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pietta 1860 problem

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

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  1. denster

    denster Member

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    A couple of hundred cycles will do it. Particularly that this one is dropping at the worst possible place. The maker could spend the time to tune each to perfection however the gun would then likely be a $100 or more greater in price. If you know what to look for and can examine several examples you can avoid most of these problems.
    To old fuff the damage is close to irreprable but not quite. Check the Pettifogger articles on CASS for details on using a triangular scraper to clean up the displaced metal.
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I don't need to check because I know you are right 'cuz I've done it myself, but I'm not sure it's something the present gun owner wants to get into, and I can see the possibility of other future problems coming into play. Whatever he decides to do won't come about for lack of advice.
     
  3. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Thank you denster for helping us to understand what caused the notches of this Colt to become peened.
    And also to TheRodDoc for his animation of an 1860 action.

    http://www.theroddoctor1.com/180.mov
     
  4. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I would love to watch TheRodDoc's movie but neither my work computer nor my home computer can play it. What is the secret?
     
  5. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    QuickTime opened it for me.
     
  6. TheBigAR2003

    TheBigAR2003 Member

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    I am not an at home gunsmith by any means but am willing to learn
    I think I will call cabelas and see if they want to replace the pistol for me
    If they don't then I think I will try both a lighter spring and get the bolt to drop earlier
    How does one get the bolt to drop earlier?
     
  7. denster

    denster Member

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    To get the bolt to drop earlier you need to take apart the pistol. The bolt has two legs one of which rides on a cam on the hammer. This is the leg you need to adjust. there is an angled flat on the rear of the leg. You need to reduce this a small amount maintaining the same angle.
    If Cabela's replaces the pistol examine the new one for two things. First watch the bolt as the cylinder rotates and the bolt drops. It should drop near the beginning of the lead. If not you will have the same problem. The second is while watching the bolt slowly cock the hammer and note that the bolt completely clears the cylinder before the hand starts to rotate the cylinder. If it passes both of these tests you are good to go. If not it will need to be returned or gunsmithed.
    There are some excellent articles on the CASS site by Pettifogger showing how to do this. Maybe someone will be kind enough to post the links.
     
  8. unknwn

    unknwn Member

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    You suggest to watch the bolt while cocking the action. Since the cylinder and bolt are shrouded by the concave cut of the frame am I needing to remove the trigger guard so that I can see the bolt's movement?
    If I had a way to keep the cylinder from moving away from the recoil shield I would remove the barrel and watch from that end of the frame,but, I don't have that option either.
    .
     
  9. Smokin'Joe

    Smokin'Joe Member

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    Find a flat washer that fits the arbor and slide it up to the cylinder. Keep the washer in place with a small hose clamp.
     
  10. denster

    denster Member

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    Whoops! Sorry about that I had my brain in 51 Navy mode. With the 1860 Army you use a different method.
    Cock the revolver to full cock. You will note that the left side of the hammer slot in the frame aligns with the outboard side of a notch. Now cock the revolver till you hear the bolt drop. At this point the left side of the hammer slot should be aligned with the inboard side of the notch on top or just before it. If it is into the notch then you have a late drop. To check for the hand pickup cock the revolver till you just see the cylinder start to move. Hold this position and attempt to rotate the cylinder. If you feel resistance the bolt has not cleared and the hand needs shortened a few thousandths. If you need to correct this work on the hand first as shortening it will effect the point the bolt drops.
     
  11. Lunie

    Lunie Member

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    It can certainly still peen, even if the bolt drops earlier. This particular cylinder started peening in the middle of the lead, and now drops just at (and perhaps slightly before) the lead begins. No timing tweaking performed. The stock bolt spring is rather strong, and the screw is typically just snugged to help lessen the impact. The trigger side of the spring isn't nearly as overzealous; the trigger pull is ~2.5lb. The bolt face is not visibly wearing, just the cylinder.

    On the order of 1000 balls fired. I'd estimate each notch has seen something like 200-250 impacts.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The pictures could be a tad better. :cuss:
     
  12. denster

    denster Member

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    The damage you show however is not functional damage as no metal has been extruded into the locking notch. Most would class that as normal wear and it can be moderated considerably by lightening the trigger bolt spring.
     
  13. rifle

    rifle Member

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    The hammer shouldn't be against the backstrap when the gun is in battery(fullcock) .
    When it is then a little later when wear and seat in of the parts occures the hammer needs to be drawn back a little further to get the gun into battery. If the hammer was already not able to draw back a little more because it's against the backstrap then the gun becomes inopperative.
    Sam Colt wouldn't have designed a gun to become inopperative when it attained a little wear.
    The action parts stop the hammer at full cock. A little hammer overdraw isn't going to hurt a thing and doesn't really cause the bolt to batter the cylinder and do the damage. The off-time is what does the damage as does the soft metal of the cylinder and the hard metal of the bolt(which is actually a spring).
    If a person wants that nice positive stop of the hammer as it hits the backstrap they can have it and no problem will be there till the gun wears some. It's better in the long run tonot have the hammer hit the backstrap at full cock.
    Anyway......some guns would need excessive re-vamping of the action parts to get the hammer to hit the backstrap at full cock. Example would be the hand needing to be overly shortened and the trigger needing to be overly long. That ispossible and I've done it for some Hombres that want it but it makes it difficult to get the perfect timing with the hammer hitting fullcock when the trigger hits in the sar(hammer notch) and the bolt hits in the cylinder notch. The last "snick" of the action should be the trigger hitting in the hammer full cock notch and the bolt hitting inside the cylinder notch. There is four snicks to the action of a Coltsingle action. The last two need to be simultaneous. Makes sense tohave the action let the trigger hit in the full cock notch on the hammer as the bolt hits in the bottom of the cylinders notch.
    Anyway I'll have to see Pettifoggers example of using a machinist triangular square to spiff up the damaged cylinder notch. I make an engraver of sorts from an old small wood chisel or hardened screw driver to spiff up the mess of the battered cylinder notch.....among other things. I like to ,at times, get rid of all the damage by filing the cylinders notch lead-in and deepening the notch some so the lead-in side of the notch as some "edge" put back to it. A mill and a woodruff key cutter can be a big help. Not everyone has a mill though. A small mill table can be bought for about a hundred and fifty dollars on sale and that can be put on a good drill press and make a type of a home made milling machine. Enco and MSC and Blue Ridge machine shop supply should have the small mill tables fer sale.
    One thing I have to add is about where the bolt head should hit the cylinders lead-in ramp when the bolt returns to the cylinder surface i the action timing.
    Guns with actual hardened ordanance grade steel like a S&W or modern Colt seem to have the bolt hit real close to the notch edge. Then as the guns wear they hit further and further away from the notch edge. That's the modern high end guns. Cap&ballers should be as well made but that would make them too expensive.
    Cap&ballers are good when they hit with the full width of the bolt head hitting the cylinder just a tad before the notch edge. That is when the bolt spring has been adjusted to not be too heavy. If the spring is stock then the bolt seems to do well hitting in the middle or a little closer than that to the notch edge. Then as the parts wear the bolt head still hits in the ramp(lead-in) for a good while. You know...not having the bolt scrap a line on the cylinder before the ramp (lead-in).
    Anywhoooo......cap&ballers are not quite up to parr really and that's one reason I've learned to love them. They are fun to "fix-up". :eek:
    The illustrious and venerable ole Pettifogger with his articles with pics and all has been a big help to all the aspiring "Kitchen Table Gunsmiths" out there. Big help to all the newbies and the fearless and all.
    Like an old long gone friend used to say,"buying a cap&baller is like buying a "kit" gun to fix up.
    A lot of what a person does with their own personal cap&baller is ....well.....personal. People do what they want with them according to their own taste and perception ect ect.
    A lot of what is "wrong" to one Hombre is "right" to the other Hombre and.......who's to say what is actually right and wrong?
    I do it to try to be a help to my fellow cap&baller shootin brothers in arms. If someone wants to think....." that Pard Rifle is full of _ _ _ _ and I ain't doin it that way he suggests"......then....well.....he can do it his/her own special way and that's all OK and in the spirit of the cap&baller game.:D
    I get my reward when someone extends a "thanks Bud" to me for takin the time to type these replies to some posts.
    Right now I have to get off this puter :banghead:and go run the hounds.:D
    I know one thing....when a Colt single action cap&baller is runnin good it's a beautiful thing fer sure sure. Makes ya want to just sit and work the action to death because it feels and sounds so good. :eek:
    If a person wants the actual well timed gun then the hammer doesn't hit the backstrap but the bolt and the hand stop the hammer. A person just should know not to draw the hammer excessively hard after or as the gun locks into battery. If the gun owner doesn't feel when to stop the hammer draw and makes like a gorilla and man handles the guns action(that's a weird way to put it....gorrilla man handles the gun ha ha ha ) it'll get some wear or damage sooner than not. Even the "Cowboy Action Shooters" probably learn the ways of their guns and not man handle them too bad too much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  14. rbertalotto

    rbertalotto Member

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    We need to remember that these $179 revolvers are made of metal slightly harder than cheese. I have two sets of 1858 and two 1860 Pietas. All converted to cartridge cylinders.

    I can't tell you how much "un-peening" I've had to do on these firearms. Now, granted, I use them to compete in Cowboy Action so they get a tremendous amount of use. But they do need a ton of maintenance.

    Recently on my 1860s the hammer face was so peened it wouldn't strike the firing pin in the back plate of the cartridge conversion. Files and a Dremel rectified the problem, but it will come back. I'm going to drill the hammer faces and insert hardened drill rod to resolve the issue for good.

    I've replaced all the springs and did a complete timing job on all these revolvers and when they are good....they are very, very good! Nothing like them in the hand!

    DSC_4204-vi.jpg

    DSC_4217-vi.jpg
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Obviously you aren't too familiar with the original Colt's.

    Most of the lockwork problems in current day cap & ball reproductions come from battering, not wear. An exception is the bolt cam on the hammer. On the original revolvers they were a separate part and hardened and could also be replaced. On the current imports they are part of an investment cast hammer, and not hardened, but this is another story.

    Anyway the purpose of using the backstrap as a positive stop for the hammer was to prevent battering of the cylinder ratchet teeth and notches as well as the hand. It also largely eliminates a condition where the bolt can miss and skip a notch if the hammer is cocked quickly. All of this is still true today.

    If cylinder rotation is stopped by the ball on the bolt engaging the notch in the cylinder; all of the shock of the sudden stop is transferred to the cylinder notch, the window in the frame, the hand, and ratchet teeth. The result is battering.

    Original Colt’s that are still correctly timed, as I have described, often show wear from use, but little or no evidence of battering.
     
  16. denster

    denster Member

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    I have to agree with Old Fuff. Not because he is good looking, just right. If you use your guns lightly it probably doesn't make much difference but if you use them hard like in Cowboy Shooting it is imperative. Generally not a problem with Piettas as they will be close from the factory and a small mod is all that is necessary. Uberti is another story as the hammer geometry is a bit off sometimes enough that it is more practical to use a stop threaded into the triggerguard.
    One point of contention I've never run into a cam that wasn't case hardened on any of the reproductions.
     
  17. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Don't let the case color on a hammer fool you. They are simply colored but not hardened, and the cam is part of the investment cast hammer. If in question take a file stroke on the bottom of the hammer where it won't matter and see if the teeth "bite." If you can file it it isn't case hardened, just made to look like it.
     
  18. denster

    denster Member

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    It doesn't fool me. At least with Uberti and Pietta they are glass hard on the surface.
     
  19. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    And I have found some that were as soft as warm butter. :rolleyes:

    Seriously, I would suggest that anyone with a recently purchased revolver made by the above mentioned makers check the hammer for hardness before they use it much. The test is quick and easy, and if there is a problem will prevent grief later.
     
  20. unknwn

    unknwn Member

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    So will treating the components in need of case hardening with the present day version of Kasenite solve any "too soft" problems?
    And have any of you ever done that process to these Italian C&B guns?
     
  21. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Yes it will, and yes I have. But it's important to start with a new, or like new hammer and/or other parts and do any alterations or modifications (called "tuning") before you do the hardning, and you don't do it to the cylinder bolt or any springs.
     
  22. denster

    denster Member

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    I'll take your word for it although it has not been my experience guess I'm lucky. Not a bad idea to check a soft trigger or hammer would go bad in short order. Fortunately, at least with Pietta, all of the internals can be purchased in a kit at a reasonable price.
     
  23. unknwn

    unknwn Member

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    I have a squad of new Pietta revolvers and several new Uberti '73 lever rifles that I would like to process before any impending battering and wear.
    The rifles have all been worked over by a renowned cowboy 'smith, but the hand guns will only get my maticulous although unpracticed attentions & handiwork.
    Where can I find better instructiion on the use of the case hardening compound than what comes with the product?
    And I would really appreciate some tutoring as regards the tuning aspects of my seven various open tops and the pair of '58 New Army Pietta revolvers.
     
  24. denster

    denster Member

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    First check the parts with a file like Old Fuff stated if the file skids over the surface without taking a bite then the part is all ready hard. The only parts you need to be concerned with are the hammer and trigger. If they are soft google kasenite and you will likely come up with some tutorials also check youtube.
    As to tuning do a search in this forum for "Pettifogger" the links to his articles over at CASS have been posted several times. Excellent articles on tuning cap and ball revolvers.
     
  25. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Brownells www.brownells.com (800) 741-0015
    Dixie Gunworks www.dixiegunworks.com (800) 238-6785

    Both offer soft-cover catalogs for about or under $10.00 - Buy a copy of each.

    www.sassnet.com can direct you to a lot of information on tuning revolvers, but as you have found there a lot of different techniques and opinions.

    I could explain that they are all wrong except me, but that would start a war. :D:
     
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