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CVA colt .44- cant get barrel wedge in!

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by radd, May 20, 2006.

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  1. radd

    radd Member

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    I'm trying to finish this pistol and I cant get the barrel wedge in. It goes almost all the way through then it cants to the side and wont come out the other end. Do I need to remove some material off the barrel? The instructions for this are a little vague to me in the booklet.
    Forum search didnt help much but sorry if this has already been posted.
    Thanks
     
  2. Tight_Wad

    Tight_Wad Member

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    Have you worked out where the wedge is hanging up - frame or arbour? Try the wedge in the frame without the rest if the gun fitted and see if the wedge passes through, then try the same with the separate arbour slot. If it passes through both when separated but not when joined it suggests a slot alignment problem to me. Once you know exactly what is causing the problem you should be able to work out the solution.

    Good luck

    Tight Wad :)
     
  3. edggy

    edggy Member

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    Tightwad, How much of the wedge should protrude on the opposite side. I
    just read that if you go in too deep with the wedge the action won't work.
    But here again that was in reference to a Colt Walker.
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    STOP!!!

    The wedge isn't supposed to go all of the way through! You only drive it in far enough to hold the barrel. The extra is to take up wear over time goes by. And yes, it should be slightly slanted. Before driving in the wedge be sure that the barrel and frame are tight together at the bottom. Then tap in the wedge so only a little bit comes through on the other side.
     
  5. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    And yes, it should be slightly slanted.

    Good grief, it IS a wedge! A wedge is, by definition, a piece that is thinner on the entry end than at the back. That is its pupose. To draw something up, or to lift something up.

    If you are going to remove any material, do it to the wedge, they are 3 to 5 bucks, barrels are something like 70. Man, I wish I had your problem, my wedge is too wide. I can file or mill that down. A skinny wedge requires a wider wedge, and probably a more expensive wedge.

    Cheers,

    George
     
  6. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    What Old fluff said is exactly right with emphasis on "STOP" LoL! A wedge usually starts out going in to the point that the right side of the barrel assy. has the wedge about flush or a hair more.
    All you need to do is push it in with a thumb or the heel of your hand...as long as it stays in you are good to go. Get yourself an 1858 Remington and you won't have to worry about a wedge.;)
     
  7. Tight_Wad

    Tight_Wad Member

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    The further you drive in the wedge the closer it will bring the barrel in to the cylinder. If you drive it in too far you'll end up with no clearance between them and the cylinder will bind.

    I suggest you get yourself a lightweight brass headed hammer - about 4oz - and a feeler gauge. Tap the wedge in until you achieve a gap of around five thou (0.005") between barrel and cylider, then you'll have it set up about right.

    Bear in mind that on the Colt guns, the barrel is all that stops the cylinder moving forwards and therefore controls what's known as 'end float'. If you have too large a gap, when the hammer falls it's impact will be absorbed in pushing the whole cylider forwards until it's stopped by the barrel. This will often result in a mis-fire.

    Tight Wad
     
  8. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Somehow we're going about this all wrong.

    The wedge won't go through. That means the slot in the arbor and the slot in the frame window are out of line. The wedge drives against the arbor slot, at the front, and when you drive it further, it cants back so much that it hits the frame window on the right side of the barrel, can't go into the other side of the window, to lock properly.

    Driving the wedge, with a feeler guage, to get proper clearance, just means you have an improperly fitted arbor, too short. If you can tap the wedge and close up the barrel/cylinder gap, any, let alone enough to lock up the cylinder, you got a bad gun. (Man, how I hate to keep saying that, and how I hate that many of you think the barrel assembly should "float" on the arbor, you get to adjust your clearance.)

    To the OP, if you have over about 1/16 of arbor showing in the front of the frame window, you CAN file or grind a little to allow the wedge to go all the way through, just try to stop when it JUST enters the other side of the barrel assembly. No sense filing so much you need a new wedge in 6 weeks. If you can't get it into the whole slot, try filing the wedge down, first, if you can get it to lock up, bye'm'bye, you will wear in enough that a new wedge should fit.

    The wedge will ALWAYS cant back. You mate up with the arbor at that diameter, you mate with the 2 sides of the barrel assembly window on both sides, has to cant, slant, to the rear, single contact at the front, contact on both sides of the barrel assembly window at the rear.

    Cheers,

    George
     
  9. radd

    radd Member

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    thanks all for the replies, sorry I couldnt reply back sooner.
    I think gmtaov has described my problem (better than I did, doh!). The wedge is getting hung up on the inside of the frame. And I can see that there is probably more than 1/6" of the arbor in the front of the frame window. The wedge will fit the frame window, and the arbor slot, just not at the same time.
    I looked at it last night, took the whole thing apart again. And was thinking that the arbor may be too long. So maybe I was on the right track.
    My question now is: Should I file the front of the arbor (the cylinder that inserts in the frame) or the inside of the arbor slot?

    Sorry for my poor terminology, still a noob at these. gonna have to get in the habit of taking my camera to the shop with me too so I can have some pics to post!
    Thanks again for everybody's participation.
    radd

    eidt: also where do ya'll recommend getting new wedges from? looks like I'll be needing one, or two.
    Thanks again.
     
  10. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    Radd what make is it? When you push the wedge in is the barrel assy. properly fitted against the frame.(i.e. no gaps) if so leave it alone and shoot it. That's the way they are made. By no means do you need to file and mess up the wedge. If you have it in far enough and it's solid you are ok. It will break in and loosen up in time. Unless the arbor to barrel assy. is over bottomed there is no problem, and you see a gap. If it were overbottomed you wouldn't file or replace the wedge you would have to take down the length of the arbor (cly. pin) itself... and then I would suggest returning it for another one from where you bought it.
     
  11. radd

    radd Member

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    smokin_gun
    Made by CVA, I think its like this one:
    [​IMG]

    The second one down on this page:

    http://possibleshop.com/kit-cap-ball.htm

    Except mine didnt come with any blue parts, I got it about 10+ years ago as a gift. I was able to get it fully assembled/timed except for the wedge and the plunger holder(?), then it got put back in the case and shelved. Got it when you could still buy firearms at Service Merchandise, makes me feel old.

    I'm going to post some pics of the issue tonight or tommorrow, just to clarify, before I do anything to it.

    Thanks
     
  12. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    Is the plunger in the kit bag?
    I think your wedge is ok the way it is. Now as long as it goes thru the arbor to the barrel assy it's good, but it doesn't have to go all the way thru. Optimum is to see the wedge flush, but a couple three thou won't hurt it. A couple taps may put it flush to the barrel and that won't hurt it. Remember I said taps.
    I didn't realize it was a kit. Have you done bluing...or browning/antique finnishes. That would be a candidate for the "Old West" look. Maybe someone here has instructions for the Antique finnish for you to follow.
    I kinda like that look and seems to be easier than a perfect bluing job.
    Be a lookin' for the pics.
     
  13. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Radd,

    Good grief, Sevice Merchandise? They've been out of business at least 10 years. You ARE an old fart, aren't you? (I might be a little older, so don't take the heat.)

    When you assemble this thing, without the wedge in place, how much room is there between the cylinder and the barrel?. Much or not much?

    If a ton, you might, just might, have a too long arbor/cylinder pin. We simply do not know. Take a few pics when you do get it and the camera in the same place at the same time.

    Your link to "like these" was shocking. About 30-40 bucks less than a pre-built pistol from any reputable maker. I, for one, would rather buy one pre-made and polished/blued, than a grab bag of parts that had to be assembled, fitted, polished, blued.

    Hey, that's the way I DO buy them, so no problem.

    A 32 cal rifle, now, I would consider a kit.

    Cheers,

    George
     
  14. radd

    radd Member

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    Hey,
    alright I took some pics:
    w/owedge
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    w/ wedge
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see that the cylinder is pretty much up agains the barrel. I should have put something white behind the frame window, but I think you can see that the front of the arbor is not lined up with the window. The wedge is getting hung up on the inside of the frame.
    Also dont mind the surface rust :eek: I think it will all come off and it should finish up just fine.

    Sorry if I didint mention it was a kit, been extremely busy week, my multi-tasking is multiply kickin my butt :banghead:

    Thanks for all the help this has been a great forum.
     
  15. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    Good pics Radd. After seeing those I'd say it may be an over bottomed arbor. I say may be only because there is no gap between the forcing cone of the barrel and cylinder with out the wedge in. Should be at least a .002" to .006" gap. The wedge can't go in any farther as the barrel is hitting the cylinder and the brass frame at the locating pins. Will have to check th end of the arbor to see if it's bottomed or not on the inside. If it isn't bottomed I would lap the cylinder down or face the forcing cone back a .002". then fit the wedge.
    Dang that's a good one I smell smoke. Hope this helped some.


    Radd I'm gonna try to send a friend over here to look at your dilema...he's a dang good gunsmith.
    Let me see if I can reach him.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2006
  16. pohill

    pohill Member

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    wedge

    Like SG said, the wedge will go in without filing. I have several guns with a wedge that goes in crooked. Work it work it...give it a downward whack, then a straight in whack, or tip the barrel up with your hand...whatever it takes to get it in. Don't file, don't drive it in too far...welcome to the world of Colt.
    Yeah, SG, it's me...
     
  17. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    Howdy Pohill(Wedgemeister)...recognized ya. Everything dryin' out over your way? Hope so, then you can train that Colt 1861 Navy. Dang it that's a nice one. Ya got me eyeballing Even Cabelas catalog, there 1861 navy I think is a Uberti price is like $239.99. From the pic it looks like the same finnish my 1851Navy has along with Walnut grips.
    Catch ya back at camp.
     
  18. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Radd,

    Your wedge still looks too wide to me.

    The picture with the wedge started shows little clearance on the "in" side.
    The top down picture shows about 15 deg cant, too much.
    The pic of the "out" side shows about 1/5 of the wedge hitting the inside of the barrel asembly. Some of the pics seem to show gap at the barrel frame mating faces, some don't show any gap. Could be the ones that do are from mismatches of the "kit" feature of the pistol, need some filing polishing, and blending in. Same for the cylinder gap. If you showed a gap at the faces and the cylinder gap was not there, could be the barrel is too long to the rear, I don't think that is one of the things they would let a kit gun go to a hobbyist with. That is more than most kit builders would be expected to be able to fix.

    As far as the cylinder gap, for the hell of it, is the hammer holding the cylinder forward to close the gap? As has been mentioned, the barrel is all that stops the cylinder from going forward too far, but it SHOULD, hell, HAS TO show no gap when held forward. Like the guy above said, that's all that holds it back. Well, yeah, it does, but that is the design of it.

    One thing you haven't said is that the cylinder locks up, so I am assuming it does not.

    I still think your wedge is too wide. Ala Chicoine, and thank you for your dimensions, Dave, the Colt '51 and '60 wedge is .475 on the front and .525 on the rear, and is 1.075 long. You mention "shop" a couple times. Hope that means you have measuring tools to measure the wedge.

    Regardless of the wedge dimensions, if the dimensions of the slots in both the arbor and barrel window are too small the wedge will still have to be filed down. You have arbor metal showing in the front side of the window. I like that. I would sooner make or modify a wedge to fit than to modify the pistol parts to suit the wedge. The wedge is a throwaway part, the wear and get replaced. The main parts of the pistol are not throwaway parts.
    Cheers,

    George
     
  19. radd

    radd Member

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    thanks everyone

    well after some consideration I decided to work on the wedge. I got it to fit and the pistol functions pretty good. It worked flawlessy unitil I took it all apart to see if I did something wrong, before I posted this question. I put it back together and it still works but every once in a while it wont catch on the second click:confused: . I'll have to take it apart again to see what I did wrong.

    So now all I got to do some sanding and put a finish on it. Think I'm gonna take smokin_gun's advice and do an antique finish on it. Then get the stuff and learn how to shoot it!
    I appreciate everyones input and putting up with a noob.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Hey, Noob,

    Take it out and shoot it, now that you got it together.

    THEN, do your antiquing.

    First, slip 6 caps on the nipples and step out the door and see if they snap off. Then, go to the range and shoot a few cylinders full.

    THEN, decide if you want to ruin the appearance.

    To me, they look best in the blue, and any flaws cleaned and reblued. Gunmetal is supposed to be blue-black. It is only the British and I think, also, the US forces in the "War of Northern Aggression" who thought that the troops would be less idle if they had unblued firearms, prone to rust, that they had to keep spotless, just to keep idle hands busy.

    Blue is best, I don't care how many like the uncared for look.

    Cheers,
    George
     
  21. dwave

    dwave Member

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    Blued is not best, what is best is what you want.
     
  22. radd

    radd Member

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    geez George, you do sound like an old fart!;) (reference to earlier post ;) )

    Thanks for advice though. I think I'm still a good ways away from finishing, this thing is pretty rough around the edges. I guess it would be a good idea to go ahead and get the rest of the stuff and see how it shoots.

    I had never seen an antique finish on one of these pistols before and thought it looked a little more unique, but I'm not sure I want my first one to look like a British replica since I'm not British. I'll have to research it I guess.

    Where is the best source for parts and shooting supplies that most of ya'll use? I saw that numrich's has parts but the barrel wedge assembly is like 30 bucks. Anybody else carry these.

    Thanks again to all that replied, I appreciate it.
     
  23. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Go to:

    www.dixiegunworks.com

    Be sure to order a copy of their catalog - over 700 pages :what: for $5.00.:)

    But I warn you... This stuff is very adictive. :evil:
     
  24. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Dwave,

    You're right, what you like is what you should go for. Others have said the same thing to me, THEY like "defarbed", so, go ahead. I don't like it but it's not my pistol.

    Radd,

    Hell, I am an old fart. I should have put a couple smileys after that Noob thing. It wasn't meant to be a noob downer, just to tell you to enjoy it as is, shoot it a while, then do whatever you want with it. Change the color, shorten it, whatever.

    When you've done that, go get another one. One ain't gonna be enough.

    Cheers,

    George

    Forgot to say, Go to http://www.thegunworks.com/ They carry most of the CVA parts, and their prices are reasonable, and shipping pretty quick.
     
  25. dwave

    dwave Member

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    gmatov, I agree with you about guns being blued myself, but really in the end it doesn't matter what you or I think. It comes down to what he wants. Me personally I would blue it too.
     
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