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Old September 9, 2012, 04:48 PM   #1
Gaz_in_NZ
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Cylinder Rotation Colt vs everything else.

Hi,
Probably a bit of a noob question, which I apologize for in advance.

Are Colt revolvers the only ones that the cylinder rotates CW (from the shooters point of view)?

Any advantages or disadvantages of either?

Just curious.

Cheers
G
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Old September 9, 2012, 06:00 PM   #2
Webleymkv
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Actually, there are several revolvers which have cylinders that rotate clockwise. Both my Webley Mk. IV and H&R Model 999 Sportsman have cylinders that rotate clockwise. Also, most single action revolvers' cylinders rotate clockwise (including Rugers although their DA revolvers rotate counterclockwise) as does the new S&W Bodyguard .38.
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Old September 9, 2012, 06:05 PM   #3
Shotgun693
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I guess technically because Colt was first and rotates to the right, everyone else rotates wrong.
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Old September 9, 2012, 06:10 PM   #4
Kreyzhorse
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Quote:
Any advantages or disadvantages of either?
Yes, cylinder rotation is based on which side of the equator the gun as designed to be used on.

Clockwise for south of the equator and anti-clockwise for north of the equator. This is due to the Coriolis Effect...

Ok, just kidding, there is no advantage or disadvantage to the direction of the cylinder rotation.
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Old September 9, 2012, 06:21 PM   #5
James K
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It is basically a designer's choice. When designing a revolver, there is little leeway about what parts are needed - a hand, a cylinder stop, a hammer, etc. When the designer figures out how to get all those in the way he wants, the direction the cylinder turns may well be dictated by how the other parts fit together. For example, if the only place he can put the hand is on the right, the cylinder will turn counter-clockwise, and vice versa.

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Old September 9, 2012, 06:21 PM   #6
Gaz_in_NZ
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Thanks guys,
I was under the misapprehension that it was probably just Colts.

Many thanks
Cheers
G
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Old September 9, 2012, 06:27 PM   #7
Dfariswheel
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One advantage to Colt's clockwise rotation was always said that the rotating cylinder rotated into the frame and not outward from the frame.

This supposedly prevents more wear on the cylinder latching system and why Colt's could use only a rear latching design.
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Old September 9, 2012, 08:28 PM   #8
Bob Wright
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.............. and why Colt's could use only a rear latching design.
In the words of that great detective, Charlie Chan, "Explain, please."

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Old September 9, 2012, 08:36 PM   #9
seeker_two
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IIRC, Charter Arms revolvers also rotate clockwise....but don't use a rear-latch design....
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:23 PM   #10
Webleymkv
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Originally posted by Bob Wright
Quote:
Quote:
.............. and why Colt's could use only a rear latching design.

In the words of that great detective, Charlie Chan, "Explain, please."
Colt DA revolvers have only one locking point for the cylinder/crane assembly at the rear of the cylinder. S&W and Ruger DA revolvers lock both at the rear of the cylinder and the end of the ejector rod (most S&W's and Ruger Six Series) or on the crane (Ruger GP100, Redhawk, Super Redhawk, SP101, and LCR).

Originally posted by seeker_two
Quote:
IIRC, Charter Arms revolvers also rotate clockwise....but don't use a rear-latch design....
Actually, they do lock at the rear of the cylinder only similar to a Colt.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:37 PM   #11
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Everyone knows that the bullets go faster in revolvers with CW spinning cylinders. Who needs the facts when you have an opinion.
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Old September 10, 2012, 04:33 PM   #12
Bob Wright
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Colt DA revolvers have only one locking point for the cylinder/crane assembly at the rear of the cylinder. S&W and Ruger DA revolvers lock both at the rear of the cylinder and the end of the ejector rod (most S&W's and Ruger Six Series) or on the crane (Ruger GP100, Redhawk, Super Redhawk, SP101, and LCR).
I know that, having had more than a few of each. My point was, what does cylinder rotation have to do with lock up? A Colt could just as easily have a push button cylinder release with a through pin front lock similar to the Smith.

Bob Wright

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Old September 10, 2012, 05:37 PM   #13
Webleymkv
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Quote:
Quote:
Colt DA revolvers have only one locking point for the cylinder/crane assembly at the rear of the cylinder. S&W and Ruger DA revolvers lock both at the rear of the cylinder and the end of the ejector rod (most S&W's and Ruger Six Series) or on the crane (Ruger GP100, Redhawk, Super Redhawk, SP101, and LCR).

I know that, having had more than a few of each. My point was, what does cylinder rotation have to do with lock up? A Colt could just as easily have a push button cylinder release with a through pin front lock similar to the Smith.
The Colt's clockwise rotation means that the cylinder is rotating the the same direction as the crane's arc when the action is closed. Put another way, a Colt's cylinder is rotating back into the frame. The counterclockwise rotation of a S&W or Ruger, on the other hand, is rotating in the same direction as the crane's arc when the action is opened, so the cylinder is rotating out of the frame.

Theoretically, the clockwise rotation of the Colt makes it less likely for the cylinder to come open unintentionally under recoil or fast double action shooting and thus it only needs one locking point while counterclockwise guns need two. However, early S&W hand ejectors lacked the forward locking point and I've never heard of their cylinders flopping open when they weren't supposed to, so it may be a non-issue in the real world.
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Old September 10, 2012, 06:25 PM   #14
Bob Wright
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With the Colt, the hand, or rotating pawl, sort of acts like a second lock.

But, again, cylinder rotation has nothing to do with the design of the cylinder latching mechanism. None, of course, have the security of the single action's base pin, or cylinder pin.

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Old September 11, 2012, 06:44 PM   #15
James K
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I remember that the "cylinder pushed into the frame" story was a big point with Colt salesmen, but in fact that story was invented long after the guns were on the market, and AFAIK was never an intentional "feature", nor do I recall it being mentioned in the design patent. They also claimed that left hand rifling was superior because it was more accurate. And the Colt lockup was superior, of course. Never mentioned was that the Colt system could force the cylinder OUT of alignment!

The clockwise cylinder rotation was simply a carryover from the older Colt revolvers. The New Army and Navy was the exception for several reasons, so Colt did not always use a clockwise rotation.

Jim
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Old September 11, 2012, 07:15 PM   #16
orionengnr
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Fascinating and thought-provoking discussion.

As an S&W guy, I have always accepted that revolvers turn "the right way"...because that is all I have ever known.

As I learn more, I can now see that Colt built SA revolvers that turned "the other way" and when they started building DA revolvers, it was natural that they turned "the same way".

I had never stopped to consider the implications of the direction of cylinder rotation as an advantage/disadvantage (when Colt used that direction in the SA revolver, the whole "turning in to" was a non-issue) ...Colt's later use of the "same direction" rotation was the natural way to go.

Anyone remember how Chrysler/Mopar cars of the 60's used to use LH threads on the wheel lugs of the two LH wheels? It was supposed to prevent those wheel lugs from loosening...makes sense in theory, but in practice, it ended up with a bunch of frustrated customers (who could not remove a flat tire) and a number of broken studs (by people who persisted in trying to loosen the lug nuts by turning them the "wrong way" until they snapped off.)

Similarly, the whole "rotating into the frame" sounds good, and may bear some additional thought, although 100+ years later, I cannot see that any advantage has been proven one way or another.
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Old September 11, 2012, 07:36 PM   #17
Bob Wright
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The whole issue of lockup in a revovler was overstated. The important thing is that the cylinder be as rigidly locked in position as possible at the time of firing, This means the hand (or pawl) locks the cylinder in conjunction with the cylinder locking bolt and holds the cylinder in perfect alignment with the barrel at the time of ignition.

Smith & Wesson placed a third lock in the crane area on their New Century .44 Special revolver. The British tested this prior to purchasing S&W revovlers during WW I and found it unnecessary in practical use and eliminated on their purchase contract. Subsequent S&W revolvers eliminated this as well.

The lock at the yoke is beginning to pop up again, however.

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Old September 11, 2012, 09:13 PM   #18
Gaz_in_NZ
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Thanks for all the replies, appreciated.

Cheers
G
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