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Old June 18, 2016, 04:08 PM   #1
Cooldill
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Spiller and Burr Malfunctions

Hello all, well I got a new Pietta Spiller & Burr yesterday in the mail from Dixie Gun Works.

I thoroughly cleaned and degreased it and lubed it with Balistol. Well I went to the range today unfortunately, I had some issues.

I fired two cylinder worth. The good news is I had no cap jams, all rounds went off the first time, and non of the caps fell off.

The bad news is that the gun would get stiff and extremely hard to pull the hammer within 1-2 shots! How can this be? I did not have any cap jams... I would take the cylinder out, wipe off the cylinder pin, put some oil on it, reassemble and the gun would run smooth. But within a couple of shots, everything just got so stiff and I had to manually rotate the cylinder.

What's going on here? I've never had this happen on my '51 Navy Colt. I am very sad that my new gun doesn't work so well. My load for today was 15 grains of GOEX FFFG powder, a wonder wad, and .375" Hornady balls.

If anyone can give me any ideas to keep my Spiller and Burr from locking up almost instantly, I'm all ears. I think this will be a good shooting gun once I can figure that issue out. It's a real looker and I plan to refinish the grips to remove the UGLY "maroon red" Italian varnish and instead make them look like proper and authentic oiled black walnut.

Please let me know all. Thanks!!
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Old June 18, 2016, 04:43 PM   #2
45 Dragoon
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Cooldill,
The S&Bs I've worked on just have a rudimentary "bushing" on the front of the cylinder. It doesn't appear that it would do much of a job keeping fouling at bay. The Rogers and Spencer however has a nice "bushing" and I hear works very well. Maybe you can fit a "better" false bushing in place of the one on the cylinder.

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Old June 18, 2016, 06:35 PM   #3
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My older, Navy Arms Remington in 36 cal is bad like that. It starts to bind after one cylinder full. My solution is to simply load it off gun. I use an off gun loader bought thru Belt Moutain. Works great. With the Remington it is a breeze to dismount the cylinder, reload, wipe and lube the base pin, remount shoot, repeat.
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Old June 18, 2016, 07:22 PM   #4
delrom418
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Does the Spiller and Burr have lube grooves on the cylinder pin (arbor)? Maybe you'll have better luck using a grease instead of an oil.

My 1860 Pietta Colts have lube grooves on the arbor and I've been having good success using Lubriplate grease on it. I can get through a six stage CAS match without ever taking the cylinder off for cleaning or lubing. Lubriplate is a white lithium grease, but there are many other greases (homemade or commercial) that would also work just fine. I've been using the Lubriplate because I happened to have it in the garage.
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Old June 18, 2016, 07:28 PM   #5
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Thanks all. No the S&B uses a Remington-style cylinder pin that has no grooves. I think I'm going to sand it down to where it's smooth. It just seems weird how the gun runs fine when it's clean. It's only after I shot it a couple times did it start to tie up. And it wasn't cap fragments either, I made sure to check for those.
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Old June 18, 2016, 07:31 PM   #6
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Try putting some grease, something like beeswax and tallow, on the base pin and see how that works, it may help. I saw a video one time where a guy cut some small slots in the base pin on a remington to put grease into so it wouldn't bind, not enough to affect the timing of the cylinder or anything, just enough to get some grease in there.
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Old June 18, 2016, 09:26 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I'm going to open it up and take all the parts out and smooth everything out, including sanding the cylinder pin. We'll see if that helps.
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Old June 18, 2016, 10:40 PM   #8
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I am going to speculate that the binding is from fouling being deposited on the base pin inside the minimal clearance between the base pin and it's passage through the cylinder. Remingtons have the same problem.
This is one of the reasons that a very small barrel cylinder gap is important like on the order of .002/.003. The reason being, as Colt found out, that the angle of incidents is equal to the angle of reflection. Basically this means that ejecta from the barrel/cylinder gap strikes the base pin at 90deg and then is reflected along it's length or right into the cylinder hole. A close B/C gap keeps this to a minimum. Colt addressed this problem with a recessed diameter section that is present on some better replicas. The cartridge conversions and later SAA had a gas ring between the face of the cylinder and frame to prevent this.
The Remingtons and Spiller and Burr can be modified but it takes some machining or as stated earlier keep the base pin well lubed and load off the gun and wipe the base pin.
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Old June 19, 2016, 12:54 AM   #9
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Sorry, but the reason for binding most of the time is not a too large barrel-cylinder gap, but a too small one. A very few shots will heat and expand the cylinder lengthwise enough to bind with the barrel. When that happens, almost every one comes up with the advice to clean the gun. So the shooter stops firing, cleans the gun and sure enough it works for a while. No one realizes that while the cleaning was going on, the cylinder was cooling down, which is really why the problem went away for a while.

Set the b-c gap to about .007-.010 and the binding will probably go away for good.

Jim
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Old June 19, 2016, 08:15 AM   #10
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Actually that is not the case. Binding occurs as I stated from fouling building up on the cylinder base pin. I doubt you could build up enough heat from even fast shooting to grow the cylinder enough to bind it.

Last edited by denster; June 19, 2016 at 08:43 AM.
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Old June 19, 2016, 08:33 AM   #11
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All Colts have grooves cut into their arbors and one of the main reasons why I like the Colt design as they do not lock up with crude while shooting. With a brass frame, who knows, it could be a lot of things.
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Old June 19, 2016, 10:51 AM   #12
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Oh, also, I don't have the right nipple wrench for this gun.

I tried the one that fits my '51 Navy, and it's WAY too big. The nipple recessess are very small. So I went online and found the right nipple wrench but it's on backorder... just great. Ah, the fun (and frustration) of cap and ball revolvers...

At least my single shot pistols work!
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Old June 19, 2016, 11:26 AM   #13
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I have 2 nipple wrenches that stay in with my cased '60s but my tool box wrench has been much modified with Dremel tool.
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Old June 19, 2016, 01:58 PM   #14
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I would first recommend putting one or two drops of oil right where the front of the cylinder rubs on the frame at the cylinder pin. I do this on my Uberti Remingtons right after seating the balls before capping. A little twirl of the cylinder while holding the muzzle up works the oil down onto the cylinder pin and frees up the works. Try that first. If the cylinder still binds then put oil or any lube on the front of the cylinder face (after seating the balls) to eliminate the drag on the rear of the barrel. A strategically placed drop of oil between charging cylinders (on the gun) is all I do to keep my Ubertis running all day. The Euroarms Remmies don't need it. Go figure. I don't mess with grooving or modifying the cylinder pin. Installation of a cylinder bushing is a better, permanent cure but I'm too cheap and the oil drop takes but a few seconds.
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Old June 19, 2016, 02:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Set the b-c gap to about .007-.010 and the binding will probably go away for good.

Jim
The gap on my '60 Colts measure .010 and they ran a 5-stage match again today with no problems. I've heard of others having good success with smaller gaps. Maybe the binding problems aren't just the gap, but a combination of variables including the type of lube, type of black powder, saturated wads for fouling control, etc.

I've got a pair of Pietta Remingtons I haven't shot yet. I'm hoping they don't give me any problems! If they do, it looks like Hellgate has a good technique to keep them running.
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Old June 19, 2016, 05:56 PM   #16
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Thanks guys, I can't thank you enough. I was most disheartened when my new revolver was failing so badly. I am going to take it to pieces then polish everything. I'll make sure no parts are rubbing, will file and fit as needed, and will measure the B/C gap as well. I do need a nipple wrench that will fit it, I've been looking all over the internet for one. My Colt ones won't work.

I sure hope I can get the gun up and running. I like the way it looks, and I think it will shoot well if only I can stop it from binding almost instantaneously.
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Old June 19, 2016, 06:09 PM   #17
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My Pietta Remington NMA would bind up on the third cylinder. I was told to spray a little Ballistol on the cylinder pin, and it worked like a charm.
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Old June 19, 2016, 08:14 PM   #18
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What nipple wrench are you using for your colts cooldill? A wrench like this should work I would think http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nipple-Wrenc...3D371598719359
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Old June 20, 2016, 12:05 AM   #19
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Hi, Denster,

The problem is that binding due to heat is hard to show, in part because when it happens, the shooter almost always sprays on a solvent/lubricant or disassembles the gun. Either course lets the gun cool down so it works again for a while. Also, heat binding also often happens at the same time as a gummed up base pin or crud at the front of the cylinder, making it hard to pin down the actual problem.

All I can say is that I have seen binding in guns that had a b-c gap of .001"-002"; when the gun was allowed to cool with no other action taken, the gun worked again. When the gap was opened up the problem went away, even though the arbor had not been changed and the powder and loads were the same as before.
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Old June 20, 2016, 10:05 AM   #20
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Hey Jim

I don't know.My Colt's are all at .002/.004 and I have no problems. Remington's and Spiller and Burr would of course require some machining to close up a barrel cylinder gap I don't shoot my Remington's enough to worry about it. Both of them will get hard to turn in one cylinder on a hot dry day and both have a B/C gap in the .007 range.
I only brought up the B/C gap as the OP noted he was getting binding after one to two shots and that sounded like fouling on the base pin to me. I've often wondered if turning a .030 deep recess about 1/4" wide on the base pin right in front of the cylinder would act as a fouling deflector like Colt incorporated on his pistols. I've just never been motivated enough to try it.
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Old June 20, 2016, 01:03 PM   #21
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I lube the pin with some non petroleum grease. Be sure to grease over the balls with some crisco or something like it. Some of that grease gets blown down onto the pin and can extend the number of shots before binding. Also the face of the cylinder can build up crud that will quickly bind up a tightly fitted gun. Get some "Wet Wipes" (baby butt wipes work well) and wipe off the cylinder face. They clean your hands pretty well too.
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Old June 20, 2016, 09:27 PM   #22
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Thanks guys. I was cocking it and it seems that at there very hand of hammer travel, right before full cock, it gets stiff then I have to pull through until it cocks. Any ideas? Is that an issue?
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Old June 20, 2016, 10:19 PM   #23
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sounds like the bolt is dropping into the cylinder notch just before full cock. Of course it is supposed to be the other way around. Might need to shorten the hand just a tiny amount.
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Old June 20, 2016, 11:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denster View Post
sounds like the bolt is dropping into the cylinder notch just before full cock. Of course it is supposed to be the other way around. Might need to shorten the hand just a tiny amount.
I just looked at it and the bolt is popping up earlier on before full cock. The bolt is dragging on the cylinder body, leaving marks, before going into the bolt notches. I think that's where that last hike or resistance is coming from.
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Old June 20, 2016, 11:08 PM   #25
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Cooldill,
It's the bolt spring tension. The drag of the bolt after dropping is why the increase needed in cocking. Re-contour the bolt spring along with thining the width of the bolt spring. There only needs to be 3-4 lbs of pressure on the bolt (it probably has 8 or 9 right now).
Original Colt bolt springs were the thinner of the two on the combo spring. The Italians have it backwards.

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Yap, you got it. (Saw her post after I posted).
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