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Bent chamber

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Hatchett, Feb 26, 2011.

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  1. Hatchett

    Hatchett Member

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    I've come across an antique, over 100 year old revolver, a Webley specifically. The price seemed right at first glance but opening it up I notice one of the six chambers looks like it has narrowed, as if either the sides had been stretched outward horizontally or it had been squished vertically. I do not know if this was caused by an overpowered cartridge stretching the chamber or if it is bent or "flattened" from being dropped. Is it more likely to have been damaged from taking a blow if the chamber appears to be squished inward rather than blown out?

    In any case, the chamber is so deformed that there is simply no way a .455 cartridge will fit inside, although the other five chambers still appear to be fine. Is there any way such damage could be repaired, and easily enough to make the purchase at all worthwhile? Or would it ever be safe to fire again, even supposing you could?
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Some of the old guns were pretty soft.
    I don't think I'd want to shoot that one.
     
  3. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    If the gun was struck hard enough to visibly deform the chamber, it likely suffered other damage as well. Perhaps the cylinder was damaged while it was off the gun. Do the numbers match?

    Replacement .455 cylinders are very hard to find.
     
  4. Hatchett

    Hatchett Member

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    The gun is actually an early "WG" model and indeed I thinking finding a replacement cylinder would be nearly impossible, and would be a shame since the numbers do indeed match. It also has not been converted to .45 ACP -- if it is a "bulge" in the chamber, I'm afraid someone did it with a full power .45 Colt round since they do seem to fit.

    I suppose someone who really knew what he was doing might be able to lathe a .455 piece of steel and force the chamber back into shape, but I'm thinking that might be extremely unsafe if it means the cylinder is structurally compromised -- someone down the line might not know its history and set it off like a grenade.

    But of course I don't know the precise physics of 19th century metalurgy. Basically I'm wondering if this poor Webley is good for anything but a display piece at this point.
     
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Contact Dixie Gun Works. They have been around for many years and are well known for their restoration of old firearms. Their aren't very many restoration guys that are as good as they are at keeping it looking original. You can find them on the internet just Google, Dixiegunworks.com
     
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Oh dear.
    That is a real loss to the Gun Culture.
    A friend has a WG and it is one of the nicer made revolvers going, of any era.
     
  7. Hatchett

    Hatchett Member

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    Yeah it's a charming gun even with the blown chamber. The seller agreed to a revised price when I pointed out the damage. Think I'll keep it as a nice display model if not a collector or a shooter.
     
  8. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    You never know about old guns like that. It may have been shot out of someone's hand. :)
     
  9. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    An able Smith could heat the Cylinder cherry 'red' in a rerduction Atmosphere, and, using a correctly shaped Stake or other form, dolly the offending Chamber back 'in' around a Mandril or whatever, or, move it 'out' using progressive dowels, and, then do a light reaming if need be...and or Tempering/Heat Treating, if called for.

    Close-enough...

    Stay with BP or 'reasonable' Loadings of Smokeless, thereafter...just to be nice.


    Mighta just got squished somehow...too, especially if appearing pushed 'in'.
     
  10. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    Oyeboten; Quote,
    An able Smith could heat the Cylinder cherry 'red' in a rerduction Atmosphere, and, using a correctly shaped Stake or other form, dolly the offending Chamber back 'in' around a Mandril or whatever, or, move it 'out' using progressive dowels, and, then do a light reaming if need be...and or Tempering/Heat Treating, if called for.

    Yep, what he said, Heating the cylinder and reforming back to the correct specs would be the way to go IMO.
     
  11. Hatchett

    Hatchett Member

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    Well if only for aesthetics' sake, I found a properly sized piece of metal and hammered it gently into the offending chamber to see if I couldn't open it up. Surprisingly a few quick taps and the chamber seems to have reformed back to exactly the right size at least to the naked eye. A .45 shell will now fit snugly in each chamber. It seems the bent portion was only near the top of the cylinder face around the ejector, I suppose where the metal is thinnest. I'm I correct in assuming it's probably not wise to fire it anyway?

    On a related note, can anyone suggest a place I might be able to get a replacement cylinder stop spring, or a decent substitute? I opened the revolver up today and someone appears to have tried to jury rig a replacement for a long lost spring with what looks to be a part of a hot wheels toy car.
     
  12. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    Well, it is usually not good to work Metal 'cold' or in the way you described where tension forces would be concentrated so narrowly, but, if it seemed to turn out alright, then, I guess the next thing to do is to see how it holds up.


    What era Webley is this? And, what Cartridge are you intendeing to use?
     
  13. Hatchett

    Hatchett Member

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    I think the serial number makes in a 1897 gun -- early commercial, pre any of the "MK" series. If I do shoot it I wouldn't think I'd try anything more than a generously down-graded black powder or equivalent hand load, probably in a .45 Colt case since they seem to fit.
     
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