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Old July 20, 2012, 01:31 PM   #1
Venom1956
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Good smith to 'maintain' Colt revolvers?

Hey all,

I have two Colt DA revolvers that Colt no longer works on. A Officers Model Match .22 and a Police Positive in .38 S&W Where is a good place to send them to get work done on them? I've just noticed on full lock up they have some slight play on my last range trip so I stopped shooting them.

I really enjoy them and want to keep on shooting them, but I can't until I find somewhere to do the repairs...
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Old July 20, 2012, 01:41 PM   #2
Bob Wright
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That frequently happens with many Colt DA revovlers. It often results when the tip of the trigger, the sear, is worn down and does not allow the hammer to go back fully.

Try this, make sure the gun is empty, then cock the hammer and note if the cylinder locks up all the way. If it doesn't, hold the hammer cocked, press the trigger fully back as far as it will go. If this causes the cylinder to rotate and lock, the trigger sear is worn.

Replacing the trigger is fairly simple in a Colt, and I'd suggest you look for one from Numrich (Gun Parts Corp.) for your guns.

If you've got some good screwdrivers for use on guns, the replacement is fairly simple, and you'd save yourself some money.

Bob Wright
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Old July 20, 2012, 08:43 PM   #3
Dfariswheel
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Sorry, but that's completely wrong.
The reason the cylinder in the older Colt action fails to lock up tight is the hand that rotates the cylinder and forces it into lock up is worn, not the trigger.
Unless the hand is too worn or it's been repaired once before, the correct repair is to stretch the hand.

The hand is a "normal service" item in the Colt when the action wears.
To read HOW to correctly stretch the hand and all other Colt repairs, buy a copy of the Jerry Kuhnhausen shop manual. It was written as a training aid for new gunsmiths and covers all Colt repairs the factory way.

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=2...-A-SHOP-MANUAL

As far as I know, Colt will still work on the Officer's Model Match, since they still work on most revolvers made since the mid-1950's.
I'd recommend calling them and talking to them about it. If you've already called, note that some of the phone people have wrong info.

Finding a good Colt mechanic is getting harder. As far as I know Cylinder & Slide Shop still offer factory level repairs, and I think so does Jack First Gun Parts.

If you can wait until he opens his waiting list ever year or so, Grant Cunningham is well worth waiting for.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:00 PM   #4
Bob Wright
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Call it all wrong if you wish, but I've repaired three New Service revolvers and one Python in this way. True, one New Service required a new hand.

As I said, if additional pressure on the trigger finishes rotating the cylinder into battery, its the trigger sear.

If the hand is too short, the cylinder will rotate no further.

Bob Wright
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:12 PM   #5
Bob Wright
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Incidentally the sear area is where many shade tree gunsmiths polish trying to smooth up the action and over-shorten the sear. This does not show up when shooting double action or rapidly cocking the hammer in single action, as the momentum of the spinning cylinder will carry it around to lock-up.

Again, slowly cock the hammer (being sure the gun is not loaded.) until it is at full cocked position, then press the trigger while holding the hammer back. If the cylinder rotates into position, its the sear.

If the hand is too short, it won't rotate.

I had one New Service where both sear and hand needed replacing. When firing, I had to finish rotating the cylinder by hand, otherwise I had some little lead "half-moons" fall into my hand when I opened the cylinder.

Bob Wright
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:38 PM   #6
James K
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IIRC, the hand is attached to the trigger, so if the hammer doesn't drag the trigger back far enough....

Jim
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Old July 21, 2012, 12:07 AM   #7
4V50 Gary
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As suggested by Dfariswheel (who is a retired gunsmith), Lengthening the hand by peening was the method to refurbish a worn hand.

If Colt won't work on it (so call thrm first), Try finding Bob Dunlap. He is still around and used to teach how to service Colts when he was the chief instructor at Lassen College school of gunsmithing.

Bob Wright mentioned the sear. One reason why the older Colts had a smooth trigger is because of its sear. A long sear meant longer contact time with the trigger's tail and thus a longer period for the (or more gradual as opposed to abrupt) compression of the V spring.
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Old July 21, 2012, 06:25 PM   #8
Dfariswheel
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Call it all wrong if you wish

Well, I guess Colt Firearms is wrong, and has been for over 100 years.
Master gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen, who wrote the Shop Manual on the Colt DA revolvers was wrong.
Roy Dunlap and all the old, great Colt pistolsmiths were wrong all those years.
I did it wrong for 30 years and on some thousands of Colts as a Colt DA revolver specialist.

Strange how all of us totally misunderstood the design for all those years.
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Old July 21, 2012, 06:33 PM   #9
Bob Wright
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I'm sorry if I offended anyone. But the fact remains this is exactly what I observed when I removed the sideplate:

IIRC, the hand is attached to the trigger, so if the hammer doesn't drag the trigger back far enough....

Jim
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The hammer was cocked before the hand had traveled enough to completely rotate the cylinder. I replaced the trigger, and in one case, the hand also, and that solved the problem. With the new triggers in place, the hand was long enough.


Call me liar if you wish, it worked very well for me.


Please understand, I'm not saying what you say is wrong, but neither is what I'm saying "so wrong."
It worked for me, not once, but several times. The old triggers I removed were considerably shorter in the sear area than the new ones I bought.

Bob Wright

Last edited by Bob Wright; July 21, 2012 at 08:02 PM.
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Old July 22, 2012, 04:34 AM   #10
ClydeFrog
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American Pistolsmiths Guid...

I'd check the main website for the American Pistolsmiths Guild.
www.Americanpistol.com

ClydeFrog
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Old July 22, 2012, 06:00 AM   #11
4V50 Gary
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Replacing the trigger may have worked, but I'd rather peen the hand to stretch it. That is one of the advantages of older Colts and their steel. You worked on the part rather than buy a new one.

I admit to replacing the hammer on a Python once. I bought it used and the previous owner had bobbed the hammer.
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Old July 22, 2012, 01:51 PM   #12
Bob Wright
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The fact you all seem to be missing is that when the trigger was the correct length,the hand did not need to be stretched. It was of correct length to begin with.

It was the trigger, not the hand that was at fault.

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Old July 22, 2012, 06:39 PM   #13
Dfariswheel
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I gave this situation some more thought and realized I had partially mis-read the post.
My apologies for failing to read more carefully.

You can have a situation where the trigger is at fault, but it's invariably in a gun in which someone tampered with the trigger, usually thinking that was how to do a "trigger job".

If the trigger has been ruined by stoning you can have a situation where a slowly cocked action can fail to fully lock the cylinder.
However, this is a case of a defective trigger. In a gun with a normal, unaltered trigger, failing to advance the cylinder to lock is almost always a worn hand.

However, in a used Colt revolver, especially an older gun like the New Service, any given problem could be just about anything, so you suspect EVERYTHING and trust NOTHING.
You always have to be alert for signs that Billy Bob has worked his magic.
As always with any Colt or S&W revolver, any signs at all that the hammer or trigger interfaces have been altered is cause for automatic replacement of the parts.
One sign would be a trigger with a short sear shelf. ( Try saying that one three times fast).
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Old July 22, 2012, 07:08 PM   #14
Winchester_73
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guys guys guys

The simple solution here is for Venom1956 to sell me both revolvers. Of course, their prices are negatively effected by these problems.

How much $$$ do you need venom?
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Last edited by Winchester_73; July 24, 2012 at 07:01 AM.
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Old July 22, 2012, 08:46 PM   #15
Bob Wright
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Dfariswheel,

Thank you for understanding my point. As to my guns, there were two Colt M1917s and one New Service, the New Service an ex-Canadian Mounted Police revolver. All were obviously very old by the time they came into my hands, so have no idea of the use/abuse they may have encountered. The third was a Colt Python I bought new and had some action work done on it but a gunsmith in Ohio.

I appreciate your comments.


Bob Wright
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:34 PM   #16
Jerry11826
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I think you have a problem!

Hi Venum1965,

I think you have a problem. I also think your post was stolen by some of our senior members. I hope you find this post helpful!

It can be difficult and expensive to get "old action" Colt DA revolvers repaired. I own three "old action" Colt Officers model DA revolvers. A 22, a 38 Spec. and a 32 S&W long. The 22 & 38 were made in the 1930's and the 32 in the early 1950's. They are very nice revolvers. Maybe 95% + on the NRA scale.

In January, 2009 I was shooting a DA string in my club's monthly PPC match. I was shooting the 32. The hammer held to the rear with the trigger fully depressed.

A few days later I called three gunsmiths in the Tampa, Florida area. Two told me they didn't work on "old action" Colt revolvers. The third asked me to bring him the revolver for examination, which I did. To his credit, he must have spent 5 - 10 minutes evaluating the revolver. He told me, “I think the problem is the hand”. “I don’t know where I would get a new hand and I don’t want to work on your revolver.” “You should contact Colt and see if they will repair the revolver, if not, you might try Cylinder and Slide in Nebraska and see if they will work on your revolver”.

I called Colt and was informed they did not work on Officers Model revolvers. I sent the revolver to Cylinder & Slide for repair.

The following is from the C&S invoice #592-29382.

Date 1/23/2009.

Colt Officers
Caliber 32
Type revolver
Serial number 642908

Remove Cylinder end shake $80.25

"Slow time, weld hand & recut primary & secondary lift, reset bolt timing" $262.50

Materials $10.00
Test fire $38.00
Shipping $62.87

Total $443.62

Now add in the approximately $75.00 it cost me for Fedex to over night the package to Fremont, Nebraska. The repair cost me $518.62.

I received the repaired revolver on approximately 02/15/2010. More than a year later.

Now in fairness to C&S they did call me in 12/09 and reported, “the revolver has been repaired, but they had noticed a slight amount of end shake, did I want the end shake to be repaired?” “ It would cost about $80.00". I told them “to go ahead”. I had so much money in the repair, what was an additional $80.00.

Since the revolver was returned, I have fired it about 50 times. It worked perfectly. I think the repair was properly made, but I am afraid something else will break. Squirted a little oil in to lock work, carefully coated the outside with “RIG” and put in safe. Will never shoot it or any of the old Colt’s again.

The good news is, while the Colt was being repaired, I started shooting my GP100 in the PPC match. My scores were better with the GP100.

Knowing what I know now, I am uncertain if I would have had the revolver repaird.

I hope you find this post informative.

I also hope Dfariswheel, Bob Wright or 4V50 Gary will explain to me what it means to “weld hand, recut primary and secondary lift and reset bolt timing".

Jerry

Last edited by Jerry11826; July 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM.
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Old July 26, 2012, 04:21 PM   #17
Bob Wright
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I want you to understand I'm not a gunsmith by any stretch of the imagination. I will fix my guns when they break down.

As to the work on the hand, others can explain that better than I. But the Colt hand begins to rotate the cylinder with the top part of the hand, then slips back and a "step" on the hand completes rotation. Apparently they built up the hand with weld metal then dressed it back down to conform with specifications.

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Old July 27, 2012, 11:20 AM   #18
Jerry11826
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Thanks Bob,

Jerry
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Old July 30, 2012, 04:17 PM   #19
Venom1956
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Looks like I'm going to need to contact cylinder and slide. I might also try colt again perhaps another rep will be more helpful?

No worries I enjoy our senior members ramblings... Win73 u can't have my stuff!
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Old July 30, 2012, 06:50 PM   #20
Dfariswheel
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I might also try colt again perhaps another rep will be more helpful?

To get the absolute last word, sign up on the Colt forum and IM or email member Bjt72.
Brent is the Colt Custom Shop manager and handles the repair shop too.
He's very good about helping resolve repair issues.
He can tell you definitively whether they will work on your Colt.

http://www.coltforum.com/forums/members/7114.html
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