View Full Version : 1860 Colt Army assembly question

January 16, 2009, 06:11 PM
Ive got a question that may have already been asked before,but I cant seem to find the answer.
First of all its been twenty plus years since Ive had/used a cap-n-ball revolver,so my memory has failed me(brain farts)on the subject.
Anyway,on to the question.
When installing the barrel wedge,how much air gap should be between the cylinder face and the forcing cone of the barrel?
If my memory serves me somewhat,we used to use a piece of typing paper between the cylinder face and the forcing cone.Install the wedge until there is a small amount of drag on the paper.Seems I remember that the air gap between the cylinder face and forcing cone should be .005" or less.
Now I dont know if Im remembering all this correctly or not,so if anyone can correct my information please do so.
Thanks for the help folks.

January 16, 2009, 07:50 PM
I use a max clearance of 0.010" between the cylinder face and the forcing cone; I aim for 0.006" as the nominal condition.

January 16, 2009, 08:02 PM
George Nonte in his book Pistolsmithing recomends a cylinder gap of .005 min. and .008 max. this is on a modern revolver. You can adjust the gap as conditions permit. I think it just depends on how much powder fouling is present. Also you have to take in account the expansion of the steel, as the gun heats up the gap will close, I don't think it's cast in stone what gap to use, your shooting for fun, not fighting a war.:p

January 16, 2009, 08:29 PM
Mykeal has it right. .006-.010. Too close and fouling will bind it up pretty quick. Most new revolvers have the wedge just barely flush on the side opposite the screw.

January 17, 2009, 05:52 PM
Thanks for the info folks.Seems the static gap with the wedge installed under light tension is about .0085",so Im in the hunt regardless.

Got another question for the experts.
With the barrel and cylinder removed the cylinder/arbor pin has a slight bit of wobble to it in the frame,such as up and down,side to side.The pin does not rotate or move in and out of the frame though.
Have any of you seen this before....is it an issue that needs to go back to the factory for warranty inspection?

By the way this is a brand new revolver(took it out of the box tuesday) and has not been fired as of yet.

As a note,I talked to a tech at Dixie Gun and he said the cylinder/arbor pin is threaded into the frame and blind pinned in place,and has no shoulder to bear against the frame.That what Im seeing is tolerance in the threads and not an actual issue to be concerned about.
Any opinions on this?

January 17, 2009, 06:34 PM
Mine is rock solid.

January 17, 2009, 09:25 PM
The technician is correct in that the arbor is threaded and pinned, and it's likely that what you are seeing is exactly what he described. I believe it's not a problem, although I would be very unhappy to have that problem in a new gun. I've never seen it and some of my revolvers are over 30 years old with hundreds of rounds fired through them.

I would not send the gun back, however. The arbor is held by the wedge and pinned in the back, so in operation I don't see that the loose threads are an issue.

James K
January 17, 2009, 09:30 PM
On the gap, don't get it too tight. The problem would be not only fouling but heating of the cylinder so it expands lengthwise and ties up the gun. Not too bad a problem on percussion guns, since they do cool while reloading, but a real problem with SA BP cartridge revolvers when firing a lot of rounds.

On the base pin, it should be tight, but remember it is held firmly between the barrel wedge and the frame, so some wobble won't matter. They can be tightened up by staking around the base or by drilling out the locking pin and removing it, then installing a new and larger one. Either way, a lot of work plus defacing the gun for something not really necessary.


January 18, 2009, 12:11 AM
Send it back, have them make good on it. The pin should be tight in the frame!

January 18, 2009, 02:15 AM
Thanks for the information and opinions folks.I really appreciate the help.
I talked with customer service friday about the problem and they gave me a return authorization number,so I think I will go ahead and send it back monday morning.I too hate the idea of starting off with loose parts on a brand new revolver.I was starting to think it was me nit picking which is why I asked yall for opinions.Gota bit of a timing issue with the revolver as well.So I guess its time to roll the dice.
Regardless,Ive gota Uberti Whitneyville Dragoon coming in monday,so I can play with it while I wait for the 1860 Colt Army to come back...
Thanks again for all the help.

January 20, 2009, 12:30 AM
Got the Uberti Whitneyville Dragoon today.Have to say its a MUCH better made revolver than the Pietta in every way.Very nice and a complete work of art.Love the Dragoons.
Only issue was the fact that the Dragoon arrived beat up rather badly.Muzzle is dinged so badly on one side from a impact that its deformed,cylinder and hammer is scratched/dinged,as well as the grip which has sustained a heck of a lick.The factory Uberti box is destroyed,but the shipping container is not.So the folks in Midways warehouse must use the products for football practice before shipping,or UPS repacked it.
Man Im sick...sick I say...

January 20, 2009, 02:30 AM
Call them and get shipping to send it back and replace it. They should pay both ways.

The arbor on your prior pistol should not have been even wiggly. The wedge does not tighten it up, it pulls forward against those loose threads. Arbors are shouldered. they bottom out, then are pinned to keep them from loosening.

There should be no question as to the cylinder gap. Seat your wedge. If the arbor is the right length, it will bottom out, no matter the force of the wedge.

If you can drive it in farther and close the cylinder gap, your arbor is too short, and you are tipping the barrel up when you drive it tighter. The fulcrum is the locating pins and the mating surface on the bottom of the frame.

Press of the thumb should be enough to seat the wedge. You should be nice and tight, at that point.



January 21, 2009, 04:57 AM
Send it back to the Mfg. get a new one...it will only get worse, it's a Mfg. defect the Arbor or frame was ill threaded and therefore not pinned correctly. I have seen and had to repaired a couple, but it ain't right.
Get a new one...I would in a heartbeat.


January 21, 2009, 11:04 AM
Blankwaffe, your sure are having bad luck with two for two needing to be returned. I'm sure it well get straightened out, but it sucks in the mean time.
I have a Uberti Colt 31 with a poor fitted arbor that took a little work to get right. I just bought a Pietta brass frame Colt 44 that I had planned on cutting up into a short barrel and round butt grip. I came out of the box in such nice condition, excellent fit that I think I well just keep it as is and shoot it.

January 24, 2009, 01:25 AM
Thanks for the advice folks.
Finally got both shipped off for repair and replacement.Had a bit of a hassle with UPS on shipping,and after much discussion I managed to get things done.Yeah it was another long afternoon.
I should have a replacement Whitneyville Dragoon from Midway by the end of next week.This one will be fresh in from Uberti and not a warehouse door stop.
The Pietta is looking at a two week turn around on repairs.
At any rate,I should be good to go here soon.
I will say that from now on I will buy my cap-n-ball guns locally from Dixie Gunworks.It will be worth a couple hours drive and to pay few bucks more to save alot of the associated hassle involved with mailorder.That way I can at least finger the revolvers before I lay my money out.
All I will buy from now on will be Uberti.Much better customer support at Stoeger and overall quality than what Ive seen with the Pietta so far.
Lessons learned.

January 24, 2009, 02:31 AM
I've got two Pietta's and they couldn't be better.

January 24, 2009, 07:50 AM
Although I personally feel that Uberti's are just a little bit better than Piettas, I feel I must caution you on making an overall judgment about the quality of the two brands with this limited sample as your decision population. Pietta is a fine company and has made tremendous strides in improving their quality in recent years. In addition, please remember that the Italian replicas are really quite inexpensive, so either company is capable of producing the occasional lemon or three every now and then; you aren't paying for high quality precision made devices (look up the prices of USFA guns to get an idea of what that means).

I guess what I'm saying is that it's premature to limit yourself to Uberti only at this point.

As for buying locally from Dixie - I fully support that. I very rarely buy a bp firearm that I haven't personally inspected very thoroughly first.

January 24, 2009, 12:01 PM
From what I hear on other forums Uberti's QC has really gone downhill.

January 24, 2009, 12:46 PM
I haven't seen any more Uberti quality complaints than Pietta lately, but it wouldn't surprise me. They're both quite capable of producing a run of bad apples.

January 28, 2009, 08:07 PM
Yeah I realize that all the reproduction manufacturers can have a bad run of products and that they are not made to the same standard as something like a modern day S&W.I kinda expected it really considering the retail prices and past experiences with replica muskets that I use for reenacting.
But over the last four months of eye balling the different brands of Colt replica's at dealers and at shows,the Uberti line seems to stand out in the area of fit,finish and overall function.One thing I have seen for sure is that the timing and lockup on the Uberti made guns has been just about perfect on everyone Ive looked and owned so far.Not so with the Pietta's Ive looked at.
Yeah I know the single example of the Pietta that I have is a single example,but it had multiple issues and almost all involved poor fitting like the loose cylinder pin,timing and lockup which had already damaged the cylinder from peening,and poor cylinder pin fit in the barrel.Which was covered in the owners manual stating that it would be necessary to disassemble the revolver using a soft face hammer by holding the barrel and smacking the cylinder face.Thing was it also had to be reassembled using the soft face hammer.Never have I seen that recommended or needed.
The Pietta frame had all sorts of casting flash,grinder marks and burrs.Nothing big that a file and a deburring tool could not handle in a few minutes,but again something I have not seen on a Uberti so far.
But hey like I said it has been many years since I had a cap-n-ball,and those that I did have were Colt made replicas.Biggest mistake Ive ever made was selling the Colt cap-n-ball revolvers I had.
So yeah I prefer the Uberti brand based on what Ive seen personally so far.To me they are worth the extra money.Im not trying to bash the Pietta brand at all,if I had personal issues with the brand,or thought they made bad products I would not have purchased one.
Anyway,things should be taken care of on my end sometime here soon.The Whitneyville Dragoon is backordered until the first of march,and the Pietta should be back here week after next or so.
Since I wanted something to play in the meantime,I went by the local dealer and he had a Uberti Walker that he wanted to move,so I picked it up.Hated to spend more money right now but I was going to buy one anyway and the price was right so I could not resist.
Very nicely made revolver.Excellent fit and finish.So one out of three aint bad...huh.

January 28, 2009, 09:33 PM
Which was covered in the owners manual stating that it would be necessary to disassemble the revolver using a soft face hammer by holding the barrel and smacking the cylinder face.Thing was it also had to be reassembled using the soft face hammer.Never have I seen that recommended or needed.

If you want to call a pamphlet a manual, ok. Nowhere does mine say that. To remove the barrel from a Colt or clone put the hammer on half cock and turn the cylinder till it lines up under the ram between chambers and use the ram to pry the barrel off.

January 29, 2009, 12:55 AM
Yup the "owners manuals" are lacking thats for sure.
Yeah I found it very strange reading overall.But its in my fold out pamphlet/manual in the disassembly instructions as a note.
Maybe your also right,I just got a bad sampling.
I guess I will see when I get the revolver back.
Anyway enough of my kicking and crying.Im pretty darn happy with the customer service and products Ive got so far from all the companies involved.
Now Ive got to shoot the new Walker this weekend and have something to really talk about.
And thanks again for all yall's help too.