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Old May 3, 2013, 12:13 PM   #1
Hardcase
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Boogered Screw Head

I picked up a well-used Pietta 1860 Army revolver a couple of weeks ago and finally got around to taking it apart to thoroughly clean it this week. But there's a problem.

The screw that attaches the trigger/bolt spring is all boogered up. The slot is completely ruined - there's no edge for my screwdrivers to grip at all; it's like a wide, shallow valley instead of a sharp canyon.

There's not much maneuvering room in there, either. I don't think that I can easily cut a new slot in it. I thought about using an easy-out. I have a drill press with a vise, so I can pretty accurately put a hole in the screw, but I'm not to sure if that will cause more trouble than good. There's no room to get anything in there to grip the edge of the screw, so pliers are out.

I'm open to ideas. The gun definitely needs to come apart - it's very gunked up in there and not cocking properly.
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Old May 3, 2013, 02:17 PM   #2
Smokin'Joe
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Try a hammer and small sharp punch or chisel. Tap screw head counterclockwise.

Last edited by Smokin'Joe; May 3, 2013 at 05:38 PM.
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Old May 3, 2013, 02:20 PM   #3
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If you pad the receiver and put it in a vise, you can use a chisle (sharp and small), to make a new slot 90% off from the old one, then trim a screwdriver to match the slot and take it out. To use the chisle, tap it on an angle from the center out to the side, cutting a line as you go. Do this in small steps to deepen and widen the line and do the same proceedure for the other side. Just to be sure it's not rust or gunk frozen, use a solvent (Kroil etc) on the threads before removing
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Old May 3, 2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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In some revolvers

especially the 1860, you can get a needle nose pliers in between the screw head and the frame.

Another option is to carefully shape the head of the screw so as to get a needle nose to fit. You can do this with a Dremel and a stone bit. You may find that the bit wants to wander off into the frame. This is okay except that you will have to work the frame all the way around the screw so the needle nose has relief to turn. I wouldn't try it with a hand drill since they are too slow and you'll just catch the bit and snap it off or worse.

I would soak it in 50/50 automatic transmission fluid and acetone before I tried either of the methods in the last two posts.

The last thing you want is for the head to snap off. Awful small diameter screw and an awful large head.
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Old May 3, 2013, 04:12 PM   #5
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Hey Doc, I've tried that 50/50 method before....how do you keep it from seperating like oil and vineger?
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Old May 3, 2013, 06:40 PM   #6
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Worst case

Worst case you can drill out the screw with a smaller diameter drill and an EZE out. You can start by ordering a new screw
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Old May 4, 2013, 07:43 AM   #7
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Separating.....

Hmmm. Looks like some research is in order. Lemme get back to you on that.
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Old May 4, 2013, 11:14 AM   #8
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Had to go back and look at mine....

It takes vigorous shaking to get the stuff to go into solution and stay in solution for use.

I kept mine in a Southern Comfort glass bottle so I can see what is going on inside the bottle before I use it.
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Old May 4, 2013, 02:49 PM   #9
4V50 Gary
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Moved to the Smithy for further input.

A relative broke my sectional cleaning rod and part of the threads broke off into one section. I drilled the broken part and epoxied a wire into it. After it set, I was able to twist the wire to remove the threaded part. I then turned down the other part and rethreaded it. Good as new.
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Last edited by 4V50 Gary; May 6, 2013 at 07:22 AM. Reason: Somewhat relevant response
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Old May 4, 2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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You need a screw jack. Even though the slot is wallowed out, a screw jack wont let a bit come up out of the groove as its turned. You can make one using wood, and allthread as a clamp, and a 1/4" bit extension to go between the jack and the screw. Use a 1/4 inch wrench, or ratchet wrench to turn it, and it will come out.
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Old May 4, 2013, 08:27 PM   #11
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If you have access to a drill press, try this:

Pad the receiver and put it upside down in the drill press vise. Insert a short screwdriver blade into the drill press chuck. Bring the blade down onto/into the screw and hold the chuck down with the drill press handle while you turn the chuck by hand. DO NOT TURN ON THE POWER!!!

The drill press will keep the screwdriver blade from climbing out.

The same technique can be used for nipple removal on percussion revolvers by clamping the cylinder in the drill press vise.

(The idea is the same as the "screw jack" mentioned by Dixie Gunsmithing, but I think works better.)

Jim
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Old May 5, 2013, 01:02 AM   #12
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I've used James K's method for years and it works very well, but if the screwdriver bit can't get a good bite, try this set using the same method:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1..._tnt=39869:4:0
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Old May 5, 2013, 04:29 PM   #13
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If you're able to drill a centered hole in the screw, a screw extractor is your friend.



Decent hardware stores have OK ones... a more specialized tool supplier will have better ones, in several sizes. Don't know how anyone survives without them...

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Old May 5, 2013, 08:22 PM   #14
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The only problem with using a conventional screw extractor ("easyout") is that the screw in question is fairly small and drilling it without getting into the frame requires considerable care and probably use of a stiff starter drill.

Jim
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Old May 6, 2013, 09:10 AM   #15
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If all else fails you could drill the head off of the screw with the proper size bit and maybe even an endmill, then if you have to, use the small bit (and be real careful ) to drill out the rest of the screw.
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Old May 6, 2013, 11:50 AM   #16
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Guys, You're overthinking this issue. In most cases a small screw can be removed by tapping the head counterclockwise with a hammer and sharp punch. Pre lube with penetrating oil if you want. The best replacement for this screw is a button head screw available at hardware stores. Select a screw that is longer than needed and cut the length until it is flush with the frame when tightened down. This will give you a couple more threads screwed into the frame.
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Old May 6, 2013, 10:12 PM   #17
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True, Joe, if there is no real resistance and a buggered head is the only thing wrong. But if the screw slot is in bad shape because the screw is rusted in, then just tapping the head with a punch is not going to work.

Replacing the screw is not a problem; those screws are readily available.

Jim
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Old May 7, 2013, 07:26 AM   #18
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James K, The wise man will always try the simplest solution first.
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Old May 7, 2013, 09:08 AM   #19
Hardcase
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The James K/Dixie Gunsmith solution worked out just fine. I put the frame in a vise, chucked up a gunsmithing screwdriver bit and backed the screw out.

The screw was in very, very tight, so it took a fair amount of force - I was worried that I was going to shear off the head, but apparently it's a pretty tough screw. I did use some penetrating oil, which may have helped.

I appreciate all the advice. Thanks, everyone!
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Old May 9, 2013, 06:59 PM   #20
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Gotta remember that one...drill press to keep hard down pressure on the screw head...good idea.
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Old May 10, 2013, 11:50 AM   #21
straightcut
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Who Sells Replacement Screws?

Now that the screw is removed, the OP is in the same place as me. I purchased two used Uberti percussion revolvers with buggered screw heads. Who stocks replacement screws? One is a stainless steel 1858 Remington, the other is a Walker. Each has one or two screws that I would like to replace.
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Old May 10, 2013, 12:17 PM   #22
Smokin'Joe
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The best replacement for the Trigger/Bolt screw is a button head screw available at hardware stores. Select a screw that is longer than needed and cut the length until it is flush with the frame when tightened down. This will give you a couple more threads screwed into the frame.
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Old May 10, 2013, 12:25 PM   #23
4V50 Gary
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Use a thread pitch gauge to determine the twist. It may be metric.
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Old May 10, 2013, 12:30 PM   #24
Dixie Gunsmithing
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For standard screws. like these, you can use your local hardware, or order them. I order a lot from Bolt Depot, as you can buy single quantity, if you want.

http://www.boltdepot.com/
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Old May 10, 2013, 01:01 PM   #25
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Thanks for the abundance of responses. I'm looking for replacement screws so I match the original narrow slot and head as well as just the thread. Will these vendors have the narrow slot screw heads? I don't want this to look like I just screwed in something that "fit".
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