Loose Cylinder on an Uberti '51 Navy

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by bear166, May 5, 2021.

  1. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Howdy folks. I was out shooting my Navy a few weeks ago, and had a fun time doing so as always.

    Only trouble was, after I took it apart for cleaning and put it back together, I noticed there was a pretty remarkable level of play with the cylinder. It's especially loose when the hammer is down, but even when the hammer is cocked, there is a surprising amount of wiggling allowed. However, at full cock, the hammer actually has a little bit of travel left to go (more than I would expect is normal); when pulled all the way back, all of the wiggle is eliminated, but when let back to full cock, the wiggle returns.

    I did not have this issue previously, although I did notice after twelve shots or so while I was shooting, the cylinder rotated slightly clockwise after a few shots rather than staying in place. The last few times I've cleaned it, I didn't do a full takedown, just removed the barrel and the cylinder, so the internals haven't been touched since long before this issue presented itself. Any ideas?
     
  2. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    Is it a brass framed revolver? Photos are very much appreciated, especially concerning the rear of the recoil shield if it is a brasser. Your description is a classic case of too hot of loads when using a brasser where the rear cylinder ratchet is repeatedly imprinted into the recoil shield causing the cylinder end play.

    Your call.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
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  3. Big Bore 44

    Big Bore 44 Member

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    It's a UBERTI. Fix the short arbor first. After that it can be tuned.
     
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  4. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    You don't tell us it the wiggle is rotation of cylinder or side to side wiggle, barrel to cylinder gap is going to be difficult until the arbor is fixed. If its rotation problems the hand and cylinder stop both can be the problem, side to side play is either a worn cylinder base pin bore, worn cylinder base pin or loose arbor.
     
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  5. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    You PROBABLY have a broken trigger/bolt spring...the part that presses down on the bolt is broken OR your hand spring is broken and not helping keep your cylinder locked onto the bolt. The bolt and hand both keep your cylinder in lock position...just one of them not working will cause your cylinder to not stay locked and have lots of "wiggle".
     
  6. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Oh and the spring may not be broken into pieces yet. Usually when they break they are still intact but no longer have tension...a little extra push on them will show a crack in the spring and/or break it entirely
     
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  7. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    As mentioned, if it’s a brasser, you may have overloaded. Do correct the arbor length by filing some washers to fit between the arbor and arbor channel. If there is still some play, it may not be a problem as long as the gap is printer paper thin or less. .008 an inch or more of gap is probably too much. Widening the wedge can help.
     
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  8. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Wow, stepped out for a bit and got a bunch of helpful replies! Thanks to all, first and foremost.

    It's case hardened steel, and I've stuck to twenty grain loads. I'm aware that hot loads can cause such an issue in brass framed revolvers (one reason why I avoided buying a brasser!) but I'm relatively certain that's not my issue. I can upload some photos if it would be helpful, although at least to my naked eye there's nothing different on the surface compared to how it looked right out of the box.

    Haha, learned about the arbor problem on this very site the other week, as I was having a different issue with my '72 Open Top. I plan to eventually correct this problem on both guns, but I'm not too worried about getting either one tuned up right now, just looking to make sure my Navy is functioning proper.

    Good call, I should have specified, especially because in my reading it seems like the side-to-side wiggle is a pretty common issue. In my case, it's rotational.

    This sounds like it's right on the money. I don't think either is completely broken as the wiggle is mild at full cock, but I'm guessing from your description one of them is worn out. A little surprising, as the gun has only seen maybe 50 or 60 shots so far, but I guess it's just time to pop her open and take a look.

    The cylinder gap is still well within spec, and I certainly wouldn't be nervous about firing it, but it does sound like my issue probably lies in the action itself. Good information though, thanks for sharing as it will likely be of use to me some day!

    Thanks again everyone. I'll dig into the poor fella when I get a chance and see what I can't find, maybe I'll post an update if I find the problem!
     
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  9. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Mr.Bear166, if its your bolt/trigger spring lemme know...i have some spares. I dont use them as I replace them with a custom two part wire spring set up and I repair lots of guns and the part is either sent to the customer or sometimes they tell me to keep them as they will never be used again...especially once they switch to the torsion wire set up. If its your hand spring then you are up for some work...the hands flat steel spring is squeezed into a slit in the hand then pinched shut to hold the spring..if it breaks its hard to get that little piece out. If you do manage to get it out then you can replace it with bobby pin material. This trick will work but not permanent. Usually people cant get that little piece out and just replace the entire hand which is tedious because you have to resize it for timing...lits of work as you have to take the gun apart multiple times and reassemble it everytime you adjust the hand...and hand adjustments are done by taking small amounts off of its height..like a thousandth of an inch at a time. Lots of work. I use a custom round wire hand set up. Its runs through the hand and wraps around the body of the hand. This set up wont break, and you never have to replace the hand and deal with the tedious sizing and timing. If the spring were to ever break it is easily replaced. Heres a pic of the hand set up i use before it is bent to adjust tension. 20210503_161138.jpg 20210503_161131.jpg 20210503_161126.jpg
     
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  10. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    That's a good solution, probably best for the smaller pocket guns, my preference is the Ruger type push rod and spring.OP still hasn't filled us in on the disassembly as of yet, that's the only way to see what happened.
     
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  11. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    Might be a couple days before I get to tearing it down... Pretty busy week for me I'm afraid, but hopefully on Saturday I can do a full take down.

    A lot of good information there to digest. I appreciate all the help, I'll let you know what I find!
     
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  12. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    20181207_110750.jpg
     
  13. ShotgunDave

    ShotgunDave Member

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    That's a work of art right there!!!
     
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  14. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Ooo thats very nice! I actually made one like that but it was a bit too much work lol. I put it in my 1851 navy
     
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  15. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Thanks guys, to be fair, that is a hand for a Colt pocket gun. It was a separate pin instead of a 1 piece hand. The hand was "hogged out" to make a clevis area that would house the coils (how the Remington hand is done). The pin reinstalled and peened.
    On 1 piece hands, the stud can be cut off, a hole drilled, and a new stud made to copy the Colt setup pictured above. As Jackrabbit 1957 posted, I also install a coil and "pushrod" version of the Ruger type in all other (belt and horse pistols) as well as my upgrade for the Ruger.
    20190525_130247.jpg

    Mine vs Ruger

    Mike
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  16. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    See if you can find the “piano wire” bolt spring for the 1873 in stock instead of the thin pot metal one. I hear they work better. Also, do not install the bolt spring down tight! Give it just enough snug to reliably extend the bolt and no more. Overtightening bolt springs kills them faster than anything. A light bolt spring with a tight mainspring should keep your gun running happy.
     
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  17. woodnbow
    • Contributing Member

    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    The first revolver I “fixed” was an old H&R with a broken hand spring. I happened to notice the piece that broke off looked a little like a piece of Bobby pin so I had at it. That was before the internet of course, probably around 1958 or so... after that auspicious beginning I have come to appreciate the professionals.
     
  18. sigwally

    sigwally Member

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    Bear166 as you can tell we have several very experienced Gunsmiths here that specialize in black powder revolvers. From the research I have done all do simply outstanding work with attention to detail that rivals the famous smith's you read about in the gun magazines. They all get rave reviews from their customers here and we are blessed and fortunate to have them.
     
  19. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    It's been a good while since I posted this, but I figured I'd give an update since I said I would (got an 1860 since posting this, so the Navy got put on the back burner for a bit).

    Replacing the bolt/trigger spring did reduce the wobble quite a bit, to the point where she should be serviceable now. I believe the hand may also have some issues, however. I went ahead and ordered a replacement and tried it out, but as The Kid says, that will take some tuning... Without any adjustments at all, it basically just locks up the gun.

    The old hand still gets the job done. But interestingly, it appears quite a bit of material has been removed from it, on the tip but especially along one side. Perhaps it was that way when I bought the gun, I can't recall, but the replacement certainly doesn't have this material removed. I wonder what would cause this?

    [​IMG]
     
  20. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    Cycling the action a few hundred times with lots of oil does a lot to make a part that barely fits into a perfect fit. My gun’s hand naturally shaved off that metal with no extra work on my part. It used to catch on the arbor until it eventually broke in.
     
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  21. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    That was kind of my thought as well. The fact that it still cycles perfectly, made me think it was no issue at all. I do wonder if the tip being shaved as it is (hard to tell in that picture, but it is missing a fair bit of material) is part of the issue with the wobbly cylinder, but at this point it's mild enough to not be much of an annoyance. Guess I'll find out for sure this weekend, if there's no rain!
     
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  22. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    Enjoy! It’s easy to get obsessive about perfect fit. After I went to the antique gunshow to examine some used revolvers, I never complained again about my Uberti’s fit and finish.
     
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  23. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Bear 166, that is a relief cut to keep the hand from binding in the corner as it retracts when the hammer is let down without the cylinder installed.

    Actually, cycling a revolver action that has ill fitting parts is the best way to bring an end to the "fun"! I tuned a brand new 1860 Pietta for a national magazine article that completely shaved off the hammer cam in less than 50 cycles! So, I had a repair (and a loose arbor as well!!) to make before I could tune it!! It was early in my career and taught me NOT to cycle one more than 2/3 times to detect the problems on a " sick" revolver or to check the timing and engagement of the trigger on one to be tuned.

    Loose front ends don't "get better" and loose revolvers don't "tighten up". Some folks are happy with get by " throw aways" but some appreciate precision and close tolerance fitting . . . they last . . . and they win state championships!! (7 so far !!). A Toyota will get you from A to B but a Porsche will get you there with a smile !!

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  24. bear166

    bear166 Member

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    No doubt about it, I have no plans to leave it this way forever!

    I find it strange how my replacement part does not have this cut, but perhaps it is assumed that the user is to make the necessary modifications himself. Either way, there is clearly some work to be done before the new hand will satisfy.

    Since I know you have a lot of experience with these things - more precisely, my issue with the new hand is that with the cylinder out, the hammer is allowed to move all the way to the firing position, but there are no clicks, it just kind of grabs when pulled all the way back. With the cylinder in, I was able to do this just once before the action locked up altogether. If you could point me in the right direction as far as tuning the hand, it would be much appreciated!

    If it would help, maybe I can put the new hand back in and take some videos of its behavior when I get a chance.
     
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  25. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Bear166, replacement parts are over-sized and are to be fitted which is why the relief cuts aren't there. For whatever reason, folks don't realize that screw holes don't have perfect alignment, screws/screwpins are usually warped, and that's why action parts need to be fitted to that particular revolver. Depending on the "depth" or how extensive the tuning is, just switching the trigger and bolt screwpins may be all that's needed to keep the revolver from functioning.
    So, your new hand is too long which is why you can't get the hammer to full cock and /or the action locked up. Using a flat surface with 320 sandpaper, sand the top of the hand keeping the angles as close as you can. It will be the correct length when the bolt locks the cylinder as the hammer reaches full cock . . . not before and not after (drag a finger on the cylinder when determining this)!! When you achieve that you'll be one step away from perfect timing! Woohoo!!

    Mike
     
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