View Full Version : Python cylinder timing

John D
March 18, 2002, 06:48 PM
Having a problem with my Python. I guess I had only used jacketed ammo in the past...I was shooting lead and it was really spitting shavings to the right.

WITHOUT taking it to a gunsmith, what can I do to check the problem and correct it?

March 18, 2002, 08:53 PM
A quick little test you can use to check cylinder timing. Slowly cock the hammer while using a finger to apply a little drag to the cylinder. Once the hammer is fully cocked, check to see if the cylinder stop has engaged the locking notch. If it has not, the cylinder hand and or ratchet is worn. If the cylinder stop is not engaging on only one or two chambers, then I would suspect the ratchet. If the stop does not engage on most or all of the chambers, I would suspect the cylinder hand.

Sometimes the tip of the hand can be peened to give it extra length, otherwise a new hand will need to be fitted. If it is the ratchet, you will definitely want a gunsmith to fit this part.

James K
March 19, 2002, 10:10 PM
Hi, John D,

Stans is correct, but nearly all Colts with the old mechanism will fail that test. Do as suggested, then pull the trigger. The cylinder should lock up. Take a look at the fired cases. If the firing pin mark is centered, the gun can't be too far out of time.

The advice on replacing the hand is good, but there are a couple of other possibilities to look at. One is the forcing cone in the barrel to see if it is tapered at the proper angle. Another is to use a range rod to be sure the chambers are lining up when the cylinder is locked. The barrel-cylinder gap can also play a part in lead spitting, as can the bullets themselves (hardness, size).

Frankly, if the hand needs to be replaced, I would have to recommend taking the gun to a gunsmith. Working on the old Colts is tricky and not really a place for the DIYer to start.