View Full Version : Cylinder binds after a few shots

September 10, 2010, 01:11 AM
I've got a Pietta Remington 1858 revolver with a small problem: The gap between the barrel and the cylinder is so tight that after only about 6-12 shots, the fouling will cause it will bind up and stop functioning. (I've only used pyrodex, so I don't know if it would happen with black powder). I've had this gun for about 15 years and haven't used it much because of this. :(

I assume this is not normal, but I don't know much about these revolvers...

Any thoughts about simple (or not so simple) fixes?

September 10, 2010, 01:20 AM
Generally it is not build up on the cylinder face with the Remingtons that binds up the gun. It is foulling on the cylinder base pin. I use a few drops of ballistol on the base pin some guys swear by Pam cooking spray.

September 10, 2010, 01:25 AM
That's good to know. You're talking about the pin that the cylinder rotates on, right? And does it seem normal to bind up after so few shots?

September 10, 2010, 01:30 AM
Yes it is normal with the Remington design and the more barrel cylinder gap you have the worse it gets. I load cylinders out of the gun and always wipe the base pin before I put the loaded cylinder back in the gun so I never have a binding problem.

September 10, 2010, 04:15 AM
Hello all
I have long been a remington N.A1858 and I do not encounter this problem. Carbon deposits left by the burned black powder does not interfere with the functioning of my weapon.
Maybe this is the type of powder you use, yes.
PfN2 I use, and that's fine with.
Make sure you keep your gun "dry" in your shots. Adire is not too much fat on the axis of the barrel.
Otherwise, you can take an old toothbrush to réccurer carbon.


September 10, 2010, 08:37 AM
denster pretty much nailed it. Keep in mind, this is black powder. The burned residue is dirty, gunky stuff. That is part of the game. An often overlooked sticking of jamming cause is parts of the expended cap can fall into the hammer/action area and cause problems. Just another part of the fun. :rolleyes:

Doc Hoy
September 10, 2010, 12:29 PM
I am surprised no one said this yet but...

....Welcome to the forum.

As you can tell from the responses, you came to the right place.

September 10, 2010, 01:09 PM
I lube the pin with a teflon grease and use felt wadding. I shot a good 40 shots the other day without wiping the pin or doing much of anything else. No binding at all.

September 10, 2010, 01:45 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I'll have to pay close attention next time I fire it. Last time, I remember deciding that it was due to the cylinder face binding against the barrel, though I haven't fired it in a few years. (I know it wasn't the caps, I've had that happen and it feels different). Of course, it definitely could be the axis pin -- I might not have thought of that.

Out of curiosity, does anyone want to take a guess as to the cylinder/barrel gap spec?

Mine rotates freely when clean, but it's so close, I have to really work to see light through it. I haven't put a feeler gauge in there, but I could try.

September 10, 2010, 02:45 PM
Check it with the hammer at half cock and push back on the cylinder. That is your real barrel cylinder gap. Probably between .003 and .005.

September 10, 2010, 05:32 PM
Tight tolerances on the "flash gap" are desirable. If it is too tight and impedes the function of the revolver when clean then there are methods to fit the cylinder.

If the cylinder spins freely at half-cock and your flash gap is so tight you can barely see daylight through the gap I'd say you got a really nice revolver.

Welcome to the forum !

The cylinder stop or bolt can also be shaped so that when it is engaged in the cylinder notch it exerts some force that pushes the cylinder forward to enable a tight flash gap even more. That's the kind of revolver that with shooting will wear in nicely if the cylinder also locks up fairly tight in full cock and full battery.

September 10, 2010, 06:41 PM
I keep plenty of Bore Butter on my base pin. You can use other lubes but remember the lighter the lube the faster it wil evaporate or dry so you will have to lube it more often. I also use the Bore Butter on top of some of the balls and I think that some of it blows out the gap and helps keep that lubed as well


September 10, 2010, 06:44 PM
A tight gap is preferable with smokeless but IMHO with bp a gap of .006-.008 is preferable.

September 10, 2010, 08:32 PM
Have to respectfully disagree with you there Hawg. The closer the barrel cylinder gap the less fouling on both the base pin and the face of the cylinder.

September 11, 2010, 12:38 AM
As soon as the powder ignites and the ball starts to push forward, the cylinder is being thrust to the rear. Nothing is going to hold that cylinder forward during combustion.

I cover the balls with Crisco as in the days of old, and have no problems with binding. Automatic lubricator:D

September 11, 2010, 12:51 AM
Thanks for all the good advice.

Now I'm eager to get back out and try it again.

September 11, 2010, 12:53 AM
"As soon as the powder ignites and the ball starts to push forward, the cylinder is being thrust to the rear. Nothing is going to hold that cylinder forward during combustion." Quote Model-P

Which is why I suggested the true barrel cylinder gap is checked with the hammer on half cock and holding back on the cylinder it isn't going any further back than that.
Just my not so humble opinion but Crisco is great for greasing a cookie sheet but pretty much useless around a black powder revolver. YMMV of course.

September 11, 2010, 02:16 AM
When I first saw the topic, Cylinder binds after a few shots, my first thought was: Does he have a Pietta Remington 1858?

Like denster, I use a loading press off-gun. I use my blackpowder lube, paraffin/beeswax/lamb tallow, liberally at the front of the pin. In a perfect world, the Remington's base pin would be offset from the face of the cylinder as Ruger did with the Old Army. With the R-1858, your best defense to to try to keep the pin clean and do what you can to prevent it from being fouled.

September 12, 2010, 07:12 AM
Have to respectfully disagree with you there Hawg.

That's perfectly ok, you're not the first one.:D

Gator Weiss
September 12, 2010, 11:40 AM
A gun machined to loose tolerances around the pin will obviously accept more grit that one machined to close tolerances. If the machining is too loose, the cylyinder pin can bend slightly from the forces at work under pressure. Mostly for these reasons, binding seems to differ from gun to gun.

Binding is also affected by the texture of the metal inside the cylinder and on the surface of the pin as opposed to fouling or the holding of fouling if the surface is rough or rusty. Evern a seriously smooth and polished surface might not retain it's lubricant well in conditions like these.

Binding is also affected by using lubricants that could be high-grit from the production facility.

Binding is also affected by using lubricants that attract and hold grit because they are too thick or sticky.

Binding is also affected by using lubricants that may crystalize when coming into contact with combustion or embers or or very hot gases.

Binding can be caused by micro bits of patch fiber, by lead oxides, etc, etc, etc.

Binding really doesnt change by changing powders. All powders burn and produce grit or foul, be they pyrodex or black. Pyro cleans up easier than black, but it still makes residues just as black does.

Binding need not be a problem. As has been said, wipe the cylynder pin clean. Keep a small brush on a small rod handy to swish through the cylinder, followed by a cleaning patch. Then apply a light coat of canola oil or if you prefer, a ligt cooking spray. Put your cylinder back in and fire your weapon. You will notice a difference.

September 13, 2010, 11:38 AM
To answer the question:
If the cylinder/barrel relationship is too close binding may occur. This is easily solved by wiping the face of the cylinder between loadings. Damp cloth with water, ballistol or any light oil or solvent.

The most common cause of binding in the Remingtons, original or clones, is arbor/base pin fouling. Pull cylinder between reloads and wipe base pin. A heavy lube will let you shoot longer. I use Dick Dastardly's pearl lube (1 part soy wax, 1 part toilet bowl ring and 1/2 to 1 part vegetable shortening)

September 13, 2010, 11:56 AM
Crisco is, from my 40+ years experience with bp firearms, the absolute second worst lube possible. It is dirty, gets everywhere, too soft and runny in hot weather and too hard in cold weather.
Worst lube I know of, and I have tried many, is chicken fat.
Serious C&B shooters often use water pump grease.

September 13, 2010, 12:32 PM
Have to respectfully disagree with you there Hawg.
That's perfectly ok, you're not the first one.

Your not alone Hawg, I prefer to see .005 as a minimum cylinder to barrel gap on BP revolvers.

One thing to look at is not all cylinders have the face machined flat and perpendicular to the barrel.
I use Prematex Super Lube for base pins and arbors.

September 13, 2010, 05:21 PM
I'm gonna kinda chime in with HH and MCB - I like to see the Colts especially at 0.006 or so, absolutely no less than 0.003.

October 30, 2010, 11:23 PM
I've found that the best basepin lube for my Uberti 1851 Navy is Synthetic Wheel Bearing Grease. Being synthetic is the key, and makes it work with blackpowder. I don't have any problems with the cylinder binding up anymore. :)

October 31, 2010, 09:39 AM
Hi all,
No one has mentioned the possibility that the problem is Pietta. I've in the past had similar problems with them. I've yet to have a Pietta that functioned properly out of the box. On two that I remember the gap between the barrel and cylinder was so tight the gun would not turn.

October 31, 2010, 09:52 AM
You must be an exception. My recently obtained 1860 Sheriff from Pietta was perfect!
Your problem is that the wedge is inserted too far and the arbor is too short. That causes the barrel to tip up from the lug and close the barrel to cylinder gap. That is not how these Colt type revolvers are supposed to be. The wedge is not the adjusting device for the barrel to cylinder gap.

October 31, 2010, 10:06 AM
I've yet to have a Pietta that functioned properly out of the box.

I've yet to have one that didn't.

October 31, 2010, 02:18 PM
Must be just me but I have a bunch of them.