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pietta 1860 problem

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by TheBigAR2003, Dec 3, 2012.

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  1. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    i recently picked up a pietta 1860 on sale at cabelas
    the revolver locks up just fine but i think the bolt is coming up too soon while cocking
    the bolt is sized correctly i checked but on the lead in on the cylinder groove is starting to peen a little bit just on the edge of the groove at first i thought it was just scraping off the blueing but now i think its actually starting to gouge it a little bit
    when i cock it slowly i can hear the first click then the second click when the bolt pops up but the cylinder isnt finished turning and then will pop into place when i finish cocking
    my pietta 1851 brasser does this too but it has only scraped off some blueing no gouging
    i dont think its getting any worse anymore but i still would like to address the problem if there is one
    any ideas guys? i read that article on tuning pietta bp revolvers but i dont think it exactly addresses my problem
     
  2. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    rifle recently posted about loosening the trigger bolt spring screw a full turn on new Pietta 1860's.
    He goes on to say plenty more but that would be a good place to start. :)

     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  3. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    which screw is the trigger bolt spring screw is it one of the four on the side of the frame?
     
  4. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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    It's under the trigger guard. You need to remove the grip frame, not the side screws. One screw holds the spring for the trigger and bolt.
     
  5. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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  6. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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    The question I have is: What keeps that screw from just getting looser every shot once you loosen it? I'd think you better bend or lighten the spring instead of leaving a loose screw.
     
  7. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    The screw shouldn't be too loose or too tight, but just right.
    That's why rifle mentioned about replacing it with one of the lighter wire springs that are available or which can be hand made using piano wire.
     
  8. Smokin'Joe

    Smokin'Joe Member

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  9. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    didnt work

    so i loosened the screw a full rotation and there wasnt enough tension left on it to push the bolt up
    so i tried it at a half rotation and it pushed up the bolt but there was alot of right/left cylinder play waaaaay too much
    so i tried 1/4 rotation and same problem
    it seems with this spring the only way the gun will lock up tight is with the screw being completely tightened
    so whats next can i buy a lighter spring?
    maybe i should see if the wife has any safety pins lying around
     
  10. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    It is difficult to guess without seeing the gun in question, or close-up photos.

    The bolt should rise and strike the lead-in and then slide into the notch as the gun is cocked. That's what the lead-in is there for.

    If you are absolutely sure that the bolt fits into the notches as it should (and is not actually a hair too wide as is common in new Piettas), then what you may be seeing is simply a "wearing in" due to the contact of the bolt with the lead-in. I see some loss of blue on the wider side of the lead-in on all my Piettas. I would be much more concerned about damage to the left side of the notch (as seen when looking down on the notch in front of the hammer), if it is present, than about some loss of blue on the lead-in.

    Loosening the bolt spring screw is a new one on me. I have never had to do that with any of my guns, Uberti or Pietta. Since I am using my guns in Cowboy Action matches, which involves cocking them forcefully as fast as I can, I want a strong bolt spring to make the bolt rise quickly to prevent over-rotation of the cylinder. Cocking them slowly to inspect the action is one thing, racking the hammer back hard and fast is another.

    I have also never had to adjust hand length or timing off the hammer cam. Maybe I have just been lucky. If the hammer can move back a hair past full cock when the cylinder locks up, then the hand does NOT need shortening. If the bolt is rising into the lead-in, I personally would leave it alone. The only thing I have ever had to correct on the 6 Piettas I have owned is the width of the bolt where it fits into the notches. As they came from the factory the bolt was too wide by a couple thousandths for several of the notches. Check the width of the bolt head versus the width of each notch with a micrometer to be sure.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  11. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    i have a set of calipers and checked the sizes so im sure the bolt is a hair smaller than the cylinder notch
    there is only wear on the lead in not on the flat side of the notch

    i will take some pictures tomorrow
     
  12. rifle

    rifle Member

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    Well,Maybe Pietta has lightened the trigger bolt spring some so loosening it a full turn is too much. It's hard to explain every small detail but......like the Big AR2003 did.....evaluated the situation and adjusted the spring screw less.
    That is temporary ,as I mentioned. It stops the initial damage to the cylinder.
    Replacing the spring or lightening it to snap the bolt head into the cylinder with less force can eliminate the damage.
    The important thing is to understand how the timing of the factory timing is always off in that the bolt hits the first edge of the notch and peens it and moves metal into the notch lessening the width and then the bolt can't get fully into the notch and.....the bolt head doesn't get out of the notch in time for the bolt head to get out and that lets the bolt head broach metal from the most important side of the notch. The side that the bolt slams into to stop the cylinder.
    If a person can examine and see how there's a problem then they can remedy the problems before damage accurs.
    When the timing is right the spring can be lighter than factory specs. and the gun will function fine. Due to the bevel on the side of the bolt head it can seem like the lock up is fine when it really isn't. That's where the small amount of grease in the notch and the lead-in can show where the bolt actually hits to the cylinder and whether or not the bolt is against the bottom of it making as full contact so there's full ability of the notch edge to hit the bolt and stop the cylinder.
    With the lead-in there to insure the bolt head is always lower than the off side notch edge there's a good contact of bolt head to notch edge and the cylinder can stop well even with fast working of the action. Hint....with Piettas the bolt head usually has a cant to it on it's top that also helps insure the bolt is lower than the notch edge and in the notch well to stop the cylinder. It's how the Remingtons can do without the lead-in to the notch. Their bolt head has a cant to the top. Well it's a good idea to make the bolt head of a Colt level on top when doing the timing. That canted top to the Pietta bolt can make the lockup give way on the leading edge side of the notch.
    If the bolt head is loose in the frame window and loose on it's screw as is almost always the case the bolt can give in to the cylinders weight and force and cant over making a ,sort of ramp,a slanted bolt head for the force of the cylinder to make the bolt head work against the spring and move the bolt head down and out of the notch and let the cylinder over rotate.
    Compensating for that loose in the frame window and loose on it's bolt screw a "bolt bolster" or ,as some call it, a "bolt block" can be made so that new part stabilizes the bolt so it can't cant from the force of the cylinder turning fast and moving the bolt head letting the cylinder over rotate.
    A bolt bolster is a part used on some well tuned and some custom revolvers. They were standard fare in the San Marcos cap&ball conversions to cartridge.
    Last time this came up on CASS a Buddy I have there posted a pic of a custom gun and it's bolt bolster.
    The metal part is fashioned to hold onto the bolt screw and lay in front of the bolt screw and to the side of the bolt where the space is in the milled area of the inside of the frame. The trigger bolt spring screw keeps the part in place. It gently rides the side of the bolt and is in full contact to the frame on it's other side. Like moving the frame wall way over against the bolt soit is held in position always even when hit hard by the cylinder. A good modification for a"Cowboy" shooting gun.
    Pietta does a good job with it's CNC machines keeping tolerances consistant. That is wht every Pietta I've seen has the mis-timed action with the bolt head hitting on the edge of the first notch edge the leading edge and the bolt head broaching metal from the off side edge that does the stopping of the cylinder.
    Maybe thing have changed some with newer models but I haven't been examining any most recent ones lately. I know they can full people. Been over that with some that didn't "see" the timing problem of the new guns they got or see the damage till it was too late and ended uphaving to buy a new cylinder.
    There's few moving parts in a Colt single action but a million ways for people to percieve the timing and a million ways for the timing to be off by different combinations of circumstances. Well....maybe not millions.
    There is only ones right way for the action to be in perfect timing though. Pietta is close to it but not quite right there and the damage caused is easy to see once it's too late and it's substancial.
    I've fixed and/or checked out or helped others fix many many of these guns. Every Pietta I've seen that was new had the timing issues. Well, maybe I've seen a few that actually ended up coming from the factory right.
    Not to bad mouth the Piettas at all. I'd recommend them to my own mother and grand mother if they were still shooting six guns.
    The Piettas are good cap&ballers fer sure. The arbors bottomed in the barrels arbor hole is one "fine trait" no other maker has to it's guns and that bottomed arbor is an important aspect not to be ignored. All cap&baller Colts shouldhave the "bottomed arbor.
    By the way....if the hammer has some "over draw" at the full cock it's ok but not right. The well tuned Colt should have the "positive" stop when the action hits the end of the cycle at full cock. The hammer should stop dead right at the end when the bolt snicks into the notch and the trigger hits the sear on the hammer. Hammer stops,bolt snicks into the cylinder notch and the trigger snicks into the hammers sear all simultaneously at the very end of the action cycle. That is a beautiful thing. Beautiful feeling to hold. The perfectly timed Colt.
    The Piettas are real close as they come from the box. Close but no cigar. The Uberti's aren't bad either for that matter. They can stand a little timing adjustment coming out of the box too though.
    People seem to doubt what I say at times and that's good because they are thinking. People that I helped adjust the timing to their guns don't doubt me though. ha ha ha
    Hey, I'm here to help people. Not wave an ego flag. I'm a "kitchen table gunsmith",so to speak, but......I wouldn't steer yas wrong and......I've actually been declared "the best in the country" at timing these cap&ballers. I've been complemented by pro gunsmiths with very complimenting good remarks.That is really too far reaching to be logical ,for sure, saying I'm the best in the country but.....how can I insure anyone I know what I'm saying? We are all fully capable of doing a fine tune to these cap&ballers. People that took my hint and began to reach the "perfectly timed Colt" situation with their cap&ballers don't doubt me.
    I'm only here on the forums on rare occaisions any more and/but I only do it to be a help to Hombres and Hombrettes with their cap&ballers and my reward is when I see someone has began to "see" and reap the rewards. Take care Bud's!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Question: When the cylinder has been locked by the bolt, is the hammer all of the way back to that it is against the top of the backstrap? I suspect that it isn't, and if so that's a major cause of the ball on the bolt (the "ball" is the part that sticks up through the frame) battering and peening the cylinder notches.

    The backstrap is supposed to act as a hammer stop, and in so doing prevent excessive shock to the ratchet tooth, tip of the hand, and cylinder notches.

    It is true that the steel used to make the reproduction cylinders is on the soft side, but it isn't any softer then that used in original Colts. I have examined many well-worn original revolvers that didn't have excessively worn or battered notches and the stiff springs that were in it when it was made, and everything still works fine.
     
  14. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    I think that I can move the hammer back slightly after it has been fully cocked if that is what you mean I'm at work now so I will check that and take pics tonight
     
  15. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I understand what you are saying about the initial setup and timing. But it seems to me that if we have a gun that was not set up initially as you describe, then the trigger, hammer, hand and maybe the bolt would have to be replaced and redo the setup from scratch to achieve the situation you describe. Most of us aren't going to do that, and will have to compromise with a hammer that overtravels a bit.

    So I guess what I am asking you is, if we accept a hammer that is not in contact with the backstrap at the point of lockup, what can be done to promote optimal function from that point on?
     
  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    You have a good point, but there is a chance that the only part that would have to be replaced (or welded up at the upper tip) is the trigger.

    Another less desireable solution would be to drill and tap a blind hole in the trigger guard just behind the trigger slot, so that when the hammer was cocked the bottom/tip of the mainspring would come to rest on the top of the screw. This would stop the hammer from rotating further, and to a degree be adjustable. Thereafter the length of the hand could be shortened if necessary, and the bolt modified at the tail end as well.

    Such a modification would cause Col. Sam to spin in his grave, but I have seen it done on a number of occasions. Perhaps if you go to www.sass.net you might find a gunsmith who was experienced in such matters.

    Again, without actually seeing the revolver with the hammer cocked I can only speculate.
     
  17. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    ok i took some pictures and checked the distance that the hammer travels back past where it is at full cock hammer locked and cylinder locked

    hammer at full cock
    [​IMG]

    hammer pulled back past full cock its hard to tell but there is a little less than 1/4 inch travel
    [​IMG]

    then some pics of the cylinder
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Azguy

    Azguy Member

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    This is the same issue I am having with three of my Pietta's. My first two models were the 1851 & 1860 and now a recently purchased 1862 from Cabela's has started it.

    unfortunately its starting to look like pretty common problem.
     
  19. denster

    denster Member

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    After seeing the pictures it is clear that your bolt is dropping late. Easy to correct you need to remove a small about of metal from the rear of the leg of the bolt that rides on the hammer cam. Make sure to maintain the same angle. You allready have some metal peened into the notch for the bolt. That should also be corrected. Best tool is a machinists triangular scraper.
     
  20. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    if it was dropping late then wouldnt the gouging be on the other side of the notch?
     
  21. denster

    denster Member

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    In a word "NO". The bolt is dropping late because it is dropping over the edge of the notch. It should drop at the begining of the lead then slide into the notch as the rotation continues. If the problem isn't corrected then in very short order the revolver will not lock up because the bolt will no longer fit into the notches due to the peened in metal. Also the worse it becomes the harder it is to correct. Fortunately new cylinders are only about $60.
     
  22. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    There is more to it then that. Even if the bolt is released late it shouldn't chew up the notch. More often a too late release will cause the bolt to skip and over ride the notch.

    Without having the gun-in-hand it's difficult to be sure what the problem is, but adjusting the bolt for an earlier release and nothing else is likely to result in a dinged up leed - such as you see, but sooner.

    Perhaps the owner should take up the matter with the firm that imported the gun and/or sold it to him and see what they say.
     
  23. denster

    denster Member

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    I hate to dissagree with old fuff but in this case 98% of the problem is that the bolt is dropping at exactly the worst time as all of the force of contact is right over the edge of the notch. Moving it back even a little puts a greater mass of metal under the point of contact so that even with the inordinately strong bolt springs most of these guns are blessed with you may get a bright spot but no functional damage. In this case though having a lighter bolt spring would not stop the damage only cause it to take longer to happen.
    One could return the gun but it has been my experience that out of ten new guns of this genere three to five will have this problem and some of those will have the additional problem of a slightly too long hand that tries to rotate the cylinder before the bolt has cleared raising a bit of metal on the outboard side of the notch.
    These are great guns and a bargain at the price point they are sold at but you have to realize that to get that price point the maker can not afford multiple dissasembly and adjustment at the assembly bench. Some of the assemblers from experience get it right the first time most of the time some don't and it is a crap shoot which you the purchaser gets.
    Part of the fun of these guns is learning how they work and how to correct some of these little deficiencies.
     
  24. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    That happens all the time, but not to worry. The only thing that's bigger then my ego is my good looks. :D

    Anyway, the reason I suggested the gun be returned is because at this time the only way to undo the damage is to straighten out all of the timing issues and maybe replace the cylinder - also I don't see the owner as being a do-it-yourself gunsmith. And I suspect that simply adjusting the bolt to release earlier will solve the issue for very long.

    But the OP has plenty of advise to think about, and can go in any direction he wants.
     
  25. unknwn

    unknwn Member

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    Geez, once I looked at those photos all I could muster is that I would be pissed if my brand new gun was capable of causing that degree ($50 to $60.00 worth -on sale-for a replacement cylinder) of damage before it even made it to the range.
    How many times did you have to cycle the action to peen the cylinder notches like that?
     
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