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Old July 24, 2012, 12:41 PM   #1
Rachen
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1851 Navy Cylinder Pin - Colt Design's Weakest Point?

I have never owned a Navy style open top revolver but have heard many other forum posts that the arbor, or cylinder pin on the Navy design is very hard to replace/repair and is prone to coming loose or rattling.

That said, how are the pins installed on UBERTI revolvers? I really want a Leech and Rigdon and get a Kirst .38 LC conversion cylinder handy too.

But is the cylinder pin on the open top Colts the weakest link in the gun's overall design? After all, the most important works of the gun, the cylinder and barrel, are all being supported by that one skinny pin in the middle of it all.
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Old July 24, 2012, 01:17 PM   #2
Hawg
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I wouldn't exactly call it skinny. I've never had one come loose.

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Old July 24, 2012, 01:33 PM   #3
tatartot
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Well they do come loose, because there pressed in & staked.I spot
welded mind in with my tig welder.

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Old July 24, 2012, 01:35 PM   #4
Doc Hoy
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My two cents

I have owned or handled probably six revolvers with loose arbors but they were all brass frame revolvers.

With a converter shooting cartridges you will avoid one activity which (IMNSHO) contributes a substantial part of the force which prompts frames to loosen up. That is the activity of loading the revolver using the loading lever to force the ball home.
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Old July 24, 2012, 01:54 PM   #5
Strafer Gott
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Using .375 ball diameter helps on the shearing of the ball, but packing too much powder and reefing to get the cylinder to turn past the ball is foolish. Take a sharp blade and cut the ball if you have to. Brassers want light loads anyway.
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Old July 24, 2012, 01:58 PM   #6
Hawg
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Quote:
That is the activity of loading the revolver using the loading lever to force the ball home.
I always load on the frame. Still never had a loose one.
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Old July 24, 2012, 03:20 PM   #7
pohill
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Original 1851 .36 barrel on left, Pietta on right. The cylinder pin on the original is slightly larger, and would not fit into the Pietta barrel. Neither ever came loose.


My Colt 1851 .36 made in 1862. Still tight, strong and smooth.
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Old July 24, 2012, 03:27 PM   #8
Doc Hoy
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Hawg

I agree with you.

The only one that I personally loosened happened because of a chain fire. That was on a C.O.M. Sheriff. I have purchased several which had loose arbors and have a couple frames in which the arbor is loose but I don't know how they got that way. Handled one in Dade City, also a C.O.M. Sheriff in which the arbor turned about 45 degrees in the frame. Didn't notice any damage to the recoil shield but that pistol was rough.

I loaded with the lever until recently (two years ago) and never loosened an arbor.

My point was that loading with the lever puts stress on the arbor which is not present if you load out of the frame or shoot cartridges. If you calculate the tension on the arbor it is significant. I calculated as much as 300 pounds but I was figuring the force on the lever when loading fairly hard roundballs. Force would be less with softer lead.
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Old July 24, 2012, 04:13 PM   #9
Chowmif16
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I agree that the loading process is probably the usual cause of loose arbors.
I have an 1860 Army Colt Signature Series that I've shot for over 15 years.
For a short while I was using .457 RB and after a bit of fouling built up in the chamber they were way too tight. I was loading on the frame with the loading lever. The arbor became quite loose on that gun. I didn't do anythinng else to the gun that should have made it loose. Reasonable powder charges (19gr), and never used it as a club!
I have switched to more appropriate fitting RB's on all my others and have not had a problem.
I've heard it said that the reproductions use softer metal than the originals to reduce wear on the tooling. I have two original 1849 Pocket Models that have no loose arbor problems, and an original London Navy that is just slightly loose. Guess I can't fault that after more than 150 years.

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Old July 25, 2012, 03:01 PM   #10
Mk VII
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I have had a Signature Colt Navy on which the arbor pin came loose, and I made a new locking pin out of silver steel, screwed the thing back in place with threadlock and then drove the locking pin in and dressed the back of it down. Seems good now.
Also had the locating pins on the frame come out, and the rammer latch drop out of the dovetail, and now the hand spring break.
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Old July 25, 2012, 08:44 PM   #11
bedbugbilly
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Hmmmm . . . that must by why Mr. Colt only sold about a half a dozen of this model?

I've owned at least six steel "51s and never had a problem with any of them. I currently have a Uberti now and it is great. Of course I don't load mine up with "magnum loads" either.
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Old July 25, 2012, 09:04 PM   #12
Hawg
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Quote:
that must by why Mr. Colt only sold about a half a dozen of this model?
Sig series? Colt didn't sell any of them.
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Old July 26, 2012, 08:31 PM   #13
bedbugbilly
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Hawq - I'm talking about the '51 "open top" design and the cylinder pin being the weakest link - which was what I thought the OP was referring to . . . . it seemed to work for Mr. Colt just fine . . . . if we're tailing "origin design" - it would also apply to the other open tops - the '61, the '49, the'60, etc.
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Old July 26, 2012, 08:34 PM   #14
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D'OH, I gotcha now. Sometimes I'm a lil thick headed.
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Old July 27, 2012, 11:25 AM   #15
Fingers McGee
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Lessee, of the Colt open top design, there were

1340 Walker/Whitneyville-Hartford Dragoons;
18459 Dragoons;
340000 Baby Dragoon/Pocket Models;
11000 London Pocket Models;
215348 1851 Navies;
42000 London Navies;
200500 1860 Armies;
38843 1861 Navies;
47000 1862 Pocket Navy/Pocket Police;

for a total of 914490 open top C&B revolvers made between 1847 and 1873.

This does not include the Patersons or the open top cartridge revolvers and conversions which would add another 47000 or so.


IMNSHO, the use of leaf springs on the trigger/bolt and hand is the weakest link of the Colt and Remington design and other makers revolvers even today.

One reason for any breakage on revolvers today as compared to the mid 19th Century is the magnitude of use. We expend far greater amounts of powder and bullet in C&B revolvers today than they ever did back in the day.
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