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cylinder flutes

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Jim_100, Sep 6, 2008.

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  1. Jim_100

    Jim_100 Member

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    Why do many revolver cylinders have the grooves or flutes?
     
  2. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Flutes

    Originally they were designed to reduce the weight of the gun.
     
  3. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    To reduce the weight of the moving parts. The less rotating mass, the less stress on the mechanicals.
     
  4. Hunter0924

    Hunter0924 Member

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    I heard they helped disapte the smoke from black powder loads at the cylinder gap.
    I cannot say that is true but I understand they save weight and machining.
     
  5. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    And they look cool to boot. :)
     
  6. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    i think the question should more correctly read, "why don't all revolvers cylinder have flutes?" as most of them do.

    regardless of their original function, the modern use of them is to index the cylinder in your grasp while you reload with a speedloader...when loading in the dark or without looking
     
  7. Elvishead

    Elvishead Member

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    WOW! Never thought of that. Thanks, I'm going to have to start reloading in the dark now.
     
  8. JamesKelly

    JamesKelly Member

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    Flutes make the cylinder stronger.

    That metal where the flutes were, did nothing but concentrate stress to that point of the chamber on the outside diameter of the cylinder. Remove some useless metal there, i.e. flute the cylinder, and the chamber will expand more uniformly when fired, less concentration of stress.

    Don't believe this?--Chat with an experienced (preferably gray haired & non-aerospace) mechanical engineer.

    I can only speculate that William Ruger figured he used proper steel & didn't need the extra strength in his Blackhawk. Not fluting saves money, the added weight didn't hurt a .44mag, & to lots of customers the smooth cylinder looks meaner.

    Strength does have something to do with choice of steel and whether or not that steel is heat treated. A couple decades ago when I spoke with Ruger's metallurgist they sure had their stuff together. Some time ago S&W used quenched & tempered 4140 (chrome-moly), Colt used 4150 (a little more carbon) but did not heat treat it.

    Learnt my metallurgy in college + four decades in industry. College Prof used to work at Springfield Armory. He would come to class carrying an M1 rifle. Stripped it down & we would discuss in detail manufacturing process of each bloody part, piece by piece.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Some speculate flutes were originally added to provide for grasping the cylinder of black powder revolvers while wearing leather calvary gloves to assist in turning it when bound up with percussion cap fragments and black powder fouling in the heat of battle.

    Sounds as reasonable as "stronger" or "lighter".
    All early Colt C&B revolvers had unfluted cylinders for strength with the iron cylinders used then.
    However, there were a very few Colt 1860 Army Revolvers made in the "lightened" Texas model with cylinder flutes. The goal was to make use of spring steel of controlled carbon content and greater strength, but the fluted cylinder proved inadequate in strength, and sometimes exploded.(ibid Wilson) By the time the Colt 1862 Police came out, better steel and fluted cylinders were standard.

    By 1873, the famous Colt Single-Action Army cartridge revolver came out, and of course it had a fluted cylinder.

    By then, it could have been more for weight reduction then a hand grip.
    However, calvary troopers still wore heavy leather gauntlets & shot black powder, so a better gripping surface & indexing flutes while reloading still might have made more sense..

    At any rate, fluted cylinders have been used since cap & ball & SAA revolver days, and have become traditional now.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
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