View Full Version : Quick Q regarding BP cylinder lock up adjustment...

February 24, 2009, 10:13 PM
Hey, guys.

Ive got a new Pietta 1851 Navy, and the cylinder lockup isnt right, the bolt is ground with a slant, and too big, and it has marred the cylinder pretty bad.

Ive got the bolt cut down to the right size to fit in the notches in the cylinder, and ive re-squared the notches with some deft filework, but the top of the bolt is still ground with a slant, so I think i have to even this out, as when the cylinder is supposed to be locked, it still spins in one direction. But to even it out I need to shorten the bolt total height. If I do this, will the bolt still be tall enough to lock into the cylinder?

I understand its a hard question to answer without seeing it, so I guess I'm asking if there is usually some leeway with the bolt on these Piettas.

Fingers McGee
February 25, 2009, 12:52 AM
GO Here: http://www.theopenrange.net/forum/index.php?topic=5659 It'll tell you all about tuning the Piettas


February 25, 2009, 03:31 AM
Right, I have seen that article before, and it was quite helpful, but not quite what i need. It talks about shaping the bolt to fit the hole, that is easy. my problem is that one side of the bolt has more height then the other, making it lopsided and keeping half of the bolt from locking into the cylinder notch. I can grind the bolt and even it out so it locks positively, but only if after the fix the height isnt too short.

February 25, 2009, 05:31 AM
Depends on how much you have to take off. Bolts are fairly cheap if you take too much off. Should have sent it back. That's not common.

February 25, 2009, 06:35 AM
Right, bolts are cheap, and I dont mind tinkering, thats why I didnt send it back.

Its annoying, kind of like the piece slipped in the hand at the grinder, almost right, just not.

Thanks for the help either way, gentlemen.

Doc Hoy
February 25, 2009, 07:00 AM

One sentence in your answer got my attention.

"Should have sent it back."

I read the Pettifogger article as well. When I shot BP in the mid seventies I owned a total of nine revolvers over a period of about four years. Of those nine I had a Remington which I bought new which simply did not function. Most of the revolvers were purchased new but as kits and I must say that I had very little to do to get them working safely out of the box. I had a new ROA and a new 1851 Navy and they also worked fine. I sold all of those pistols (rather than divorce my thankfully X wife which would have been a better idea)

I got away from the sport in the late seventies and then last year got back into it. Of the six pistols I now have my ROA is perfect. I just bought a Navy from Cabela's which is also very good. Others were purchased used and two were purchased with known problems, one of which I fixed myself and one which is with a gunsmith.

My observation is this:

On this and other forums I read, all to often, postings which infer that this substandard performance as described by B.O.T.F. in his initial post is more common than people would tolerate in other purchases.

I don't have much recent experience buying new pistols but intend to build that experience as I head back into BP revolver shooting. My tack will be that when I purchase a new revolver it should work pretty blinkin good. Even if I buy one made in Italy for less than two hundred bucks.

The Pettifogger article had two positive impacts for me.

1. It gave me a good idea of the things which impact basic pistol performance.
2. It alerted me to aspects of pistol performance which were previously obscure.

Much of the stuff in his article is beyond my capabilities. (I would not replace the hand spring with a coil unless I had a junk revolver to practice on.) But every bit of it was at least informative.

I hope I come to an understanding of where the threshold for "send it back" rests.

February 25, 2009, 09:03 AM
Some excellent points, brand new ought to be brand new.

Its not with the Piettas, and as i understand, they used to be worse.


This is a b-e-a-utiful pistol bought for just a touch (and shipping) north of 200.

To me, a mechanically inclined person, to have ugly case hardening or blueing, or truely malformed parts would be "send it back" fodder.

Brand new (and works), surplus, or Piettas idea of brand new, either way I mess with the action, so I dont care too much I suppose.

Im just saying, problem here, problem there, works mostly (and will work perfect soon) for $200 is better then minor problems and a $500 price tag.


Pietta should def fix the cyl. problems. any error that mars/ruins another part, and is possibly dangerious should not make it out of the factory.

Doc Hoy
February 25, 2009, 01:49 PM

We are on the same page and that is no complement to you because as I said, I am just getting back into the sport.

As point of fact, I just today received a steel frame Remington made by ASM. Got it from Gunbroker. Ad said it was never fired. Upon examination I believe this is true. In fact I don't even think it was pulled apart and cleaned. Not one screw on it has any screwdriver marks. Fit and finish is good. Action and lock-up is nice. Not a scratch on it. I think it is about what a shooter should expect in a new pistol. Box and padding is all there although not in perfect shape. (Who cares?...You don't shoot the box.)

Regarding messing with the action, I am just getting around to that level. I can swap out parts and I don't mind ruining a bolt or breaking a spring because of my inexperience. Good way to learn along with reading this forum.

I am going to the gun show on Sunday in Virginia Beach to see what additional gems I can pick up.

February 25, 2009, 06:02 PM

My experiences doing this work, today .

February 25, 2009, 06:05 PM
I've got two Pietta's that work great. Actions are smooth and triggers aren't bad. Never done anything to them except shoot them. IMHO if it doesn't work as supposed to right out of the box send it back.

February 25, 2009, 07:27 PM
Hold on a minute Bob. If you take the barrel and the cylinder off your revolver and look at the frame from the front you will see that the frame is contoured to fit the curve of the cylinder. The bolt head has to be slanted to fit the curve of the cylinder also. I have seen some bolt heads that are slanted too much, and only one side is locking the cylinder from turning one way.

If you have to reduce the thickness of the bolt head to fit in the cylinder notch, just file the part the sticks above the frame. If you file the whole side of the bolt head it can move side to side in the hole in the frame.

If you have to reduce the tall side of the bolt head do it slowly and take a little off at a time, it won't take much to do the job. Take a magic marker and black the bolt head so you can see where you are taking off the material and how much. When you get the angle right and there is not enough bolt head to reach into the cylinder notch you will have to take a little off the little short stubby end where it touchs the frame so it can raise higher into the frame. When you do this the bolt leg with the notch that rides on top of the hammer cam will be lowered a little. Now the hammer cam may not be low enough to get under that notch in the bolt leg. If that is the case this will lock down the revolver. Now you will have to file the round notch in the bolt leg a little deeper so the cam on the hammer can get back under it when the hammer is all the way down. Just take off small amounts at a time, consider this a learning experience, if you mess up a bolt is not that much money, just get a new one and start again.

February 28, 2009, 06:41 PM
I got it to run proper, thanks alot!

K.A.T.- I did basically that (before i read your post, heh) it worked well, good advice.

Basically, the slant was cut wrong, too steep, i evened it out a bit and it worked like a charm.

Funny, the bolt is pretty simalar to a Mosin Nagant sear I did some work to recently.

Now, ive got to fix the boogered up notches in the cylinder...