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Old August 24, 2011, 06:35 AM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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it blows me away... how did they do it ???

the cartridge conversion thread got me thinking about this...

I collect black powder cartridge revolvers, & it's amaizing the diversity of the guns made in that era... & the inovation ( for example the Iver Johnson double actions with a Glock like trigger safety )

One thing that I always found odd, was how did they get cylinders to align properly... guns of 5, 6, & 7 shots were quite common... 5 shot cylinders have the chambers 72* apart, 6 shot cylinders have chambers 60* apart... the 7 shot cylinder is what really blows me away ( & there were many many 22 revolvers made in 7 shot configuration ) 7 shot cylinders have chambers 51.42857142... * apart... how did they ever get these right back then ????
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Old August 24, 2011, 06:45 AM   #2
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In place of machines and critical tolerances, we had true craftsmen and artisans. These weren't so much words back then, as they were a way you'd live your life and a dedication to your craft.

They also weren't churning out 500 weapons an hour off a single assembly line.

That being said, a few thousand slaves cobbled together massive geometric buildings from thousands of blocks of stone the size of a hummer... 3000 years ago. I'm never surprised at how surprised I am when learning of mankind's enginuity.

But it's hard to fit a bit of Giza into a holster and wear it on your belt. There's something to be said for carrying a "world wonder" in the palm of your hand. I truly understand your awe.

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Old August 24, 2011, 07:06 AM   #3
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I don't see why you couldn't mark off 51.42857142 deg as easily as 72.00000000 with the same degree of accuracy with the same equipment.
Now 60.00000000 deg is a special case since you can geometrically construct a 30-60-90 triangle with any desired degree of accuracy by just making it big enough.
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Old August 24, 2011, 07:17 AM   #4
Magnum Wheel Man
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So... I'm asking physically how would they have accurately made a 7 shot cylinder in the black powder cartridge era...

but also the question was a bit bigger... in that "age" some of the greatest mechanical advancements were made, while there was still much skill involved, ( for example again ) fitting & installing & getting the timing correct on a 7 shot double action revolver with no side plates ( all parts inserted through necessary openings like trigger hammer openings etc.) these 22's were common & cheap, yet required alot of both engineering & skills to assemble

& this was an age that few went to college & yet there are humanly thought out mechanical advancements that "the computer age" either blatently copies, or barely improves on, & in which the designs "improvements" ( often driven solely around greater profitability rather than actual quality or ingenuity )
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Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; August 24, 2011 at 07:24 AM.
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Old August 24, 2011, 07:28 AM   #5
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Believe it or not they did have lathe's back then. Not the modern cnc equipment of today, but manual operated lathes that could hold tolerances to .001 or better, depending on the operator. The lathe dates back to about 1300bc.
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Old August 24, 2011, 07:35 AM   #6
Magnum Wheel Man
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CRATE... have you run a lathe before??? ( I'm assuming you have ??? )

anyway... my buddy runs a welding shop & has several lathes, as well as a digital mill ( not CNC )...

we've made several wheel spacers & adaptors for our ATV's & such, over the years, & getting 5 holes evenly spaced in a circle to the .001" is even challenging with a digital mill... doing the same with smaller holes, in a much smaller ( 22 caliber cylinder size radius ) would be much tougher without the use of the digital mill...
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Old August 24, 2011, 08:17 AM   #7
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Personally, I think that at some point, everyone probably just brought their cylinders to the back closet of some general store where there was an old guy with huge thick glasses, one ball peen hammer, and a set of punches who was just "really good at eyeballing it".

~LT
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Old August 24, 2011, 08:59 AM   #8
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I can think of a pretty easy way to locate any arbitrary number of equidistant points on the end of a cylinder.

Draw a circle of a given circumference, then divide that circumference by the number of points. That gives you the distance along the arc between each point. Plot the points and draw a line from each point to the center of the circle. Now all you have to do is pick points on those radius lines and you'll have perfectly spaced chambers.

So, for a seven chamber cylinder, I'd pick, say, 7 inch circle. Then every inch along the circle, mark a point. Locating the center of a circle with a compass and a straight edge is trivial, so having done that, draw the radius lines. Then locate the chambers along each of those lines.

I'll bet that they didn't really care about the angles. Just the radius and spacing. There are a gazillion practical tricks like that to get the job done.
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Old August 24, 2011, 11:27 AM   #9
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What about those 30 shot monsters? I bet they were a handful to machine.
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Old August 24, 2011, 12:20 PM   #10
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Best guess....think smaller, 1st thing I'd do is get the ratchet that engages the hand perfect and then build on that with dies and jig's. Being a blacksmith makes me think in terms of "bridge building", as in starting with a correct foundation. Anything made from the smallest piece will either be correct or the imperfections will get larger as the item does.
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Old August 24, 2011, 03:10 PM   #11
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I wonder if any of the smaller shops were either line-boring or at least line-marking?

Figuring out where to put the bolt stop notches is at least solvable. So then you put the blank cylinder in the gun (or just the frame?) with the bolt notches and ratchet cut, and you mark where the cylinder bore holes need to be by coming in from the front with a punch that is run either in through the barrel (open tops?) or through the hole in the frame where the barrel will go later (closed tops).

This gives you a really nice matchup between your gun's particular frame and the cylinder. Freedom Arms does it this way...they actually do the initial cylinder drilling in from the front through the frame.
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Old August 24, 2011, 06:12 PM   #12
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Ahhhh . . . Magnum . . . what's a "Glock"?
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Old August 24, 2011, 06:17 PM   #13
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that's a company that copied a 100 year old idea & called it their own

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Old August 24, 2011, 06:34 PM   #14
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Fun thread, for sure.
Not only is it amazing that they were making 1851 Colts in...well 1851, but making lots of them along with many other things.
Craftsmen for sure.

I know this is a gun place, but also consider the amazing works or art, amazing sculptures and music long centuries ago that probably couldn't be duplicated today. Just the music of Mozart is enough to make you go..hmm.
It's hard to think of these people as being inferior to this modern breed of man. If you think that modern "art" doesn't look like a monkey with a paintbrush, you haven't looked at it, man. What a joke.

I personally think that "artisen" genius minds of today are doing research in medical or computer labs instead of painting, sculpturing, or writing music. Just the way things are.

End of rant.
OJW
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Old August 24, 2011, 06:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
That being said, a few thousand slaves cobbled together massive geometric buildings from thousands of blocks of stone the size of a hummer... 3000 years ago.
There is now thinking that they weren't slaves, other than some short-term draftees who came and went.
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Old August 25, 2011, 04:19 PM   #16
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Hello, Magnum Wheel Man. If they could machine 3, 6, 7 , 8..or any other number of rifling grooves equally spaced in a firearms bore..spacing any number of cyl. chambers wouldn't be any differen't..They used a machine-tool that had been in use since the middle-ages for making clock gears...The dividing head.
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Old September 3, 2011, 08:39 PM   #17
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Gunsmiths were plenty in that era!
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Old September 4, 2011, 05:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
So... I'm asking physically how would they have accurately made a 7 shot cylinder in the black powder cartridge era...
Mostly because they didn't know it was hard. They just did whatever it took to get what they wanted done. It was an age where being clever and starting pretty much from scratch was the norm. Did you know that Sam Colt based his revolver on the devise used to hold a ship's wheel in place? What kinda idiot would have thought of something like that?
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Old September 4, 2011, 06:39 PM   #19
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practice and error is how they did it.

to much credit is given to modern technology. modern doctors wont perform surgery without an xray to see whats wrong first. Galen about 2000 years ago was performing inter abdominal surgeries , repairing internal organs, and he had no real idea of how things functioned, just a basic idea of how everything should look when intact.
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Old September 4, 2011, 07:24 PM   #20
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The 1800s were not the dark ages.

You wanna have some fun? Go look up when the fax machine was invented.

How did they do it, SCIENCE!
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Old September 4, 2011, 09:19 PM   #21
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Well, technology is the result of intelligence given some time.
Technology doesn't make you smarter it's just a tool to be used by those who have intelligence.
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