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Tackling "the wedge" on 1861 navy

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Mictlanero, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Mictlanero

    Mictlanero Well-Known Member

    So i am working on extracting the wedge from the pietta 1861 navy. I read a bunch of horror stories online about it - this is a 2012 pistol so hopefully the problem the the wedge being driven in suuuuuper far is no longer there (*knock on wood*) - so far i rapped the part sticking out a bit with a plastic hammer while holding the pistol in my hand - no dice.

    I made a "punch" of very hard wood that will fit into the wedge hole if i can drive the wedge back into the hole a bit using that same punch. I also cut a notch (for the wedge to go back into) in a piece of pine 2x6 that i am using to support the barrel part of the gun. Then i have some dense yet soft material (layered foam core) to support the grip when i try to hammer out the wedge.

    Am i correct to think that only the barrel and grip should be resting on something and the barrel should be free so that it does not get jammed or something?

    So my plan is to place the pistol barrel on the notched 2x6 with the notch under the wedge - but wood not contacting the barrel (if possible), and the grip supported by the layered foam core, then hit the end of the wedge that is sticking out of the pistol with the hard wood - careful not to hit the wedge spring that hooks on the outside of the gun - then when the wedge is driven into the wedge hold and is no longer sticking out to keep pushing it through.

    Any tips or pointers?

    Is it useful to have a friend push in the wedge spring while i try to hit the wedge so that it does not hang up against the pistol?
  2. pohill

    pohill Well-Known Member

    You have to release/depress the tip of the spring from the slot, then smack the wedge tip a little to get it started.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    You shouldn't have to do anything except tap the wedge; the spring "hook" is at an angle and will just be pushed down out of the way.

  4. Mictlanero

    Mictlanero Well-Known Member

    I am very excited! It worked!

    When i first rapped the wedge with a plastic hammer while carrying the pistol in my hand, it did nothing. Then i placed the 2x6 notched for the wedge on the carpet and placed the layered foam core support for the grip. I placed a bandana over this and then placed the pistol down on it. I started hitting the wedge from a couple of angles with the plastic hammer to no effect. I also hit the back side of the wedge sideways to drive the far side of the wedge away from the side of the wedge channel it was jammed up against - didn't seem to do anything. I also pretty much destroyed the wooden punch i made - not as hard a wood as i thought. I was pretty much thinking i would move up to the brass punch, key, penny artillery, but then I hit it a couple more times and noticed that it had moved! The wedge spring had become flush with the side of the pistol. Then i just hit it a couple of more times with the gimped wooden wedge and it slid right out up to the screw wedge catch. Nice! I had become concerned after reading some hard cases where the wedge was jammed in with monstrous force and stuck - especially with older piettas - well i am glad it did not happen this time! :)

    So now what?

    How far back into the wedge slot should i drive the wedge? Will the depth of the wedge affect performance or safety?

    Should i hammer it back in with the plastic hammer or just shove it in by hand?

    Thanks for helping me out
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Next time add a little penetrating oil to the wedge first too!

    It can't help but help.

  6. Hellgate

    Hellgate Well-Known Member

    I'm gonna get yelled at but here goes: Just tap the wedge in until you get the gap desired. I use two layers of copy paper (1 piece folded over=.0035+.0035=.007" my favorite gap). Put the paper between the cylinder and the back of the barrel and gently tap the wedge back in until it grabs the paper then stop. If your gun is properly built the arbor/cylinder pin will be the proper length and will bottom out in its recess and the gap will not diminish as you tap in the wedge. Those guns only need a slight snug fit to work well (thumb pressure or a light tap). That's how it is supposed to be, and Piettas are reported to be made properly. The two Piettas I used to own weren't, nor are all the ASM & Uberti Colt style guns I have or had.

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