View Full Version : smoothing an 1858 Pietta

January 11, 2010, 09:40 PM
I don't want to hijack a thread, so I'll ask it on my own. Out of curiosity, how do you plan on smoothing the parts and working on the trigger? I just got my first revolver, a Pietta 1858. I know almost nothing about pistols, especially revolvers, other than how to shoot them (I've basically been a flintlock guy my whole adult life). Mine felt pretty good shooting it the first few times, but if anyone has suggestions on things that would make it better, I'd love to hear it.

the rifleer
January 11, 2010, 10:11 PM
ive never done it, but if you dont know EXACTLY what you are doing, dont mess with the trigger. you dont want it going of accidentally.

im mostly a do-it-yourself guy, but when it comes to stuff like that i take it to someone who knows what they are doing.

January 11, 2010, 10:54 PM
As far as "smoothing out", you can do it with the proper stone, with a simple jig that allows you to set and maintain the angle of surface. It can be done with just a fine stone, but I wouldn't try it unless you have a well above average capacity for patience & attention to minute detail. Most of the parts that you would smooth out are case hardened, if you take off much more then microscopic burrs you may wind up with surfaces that wear and/or mar/deform quite easily with normal use.

January 12, 2010, 09:21 AM
Basically you remove any sign of machine marks from the inside of the revolver. I would not touch the sear unless you know what your doing.

In more detail you need to polish the inside of the frame where the hand slides, polish the hand anyplace it touches metal. Inspect every moving part and deburr as required. Check if the hammer is rubbing on the frame, you may need to shim it.
If you really want to learn how to do this you can rent DIY DVD's from smartflix.com. They do not have a 1858 specific dvd buy many SA dvd's and it's all very similar.

Tools are pretty basic, a stone or two, swiss files, a surface plate or sheet of glass for a perfectly flat surface, good hollow ground screw drivers or tips.

January 12, 2010, 10:20 AM
You`ll find plenty of burrs to stone on the innards just don`t try and change the shape of the tips of the sear or notches for it .....leave that for a gunsmith .( some of the guns made in the early years had a hair trigger and much softer parts ) you don`t want that .
You`ll enjoy a smoother action just by doing a little polishing up on the works .
Every time you tear one down you`ll get better at working on it ....you might even get where you enjoy doing it yourself .....like the rest of us cap&ball gun nuts ..:D

January 14, 2010, 01:01 AM
As others have said I stayed away from the trigger sear but other than that it was get it opened up and smooth edges and burrs. One thing to check carefully is if the bolt is actually able to fit into the bolt stops in the cylinder. It's not uncommon for Pietta 1858s to have undersize bolt stop cuts in the cylinder such that the bolt doesn't fit into the slots and then peens and buggers the heck out of the cylinder over time. I had 4 out of six that did not fit well so I carefully repaired the already damaged cylinder bolt slots and stoned the sides of the part of the bolt that protrudes above the frame (just the tip part that goes into the slots) until the bolt fit nicely in every slot (we're talking careful, methodical work here - not hacking away - or you'll screw up the timing of your revolver). I polished the top face of my bolt as well but not the sides of the bolt and not the slot for the bolt in the frame because you don't want a sloppy bolt/frame fit.

Someone posted a link here to a great article on working the 1858, hope they will here again.

The entire frame was pretty rough on the inside and it really smoothed it up just getting the timing right (fixing the bolt notches) and polishing. So much so that I got a lot of admiring comments on it when people would handle it and when I sold it in a gun shop on consignment I got more for the gun than I paid new. They're great guns "slicked up".