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Old April 3, 2009, 09:55 PM   #1
ARENAMAN
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My 1860 Colt Repro Is Developing A Problem?

I've begun having a problem with my 1860 COLT REVOLVER REPRO. It started with one cylinder, but today four out of six of the cylinders failed to fire. The cap didn't fire each time. I have noticed that it seems that the cylinder has begun to have room to move a little between the frame and the barrel assembly. It slides back and forth along the arbor a very small fraction of a millimeter. I think this is the problem that is causing the caps not to ignite when the hammer falls. The cylinder has moved forward from its right place against the frame enough to keep the hammer from hitting the cap firmly. I was really having a problem with that one cylinder that was the first to begin misfiring. I finally had to get a small piece of wood and place it in from of the bottom part of the cylinder and then use the loading arm and piston to press against the wood and the cylinder which firmly pressed the cylinder back against the frame. I pressed against a tree in order to put a little pressure on the end of the loading arm so that my hand would not be forward of the cylinder as I pulled the trigger. When I used this method to hold the cylinder back against the frame the stubborn cylinder fired the first time, and with the same cap I had been trying to cause to fire before.

Does anyone know why the cylinder is now a little loose in the frame? I have checked the wedge and it seems to be all the way in and it seems to be tightly in place. I even tried to tap it in a little more and this didn't help. The place at the bottom where the barrel assembly and the frame meet is well seated together. Is there a small shim or spacer that I may have lost in the last cleaning? Any advise would be appreciated.

I also had something else interesting happen today. An older gentleman and friend of mine gave to me an old can of FFG Holy Black, and I tried it out today. My friend told me that this powder was pretty old and might not fire very well. When I tried it today it barely made a pop in my gun and lobed a little fire ball out the end of the barrel. I think the fireball was my lube pill burning. I thought I had read that black powder didn't get old. Maybe not. I don’t think it was damp. My friend said he had stored it inside, and so did I.
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Old April 3, 2009, 10:05 PM   #2
madcratebuilder
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Read these it may help you find the problem.
http://www.theopenrange.net/articles...a_Part_One.pdf
http://www.theopenrange.net/articles...a_Part_Two.pdf
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Old April 3, 2009, 10:15 PM   #3
mykeal
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First of all, does the gun have a steel or brass frame?

I can say there is no shim in the design, so you didn't lose or forget any such parts in reassembly.

If it's a brass frame there is a good chance that the recoil shield has been deformed, causing the end play you describe. Unfortunately there is no easy fix for this condition. This is very unlikely to have happened to a steel framed gun.

If it's a steel frame the most likely cause is wear of the wedge. This can be fixed with a new wedge. The 'tightness' of the wedge is not the criteria to use; the wedge should be inserted until the cylinder end play, measured between the front face of the cylinder and the barrel forcing cone, is between 0.010" and 0.006". This is just a guideline, not a critical measurement.

Black powder does not deteriorate with time. If it ever has been damp, however, it does need to be spread out and carefully dried back to it's powder consistency. If there was any clumping you can get reduced gas production due to lack of oxygen release. Using old powder is always a crap shoot; it may not even be black powder - you don't really know that what was stored in that can was black powder or not.
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Old April 3, 2009, 10:48 PM   #4
Fingers McGee
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First off, who is the manufacturer & is it a steel or brass frame & how old is it?

Did the caps fire the second time you hit them?
Do the caps seem to be harder to install?
Is there an impression of the nipple in the face of the hammer. If so, how deep is it?
Is there an old cap pressed against the frame under the hammer?
Does the hammer or frame show signs of hitting.

There is always some play in the cylinder, otherwise it wouldn't turn.

It could be any number of things in addition to a stretched arbor or frame.

Hammer could be hitting the nipples, mushrooming them so the caps dont fit right and wont ignite - Had an 1851 Navy that ruined two sets of nipples before I figured it out.

Could be a burr on the frame (or an old cap fragment) not letting the hammer hit the caps - Had a Pietta '51 Navy that had a high spot on the frame where the arbor was staked. It wouldn't reliably pop all the caps until I filed the high spot down.

I've got an old Uberti '51 Navy that the arbor is loose on and the gun rattle like crazy; but it still fires every time I pull the trigger.
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Old April 3, 2009, 11:09 PM   #5
ARENAMAN
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This is a Belgiun made FAUL manufactured, 1960 Centennial New Model Army, sometimes called Centaure. It has a Centaure ingraved in the frame.

There is not really any mushrooming in the nipples, the Hamer is not showing any impression from the nipple.

It is a steel framed pistol. I cycled the gun several times on the same caps when they would not fire. Still no fire. It didnt appear that the caps were given much of an impression after the hammer fell. The caps are going all they way onto the nipple. They fit well. I used No. 11 and No. 10 sized caps with the same result.

The wedge is just slightly cupped on the forward edge of the wedge, but only very slightly.

I looked and didn't see anything on the pistol like a spent cap in the way of the hammer. BUT, as i was taking the pistol apart for cleaning just after I made my initial post. a spent cap did fall out of the hammer area. I just assumed it was one of the last caps I fired, but it may have been there the whole time.
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Old April 3, 2009, 11:24 PM   #6
Fingers McGee
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The Centaures are well made pistols and is very collectable. If you haven't already, register your pistol on the Centaur website http://www.1960nma.org/ and contact Paden or Long Johns Wolf.

A cap fragment between the hammer and frame will cause your problem.
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Old April 4, 2009, 08:57 AM   #7
ARENAMAN
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Thanks for your help guys, Maybe it was a spent cap that I didn't see. Maybe I shouldn't wear sunglasses when I'm shootin. I am member No. 27 on the FROCS websight (http://www.1960nma.org/)
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Old April 4, 2009, 09:05 AM   #8
madcratebuilder
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One problem on some of the Centaure 1860's is an oversize bolt peening the cylinder notches, you should inspect that.
Some consider the Centaure to be the true second generation Colt 1860.
I found an old cap inside the first one I bought. There are a few members here with Centaure 1860's.

How much cylinder end play does the gun have?
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Old April 4, 2009, 09:39 AM   #9
Fingers McGee
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With the dark frame colors and the bp residue, it's hard to see cap fragments that have been smashed flat against the frame. Hopefully that was the problem all along
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Old April 4, 2009, 12:26 PM   #10
ARENAMAN
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To Answer Your Question Madcratebuilder, The End Play Is Just Slightly Less Than The Thickness Of A Dime As Measured Between The Front Of The Cylinder And The Forcing Cone. (i Dont Have Any Guages) The Cylinder Will Side Back Away From The Forcing Cone The Thickness Of A Dime, (a Little Less, I Tried To Gently Slide A Dime In There, It Woudn't Go In) And Will Slide All The Way Touching The Forcing Cone. May Be This Is Normal.
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Old April 4, 2009, 12:49 PM   #11
grymster2007
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I haven't measured one, but a dime is fairly thick. Seems that may be the problem, but how your gun got that way, I wouldn't know.
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Old April 4, 2009, 01:17 PM   #12
crstrode
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Quote:
To Answer Your Question Madcratebuilder, The End Play Is Just Slightly Less Than The Thickness Of A Dime As Measured Between The Front Of The Cylinder And The Forcing Cone. (i Dont Have Any Guages) The Cylinder Will Side Back Away From The Forcing Cone The Thickness Of A Dime, (a Little Less, I Tried To Gently Slide A Dime In There, It Woudn't Go In) And Will Slide All The Way Touching The Forcing Cone. May Be This Is Normal.
Pull out the wedge.

Rotate the barrel just a bit and see if the barrel and frame match up at the bottom of the frame where the two pins go into the holes on the barrel.

It might be that the arbor hole in the barrel is not deep enough, or you have managed to get some debris (crud, or a cap fragment, etc.) down in the bottom of the arbor hole. This will prevent the barrel from moving rearward far enough to eliminate the front-back slop in the cylinder.
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Old April 4, 2009, 01:38 PM   #13
olyinaz
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>>>To Answer Your Question Madcratebuilder, The End Play Is Just Slightly Less Than The Thickness Of A Dime As Measured Between The Front Of The Cylinder And The Forcing Cone. (i Dont Have Any Guages) The Cylinder Will Side Back Away From The Forcing Cone The Thickness Of A Dime, (a Little Less, I Tried To Gently Slide A Dime In There, It Woudn't Go In) And Will Slide All The Way Touching The Forcing Cone. May Be This Is Normal.<<<

Sounds a bit excessive to me but I'm not as experienced as others here...

Is the arbor still firmly seated in the frame/does it look as if it's pulled out of the frame at all? And did you say that at the bottom, where the two pins in the frame go into the barrel assembly to align the two pieces, the two pieces fit together snugly with the frame metal and the barrel assembly metal touching with no gap?

Oly
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Old April 4, 2009, 04:38 PM   #14
CaptainCrossman
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if the gun was played with and dry fired a lot without nipples on it, then the hammer wears down and won't crush the cap and ignite- in that case, have someone put a spot of weld on the hammer where it contacts cap, and file it smooth- I fixed one that way

but to be honest, it sounds like you have the dreaded Colt bent wedge problem- you may have to make a new wedge from billet or hardened forged steel, file it to size, and tap it in.

or, the slot in the cylinder pin is worn

or, the barrel slot is wearing to the rear, if you remove the barrel you'll see there's not a lot of material on the loading side of the barrel, where the pin engages the barrel thrust- due to it being scooped out for loading powder/ball-the barrel starts to give/move there sometimes

or, the nipples are becoming flattened out, and the gun needs new nipples- i.e. get stainless hardened ones, mine are from Uncle Mike's (if he's even still in business)

or, all/some of the above in combination

welcome to the world of Colt repros- that's why it's best to buy a Remington for a beginner, or for a heavy shooter- they are more reliable
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Old April 4, 2009, 06:48 PM   #15
ARENAMAN
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I Just Placed Six Caps On The Gun And Tried It Again And 5 Out Of Six Fired Right Off. I Guess My Problem Was A Spent Cap In The Way All Along. Thanks For The Idea Whosyrdaddy (posted On Another Forum) . The One Cylinder That Did Not Fire Probably Needs To Have Its Nipple Backed Out A Little. I Used My Finger This Time To Press The Cylinder Back Against The Frame And That Stubborn Cylinder Fired When It Wouldnt Fire Before. I Am A Newbie And Have Gotten Around To Getting A Nipple Wrench. I Know I Need One For Proper Cleaning So I Will Get One Soon.
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Old April 4, 2009, 07:25 PM   #16
CaptainCrossman
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hmmm...there should not be that much play in the cylinder/nipple/hammer interface, to move forward and not fire

I've had that problem twice with Colt BP C/B guns, both were brass frame, and they did that just before the cylinder pin pulled out of the frame, and broke the gun

another time the hammer was worn out from dry firing, and needed to be welded up

proceed with caution
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Old April 6, 2009, 12:38 AM   #17
gmatov
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I call BS on the last bunch of posts. Not least Arenaman who says "one of them did not fire. I guess I have to "back the nipple out a little".

You NEVER back the nipples out. Seat them. There is no adjustment to nipples except to buy new ones that are right for your pistol.

"Thickness of a dime", never should you have that. You should have no more than 5 to 10 thou clearance with the wedge seated.

I don't know just how tough you are, but if you can take a small hit, without crying out in pain, smack the end of the barrel with the ball of your hand. Seats the barrel. Push the wedge in by thumb pressure. They don't need hammered in.

None of mine will even line up enough to let the wedge into the slot if I don't give a rap to the end of the barrel. Drive it onto the pins. Use a dowel or a small nonmarring mallet if you can't stand the pain.

If you can't seat at the pins, you can't close the barrel gap. And if you have near a dime's thickness shake, your pistol is simply not right.

Cheers,

George
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Old April 6, 2009, 05:58 AM   #18
CaptainCrossman
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good points George, I was thinking the same thing- nipples should be seated tightly. If they are loose, it is a dangerous situation- a nipple can fly out and shoot BACKWARDS into the shooter's face when fired, like a bullet- along with the flame and gases from the shot as well.

Ultimately the cylinder/barrel interface should be as close as possible, just enough clearance to let the cylinder turn, and continue firing without binding

A revolver design is like having a rifle, with a slot cut through the barrel with a hack saw blade from top to bottom, just in front of the chamber- and the bullet has to jump across that gap into the barrel.

the wider the slot gets from slop in the assembly, the more powder gases escape and blow out the sides- less velocity, and actually a little dangerous. I had a BP C-B go off accidentally on me at the range one day, fortunately I was pointing it down and away- but the powder gases that blew out of the barrel/cylinder gap, shot tiny bits of powder residue/cinders into my hand. I had to pick them out with a pin when I got him, it was like picking out 50 little slivers.

that was a brass frame gun that shot loose, then broke that day- it had jammed when cocked due to slop in assembly, and while trying to unjam it, it quickly unjammed and the hammer dropped on a loaded/capped cylinder- firing the gun accidentally.

it was then I realized, brass framed guns are actually kind of dangerous. IMHO, a brass frame gun is a display only, or good for the barrel/cylinder/grips parts- not for shooting.

Last edited by CaptainCrossman; April 6, 2009 at 06:16 AM.
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Old April 7, 2009, 01:26 AM   #19
gmatov
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Cross guy,

Brass framed revolvers armed most of the Confederacy in the late War Between The States. I don't believe that THEIR brass was any way inferior to the brass we make, today.

Brass framed pistols do NOT blow up nor shoot loose any more than steel framed ones do. Brass has nearly the same tensile strength as steel does.

A nipple will be unlikely to shoot back at you "like a bullet". For one, it is under a hammer. it would have to come back, cock the hammer, ricochet off the overhang of the hammer, and somehow ricochet off something off something else to poke you in the eye. Do the calculations. LOOK at your hammer.

Congrats. You have been inducted. Many of us have had accidental discharges while loading. You ALWAYS point down range, and to the ground when you load ANY weapon, BP or smokeless cartridge type.

The fact that it WAS a brass framed pistol does not indict the brass frame pistol.

I expect to have more unintended discharges in the future. Always pointed down into the ground in front of my post.

I can expect that with a Sig, a Glock, a Smith, a Ruger, a Colt. NEVER think it cannot happen to you.

I have been shooting all types of guns for over 50 years. I would never guarantee you that I, the be all, know all, could never **** up.

Nor can any man here. That's why they call them accidents.

Cheers,

George
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