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Old November 11, 2013, 06:38 AM   #1
Bill Akins
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Join Date: August 28, 2007
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ASM (Armi San Marcos) parts.

A couple of days ago, my 80 year old uncle Joel left a non working, ASM, 1851 brass frame .44 with me hoping I could get it operational for him. He picked it up at a flea market and paid too much for it in the condition it was in ($150.00 when a new one can be had from Cabela's for $179.00). Uncle Joel is an old "wheeler dealer" fleamarketer from way back, and although he is fairly knowledgeable on cartridge guns, he doesn't know black powder guns that well and pretty much got took on this deal and I told him to PLEASE call me first next time before he considers buying any more black powder guns at the flea market. Lol. I get a kick out of him, 80 years old and still wheeling and dealing and liking guns.

It had rust all over it from someone shooting it and not cleaning it, the arbor was unscrewed and the cylinder was rusted to the arbor. the mainspring, bolt, bolt/trigger spring, pawl/hand, wedge and wedge screw were all missing. Surprisingly the bore was pretty good, only a few specks of pitting after I cleaned it.

I buffed the entire revolver out and got all the rust off it and reblued it, freed the cylinder from the arbor and reinstalled the arbor into the frame, unscrewed the nipples and greased them and reinstalled them, and generally spruced it up and got it ready to be operational again if I can just locate the missing parts at a reasonable price (aye there's the rub). It looks very good now compared to the mess it was.

I tried fitting my spare Pietta pawl, bolt, bolt/trigger spring and mainspring on it, (didn't try the wedge since I didn't have a spare) but none of them fit correctly except for the mainspring which worked. Since I need to keep my spare Pietta parts for my 1860's, I just did that to see if I could use Pietta parts and then I could get uncle Joel the Pietta parts kit from Cabelas for $30.00 But with all the parts it needs not fitting (except for the mainspring), I knew I have to get ASM specific parts and might as well get the ASM mainspring too.

The Pietta bolt wouldn't work and it jammed up on the ASM hammer cam. The Pietta bolt/trigger spring would work if I cut down the longer leg of the spring. The Pietta pawl might work if I filed it down. So some parts can be tweaked and filed to fit, but at quite a bit of work/hassle and not certain even then. So best to get ASM specific parts if I can.

I know that Deercreek and VTI bought up all the old ASM parts after ASM went out of business and they are about the only sources for ASM parts that I know of. Ebay or GB might have some, but I could grow old looking for all those different ASM specific parts I need on Ebay or GB. Deercreek doesn't have a website anymore so I'll have to call them tomorrow to check their prices and availability.

I did look on VTI's website and the ASM parts (and shipping) from VTI are an enormous gouge. Plus I read some disconcerting posts from other gun forums saying VTI will sometimes send you non ASM parts when you paid for ASM parts. People unhappy and having to pay to ship incorrect (brand) parts back for a refund, and then VTI being out of stock on the ASM specific parts they needed. So not the best of customer reviews.

Check this similar post of about the same problem from "Claypipe" at "The Muzzleloading Forum":.....

"I have an Armi San Marco Third Model Dragoon in need of parts. I attempted to order said parts from VTI. They were even listed on VTI's website as available, $12.00 for the bolt, $5.00 for the trigger/bolt spring, plus $9.95 for shipping.

I agree that $9.95 for two parts that can fit in a small padded envelope, and ship by USPS mail for less than $5.00 is outrageous. But, I needed the parts and could find no other source.

So, I placed the order with the following special instructions:"I am purchasing these parts for a 3rd Model Dragoon stamped <<SAN MARCO>> GARDONE V.T. -BRESCIA. Should these be incorrect for this revolver, please cancel my order and notify me of what would be the correct parts. Thank you."

VTI calls me back and leaves the message, that they don't have the parts I am looking for and that they would send parts for a Uberti at an additional $15 charge. The original order totaled $26.95 with postage, now they want $41.95 with postage for the wrong parts.

I call them back, and spend a half an hour getting my credit card cleared of a charge I didn't authorize.

Me, personally, I won't be dealing with VTI again."


Yeah, not the best in customer satisfaction reviews for sure.

Here's what VTI wants for their ASM parts that I need to complete uncle Joel's 1851.

1. Mainspring- $6.50
2. Pawl/hand- $23.50
3. Bolt- $23.50
4. Wedge- $12.00
5. Wedge screw & trigger/bolt spring screw (can't just get the wedge screw alone)-$4.50
6. Shipping is $9.99

Total-$79.99 just for those few small parts from VTI!! What a ripoff. Yeah I know they have it and I need it (uncle Joel needs it), but still a rip.

Sooo, if anyone here has any of those 1851 ASM parts that I listed above, laying around as spares and wants to sell them for a reasonable price that isn't the rip that VTI is charging, shoot me an I.M. and let me know will ya?

Otherwise my uncle Joel may have a nice looking (but non operational) wallhanger that he is WAY too far into for $150.00. Kind of a shame now that I got it all spruced up and all it lacks to be operational and shoot is those few parts. Anyway, thought I'd take a stab at checking here just in case.


.
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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; November 11, 2013 at 07:32 AM.
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Old November 11, 2013, 08:44 AM   #2
Doc Hoy
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Bill...I feel your pain...

I have rehabbed a number of ASM revolvers with good success using parts from other manufs.

But it is a royal PITA. Take it apart, file a bit, put it together, try it, take it apart, file a bit more. And the problem with the spring leg being too long comes across as a comedy of errors. It is hard to spot.

On a Colt Pocket in .31 I went through three hands before I got one right. (And that problem turned out not to be the hand at all. I was fixing the wrong problem.)

I don't shoot it for fear I will break something and then would be back where I started.

Original ASM parts are pretty much non-existent in any vendor I ever went to.

Some will say they have recently manufactured ASM parts (Made by a jobber supposedly to ASM dimensions I suppose) but I bet they would require a lot of fitting too.

Then, the instant that you start filing on a hardened part you run the risk of getting below the hardened metal and the part immediately rounds off. Especially true of hands.

If the parts from VTI are really ASM equivalent and really do just drop in, they are worth the price ACCEPT that the cost for the parts exceeds the value of the revolver. So the parts are worth it but the revolver isn't.

That unscrewed arbor scares me. Every ASM I ever messed with had a locating pin driven into the back of the frame from the hammer channel. I works exactly like a key on a shaft which keeps a gear or pulley from spinning on the shaft. An undamaged arbor in an undamaged frame will not turn if the pin is in place.
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Old November 11, 2013, 03:19 PM   #3
swathdiver
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I always go to Deer Creek for my ASM parts, they have never let me down. The parts have to be fitted though to these older guns.
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Old November 12, 2013, 11:13 AM   #4
North East Redneck
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I purchased a cylinder for my ASM '58 from VTI. Fits perfectly, functions flawlessly. Cost was around $100. To me it was worth it.
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Old November 13, 2013, 05:06 AM   #5
Bill Akins
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Quote:
Doc Hoy wrote:
"That unscrewed arbor scares me. Every ASM I ever messed with had a locating pin driven into the back of the frame from the hammer channel. I works exactly like a key on a shaft which keeps a gear or pulley from spinning on the shaft. An undamaged arbor in an undamaged frame will not turn if the pin is in place. "
It bothered me too Doc. The end of the threaded shaft of the arbor was at an angle. It didn't appear to be broken at an angle, so I assumed that angle was for the "key" pin to keep the arbor from unscrewing. I looked into the muzzle side of the arbor's threaded hole and could not see a pin or evidence of a broken off pin. I also did not see any evidence or outline of the pin in the hammer channel either. So I figure either somehow there was an oversight at the factory and ASM never drilled the hole for the pin to be installed, or else somehow someone turned that arbor so hard to the point to where the pin broke off. But it seems strange that I can't see ANY evidence of the broken pin from the muzzle end of the arbor's threaded hole, nor can I see the faint outline of the pin that I can usually see in the hammer channel's rear.

In light of all the above, I was just going to put a bit of J&B weld epoxy on the arbor threads and screw it back in, but first before doing that I wanted to make sure the arbor was screwed in deep enough so that it didn't bottom out in the arbor's hole in the barrel to where it would stop the locating pins in the frame from going into their holes in the barrel, and also so the cylinder to barrel gap wouldn't be too wide. So before using J&B epoxy, I took a thick bladed oyster shucking knife and used that in the wedge hole of the arbor to screw the arbor in first to check it. Everything fit just fine. I was going to unscrew it and put a little J&B weld epoxy on its threads and then screw it back in again, but after I told my cousin (uncle Joel's son) about the cost of the ASM parts, he had called his dad (my uncle Joel) and uncle Joel told him to tell me to stop working on it because the guy at the flea market who sold it to him is refunding uncle Joel his money after uncle Joel complained to him about the parts cost issue that I told my cousin about who then informed uncle Joel about.

So I just left the arbor tightly screwed into the frame without using epoxy or trying to create a pin or pin hole. It's pretty tight though and I don't think it would come out if fired. I really had to crank it in tightly the last quarter of the last turn though, to get the arbor's wedge hole to line up with the barrel's wedge hole. So even without J&B epoxy or a pin, I doubt it would ever come unthreaded/loose even if someone gets the ASM parts and gets it shooting again. I figure whoever unscrewed it in the first place, probably did that in an effort to get the cylinder off it that was rusted onto it, and instead of simply using penetrating oil and tapping the cylinder off, instead they tried to get the cylinder off by unscrewing the arbor, and that's no doubt why the arbor was unscrewed from the frame and maybe sheered off the pin (if indeed it ever had the pin installed at the factory). Still a mystery about no visible evidence at all of that "key" pin though. I've looked at a lot of them, and I honestly think it was a factory oversight and no pin hole was ever drilled for a pin to be installed.

I'm happy my uncle Joel is getting his $150.00 back, but obviously I wasted over three hours of my time, labor and bluing salts, working on wire wheeling out the rust, then buffing it out, generally sprucing up and re-bluing that revolver. No doubt when uncle Joel gets his refund and gives the revolver back to the vendor, the vendor is going to be pretty happy about the re-hab I did on the mess of a gun it previously was and no doubt will sell it to some other poor unsuspecting person for even more money now that it almost looks like new. I don't really mind though, glad uncle Joel is getting his money back and I don't mind nor begrudge my efforts to try and help him out. Kinda funny though, you know the old saying:...."No good deed goes unpunished"
Lol.

So that's the end of that project.


.
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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; November 13, 2013 at 05:46 AM.
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Old November 13, 2013, 07:14 AM   #6
Doc Hoy
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Good Bill

Nice description.

If he does not plan on shooting it all that much, the whole thing should be a treasure to him.

I like the time I spend working on these revolvers. I don't like working on stuff for other folks because I am continually worried about turning their treasure into junk. And I very seldom sell or trade one I have worked on for fear it will fail and hurt someone.

I think the angle you were talking about is merely to make the back of the arbor match the contour of the hammer channel. Perhaps I misunderstood the description.

I think you gave the trader a story to tell his pals. We can do a whole lot worse than making someone happy.
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