View Full Version : Colt Police Positive timing

January 13, 2012, 03:51 PM
I have a .32 Colt Police Positive that was my grandfathers, which has a timing problem.

When you cock the hammer, the cylinder does not revolve all the way in to position. This is the position of the cylinder with the hammer cocked:



If I rotate the cylinder manually, it clicks in to place.

Is there a common cause of this, such as a worn Cylinder Hand or ejector ratchet? Are these parts available anywhere?

Exploded view here:


January 13, 2012, 04:20 PM
Typically, Colt revolver hands wear and the revolver gets out of time. Colts are supposed to be timed so that the cylinder bolt drops into the cylinder notch just before the sear clears the nose of the double action strut or as the revolver is fired from cocked. As the hand wears, timing gets off a bit.

January 13, 2012, 08:37 PM
For the older Colt's parts are tough to get, and they're used, which may not work in your gun.

The "usual" problem with your gun is the hand that advances the cylinder is worn.
Depending on how bad it is, the hand may be repairable, or it may need replacing.
There are also other possible causes and it takes a real expert to diagnose these.
This is no job for anyone but a gunsmith who's qualified to work on the old Colt's, of which almost none today are.
FAIR WARNING: Taking this to almost any local gunsmith will run a very high risk that you'll get the gun back with the original problem not fixed, and other problems caused by a lack of knowledge of how the old Colt works.

Colt no longer works on the old models due to the lack of parts.
My suggestion is if you want it repaired, contact Cylinder & Slide Shop.
They're an expert Colt repair source, but they're slow and expensive. However, they do factory level work.

Cylinder & Slide, Inc.
245 E. 4th Street
Fremont, NE 68026
(402) 721-4277

James K
January 13, 2012, 09:04 PM
Will the cylinder lock up when the trigger is pulled? That gun is pretty far out of time, but it is pretty common for the old Colts to lock up when the trigger is pulled even so.

Suggestion. See if you can make up, or get a reloader to make up, some empty primed cases. Then fire the gun in the normal manner - no holding the cylinder back or pulling the trigger slowly, just normal. If the firing pin hits the center of the primer all the time, no big deal. If it doesn't, try to have the gun fixed and don't shoot it until you do.


January 13, 2012, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the replies.

Now that you guys mention it, it does appear to center up (for lack of a better term) nicely when the trigger is pulled. If I cock and pull the trigger with the cylinder open, I can see the hand moves up a little farther at the very end of the trigger travel before it breaks.

I don't know anyone who reloads ".32 Police Ctg" (which from what resources I can find is .32 S&W Long), but I can buy a box of ammo and pull a couple (well, at least 6, probably 12) bullets to do Jim's primer test. If that works, I can shoot the rest of the box....:)

January 14, 2012, 08:07 PM
Check here , http://www.gunpartscorp.com/ . Last time I checked they had a few parts for the colt PP.

January 16, 2012, 02:06 PM
Thanks for the link. Looks like they have new reproduction hands fairly cheap.

I also found this, which makes me a little confused:


Revolver Hands for early & late model Police positive "D" frame and 1917 Colt "N" frame,
new unused hands for successful fitting
CPP09 D frame (early hand, narrow & shorter)
CPP10 D frame (wider & longer)

Anyone know what the cutoff is for early vs late? The Numrich link makes no mention of early vs late. Based off the serial number (127xxx) and info from http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html mine was made in 1915.


January 18, 2012, 11:00 PM
Lately I have worked on a number of my old Colt double action revolvers.

I have been using this book:


Kuhnhausen wrote a terrible book on Mausers, but this Colt book is so good, and the information would be so hard to figure out, all I can think is that he made buddies at the Colt factory and he took good notes, and then went home and practiced.

Really a must have to work on them.

I realized someone had put a new rebound lever and did not go through the fitting process to time the revolvert, and it has never worked right. So I had to fit the cam to time the revolver.

James K
January 19, 2012, 04:01 PM
Hints when timing a bolt: 1) It is easy to ruin a part by filing on it. 2) Bolts cost less than rebound levers.


January 22, 2012, 03:28 PM
FWIW, Hamilton Bowen wrote in his Gunsmithing column in a recent (Dec.2011) issue of "Guns" magazine that he personally considers a fellow named Grant Cunningham to be the go-to guy where old Colt DAs are concerned.

High praise indeed, IMHO, considering that Mr. Bowen is widely considered to be one of the all-time great pistolsmiths.

Being the true gentleman that he is, I'm sure Mr. Bowen would provide you with contact info should you happen to be seriously enough commited to restoring your heirloom revolver to full working condition again.

One caveat: Highly skilled and specialized labor of this caliber never comes cheaply.

Hope this is of some help to you.