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What's the black magic surrounding revos?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Solomonson, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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  2. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Revo...

    I think in some southern states uttering that work is a felony, same for shottie or Remmie.

    I was always amazed that the New England gun manufacturers could turn out fairly precision products with relatively rudimentary, by today's standards, machinery.
     
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  3. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    "Coder teams" do not design mechanical hardware.

    All products are designed by thinkers; today's craftsmen have better tools for making and measuring.

    Today's 3D modeling, virtual reality, and integrated dimensional databases eliminate a lot of trial and error. That's a good thing,

    There was no advantage to having to draw three-view drawings in two dimensions, add the dimensions, put those dimensions into machines and tools, try the parts together, file to fit, and then go back to re-do the drawings util they finally got it right.

    That was drudgery, not genius.
     
  4. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Despite what you may read in Wikipedia, not quite correct. Colt did not invent the revolver. He perfected it, and produced a design that was capable of being mass produced.

    As a young man serving as cabin boy aboard the brig Corvo, Colt traveled to India. While there he probably saw examples of Collier's Flintlock revolver.

    poUqbSWXj.jpg




    Collier's revolver did not have a feature that rotated the cylinder automatically, the cylinder had to be rotated by hand. However other than that, it had many of the features of a modern revolver. Multiple charges could be loaded in the cylinder. Unlike a pepperbox with multiple barrels, the projectiles fired through a single barrel when each chamber was aligned with the barrel. The odd looking frizzen stored powder to be placed in the pan before each shot.

    The legend is that while a cabin boy on the Corvo Colt came up with the idea of a pawl on the hammer to rotate the cylinder from a ratchet mechanism to lock the wheel of a sailing ship in one position. He made a wooden model. Colt's first patent patented the mechanism that rotated the cylinder (the hand) as well as the mechanism that locked the cylinder in position (the bolt). Colt's first revolver, the Paterson Model was a financial failure. About ten years later he manufactured the Walker Colt, which had problems of its own, but was a financial success that led to his later percussion and cartridge models.

    For more about the Collier Flintlock revolver, here is a link to Ian McCollum's Forgotten Weapons about the Collier repeating flintlocks. Notice about halfway through Ian mentions that these were the inspiration for Colt's revolvers. By the way, the Collier revolvers were hand made and required great skill to make and were very expensive. Part of Colt's genius was coming up with a design that could be mass produced, and did not require great skill to be manufactured and assembled.

     
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  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Believe it or not, prototyping is still required today even with the most advanced 3D modeling and manufacturing techniques. It's one thing if you are designing a static part that stands alone by itself. Once complex mechanisms come into play, you would be amazed how many times the first article simply does not work. Trust me on this, I have worked at several startups and I can't tell you how many hours I have spent trying to assemble parts that simply did not fit together. Mistakes still happen, and parts often do not fit, even with the most advanced, modern technologies.
     
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  6. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes.

    I did not mean to imply otherwise.

    The number of tries will likely be reduced, and when changes are made, the new data are put in--in one place--and that's it.

    In my day, new drawings of one or more entire parts might well have been needed.
     
  7. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    This has zero to do with anyones experience with CNC or CAD coding or the operation of the machines, nor is it a slam on the modern use of such machines today. My good friend owns a large heavy machine shop that relies on these things ever day, heck my 15 year old kid designs stuff at the time for his 3-D printer to make... I know there is a lot of time and effort that goes into programming the machines before something usable comes out.

    Machines...this is the key word. One doesn’t have to be mechanically inclined to program a machine. It helps, but it isn’t necessary.

    When people working with Sam Colt, Horace Smith, Daniel Wesson, Iver Johnson etc. thought up and designed the revolvers for the masses that bear their names, were CNC, CAD, computers or even four function calculators from TI available?

    We all know the answer to that. :)

    These little mechanical puzzles were thought up, drawn, forged, ground, polished and then fitted by hand. And some of these creations were done so well that after 100 or more years we still use the same basic designs today... using CAD,CNC, MIM, casting and other time, labor and money saving advances to replicate them. But we still revere shooting the originals for the paths they blazed.

    Glocks, Xd’s, SIG 320’s etc. and every other modern design all benefited from computers doing the hard work; be it in design, ergonomics, material strength and other calculations.

    Now I like modern pistols, I have numerous examples and even wear one every day at work. But the OP asked what the “black magic” is about a “revo”, and then insulted someone who made a clarifying statement request. That smacked of the same attitudes I see from the tech industry, where people of zero life experience sitting at a keyboard love to look down their noses and scoff at anything older than last March.

    The tone that was set seemed to me (and others) that we were somehow looked down upon because we appreciate what a “revo” does for us. To me, comparing the revolver to a modern pistol is almost like comparing a grass fed rack of beef ribs compared a 100% mechanically processed McRib sandwich... they’re both “meat,” but only one has soul.

    That is what I was referring to. :)

    Stay safe.
     
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  8. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Because it would take Wilt Chamberlain to reach around the grip. A semi auto could be made to handle those just as easy as a revolver. Grip a desert eagle or 5.7 and then double that grip to fit the 460/500. Im a big lanky guy. I can palm a basketball pretty firmly.....I doubt I could reach around that grip. I love the 460 round in my revolver though.

    Nope. And the people running the machines are far from coders. They do set up machine axis though.

    Yep. I personally seen a $100k+ screw up where a cnc operator botched his x-axis math by not paying attention to a negative symbol. Then not mic-ing the first one correctly. Made an entire shift of a faulty product. What was he building?.....engine turbine components for aviation engines.

    Think about that the next time you fly the friendly skies.
     
  9. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I may be missing the point here, but from what I see it’s about like any other good brought to market. There are a few sides to it as in why it is needed, how expensive it is, etc but once everything is said and done it comes down to being functional, durable, and comfortable. Anybody with mechanical aptitude can make a functional item for some given task, and a firearm is no different. With enough time and effort it can and will be done. Being durable typically comes down to materials used and process selection (and process control) comfortable, well nobody will buy even the fastest car if it is painful to drive even for the 5 seconds it takes to make a pass on the drag strip. It makes me wonder just how successful of a design a Clerke revolver or a Jennings j9 would be had they used better materials. So, the “black magic” is making a gun that is flawlessly functional, that is difficult to break intentionally, and feels good in the hand. Beyond that it’s like jewelry, make it pretty and it will sell. Charter revolvers are not really pretty, but a similar gun from S&W in polished stainless with nice grips shows very nicely and brings a higher price tag based on being pretty. Also that “pretty” look speaks highly when comparing one vs the other because prettier subconsciously comes across as better and first impressions are hard to overcome. So a S&W gun may not be truthfully any better of a design than a Taurus, Charter, or EAA but when it is made of more reliable materials with better process control, and has a better finish making it pretty, then the choice is clear.
     
  10. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Design engineering does not involve "programming the machines".

    No. The drages pencils on velumn and made measurements with scales and dividers.

    Tedium, not genius

    It works that way today, but it is a lot easier to visualize the results when 3D models are used.

    Yes, and the Kimber K6a, the Ruger LCR, and new Colts, also.

    But eliminating the "hard work" doe not obviate the need for thinking; and hard work is not "black magic"

    Do not confuse the design of computing equipment wit the design of mechanical devises.

    No, it was about tools and processes.

    The 1911 was designed and developed in the same way as the Colt New Service.
     
  11. Boattale

    Boattale Member

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    I was wondering if a Revo was anything like a Devo?
     
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  12. mcb

    mcb Member

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    The album cover to Devo's Freedom of Choice single has a Revo(lver) on it.

    220px-Devo_freedom_of_choice.jpg :rofl:
     
  13. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Yes, New England was the heart of the Industrial Revolution in America. Oh, there were other places, such as Paterson NJ, and Ilion NY, but here in New England was where 'Yankee Ingenuity' made mass production of many products, not just firearms, possible.

    However, it is a mistake to think that the machinery was crude.

    Perhaps the most influential crucible of firearms mass production was the Robbins and Lawrence Armory built in Windsor Vermont in 1846. Techniques in mass production were devised there that were the basis for mass production of interchangeable parts for firearms for over 100 years. Today, the old Armory houses the American Precision Museum with a collection of some of the original equipment used to manufacture interchangeable parts for firearms.

    Previously, many manufacturers relied on the English System of manufacturing. Highly skilled craftsmen would make guns and other products one at a time. What the Yankees realized was that using mass production and precision manufacturing equipment, less highly skilled workers could turn out interchangeable parts much more rapidly and economically than the old English Craftsmen. This became known as the American System. I visited the Precision Museum a number of years ago and took some interesting photographs.

    This is a lock plate profiling machine. Rather than hand cutting the lock plate and filing it to shape, the plate would be rough cut slightly oversized, then fastened to the machine and shaped to final profile in one pass.

    podjkqNvj.jpg




    This machine was used to inlet the stock for the lock plate. The pattern shown was fastened to the machine. The operator manipulated handles to keep a stylus in contact with the pattern. The cutter was attached by a pantograph to the stylus and as the stylus traced the edges of the pattern, the cutter made the cuts in the stock to receive the lock plate. A relatively unskilled laborer could cut dozens of stocks this way in a fraction of the time it took a skilled craftsman to cut a similar shape in a stock using hammers and chisels.

    pne0u7Owj.jpg




    A rifling machine.

    porpFuhDj.jpg




    This is how the rifling machine worked. Prior to this, gunsmiths would laboriously draw cutters through the bore of a rifle to cut the rifling. It took all day to rifle one barrel.

    pnrPN9Xsj.jpg




    A stock duplicator. The pattern at the rear rotated at the same rate as the work piece at the front. The operator used handles to keep a stylus pressed against the pattern while a pantograph arrangement cut the stock. You can still buy duplicators like this from Sears, at least you used to be able to.

    ponWNgUdj.jpg




    Another view of the stock duplicator.

    pnms7h3jj.jpg




    Another profiling machine.

    pmaeXS3sj.jpg




    Don't think of this stuff as crude. Equipment like this could produce very precise parts, that needed little or no fitting to go together into a working firearm.

    We are talking about the heyday of American Manufacturing here. Some of the men who worked at the Robbins and Lawrence Armory included B. Tyler Henry, Daniel Wesson, and Horace Smith. Henry went on to design the Henry rifle for Oliver Winchester in 1860, Smith and Wesson began manufacturing revolvers in 1857. Many of the techniques pioneered at Robbins and Lawrence were adopted by the Springfield Armory further down the Connecticut River. At the height of the Civil War, the Springfield Armory was able to produce as many as 1,000 rifled muskets per day.

    By the time Colt, S&W, Winchester, and the others built their factories, many machines were dedicated to perform one operation only. A worker might spend all day producing the same part on one of these work stations. The machines were preset so that work pieces could be dropped in and the operator did not have to spend any time setting up the machine, parts could be manufactured quickly and precisely. The work flow was organized so that parts flowed from the huge hammer forges down to the smaller precision operations and on to the assemblers. Depending on the task, assemblers might be highly skilled at fitting parts, or the parts might go together with little fitting at all.

    Anyway, long, long before modern CAD and CNC equipment existed, clever minds came up with clever ways to manufacture very precise parts and assemblies.
     
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  14. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    DJ... thanks for that comprehensive look back at machinery from a ‘simpler’ time.
     
  15. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    In the spirit of this thread I bought a Heritage Rough Rider Revo today.
     
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  16. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    In addition to the wonderful post by Driftwood Johnson about the museum in Windsor, VT, I wish to suggest my experience when visiting the rather small museum at the VMI in Lexington, VA. There, are several (many?) examples of revolvers which preceded anything Samuel Colt introduced. Some go quite far into the past. To date that museum does not have a catalog of their holdings, or the complete history of their firearms (in spite of having the original Lewis & Clark air-rifle). I tried to encourage the director of that museum to write a book, but I have seen nothing so far. That VMI museum has firearms, including rifles, which are definitely revolvers, but are not generally known.
     
  17. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    I would think the pressure levels would also have to be considered and would prove damaging to a semi-auto with a slide.
     
  18. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    I was thinking a rotating bolt gas system like the desert eagle. I certainly wouldn't want to see a 460 hi- point with a blowback action. Have to have a tripod mount for it for the weight. And a crank system to rack the slide for you. Actually i was pretty much just enlarging the Desert Eagle.....

    Could do a magazine like the FN p-90 and not contend with the massive grip I suppose
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
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  19. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Tomorrow's new thread topic: "Are revolvers obsolete?" Oh, wait -- we just did that already this year. Never mind.
    How about: "Do only old people carry revolvers?"
     
  20. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Legalities aside, I think a full-auto would be even less complicated. Just make it fire from the open bolt with a "firing pin" machined into the breech and you eliminate the need for a disconnector, firing-pin spring and simplify the trigger considerably.
     
  21. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    As others have mentioned, a person who would ask such a question probably will not understand. But I'll offer my own question: Have you ever seen Jerry Miculek shoot a revolver? Maybe find one of his videos. I like the one where he fires six shots from a revolver, reloads and fires six more shots in under 3 seconds. And then answer the question: What's the 'black magic' surrounding semi-autos?
     
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  22. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    That’s funny :D but lately I have had younger people expressing interest in my revolvers at the range. I do offer to let them try them out. They usually politely decline but I see the wheels turning in a positive way. :cool:
     
  23. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    He can fire a semi auto a lot more times in the same three seconds. He did 16 rounds in 4 seconds with. Revolver. He did nearly double that with a 1911. Can easily do double it with a Glock 17 with a 33 round mag. He is fast. And accurate. But the exception. He also did 20 some from a semi auto 12 guage in 3 seconds.

    IMO the only thing a revolver does better than a semi auto nowadays is handle stout hunting loads. I personally small game hunt with a K frame and I big game hunt with an N frame or Redhawk (and rarely an X-frame or single action). I like revolvers and am fine carrying one. I often carry a 329pd but there's a reason nobody carries a revolver in any decent military or even police force. It's not just a capacity issue either since Some guns targeted at the concealed carry market actually hold no more than my 686+. The 1911 only had a 1 round advantage in a less powerful round. When a revolver breaks its typically broke. There is no tap rack drill. And your 9 year old tik-tok watching nephew couldn't fix it in 90 seconds after being certified a Glock armorer by watching a YouTube video either. Maybe that is the "black magic" (stupid term) of the "revo" (also stupid term). People think revolvers don't jam but ive seen plenty of jams. Bullets that jumped and locked the cylinder. Trash in the mechanism. Lead shaving guns that were out of time....I love revolvers and im probably 50/50 revolver to semi-auto. I carry a Glock. Lol its lighter and flatter than even the little 686.

    20200731_122012.jpg


    Not sure if they are one and the same but I had a guy bring me a 357 that was marked Hawes. German gun.. so likely the same. Hammer spur was worn down. Only one ive seen but it seemed serviceable. not clerke or RG level bad.
     
  24. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    The OP was about the design and development of rDA evolvers in earlier times.

    As Old Dog nicely observes, we have had many discussions of the pros and cons of revolvers and such stuff.

    Different topic.
     
  25. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    I'm not entirely sure what the OP was about. Could be interpreted as another "why are they so expensive thread" was my point about fixing and fitting parts. He also talks about computer numeric Controls so I don't think he was talking specifically about earlier times.
     
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