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What's the black magic surrounding revos?

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

  1. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    No doubt though. Fit a cylinder to a 10 shot 610 and then swap parts in a 22/45 and you will see where the "black magic" is I guess
     
  2. Boattale

    Boattale Member

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    A lot of that old black magic goes back to the Texas Rangers and Colt revolvers and Indian wars.
     
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  3. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, that was someone else.

    It was about design and development, however, and apparently about technical complexity.
     
  4. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps that's what he was referring to.

    Maybe.
     
  5. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Not DA revolvers....
     
  6. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Lol. Sums up the thread really. 5 pages and no clear topic. At least its not bear defense....

    I did like seeing the old machinery though. I always said I could hand make everything on my mill / press and lathe and Mig... save for a good barrel. Obviously thats copying and borrowing from existing designs and a lot of hand work. Interesting how rifling was cut. I know there have been quite a few methods. There is no wonder a gun costed many weeks salary back then compared to a week or less now. Ive seen the old farm implements of the day. Still have many setting around in my old barns ive inherited. I try to show the kids how they worked and why they needed them back then. Hard to get them past the "why didn't they just go to Walmart or Amazon" mentality though. Ive visited with the Amish and seen some pretty neat tools they use for furniture as well. I also service million dollar production machines for a living so I see the full spectrum
     
  7. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    No black magic. No folklore. Just engineering and mechanics.

    Well, folklore may well develop, and grow, regarding just about anything.

    I thought revolving pistols were quaint, and slipping into obsolescence, when I bought my first handgun, which was a 1911, in 1982 or 1983. By the end of 1983, I had started at a police academy, and had to learn DA six-gunning, whether I liked the idea, or not. I knew I would have to use only DA revolvers, as my only authorized handguns, for my first year of sworn service. Well, to make a long story short, I learned to really like revolvers, too, and still do. It really is that simple.
     
  8. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Whaaaaat?? I thought it was about black magic!!! :evil:
     
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  9. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I vote for this one to be labeled "done". Original non-topic worked to death.
     
  10. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Seconded.
     
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  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Before it gets shut down, here are a few more photos of old gunmaking equipment.

    This is the Great Falls on the Passaic River in Patterson NJ. The falls are 73 feet high. Alexander Hamilton visited the falls in 1778, and later as Secretary of the Treasury he selected the site of the nation's first planned industrial city, which was named Paterson after New Jersey Governor William Paterson.

    poxrNy72j.jpg




    This is an old photo of Colt's factory in Paterson. Notice it is on the banks of the river. Rather than having water mills in the falls itself, a system of raceways were designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfant to harness the power of the falls. L'Enfant was the same man who laid out the design for Washington DC.

    poNogwZjj.jpg




    I don't have a date for this photo, but it shows the interior of the Colt factory,most likely the Hartford factory. Notice the lathes are all driven by belts connected to overhead drive shafts. This was before the development of electric motors small enough to be mounted on each machine.

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    A barrel rifling machine at the Colt factory.

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    Although many early factories used water power at first, when steam engines became practical steam power soon replaced water power in many factories. Water power was dependent on the weather, during the summer the water level in many rivers dropped, making less power available. Also, there was only a finite amount of power available in any stream or river. Once steam power became practical, it was not dependent on the weather, and more power could be added by adding more steam engines. These are vertical steam engines in the Colt factory driving the over head power shafts.

    poSHjAxuj.jpg




    The next two photos show Colt equipment in 1938. Still powered by overhead belts.

    pmqecVlwj.jpg

    poWIajG3j.jpg
     
  12. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again.

    Just a few more photos that some may find interesting.

    In 1950 Smith and Wesson moved out of their old factory in the middle of Springfield and moved into a brand new facility outside of town. At that time a brochure was published called From Raw Steel to Smith and Wesson.

    Here are a few photos from that publication. I have specifically chosen them to show the workstations that were specifically set up for specific operations. Notice in each photo there are many frames or cylinders being worked on at the same time. This was mass production at S&W in 1950, long, long before computers or CAD, or CNC existed.

    The hammer forges that stamped out the rough shaped frames. These hammer forges are still being used today.

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    Removing the flash from the rough frame forgings.

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    The first operation of profiling the frame forgings.

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    Coining Frames

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    Cutting the bolt slot in the frames.

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    Another step.

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    Tapping the barrel hole.

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    Preliminary fitting of side plate.

    po45EVDRj.jpg
     
  13. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Great stuff, Driftwood!

    How many people here remember machines driven by belts from overhead shafts?
     
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  14. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Some photos showing making cylinders at S&W in 1950.

    Drilling and Rough Reaming Cylinder chambers on a multiple spindle machine.

    pmAcKX6fj.jpg




    Milling Cylinder Flutes

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    Finish reaming cylinder chambers.

    pom2EVOYj.jpg



    Soft fitting was the fitting that was done to the parts before they were hardened. Here one of the skilled workers is filing frames for soft fitting.Notice how many frames he has at his work station.

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    Test Firing. Notice one worker is test firing one handed, the other is test firing two handed.

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    This was just a small sampling of all the photos in this publication. I wanted to give folks an idea of how mass production was done in 1950. There were many inspection steps along the way, I have not shown any of them.
     
  15. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Over the years I worked in several old mill buildings that still had the hangers in the ceiling from the overhead shafts. The shafts and the old equipment were long gone, but the hardware that fastened the power shafts to the ceiling were still there.

    I live near Lowell Massachusetts, which was the first industrialized city in North America, built on the banks of the Merrimack river.

    Just down the street from me is an old carpet mill that has been repurposed as individual shops. Inside there is an old stationary steam engine beautifully preserved as a static display.

    This is the engine. Steam was generated in a separate boiler house that does not exist any more. The steam was delivered to the engine by the big red pipe coming out of the wall. There were originally two identical engines, installed next to each other, but only one remains.

    pnpNfJCZj.jpg




    Leather belts ran from the big flywheel to wooden pulleys in the ceiling.

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    The wooden pulleys were connected to metal pulleys that ran the power shafts.

    pmAdurwuj.jpg




    The stack for the boiler house is still standing and has been repurposed as a cell tower. The boiler house was between the stack and the main mill building and is not there anymore.

    pmjm4LBCj.jpg
     
  16. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    How many people know that for many years those belts were made from buffalo hides. The demand for hides in the east for industrial purposes was a big contributing factor to the near extermination of the buffalo by the mid 1880s.

    Dave
     
  17. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Only in history books and film. :D
     
  18. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    As @Driftwood Johnson has shown us, revolvers are magic. Not black magic, but magic indeed.
     
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  19. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    The “black magic” of a revolver is that because they’re a relatively intricate mechanism, they don’t lend themselves to “economy” manufacture. Companies like Taurus and Armscor make them cheap, but even those aren’t extremely low-cost, and yet the shortcuts are often clear when holding the gun, and clear from the manufacturer’s reputation. They require a certain amount of care in their making, whether that is accomplished through meticulous hand fitting or meticulous CNC machining.

    The “black magic” to the user is how the resulting, fine firearm can generally be absolutely trusted to deliver “six for sure,”
    with great accuracy and a very nice trigger pull, and can handle a large variety of loads without issue, since the mechanism is not dependent on a relatively narrow band of recoil energy to reliably cycle the action. In short, for the end user, the semi auto lends itself for blazing away with factory-spec ammo, while the revolver rewards the individual user and allows him to custom tailor something exactly to his needs and purpose. And something that does it’s job so well, and is also made with evident craftsmanship and attention to detail, is always appreciated, if not revered.
     
  20. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    True. Succinct. And an appropriate response. I'm an inveterate revolver fan/user. My carry gun is a 442. My hunting gun is a 29. I'll trust my Smith 19 no less thany G19.
     
  21. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Really? Would you care to provide some documentation of that? Why would belts be made from hides that had to be shipped completely across the country from the Mid West and the West, to the North East, rather than cow leather that was easily available at any local slaughter house? Generally speaking, in most manufacturing endeavors, using local materials is usually more economical than using materials that have to be shipped long distance. Iron and steel are one thing, having to be shipped from wherever they are mined and processed. Leather would be easily available locally.

    By the way, one of the old mill buildings I worked in had an ancient freight elevator that had a large leather belt connecting the motor to a pulley on the elevator. Once a year we had to climb to the top of the elevator and apply some sort of compound to the belt to prevent it from slipping. Yes, there was a mechanism to prevent the elevator from crashing to the bottom floor if anything happened to the belt, but we had to apply a sticky compound to the belt once a year or it would slip. This was back in the 1970s, and I was a pretty young guy back then.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
    .308 Norma likes this.
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