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Hammering the frame. Help!

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by kBob, Jan 24, 2013.

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  1. kBob

    kBob Member

    Jun 11, 2006
    North Central Florida
    So working on Straw Hats loader for my brass frame PR 1849 I found an issue that caused me to check three other Brass fram Colt style guns.

    The hardened steel hammer is hitting the left side (from shooters view) of the frame slot for the hammer and has made a divot such that slowly lowering the hammer allows me to feel the hammer hit the divot then slide up and out as it continues forward.

    Three guns have such divots and two of those are quite noticable when slowly lowering the hammer and the remaining on barely noticable some times.

    This has got to effect accuracy. Other than getting rid of Brassers and buying steel framed guns (ha, beat you guys to it) what might I do?

    I am considering filing or sanding the frame down to allow the hammer to fall without making contact. But is that going to work and not foul up the guns.

    My other option I have consider is going "Hmmm, that's intersting" and ignoring it.

    Take a look.


    Attached Files:

  2. Smokin'Joe

    Smokin'Joe Member

    Jan 16, 2011
  3. BCRider

    BCRider Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
    The choice of brass or steel isn't the issue. Instead it's a case of correcting the slop or misalignment of the hammer or pin that is allowing the hammers to travel such that they impact the side of the frame like this.

    If the pin is a sloppy fit and the mainspring tension is pushing it to one side this will occur. Strip the grip frame off the gun and try wiggling the hammer side to side when it's drawn back. If you can wiggle it around and then by pushing to the side cause it to ride on the opening where the mark is then my suggestion is to get it fixed so it can't do that. It may be as simple as a couple of shims such as Joe used or it may be that your hammer needs to be bushed and re-drilled with a closer fitting hole or that a better fitting pin screw is needed.

    Either way you are very right that it's going to affect a lot of things. But it ain't going to get better until it's fixed.

    Of the options I would suggest that a better fitting pin is the easiest and least expensive. But it likely means having someone make a new pin on a lathe from drill rod then harden and temper it to make it useable.

    I prefer this option over wiggle reduction washers made from shim stock as a better fitting pin will produce a more consistent trigger feel as the hammer would be more consistently supported in position. But side shims to aid in keeping the wiggly hammer centered in the slot are certainly easier and something that can be done by any decently handy person.

    There's any number of easily found sources for suitable shim stock to make the spacers from. Pop/beer can side material is tough stuff and is .010 thick on all the examples I've checked. Brass shim stock sold under the K&S name can also be found in neat small 4x8 sheets from hobby shops that cater to model airplane and model railroaders. And likely at most Micheal's shops. K&S offers a sampler pack with a variety of thicknesses which would be the way to go for this sort of deal.

    Of course there's any number of plated steel shim options to be found in the pantry as well. Just have a can of soup or beans then wash and cut up the can and see if a pair of shim washers from that source will work. Tin can stock seems to be up around .015 to .020 thick.

    You can drill the center holes neatly by clamping the metal between two pieces of fairly hard wood or plywood or MDF or something of the sort. Then trim around the holes to create the shape needed to fit the frame and not foul any other parts of the action.
  4. Gatofeo

    Gatofeo Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Remote Utah desert
    Brass frame IS the issue.
    I've been shooting cap and ball revolvers for more than 40 years.
    Long ago I noticed an inescapable fact: almost all brass-framed cap and ball revolvers are not nearly as well made as their steel-framed counterparts.
    They are not as finely fit, finished and polished. Brass is an inferior material for parts on guns that are under stress, such as frames.
    If you can get your revolver to work correctly, then use it but don't load it with full charges.
    Take it as a lesson: brass-framed guns are less expensive than their steel-framed counterparts because manufacturers do not invest as much time, effort and proper materials in them.
    Within its limitations, a brass-framed revolver is fine for learning the basics of cap and ball shooting, but expect to fiddle with it out of the box. Few steel-framed revolvers require as much tinkering to set right.
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Not quite the problem described, but the frame on a percussion revolver acts as the hammer stop. Set up right, the hammer will not touch the nipples; it will stop just shy of the nipples and the caps will be thick enough to make up the difference.

    But obviously, a brass frame is not going to stand up to as much battering as an iron/steel frame, so it will peen in the hammer slot even if the hammer hits directly and doesn't wander off to the side.

    That was understood in the old days; the C.S. accepted brass frames out of necessity, and some makers used them on what they considered low use guns, but no one thought they were as good as iron or steel.

  6. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Another thing to check for is a bent hammer screw. Turn the screw out a quarter or half turn and see if it helps.
  7. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    New York
    Had a similar issue with a "pre-quality" Pietta. Next time you have the hammer out, you might want to check the pivot hole for perpendicularity by finding a number drill that will fit in the hammer pivot hole and, using a precision square, check it for an accurate 90-degree angle with the side of the hammer. You can also perform this check on the drill press by chucking the drill bit and roating the chuck by hand (no power, please!) and checking for wobble by eye or with an indicator. Mine was off considerably, so I drilled and reamed an over sized hole in the hammer and pressed in a stainless steel bushing, then reamed it to the correct size. Sorry, but I don't remember the numbers.
    As mentioned previously, check that the mainspring is applying tension directly along the centerline, without a twisting moment. A mangled-up or misaligned hammer roller can also do this. I replaced mine with a tiny metric roller bearing.
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