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Old January 29, 2013, 08:33 PM   #1
Stev
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Colt 32 1903 pocket hammerless.

I have recently gotten a 32 colt pocket hammerless 1903 model and need to know the proper way to disassemble it to clean it. Can anyone help me out with this? I'm nervous about driving out the pin at the front/bottom of the slide without proper instructions.
The sn is 204-- and I'm also wondering about what year it was made.
My first post, and I'm new to the gun world (only been shooting 2 years), so I hope this came out right!
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Old January 29, 2013, 09:17 PM   #2
RJay
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First, check to make sure the gun is unloaded, then check again. Make sure the hammer is cocked ( Magazine removed ) On the right side of the slide ( at the front ) you will find a small arrow, on the front of the frame you will find a small line. Pull the slide back until the arrow and line are aligned , with your third hand turn the barrel 180 degrees, the whole top part will slide forward and off, to reinstall, just reverse the procedure. That is as far as you need to or want to go. If you start driving out pins you will be visiting a gunsmith with all the parts in a paper bag with a hangdog look on your face. Repeat, do not drive out any pins. I'm assuming this is a second issue, not the one with a barrel bushing, if it does have a barrel bushing , post back and we will start over.
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Old January 29, 2013, 09:32 PM   #3
Stev
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Thank you So Much Rjay! Wondered my butt off about how that arrow was intended to be used. And I really didn't want to be pushing out that pin either! My third hand worked quite well .... I am absolutely happy as the proverbial pig in sh--! No need the break it down further., as the gun is in pretty good shape to me. Just want to clean it and see how it shoots.
Thanks again.
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Old January 29, 2013, 09:40 PM   #4
RJay
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Your welcome Stev, BTW that serial number translates to 1906.
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Old January 30, 2013, 01:30 AM   #5
glennbtw
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Owners manual

New guy here. I believe I had the original owners manual to your pistol. Unfortunately I gave it to some one who also had a Colt. Original box too. Anyway, I had scanned the manual if you want it. I can send it as an email attachment
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Old January 30, 2013, 08:00 AM   #6
spacecoast
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http://www.coltautos.com/ is one of the best sites on everything about these guns. I have a 1922 .380 Hammerless, my stepfather the same from 1910. Elegant, very functional firearms.
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Old January 30, 2013, 03:06 PM   #7
tnelson31
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I used these two links when I did a takedown cleaning:

http://marstar.ca/AssemblyColtAP32.htm <-- dead link, sorry!

http://smith-wessonforum.com/lounge/...ult-parts.html

Also here:
http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=98675
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:28 PM   #8
James K
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The early M1903's have a different slide front end from the later ones. They have a barrel bushing and a recoil spring plug that is kept in place with a cross pin. The plug has an elongated hole so that it can be pushed in to allow the barrel bushing to turn so it can be removed. The bushing does not need to be removed to remove the slide, but it has to be removed to remove the barrel from the slide. (This was an early version of the idea later used in the 1911.)

Later, Colt did away with the barrel bushing, plug and cross pin, and went to a short plug that has no purpose except to fill in the hole. Why they didn't just eliminate the hole, I don't know; perhaps it was needed for some machining operation on the slide, like a pull through reaming.

Here is a picture from the early manual showing the bushing, the front of the plug and the cross pin.

Incidentally, most re-assembly instructions for that gun are wrong, or at best, unnecessary. All that is needed is to assemble the pistol except for the hammer. Then hold the pistol in the right hand as if firing it, squeeze the trigger and the grip safety at the same time, and insert the hammer into the gap at the top of the frame. Then insert the safety, which is also the hammer pin.

Jim
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:44 PM   #9
DFrame
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Depending on it's vintage, your gun may not have the "witness marks" to line up. If thats the case it will be strictly an experiment to find the exact place where the slide lines up. When found use ONLY finger pressure to rotate the barrel. There are legions of fine old colt 03s out there with pipe wrench marks on the barrel, put there by people who didn't understand that the slide HAD to be in exactly the right position. After removing the slide, the barrel is rotated back the same 180 degrees and then can be easily removed from the slide for cleaning.
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Old January 30, 2013, 06:08 PM   #10
PetahW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stev

I'm new to the gun world (only been shooting 2 years)

FWIW, the safest way to ensure ANY autoloader is empty is to FIRST remove the magazine, THEN move the slide or bolt to the rear to clear the chamber.

If it's done the other way 'round, when the slide/bolt returns from the clearing stroke, it "could" pick up & chamber another round from the magazine, w/o you seeing it.


.
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Old January 31, 2013, 07:15 AM   #11
Rainbow Demon
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This PDF download may be of help.
https://www.google.com/url?q=http://..._wQqYVrLxB6Wjw
My nephew had a .32 1903.
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Old January 31, 2013, 01:28 PM   #12
James K
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Excellent, but that manual is for the latest version, with the magazine safety and the later slide without the barrel bushing.

The reason I keep saying that is because Stev's pistol is the early model, as indicated by his remark about the pin in the bottom front of the slide.

Jim
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Old January 31, 2013, 02:41 PM   #13
WillyKern69
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Just a word of advice, I would be mindful of what ammo you use if you shoot it. Try for a low pressure round. I'm not saying it can't handle some modern loads, but it will put more wear and tear on it at a minimum. Powders are more potent than 106 years ago. Just my opinoin. Great Gun, I love those early Colts.

WK
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Old January 31, 2013, 05:02 PM   #14
spacecoast
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Quote:
There are legions of fine old colt 03s out there with pipe wrench marks on the barrel, put there by people who didn't understand that the slide HAD to be in exactly the right position.
Wow... that's sad
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:03 PM   #15
James K
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Not just Colts; it is pretty common to find Astras with plier/wrench marks on the barrel bushing lock because the owner didn't know to push in on the barrel bushing to turn it.

No problem with using modern ammunition; the pressure level has been held the same over the years; there is nothing in auto pistols like the black powder vs smokeless problem with revolvers, since the quick pressure spike of black powder made BP autoloaders almost impossible.

Jim
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Old February 2, 2013, 09:52 PM   #16
Stev
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1903 model colt is dirty again

Thanks guys. Especially Rjay, since I managed to clean my gun quite nicely very soon after reading his instruction. I spent about 3-1/2 hours on it and enjoyed every minute of it. I went out today and put a box of rounds through it and had a ball! Smooth, accurate, and fun.... But darn that sight is small and hard to see! Now I gotta clean it again!
And my sig, and dads 22 rifle, and my mossburg turkey gun!
Fun day though!
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Old February 3, 2013, 07:51 AM   #17
spacecoast
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Quote:
1903 model colt is dirty again
Way to go... it's really nice to have and use something that works just as well as it did over 100 years ago. Quality firearms are like that.
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Old February 3, 2013, 11:38 PM   #18
James K
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A word to the wise.

Don't get carried away with the cleaning. There is no real need to do any more than remove the slide for proper cleanup. I strongly recommend against taking the pistol down any further.

Jim
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Old February 4, 2013, 02:59 PM   #19
RickB
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Quote:
That is as far as you need to or want to go. If you start driving out pins you will be visiting a gunsmith with all the parts in a paper bag with a hangdog look on your face. Repeat, do not drive out any pins.
Completely agree! I've twice decided I was going to detail-strip mine, and both times stopped at the first step beyond the field strip; discretion truly is the better part of valor.
For cleaning the internals in the back/rear of the frame, I have hosed it down liberally with break-free, cycled the action multiple times to agitate, then hosed out with brake cleaner.
After drying, I'll give it a shot of Strike Hold, One Shot, or other dry lube, mostly to prevent rust on those internal parts that were previously cleaned and stripped of protection, then apply some conventional gun oil on the points that can be reached with a needle oiler.
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