Cylinder hand problems

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Monac, Jul 15, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,378
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    I have two different revolvers with the same problem: The cylinder hand fails to advance the cylinder properly sometimes while actually shooting either gun. This happens on both SA and DA. It is not apparent when the gun is empty.

    The first gun is a late type of Iver Johnson top-break, a Model 67 .22 target revolver from the 1950's-60's. It is in excellent condition externally, but when shooting, it misfires at least half the time due to the cylinder not advancing and the hammer striking the previously fired cartridge case.

    The second is an Astra Cadix, an inexpensive J-frame sized revolver from the 1960's. It is a 38 Special with a 4-inch barrel and adjustable sights. (I got it because S&W never made a 38 Special Kit Gun, and this was the closest I could find.) It has exactly the same problem, but less often, maybe 1 time out of 3 or 4.

    In both guns the cylinder ratchet looks good, although the cuts on the Iver Johnson ratchet are kind of shallow - it is an 8 shot gun. I assume the problem with both is the hand, although I am very much NOT a gunsmith.

    Is this an expensive problem to get fixed? How hard is it to find gunsmiths who will work on forgotten models like these? Is it worth doing with guns of modest value like these?

    The Cadix is a lot like an S&W externally and has a sideplate, but the internal mechanism is different. I removed the sideplate and cleaned and oiled the innards after discovering the problem, but it didn't help.

    The IJ has no sideplate - everything is inserted from below and pinned in, I guess. I oiled it as best I could, but also to no effect.

    On both of them, when they DO fire, they do no spit lead, which kind of confuses me about the problem.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,074
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    The most likely problem is a broken or weak hand spring.

    It is the spring that pushes the hand forward to engage the cylinder ratchet.

    Far as I know, hand springs are not available for either of your guns.
    So a gunsmith would have to make them.

    The cost would exceed the value of the guns, unless you can find a amateur gunsmith willing to take on such a project, more for experience then monetary gain.

    rc
     
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,847
    Failure to index is a common problem with those IJ and H&R revolvers, in part because of the problem you mention, shallow ratchet teeth and a poorly designed ratchet system. That, combined with a hand that tends to wear and springs that tend to break and you have a recipe for problems.

    The Cadix has a lot in common with the S&W and any gunsmith who can work on an S&W should be able to work on a Cadix. They used two different hand spring types, one a spring inside the trigger like the S&W, the other a flat spring sort of like the Manurhin.

    But getting a gunsmith to work on either may be a problem. The IJ is not complicated, but fixing one tends to be tedious and frustrating. One of the more common problems is that it is a cheap gun, and few gunsmiths want to invest a couple of hours in fixing one, quote a price that comes nowhere near the time and labor cost, then have the customer tell him, "Keep it, it isn't worth that!"

    Jim
     
  4. Malamute

    Malamute Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    3,170
    Location:
    Rocky Mts
    If one is fairly handy, you may be able to figure out exactly whats up with each. If its wear, you may be able to get a really good machine/welding shop to micro-weld up the worn surface, and you can carefully work it back down until it works.

    The problem with a real gunsmith is as Jim K mentioned, it quickly ends up eating time and money, and nobody wants to pay as much or more than the gun is worth to fix it, and gunsmiths dont like working for free.
     
  5. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,378
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    Thanks, rcmodel, Jim K, and Malamute. It had not occurred to me that a spring could be the problem, which sounded encouraging, but it still sounds like the cost of repairs could exceed the value of the guns.

    I have a friend who is a good amateur gunsmith, but he prefers to work on automatic pistols, probably for some of the reasons described here. Maybe I will take the sideplate off the Cadix and show it to one or two of the local gunsmiths (there are not many, really).

    I am very glad to learn more about how these guns work, even though the news is not good, so thanks again for replying. I suppose I could get a few bucks selling them to a parts dealer like Numrich.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    23,907
    Location:
    Arizona
    Numrich (www.gunpartscorp.com) might have a spring for the Iver Johnson, but I suspect it would come (and cost) with a new hand attached.

    The Cadix is a long shot, but you never know. Won't hurt to ask.

    PS: A quick check reveals that Numrich lists the parts you need for both revolvers. ;)
     
  7. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,378
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    Thanks, Old Fuff! Having parts would make getting them serviceable again more practical. I'm surprised there's anything out there for the Model 67. They seem to be pretty scarce.
     
  8. Coyote3855
    • Contributing Member

    Coyote3855 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,814
    Location:
    Wyoming
    My first handgun was an Iver Johnson Trailsman 66 purchased new in 1960. It went back to the factory twice for the problem you describe and the failure to properly index the cartridge under the firing pin. It never worked correctly and after the second trip, my Dad let me trade it for the Ruger Single Six I wanted in the first place. I don't know anything about the Astra, but my experience with the IJ 66 led me to never keep an unreliable firearm. If you like to tinker with guns, these might make an interesting project. I predict the IJ will never work correctly.
     
  9. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,378
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    Dang. Well, that explains why the Iver Johnson 66/67s are scarce. They must have gotten a bad reputation right away. Poor Iver Johnson, they probably really had hopes for these guns; they were the most modern pistols they produced after WWII.

    I think the 66 and 67 are identical except that the 67 has transfer bar ignition and the 66 does not.

    Thanks for writing, Coyote3855. I've never read anything by anyone who has first hand experience with these guns.

    BTW, Masaad Ayoob wrote a book about his favorite pistols that has a chapter on the Thompson-Center Contender. In passing, he mentions that Warren Center had some involvement with the design of these Iver Johnsons!
     
  10. Coyote3855
    • Contributing Member

    Coyote3855 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,814
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Monac, my Dad pushed me to the IJ because he had one when he was younger. I think his was a called a Sealed Eight because it was 8 shot and the cartridge rims were countersunk. Well, the cylinder was countersunk to accept the rims, but you know what I mean. The 66 certainly had some appeal: eight shots, break open with auto ejection, adjustible sights. It wasn't pretty, and started misbehaving in the first few hundred rounds. I haven't seen either a 66 or 67 in years.
     
  11. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,378
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    My father was like that with High Standard; he had a High Standard Model C back in the 1930's, and it was very accurate. He chose the C, which took 22 Shorts, because Shorts were $.02 cheaper per box than 22 Long Rifles. I wanted a revolver to start with, though, and I liked the H&R 999 better than the High Standard Sentinel, so that became my first pistol.

    Ejection may be another difference between the IJ Models 66 and 67; my 67 has a manual ejector, which is an odd feature in an top break revolver. I think H&R made some guns that way too.
     
  12. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,847
    Both IJ and H&R needed the same thing - a complete "white paper" redesign of their entire handgun line. But that takes capital, and lots of it, and with low prices and low sales volume, neither company ever had enough money. So they tweaked here, and twitched there and ended up with minor improvements to a 19th century design that was never the best in the first place.

    And when the big push for gun control put a major crimp in gun sales, the weaker companies went under.

    Jim
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice