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Old June 11, 2009, 06:15 AM   #1
Mr Jimmy
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Did I break my gun?

Pietta '58, bought used through Gunbroker. Fired maybe 75 balls through it using Goex 3f 25-30 grain loads and 454 balls w/ wads or crisco.

This is my first cap and ball gun and it shot great. Most fun ive had shooting in a while, I'm hooked.

I'm also stupid:
Cleaning after a day at the range, I installed the hand incorrectly; on the wrong side. Don't ask how, like I said I'm stupid. After realizing the mistake and removing the hand I saw that the spring has compressed against the body of the hand. I attempted to gently straigten it out but it snapped off. Ordered new hand from VTI Gun Parts and installed it correctly. When pulling back the hammer and advancing the cylinder, all seemed ok. When releasing the hammer with my thumb over the back of it, the cylinder rotated backwards. I removed the new hand and compared it to the original one and saw that the new hand is slightly longer and had a sharp edge to the end of it compared to the rounded off edge of the old one. So, I take the new hand to the Dremel and shave it down a bit. This did not help things any. No the cylinder wont advance at all, even though its still longer than the original. So, I order A new hand AND a new cylinder stop thinking that maybe this had something to do with it. Couldn't hurt right? New parts arrive yesterday and they are installed correctly. Now the cylinder advances too far. It moves past where the chamber and the barrel line up. the hammer would fall to the left of a nipple or even worse; Deal a cap a glancing blow and the gun could possibly go boom.

That's where I am now. No more gunsmithing attempts. I don't know where to go from here. Has anyone else had to modify new parts to work in their weapons? Any help? Constructive criticism please, I know I'm an idiot.
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Old June 11, 2009, 07:23 AM   #2
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Hands usually have to be fitted to a particular gun. The new hand should be the same length as the old one unless the old one is worn or bent. First off ditch the dremel and use a file. Take it down til it's close to the original hand and then install it and check the action. Keep filing a little bit and trying it til you get it right. When taking it apart and putting it back together so many times gets frustrating remember it's easier to take metal off than it is to put it back.
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Old June 11, 2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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As Hawg correctly states, fitting a new hand requires adjustment and patience. Using power tools like a Dremel is not a good idea. Use a file, go slowly, check the fit and function often and don't give up after the first try.

The original Colts were assembled and timed by master craftsmen who worked a long apprenticeship before they were allowed to take on the job. The modern replicas require much the same practice. This is not a game for today's 'instant gratification' society.

Also, proper timing is a function of many things. Check all your parts for proper fit and function on every assembly. The problem may not be the hand and spring at all.
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Old June 12, 2009, 10:11 AM   #4
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That's some good information.
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Old June 12, 2009, 11:50 AM   #5
Mr Jimmy
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Not a one size fits all situation then. Thank you guys.
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Old June 12, 2009, 04:38 PM   #6
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Inexpensive fast way to fix a broken hand spring

Something I find pretty easy to do (5 maybe on a scale of 1-10 if you have never done it) is tapthe remainder of the old spring out with a single sided industrial razor blade. Get a piece of .015" to .020" feeler gauge stock cut one out to length secure or crimp if needed. The shape the spring end as needed to slide into the frame with the hammer. Just don't bend the spring at the hammer as it will score it and may break. Use a pair a needle nose pliers to hold spring above the hammer where the base of the spring sits. I use teo pair of pliers to slowly bend the spring into shape...
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Old June 12, 2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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Get a smith to fix it, then dont do it again
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Old June 12, 2009, 05:31 PM   #8
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Like Smokin Gun said, only maybe you could use the spring out of the replacement part you bought, and put it in the origonal hand and use the origonal bolt and you wouldn't have to worry about timeing and lockup, as those parts are already fitted to the pistol. I havn't played with a rem for some time but it's a thought.
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Old June 13, 2009, 07:17 PM   #9
Mr Jimmy
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Just an update:

Took the slow and easy file method and it seems to have done the trick. Cylinder rotates and locks nicely.

Thanks everyone!

Last edited by Mr Jimmy; June 14, 2009 at 05:30 PM.
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Old June 14, 2009, 08:53 AM   #10
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Learning to use a file(and all files) is one of the first things you learn when in machinist school.Do they still have machinist schools? Every where I go,its CNC shops.My gunsmith has an array of files and reamers,punches,etc. All hand finishing tools.Selma, Al.Anybody want a 45-70- or a 45-90,let me know and I will get their address for you,all hand built.Beautiful work.
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Old June 14, 2009, 06:09 PM   #11
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Mr Jimmy, do not call yourself STUPID we all have to start
from the bottom to lean, hell all on this site started from
the bottom when they picked up a bp gun,
so no you are not STUPID.
Sod Buster Tried To Pull On Willson.
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Old June 15, 2009, 11:16 AM   #12
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The first task they gave me in machinist training was to take a mil bastard file and a piece of bar stock and file it to a 1" cube. If it wasn't perfectly square and sized exactly at 1" +- .010" you started again. Using files is an art, there are many different types of file, and a machinist has to know all of them and how they are used. I am a retired toolmaker.
If ye love wealth better than Liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animated contest of Freedom, go from us in Peace. We ask not your counsel or Arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen. --Samuel Adams--<*ixoye><
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Old June 15, 2009, 02:06 PM   #13
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If you want to get serious about the hands in c & b revolvers look up the Pettifogger conversion(on the Dark Art board at the Darksider forum of Cas City.
Removes any possibility of a hand spring, the weakest portion of the Colt design, from ever breaking.
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Old June 18, 2009, 06:04 PM   #14
Mr Jimmy
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Thanks for the kind words Noz.
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