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Old September 11, 2013, 02:05 PM   #1
Doc Hoy
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T.E.Ryan retriever revolver

Guys,

I came up with a project revolver today

It is T.E.Ryan Retriever .38 revolver

As you can see it needs a lot of parts. My goal is to get it functional but do not intend to shoot it.







Any lead on parts would be must appreciated.

I do know that this revolver will likely never be worth much of anything.

Collector value is gone and as it was essentially a Saturday Night Special, it prolly never had much appeal.

I gave 25.00 for it so I don't feel like I lost my shirt.
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Old September 11, 2013, 06:00 PM   #2
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Sounds a lot like going to the trouble and expense of restoring a Yugo.
(For the non-motorheads, that's a Yugoslavian Fiat)
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Old September 11, 2013, 07:26 PM   #3
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These were one of the types of old revolvers termed a "suicide special". Even though Numrich may not show them, they may have the parts, but you would have to give them a call to see.

www.gunpartscorp.com
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Old September 11, 2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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I doubt you will ever find the parts you need for that gun; the production was not high and parts are very scarce. The company was in business only from about 1870 to 1876. One source says the guns were of poor quality, but that statement could be made of most guns of that type, which sold in that era for $2-3 (a Colt Single Action was $16-17 in the same era).

Those guns are often called "suicide specials". There is some doubt as to whether the name came from the quality of the guns being so poor that they were good only for one shot, or from the idea that trying to use one on someone armed with a better gun would be suicide.

As for parts, the only source of parts for such guns is scrap or confiscated guns; if there were not many made, there are few parts available.

IMHO, you have an interesting paperweight, not worth wasting time or money on.

Jim
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Old September 12, 2013, 04:06 AM   #5
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Thanks for the inputs guys

I began working on the revolver last night.

A Yugo it is and one which needs a lot of work.

The first problem was that the cylinder pin was broken off at the frame. The remaining piece was bound up in the cylinder and required WD-40 and a heat gun to get it out.

I'll make a new pin first

The pins that hold the revolver together will all need to be drilled out.

Trigger spring is missing or broken, so that pin will have to come out. The bolt is worn down such that it does not engage the cylinder.

At the very least it needs a hammer and a hand.

Someone tried to remove the barrel with a pliers. That will clean up a little.

Main reason I bought this thing was to learn something.

At least I am having fun.
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Old September 12, 2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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James,

The way I heard it, was the term suicide special came from them being really cheap. They would be the cheapest to buy, so the suicidal would buy it, take it home, and shoot themselves in the head. I guess they figured if they were going to do it, why waste money?
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Old September 12, 2013, 02:24 PM   #7
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Guys....

I can settle this once and for all.

The pistol is called Suicide Special because the more I fiddle with it the more I want to shoot myself.

I got the cylinder pin out yesterday and made a new one this AM.

Here is the pin



Here are a coupla shots with the cylinder and pin in place




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Old September 12, 2013, 10:50 PM   #8
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Progress reports, with pictures, will be submitted not later than the fifteenth of each month. Do not be late!

Jim
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Old September 12, 2013, 11:21 PM   #9
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It doesn't matter if it's cost effective, but if you can afford it and are having fun, then go for it.
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Old September 13, 2013, 02:05 AM   #10
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This is one of those instances...

In which I am learning as I am going.

A gunsmith I am not.

But as you say, I am having fun.

I have not had the opportunity to get on the phone with Numrich or VTI or DGW about parts for this revolver. But I think in the end, I am going to be making most everything.
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Old September 14, 2013, 04:25 PM   #11
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If you can make the parts, great. But if you had to pay yourself a decent hourly rate, I don't think you could afford yourself.

(Also, you have to (re)design the lockwork, since AFAIK there are no schematics or drawings for any of those old guns.)

Jim
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Old September 14, 2013, 07:10 PM   #12
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Id be working for about twenty cents an hour

Which is about all I am worth.

Redesign is about right.

I am looking at photos and trying to imagine how to calculate the location of the hand pivot point on the hammer. In addition the hand springs I am used to in the Colt and Remington revolvers won't work in this revolver since the hand does not work through a channel for the spring to bear upon.

Apart from the grips, that cylinder pin will likely be the easiest part in this project.

We'll find out if I am up to it.

Tnx,
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Old September 14, 2013, 08:24 PM   #13
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One thing you will have to do is cut the center pin notch deeper and square it up; as it is now, it will jump forward on recoil.

As to the hand, it may use the same type of spring as the SA Colt, just on a smaller scale, but a lot of those guns use a hand with a pin that has a flat side. The hand pin fits in a hole in the hammer, with the spring in a slot in the hammer. The spring bears on that flat of the hand pin to action the hand. Of course you first have to see which side the hand is on, then make the hammer to accommodate the hand. Then make the trigger and then the hammer, cutting the notches first and get that part right. (You can play with the spur and stuff later. Don't try to make the firing pin part of the hammer, slot the hammer when it is done.

The cylinder stop is tricky; you will probably want to cam it off the hammer, even though it might have been off the trigger originally. That is what I meant by designing/re-designing as you go. One trick is to cut pieces out of cardboard to get the parts to work together. Then you can make parts out of wood or aluminum (easy to work) before going to steel.

It's not easy. Is it worth the work? Helllllll no, IMHO.

Jim
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Old September 14, 2013, 10:32 PM   #14
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James.....

Cylinder rotates clockwise and works like a Colt so the hand is left of center.

Not worth the work? You are right.

No way will this revolver ever be worth more than about 50.00

The idea of fiddling with it is interesting to me at least for now.

I may lose interest before I get very far. It'll be something I play with for a while, throw it in a drawer and drag it out later.

The cylinder stop does work off the trigger and is still present although worn down very badly. If it started out spring loaded, the spring is broken or missing.

More later.
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Old October 13, 2013, 06:15 PM   #15
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Made some progress on this revolver.

Last part I finished was the cylinder pin.

Over the last week, I completed the threaded cover for the left side and the rough hammer with the exception of the recess for the hand.

I'll post some photos later.
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Old October 14, 2013, 03:16 PM   #16
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Here's some photos.....

First is the three parts I just finished.

Hammer is not quite ready. I still need to put a firing pin in it. I need to inlet it for the hand (Which I have not yet designed) and you can see that it is a little tall (in the next photo.) I've got to trim it down a little. This will not fix the appearance completely but it will make it look a little better.

The screw was easy. Just ran the threads up a little more and turned down the head so it would fit in the counter bore in the frame.

The threaded disc was just turned rough. I have made a new tool and I think I will try to smooth it up a little.



Here is the revolver with the parts installed.



You can see that the hammer is too high.



The trigger engages the hammer perfectly. I will need to heat treat the hammer. I hope it works.
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Old October 17, 2013, 04:41 AM   #17
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Reworked the contour of the hammer...

...and also smoothed up the action cover.

Will post photos later today.
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Old October 17, 2013, 09:36 PM   #18
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Doc Hoy, now don't let this go to your head, but I'm impressed. When I read your first post on this subject, I smiled to my self and said , " sure thing, he is going to take a 150 year old gun frame and restore it ", but by golly, from looking at your picture of the parts you made, I think you just might do it.
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Old October 17, 2013, 10:45 PM   #19
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My thoughts exactly. Good job so far and lots of luck on the rest.

Jim
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Old October 18, 2013, 05:27 AM   #20
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Thanks fellas....

Coming from y'all, I will take that as a real complement.

I shaped the hammer on a milling machine from a piece of quarter inch bar stock.

It is mild steel and may simply not have enough carbon to harden up as it should.

I am never going to shoot this piece and so it doesn't really need to last.

I have not got up the courage to start on the hand yet.

That is prolly next, or perhaps the hammer spring.
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Old October 20, 2013, 07:46 AM   #21
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Made some progress on this revolver.

In my last posts I talked about recontouring the hammer. I did this and wound up with the hammer looking better.



The design of the hammer spring required taking some metal out of the heel of the hammer. So that was done too.

The frame of the revolver was damaged requiring a different approach to the hammer spring. That meant using a coil spring rather than a leaf spring including drilling through the frame and making a pad for the coil spring to be held in place. The screw that holds the pad and coil spring in place is not real noticeable.

Next step was the hand which had to be very small so as to be able to fit in the revolver without interfering with a bunch of stuff.

The port in the frame that the hand goes through is positioned such that I did not need to mill the hammer to accept the hand. Line up is perfect.

It took a coupla hours to calculate the length of the hand, the distance from the hammer pivot point to the location of the screw hole for the hand.

I fine tuned hand operation by reshaping the hammer to control the arch through which it travels. It now picks up the cylinder ratchet properly and also seems to index the cylinder fairly well.









The hand spring is next, followed by driving out the pins for the trigger and bolt. Both of those have broken springs which need to be worked out and the bolt needs to be remanufactured.

Then it is grips and smooth up the surfaces.

Anyone who can advise as to case hardening the hammer and hand, don't hesitate to give me some advice. I am looking into doing it with charcoal in a cast iron pot with a vacuum cleaner discharge blowing air into the pot to raise the temp. I am thinking about getting some bones from the butcher department in Farm Fresh.

Anyone with advice, your comments are welcome.
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Old October 21, 2013, 03:33 PM   #22
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This is quite possibly the coolest thing I've seen all week. Extremely impressed over here. Awesome job!
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Old October 21, 2013, 06:19 PM   #23
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SP...

As the final step, I am going to bore out the chambers and barrel to accept .45 Long Colt.

.

.

.


.



......;o)

On the serious side, thanks greatly for the compliment.
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Old October 23, 2013, 02:23 AM   #24
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rebuild

What "semi" said. This is the neatist thing I've seen someone do. Doc, your an artist. I wish I had your talent, I've got an old S&W I wish I could fix up. Looking forward to see the finished product!!
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Old October 23, 2013, 06:20 AM   #25
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Too kind....

with your compliments...

If you only knew how much of a duffer I am when it comes to mills and lathes.

I still need some rudder orders on heat treating.

I watched the you tube on Rose Mill and that looks pretty spiffy but it is eighty bucks plus shipping minimum for the materials.

I am still thinking cast iron pot, charcoal bricketts and bone chunks.
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