View Full Version : Cracks in forcing cone - Please Help

September 23, 2006, 08:31 AM
I have a vintage Colt Python, circa 1955-57. I have discoverd serveral cracks in the forcing cone. I had Colt replace the original 6" barrel with 8". I have the original still. My question is - Can this be repaired? I could probably post pictures if requested.

September 23, 2006, 09:37 AM
HMM! Your best bet is to take your revolver to a knowledgeable gunsmith, or sent to Colt. It should be magna-fluxed, to find out the extent of the fissures. It may be that the cone will have to be drilled out/replaced/bonded and re-heat treated.

Pythons are, for the most part, hand-fitted, so there are no 2 of them that are exactly 100% the same. That's why they're more expensive, as well as being more "finicky".

The last Python I had was back in the early 1970's. It was sweet, but I eventually sold it for a small PROFIT! Before buying another .357 magnum revolver, I did a LOT of homework, and learned that an out-of-the-box S & W 586 or 686 was the way to go....even higher overall ratings than the Dan Wesson, Ruger and Colt offerings! I bought a 6" model 686, and it has never failed me, other than when I bent the ejector rod (my stupid fault). I took it to the local S & W factory authorized repair station, and they replaced the bent rod at NO CHARGE! It has worked perfectly since then, and I learned a valuable lesson.... don't be STOOPID!

September 23, 2006, 12:26 PM
Would anyone care to recommend a gunsmith that can do what DesertShooter suggests?

September 23, 2006, 02:48 PM
Colt will not repair a cracked barrel.

Python barrels cannot be "drilled out, replaced/bonded".
The factory method is to junk the barrel, since cracks are usually the result of shooting hot reloads, especially reloads using a slower burning powder.

The loads carburize and crack the thinner forcing cone, since the thin cone area can't dissipate the excess heat fast enough.
In short, the barrel has been structurally weakened, and shortening the barrel doesn't "Fix" the problem, even when the barrel is set back.

Some gunsmiths will ATTEMPT to "save" the barrel by setting the barrel back, and removing the cracked area.

This is done by lathe cutting the barrel shoulder forward, cutting off the threaded portion to remove the cracked area, re-threading the shank to restore the threading, then cutting a new forcing cone.

This is in effect, setting the barrel back however much is needed to remove the cracked portion.
Unfortunately, the structural weakening and "metal fatigue" is NOT removed, unless you're planning on converting a 6" inch barrel into a 4" inch barrel.

There are "gunsmith's" who will do setbacks on damaged barrels, but these barrels will almost always quickly develop cracks again, and you run a high risk of damage to the frame.

Bottom, line is, a cracked barrel has been fatally damaged, and there is no practical repair.
Having someone attempt to "fix" it will be money wasted.

Simply call Colt, and ask the tech rep if they will repair a Python barrel with a cracked forcing cone.
Unless something has REALLY changed at Colt, they'll say no.

James K
September 23, 2006, 06:50 PM
And if you are the one who fired those hot loads, cut back or the same thing will happen to any new barrel. There is no way the forcing cone can be made bigger or stronger since both the outside diameter and the inside diameter are fixed.


Harry Bonar
September 23, 2006, 06:56 PM
Dear Shooter:
No, no-one will be so careless as to try to "repair" a forcing cone which has cracked! Even cutting back the bbl. will not be right due to bbl. taper, etc.
I'll bet your pistol is stainless?
Stainless Ruger Security-sixs' have reported cracked cones - in stainless only. Ruger, in the GP series increased the dia. there to avoid it.
Just my opinion, but Colt never made a good revolver - other than the cap&ball series and in later years they were Italian made, shipped to Colt and were stamped and finished there!
Check most Colt revilvers - you will find loose cranes, etc! The S&W in 44 mag. will be loose after a box of Super X 44s'. Colts are as bad.
Ruger makes the best engineered revolvers1
Just my opinion.
Harry B.
PS - You did right by replacing the bbl. And I like the 11 degree forcing cone!

September 23, 2006, 07:26 PM
Thank you for the advice. Colt replaced the barrel with the 8" free of charge. I was more interested in preserving the value of the weapon with the original barrel. Thanks again.

September 23, 2006, 09:29 PM
Count yourself as very lucky...and the fact that you were observant enough to catch the crack early (whihc is a big reason for cleaning and inspection after every range visit).

The thinnest part of the frame is the section where the barrel threads in...if that crack had grown, it would have spread the barrel's diameter, and once it reaches the thin section of the frame, the frame is either buldged or cracked (usually cracked).

September 24, 2006, 06:56 AM
Actually, I discovered the cracks, several of them, while cleaning it the first time after purchase. I was not observent enough to pick them up during initial inspection. Probably because the weapon was so filthy. I had not actually fired it with this barrel yet.

So I took it back to the shop where I had purchased it, and of course, no refunds... But they did help with calling their Colt rep. who told them to have me send it in to them immediately. Colt fixed it. It took about six weeks, but I have it back with an 8" barrel. I never saw a bill. I assume from reading other posts that this would be highly unusual for Colt not to charge for this type of repair, so I can only assume the the shop paid for it.

I have about as many Colt wheel guns as I do S&W. I can say that I like them both on their own merits and will continue to collect both.

It is an awesome tack driver. I hope to hunt with it this season.