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Old April 26, 2011, 04:22 AM   #1
Bill Akins
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Need Pietta 1860 hammer cam help

I've got a nickel and gold gold plated Pietta 1860 army .44
It has the gold tone/plated hammer so I don't want to replace the hammer because I cannot get a replacement hammer from Cabela's in gold tone/plated. So I need to replace just the hammer cam instead of the entire hammer. I know Cabaela's has the best deal going on a replacement parts kit, but I don't want to change out the hammer for the reasons stated above and all I need is the hammer cam and the bolt. Also do any of you think there are better quality bolts available than the ones in the Cabela's Pietta parts kit? I'd rather pay a few bucks more for a good quality bolt than get a cheap one. Haven't replaced a bolt in at least a year or so.

Both the bolt and the hammer cam are worn out since I checked them both carefully with my magnifying glass and it's causing my bolt to drop way too early. The cam being much harder isn't as bad as the bolt leg but the cam is definitely worn too. (I've shot it a lot). The bolt is dropping right at the half cock notch, which is much much too early. Started giving me problems at the range the other day and I had to retire it until I can fix it. And I was all set to do a range test and report on the custom made clear powder measure Doc Hoy sent me and only took that one revolver with me. I have other BP revolvers but that ruined that day's range trip. Got to get it fixed.

I see replacement Pietta 1860 army hammer cams at Dixie but they list two different cam shaft diameters and I'm not sure which diameter shaft my Pietta 1860 army has. If anyone knows please let me know.
Also who makes the best quality hammer cams?

I've replaced a lot of parts in my BP revolvers in the past (but none recently in about a year) but I've never replaced a hammer cam. So I am wondering,....since the cam is held in by its shaft pin driven into the hammer,.....how can I tell when my cam is at the correct angle so that it operates correctly? I mean if the shaft will drive into the hole how can I tell if the cam's angle is properly positioned for the bolt's leg? Also, can I just use a punch to punch it out and also to drive it back in....or is there a better way? Do I need to heat the hammer with my torch so the cam shaft hole will enlarge and then close in tightly when it cools or is that necessary?

Also if anyone has any good quality brand new Pietta 1860 army hammer cams and a spare bolt laying around and wouldn't mind selling them, please let me know since I need them both along with answers to the questions I asked above (especially on cam installation). Thanks fellas.


.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; April 26, 2011 at 04:45 AM.
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Old April 26, 2011, 05:16 AM   #2
mykeal
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0.158 is close to 5/32; 0.115 is smaller than 1/8. If you don't have a caliper you should still be able to eyeball the difference using a metal carpenter's tape. Also, call DGW and ask them if they can help decide which is correct for your gun.

As for positioning the cam - scratch a witness mark on the hammer surface at the low point on the cam surface, then put another mark on the new cam at it's lowest point. Then just match the two marks. Drive it in slowly, checking often.
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Old April 26, 2011, 05:31 AM   #3
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I am proud of myself

I was going to suggest the same thing mykeal said about scribing a mark. Not as dumb as I look.
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Old April 26, 2011, 08:47 AM   #4
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The cams are cheap, buy both. They are a interference fit, you well need a arbor press or hydraulic press to r&r them.

Take a close up photo of the original cam before you remove it and use that for reference.
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Old April 26, 2011, 09:56 AM   #5
denster
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Might want to consider just replacing the bolt first and see if that corrects the problem. I've been shooting and working on these guns for nearly 40 years and I've never had to replace a cam due to wear. Some from inexperienced gunsmithing yes wear no.
The parts in the Pietta kits from Cabelas are darn good quality You won't find any better short of making them yourself.
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Old April 26, 2011, 10:03 AM   #6
mykeal
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denster makes a good point. Worn cams are very, very rare. There is the issue of some historical Pietta action parts having poor to nonexistent case hardening and that might be the case here. I have seen one worn cam in 35+ years, on a used gun I bought at auction some 5 years ago, so I'd have to say it's possible. It's also possible it was due to a shadetree gunsmith with a file trying to adjust timing. Denster's suggestion makes a lot of sense.
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Old April 26, 2011, 10:48 AM   #7
denster
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A couple of things I forgot to mention. Check the top of the cam perifery down to the beginning of the reset bevel. If it is clean and 90 degrees to the face of the hammer it is not repeat not the problem. This is the only part of the cam that has anything to do with timing.
As to the correct positioning of the cam there is none unless it has a preground reset bevel then you align the top edge of the bevel at or about 90 degrees to the cutout flat in the hammer. The only dimensions to be concerned with is the pivot diameter is correct for the hole in the hammer and the major diameter of the cam is the same as the one you are replacing.
The cam is a circle and gets its camming effect from the angle on the hand surface it contacts and the increasing distance between the cam surface and hand surface as the hammer is rotated. I hope that is clearer than mud.
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Old April 26, 2011, 01:58 PM   #8
Hawg
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Quote:
I was going to suggest the same thing mykeal said about scribing a mark. Not as dumb as I look.



j/k Doc

Quote:
I hope that is clearer than mud
Just slightly.
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Old April 26, 2011, 02:30 PM   #9
denster
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Quote Hawg "Just slightly. "


Sorry Hawg I tought you knew how these worked
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Old April 26, 2011, 02:42 PM   #10
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Yeah Denster, was just messin wit ya.
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Old April 26, 2011, 03:10 PM   #11
denster
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Hawg. I knew that just messin back.
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Old April 27, 2011, 03:56 PM   #12
Bill Akins
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Thanks fellas.
I know how the cam works I just haven't ever replaced a hammer cam and am concerned about getting the cam's bevels in the exact correct position for the bolts legs to interact correctly with.

Denster, by looking at my cam under my magnifying glass, I can see it has several bevels on it. The larger most predominant bevel is where the cam has a larger gradually tapered bevel over most of it but it also has a very small separate bevel on it too that can only be seen under the magnifying glass with my older eyes. By looking at it through the magnifying glass, that larger gradual tapered bevel along with the much smaller teeny bevel, almost gives a raised ridge on the bottom of the cam's surface under the magnifying glass. That smaller teeny bevel is right at the tip of where the bolt's leg snaps off the cam. It is so small that without looking at it under the magnifying glass, it almost looks like an imperfection pit in the edge of the cam's tapered bottom. Kind of hard to explain in words.

By looking through the bottom of the action with the trigger guard off and cocking the hammer slowly, I can see the leg of the bolt sliding on the cam and then dropping off....much too early at the half cock point.

In carefully inspecting the cam with the hammer out of the gun and under the magnifying glass, there is a rub mark across the cam where the gold tone was applied to it when the gold was applied to the hammer. The gold tone is completely gone from the cam where the leg of the bolt has rubbed over it and is just steel now where the bolt's leg has rubbed against the cam.

However, that separate teeny tiny separate bevel I spoke of where the tip of the bolt leg drops off the cam....appears to be worn or rough. It is possible a new bolt might fix the problem and I will definitely try that before replacing the hammer cam. But if a new bolt doesn't fix it, then I'll have to replace the cam.

Is there another way to install the cam without using a hydraulic press which I do not have? Just how hard is it to press that old cam out of the hammer and how hard to press a new one into the hammer? How about if I chucked a steel dowel into my mill press and used that as a press? Do you think that would be enough pressure to drive the old cam out and seat the new cam in the hammer? Or do I need a lot more pressure? Since the cam is tapered but the hammer surface I am pressing the cam into is flat, does that present a problem and do I need to fab up a special tapered ended steel dowel to use to press it in? How do I prevent pressing the cam in from marring the surface of the cam with the pressure required to press it into the hammer?

Still a little sketchy on the installation and placement of the bevel on the cam in relation to the hammer and bolt legs. Thanks for the tips so far though fellas.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old April 27, 2011, 05:25 PM   #13
denster
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Bill

If you're absolutely set on replacing the cam. The only orientation you have to worry about is that the top edge of the reset bevel. That is that bevel that covers over half the face of the cam is at 90 degrees +or- to the back flat of the hammer cutout for the cam.
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Old April 28, 2011, 10:10 AM   #14
madcratebuilder
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Have you replaced the bolt? Have you tried spreading the bolt leg, adding some preload to it.

I have never seen a hammer cam worn so badly it's unserviceable.
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Old April 28, 2011, 11:52 AM   #15
arcticap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Akins
I don't want to replace the hammer because I cannot get a replacement hammer from Cabela's in gold tone/plated.
That gold hammer would probably be available from Traditions if anywhere. Since it's probably not plated with real gold, it shouldn't be outrageously priced and worth making an inquiry about.

http://www.traditionsfirearms.com/mu...er-contact.php

Phone# 860-388-4656

Quote:
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Thursday 7:45am-4:30pm
Friday 7:45-3:15pm
Saturday & Sunday - closed
If they don't have it in stock, then try asking VTI if they can get one.

http://www.vtigunparts.com/

Last edited by arcticap; April 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM.
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Old April 29, 2011, 08:46 AM   #16
Bill Akins
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I tried GENTLY spreading the legs of the bolt but that didn't help. I even put a bit of "JB weld" epoxy on the leg to build it up and filed the epoxy correctly....that didn't help either.

Finally as a last try with that bolt, I carefully filed off all the JB Weld epoxy and I set my mig wire welding unit on a low setting and tried to just do a little touch of welded steel wire to the bolt leg to build it back up (even though I didn't hold much hope in that working since the epoxy hadn't worked). I wasn't concerned with losing heat temper of the leg because I was just barely going to touch the wire weld to it to just barely add a bit of a metal burr to the leg in hopes that might help where the epoxy hadn't, and that shouldn't have heated it up too much to lose temper. That was the plan anyway.

Well you know how thin the metal is on the bolt leg? Even on very low setting my mig wire melted right through the bolt leg. So I have to get another bolt anyway. But that's okay, I obviously needed another bolt anyway being spreading the legs didn't work nor the application of JB weld epoxy. So no great loss when it melted the end of the bolt's leg.

So I'll try a new bolt first, but given that spreading the old bolt's legs didn't work nor the application of epoxy didn't work, I'm still thinking my hammer cam is at least part of the problem. But of course I'll try a new bolt first before diving into replacing the cam. Thanks for the helpful tips fellas, I'll let you know what fixes it when I finally get the time to get around to ordering the bolt and or cam and fixing the revolver.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old May 21, 2011, 06:48 PM   #17
Bill Akins
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Well today my parts arrived from Taylors for my 1860. I got a new bolt and an extra bolt/trigger spring (as a spare). Well I put the new bolt in, installed the cylinder and barrel and SLOWLY pulled the hammer back. The doggone bolt still is dropping WAY too early just like it was before. The bolt is dropping before the cylinder is even halfway turned to the next chamber. The bolt drops just a little past the half cock point. It has horribly ringed my cylinder. Was hoping the new bolt would get it up and shooting again....didn't do it and did the same thing my old bolt did.....dropping too early.

Plus I had unnecessarily ruined the old bolt by a last ditch effort of trying to mig weld a tiny bit of metal on it hoping to increase my dwell time so the bolt would drop later. Even on very low setting my mig melted right through the thin leg of the old bolt and ruined it, (I thought it might but did it anyway) necessitating me buying a new bolt that now I realize I didn't need after all.

Ah well, no problem though, with each mistake we learn something. In this case it was very possible it was just a worn bolt problem (as most of us would think it was since the cam is very hardened). But the new bolt proves it wasn't, so it has to be the hammer cam. Nothing else it can be.

So I took the hammer out and looked at the cam again for the upteenth time.
The cam is pretty worn at the top and also worn at an oblique to the top. Even to my older eyes I could see the cam tapers (from wear) at the top and also tapers (from wear) at an oblique to the top. Kind of making a point where the two tapers come together. It appears to be wear from what I can see. I have cocked and cocked this revolver A LOT while practicing my fast draw. Probably many hundreds of times and I expected this would cause premature wear. It did. But that's okay I expected that from all the quick draw and cocking practicing I have done and I know I can fix it.

So I am pretty sure at this point that the hammer cam is the problem. Since the hammer cam is pressed in via its round integral pin, it is critical that if I replace the cam that I get it pressed in EXACTLY at the right angle so that it interacts correctly with the bolt leg. Some folks have advised that I scribe a line on the cam and the hammer so I can tell exactly where it and where its angle was located to aid me in installing a new cam. However....since the cam is hardened it is hard to scribe a line on it and I must admit I am a bit worried about if I can press in a new cam at the exact correct angle necessary. Holding that cam at the EXACT correct angle while I use a press to press it in would not be easy. Plus if I get it wrong I have to press it out and press it back in again. I don't have the benefit of the jigs and fixtures Pietta has for exactly installing hammer cams correctly each and every time.

So I am faced with making a decision one way or the other. Either I get a new cam and give it a go, or I order the parts kit from Cabelas (for over $30.00 now) and simply drop in a new hammer. That might sound like the easiest thing to do...but there is a problem. The problem is my revolver is the Pietta 1860 nickel plated one with fluted gold cylinder, gold trigger and gold HAMMER. So the case hardened hammer in the Cabelas 1860 Colt parts kit would not be gold....and while I could live with that....I'd rather retain my gold hammer.

So what to do, what to do? I'd like to try installing the cam and keep my gold hammer. But....the cam will cost me about $9.00 plus shipping. I already spent $18.00 and change ordering a new bolt I didn't need....(although that price also included a spare bolt/trigger spring too). So if for any reason I botch up the new cam installation, then I'm out that price....plus the TIME waiting for it to be shipped to me. Whereas if I just ordered the Cabelas parts kit for a bit over $30.00 plus shipping, I'd get a new hammer (with the new hammer cam I need), a spare bolt, spare bolt spring, spare cylinder pawl/hand with spring,....and I think but forget and am not sure if I also get a new trigger with that kit too.

So that's where I'm at today. What would you fellas do if you were me now that we know it isn't the bolt that is the problem? Try pressing in a new cam or simply replace the hammer and lose my gold hammer for a case hardened one?



.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; May 22, 2011 at 12:18 AM.
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Old May 21, 2011, 07:42 PM   #18
denster
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Bill

If you want a new hammer only how does $5 sound shipped. I have several hammers on hand from Pietta kits I've used other parts out of. If that's OK with you PM me an address and I'll drop it in the mail Monday.
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Old May 21, 2011, 11:26 PM   #19
Bill Akins
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That sounds great Denster. Since you have a brand new hammer I'll drop that in and use it to get the revolver shooting again until I try pressing another cam into my original gold hammer. At least that way when I do press a new cam into my gold hammer, if I messed up pressing in the cam, I could still use your hammer to keep the revolver shooting and only be out $5.00 for the hammer instead of over $30.00 from Cabelas for their kit which I only need the hammer out of. Sending you an I.M. with my address Denster and I'll also need your address to send a check to. Thanks!



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old May 25, 2011, 08:43 PM   #20
Bill Akins
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The Pietta 1860 Colt hammer Denster sent me arrived today.
It is perfect and unused and nicely case hardened with the usual
straw, grey and blue colors. Installation required no hand fitting
nor filing. Dropped right in. My bolt drops exactly when it should now.
The problem wasn't a worn bolt (although I replaced the bolt too) but
was the unusual problem of a severely worn hammer cam. I know this
for sure
because AFTER I replaced the old bolt with a new one, the bolt
was still dropping WAY too early. It would drop just a hair past the half
cock point. That's way too early and severely ringed my cylinder.

But it's all fixed now. Thanks for the great deal on the hammer Denster.

I'm keeping my old gold hammer and when I get around to it I'm going to
try pressing a new cam into it. But in the meantime it's up and running with
the hammer from Denster.

As has been mentioned before, the hammer cam is usually very hardened and doesn't normally wear as quickly as the bolt leg will. So usually a bolt dropping too early is because of a worn bolt leg or the bolt leg spring getting weak rather than a worn hammer cam. But this time it was the hammer cam exclusively that was the problem. Here's some below pics of my original gold hammer with the wear on the cam. A tiny chunk of metal on the cam was even broken out and missing. Plus the top of the cam was so severely worn that it had a large bevel in it that shouldn't have been there. There was another 2nd bevel caused from wear too and the two bevels actually came to a point at one section of the cam. None of that should have been there.
A new cam is just a circle with an incline to it.

Here's some below pics to show y'all what my old worn out cam looks like
on my original gold hammer.





Below two pics of my Pietta 1860 Colt with the new case hardened hammer (with new cam that I needed in the hammer) in it that Denster sent me along with my old hammer next to it and a spare unfired gold cylinder I have for the revolver. My old fluted cylinder has severely flaked gold all over it from firing it. For some reason the explosions caused the gold to flake off badly. Traditions sent me that brand new non fluted cylinder for free when I called them about it. Can't beat that for customer service! Won't be shooting that new cylinder but will keep it for if I want to dress up the revolver for show.





Anyway....back up and running again and timing is perfect. First time I ever had a severe hammer cam failure like this. Perhaps my cam wasn't hardened correctly from the factory or something. Or perhaps it was all the quick draw cocking I did with it. In any case the cam was slap wore out. As we see, it's not always automatically the bolt leg that is the problem with the bolt dropping too early. In this case the culprit was the hammer cam. I ruined a perfectly good bolt thinking the bolt was the problem. Then bought a new bolt plus bought Denster's hammer which was all I needed in the first place (actually the new hammer CAM was what I needed). I learned a lot from this. I hope this info helps y'all too.





.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; May 25, 2011 at 08:52 PM.
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Old May 26, 2011, 12:16 AM   #21
denster
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Glad I could help Bill.
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Old May 26, 2011, 01:01 AM   #22
Bill Akins
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You sure did Denster. I appreciate it too. Using the hammer I got from you at such a great deal, at least I can now shoot it and take my time getting a new cam and pressing it into my old hammer for later use. I'll do that for sure, but in the meantime I kinda like the look of this case hardened hammer too. I was used to the gold hammer that matched the gold cylinder and gold trigger but this color case hardened hammer kinda grows on me and has a good look to it too.

Now that the BP revolver I like to shoot most is back up and running, I gotta do some shooting and get a range report posted here on the homemade clear plastic powder measure Doc Hoy sent me. Thanks again for that measure and the sample bags of different size balls too Doc.

Then I gotta do some reloading with my new .45 Colt dies and get a range report posted here too on the .45 Colt cartridge cases Noelf2 sent me. Thanks again for those cases Noel.

Doc Hoy, Denster and Noelf2, I appreciate the help from you fellas. Helpful, kind and generous people like y'all is what helps make this forum such a nice place to be.

Doc Hoy, if you read this, I saw that '58 Remy parts gun I sent you an I.M. about went for $50.00 on Gunbroker. Was that you who got it? Hope so. If it was you I can't wait to see you bring it back from the dead.




.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; May 26, 2011 at 01:08 AM.
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Old May 26, 2011, 08:22 AM   #23
mykeal
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Wow. The pictures are a bit fuzzy but it was even worse than I suspected. A very rare and interesting situation. Thanks for sharing it with the forum.
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