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I need a hand...

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by .38 Special, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Pardon me on this subject, I beg to differ with you. These parts such as the hand, hammer,trigger and bolt stop all started off as soft parts. They are fitted as soft parts with files and such, then heat treated either case hardening or being heat hardened and tempered. If case hardened the surface is hard with a softer core. If the part is a tool steel and is tempered properly it is hard all the way through. Where the problem comes in is if the right temperature is missed during the tempering the part is either too hard or not hard enough. So if it's too hard it becomes brittle and can shatter. Most of the Italian pistol parts I have dealt with have been mild steel that was case hardened. If these parts are not re hardened the wear on them is much faster.
     
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  2. denster

    denster Member

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    Jackrabbit that is not correct. Generally you are correct on the hammer and trigger that are case hardened. The bolt is hardened then drawn to a spring temper and at that degree of hardness can be filed and fit. The hand however is not hardened neither before or after fitting as they are mild steel and their operation does not require them to be hard. Don't believe this. Take an old hand and file on it and you will see how easy it files. Now heat it cherry red and quench. If it were high carbon steel it would be glass hard and not able to be filed. However since it is not it will file just as easy as before. If you have a old bolt around try filing on it and you will note that while you can file it that it is not as easy as the hand. That is because the bolt is drawn to a spring temper from full hardness.
     
  3. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Strange how a file skipped off the hands I worked on until I went through the case hardened part of it, however if you want believe what you're saying who am I to argue. I know I will continue to heat treat hands that I work on. Rock on.
     
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  4. denster

    denster Member

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    Strange how you were able to file through case hardening that is harder than the file you are using. I should point out that if the manufacturer were going to harden the hands they would not case harden them but make them out of through hardening steel and draw back the temper. The purpose of case hardening is when you want a soft core that will withstand impact but have a glass hard surface to resist wear. Anyway they are your guns so you can do anything you want to them.
     
  5. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Jackrabbit, you are correct for the most part.
    I'm not going to pretend to know how certain manufacturers do certain processes or what different steels are used for what parts . . . that's not my job . . . ! My job is to make them work better, more efficiently, easier and with minimal wear over the revolvers lifetime. Therefore, I do certain things that I have been trained to do by those that know (not "think" they know). I learned from the same person that taught Eddie Janis (of "Peacemaker Specialists " fame) for which I'm eternally grateful!!
    As stated before, you can stretch a hand, but to make sure you don't crack or break it, you soften it. When done, you re-harden it. Even more so now because almost all my customers want a frame mounted handspring ( Ruger style)! That means the whole back side of the hand is a bearing surface. It has to be "hardened" so the "hardened" pushrod (long plunger) won't gouge or gall the hand. During hand "fitting" it is still soft so during test fitting you can see this happening. After fitting, the hand is "cleaned up" (resurfaced) , "hardened", de-scaled, dressed and finally polished! I'm sure denster sees no point in all this and it's probably wasted time but hey, it's my time and it results in a setup that has a main role in the overall" feel" and "life" of the revolver's tuning!! Guys, if it wasn't a necessary step in my work, I wouldn't be doing it!!! Heaven knows, I need the time if I can find it!!! (Just look at some of the post in this very forum!!!!!!). But as I said, I don't do "average" so if it takes time, then, it takes time!! By the way, my revolvers have won Ala., GA, and NC state championships, . . . (that's just a selfish plug for me!!!)!!

    So, just getting back to the "hardness" issue , the hardness test for a 1st gen. Colt SAA is RC 48-52 equivalent; 2nd gen. RC- 45 equivalent; 3rd gen. RC 47-50 equivalent. Uberti hands (early) RC 25-30 equivalent intermediate/late RC 28-32 equivalent, Armi San Marco hands RC 28-32 equivalent, Pietta ranged from RC 20-26 equivalent.(sourced from Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The Colt Single Action Revolvers A Shop Manual, Vol's. 1&2)
    The manufacturing of revolvers demands certain "minimums" and I would assume (as big an audience as both Uberti and Pietta have) these minimums include steels suitable for the job intended. I treat these parts as they should be treated whether the steels are correct or not (I ain't gonna make new parts folks!!), which means they are taken to a soft state, "fixed", and re- heat treated. This includes the screws supplied with the revolver, which respond accordingly . . . (a hard screw is a much better bearing surface than a soft screw (and yes, the steels used respond to heat treating!!)

    So far, all of the heat treating of parts done during tuning result in the desired result (as instructed (meaning by those that actually know)) and see absolutely no reason to take any advice from an unknown source!!!



    Mike

    Not to mention, anybody that has ever worked on Rugers (not a "spring changer") knows, if you even attempt to stretch an " as is ” hand (pawl), you can't. It WILL break!! You can soften it, stretch it, re-harden it, and reinstall it in a championship earning revolver!!! (I know this for a fact!!!) (and as far as that goes, Pietta's as well!!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
  6. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    I wont pretend to begin to know about the metallurgy of the parts. I can tune my revolvers to be very dependable and very slick feeling...thanks in part to the advice of Mike of Goons Guns and my own tinkering...and i know everyone on here can voice their opinions and give insight on knowledge theyve acquired over time working with these guns...we have all learned from one another...but id be hesitant to call mike out and tell him hes wrong or anyone else who has a very well respected reputation on modifying and working with these guns. The guy works on these guns for hours a day and has for years and has a solid reputation for building some of the best tuned award winning guns of professionals. How many people part of this very conversation can say they acheived the same? Anyone? I know i havent. So im confident in saying im sure Mike knows what hes talking about.
     
  7. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Mike, you make a good point. What the previous post missed was that pieces that I had skipped a file off of were case hardened and once that was broken through the file bit just fine. I have to agree with you about hardened pieces being better bearing surfaces. I use Kasenit quite a bit as I don't have an oven anymore for tempering and I almost always miss the color change if using a torch for the drawing part. Not sure why that fellow is getting so wrapped around the axle over this.
     
  8. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Hey mike i have a question...now ive never used a gun or a cap n ball revolver that has a hand that uses a spring and plunger/push rod. I use stock hands and the new pietta hands seem to do just fine and seem to be of great quality....atleast the newer ones are. Now i have replaced the little flat spring on one of the hands with a wire spring...i just pulled out the broken flat spring and placed a wire in its place and it works great and is least likely to break. So thats the only modification to the hand that i have done...although is there any benefit to using a plunger/pushrod operated hand than one that is a stock flat spring operated hand? Does it "feel" the same or is it "smoother" operating? Is it just done for longevity and reliability due to flat springs breaking? As ive stated...ive never used a cap n ball gun that has the push rod operated hand...if only that modification was made and compared to a stock gun...would a difference be noticed? Thanks again Mike.
     
  9. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Outlawkid,
    Yes there is a benefit and a difference! One benefit is the high probability that you'll never replace a handspring!! In a competition gun, you stack all the advantages in your favor if you can! Another is the fact that the hand stays in contact with the ratchet at all times which will give you the most consistent action cycle ever!! The flat spring (depending on its shape and amount of tuning) can sometimes lose contact with the back of the channel and give a difference in the cylinder carryup (rotation). With a soft hand, this is where minute wear can start and develop (over a short period of time) into a significant problem very quickly!! Another benefit is less resistance as the cycle continues to full cock which helps when minimizing hammer draw weight.
    One negative is the possibility of introducing cylinder throw-by. As the cycle continues with a frame mounted h.s., the influence of the compression spring is less and less (hence the problem). On the contrary, with a flat spring (orig. setup) the spring rides with the hand and is compressed more and more as the cycle continues. This helps keep throw-by in check. This is why I use a "pushrod" (longer plunger) and a stouter spring to more mimic the flat setup and not have the "Ruger run around" problem or the "beauty ring" Rugers are famous for!!

    So obviously, the difference will be a smoother felt action while allowing a "lighter" action but with a "positive" hand engagement!!
    Set up properly, I think the positives outweigh the negatives!!

    Mike
     
  10. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I did that with a Webley Mark IV .455 and my old Remington 1858 which worked out fine.
    I tried with a 1978 Ruger Blackhawk and broke the hand in two.
    (Gotta soften those with a torch first. :oops: )
     
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  11. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Thank you sir! Ive always wondered about the hand spring pushrod option. I think im going to start replacing all my hand flat springs with round spring. Nothing fancy like using a pushrod...just using a .025 guage wire or somethin in the exact shape and place of the flat spring...should add longevity. Mr.Mike I also have a question about some pricing for work you do, ill pm you
     
  12. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    That's fine Outlaw and I understand you want longevity but it's not hard to do the coil conversion for the hand. You just need a drill press.
    Just a little food for thought for you folks - the "wire" springs that folks replace the flats with (as opposed to coils) are basically a modern version of the flat springs, just a different shape of stock material. They break too. They also "stack" like flats because they have about the same range of operation. I think you get better feedback with the flats "tuned" rather than a softer, wire spring replacement. But then again, it's a personal thing . . .

    Mike
     
  13. damoc

    damoc Member

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    You can get some hardening in mild steel and it can make a great difference in some applicatons. I had this same argument from another old member here and did a video to prove him wrong.
     
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  14. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    damoc, great illustration and thanks for posting the video!! I know folks get all excited about what they "know" only to later find out they don't know everything . . . I know that if I don't anneal hands before stretching, they will crack and more than likely break. Most definitely Ruger hands (pawls) are the hardest (pun intended!!) to work with!!
    This is an old "word of mouth" argument (about hardening the hand) that gets perpetuated by those that "know" as well. In fact, (early on) I asked Mr Jim Martin about this very thing and of course he told me if you don't harden the hand, you'll always have problems . . . It's never been my point to prove him wrong and needless to say, adhering to his teaching and methods have proven him a most worthy "Professor"!!

    Thanks again,
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  15. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    VTI gun parts. if their is a wolf wire spring for that one on the underside do that also. cant emagine why you cant fix it. i have several uberti colts and only one that a hands spring slipped out. easy fix. bought a couple of extra hands from VTI incase it happens again. the colts are simple guns that are easy to fix. why would you stetch a hand if for low dollar you can buy a new one. also get the nipples that are stainless steel and have a relief hole in them. better than the ones that come with it.
     
  16. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    BHP FAN wrote regarding changing out a hand spring: "...I like to reuse the original hand to preserve the stock timing. When I can't, I still save the old one as a ''template'' to file the new one down to." --->>> https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/revolver-hand-spring-repair.728013/#post-9102705

    I think that he's trying to say that it makes it more difficult to fit a new hand without having the old one [intact] to use as a template.
    Or try to make a template or tracing of the original hand before you damage it too much by dickering with it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  17. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    I just finished making a 2 stage hand for an old ASM 1851. It's made from a mild steel and case hardened. The original hand was ok, just wanted to see if this could be done. I used piano wire to make the spring. Got all this done and found the trigger is short. Go figure.
     
  18. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    What is the symptom of a trigger that is too short?
     
  19. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    What is a two stage hand? Im pretty sure im picturing the correct image as ive seeb old orignal colt hands that had two "points" on them. What is the purpose of them?
     
  20. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    The ratchet on a cap gun cylinder is too big in circumference to make use of a "2 fingered hand". The 2 finger hand is needed with small circumference ratchets (such as cartridge conversions and " normal" S.A. cartridge revolvers). Reducing the arbor in a Colt pattern revolver allowed the cylinder to be reduced in circumference which also means the ratchet as well because of the larger rim diameter.
    This is the reason for the "too short trigger". The hand would have to locate closer to the arbor (which it can't) and the ratchet would have to be re-cut with the teeth in-between where they are now. The length of cycle is determined by the sear / full cock relationship. You need to go back to the correct single fingered hand. (Nothing wrong with a single fingered hand by the way. It's a function of " size of ratchet/tooth layout")

    As far as needing to stretch a hand (catman42), hands are not drop-in parts and if they are, you've got other problems. Hands are over sized and need to be fitted (in a correct/normal revolver). Fine tuning means more than normal (because of closer tolerance settings) " massaging " which is why I posted earlier about having to stretch 90+% of the hands in revolvers I tune. There's a lot of slop in a factory revolver.

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  21. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Hey Mike thanks for your insight and reply. I made the two finger hand mainly to see if I could make it work, it does but still a work in progress. What I believe to be a short trigger has to do with half cock and sear engagement and where the trigger positions in the guard, way forward at half cock. Could be hammer notch miscut or possibly the trigger itself is a tad short. Any thoughts?
     
  22. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Jackrabbit,
    The key is it's ASM and you say it's an old one. Those two things are what keep folks from working on "old" copies anymore. Most "Smith's" will only work on new guns (I may end up doing that myself). So, it could very well be a somewhat worn sear or, just "the way it was" from factory. I've worked on a few like that (feels like they want to trap your finger when cycling!!).
    As far as the 2 fingered hand, it doesn't give you any advantage because of the 10 o'clock and 8 o'clock position of the ratchet teeth (with cyl in battery). They are centered in the middle of the chamber which means one tooth is "in play" throughout carry-up. On a cartridge cylinder, such as the Peacemaker (et.al.), there isn't any room for the ratchet to be centered in the chamber so it is in-between chambers which means the tooth will move out of position and the next tooth will enter into position. This means you need a finger to start carry-up and another to finish carry-up. This means the start and finish position of a ratchet tooth is 9 o'clock (which is 90deg. of vert.movement which is the strongest position to be in) in a 6 shot cyl config.

    Mike
     
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  23. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Again thanks Mike, as I stated earlier this was simply to see if I could make a hand this way and have it work. The trigger does try to pinch your finger when cocking. I have not figured out if it's short or a geometry thing. One thing at a time.
     
  24. Remy1858

    Remy1858 Member

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    I bought a new Uberti Pocket Navy recently, same gun as yours but with the older style barrel.

    It was so awful I packed it up and sent it back for a refund. Night and day difference between it and my Uberti 1858 Remington, which is an excellent gun.
     
  25. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Ummmm . . . Colt pattern vs Remington pattern? Yeah, a little bit of difference . . .
    I understand what you're saying but to compare one design reproduced basically correctly (Remies) vs another design (Colt open tops) never correctly reproduced, is a bit of a stretch!!

    Mike
     
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