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Strange Colt Agent (revolver) problem

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by popeye, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. popeye
    • Contributing Member

    popeye Member

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    Today I bought a black underlug Agent which I have been unable to date. It's ser# is W32180. WAG would be mid '70's. When I tested lockup in the shop it appeared all was well. I was satisfied handing over $500 for the gun as it appears to be in 98% shape with correct grips. When I got it home I found it has a big problem. In the shop before purchasing I checked timing and dry fired it several times. I did this as I always do, with the barrel pointed down towards the floor. The gun worked perfect and still does with the barrel pointed down at least 45 degrees. However point the barrel up beyond level and pull the trigger the gun completes the fire cycle one (single or double action) and the second trigger pull results in the hammer moving back about 1/8" and the gun locks up tight. It will stay locked up unless I tap the cyl. which produces a faint "click" and it will once gain fire cycle (depending on the attitude of the barrel) It's pretty strange. Cyl. end shake is minimal. Called the shop and I can take it back for a refund so I don't want to take the side plate off. Any thoughts or ideas whats wrong with it? I'm disappointed as it's a very nice gun.

    Thanks, Jim
     
  2. Shaq

    Shaq Member

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    I've heard from a gunsmith that (unlike S&W or Ruger) a Colt that is out of time requires a knowledgeable gunsmith who is skilled at repairing Colts. If you don't know such a gunsmith or don't want to bother finding one, I'd suggest taking advantage of the refund offer.
     
  3. Stony

    Stony Member

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    Sounds to me like the spring that keeps forward tension on the hand is broken. The hand will go forward when the barrel is pointed toward the ground, and hang up in the window when pointed skyward. If you check it out, it's probably just floating free in the window area.
     
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  4. popeye
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    popeye Member

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    Thankyou for responding. I took a closer look and pulled out an older Agent I own to do a comparison. The hand on the new gun has spring tension on it. But in comparing the hand on one gun to the other I see what I perceive to be a problem. The top end of the hand on both guns terminates in a "chisel" point that works with cyl. ratchet (I'll call it). On the new gun the chisel point has been ground or filed toward the center of the gun. It's really sharp. I'm thinking the weight of the cyl. with the gun pointed up is causing that point to dig into the steps in the star halting it instead of sliding along the step. It's all speculation on my part since the mech is enclosed. I don't want to remove the sideplate as this gun looks almost factory fresh. I'm 70 now and my hands are pretty shakey and I don't want to scratch anything if I'm gonna return it..
     
  5. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    The Colt hand has a top finger that begins the rotation and a lower shelf that engages the ratchet to finish the rotation. Without looking at it, I think it is the hand spring.
     
  6. popeye
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    popeye Member

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    I should not have started this thread if I wasn't going to act on the advice provided. I apologize. I had a timing problem with another Agent of the same vintage about 4 years ago. It turned into a big pain that lasted 6 months or better. I'm old impatient, and crabby and I now think it's best to just return it and get out from under.

    Thanks, Jim
     
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  7. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I completely understand not wanting to mess with a gun that doesn't work properly, however, Id suggest posting the question on the Colt forum in the gunsmithing section. Theres some pretty sharp guys there that may have an idea. Colts aren't as simple internally as other revolvers, but its not dark arts to work on them or diagnose problems.

    I don't think those V spring D frame guns have a separate spring for the hand, I believe its operated by the lower part of the mainspring and pushed on by the rebound lever. If the trigger returns OK, (which is operated by the same spring and lever), it may not be a spring problem.

    Have you taken off the grips? I'm not high speed on Colt revolvers, but it almost sounds like some small part or object is loose in the gun.

    If the gun is as clean as you say and the problem is simple, it would be a shame to let it go over something that may be simple to correct.
     
  8. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Gunsmithing section here on THR has some pretty sharp guys too, but it's only for those willing (and knowing how!) to work on their guns. Jim is not feeling confident to do it, so there is not much our fellow members can do short of directing him to the couple of Colt gunsmiths left. Older Colt mechanics are not dark arts - that is correct, but they are complicated enough that an incompetent "gunsmith" can turn some simple procedure like hand fitting and timing into a nightmare and butcher half of the internals.
    And yes, D-frames does not have designated hand springs.

    P.S. Jim, with some good lighting, looking at the rear of the cylinder window from the left, you can see the hand advancing towards the ratchet and engaging it when pulling the trigger. Compare the cycle with your older Cobra. Look at the bolt, from the right side - when does it retracts from the cylinder notch and compare it again with the other revolver. The bolt should start retracting as soon as you start to pull on the trigger.

    Best,
    Boris
     
  9. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I wasn't thinking in terms of him working on it, just getting a bit more info from Colt oriented folks about whether it sounded like a serious issue or not, and/or if not serious, perhaps someone local to him (perhaps the shop he got it from) could fix it if they know what was wrong. I looked later at the Colt forum, he had already posted there before and said that hed taken it back, so its all history.
     
  10. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Opps! That's right, there is no separate hand spring.

    Remove the sideplate and observe what happens when the Agent is titled upward.
     
  11. popeye
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    popeye Member

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    I returned the gun for a full refund. This is my second "strike" era Agent I've had that had premature problems. In the first instance, since factory parts are non existent I had to get an aftermarket bolt that was 90% finished and then installed by a local Colt savvy smith. Very long and costly process for a gun originally marketed as a budget model.
     
  12. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    I don't think it's Colt's fault that the gunsmith charged you extra and delayed the repair, or at least you feel that way. It doesn't matter if the bolt is factory original part, or aftermarket - in both cases it requires fitting. You are just unfortunate to like a revolver that has a complicated (as operation and interaction of parts, not that it has many parts) hand fitted action that a lot of gunsmiths just don't want to understand - like many repairman today they just don't want to use their heads for thinking. Hat wearing is OK, but thinking is for losers...
     
  13. Clark

    Clark Member

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    Colt Agent 1969 with bent frame 12-10-2015.jpg

    I bent the frame on this 1969 Colt Agent, and it did not work.
    I got copies of Double Action Colt revolvers by Jerry Kuhnhausen
    10 years later I was able to change the timing and get it to work again.
    I am not saying that is a straight forward procedure, but I am sure that referring to that book first is a good idea.
     
  14. Stony

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    I always liked the Agents, but I think I've seen more out of time or with other similar problems than the ones that were working properly. I guess if a guy is dedicated enough to do the research or find a good gunsmith that understands Colts, you can still make a good shooter out of one.....at least until something else goes wrong with it. The last Agent I owned was firing slightly before it came into full battery position (thankfully the forcing cone seemed to direct the bullet down the barrel at least). The hits on the primers were so far off to a side that it's a wonder they even fired. I sent it off to a large gunsmithing company that does warranty work for many manufacturers and it came back with a bill for work done, test ammo and shipping......and still did the same thing. I shy away from most colt double actions anymore as these types of problems occur too frequently compared to S&W's.
     
  15. popeye
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    popeye Member

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    I've shown these before so please bare with me. I like the DA Colts and these are the last I currently own. 1 DS, 1 Agent, and 2 Cobras. I love this type and I carry one of them daily. Increasingly sellers want top dollar for their used Colts. I can no longer afford to buy a gun, pay the going rate for it, and then have to repair it because I missed something when I checked it out prior to purchase. The gun I referred to in this thread slipped through my checkout procedure because I always point a gun towards the floor when I check the trigger pull on a gun. I'm adding a new item to my check out procedure when I consider my next purchase. Considering the outcome of my visit to the tax preparer Monday it will be a while before my next gun purchase.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017 at 9:04 AM
  16. Stony

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    Good looking bunch of Colts !
     
  17. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    popeye

    Nice collection of Colts you've got there! I'm a big Colt fan and along the way I have had some great Colt snubbies (Detective Special), and some not so great ones (labor problems era Agent). Always like the way they handled and that extra round was nice but I have never had any problems with S&W J frame revolvers and that's why I have stayed with them over the years instead of looking at Colt D frame revolvers.
     
  18. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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  19. popeye
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    popeye Member

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    Last pic I promise:). I've got a couple J Frames. Luv em. Since this pic I got a S&W 649 .38 spec..
    [​IMG]
     
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