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Gunsmith help

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by cdj1987, May 12, 2012.

  1. cdj1987

    cdj1987 Member

    Ok guys the bolt in my pietta made 1851 engages and locks my cylinder just before the trigger locks. Is this normal? If not how do I adjust it to lock at the same time as my trigger or atleast after my trigger locks? Any ideas would be very helpful as im stumped. I keep looking into the action and watching the parts work but I cant figure out how to get the bolt leg to ride the cam just the little bit longer it needs too. Cant wait to hear what im over looking!
  2. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    It needs a longer hand but as long as it's not real bad and is only noticed when cocking very slowly, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have the action tuned and a hammer stop installed, it will definitely have to be adjusted but most factory guns have enough overtravel in the hammer that minor timing issues like that do not pose much of an issue.
  3. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    Sorry to disagree, but it sounds to me like the hand is too long...the hand is getting the cylinder into locking position before the hammer rotates far enough back to allow the trigger to engage the sear notch.

    I am not a gunsmith, so I am sure either CraigC or I will be eventually confirmed by someone. But I think that by carefully dressing down the tip of the hand, the rotation and lock-up of the cylinder can be delayed until the hammer is fully cocked.
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  4. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

    Seems to me the hand needs to be shorter.
  5. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    No, you guys are right, I didn't engage my brain thoroughly enough. Possibly too early and too little coffee. Too many brainfarts as of late. :rolleyes:

    Actually you want the cylinder to lock before the trigger, or at the latest simultaneously. Your sixgun's operation is normal and needs no attention.
  6. TheRodDoc

    TheRodDoc Well-Known Member

    Still wrong.

    you want the cylinder to lock slightly after the trigger, or simultaneously.

    If as you said the hammer would stop moving when the cyl. locked and trigger would not lock in.
  7. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    No, you are wrong! If one locks before the other, you want the cylinder to lock FIRST, then the trigger. If the trigger locks first, the gun can be fired without the chamber being properly aligned with the bore and that is not a good thing. :rolleyes:
  8. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Well-Known Member

    Ok, who's got the Kuhnhausen manual....
  9. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    I agree. I want the hammer to continue going back PAST the sear notch just a hair while the hand nudges the cylinder far enough that the bolt slips off the lead-in and into the notch.

    If the bolt locks into the notch first, then the hand is pushing against an immovable ratchet...the hammer will not be able to move rearward any farther. If the two are not exactly simultaneous, the hammer must overtravel just an rch (can I use that old engineering term here??) before the bolt locks the cylinder.
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  10. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Well-Known Member

    They are correct. The hammer should come to full cock and engage the trigger sear slightly before or simultaneously with the bolt locking the cylinder.

    Your hand need be shortened a scoshi bit
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    During the 19th century assemblers at the Colt factory were trained to do the following:

    1. Install the hammer, and then adjust the tip of the trigger (that was deliberately made a bit long) to engage the full-cock notch while at the same time the back of the hammer comes up against the backstrap. As you will eventually see, this prevents the bolt from battering the cylinder notch(s) and the tip of the hand and cylinder ratchet tooth from having the same thing happen.

    2. Install the hammer, hand, cylinder and barrel and then trim the tip of the hand so the it will rotate the cylinder from one notch to the next – and no more – so that the next notch in the cylinder will align with the window in the frame as the hammer comes up against the backstrap.

    3. Adjust the tail on the cylinder bolt so that the bolt will start to drop as soon as the hammer’s started to be cocked, and released at a point just short of the next upcoming notch. The hand will continue to rotate the cylinder just enough so that the bolt can engage the notch, even as the back of the hammer comes up against the backstrap and the trigger tip engages the full-cock notch.

    In the present case it appears that the bolt is locking the cylinder before the hammer can rotate far enough for the tip of the trigger to engage the full-cock notch. Once the bolt locks the cylinder nothing else in the lockwork can move. If so, and the hammer has not rotated far enough for it to touch the backstrap the trigger, hand and bolt will take all of the stress, shock and battering that can result. Depending on the cause, you may shorten the tip on the trigger or adjust the hand. But in any event be sure that the back of the hammer is against the backstrap when the hammer is at full-cock.
  12. Tinpan58

    Tinpan58 Well-Known Member

    I always thought the bolt was suppose to drop into the leader on a colt just before full cock, making for the famous c-o-l-t 4 clicks, my 2nd gen navy dose this but my 1860 signature and 1851 navy the bolt drops and the hammer fully cocks so close you only hear 3 clicks, I would like to get them all to have 4 clicks as it seems to be the way they were meant to be, and also it sounds so cool.

    If you start to cock the hammer the cylinder should not start to rotate right away it should start to rotate just before half cock, if it starts to rotate right away the hand is engaging to soon, and you can adjust it by slightly filing the tip of the hand, this will cause the cylinder to start rotating slightly later, so when the bolt drops it will drop into the leader and into full lock at full cock.
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  13. cdj1987

    cdj1987 Member

    Sorry guys I said my earlier post wrong!!! The bolt is dropping before the trigger locks but its not locking the cylinder in place I still have to pull the hammer back rotating the cylinder about an eighth of an inch before it locks in firing postion. The hammer does go all the way back to the back strap. So I guess my problem is the bolt is dropping on my lead in grooves before the trigger locks with my cylinder in the firing postion. Thanks for all your advice.This is a great forum!!!
  14. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

    That's what is supposed to happen! I don't see a problem.
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    When the ball on the cylinder bolt (that's the part of the bolt that sticks up through the frame and engages the notch(s) in the cylinder) does this and locks the cylinder so it can't turn, the hammer will stop moving. If this happens before the tip on the trigger drops into the full-cock notch you will be unable to keep the hammer cocked - for obvious reasons.

    If the hammer reaches the full cock position and the trigger drops into place while the bolt has not locked the cylinder the hammer can be rotated further backwards until the bolt either locks the cylinder or the hammer hits the backstrap. This is by far the most common situation you will encounter in Italian replicas.

    In a perfect world (that is seldom seen but can happen) the bolt will be released about 1/8" short of the cylinder notch and as the cylinder rotates further the hammer will at approximately the same time.

    1. Hit the backstrap.
    2. The trigger's tip will drop into the full-cock notch
    3. The bolt will align with a notch in the cylinder and lock it.

    I should also explain that this was accomplished at a time when cap & ball Colt's had a mainspring that could do double duty in a pickup truck's suspension! Today some shooters lighten that spring, and when so doing the bolt should be timed for an earlier release - about 3/16" to 1/4" before lock-up. Otherwise the bolt may "jump the notch," and pass over it, leaving the cylinder unlocked.

    At the other end of the cycle, you want the cylinder to start turning as soon as possible. Otherwise as the hammer rotates backwards there is a greater chance of cap fragments dropping down in the frame's hammer slot and jamming the action.

    On the matter of "clicks," the Single Action Army model of 1873 has a quarter-cock or safety notch on the hammer's face so that you will get under ideal conditions, 4 (sort of) clicks.

    1. The trigger comes to the quarter-cock notch and passes it.
    2. The trigger comes to the half-cock notch and passes it.
    3. The cylinder bolt is released.
    4. The trigger engages the full-cock notch.

    But Colt's cap & ball revolvers did not have a quarter-cock notch on the hammer, so you are unlikely to get 4 clicks. ;)
  16. Tinpan58

    Tinpan58 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the clarifying the four clicks, old fuff, don’t have a saa hope to someday, just checked out my 2nd gen and the trigger is at full cock just before the bolt fully locks making a 4th click 1 half 2 leader 3 trigger 4 bolt full, its been that way since I've had it, never really noticed since there is some play from the trigger locking and the hammer being pulled all the way back. I always thought the internals on the cap and ball were identical to the saa.
  17. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    At least in theory, and largely in practice, they are. The two principal differences are that the hand has 2 steps on the front rather then 1 to rotate the cylinder, and as previously mentioned the quarter-cock (safety) notch on the hammer.
  18. Shultzhaus

    Shultzhaus Well-Known Member

    AikenColin - Check on a school named Penn Foster. They offer a correspondence course on gun smithing.
  19. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I would suggest finding something that you can do that pays the most with the least effort. Spend your spare time on guns & shooting. IMHO, trying to make money at something you enjoy is the quickest and easiest way to take the fun out of it.
  20. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

    Good advice, CraigC !

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