View Full Version : Question About FIE

Doc Hoy
January 26, 2009, 08:44 AM
Dear experts,

Just bought an FIE imported 1851 Navy in .44 cal at a gun show. Gave a hundred bucks for it plus a pound of powder, a tin of caps, a box of Hornady round balls, a Deeelux powder measure, a bag of wads and a holster. The pistol is excellent but needs a cylinder stop (which is on the way from DGW for 7.50).

I understand that the revolvers that FIE imported were manufactured in Italy but I don't know their specific origin (company?).

I also read that their quality was not great. I believe this pistol has about fifty rounds through it and that seems a little early for the cylinder stop to fail. (Seems like a metalurgy problem. The paw which engages the hammer, lowering the cylinder stop at half cock, is worn round. It fails to catch the hammer and consequently the cylinder can not be spun at half cock. The engaging pin on the hammer looks okay.)

Apart from the cylinder stop, the action is tight and inspires confidence. The finish is very good. (Brass receiver shined up like ruby in a goat's a_ _). I pulled the pistol apart and it seems never to have been lubricated (which may explain the early failure of the cylinder stop.)

I am pretty happy with the purchase considering all of the stuff that came with the pistol but I do have the two curiosities mentioned above:

Where was the piece made and by who?

Can anyone speak for the relative quality of the piece?

Just as point of interest I will report on the extent to which the cylinder stop is interchangeable with the original.



January 26, 2009, 10:05 AM
Here are two links for some DIY, it should help on getting the bolt working.



I have one FIE 1858 Remington, it is the nickle plated version. I have had zero problems with it, good shooter, nice and tight, good trigger and the nickle plating is not coming off. Sounds like you got a good buy, even for a brass frame revolver. I have a pair of 51's in .36, my favorite C&B's next to my Walker.

January 26, 2009, 10:34 AM
There should be a manufacturer's stamp identifying the maker on the frame or barrel (sometimes they're hidden under the loading lever near the breech end). There should also be a date stamp on the frame; it will be two capital letters inside a square box. Here's a decoder for the date stamp:
As for the manufacturer's marks, follow this link:
Next, the bolt (the name for the part that performs the cylinder stop function and engages the hammer cocking cam) arm that engages the hammer is initially rounded to fit around the cam. While it's certainly possible that it's worn after only fifty shots, that's very unlikely. It's more likely that the leg has been bent and does not hold against the hammer as intended. The two legs should be slightly spread apart from parallel; if they're parallel or come together, bend the leg that contacts the cam away from the other one and see if that doesn't correct the problem.

Finally, fitting the new part will likely involve some minor filing and adjustment. These are not precision made parts (as suggested by the price) and they were initially hand fit, so expect a bit of 'cleaning up'.

January 26, 2009, 10:39 AM
i have a .22 fie reelgun and a 12 guage shotgun... never have had a problem with either of the two..

Doc Hoy
January 26, 2009, 11:37 AM
Thanks a lot fellas,

For Madcratebuilder:

I registered with Open Range and will indeed try again later to open the files you linked.

It is gratifying to learn that your experience with the FIE imports is not negative.

For Mykeal:

The information on dates is extremely helpful. I will check the marks site soonest.

You are correct (no surprise there) about the bolt (which I was calling a cylinder stop only because that is what DGW calls it) being bent. Initially the edge which engages the hammer cam had two problems. 1) It was bent toward the center. I corrected this as you described but still no joy. 2) The edge is rounded off in such a way as to cause the bolt to prematurely slip off of the cam. I can spin the cylinder until just before the hammer reaches half cock.

I am pretty Confident that I will be able to load and shoot the pistol as it is, but of course I want it to be right. Pursuant the info in your post I will pull the pistol apart again, spread the legs of the bolt just a bit further and also file the surface (on the smaller dimension) just bit more to try to remove the rounded portion. I will let you all know how that worked.

For DiscoRacing:

Good to know of your positive experience with the FIE imports.

For all:

As you remember from my previous thread about not being able to load my other 1851 (Your kind responses were most helpful) I can be quite verbose. Thanks for your tolerance.



January 26, 2009, 12:15 PM
I will pull the pistol apart again, spread the legs of the bolt just a bit further and also file the surface (on the smaller dimension) just bit more to try to remove the rounded portion.

If premature wear is indeed the culprit here I don't see that filing the part will solve the problem. It's unfortunate you can't access the links madcratebuilder provided; Picture 21 shows the bolt form. It is intentionally 'rounded', to match the profile of the cam on the side of the hammer; I'm not sure from your description what 'rounding' you feel has resulted in it's failure to perform. I suspect we're talking about different areas on the bolt leg. A picture would help greatly.

There was a period of several years when the Italian manufacturers experienced a problem with 'soft' metal in the small action parts, and premature wear was not uncommon. Your gun could very well have one or more of those parts; you might consider purchasing a full set of the parts just to have on hand in case other parts experience such problems. They're not individually expensive but buying them one at a time gets prohibitive when adding shipping costs, which often more than doubles the cost of a single part.

Doc Hoy
January 26, 2009, 01:17 PM

I was able to download the pdfs. I examined photo 21 and my bolt is not tapered as is shown. That photo shows a shape almost like a knife edge at "B" on the left side (viewed from the back of the pistol) of the bolt. The rounding I am speaking of is on the opposite leg. I will have to get a photo of it. (Hope my photography skills are up to the task.) I hope I have this right as I am speaking from memory.

I am at work right now and do not have access to the pistol so the photos will have to wait just a bit.

I do appreciate the extra time you are putting into this thread. I will try not to be as much of a pain in the neck as I was last time.



January 27, 2009, 03:41 AM
I have one FIE 1858 Remington, it is the nickle plated version.

Madcratebuilder on that FIE '58 Rem Nickel...can you compare to a Pietta and see if the cylinder of the FIE is too long to fit a Pietta, or give me an OAL measurement.
Cause I have a nice Nickel Rem cylinder that Does not fit Piett, Uberti, ASP, Euroarms, ASM, E.N. Santa Barbara Remington 1858 NMA's. Maybe it's an FIE Import from Palmetto or Pedersoli, or an Original Remington...I'll get the chance to try tha last one.
Thanks MCB,


January 27, 2009, 10:51 PM
The nickle FIE is 2.0185
The Pietta is 2.0150

Very close, I can get the FIE in the Pietta frame but has a tight spot.

My Uberti 1858 cylinder is 2.000 on the nose.

January 27, 2009, 11:05 PM
I get 2.020" solid and this cylinder is Nickle New unfired. Has an R on the rear of cylinder towards the shield face.


Doc Hoy
January 28, 2009, 09:42 AM

The date code on the pistol is AD (1978).

I dismantled it last night and upon inspection of the bolt, I decided it was still not quite right in terms of the attitude of the legs. They were essentially parallel. I spread them just a bit and put the pistol back together without any improvement in the action. I might add that this bolt has no taper as shown at "B" in Photo 21 of the article from Open Range.

Took it apart again and after cycling the action with the trigger guard removed (so I could see what was going on inside the pitol) I reasoned that I had over-tightened the trigger and bolt spring. I backed off on that tightness and bingo. The action began to work properly.

Now I find that the cylinder does not lock in adequately (Movement in the cylinder both at half cock and full cock.)

I am going to mess with the adjustment of this spring to see if I can't make it a little better.

The article in Open Range is very helpful.

My question (if you are willing to oblige me) is:

Is it likely that the adjustment of the spring will help to remove the sloppiness in the cylinder? (Parhaps by holding the bolt more securely in the slots)



January 28, 2009, 12:48 PM
Sounds like your problem is the spring itself, not the bolt.

Yes, it's possible, but not highly likely, that adjusting the trigger/bolt spring can result in a tighter cylinder lockup, if the bolt head (the position of which is affected by, but not controlled by the trigger/bolt spring) is not fully deployed into the cylinder stop notch.

I'm going to suggest the installation of a Heinie music wire trigger/bolt spring:
Brownell's Heinie Colt SAA trigger/bolt spring (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=6875&title=SINGLE%20ACTION%20TRIGGER/BOLT%20SPRING). Or you might try straightening the leg of the spring that controls the bolt.

How much cylinder play is there, and what kind of motion (rotational, end play, both, etc.)?

Doc Hoy
January 28, 2009, 03:25 PM

I would say it is about 2 to 3 degrees. That is an estimate but I think I am pretty close. The nipple remains relatively squarely under the hammer althouhg it is off enough that the rim of the hammer may catch on the cap. The rim of the chamber does not become visible outside of the barrel.

I looked at the link you provided and I may buy a couple of those springs.

After I get the bolt that I ordered from DGW I will feel a whole lot better about filing and bending on the one in the pistol. (Because I will have a spare.)

I just realized that I have another 1851 from which I can take parts as a troubleshooting action. That pistol functions properly and although the parts may not be perfectly interchangeable I may learn something from the swap out.

For those of you who have a lot of experience the comments I am making and the questions I am asking will seem elementary. That is why I have said acouple of times that I am grateful for your tolerance.

Now for the questions.

Why is the piano wire spring better than the flat stock spring?

Should I be looking at the hammer (specifically the bolt cam) as a possible source of trouble?



January 28, 2009, 05:05 PM
Rotational free play is more serious than end play. The fact that the edge of the chamber is not visible outside the barrel helps me understand how much free play we have, but the real issue is that the edge of the chamber should line up with the inside edge of the barrel, and it very likely does not.

I think you have too much free play, so the spring needs to be tightened up more to ensure the bolt head fully engages the cylinder stop notch. This should occur at two different hammer positions: full down and full cock. At half cock the cylinder should freely rotate in the clockwise direction.

The apparent solution to the problem of the bolt slipping off the hammer cam prematurely when the spring is tightened is to straighten the leg of the spring that controls the bolt position.

Doc Hoy
January 28, 2009, 05:30 PM

"rim of the chamber should line up...."

And I think in this case it does not because the travel of the cylinder just seems to be excessive.

I did not notice this free play before I loosened the spring. Actually it is more accurate to say that I installed the spring less tightly. I did this by simply backing the screw out about a third of a turn. I watched for pressure on both the trigger and the bolt but since I did not have much time to mess with it and since my experience is limited, I can say no more than that about that spring adjustment.

If the true method of adjusting this spring is to bend the spring, I did not try that.

Also I am going to assume that when you say, "Straighten the leg of the bolt" you mean; make sure it is not mis-shaped toward the opposite leg. (Closer at the tip than at the throat).

When I initially disassembled the pistol the tip of one leg of the bolt was touching the tip of the other leg. I was pretty sure that was not correct and so I opened up the gap so that the legs are slightly further apart at the tip than at the throat. This provides constant contact between the hammer and the bolt leg.



January 28, 2009, 07:26 PM
Actually, I said to straighten the leg of the spring, not the bolt. One leg of the trigger/bolt spring is bent and engages the trigger; the other should be fairly straight, and it engages the bolt to force it into position when the bolt leg slips off the hammer cam. This can be bent or straightened to affect the amount of force controlling the bolt. In your case, it may be too weak; in fact, it may even be weakened to the point of breaking if you try to bend or straighten it. These springs were notorious for being soft at one time.

As far as the legs of the bolt itself, yes, they should be deployed apart from parallel, as in a 'V'.

Have you had any luck identifying the gun's manufacturer?

Doc Hoy
January 29, 2009, 12:27 PM

Sorry, I was confusing my info sources when responding to the straight bolt/straight spring issue. I think I understood both. Anyway I am happy now with the shape of the bolt and am ready to speak on the spring.

As it is, when I turn the spring screw completely into the pistol, the bolt fails to remain properly engaged with the hammer cam. As I said yesterday I made another adjustment of this screw last night and now the pistol functions properly and I have been able to remove most of the cylinder travel. It is not perfect but it is much better than it was. I would not be hestitant to shoot it as it is.

I am perfectly happy to consider the spring screw as an adjustment and not simply a fastening device. But it does not seem as though this is correct. It seems as though the screw should always be tightened completely and then as you recommended, the proper spring tension (actually pressure) is achieved by bending the spring. I hope that would not have to be done very often as I doubt that spring steel would stand much bending and rebending before metal fatigue set in.

Am I off base with any of the these issues?

In answer to your question, I have not yet found who made the pistol in the first place.



January 29, 2009, 04:21 PM
You got it.

One should not have to use the spring as an adjustment, but with a used gun, especially one of the vintage you have, things are not always as they should be. The spring may just be flat worn out; it may be one of the 'soft' parts that so many Italian replicas made in that time had. There's no way to be sure, but replacing it would not be considered an unusual action.

Doc Hoy
January 29, 2009, 04:47 PM

I am with you and think that imbedded in your response is the answer to my previous question, "Why is a piano wire spring better than a flat stock spring?"

The more I get into this pistol, the more questions that come up.

For example:

I think that one of the things that might be contributing to the minor looseness in the cylinder is that the bolt is a little sloppy in the bolt slot. The Pettifogger article mentions that but leaves some questions unanswered. Mine has some looseness in two ways.

1. The bolt slot is a bit oversized. Does not seem to be worn, just not an outstanding fit.
2. The hole in the bolt is slightly larger than the shaft of the bolt screw.

In point of fact I don't think this is any worse than any of the other pistols I have but I must admit is it is not something that I wake up at three in the morning to check. I have a Remington clone from Pietta which I know is tighter but I think that has more to do with design than with quality or age.

This may be something that I mess with as the weeks go by.



January 29, 2009, 08:28 PM
By bolt slot do you mean the notch in the cylinder that the bolt head fits in or the hole in the frame that the bolt head protrudes through?

If the latter, that should not be a close fit, so that's probably not a contributor.

As for the bolt screw, that could contribute some; the trigger and bolt should have the same size hole for the bolt, and they should just fit side by side in the frame, so the bolt is not free to move side to side. The hole being too large (caused by perhaps a 'soft' steel part) could result in the bolt head not fully engaging the cylinder stop notch, a condition that might be worse the more you loosen the screw holding the trigger/bolt spring in place.

Lots to consider here.

Doc Hoy
January 30, 2009, 08:07 AM

I was speaking of the slot in the frame of the revolver, what some are calling the frame window. I read in Pettifogger's article a tiny bit about this window and its size in comparison with the bolt. Pettifogger cautions against narrowing the bolt incorrectly and inadvertently creating a situation in which the bolt is sloppy in the frame window permitting the cylinder to move even though the bolt is properly engaged in the cylinder. Unfortunately, he does not say what to do about it.

I do have some fixes in mind to tighten up the pistol but I want to emphasize that I think it is very shootable as it is. Of the pistols I have, only two are tighter than this one. The first is the Remington I spoke of yesterday and the other is a nearly new condition Ruger Old Army.

I enjoy this discussion but am well aware that you may be a busy guy who is becoming bored with reading the dribblings of a novice. My approach will be; as long as you are willing to post back to me, I will carrying on with my observations and questions.


January 30, 2009, 10:53 AM
The bolt should not be sloppy in the frame. It should be a friction free but tight fit. A few thousandth slop is fine but if you are .010 or more it could be tightened up. You may want to order one or more spare bolts and try for a tighter fit on the bolt/trigger screw.
Keep us posted on what you find.

January 30, 2009, 12:09 PM
Mr. Pettifogger has published an excellent piece of work, but I don't always agree with him on every point. This hole in the frame for the bolt head is one. My opinion is that side-to-side movement of the bolt is limited not by that hole but rather the fit of the trigger and bolt within the frame body. If the bolt and trigger fit properly within the frame that hole could be more than 0.010 oversize with no effect on cylinder rotational free play. That's not a criticism of Pettifogger, just an opinion.

Doc Hoy
January 30, 2009, 12:15 PM

Thanks...I just got my bolt in yesterday's mail. Its shape is exactly as shown in the article you recommended including the bevel on the right leg. I have now reread the Pettifogger article about six times and learn something new each time.

BTW, I still have not had anyone wade in with an opinion as to specifically what firm made this pistol.

In the Pettifogger article, he decribes Uberti's as having the peculiarity of a too-short arbor as he shows in photo 13 on page 11. Mine looks exactly like this. In addition, the serial numbers are preceeded by the letter "L" which is (I believe) a practice of Lyman. I have seen that on a Lyman Remington clone.

Does this additional data help in any way?


January 31, 2009, 01:25 PM
Mr. Pettifogger has published an excellent piece of work, but I don't always agree with him on every point. This hole in the frame for the bolt head is one. My opinion is that side-to-side movement of the bolt is limited not by that hole but rather the fit of the trigger and bolt within the frame body. If the bolt and trigger fit properly within the frame that hole could be more than 0.010 oversize with no effect on cylinder rotational free play. That's not a criticism of Pettifogger, just an opinion.

You bring up a good point. Next time I take one of 58's apart I well take a closer look at that. The tight fit between the frame and bolt is just something I was taught when working with modern DA revolvers. The important part is that the bolt not move side to side.

Doc Hoy
January 31, 2009, 05:28 PM

I agree with you about the trigger, not so much because I am smart about it, but because in the case of my revolver the trigger is not all that tight. By that I mean that it does not do that great of a job holding the bolt steady.

When next I take the pistol apart, I am going to see if there is space for a washer or spacer or maybe a light spring on that screw (the bolt screw) which would serve to hold the bolt more steady.

I may experiment with this as a method of tightening the bolt.

The more I read Pettifogger's article and the posts you guys are making, the more work I want to do on this pistol.

As regards Pettifogger, I will soon be looking for the article on Ubertis that he referenced in the Pietta article. He talks about a poorly fitted arbor and as you may have read in my [revious post, this pistol suffers from that problem.





Doc Hoy
February 7, 2009, 09:36 AM
For those of you who have so little to do that you are still monitoring this post, I thought I would provide an update.

As you recall, I was initally attempting to correct a problem with the bolt slipping off of the hammer cam which locked up the cylinder at half cock. In investigating that problem, I noted that the cylinder was a little sloppy (radial movement at full cock.) This was not severe but I thought it was noticable so I brought it up in the posts.

At your collective suggestion I cured the initial problem by widening the gap at the end of the bolt legs. Thanks predominantly to Mykeal for sticking with me on this issue.

To get the cylinder to lock up better I looked into fooling with the spring. (ala Madcratebuilder) When I did this, I found that the spring was shot. It fell apart in my fingers. I bought a new spring from DGW, made the obligatory length adjustment on the trigger leg of the spring and put the pistol back together. That improved cylinder lockup a bit.

I still have a bit of slop in the cylinder but I think it is well within safety and performance standards. I measured the relationship between the width of the bolt and the width of the slot in the cylinder as recommended in the Pettifogger article and found those measurements to be okay.

I also raised the issue of using a post manufacture apparatus to more confidently hold the bolt in one place, with the idea that this would reduce cylinder motion.

When I raised this issue I did it knowing that the experts among you were thinking, "He's barking up the wrong tree." I know that the best remedy here is to maintan the pistol in good condition but I would add that even new pistols (by my best recollection) have a bit of slop.

As I know nothing of the ballistic data apart from what I read, I have no idea what impact this motion has on performance. I bought myself a chronograph so that I can really get some good bullet speed data. I bought this chronograph used and have not tried it yet. All I know is that it is complete, turns on and appears to be in good condition.

I do appreciate your tolerance and continued forebearance.

I still have no answer on the question of who actually manufactured this pistol.