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Old July 15, 2013, 07:04 AM   #1
duelist1954
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Shooting the big iron - Colt's 3rd Model Dragoon

The Third Model Dragoon is said to have been Samuel Colt's favorite sixgun. There is a lot to like about this big horse pistol. In this video we'll show you how to load and fire the Dragoon with both round balls and conical bullets. Uberti in Italy manufactures this replica and Taylor's & Co. in Winchester, Virginia imports it into the United States. It is a big piece of iron, but fun to shoot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBXIV-MSqws
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Old July 15, 2013, 04:38 PM   #2
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Excellent video. Open top Colts rule! And great ending, as usual!
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Old July 15, 2013, 06:08 PM   #3
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The Colt Dragoon is my favorite BP revolver, firing it with full loads is like firing an N-frame S&W with 38 Specials.
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Old July 16, 2013, 04:31 AM   #4
Bill Akins
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I'm subscribed to your YouTube channel Mike, and get notified via e mail every time you post a new video. Always enjoy your videos.

Could you answer a question for me please?

If you had a Walker frame and Walker cylinder that is bit longer than the dragoon's cylinders (so it could hold a full 50 grain charge), would the shorter dragoon barrel, with the better loading lever latch catch, fit onto the Walker frame and match up with the Walker and Walker cylinder? Just wondering if that would work to give one the longer and higher capacity grain cylinder of the Walker, but the slightly shorter and handier barrel and better loading latch of the dragoon.




.
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Old July 24, 2013, 03:42 AM   #5
Tejicano
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IIRC - the wedge which holds the barrel in place goes the opposite direction on the Walker as compared to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dragoon models. So I would not expect the newer barrel assemblies to work on the older Walker frame.

I guess it all comes down to the size and dimensions of the hole in the cylinder pin which the wedge goes through.
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Old July 24, 2013, 01:25 PM   #6
Bill Akins
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I asked the same question at Mike's YouTube comments, that I asked here, and Mike checked it. After trying, he said the Walker arbor is about 1/2 inch too long and thus bottoms out against the bottom of the arbor hole in the barrel and won't allow the barrel to mate with the frame.

So it can't be done by using the unmodified Walker arbor mated to the dragoon barrel. But suppose someone made an arbor that fit the Walker frame but was 1/2 inch shorter. That would be an interesting combination then. The Walker frame and cylinder but with the slightly shorter, handier barrel and with a much better loading lever catch. Why do it? For the better qualities of the dragoon loading lever catch over the Walker's spring catch, but retaining the Walker's cylinder's larger powder capacity.

Of course I guess it would probably be easier to file a dovetail into the bottom of the barrel to install a dragoon loading lever catch and use a dragoon loading lever on a Walker. I'd like to see that. The spring catch on my old Walker would always fail and drop the lever when I fired heavy charges. I hated messing up the looks of the gun by using a rubber band to hold up the lever. The main reason I traded it off so many years ago. It was my first BP revolver and the first shot I fired was a chainfire. Never forgot that. But she sure had the power all right. I shot a rabbit with it and it knocked the rabbit about a good ten feet away from where I hit him and except for a very thin piece of flesh, it decapitated it.

If I ever pick up an old beater Walker, I just might try doing that modification. They are too expensive to mess with modifying unless beat up and gotten cheaply.



.
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"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old July 24, 2013, 01:42 PM   #7
Hawg
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There's an easy fix for the Walker lever drop. http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fu...hp?tid/217628/
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Old July 24, 2013, 04:54 PM   #8
Bill Akins
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Yep Hawg, I've read about those kinds of mods to the latch spring of the Walker. But as is clear at that link, you have to get an Uberti Walker latch spring, modify it to fit if a non Uberti Walker. And it is kind of tricky getting the slope of that "b" area he mentions filed to be just right so it grabs securely but doesn't grab so tight that it prevents the lever from purposely being lowered.
And even if one is successful in doing that and it works, eventually that leaf spring latch is doomed to weaken and then you are back to square one. That's why Colt came out with the more secure loading lever latch on his dragoons. They are pretty much goof proof and aren't going to fail. And if they do, it is an easy matter to drift out the little pin that holds the moving part of the latch and the coil spring in place, and remove the coil spring (if weakened) and replace it with a new coil spring. But the likelihood of that coil spring on the dragoon's loading lever latch ever failing or weakening, is slight. So to me, the dragoon coil spring latch is still more sure than modifying the existing Walker leaf spring latch.

Plus I think it would be a relatively easy and fun mod to do with a Walker by just filing a dovetail for the latch catch, using a dragoon latch catch, and using a dragoon loading lever.



.
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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 July 25, 2013, 09:47 PM   #9
Doc Hoy
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How about this?



I made this up from a piece of a brass hydraulic cylinder from a handicap van. It fits like this:

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Old July 25, 2013, 10:07 PM   #10
Bill Akins
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Very interesting Doc. It's kind of reminiscent of barrel bands on some flintlock pistols. Kind of real retro looking even for an 1847 Walker. Not only kind of retro and in a way indicative of a time predating the Walker, but also in another way, kind of "steampunk-esque" all brass and all. On the one hand I like it, yet on the other hand I would rather have the dragoon type of latch.

Hmmm, but still, there is something very cool about your fix. Ingenious of you to make too. But then you are a very ingenious person as we've seen many times.

Just one question Doc, what keeps it from slipping off when you point the revolver downward and or holster it? Any way to put some kind of tension or spring on it to keep it in place when the gun is pointed downward yet still not scratch up the barrel? Or as it slides further onto both the barrel and the loading lever rod, with the way the loading lever is slightly angled, is that enough to tension it as it slides further onto both of them so that it is held in place via friction? But if so, wouldn't that also scratch the barrel?



.
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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; July 25, 2013 at 10:17 PM.
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Old July 25, 2013, 11:30 PM   #11
Doc Hoy
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Bill....

Post photos I lined the upper ring with felt.

This ain't perfect but it does seem to hold it in place.
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Old July 26, 2013, 03:55 AM   #12
Tejicano
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Now ain't that the solution!

One of the main reasons I have steered clear of the Walker is due to the problem Mr. Akins has brought up here. I knew there had to be some way to work around it and I like this idea.

My "solution" was to go with the 2nd model Dragoon. That fixes the loading lever problem and also gives a bit more secure cylinder lock up than the Walker or the 1st model. But somehow it just isn't right unless I have a brace of them so now I'm looking for another 2nd model.
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Old July 26, 2013, 05:18 AM   #13
Bill Akins
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Another member P.M.'d me yesterday and told me that he had heard that the cylinder "window" of the Walker and the three models of the dragoon are the same size. And that the only thing needed was to mill down the forcing cone and reshape it on the dragoon in order to fit a Walker cylinder.

But there are problems with doing that regarding the oval cylinder bolt stop and oval bolt stop cuts on the cylinder of the Walker, plus possibly requiring a reshaping of the oval bolt stop cut in the frame, since the 2nd and 3rd model dragoons have rectangular bolt stops and cuts. But it might be possible to do more easily on the 1st model dragoon that has the same oval bolt stop and cuts as the Walker.

The 1st model dragoon has a different grip frame from the Walker so its wood grips are square tops (like an 1851) instead of a rounded top like the Walker has. It retains the same square back trigger guard plus the oval bolt stop and oval cylinder bolt stop cuts as the Walker had. And has the same V shaped mainspring as the Walker. The main differences being the 1st model dragoon has a slightly shorter barrel and cylinder than the Walker and the improved loading lever latch.

The 2nd model dragoon also has a square top wooden grip and retains the square back trigger guard but it changed to a flat leaf spring for its mainspring instead of the V shaped mainspring of the Walker and 1st model dragoon. It is also the first dragoon to have a rectangular bolt stop and bolt stop cuts on its cylinder, which changes it from the oval bolt stop and cuts on the Walker and 1st model dragoon.

The third model dragoon (on some of them) had a provision for a shoulder stock, and was otherwise basically the same as the 2nd model, only it omitted the squareback trigger guard and went to a rounded trigger guard. Which makes it instantly able to be recognized as the 3rd model.

So if the person who P.M.'d me is correct about the Walker and all three models of the dragoon having the same cylinder "window" as the Walker, then it might be possible to mill down the forcing cone on a 1st model dragoon and then reshape the forcing cone and then if the bolt stop is in the same position in the frame as it is in the Walker, since the Walker and only the 1st model dragoon had oval cylinder stops and cuts, then maybe it might be possible to use a Walker cylinder in the 1st model dragoon.

It would take some measuring of the location of the oval bolt stop in the 1st model dragoon's frame to see if that oval bolt stop would match up with the oval cuts on the Walker cylinder though before it would be even worthwhile to try that mod. And naturally it would be best if one had both a Walker and a 1st model dragoon to compare and to measure before doing any type of mod to the 1st model dragoon's forcing cone.

But an interesting thing to think about and a way to get a 60 grain Walker cylinder (instead of all three model dragoon's only 50 grain cylinder) into a dragoon frame that also has a slightly shorter barrel and much better loading lever catch.

Any of you guys have both a Walker and a 1st model dragoon that you could measure to see it that would work?

Here's a pic of a Walker and a 1st model dragoon close together. See that gap in front of the cylinder on the dragoon and how much more the forcing cone sticks out than on the Walker? They DO appear like perhaps the cylinder window is the same length. But one would have to measure to make sure and like I said, also measure the position of the dragoon's bolt stop in its frame to make sure it would match up with the Walker's cylinder's bolt stop cuts.


I know the O.P. Mike (duelist1954) has both because he did some checking for me between his Walker and dragoon already and told me the dragoon barrel won't fit onto the longer arbor of the Walker. Hey Mike, can you measure that and tell us if the frame window is the same and if the Walker and the 1st model dragoon both have their cylinder stop in the exact same location in the frame so that it would line up with the Walker cylinder if the forcing cone of the dragoon was milled down and reshaped? You could easily check that by taking the barrel off the dragoon and putting the Walker cylinder on the dragoon without putting any barrel on it, then actuate the hammer and see if the cylinder turns and then locks up properly. If it does, then the bolt stops line up and work on both. Then the 1st model dragoon's forcing cone would just have to be milled down and reshaped to allow the installation of the dragoon barrel over the 60 grain Walker cylinder. I think and hope.

Wouldn't that be a gas? A 60 grain Walker cylinder on a dragoon that previously could only hold 50 grains, with the shorter handier barrel and superior loading lever latch of the dragoon. I'd like that. It would be the most powerful 1st model dragoon in the world. "Do ya feel lucky cowboy punk?" Lol. With all the non historical BP guns the Italians make (1851 .44's), I'm surprised they haven't tried that yet.


.
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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; July 26, 2013 at 05:35 PM.
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Old July 26, 2013, 11:22 AM   #14
blfuller
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Duelist1954,
It did not appear you used the wads for the conicals in your video. Was that intentional so the base would expand better? I've never used them and was curious.
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Old July 26, 2013, 09:23 PM   #15
duelist1954
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I'll check cylinder and water table sizes of Walkers vs Dragoons probably Sunday or Monday. I'll be at Dixon's rifle builders' fair on Saturday.

I don't use wads with conicals because the bullets are lubed.
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Old July 27, 2013, 12:56 AM   #16
Captainkirk
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Excellent video, Mike (as usual!) I love my Uberti 2nd Dragoon, but mine likes to occasionally drop the loading lever with as few as 40 grains, and it's a regular habit at 50. I guess I'm getting used to it now; doesn't bother me any more...
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Old July 27, 2013, 04:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Duelist1954,
It did not appear you used the wads for the conicals in your video. Was that intentional so the base would expand better? I've never used them and was curious.
You don't need wads with conicals and the base is solid, not hollow.
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Old July 27, 2013, 06:56 PM   #18
bn12gg
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Today I used 25 grains of Triple 7 in my Walker -- that was plenty. What does 50 or for that matter 60 grains of Goex accomplish that half the load of Triple 7 not get done? I know Triple 7 is somewhat hotter than BP, but jeeeesh, aren't maxi loads of powder putting the gun at an increased risk of a crossfire. ?

Good shooting!

.02

David

ps-- I use 8 inches of real nice leather strand to stop the lever from dropping.
Works, and looks good.
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Old July 27, 2013, 07:04 PM   #19
Hawg
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Quote:
aren't maxi loads of powder putting the gun at an increased risk of a crossfire. ?
Not when you use wads or over ball lube.
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Old August 4, 2013, 03:58 PM   #20
Bill Akins
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Mike did you get the chance yet to see if the Walker cylinder would fit onto the first model dragoon's arbor and rotate correctly and lock up correctly without installing the first model dragoon's barrel? What I'm trying to find out is an answer to several questions.

1. Since the first model dragoon has the same oval bolt stop and oval cylinder cuts without any lead in cuts, exactly as the Walker has, will the Walker cylinder fit and work correctly on a first model dragoon without installing the first model dragoon barrel? If it will work, then except for the first model dragoon's forcing cone sticking out further than the Walker's, is the cylinder "window" the same size as on the Walker, so that if one were to mill down the first model dragoon's forcing cone some, would the dragoon barrel then fit onto the dragoon frame using the Walker's cylinder?

2. The Walker cartridge conversion cylinders I have seen do not use the oval cylinder stop cut, but instead use the more usual rectangular bolt stop cut along with a lead in cut. So what I'm wondering is, if a conversion cylinder's rectangular bolt stop cut and a lead in cut work with the Walker's oval bolt stop, since the second and third model dragoon's both use a rectangular bolt stop cut, would the second and third model dragoon's rectangular bolt stop also work on the Walker's cylinder with its oval bolt stop cuts?

So two questions there. One to find out if the first model dragoon with its identical to the Walker oval bolt stop and bolt stop cuts would work if just the forcing cone of the 1st model dragoon was milled down to accept a Walker cylinder, and also if the second and third model dragoon's with their non oval, rectangular bolt stops and cylinder cuts would also work using the Walker cylinder. And if the cylinder window is the same size as the Walker so if just the forcing cone on all three model dragoons were milled down if the Walker cylinder would work on all of them.

I know you have the third model dragoon and Walker to compare Mike, but am hoping you have the first and second model dragoon to check against the Walker cylinder too.

If the Walker cylinder would work on any of the dragoons, (as long as the dragoon's forcing cone was milled down), by using a Walker cylinder on a dragoon, that would be the most powerful dragoon in the world since it would have the ability of a Walker's 60 grain charge instead of the normal dragoon's 50 grain charge.

Sure would like to find all that out when you get the chance Mike.



.
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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 August 4, 2013, 05:54 PM   #21
duelist1954
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I don't have a 1st model Dragoon, but the Walker cylinder will work on a 3rd Dragoon frame. It indexes and locks up OK. I think the chambers will line up with the bore.

You will need to take half an inch off of the forcing cone, That's basically all you have to play with, so I'm not sure you can get it to fit without milling down the frame contact area of the barrel as well.

You will also need to mill out the ball clearance area on the barrel because the longer cylinder is going to make that disappear. Probably you'll need to shorten the rammer too.

Good luck.
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Old August 4, 2013, 06:36 PM   #22
Bill Akins
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Thanks Mike. That answered all my questions. Because if the Walker cylinder with its oval bolt cuts will work with your 3rd model dragoon that has rectangular bolt cuts, then that means the Walker cylinder will fit the arbor and index and lock up correctly on ANY of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd model dragoons.

In other words, I don't just have to look for a good deal on just a 1st model dragoon that has the same oval bolt stop as the Walker, but can also use the 2nd and 3rd model dragoons with their rectangular bolt cuts to use the Walker cylinder with also.


Going to have to pick me up a dragoon and a Walker cylinder and see what I can do on my milling machine to make the worlds most powerful dragoon. Once I have a dragoon in hand along with a Walker cylinder, I can put the Walker cylinder on the arbor, and then put the barrel onto the arbor at an angle, so that the forcing cone pushes back along the side of the cylinder, so I can measure by how much of the forcing cone is rearward alongside the cylinder to see how much needs to be milled off the forcing cone for the barrel to fit straight onto the revolver. Then mill that amount off the forcing cone and the barrel should fit.

That shouldn't be too hard to do. Hopefully just mill down the forcing cone and ball loading cutout as you mentioned, and perhaps use the rear loading lever section from a Walker or else cut down the dragoon one. Or I may find I don't have to do anything to the rear section of the loading lever. Not a priority project right now, but definitely something I will try to get around to doing.

Tip-O-the hat, and thanks again for the info Mike!



.
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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; August 4, 2013 at 06:50 PM.
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Old August 5, 2013, 04:34 AM   #23
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I read somewhere that the dragoon and walkers use different size arbors.
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Old August 5, 2013, 08:51 AM   #24
duelist1954
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Not in terms of arbor diameter...cylinders easily interchange on my replicas
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Old August 5, 2013, 09:09 AM   #25
Bill Akins
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I am so glad they do interchange Mike. That means with just a bit of milling on the forcing cone and opening up the loading port a bit, and maybe exchanging the dragoon's rear section of loading lever for a Walker rear section, (which may or may not be necessary, just have to see), that means from what I can ascertain, that it is possible to fit a Walker cylinder onto a dragoon. Making said dragoon the most powerful dragoon in the world. I'm going to do it. May take my time about it, but I'm going to do it.



.
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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; August 5, 2013 at 10:12 AM.
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