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cylinder flutes

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by bdhawk, Dec 7, 2003.

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  1. bdhawk

    bdhawk Member

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    why do they cut flutes in revolver cylinders? do some folks think they look cool? do they dissipate heat better due to the increased surface area? i know they are not absolutely necessary 'cause a few do not have them. it looks like it would be cheaper to manufacture the revolver without them, saving a machining step. it looks like it would weaken the cylinder, too, removing metal so close to the bolt stop.
    i do not like them because they make revolvers harder to clean. i've always wondered about this, but couldn't figure it out.

    thanks bh
     
  2. uglygun

    uglygun Member

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    Lighter weight perhaps...


    All I know is that it is something that is more than a century old so if it's not neccesary then perhaps no other reason than for heritage and style.
     
  3. scott45b

    scott45b Member

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    On single action revolvers, the flutes make the manual indexing of the cylinder during loading easier. The practice of fluting the cylinder may have been carried over to the double actions for weight reduction.
     
  4. Holiday

    Holiday Member

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    I've always heard it was due to weight reduction. Consider this, if the CYLIDER is lighter, it takes less effort to turn it, so it is easier to cock the hammer in a single action and it makes double action trigger pulls easier. And as to makinf the cylinder weaker, if you look at the lock up notches on a revolver, most are right over the chamber. the metal is actually thinner here than below the flutes. Five shooters and Super Redhawks have offset notches.
     
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Flutes have no practical effect except in two areas - they reduce the revolver's overall weight, and some people like the looks. I believe Bill Ruger was one of the first to get away from them because he wanted to increase the weight of his Super Blackhawk to help control recoil. That, and an unfluted cylinder costs less to manufacture.
     
  6. bdhawk

    bdhawk Member

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    flutes

    i didn't think of the weight issue. less weight could speed up the cylinder rotation and make it shoot faster.
    most of the old blackpowder cap n ball like the 1851 colt navy were unfluted. the flutes seemed to show up 'bout the same time as metalic cartrages. the 1873 colt peacemaker had/has flutes, for instance.
    i guess what brought all this up was when i cleaned my mod. 10 smithy the other night. the flutes were a real P.I.T.A. to get clean.
     
  7. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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  8. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    At three seconds per flute and six flutes per cylinder, I figure the time investment is trivial.
     
  9. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Aesthetically ... a fluted cyl is i think more pleasing. Machining tho is obviously an operation that can be omitted and so - many plain cyls now.

    Some people think there is a strength factor .... on balance I'd say not ... and when I drew this small diag some time back ..... I was trying to show that for the most part .. cyl wall (chamber wall) is thinnest at periphery .... external wall. (This relates of course to things like Smith cyl notches right on thinnest and Ruger for example .. just offset.)

    If you then look at thickness around just one cyl .... and we assume only one fires at a time yeah!?

    Then you can see that even removal of material to make a flute will still leave a wall thickness usually in excess of that on the external wall... comparable in fact to max thickness between one chamber and its neighbor.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    The Colt 1862 Police revolver had fluted cylinders.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There were even a few 3rd Model Dragoons (1850) with full fluted cylinders.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    i believe the origin of the flutes was to facilitate turning the cylinder during reloading the SAA

    when i used to carry a wheelgun on duty, we used the flutes to help index the cylinder with the speedloaders when reloading in the dark. index finger between two rounds, in the speedloader, tip of thumb in cylinder flute...index finger finds thumb, rounds slide into chambers
     
  12. uglygun

    uglygun Member

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    when i used to carry a wheelgun on duty, we used the flutes to help index the cylinder with the speedloaders when reloading in the dark. index finger between two rounds, in the speedloader, tip of thumb in cylinder flute...index finger finds thumb, rounds slide into chambers



    Yes, completely forgot about that advantage. It does indeed help align the cartridges from a speed loader when using the method you describe. Been doing it so long, it's hard to think of doing it any other way.
     
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