1/64, 1/32 etc is probably about right.
Using this method I have done most of the steel work including the working mechanism which all seems to work ok. The chamber timing and loading lever all seem to line up.
Part way though this I had decided to alter the loading lever retaining spring to the design on the later Dragoons so it will be a bit of a hybrid. (My choice)
Here's some links.
http://twnis.webs.com/Marquee.jpg
http://twnis.webs.com/Work%20so%20far.jpg

If the OP intends to make one of these things then it can be done using the method I have described.
Worked ok for me (so far!!)

Jim K
August 11, 2014, 01:51 AM
I imagine the folks trying to turn out Paterson fakes would like to have drawings of that gun, but I am not sure what precision is needed to make repros.

Hi, Triggerman,

That is fascinating, since I had always heard that Colt scrapped all the old tooling for the Model P and earlier guns in the big cleanout in WWII when they cleared the factory for mass production of pistols and machineguns. All the statements I have seen from Colt employees at the time said the old stuff was taken out in the yard, then scrapped for the steel which was in short supply at the time. Obviously, they didn't sell anything to an Italian gun maker in 1942. I rather suspect that story originated with some ASM salesman.

Jim

Old Fuff
August 11, 2014, 06:52 PM
Some folks might be surprised to learn that frequently both Colt and Smith & Wesson didn't always have a complete set of drawing for various models. These included Colt's .45 Government Model and 1903 Pocket Model, as well as Smith & Wesson's .38 Military & Police (better known today as the model 10).

The reason was that both companies used gages, not blueprints to manufacture the various parts, all of which were made "in house." Each machine had an operator, who was set up with a set of gages relative to inspect whatever he was making. Occasionally he would pick up some parts and check them to be sure they were right. In addition floor inspectors would come by and take a second random look. Because the machinists generally had years and even decades of experience finding something out-of-tolerance was unlikely.

This system went back to the early days of mass producing firearms, so I strongly suspect that when the Walkers were made the same practice was followed. First a final prototype was made, and from it the gages followed. the first production parts were likely assembled into several finished revolvers that were closely looked over to be sure they duplicated the prototype. When everything was in agreement actual production got under way.

Oh, and Jim is correct concerning the scrapping of outdated tooling and machinery. However following World War Two a small quantity of original 1851 Navy parts were discovered, and assembled into completed guns. They were then presented to various people they wanted to impress. :cool:

Jim K
August 11, 2014, 10:49 PM
Factories use gauges today. There is no way a factory is going to have each part measured with a micrometer or calipers; they would never make any guns. Of course MIM and CNC machines make parts to a high precision, but they still have to at least spot check to be sure the machines are doing their thing as intended.

In Germany in WWII (and before) each military weapon part was gauged and then stamped with a mark indicating approval. Assemblers were forbidden to use any part not inspected and approved. I don't believe that Germany lost the war because of such a pointless practice, but it would certainly have required both time and personnel that might have been better used elsewhere. Of course, that was a holdover from old days, when parts were hand fitted or often even hand made, but in the late 1930's, Germany had the finest machines and tools in the world. Simple spot checking would have been adequate.

Jim

Bezoar
August 21, 2014, 10:43 PM
i really hate to burst the bubbles but ive tried making my own set of plans for 3d modelling. It doesnt really work, wellit doesnt work to make a set of blueprints of an actual colt weapon.

the issues:

1. the patent drawings arent drawn to any real scale. and they werent drawn to actual dimensions of the guns.

2. its rather difficult to make the patent drawings work. for example if you size the .36 colt navy patents by the barrel, you end up with a 33 caliber. Size it by the chambers, you end up with a 4 inch barrel.

3. the online blue prints ive seen, i discussed it with collectors who have actual period made colts, and they dont actually match up either.

Jim K
August 23, 2014, 12:02 AM
Patent drawings only show how something works, not how to make it, and they are often way out of proportion in order to better show the claimed feature(s).

And there was a lot of hand fitting done in the earlier days. Even if one were to take hundreds of original Navy Colts of a specific period, break them down, measure every part in all dimensions to get +/- figures, then reverse engineer them into blueprints, the drawings still might not be usable since there would be a lot of variation in dimensions as a result of hand fitting.

Let me give you an example. Swayze, in his book on the 1851 Navy, discusses variations in the cut in the backstrap, apparently not realizing that it was filed by the fitter to stop the hammer and time the gun.

Jim

shootr
August 23, 2014, 04:40 AM
Andy McP -

Very cool info and nice work!

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