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Old August 13, 2013, 03:18 PM   #26
saleen322
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Revolvers Wearing Out

I supervised training with cadet pistols for years. When I started they were Colt Police .38 Specials then Smith model 10s and then Smith 64s and 65s. We would literally line students up in about 10 lines, they would shoot 50 or so rounds and then the next student would step up and do the same thing, and then another student, etc, etc. The next day, the process would start again. I know some of those revolvers had over 300,000 rounds though them after years of doing this before they were replaced. The most common fatal problem was students squirting oil (although they were told NOT to!) around the cylinder stop/bolt which over time would combine with grit to form a sludge inside that would actually shear one of the pins off inside the revolver when it did not want to cycle and a student forced the hammer back in single action. We eventually started taking the side plates off and cleaned everything inside about twice a year to combat this and the problem went away.

I say all of that to say this, anyone who says a quality revolver needs "Tuned" every 1000 rounds doesn't know anything about revolvers.
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Old August 13, 2013, 03:47 PM   #27
James K
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Hi, Dpris,

I, also will be concise. I don't believe it.

I have checked around a bit and checked a few books, and can't find anyone who has ever heard of that happening. I will not say it isn't true, and it is a novel idea, but it would be interesting to hear if anyone else knows if or why that happens.

Jim
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Old August 13, 2013, 04:13 PM   #28
DPris
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Believe or not.
What's your suggestion for the Colt hand wearing quicker?
Or, are you saying the V-Spring action is every bit as durable & long-lived as a Smith or Ruger, WITHOUT parts replacement?
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Old August 13, 2013, 05:40 PM   #29
SaxonPig
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BW- The 22 certainly was used mostly in SA mode as it was a bullseye gun. The Trooper I can't say, same with the 1909 38. The 1949 38 was a cop gun so I figure there was quite a bit of DA shooting in its past. Although back then they often qualified using SA shooting.
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Old August 13, 2013, 07:38 PM   #30
DPris
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In 1949 there wasn't much police shooting at all.
In most cases, qualifying once or twice a year in larger agencies after initial new-hire training, quite possibly not even that in smaller areas.

I started out at a smaller agency (17 men) in '76 & we didn't shoot all that much.
Training didn't really achieve much of a boost nationwide till the late '70s, and even then was slow to spread.
Lawsuits that ruled lack of money was no excuse for limited or no ongoing firearms training were a prime motivator.

In the earlier years, by far the greatest majority of LE revolvers were carried lots & shot little.
Guy could carry his gun his entire career & if he wasn't into target shooting, he might easily end up with less than a couple thousand rounds through it, if that.
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Old August 13, 2013, 09:53 PM   #31
James K
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Things were same but more so in the 1940's and 1950's. I saw police with cartridges that turned green in the cylinders because the guns were never fired or even removed from the holsters from one decade to the next. Most smaller departments had a qualification program on paper, but it was never carried out and most officers were "too busy" or "too old" to bother. There were always a few "gun nuts" who shot, but that was for their own recreation and fellow officers usually considered them a bit "odd".

Sometimes I see that period derided by "progressives" and "modern people" and I agree on some things, but I don't think that overall it was that bad a time.

Jim
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Old August 23, 2013, 07:58 PM   #32
Peter M. Eick
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Sorry to be late to the show, but I will add some facts.

I have a Colt diamondback. It was my only centerfire for several decades and took a lot of shooting.

At shot 41,149 it broke the spring fro the hand and had to be sent in for replacement. Colt put a new return spring cylinder arm also. I kept shooting it.

At shot 42,819 I was having problems with not getting good firing pin hits. I sent it in to be re-timed. Colt replaced the Hand, Rebound Lever and spring. The also fixed the latch bushing. They retimed it and sent it back.

At round 45,209 I had the bolt screw head break off. Colt repaired it, retimed it and sent it back.

We are at round 47,320 with no issues since then.

My analysis is that I went decades of heavy shooting with no issues and then several parts break at roughly the same time. Probably they were all generally related and now that things are back working there has been no issues since.

My primary Python is now at round 5,048. Not a single issue and many many of those rounds were full power 2400 loads.

My thought is that Colt makes a good product. If I had been nicer to my diamondback it probably would have lasted better. Its replacement (original just gets shot less) seems to be holding right in there but I am careful with it.
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Old August 24, 2013, 06:52 AM   #33
prm
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I have been an LEO since the late 70s and have been carrying and shooting Colt revolvers pretty much throughout my career. Even today, we still have the option, and I frequently carry a 2nd Generation Detective Special.

I would not say my round count is anywhere in the neighborhood of a competition shooter, but I do go to the range regularly, and I am a full time range instructor at our state academy. I have sent two back to Colt for timing issues, replaced a few springs, and that has only been after multiple thousands of rounds. I always shoot standard velocity rounds through my Colts - no hot rounds. Why, they are classics, no longer made and the lighter rounds are just easier on them.

DPris is right on with his assessment in my experience. But then, any gun that is used extensively will occasionally need tweaking. Aside from that, your Colt will outlast you and be going strong with future generations.

They are a lot more durable than some modern internet keyboard jockeys give them credit.
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Old August 26, 2013, 09:15 PM   #34
FM12
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I've heard of the out of time issuemany times in my 40 years of handgunning, but only seen on example. In a pawn/gunshop in NE Alabama. The owner was good enough to point it out to me, I had missed it.
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Old August 31, 2013, 06:39 PM   #35
geodimeter
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Great thread about these wonderful revolvers. The explanations about the "bank vault" lock up are extremely useful if I ever happen upon one I can afford. Maybe one of these days I'll own one.
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Old September 1, 2013, 03:36 AM   #36
22-rimfire
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If you're worried about this with a Python, I would suggest you consider either a Mark III or Mark V series Colt DA revolver. They are quite strong and less "delicate". My feeling is that if a revolver shoots loose or out of time in 5,000 rounds using normal ammunition and care, something is wrong.
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Old September 1, 2013, 08:27 AM   #37
jad0110
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Quote:
As to whether or not a vintage Colt is worth buying, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one that was in good condition and passed the Colt-specific timing test. However, I probably would not use it for a CCW or subject it to large amounts of hard, fast DA shooting due to the expense and difficulty in getting it re-timed.
Agreed. I think of subjecting a Colt Python to heavy use would be like buying a classic Ferrari 250 GTO and then driving it 20,000 miles a year. I suppose you could do it, but I'd rather put that kind of abuse on a Honda that they are still making! Or a Ruger GP100 in this example. Then again, if you can afford the Python and that much ammo (handloaded, granted), then you can probably afford to send the Python into Colt or Grant Cunningham if needed.

As I side note, I saw a pretty nice Colt DS 2nd Gen at a pawn shop the other day. They wanted $550 for it. A fair price if it was in good mechanical shape, but it wasn't. There had to be at least .1" of fore and back play in the cylinder, and the cylinder wouldn't always lock in place. Yeesh, I'm thinking that gun, though pretty, couldn't be worth much if it needs hundreds of dollars worth of repairs, so I passed.
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Old September 1, 2013, 12:37 PM   #38
salvadore
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I've owned and own some Colt DAs and have only twice had to 'tune' them. One was a well used PP spec. police turn in from a foreign country with l0% finish left on. Took a punch to the lower part of the hand that pushes the cylinder into lock up and shot it for a year or so before I traded it off. The other was this 1931 32/20 OP that allowed the cylinder to turn backwards. Took it apart and filed the bolt cam thingy where it contacted the frame allowing for the bolt to engage the cylinder notches deeper.







I currently own three DA Colts, a Cobra, the OP and a Marshal and have shot pretty high pressure loads thru all of them including Skeeter Skelton's Ray Thompson bullet load, without problems. I currently shoot saami spec loads in them due to the lack of parts.
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Old September 1, 2013, 12:38 PM   #39
salvadore
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oops, forgot to mention how accurate they are.
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