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Origin and purpose of fluted cylinder please

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by bushmaster1313, Feb 12, 2011.

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  1. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    What was the origin and purpose of fluted cylinder on a revolver.

    What is the purpose now?
     
  2. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    Dont know for sure but the first fluted cyls. were from early "custom" shops then the industry adopted it to reduce weight !!!
     
  3. goodtime

    goodtime Member

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    Origins, I don't know. But as for purpose -- fluted cylinders aid in indexing the cylinder (manipulating it with the fingers to line up chambers,) especially with single action revolvers. Fluting also reduces torque and inertia associated with starting and stopping the cylinder's revolving action, therefore reducing wear on internal parts such and hands and bolts. It also makes the cylinder stronger, strange as it seems: the metal in the cylinder actually stretches for a brief period during the explosion of a round, at the thinnest points (between the outer wall of the cylinder and corresponding near wall of each chamber,) on a microscopic scale, when a round is discharged. Fluting allows the stretching to take place along a greater area.
    I'm no gunsmith or metallurgist or gun expert of any kind; I learned all these things here on THR, and I'm just regurgitating them. Other guys would be better able to explain the strengthening theory.
     
  4. savit260

    savit260 Member

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    My thought is that it had to do with black powder fouling. The flutes would give less area on the face of the cylinder to collect powder residue.

    Just a guess.
     
  5. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    goodtime Quote;It also makes the cylinder stronger, strange as it seems: the metal in the cylinder actually stretches for a brief period during the explosion of a round, at the thinnest points (between the outer wall of the cylinder and corresponding near wall of each chamber,) on a microscopic scale, when a round is discharged. Fluting allows the stretching to take place along a greater area.

    I may have to dissagree with this as most all Freedom Arms revolvers use solid unfluted cylinders to contain the high pressure of the .454 Casull. Even Ruger uses non-fluted cylinders in their .454 revolvers. I was also told by an old gunsmith that an unfluted cylinder is about 10% stronger than a fluted one. Maybe we will hear from a metallurgist here to set the record straight. LM
     
  6. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    less weight, less inertia
    (and somewhat better heat dissipation, though not a big factor)
    but not stronger, no, and not cheaper
     
  7. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    makes sense
     
  8. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

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    I am no metallurgist, but I am skeptical of this. Whether the cylinder is fluted or not, the thinnest part of the cylinder wall remains exactly the same, and if a cylinder is going to fail, it will fail in that area.

    I suspect that flutes were added simply as a weight saving measure.
     
  9. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Some revolvers look prettier with a fluted cylinder.

    There is a small difference in weight. Less weight, as mentioned above, is easier on the lock work. (This is actually noticeable on a S&W, where the K frame's hand and ratchet is not scaled fully up for the N frame.) More weight will dampen recoil a bit. No practical difference in strength of the cylinder.
     
  10. msb45

    msb45 Member

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    As mentioned above fluted cylinders provided a grip and index for loading. Guns were used less for sport and more for serious social purposes. With the introduction of cartridges you needed to reload without necessarily watching your hands. cavalry were prime users of pistols and had to "drive" their horses during a reload. I can't recall who said it but the comment made was that an unfluted cylinder was ok for sport, not for defense.
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I think the blackpowder fouling argument is as sound as any. The original 1860's that were fluted, were done so along the entire length of the cylinder. We must also remember that the early flintlock revolvers, that long predated Colt's designs, had cylinders that were not exactly fluted, but more closely resembled the Ruger LCR's cylinder. Others were unfluted.

    Coller-f.jpg

    There is no difference in strength. Ruger went to unfluted cylinders with the Super Blackhawk, over the fluted cylinder of the .44Mag Blackhawk (flat-top) for the added weight.
     
  12. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    ...or with a non-fluted cylinder (like my Bisley here):

    [​IMG]

    Dan
     
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