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Old October 14, 2012, 10:28 PM   #1
Rigmarol
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Timing Dragoon Conversion

I posted this over in "The Smithy" section but got no help. I am posting it here in hope I can get some help.


Colt's Dragoon and Kirst Konverter
I have a brace of Colt Signiture Dragoons that I recently bought Kirst Konverters for and am having some difficulty getting them to work.

I'm converting to black powder cartridges because I'm shooting cowboy action and with six to eight stages that's a lot of reloading and less time to be social with the other shooters and I don't like talking and pouring powder at the same time.

My trouble is one of the guns will not cock and is locked up completely. The other is a little better, it will cock but only if I point the barrel down. It will not cock if I point the barrel up.

Kirst's site says some fitting may be required so I went in with eyes open and was expecting to do some work.

I've talked with the Smith they use a very helpful guy gave me some good advice and some things to try, but they are east coast, and I am west coast and Im one of the lucky few that still has a job. So it's tough calling them with more questions.

I'm hoping someone here might give me a hand.

I think the problem is that the Hand may be too long.

I took out the bolt and tried to cock the hammer and rotate the cylinder but it was still locked. So it can't be the bolt causing the problem right?

If I move the cylinder forward just a hair, the hammer cocks and the cylinder rotates fine.

Since I have two identical guns, I have moved parts from one to the other and the problem seems to be worse with the same hand in either gun.

By the way, the guns work perfectly with the original BP cylinders.

Any suggestions on how to get the conversions to work?
Thanks.
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Old October 15, 2012, 07:40 AM   #2
Willie Sutton
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I hate to say it, but...

UPS might be your best investment. Send them out, get them back in 3 weeks, and enjoy. That's what I would do myself.

I'm surprised that Kirst supports use in Signature Series Colts, I had thought that they only supported Uberti and Pietta? Is yours a pair of Uberti kits? Might explain the fit-difference.

Dragoons for CAS? I like your style!


Willie


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Old October 15, 2012, 04:03 PM   #3
Rigmarol
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I'd really like to work on these myself. I'm no stranger to learning new skills. I have a couple of good smiths here local to me that I've had work on other guns but this is a project I'm all excited about trying myself.

I absolutely love these guns and the more I can work on them myself the better.

I'm very close to getting them to work, I just need some basic advice on what to do to the hand or bolt the get the gun the do something specific. Like Ive read that you need to take material off the leg of the bolt were it meets the trigger cam but where in the leg (as an example).

I'm thinking my problem is with hand but I haven't found any info on it as to how best to remove material or if it needs an angle or what.

A nice reference to an article on how to adjust these would be wonderful.

I have found a few videos on you tube but none so fare specifically on how to adjust the hand and the bolt.

If I take it to the Smith I'll be asking questions on how to do it but then I'd feel obliged to pay the man for his time... But I prefere to take it to him after I give up rather than at the beginning of the project! LOL

As to Dragoons for CAS, I am truely excited about belching out some serious BP smoke!
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Old October 15, 2012, 06:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
I'm surprised that Kirst supports use in Signature Series Colts, I had thought that they only supported Uberti and Pietta? Is yours a pair of Uberti kits? Might explain the fit-difference.
2nd and 3rd gen Colt's basically are Uberti's.
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Old October 15, 2012, 06:31 PM   #5
Rigmarol
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That's what I've heard as well.

I've talked briefly with smith shop Kirst uses and a very nice informative fellow got me a good piece down the road with some things to look for. We were able to eliminate a few things. Problem is he is on the east coast and I'm on the west and Im one those few lucky stiffs who still has a full time job. And they don't work weekends... So I either call in sick to finish this project or find help elsewhere. I'm hopeful I can get some help here.

I'm also thinking hard about buying new oversized parts and seeing if I get close on my own, at least that way I don't screw up what works well with the original cylinders.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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It would appear from the fit problems you're having that perhaps the Sig series isn't as much Uberti as some believe.
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Old October 16, 2012, 10:39 AM   #7
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If you find that you truly need professional help then this Kirst associated gunsmith in Texas named "Hoof Hearted" would be able to help you to fit those conversions for a reasonable price. He's an FFL licensed Kirst conversion specialist who works out of his home, loves guns and helping folks out.

http://www.cartridgeconversion.com/

Quote:
Take a load off and peruse the site here. If you have questions send me an email buckoff@windstream.net or give me a call, 9 AM to 9 PM Central (TEXAS) Standard Time, (817) 219-2966

Thanks!
Gary

Last edited by arcticap; October 16, 2012 at 10:50 AM.
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:09 AM   #8
Rigmarol
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Here's both cylinders side by side, orig on the left the Kirst on the right.


Quote:
If you find that you truly need professional help then this Kirst associated gunsmith in Texas named "Hoof Hearted" would be able to help you to fit those conversions for a reasonable price. He's an FFL licensed Kirst conversion specialist who works out of his home, loves guns and helping folks out.

http://www.cartridgeconversion.com/

Quote:
Take a load off and peruse the site here. If you have questions send me an email buckoff@windstream.net or give me a call, 9 AM to 9 PM Central (TEXAS) Standard Time, (817) 219-2966

Thanks!
Gary
Thanks Gary! I'll keep the info handy.
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:24 AM   #9
Rigmarol
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Here's a video I made that clearly shows what I'm dealing with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27_zy...e_gdata_player
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Old October 17, 2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
I posted this over in "The Smithy" section but got no help.
Not true, I told you exactly what your problem is. Your revolver is snubbing in transition. If this does not mean anything to you, I apologize. I also told you to get a hand to fit for each cylinder, or if you did not know how, to take it to a smith. You said you wanted to do it yourself. There are books that discuss how to fit a hand in a Colt revolver/clone.
Quote:
I'm in no way a smith by any stretch of the imagination,
Yep.
Quote:
just easing the sharp edges of each tooth may solve the problem. Otherwise, stoning the teeth to match the stock cylinder's length should be the fix.
This is absolutely wrong, you fit the hand to the cylinder, not the cylinder to the hand.
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Old October 17, 2012, 03:05 PM   #11
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Scorch, thank you, your reply was so brief I took it as meaning if I did not understand what snubbing meant that I should just move on. And when no other help showed up I figure I was asking in the wrong area.

Please tell me what you mean by snubbing and we can move forward.

I did measure the two cylinders from face to the top of the ratchet teeth and they are almost exactly the same.

I did try installing the new cyl without the ring and the hand cannot be seen working with the ratchet. The smith I spoke with before (east coast) had me try cocking without the ring because he said the usual problem was fitting the ring to the frame but it did the same thing with and without the ring.

I'm still thinking its about fitting the hand but I'm just not sure what the correct way to take off material is. Is ther an angle I need to maintain, or just stoning it flat or what.

Quote:
There are books that discuss how to fit a hand in a Colt revolver/clone
I'm sure there are, do you have any suggested titles that you know of that are good?

Thanks.
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Old October 17, 2012, 08:59 PM   #12
Willie Sutton
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Hey Scorch,

I dunno how the rest of the firing line forums run, but the Black Powder and CAS forum here is generally a pretty friendly place where a few guys who know each other by correspondance (and often face to face socializing) hang out and generally help each other.

Your abbreviated replies might show how expert you are, but are not really very helpful and are condescending.

Why not *actually* help the guy out?


Willie

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Old October 18, 2012, 05:14 AM   #13
Scorch
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Sorry I was not clear about what snubbing in transition means. The way a Colt single action works is as you cock the hammer, the bolt is withdrawn from the cylinder, the top part of the hand starts pushing the cylinder around, then the second shelf picks up the tooth on the ratchet (transition) and carries it to where the cylinder bolt locks the cylinder. If the second shelf on the hand is too high, it runs into the ratchet (snubbing) and gets jammed inside the frame. Fitting the hand will eliminate this problem. It is usually enough to lower the second shelf on the hand, but occasionally you need to do more, which is why I mentioned looking at a book that has the information. A good shop manual will clearly illustrate how to properly fit the hand in a Colt single action. I learned how to fit pawls/hands as a shop hand in a gunsmithing shop, so I cannot guide you to a good shop manual, but I am sure there are others on this forum that can, or you could go to Brownells or Midway and look for one.

Without having the revolver in my hands I cannot tell you if the hand needs to be reshaped. Fitting a hand is not hard once you know how, but learning by doing is not always easy without a guide.

And whatever you do, stone or file the hand and not the ratchet. You can get another hand if you mess up, you cannot buy another ratchet (it is part of the cylinder).
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Old October 18, 2012, 07:05 AM   #14
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Well done.

I use The Colt Single Action Revolvers - A Shop Manual Vol 1 & 2 by Jerry Kuhnhausen.

Kind of hard to find these days. It was published in 2001. I think amazon.com has it.

Last edited by mykeal; October 18, 2012 at 07:13 AM.
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Old October 18, 2012, 09:26 AM   #15
Willie Sutton
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Scorch,

Excellent reply, and appreciated. We've all learned something and appreciate the effort. Well done.


Willie

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Old October 18, 2012, 12:56 PM   #16
Rigmarol
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Great info! I enjoy learning something new!

The rachet is a bit different on the two cylinders, one has a sharp "ramp" up to the tooth of the ratchet and the original has a longer more gentle slope. I was focuses on the tooth and how it engaged with the hand it never occurred to me to look there.

I'll take another goo look and see what I come up with.

I am in agreement that material shouldn't be taken off the ratchet.

I ordered two more hands from TOW last night so if I mess something up I have spares!

Thanks again Scorch very clear and appreciated sir.
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Old October 18, 2012, 01:01 PM   #17
Rigmarol
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Here's a pic of the difference in the ratchets on the original and the new conversion cylinders:

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Old October 18, 2012, 01:14 PM   #18
Rigmarol
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Mykeal,

Quote:
Well done.

I use The Colt Single Action Revolvers - A Shop Manual Vol 1 & 2 by Jerry Kuhnhausen.

Kind of hard to find these days. It was published in 2001. I think amazon.com has it.
I found it at Midway. I'm assuming the info covered will also apply to my open top Dragoon. I will order it right away.

Vol 1 and Vol 2 for only $34.95 + shipping.

Thanks.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:07 PM   #19
Bill Carson
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rigmarol, I've had this same problem on some of the conversions I've done. I've had to file the outside edge of each tooth to a slight bevel. also the top edge of the tooth where it abruptly drops off to the next ramp. I've also smoothed out the incline of the ramps. on some it was nessary to file this top edge to a slight curve. Then file the tops of the teeth. I'm doing this file work consistantly on each ramp and tooth ever so slighty, then re-assembling to test for funtion. it takes several repeats but I've always got them to work. once working I dress all the surfaces of the ratchet mechanism with 600 grit till it has a good polish. then re-assemble to check function again. some work on the hand was necessary. I put a slight bevel on its upper leading edge where it engages the teeth of the ratchet. each pistol is different and requires various degress of this type of work. There is no one size fits all to adjusting these. Continue retesting and fitting will leave shiny wear marks. look for the wear marks. they will tell you where its hanging up. and alow you to fine tune the work.
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:58 PM   #20
Rigmarol
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Bill Carson, thanks for the post.
I'm a little leery about taking any material off of the expensive cylinder. I was hoping to make the adjustment on the far cheaper parts like the Hand/Spring assembly or the Bolt.

What sticks in my mind in favor of your technique is that during the one conversation I had with a Kirst approved gunsmith, he stated that when the gun is properly tuned to the Kirst Cylinder, it will also work with the original. So what you are saying lends some measure of merit to his remark. OR if I were to get a new part, such as the hand/spring assembly, then THAT part would work with both... or not.

I've ordered a new hand/spring assembly and will probably go that route at first. That's only a $15 part if I mess it up.

But, I will keep your suggestion near the top of my notes and thanks again.

(edited to fix spelling)

Last edited by Rigmarol; October 19, 2012 at 03:37 PM.
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Old October 21, 2012, 11:07 PM   #21
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Howdy!

Well let's see if I can clear up a few things...........

Scorch (in post #14) did a real good job of how a cartridge Colts revolver works (2 stage hand), the Cap and Ball versions all utilize a single stage hand.

This is not all in vain........because if you take that part of his explanation away the rest of his "snubbing" story is basically your problem!

First, make sure the length of the hand is correct. It should not over rotate the cylinder with the bolt and trigger out of the firearm. Just hold some tension on the cylinder and cock the hammer (with the grip frame, hammer and mainspring attached). Once this is done, measure the width of the bolt and the bolt notches in the cylinder. The bolt much fit in the notch. If necessary file/stone the side (not the leading side).

The main culprit in your saga is that the ramp leading UP to the tooth of the ratchet is cut perpendicular to the face of the Kirst cylinder. This causes the hand to "stack" as it tries to push the cylinder forward as it turns the cylinder (has to do with the curved slot in the frame). Walt Kirst was over here a time or two ago and I pointed this out to him and he agrees that it needs to be addressed in future manufacture. I ALWAYS round this ramp with a dremel to ensure smooth cocking all the way through the hammer stoke and I assure you that I have not done a single conversion on a Walker or Dragoon that didn't need this.

The amount of free play, fore and aft, of your cylinder also affects this "stacking" I am referring to. This is noticeable if you pound the wedge in too far, the cylinder will rub the breech end of the barrel and the cocking will become much harder.........

Getting a real good action in a Walker or Dragoon is not quick or easy with a Kirst cylinder but it can be done! The 1849 Colts is even harder........

By the way, I am not asociated with Kirst in any way other than selling their product and my FRIENDSHIP with Walt. I still do a LOT of Trial and Development for Walt and I support their products wholeheartedly.
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Old October 22, 2012, 08:23 PM   #22
Rigmarol
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Hoof,
Thank you very much for the reply.
Now I can stop scratching my head trying to see what Scorch was refering to on the hand. No slam on him, all useful info for the most part.

I will take your info into the shop and see what I can do with it.

Thank you very much.
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Old October 24, 2012, 10:37 PM   #23
Rigmarol
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The shop manual reference earlier and two new oversized hand/spring assemblies arrived today, will be doing some reading and see what happens.
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Old October 28, 2012, 02:33 PM   #24
Rigmarol
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Been down due to a back injury, haven't gotten to the shop yet.

Will report on progress soon.

The shop manual is a very interesting read. Not much on what I'm looking for specifically but enough to make the book a great buy. Thanks for the referral.
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Old November 6, 2012, 10:53 PM   #25
Rigmarol
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Spent a little time in the shop and tried the gun with the bolt removed as suggested.

There was no difference at all. It looks very much like the hand is jamming up against part of the ratchet.

I tried it with original BP cylinder and it rotated and cocked fine. So it is somehow related to how the hand is interacting with the new cylinder ratchet.

I also tried it with and without the loading ring in place with no difference.

I have slowly worked the hammer pin on a new hand/spring so it fits the hammer, I now need to begin honing down the new hand where it engages the ratchet. Not sure how to begin other than make it close to the original and go from there.
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