loading levers (gear tooth vs. direct)

Not open for further replies.


Oct 23, 2007
Southwestern, Ohio out in the country about 40 mil
I've never owned the earlier models of colt so I've never been able to compare the early direct plunger loading press with the geared "creeping" loading lever press. Is there any advantage to the later "creeping" lever as on the 1860,1861, and 1862 revolvers?
I don't think so. If anything, I think the earlier type, as on the '51 Navy, is a little smoother. The "improved" version is clever, and more mechanically sophisticated, but both work fine.
Hello, I have read where there is not alot of metal under those "holes" where the creeping type lever engages..if using a too hard lead alloy, or oversized ball there are reports of dimpling in bottom of bore. Never have seen it myself though.
I wonder if there is a clever way to compare the mechanical advantage of the two? If the loading levers were the same length from the pivot screw to the end one could use some sort of weight scale to compare the effort to seat a like ball and charge.
I'm probably working up a reason to buy a dragoon to compare with my 1860 Army.
The later style was made to alow the ram to have a longer travel without binding. For seating longer conical bullets.
I have used both and never broken either one.

The fact that Bill Ruger chose a 1851 style cantilever rammer rather than a 1860 style geared rammer for his Old Army makes me think the older style is superior. I think he understood design principles when he made the strongest cap and ball revolver ever.
was it really such a good idea?

"...Bill Ruger chose ... cantilever rammer ....for his Old Army... I think he understood design principles..."
Now if there was ever an understatement uttered here-abouts...

Until this thread made reference to where the ram cog interfaced I never paid it much never-mind (maybe because I've never owned one until last month and didn't grasp an opportunity to dismantle a '60 series that far.).
I knew that there was something about that design change that didn't impress me enough to prefer it over the blocky '51 barrel profile. Even with the sexy curves of the barrel I felt that there was just "something" about it that didn't quite ...
Now I know? Or am at least pondering the speculation that in there resided a weakness in the "updated" design changes that occurred in the 1860-on C&Bs.
A rack imposed on the bottom side of the barrel in such close proximity to the forcing cone area just might result in failure somewhere along the line.
Does anyone know of any occurrences of ANY type of failure of that series of barrel/rammer interface? Would the teeth break off of the rammer? -or- is there really any instances of "dimpleing" of the bore because of that "rack" of gearteeth running along the underside of the barrel?
How about cracks or other method of hot gases rupturing the barrel in that area?
I personally prefer the creeping loading lever. Less force is required to seat the ball than with the hinged loading lever.

There are reports of 'original' Colt's 1860s where the lever pins broke off, and the rack stripped out. With today's modern alloys and CNC machining, the chance of either happening on any current model is near nil.
Does anyone know of any occurrences of ANY type of failure of that series of barrel/rammer interface?

Maybe the steel by 1860 was good enough that this wasn't a risk. The idea that they did it for seating conicals makes a lot of sense to me. Given the otherwise elegant design were nothing superfluous was added I can't imagine they did a rack and pinion just for the heck of it.

See pps 88-89 of Houze, "Samuel Colt: Arms, Art and Invention" for a discussion. Houze says the R&P was to ensure uniform pressure and avoid damaging conical slugs.
Hello, everyone..good posts! Now you don't hear too much about them over on this side of the pond..but I wonder how those very thin side mounted loading levers on the Adams, Webley, and other British percussion revolvers fared in shooters opinions?
Not open for further replies.