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Old June 4, 2009, 10:16 PM   #1
Fred1978
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1858 cylinder gap

Howdy! I just bought a new Pietta 1858 Remington for 199$ and it looks to be a fairly well made example. The timing seems good and the action works smooth. I do have two questions for all you black powder experts though. What should be the barrel to cylinder gap on the 1858. I know on the Colts it has almost no gap at full cock but the Remmy is more like a modern revolver and mine has maybe .001-.002 gap, hardly any. Also when should the bolt drop on the cylinder. Mine drops just before each notch. It does not have a lead in groove like the Colts which should have three distinct clicks to it. The bolt on the Remmy falls on the edge of each notch before going in. Good or not so good. Thanks.
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Old June 5, 2009, 04:41 AM   #2
Raider2000
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The bolt sounds about right, both of mine will drop the bolt just prior to the notch getting into position but you really have to be going slow on cocking the hammer to notice it.
One of my Pietta's are over 20 years old & still showes no sign of a grove in the cylinder.

As far as the gap goes, you have to push the cylinder as far against the recoil shield as you can to get an accurate measurement but a .006 - .010 is a normal gap for these C&B revolvers anything narrower than that would bind up after just a few shots.
Recheck it again like I mentioned just to be sure of your meaurement if it is truely that narrow two things are needed to be done.
(1) if it is a new revolver I'd send it back for a replacement.
(2) you can use extra fine sand paper on a flat surface & sand the face of the cylinder a little at a time to get the gap where you need it to be.
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Old June 5, 2009, 06:20 AM   #3
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Be very careful about sanding the face of the cylinder. In fact, unless you have a way to ensure you're removing metal evenly across the entire surface, I'd stay away from sanding it. It's very easy to get a lopsided cylinder face; in fact, without a jig it's almost impossible not to.
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Old June 5, 2009, 06:32 AM   #4
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The gap on Bp revolvers

Is generally bigger than on a modern powder one, for the crud build up reason Raider said. As long as it isnt too huge or way too tight, just shoot it. Tight is ok, you might have to clean the gap area and the front og the cylinder a bit more often, but it should shoot straight (& hard)
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Old June 5, 2009, 07:34 AM   #5
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I have a year old Pietta NMA that has the same bolt drop. My barrel gap is .006. The hand spring pushes the cylinder forward so it may appear to be tighter than it actually is.
The old Colt gunsmithing spec I have read specify a barrel gap of .007 for the open tops. I have some C&B revolvers that are around .012 gap and repaired some that had .050 or more. BP is more forgiving than smokeless as far as a loose barrel gap goes. I run one of my Dan Wesson revolvers at .003 cold. That would not work with BP.
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Old June 5, 2009, 07:43 AM   #6
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Someone practiced at it will have little trouble flat-sanding the cylinder end while maintaining that face's perpendicularity to the rotational axis. If you do try it, make sure your sandpaper lies on something that's very flat, go slow, move randomly or in figure eights, rotate the cylinder in your hand often and check OAL and perpendicularity regularly.
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Old June 5, 2009, 09:22 AM   #7
Raider2000
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On a friends Remy copy I used 1000 grit paper & spun the cylinder on the paper while it was affixed to a metal dowel, took some time but I managed to give his a nice .008 gap & kept it nice & even.
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Old June 5, 2009, 09:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Someone practiced at it will have little trouble flat-sanding the cylinder end while maintaining that face's perpendicularity to the rotational axis. If you do try it, make sure your sandpaper lies on something that's very flat, go slow, move randomly or in figure eights, rotate the cylinder in your hand often and check OAL and perpendicularity regularly.
Agreed, use a thick sheet of glass or a granite surface block and it's a relatively easy procedure. I would start with 320 paper and when within a .001 finish it up with 400-600 and use some touch up bluing on it. It goes fairly fast so measure often, easy to remove metal, PITA to put it back on.
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Old June 5, 2009, 10:28 AM   #9
Fred1978
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Thanks guys. When they say these guns are a project kit right from the box they are not joking. Thankfully the metal is soft and they are not needed for personal defense anymore! BTW how does the Pietta metal compare to the originals. I had read they used cast iron in the old Colts. In the movies and such they are allways fanning their guns, I don't see them staying in time very long at all that way. I can see why men carried several revolvers at one time and I am sure they kept the gunsmiths busy.
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Old June 5, 2009, 11:17 AM   #10
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.001"-.002" is fine for gap, you need "something" there for gap, less than .001" and it will jam very easily from fouling when fired

and...as long as the gun cocks/times correctly, don't worry about when it drops the bolt lug. When it stops locking, won't cock, jams, or misaligns, that's when you worry.

don't make any adjustments to it- because after you fire a few dozen rounds through it, it's going to loosen up some

shoot 50 rounds through it first
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Old June 5, 2009, 11:34 AM   #11
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My CCH Remington only has two clicks no matter how slowly you cock it. The timing is so perfect the bolt drops in place and the hammer goes to full cock at exactly the same time. My last Remington had a funny sounding click when ccked really slow but sounded normal when cocked normally. The bolt on it dropped in just a tiny smidge sooner than the hammer went to full cock. I prefer .006-.008 for cylinder gap but bigger is no problem. My 60 Colt had a .004 gap and that didn't foul too bad but my Remington Police has a .002 gap and won't go but nine rounds before it starts to get tight. Still haven't tried PAM, gotta remember to try that next time.
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Old June 5, 2009, 12:04 PM   #12
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Just wondering...how big of a gap is too BIG?
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Old June 5, 2009, 12:20 PM   #13
Fred1978
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On a smokeless gun no more than .010 with .005 being ideal. On black powder .005 would be minimum and probably no more than .020 but I am sure people use them just fine with more.
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Old June 5, 2009, 12:24 PM   #14
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The timing is so perfect the bolt drops in place and the hammer goes to full cock at exactly the same time.
Ain't it sweet when that happens I've got lucky on a few, tweaking the leg of the bolt.
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Old June 5, 2009, 12:53 PM   #15
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Ain't it sweet when that happens I've got lucky on a few, tweaking the leg of the bolt.
Mine came out of the box that way.
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Old June 5, 2009, 01:42 PM   #16
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Fred1978, thanks for letting us know that.
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Old June 6, 2009, 01:38 PM   #17
CaptainCrossman
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Quote:
Just wondering...how big of a gap is too BIG?


Colt specs were .001" to .008", anything beyond .008" failed factory QC check

Remington barrel/cylinder seem to stay tight forever. Mine is 20 years old and still tight, with decades of full cylinder loads put through it- with a Remington, the pin, pin hole in the recoil shield, and pin hole in the cylinder all start to wear together. You can tell when a Remmie needs some work, when cocked the cylinder doesn't just turn, it goes upward in the back- starts getting more pin/cylinder play.

the nice thing about a Remmie is, you can buy a new cylinder and pin, and presto you're back to new- if need be, you can also bush the recoil shield to tighten up where the pin goes in as well- they are just a far superior design for long term heavy shooting, and much easier to repair

on the other hand, shoot a cast frame open top long enough, with full power loads, you're going to have .010" to .020" play pretty quick, most times. I had ONE Navy Arms 1860 that held up really well with full power 39 grain loads. The Walker loosened up rather quickly to about .020" with 60 grain loads.

brass frames, forgettaboutit...loose in no time, with one cylinder practically

it all depends on how hard the wedge, arbor slot, and barrel slot area is with a Colt. The softer it is, the quicker it's going to shoot loose, and the bigger the gap is going to get- requiring a wider and wider wedge as time goes on, to put it back into spec

that's why metallurgy is so critical with an open top, the wedge interface is highly stressed due to the limitations/nature of the design

I could live with .020"- beyond that, I'd be looking to tighten it up a bit

Last edited by CaptainCrossman; June 6, 2009 at 01:45 PM.
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Old June 7, 2009, 10:50 AM   #18
SamStafford
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CC, yeah that's why I look the other way on a brass frame Remmy. I'll stick to steel frames.
Plus, I'm cheap. So when I buy a gun...I have to make darn sure that that gun is going to stay with me for a very long time. What my wife was trained me to do now.
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Old June 7, 2009, 05:05 PM   #19
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FWIW, these are the gaps I measure on some of my revolvers:

0.001 Uberti 1858 Remington NMA
0.001 Ruger Single Six .22 LR
0.002 Ruger Old Army
0.003 Ruger Blackhawk .357 Mag

The cylinder free spins easily on ALL four revolvers. The Uberti, ROA, and the Blackhawk free spin slicker than snot on a doorknob. The Ruger SS free spins maybe three rotations and not nearly as easily as the other three.
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Old June 7, 2009, 05:28 PM   #20
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Yeah, but how does the cylinders on those bp guns spin after firing three full cylinders?
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Old June 7, 2009, 05:47 PM   #21
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Yeah, but how does the cylinders on those bp guns spin after firing three full cylinders?
Ya know...I don't know how well they free spin after pumping a lot of rounds through them. I generally only free spin the cylinder when fondling them at home after cleaning them. I can say that the ROA has had 60 rounds through it in one afternoon without having any tightening that I'm aware of. Same goes for the Uberti 1858 after 30 rounds. Of course I'm shooting 777 and using lubricated Wonder Wads. Any tightness is generally only felt while reloading when on occasion I get part of that shaved lead ring caught between the barrel and the cylinder.
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Old June 7, 2009, 09:47 PM   #22
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The bolt on my two Pietta 1858 Remingtons drop just as,or slightly before the cylinder fully rotates into place.Just about every detail on those revolvers is outstanding.
As far as barrel gap and end play it varies from cylinder to cylinder and frame to frame in my experience.Ive seen as much as .004" difference in the OAL of the Pietta 58 Rem cylinders.
What I did was buy a few spare cylinders from Cabelas and measured the OAL's,then compared them in each of the revolvers frames until I got a good of fit/tolerance for each of the revolvers.Then had the cylinders laser engraved with the serial number of each of the matching revolvers so they dont get mixed up.
One of the Rems had alot of end play with the original cylinder that came in it,and the other was a bit tight.So swapping the two original cylinders was an immediate fix as well.
The barrel gaps on my 58's are .004" and the other is .0075".I dont have any cylinder bind issues as I swap cylinders to reload.I wipe the cylinder faces off before I drop them on the loading stand so they are cleaned between uses.
All my Colt replicas have cylinder gaps of .0075"-.011".Rarely do I see one of them suffer cylinder bind.The Walker has the .011" cylinder gap and it will run all day with a 45gr. load of ffg. with a wad under the ball and a grease cookie over it to keep the fouling soft..
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Old June 8, 2009, 12:00 AM   #23
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Hawg, my BP and C&B Revolvers still shoot free wheelin' all day without cleanin' by usin' them Lube Pills I started makin' years go...you know the ones :O)
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Old June 13, 2009, 05:14 PM   #24
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Smokin Gun-- we don't know near enough about the remingtons. When you rotate the cylinder out at half cock--is their a trick to putting it back in without fumbling and struggling? And by the way, we tried changing my name but it didn't work--so don't be mad at me yet.:}

Billy
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Old June 13, 2009, 06:05 PM   #25
Hawg Haggen
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Hawg, my BP and C&B Revolvers still shoot free wheelin' all day without cleanin' by usin' them Lube Pills I started makin' years go...you know the ones :O)
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Yep but I kinda doubt he does. I still haven't gotten around to trying them.


Quote:
Smokin Gun-- we don't know near enough about the remingtons. When you rotate the cylinder out at half cock--is their a trick to putting it back in without fumbling and struggling
Well I ain't smokin_gun but the easiest way is ease the hammer back until the hand and bolt are both retracted and then the cylinder will fall in from either side.
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