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'51 Colt hand spring

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Fred West, May 25, 2009.

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  1. Fred West

    Fred West Member

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    I've just broken the hand spring on my Uberti '51 for the second time. I replaced it with a Uberti part the first time which more or least went straight in. After about 400 more shots it's gone again. This time I put in a Dixie Gun Works hand and spring which needed a fair bit of filing but fitted OK in the end and seems a little more robust than the genuine part.
    I know the spring is prone to breakage but do you think this is a little excessive? I've fired less than a thousand shots in total (I keep a record).
    I strip the gun right down after every session.
    In contrast my '58 Remington after a similar amount of use is never any trouble. I seldom get spent caps jamming the works either but have to say I prefer the Colt, it's so beautiful.
    Is there something I'm doing wrong or possibly not doing something I should be?

    Fred.
     
  2. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    A permanent solution to broken hand springs is the drill the back of the frame and use a Ruger plunger and spring to keep the hand forward. You could also remove the broken spring from the hand and fab a new one from a feeler gauge of the same thickness. The steel used for the feeler gauge well not break as easy as the Italian steel.
     
  3. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    Drilling the frame & using coil springs & plungers is a good mod that solves that problem.

    If you don't want to go down that road, I have found that the cut in the frames of Colt style revolvers where the spring rides are generally not finished very well and respond very well to a little filing, sanding and polishing.

    I have a pair of Navy Arms '51 Navies that broke two hand springs each within about 200 rounds. Inspection of the frame channel revealed a very rough surface with some large burrs. This was probably casuing the hand spring to chatter as it rode over the surface, weakening the spring and causing the breaking. A small diamond file, some emery paper, and a stone cleaned and polished the rubbing surface. Since I've cleaned the frames on these Navies, I've not broken another hand spring on them.

    After finding this situation on the Frontiersmen, I checked my other '51 and '61 Navies and '60 Armies, and found pretty much the same problem with them. While I havent polished all my shooters............yet. I have cleaned/polished the channels on my Uberti and Colt '61 Navies, and to date have not broken a hand spring on them. Both pairs have over 800 round on each of them.
     
  4. scrat

    scrat Member

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    get a new handspring then file it down to make sure it fits correctly then get some kasenite. Use the kasenite on all the internals. Kasenite is a special powder when used it will harden the parts. Hardening the parts will make them last a long long time. Probably will not have to replace it anymore.
     
  5. rcflint

    rcflint Member

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    coil spring

    I replace broken hand springs with the Ruger coil and plunger, and a new hand with a straight back surface for the plunger to ride against. The hole is shown on an Opetop, but the 51 is the same. The set screw is not necessary. Without the flat backed hand, I found it better to use a slightly longer plunger to reach the deepest part of the original hand's curve.

    outside1forwebpage.gif

    newpiettahand.gif

    drilledtwocopy-1.gif

    installed.gif
     
  6. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    All of the above work.

    Ranked in order of easy of implementation:

    1. Smooth the channel the hand rides in and the surfaces the spring rides against, plus keep those surfaces clean and lubricated.

    2. Surface harden the spring tip (carefully! be sure not to overheat the spring and lose it's stiffness!) plus 1. above.

    3. Install the plunger in lieu of the leaf spring.
     
  7. jhon

    jhon Member

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    After breaking four of them I decided to drill the frame for a coil spring. Broke the drill bit off in the frame right when it was almost through, so now I'm just making my own spring.
     
  8. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    I make my hand springs from .015"-.018" feeler guage stock...haven't had any of what I replaced break yet.

    If you try and adjust a handspring installed bend it above the point that it sits in the hand or pawl...or it will snap sooner or later.
     
  9. Fred West

    Fred West Member

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    Many thanks everyone for your help and suggestions, particularly the detailed instructions for the Ruger plunger and spring mod. Unfortunately I don't think I'd want to attempt that, I only possess a hand drill and have no engineering skills etc.
    I guess I'll just polish it up for now, keep it well lubed and hope for the best.
    If (when) it breaks again I'll probably just replace it, I have several spares from DGW. That should keep me going for a while.
    Thanks.
    Fred.
     
  10. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    RCFlint,a guy could get rich doing that for Cowboy Action Shooters at $100.00 a pop.
     
  11. rcflint

    rcflint Member

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    I can do it, and that price would include the spring, plunger, and new hand. Flint
     
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