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Old August 25, 2010, 11:47 AM   #1
HighValleyRanch
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what is the 1/4 cock position on a SA?

All these years and I never noticed this!

What is the 1/4 cock position on Single actions for?

Hammer down, then a small cocked postion, (this one)
and then the half cock position for loading and ejecting and full cock.

But why that 1/4 cock?
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Old August 25, 2010, 11:58 AM   #2
PetahW
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It holds the hammer back far enough, so that the tip of the firing pin no longer protrudes through the frame, into the area normally occupied by a cartridge case's primer - in case of a ramdom/accidental blow to the hammer.


Although referred to by some as the safety notch, it's not safe - as a hard blow to the hammer has been known to shear off the notch, transferring the blow to a primer, causing an AD - the reason why seasoned SA fans leave the chamber under the hammer empty on guns w/o transfer bars.
.
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Old August 25, 2010, 01:33 PM   #3
HighValleyRanch
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I've always just left my hammer in the down position over an empty chamber.

Come to think of it, that safety notch would also protect an AD in case your thumb slipped off before hitting the half cock position.
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Old August 25, 2010, 09:10 PM   #4
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I think that the latter is the reason for the 1/4 cock position.
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Old August 25, 2010, 11:45 PM   #5
Model-P
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Pretty much tradition at this point in time, as well as to appease lawyers a bit....maybe.
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Old August 27, 2010, 08:15 AM   #6
mec
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the single action lockwork is almost exactly the same as the pre-cartridge colts. The pre cartridge colts had little pegs between the cylinders and a notch on the hammer that allowed carrying the gun fully loaded but with the hammer out of alignment with a percussion cap.
The cartridge revolvers had no room between the chambers for the pegs so, they came up with the safety notch on the hammer. Single Action ritual and dogma notwithstanding, the original intent and prevalent historic practice has been to regard the safety position as a safety position (even though it is not completely "safe.")
The owners manuals put out by ruger in the early 1960s clearly said that the hammer should be placed on the safety notch and that " In most cases, this makes the gun safe to carry fully loaded (sic)" Subsequently, a number of accidents happended related to having a loaded chamber under the hammer. Whether the hammer was in the notch or fully down on a cartridge is not known but the events did prompt ruger to abandon the traditional single action.
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Old August 28, 2010, 08:29 PM   #7
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1st click is the safety, I've been shooting for more than 50 years,and have yet to drop any gun, much less any of my SAA clones.I think it would take a bit of work to get an accidental discharge.My firing pin is on the hammer ,like they originally designed it.You have to hit it with a great deal of force to shear off the safety notch.Especially the later clones as the steel is much stronger than what Sam Colt used in his original pistols.
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Old August 28, 2010, 08:40 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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Ruger's shift to a transfer bar action was prompted by numerous lawsuits with decisions or settlements costing the company a lot of money.
The safety notch does not meet present standards of safety, it has been proven in court. What they did in 1880 or 1960 no longer matters.
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Old August 28, 2010, 08:53 PM   #9
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If the Colt SA is stuck on the hammer while the trigger is in the safety notch, the result is not usually shearing the safety notch but breaking or bending the thin top of the trigger. Same result, though - bang!

One way the old timers avoided that problem while loading six rounds was to drop the hammer between rounds. Not perfect and it won't work with .45 Colt because there is no space between rounds, but it works with .44 and smaller calibers. NOTE that this is merely a statement of "how it was done", NOT a recommendation for doing it that way, nor is it suggested that the method should be used instead of leaving one chamber empty.

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Old August 28, 2010, 09:14 PM   #10
Jimmy10mm
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No question that the transfer bar system is safer but there is nothing like the sound of the old single action being brought through to fully cocked. I just love that sound.
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Old August 28, 2010, 10:21 PM   #11
Lashlarue
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FWIW thw second click allowsthe cylinder to rotate and is the loading position. The third click could also be considered a safety as it semi locks the cylinder, but disconnects the trigger. you can pull the trigger till the cows come home and nothing will happen. The 4th click is fully cocked,cylinder is locked in place and it's ready to fire.
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Old August 28, 2010, 10:48 PM   #12
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Mine doesn't rotate

No, my SA does not rotate in the first click. It only rotates at the half cock.
(lash, I misread your post. I see that you meant the half cock-second position)

First position, hammer is off and cylinder is locked.

Second is half cock with the loading and ejection: cylinder rotates freely.

Third click is hammer back, but not locked. It only clicks here and the hammer goes forward. What is that? The hammer goes back to the second loading position again, but now the cylinder is locked in place

Is it true that you should always bring the hammer back to full cock from the half cock positions to lower the hammer, instead of lowering from the half cock positions. I have heard this and assumed it might have something to do with protecting the hammer sear???

Forth click is the hammer locking back.

This is not a Colt, but a 1960's Hawes Western Marshall, but has pretty similar action to the original Colt, from what I understand. The four clicks?
It has no transfer bar, but has an inertial firing pin.
Weird, the firing pin is lower than the hammer tip, which comes to rest against the frame, and the inertia firing pin is hit by the hammer about 1/4 way down.

I've shot tons of .38 and .357 through this, and never noticed any of this!
I guess I was having too much fun playing cowboy!
The finish is all worn off the grey.
Is this safe for loading six?
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Last edited by HighValleyRanch; August 28, 2010 at 10:57 PM.
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:25 AM   #13
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The first notch is there in case you slip the hammer when pulling it back to half cock. Or so some say. Many years ago, Colt used to call it the safety notch, and recommend carrying the gun that way, but they stopped doing that about a century ago. They stopped after experience proved that a sharp blow would fire the gun. Carrying the Colt SA with the hammer down between cases is also not fully safe. The firing pin can ride up over the case rim and wind up over the primer.

Ruger designed the new model lockwork as part of a lawsuit settlement, which also included the conversion of all the old models returned to the factory.
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Old August 29, 2010, 02:15 PM   #14
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Uberti still calls it a hammer safety block for the first click in their printed instructions and even after a call to them they brought one out, tested it while I was on the phone and confirmed it was the way to carry with 6 in my Uberti Schofield.

I made a short video about it also.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLE7ZWUhZSk

The way you see how I do it in the video is the way its printed in the instructions AND the way I was told by Stoeger (Uberti importer) themselves.
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Old August 29, 2010, 03:47 PM   #15
Jim Watson
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Uberti has added a hammer block akin to a double action S&W to their Schofield repro. It does not mean you can safely quarter cock a Colt or close copy of same.

Uberti has built some SAAs with a little pushrod in the quarter cock notch tripping a block out in the breast of the hammer itself, but the new Cimarron I looked at on Thursday did not have that part.
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Old August 29, 2010, 04:20 PM   #16
Edward429451
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So is a Ruger that is in original configuration (no conversion to transfer bar) more valuable or collectable than the newer cheese proof models?
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Old August 29, 2010, 04:25 PM   #17
Jim Watson
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Generally, yes.
At one time, Ruger would return your standard parts when they converted an Old Model to transfer bar but I don't know if they still do that. Too many people were putting the old works back in to get back their old crisp trigger pull.
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Old August 29, 2010, 04:47 PM   #18
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I have an old model Super Bearcat and went as far as call for my box but then did not go through with it sending it in. It does have a nice trigger.

So what are we talking about? It adds 100 bucks to the value? I give it a 75-80% condition, steel frame, brass triggerguard.
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