View Full Version : question about 1 empty chamber
November 23, 2008, 10:55 AM
so I read somewhere that with the peacemaker style guns you should carry with 1 empty chamber as, you may accidently fire a round if not, my question is if there are 4 stages, for the hammer. couldnt you put it on the first click out, and not worry about this? just wondering as I'm having to suffer through my 3 day waiting period on my new cimaron.
November 23, 2008, 11:03 AM
The older style and reproduction SAA do not have a hammer block design for the most part. If you left it on half cock, you would be relying on a very small little notch in the hammer to keep it from firing. Now consider when that would occur. Usually from a drop, where it lands on the hammer and hits the primer, firing the cartridge, if you had the chamber loaded and on half cock, it probably would come thru the half cock notch and still fire. It might now, buy do you really want to find out. Like John Wayne said in "The Shootist" if you think your going to need all 6 and put it in, otherwise don't. Hope that helps. Patrick aka Executioner
November 23, 2008, 12:00 PM
Half cock would be the second notch. The first notch is a safety notch but it's thin and could conceivably be easily broken. Early holsters covered all of the cylinder and most of the hammer making an accidental discharge while holstered virtualy nil. Me personally, I lower the hammer between cartridges like the old timers told me to when I was young.
November 23, 2008, 01:00 PM
Every Colt single action I have seen has only two notches in the hammer. First is half cock, it locks the sear, you have to move the hammer back to unlock the sear before it can go forward. Second notch is full cock. If you feel you need six rounds, load six and place the hammer between cylinders. That is not as safe as resting the hammer on a empty cylinder. Most C&P revolvers have a notch or pin to secure the hammer between cylinders.
November 23, 2008, 02:32 PM
Look again, madcrate. Even the Old Model Ruger Blackhawks and Single Sixes have a safety notch. That's what it's for but most won't recommend using it. If you've ever taken one apart, you know the trigger nose, the part that engages the hammer notches, is extremely thin and could easily be broken off. The accepted method of loading a traditional single action is to bring the hammer to half cock, open the gate, load one chamber, skip one chamber, load the remaining four. Then bring the hammer to full cock and lower it slowly onto the empty chamber. ALWAYS lower the hammer from full cock, never from the half cock position. Most good SA's are properly timed and won't ring the cylinder if handled correctly.
November 23, 2008, 03:30 PM
A real Colt or faithful copy has three hammer notches, four positions.
All the way down, currently recommended over an empty chamber for carry. A rulebook requirement by SASS and other competitions.
Safety notch (quarter cock) for carry as was recommended by Colt for carry in the 19th century.
Half-cock notch for unloading and reloading.
Full cock notch for shooting.
Nobody in the business recommends carry in the safety notch any more, or between chambers, because a slip-up will get the maker sued. Ruger lost millions in settlements and suits which motivated them to put in the New Model transfer bar to make carrying six up as safe as with a double action revolver.
November 23, 2008, 04:27 PM
Nobody in the business recommends carry in the safety notch any more, or between chambers,
I don't advise it, it's just the way I've done it for 41 years and it gripes my butt to have a six shot revolver and only load five + I hate transfer bars.:D
November 23, 2008, 05:25 PM
I load six while shooting and five when extended carry time.
Where do you have to wait three days?
November 23, 2008, 11:31 PM
Even the Old Model Ruger Blackhawks and Single Sixes have a safety notch
All my blackhawks are new models.
Are you talking about the notches cut in the back of the cylinder to lock the hammer between cartridges? Most all early Colts had one or more small pins in the back of the cylinder to capture the hammer between cylinder, The remmies and other top strap revolvers used the notch cut in the cylinder.
If you've ever taken one apart, you know the trigger nose, the part that engages the hammer notches, is extremely thin and could easily be broken off.
I assume you are talking about the 'sear' it engages the hammer notch at half cock and full cock. The hammers on my Walker, baby dragoon, 1st and 2nd model Dragoon,51 navy, 61 navy, roger& spencer and several NMA Remingtons all have two notches in the hammer, half cock and full cock. I know this because I have stoned each one. I believe one model of Colt, the SAA, has a third notch that holds the firing pin off the cartridge, not a smart way to carry it.
loading a traditional single action is to bring the hammer to half cock, open the gate, load one chamber, skip one chamber, load the remaining four
Yes, that is the accepted loading routine for a single action, center fire revolver, unless your revolver is equipped with a transfer bar, then six is safe.
November 24, 2008, 12:35 AM
Yes, that is the accepted loading routine for a single action, center fire revolver
That's what the original question was about.
November 24, 2008, 03:06 AM
HeeHee! Hawg Haggen good one, how ya doin'?:cool:
I carry six in two '58 Rems under my flapped holsters with two capped spare cyl. for each and five in my my '62 Colt Pocket Police cause she'll hold no more...and that's a good day, on a bad day strap two saddle holsters on Ol' Lexus with six in a Walker and six in a Dragoon.;)
November 24, 2008, 05:01 AM
Doin good SG. How bout you? Haven't seen you in awhile.
November 24, 2008, 10:39 AM
That's what the original question was about.
Your right, my bad, must be the meds:)
November 25, 2008, 03:35 AM
Hawg ain't been doin' too good with the airbags...been mostly jus' on Voy. Feelin' better this past week haven't had to use the O2 much.
I believe in more than one miricle is given in life and I think I was given another. :)
And been busy with more Revs and a new '59 Armi Sport Sharps Cav Carbine 22" .54 Paper cart.
Got some KNO3 and now have 30 sheets of Nitrated yellow pages cartridge paper awaiting a mold.
Also waitin for an H&R .45/70 Buffalo Classic 32" to get here. Mold, dies, brass... on the way for that one.
I been busy. LoL!
November 25, 2008, 03:57 AM
Colt SAAs have three notches on the face of the hammer.
The first notch is the safety notch, the second is half cock and the third is full cock.
November 25, 2008, 10:49 AM
Not only can the first notch, the safety notch be broken, all of the notches can be broken from careless handling and shooting practices.
Even I have occassionally had the hammer slip on the way back to full cock.
Some old Colts had all their hammer notches broken and the owners would hold the hammer back to half cock to load them.
Only a TYRO of the lowest rank would load six beans in the wheel in the old days. There is a funny story about Wyatt Earp having his peacemaker drop out of the holster and discharge and having to pay a fine.
Earp was no master gunfighter...in his biography, he claimed to hunt buffalo with a shotgun.
Seems like every four months on the internet forums somebody young rediscovers the Colt SAA or replicas and wants to know why they can't fan it, or load six rounds in it for carry ,etc...
I think a lot of this comes from western movies and books which often have such foolishness....
Remember boys, as much as it pains anybody under 30 to admit they are wrong, the reality is this gun has been around for over a century and people figured out it's quirks long before you were born.
The Colt SAA and copies have three notches on the hammer, but they make four clicks when you cock the gun. The first click is the safety notch. The second click is the half cock notch. The third click is the cylinder bolt locking into place and the fourth click is the half cock notch....
When you fan a peacemaker, in addition to putting stress on the springs and lockwork, you bugger up the cylinder locking bolt and cut an ugly circle around the cylinder.
Just load five beans in the wheel and don't fan your peice and you will be fine...
November 25, 2008, 01:55 PM
Only a TYRO of the lowest rank would load six beans in the wheel in the old days.
I don't buy that. First off folks weren't as safety anal as they are now. I say anal because being safe is one thing but some people just go over the top with it. So much so that I wonder how they get any enjoyment out of life. When I got my first SAA I was 10. There were some fairly old timers still around and they told me to always lower the hammer between cartridges like with a cap and ball. I've seen a few recovered guns and even found one myself that were all loaded six up. Mine wasn't a SAA but was a 58 Remington. The hammer on it was down between chambers. FWIW the SAA's I saw were on the safety notch
November 25, 2008, 03:52 PM
I carry mine with six, but I also carry an Uberti.
November 25, 2008, 04:53 PM
To carry 5 or 6 in a wheel gun has been something folks seem to enjoy argueing over in every forum .
It just depends who taught you gun safty ...and every one is right in their own minds .
I can say this ...I have never heard of a man carrying 5 with the hammer down on an empty chamber get shot in the foot with his own revolver ...but I can`t say the same for the guys that carry 6 .
November 25, 2008, 05:15 PM
5 or 6. Who gives a rats patooty. You carry what you feel is safe. But if it takes you six shots to hit your target, maybe you want to rethink carrying a weapon in the first place. That is unless you have six targets to hit. Then it would be a wise choice.
The safety one person takes is not the same level another feels comfortable with. Opinions are given. But remember, they are like arsholes, every one has one. And usually, except for a few nuggets, it is runny poo.
But I will say, the overall thread has been most enlightening on the safety features. I applaud you for the knowledge I obtained this day.
November 25, 2008, 07:10 PM
It just depends who taught you gun safty ...
You're probably right. In fact, I'm sure you're right in the vast majority of cases. But you shouldn't be.
We should all know how the actions work on all our guns, down to the most intimate detail (like how many sear rest notches there are on the hammer), and what happens at every point in the action cycle. Then we'd all make rational decisions about safety based on the physics and geometry of our guns and what really can and cannot happen. At least, I'd hope we would.
BTW, IMO the reason we've not heard of someone shooting themselves in the foot when carrying hammer down on an empty chamber is probably because it's much less likely to result in an ND than carrying hammer down between loaded chambers, but IT CAN STILL HAPPEN. The hammer has to move further back, and the cylinder has to rotate twice as far, but it's possible.
November 26, 2008, 04:27 AM
FWIW neither of my SAA's will pop a primer until the hammer is past half cock. I do use CCI primers, Federals might be a different story.
November 26, 2008, 07:10 AM
Now your talking Murphys Law ....Ole Murphy has been out to get me since the day I was born ...so I only carry 5 ..:(
I read a story in American Rifleman ...There was a fellow carrying a 1911 loaded and locked ..someone saw he hammer back on the pistol and asked isn`t that dangerous to carry that way ...His reply was you bet it is .. And I wouldn`t carry it if it wasn`t dangerous .
November 27, 2008, 02:20 AM
Jim Watson Posted,
A real Colt or faithful copy has three hammer notches, four positions.
I had a student in class (concealed carry) this fall carrying his 1894, "BISLEY MODEL" Colt Single action. This revolver had 2 positions, 1/2 cock/load, and full cock. This Bisley was in .45 LC. He made the timed fire as all empty brass dropped out without using the extractor rod.
This man stated that his Grandfather bought this revolver new.
Could this revolver have a broken hammer notch?
I will contact this man if nessesary.
November 27, 2008, 10:11 AM
I have a faint recollection about differences in the Bisley hammer but cannot find it in literature at hand.
A Colt without quarter cock "safety notch" would certainly be worth checking to see if it was broken out or if it had, as the target model, been built without it. If he is not up to taking his gun apart and LOOKING at it, a visit to a real gunsmith would be in order. Of course an original Bisley Colt is worth a good bit, so he should be careful not to booger up screw heads etc.
November 27, 2008, 10:34 AM
I know the spur on a Bisley is lower and wider. Dunno bout the safety notch. Doesn't seem likely it didn't have one tho.
November 27, 2008, 12:46 PM
My Uberti Bisley has three notches in the hammer. I would feel very safe in assuming the originals did as well.
November 27, 2008, 03:39 PM
I asked a friend over the chicken and dressing about his. He said his Bisley Colt had a safety notch. As I said the only way to know for sure is to open it up and look. If it were mine, I would not be depending on the safety notch any way and would just be sure there was no rough spot from a broken lip to wear the trigger sear surface.
November 29, 2008, 10:05 PM
I made contact with the Bisley owner and gave him the contact info to a local gunsmith. He seem very interested in knowing if his revolver is out of order, and he is very careful to keep hammer over empty chamber.
I will post what is determined.
November 30, 2008, 11:36 AM
If it were mine, I would not be depending on the safety notch any way and would just be sure there was no rough spot from a broken lip to wear the trigger sear surface.
Precisely! No harm in missing your safety notch, as long as you're not depending on it, which I do not do either. Just need to make sure there's not a nasty burr eating up the trigger.
December 1, 2008, 10:31 AM
>>>There were some fairly old timers still around and they told me to always lower the hammer between cartridges like with a cap and ball. I've seen a few recovered guns and even found one myself that were all loaded six up.
What makes you think they knew squat?
Newsflash dude. Some old timers were as dumb as any gangsta rappah supuhstah wannabe today. Wisdom doesn't automatically come with age. Have you watched my grandmother spent four hours trying to balance a checkbook?
In the old days people who KNEW about guns LAUGHED at people who loaded six beans in the wheel.
Wyatt Earp once was fined for having a Colt discharge when it fell out of his holster and the hammer spur struck the floor.
Remember, this was the same Wyatt Earp who claimed to hunt buffalo with a shotgun.
Elmer Keith knew plenty of old timers and in his book Sixguns he has plenty of examples of tricks they did to carry six in a sixgun, including special safety straps on the holster that had a hole bored through for the firing pin.
Ask the folks at Ruger or Freedom arms about accidental discharges. They both got sued for millions when fools with a live round under the hammer of a traditional SAA style wheelgun blew their own legs off.
Which is why we have transfer bars on SOME modern SA revolvers nowadays.
December 1, 2008, 02:15 PM
I tried using the old "drop the hammer between cylinders" trick.
To much messing around.
I like the load one, skip one, load four, cock hammer, set hammer down=resting on empty chamber.
Cock the hammer again and it's game on.
Best way to do it.
Otherwise, if you don't care to shoot yourself or someone else accidentally and insist on six up carry, get a transfer bar gun. Plenty of companies are making them too. Ruger, Beretta...they are good guns too.
Personally, I prefer the empty cylinder types myself.:)
December 5, 2008, 02:55 PM
I'm pretty sure that your Cimarron has a transfer bar, and a safety notch.
December 5, 2008, 03:08 PM
I don't know about YOUR Cimarron or HIS Cimarron, but MY Cimarron does not have a transfer bar. It has a safety notch and is a faithful copy of the Colt except for the long base pin that can be slid back to act as a "safety" in order to meet BATF import requirements.
December 5, 2008, 03:58 PM
Good friend of mine bought a New Uberti Colt 1873 ...he didn`t know about the long cylinder pin being a safty ...I had no idea ..it wouldn`t fire because the hammer couldn`t reach the primmers ....was glad he wasn`t under attack when he found out about how this pin works..It fired fine the day he bought the gun ....he put the pin in too far after cleaning , and didn`t know it .:o
December 5, 2008, 07:55 PM
Good friend of mine bought a New Uberti Colt 1873 ...he didn`t know about the long cylinder pin being a safty ...I had no idea ..it wouldn`t fire because the hammer couldn`t reach the primmers ....was glad he wasn`t under attack when he found out about how this pin works..It fired fine the day he bought the gun ....he put the pin in too far after cleaning , and didn`t know it
I did the same thing with my Cimarron(no tansfer bar). :D A grinder took care of that little problem. :D:D:D
December 5, 2008, 08:00 PM
What makes you think they knew squat?
Newsflash dude. Some old timers were as dumb as any gangsta rappah supuhstah wannabe today.
Your opinion dude. The real old timers lived with those guns. I think they knew how to use them and what worked and what didn't. The people I learned from were their sons and grandsons.
In the old days people who KNEW about guns LAUGHED at people who loaded six beans in the wheel.
Sure they did.:rolleyes:
Wisdom doesn't automatically come with age.
Some youths aren't too bright either.
December 5, 2008, 09:23 PM
Years before many of you were born, I talked to some old timers and learned a lot, including the trick of lowering the hammer between rounds (works better with calibers other than .45 Colt), but today if I were dumb enough to carry a SAA type revolver, I would carry with the hammer down on an empty chamber.
That being said, if I hear one more time about "beans in a wheel", I will scream. They ain't gawdamn beans, they are cartridges, and it ain't a gawdamn wheel, it is a cylinder, and you are carrying a gun, a dangerous and deadly weapon, not a vegetable chopper.
Another thing that will bring on a screaming fit is that Colt lawyer made-up story about the $20 bill in the empty chamber for burying money.
December 5, 2008, 09:40 PM
Years before many of you were born, I talked to some old timers and learned a lot, including the trick of lowering the hammer between rounds (works better with calibers other than .45 Colt)
it worked in the old days with .45's too. The case head was smaller then. That and the balloon head cases are why there was never a lever action rifle made in .45 but I'm bettin you already knew that.:D
December 6, 2008, 12:07 AM
My very first pistol (bought with my allowance), was a Colt Frontier Scout and was always loaded with 6 rounds.
That was almost half-O-century ago, an I've NEVER had an AD in all that time. Course, I've never had an auto accident or a driving ticket either. Ya' hafta use yer horse sense :p
Only during SASS events do I load 5. All other times it's always six.
December 6, 2008, 01:37 AM
The old timmer that taught me to shoot ..said load 5 and ease the hammer down on the empty chamber ..or I`ll put my foot in yer ass .:eek:
April 5, 2011, 11:17 PM
I did a search on BP safety before asking the question: "Which way is safer, hammer on safety pin between chambers, or hammer on empty chamber?" and came upon this thread from 2008. I can say that I laughed my arse off reading about the senior members go at each other on this topic. I have an Army background, and have shot everything the Army had to offer, from 1911s, M-16s, M-60s, a couple of old bazookas, but here's my noob question on BP:
1. So the safety pins on the 1851s and 1860s (I'm talking about the Piettas now) aren't safe to use ? The cylinder doesn't spin when I rest the hammer between chambers, and I don't carry my guns on horseback in CA :D.
2. Once you load a BP gun, how do you unload the sucker? Just remove the caps? I can't imagine removing the bullet and powder after ramming it down with the plunger. Thanks.
April 6, 2011, 12:19 AM
2. Once you load a BP gun, how do you unload the sucker? Just remove the caps? I can't imagine removing the bullet and powder after ramming it down with the plunger.
After the caps are removed the gun is considered by law to be unloaded.
But if a person wanted to remove the loads to clean residue from an earlier firing, then one easy way is to remove the cylinder from the gun, then unscrew the nipples and then tap out enough of the powder to be able to push or tap the balls out from behind using a non-sparking wood dowel or brass rod.
April 6, 2011, 08:47 PM
a county deputy said a loaded and primed gun laying on your front seat in South Carolina is perfectly legal and you can walk around most places w/ it in an un concealed holster.Of course not in a bank/ Gov bldg or Bar. It is the same thing as a fishing pole. If you put it concealed then it is a weapon.
April 6, 2011, 08:49 PM
I meant itt has to be a percussion B/P
April 6, 2011, 10:13 PM
Too bad the good Colonel didn't have a crystal ball..would have made e'm 7 shooters!
April 6, 2011, 10:49 PM
5 or 6 seems to pop up almost as often as "brass or steel". If I'm out shooting target practice, I usually load 6. If I'm carrying, I always load 5 - that's what I was taught years ago by several "old timers" who were experience revolver shooters - both civilian and LE - and I'm talking fellas who were born in the late 1880's & 90's who shot and carried wheel guns their entire lives. But . . that's what they had been taught as well. I'm not "preaching" one way or the other though - I guess it boils down to what you're comfortable with. I have a number of older SA and DA as well as some newer ones like the New Vaquero, etc. that have the cross bar safety. Even then, unless I'm target shooting, if I carry the Vaquero, I carry with just 5 - what can I say other than I'm an "old fart" and "old habits" are hard to break? If I had been a cavalry trooper in the Civil War, I'd have probably carried with 6 - but that would have been for combat conditions. You can argue the same if you're carrying CCW for self defense - that's why I have a semi-auto with greater magazine capacity though. Regardless of what I do or how I've been taught to do, I really don't care if someone carries a wheel gun with 5 or 6 or evin 1 - as long as they use COMMON SENSE and CARRY IT SAFELY so as to not injure themselves or a bystander. That's really what it is all about - BEING SAFE. :)
April 6, 2011, 11:01 PM
I forgot to mention something in my post above which kind of pertains to the topic. One thing else I was taught by the "old timers" was to always count the number of cartridges you put in your cylinder (doesn't matter if it's 1, 5 or 6) and as you shoot, keep track of how many you've shot. They stressed this not only for safety reasons, but in case you actually had to use your revolver to defend yourself. A gentleman who had been LE in the teens and 20s always drilled this in to my head. If you developed it as a habit, when shooting, you would always know if and how many "live" cartridges remained in the revolver. Ironically, I have been teaching my wife to shoot with an older Ruger Super Bear Cat that I always carry with 5 and the hammer on an empty chamber because it doesn't ahve a cross bar safety on it. Counting is one of the things I am "drilling" in to her head as well - again, for safety and in case of having to use it for self protection. The first time at the range, she of course was concentrating on a lot of new things - first firing a weapon for the first time, noise, stance, etc. and even though I had drilled the counting into her head, several times she thought that she had shot all six when actually she had shot only 5 and then placed the weapon pointing down range on the table in front of her. (since we were at the range, we were loading six). Each time she went to eject the spent casings, I reminded her that she still had a "live round" in the cylinder. After this happening three times, she caught on to counting her shots and soon realized the importance of what I was telling her. By the end of our first shooting session, it was becoming a "habit" for her to keep track of how many she loaded and how many she shot. Some may not see the importance of this but to me, it is just as important as any other safety measure you learn when shooting revolvers. Just my 2 cents though. :)
April 7, 2011, 03:17 PM
The answer is NO. I've never heard of a six shooter being carried in the half cock notch.
April 7, 2011, 03:57 PM
1. So the safety pins on the 1851s and 1860s (I'm talking about the Piettas now) aren't safe to use ? The cylinder doesn't spin when I rest the hammer between chambers,
Keep a close watch on the safety pins if you use them. They are soft and small and are often found worn to where they will not engage on antique Colts. The Remington (and Ruger) system of a notch for the hammer nose between nipples is more secure.
April 7, 2011, 04:24 PM
Some repros don't even have pins and some have just nubs where the pins should be.
April 7, 2011, 04:39 PM
But if a person wanted to remove the loads to clean residue from an earlier firing, then one easy way is to remove the cylinder from the gun, then unscrew the nipples and then tap out enough of the powder to be able to push or tap the balls out from behind using a non-sparking wood dowel or brass rod. Yes, that is the way to do it. I once unloaded a cap and ball revolver for a woman who's husband had just died, she wanted to keep the pistol but not in a loaded condition, so I removed the nipples, tapped out the powder, and then with a brass rod and small hammer pounded out the lead balls from behind.
April 7, 2011, 04:51 PM
I just screw in a wood screw and pull them with a pair of vice grips.
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