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Old May 1, 2005, 08:13 PM   #1
mec
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Colt Type Revolver Disassembly

This message was entered on another gunboard and attracted a fair amount of attention before the site became unusable. If you find it handy, copy it off along with the attached picture The moderator is invited to sticky it if so desired.

Dismounting Post-1850 Colt Revolvers
Basic:
1. Place unloaded revolver on half cock
2. Push Barrel Wedge to the left. It will either stop against the retaining screw or come all the way out. This varies.
3 pull barrel assembly off the frame and cylinder off the arbor.
4. Unscrew nipples for cleaning.

Complete:1. Remove back strap section of the grip frame. Screws are on either side of the hammer and on the bottom of the grip frame assembly.
2. Loosen and/or remove the main spring;
3. Remove front of grip frame/trigger guard - three screws.
4. Remove Trigger bolt spring now visible in the bottom of the action.
5. Remove cylinder bolt and then trigger held by identical screws.
6. Remove hammer screw and then hammer and hand assembly through the bottom of the frame.
Remounting:
1. Replace hammer and hand first being careful not to compress or overstress the hand spring'
2. Replace locking bolt. It is necessary for the split "ears" on the rear of the hand to ride in front of the cam on the right side of the hammer. This is best accomplished by placing the hammer in its lowered (forward ) position. The outside "ear" presses against the inside of the frame while the active side presses against the hammer in front of the hammer cam.
3. Replace Trigger. This is easiest with the hammer pulled back.
4. Replace trigger /bolt spring being sure that the long "finger" is on the step on the front of the trigger. Some springs appear to be too short to replace. In this case, index the long "finger"/leaf of the spring against the step on the trigger and press down so that it will stretch out and allow replacement of the screw.
5. Replace front porton of grip frame and the main spring. It is often best to leave some slack in the screws-including the mainspring screw- until everything is in position. then tighten all screws.
6. Replace grip and back strap of grip frame. This may require loosening the screws of the front portion of the grip frame just to get all the screws lined up.

In principal: Avoid overtightening the screws and the nipples. It's easier to tighten them often than to watch one crumble before your eyes because it's frozen in place.

Frequently, the Italian assembler will set at least one of the screws in place under massive impact. Your Job- have the best fitting screwdriver possible on hand ;and, Figure out which screw it is.

Last edited by mec; August 29, 2010 at 10:37 AM.
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Old May 15, 2005, 07:52 PM   #2
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Forgot Frozen Nipples

You forgot to add one very important proceedure. This even happens to Uberti's actually only to Uberti's as far a I can tell you.
#) frozen nipples in cylinder from factory or store dried grease from sitting on shelf. *soak in diesel fuel for about 3 days, wipe off excess, remove nipples applying downward pressure and in a steady loosening motion break nipple free with proper wrench.

Last edited by Smokin_Gun; May 15, 2005 at 07:53 PM. Reason: typo
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Old May 16, 2005, 07:45 AM   #3
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Haven't had that happen but will recognize it now if it does. could explain some of the impact tight screws you find on these too. A couple of persistent problems with my recent ubertis is that the loading lever catch likes to walk out of the dovetail and the locator pegs on the bottom front of the frame work loose and fall out .

Relatively minor considering the stuff that usec to go wrong with them

Last edited by mec; August 29, 2010 at 10:37 AM.
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Old May 25, 2005, 01:35 PM   #4
Jim K
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Removing rusted/frozen nipples

After soaking in a penetrant, if the nipple will still not come out with the normal wrench, DO NOT twist off the lugs. Instead, proceed as follows.

Get a good quality, hard nipple wrench. If possible, make one out of drill rod and harden it. Remove, or don't put in, the cross piece.

Chuck the nipple wrench in the drill press, tightly. Pad the drill press vise with copper or leather jaws. Put the cylinder, rear end up, in the vise and tighten down, tight!

Adjust the vise and table so that the drill chuck with the wrench is directly over the nipple to be removed, and lock the vise and table.

Bring the nipple wrench down over the nipple, turning the chuck as necessary to line up the wrench with the nipple. If the press has a lock down, press the head down tight and lock it. If not, hold the press head down tightly.

Then grip the drill press chuck as tightly as possible and turn it. It may be necessary to work it back and forth to loosen a stubborn nipple. You can use a short rod the size of the chuck key for additional leverage, but it probably won't be necessary.

If a nipple will not come out with this treatment, it will likely have to be drilled out.

Jim
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Old September 15, 2005, 06:29 PM   #5
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MORE:



Last edited by mec; August 29, 2010 at 10:36 AM.
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Old September 28, 2005, 02:58 PM   #6
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I've had the rammer catch fall out of the dovetail (which scarcely deserved the name of dovetail at all) and the locator pins fall out. All on a Signature Colt. Used an 1860 Army catch to replace it with - wider.
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Old September 28, 2005, 06:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
I've had the rammer catch fall out of the dovetail (which scarcely deserved the name of dovetail at all) and the locator pins fall out. All on a Signature Colt. Used an 1860 Army catch to replace it with - wider.
The Locator pins are just pushed in and I've seen them fall out on many a model, they are suppose to come out. The Uberti 1851 is pretty much the same as a replacement latch for your 3rd generation Colt, they are unfinished frames and parts purchased from Uberti . The 1850 Colt 3rd Gen. 3rd Dragoon is the smoothest action of any I have. Next to it smoothness of action and trouble free is my 1851Navy Uberti. Out of 10 revs those two are the most reliable and purdyest.

Last edited by Smokin_Gun; September 28, 2005 at 06:56 PM.
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Old November 7, 2005, 10:22 PM   #8
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Seriously thinking of getting myself a Uberti 3rd Model Dragoon for Christmas. Would like some suggestions on who makes the best nipple wrench for it. I believe the nipples are bigger than on the Navy-framed guns and I might as well get a decent one at the outset. Dixie and others have the Walker-type U shaped wrench, but I would rather just get a straightforward good quality one.

Have always been fond of these hand cannons. There is a great story on Jon Cremony's ride through the Jornada De Muerto and a pair of them. Likewise the museum I helped out at has a Third Model in rough shape that has a couple of pretty well documented stories it featured in.

Thanks.
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Old November 7, 2005, 10:33 PM   #9
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The same screwdriver- handled wrench I use for my other colt/remington revolvers works on this one. I believe it is from Traditions. The various replica wrenches are extremely brittle and no good for tight nipples.

The dragoons have quite a bit of history behind them. Juaquin Murietta, Hariette Tubman and Charlie Parkhust seem to favor them.
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Old November 13, 2005, 11:42 PM   #10
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Well Mec, I know I am happy with mine. Very accurate with cap&ball or cartridges. Have an R&D Convertable Conversion .45LC, the Ubertis fit the 3rd Gen. Colt jus' fine. I read today that they were concidered the most favored Cavalry Revolver.
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Old November 25, 2005, 03:18 PM   #11
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Hand assembly spring

This spring is one of the primary flys in the C&B revolver ointment. Next to the trigger/bolt spring (and recently, out in front of it) it is the most breakage-prone part on the revolvers. You know when it happens when suddenly your cylinder doesn't rotate while cocking and will rotate in both directions with the gun on half cock.
I've had it happen twice in the last 2-3 years and on both of my Uberti revolvers I was fortunate in that they would continue to function and shoot as long as I pointed them downward for cocking.

The hand and the spring are usually sold as a unit -probably because it is difficult to get a spring tight enough in the hand slot to reliably stay there. In any case, I've laid in a supply from VTI and Cimarron. They are oversized and require quite a bit of fitting to my 60 Army and 61 Navy. Once sized correctly however, they will work interchangeably in these revolvers.

The primary task is to get the overall unit to the same length as the one the factory has already fitted to your gun. I also attempt to copy the shape of the factory part without really knowing how important that might be. I found that outlining the already shaped part helps in getting close to the right amount of metal removal. It is a rough guage of course since the outline is bigger than the original part.

After disassembly of barrel, cylinder and grip portions, the hammer and hand can be removed without taking out the trigger and bolt. This is useful since a good bit of trial and error is necessary.

Partially reassembling the revolver- barrel and cylinder in place, you know you are getting close to the right fit when the cylinder no longer rotates past the locking notch. At this point, things are probably still not right as the hammer will not come back far enough to fully cock the revolver

The job is finished when the cylinder rotates to full engagement and the hammer sear will engage the trigger and remain at full cock.

Now, I have several fully fitted hand/spring assemblies ready for drop-in replacement in two frequently used revolvers. The only tools necessary are a small file, a carborundum stone or the equivalent and a dremel tool if you are careful not to over do things and over heat the part by power grinding.

Last edited by mec; August 29, 2010 at 10:36 AM.
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Old December 30, 2005, 01:09 PM   #12
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Mec, Here my navy with the repair kit you get from Cabelas and also the pin?wedge remover sold by Cabelas and made by Mountain State Muzzle loaders here in WV. When you get it you have to flatten(grind down) both sides of the thin round end to make it fit the Colt. It's made of a really hard plastic and works great!
You can't beat the price of the repair kit.
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Old December 30, 2005, 01:49 PM   #13
mec
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I have the same parts in a package from Pietta- I bought two of them from Numrich GunParts a couple of years ago. I believe I finally understand the problem people have been reporting with Pietta Wedges. The ubertis and older Piettas Ive seen don't have a hook on the wedge spring. I can see how it would be hard to pound such a thing out in the normal manner.

Good looking revolver. We will of couse expect a field report.
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Old December 31, 2005, 03:31 PM   #14
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Mec, My mold came in at noon today for my .380 balls so I casted up my first 50 and 30 are good (I'm learning ) anyway I loaded my new Navy with 22g of Pyrodex "P" and set a box in the yard and picked out a 2.5" circle to shoot at with a 6:00 hold on the sights. I really exspected to shoot really high but as you can see at this distance it shot point of aim but left a little. All in all I have no complaints but I'm going to lighten the trigger pull a little more.I'll try some longer distances when I get a better feel for this revolver. It sure is a sweetheart to shoot, feels good in the hand too, easy to clean and easy to tune by following the instruction in your book. It seems to love #10 Remington caps and I had no jams. I may try the snugger fitting CCI #10 next. Just hope there hot enough for the Pyrodex "P".
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Old December 31, 2005, 04:11 PM   #15
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Oh good lord! I'm going to have to start shooting 25 yard bench groups and just hope I can keep up with you.

I suspect the CCI Caps might fit a bit tight 11s might fit better as they are close to Remington 10s. They are plenty hot enough to set of pyrodex and work well in my navy. If you have anything like a light mainspring though, they will probably misfire. CCI makes all their caps/primers a lot toughter shelled than anybody else and they are hard to set off.
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Old December 31, 2005, 05:32 PM   #16
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OK, that's just a ridiculous group!

You must be cheating
I'd be lucky to all be on that whole piece of paper!

Wow.
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Old December 31, 2005, 06:40 PM   #17
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Thanks guy's, I was surprised myself because that was the first time I ever shot this Navy. You have to remember that when you live in West Virginia you get a lot of practice shooting at snake heads in these mountains.
The first year we moved into this house I killed 13 copperheads in 60 days while mowing or walking around the area with my Remington.
Now we only see one every now and then but when I'm up on the mountain I will kill 8-10 Rattlers and maybe another 10 copperheads June to the last of Oct. This last summer I only had to nail a couple of them and that's really unusual.

Mec, Do you think that maybe Piettea has placed higher sights on there new Navy .36? This one is a 2005.
Also noticed that there seems to be alot more twist in this barrel than the Remington .44. Doesn't seen to matter because they are both accurate as can be.
The #10 CCI fit just the way I like them on this Navy. They just slide on like a good fitting glove. I reduced the hammer spring but it still hits plenty hard enough to set the caps off. I may have just got a hold of some bad caps. A friend of mine gave me 150 or so of them a couple a weeks ago and I think I will give them a try.
Thanks for all your help Mec. Mike
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Old December 31, 2005, 06:48 PM   #18
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I wouldn't be surprised. Uberti puts a taller bead on the newer ones and they shoot a lot lower than earlier ones. The ubert beed is too wide. and needs to be tooled down if you can't open the rear sight enough.

The other day, our local store got a Pietta SAA in a Uberti box. I'm wondering if maybe some unholy union has taken place.
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Old December 31, 2005, 07:42 PM   #19
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36 Navy

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That new gun looks like it's a honey!

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Old December 31, 2005, 08:00 PM   #20
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Thanks Colin, I really like it and it takes a lot for me to admit that because I've always been such a Remington fan. One thing for sure, I can see why the Civil war boy's were willing to give the Colts up for the Remington.Loading one of the Colts with a new cylinder while in battle had to be a real problem when it came to the wedge.If you droped that wedge you had to use the gun for a club.
The feel of this Colt in the hand is a lot nicer than the Remington and it sure is smooth to shoot. I can see why the cowboys liked it so well and also why many of them carried two at a time.

Mec, It seems to me that I heard a rumor to that effect some time back but I was never able to confirm it. This sight comes to a point like the originals did and where the taper starts to the point it it apears as a different color or shade and it's very easy to place in the "V". I really figured the first thing I would have to do is get rid of the sight but I really like it now.It takes me a little longer to get on sight than it does with my Remington but that's fine.
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Old June 15, 2006, 02:28 PM   #21
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1860 Army

Hello folks, I'm new to the site but have been shooting blackpowder for quite awhile. I just bought a Pietta Sherrif's 1860 Army. I got a really good price NIB and it looks and feels like a well built weapon. My problem is I can't seem to drive the wedge out to the left. I made a wedge pusher (yeah, right) and I have whacked at the wedge with a small wooden mallet. No avail.
One other thing. I recently paid a visit to the library, that's right the public library, and checked out a few books on Colonel Colt and weapons he built during his lifetime. The books I found were very interesting, I know more about Colt reviolvers and renewed a lot of Texas history, as well as the United States history. How many kids know who wrote The Star Spangled Banner? Teach yours! The bulk of the books I checked out had not left the library since 1993. Kinda of makes me sick.
Well I'm sure I'm gonna enjoy getting re-intersted in our history. Wish I had some kids around!
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Old June 15, 2006, 04:52 PM   #22
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Pietta went through a phase of hard to remove wedges. One poster seemed able to explain it much better than the others and it seemed from what he was saying that their is something of an agressive hook on the end of the pietta wedge springs. You have to push it down out of contact to get the thing to move.

Francis Scott Key (scott to his friends) wrote the words to the star spangled banner on board one of our ships out from fort McHenry in 1814. The music is from an old pub crawlers drinking song "amphictyon in heavenz'

the public schools used to teach about francis scott Key and the war of 1812 but since may have stopped. they left out the part about the drinking song.
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Old November 3, 2006, 02:38 PM   #23
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MEC - I used your very helpful instructions here to disassemble and fix my 140 year old 1849 Pocket Model, whose hand would not carry up the cylinder. I found the hand had separated from the arbor and pressed it back on. Works pretty good, now. Here's a pic -



and another one -



Made in 1862, IIRC, from Wilson's list of SNs
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Old January 19, 2007, 12:26 AM   #24
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Fantastic gun and pics Big G!

I too have found the posts here very useful in disassembling my 1860.

However, I found re-assembling the backstrap and grip very challenging on my Uberti Colt repro: The wood needs to be compressed a little and my backstrap piece was very slightly bent, requiring even more tension. Don't know if this was a factory problem or caused by my innapropriate disassembly.

I would ammend the disassembly/reassembly procedure as follows, after following the previous procedure to remove barrel and cylinder:



To disassemble grip and backstrap:

1. Loosen, but DO NOT remove, all 3 screws on the brass triggerguard under the frame. Use a slightly undersized screwdriver to avoid damaging the recesses around the screws.

2. Remove the screw at the BOTTOM of the backstrap/grip.

3. Remove the two screws on the backstrap on either side of the hammer and remove the backstrap. Use a slightly undersized screwdriver to avoid damaging the recesses around the screws.

4. Dissamble frame internals as previously mentioned.


To reassemble grip and backstrap:


1. Install triggerguard and mainspring: by, first, attaching mainspring loosely to the triggerguard. Then attach triggerguard loosely enough so that the mainspring may be pushed under the hammer. Then tighten all triggerguard screws and fully tighten the mainspring screw.

2. Fit the wooden grip into backstrap and attach backstrap/grip by the 2 screws beside the hammer. Tighten both these screws FULLY. Do this in increments alternating between the two until they are both fully tight. DO NOT ATTACH BOTTOM SCREW YET.

3. Loosen all 3 triggerguard screws enough so that you can align the front part of the grip that attaches to the backstrap via the bottom screw. Be careful not to loosen them so much they come out.

4. Install the bottom grip screw once you have aligned the two parts. Tighten until the head of the screw is flush with the frame.

5. Re-tighten fully all the triggerguard screws.

6. Finally, tighten the bottom grip screw as needed. Don't overtighten.




Following the steps above will reduce the tension on the screws on the backstrap considerably. This will ensure you less stripped backstrap screws and scratched backstraps.

If you want extra screws:
The 3 frame screws that hold the hammer, the bolt and the trigger are all removed and installed lightly, with little effort. These would probably never be damaged.

I would order extra screws for the for the backstrap and the 2 recessed screws in the gripframe(which are the same as in the backstrap) and the bottom backstrap screw. These are much more likely to be damaged during assembly/disassembly.

Someone once said that in BP revolvers you have to choose between damaged screws or a dirty gun. Invariably in the course of disassembling your gun to clean it, you will probably damage a screw or two.

Get the right tools:
I also can't stress enough getting a good quality gunsmith's screwdriver set. You WILL NOT be able to take apart a BP revolver without one and WILL damage your screws.

Chapman offers a good set. You can order at Midway or direct from their website: www.chapmanmfg.com

I've found theirs to be the best and priced right down the middle.

Last edited by ElGuapo; January 19, 2007 at 01:23 AM.
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Old February 19, 2008, 09:32 PM   #25
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Disassembling Colt open top BP revolvers.

I was given a huge box of BP tools & supplies. Along w/them came a little brass punch w/a flattened end, maybe the size of a thick pencil cut in half. It works perfect to remove the wedge from the slot it is in. I don't know where this tool came from new, but if anyone else knows, it sure works well for me. I think it may work well for other people too.
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