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Old October 2, 2018, 12:35 PM   #1
PaleRider88
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Colt police positive special 1962.

This may have already been asked before but I didn't see it at least not exactly like my question is. I have a colt police positive special revolver made in 1962.
The cylinder has side shake a little but no Inshake. The cylinder has a very tight lockup at hammer break though. The bank vault lockup is really good I looked down the barrel with a flashlight "unloaded of course" and it seems to be aligned with forcing cone.
I put snap caps in and cycled the weapon 12 times and no mess ups. I glued paper to the snap caps and the firing pin hit dead center every time. The only issue it has is a loose cylinder while in default mode. I believe this is caused by a worm cylinder stop bolt.
The original design of the colt new model which this is designed after didn't even have a cylinder stop so I don't believe it's to important anyways. Based on all that I have said would you guys think it's safe to shoot? Thank you for answering.
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Old October 2, 2018, 01:09 PM   #2
McShooty
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First post I see. Welcome. Believe me, the cylinder stop is important to the proper indexing of the cylinder for firing. Every revolver since the original Smith & Wesson No. 1 has a positive method of cylinder indexing, usually what we call a cylinder stop bolt. If your gun has "bank vault lockup" when the trigger breaks and a chamber is perfectly lined up, your stop is working and the gun should fire safely. Someone who knows revolvers, however, should examine your gun before you fire it. The PP Special is a strong revolver.
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Old October 2, 2018, 05:37 PM   #3
PaleRider88
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Thank you for the reply. I live in middle Tennessee and can't find a "revolver" smith around here. Is the loose side play normal? Again the firing lock up is really tight and seems to be In alignment. Also the top of the cylinder stop bolt looks to be a little more worn on the side that swings out. But that is barely noticeable. I really want to fire a cowboy .38 load in it and see what happens.
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Old October 2, 2018, 05:56 PM   #4
HighValleyRanch
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Find a dowel that is close to the bore size and use it to check the cylinder alignment of each chamber. Do this with the cylinder locked up in single action. If they all check out, then I would assume the gun is safe to fire.
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Old October 2, 2018, 06:38 PM   #5
Dfariswheel
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With the action un-cocked, any rotational movement of a Colt cylinder is of no importance, as long as the cylinder stays locked and the cylinder cannot be rotated backward.
This is also true of most any other brand of revolver.

What counts in the older Colt action is when the trigger is pulled. Then the cylinder should be tightly locked and have no rotational movement.
This is true ONLY for older Colt DA revolvers, NO other brands or the newer Mark III and later DA revolvers.
All other brands and the newer Colt's will NOT lock up tightly when the trigger is pulled, even if they seem to be tightly locked.

Here's my instructions on how to check an old model Colt action for correct timing..........

BOLT RETRACTION AND "SNAP BACK".
Open the cylinder and look at the small "lug" in the bottom of the cylinder window. This is the cylinder locking bolt.
Cock the hammer, and watch as the bolt retracts into the frame and pops back out.
The bolt MUST begin to retract THE INSTANT the hammer begins to move.
There MUST be NO (ZERO) hammer movement possible before the bolt starts to retract.
The bolt should retract smoothly with no hesitation until it's fully retracted, then it must pop back out with a clean "snap".
There should be no hesitation, and no amount of "creeping" back out.

CYLINDER UNLOCKING.
Close the cylinder.
Use your left thumb or fore finger to again cock the hammer, closely watching the cylinder bolt as you SLOWLY cock the hammer.
As the hammer comes back, the bolt will retract away from the cylinder.
The bolt must retract far enough to unlock the cylinder BEFORE the cylinder begins to rotate.
If the bolt is still slightly engaged with the cylinder lock notch, the cylinder will be attempting to turn while still partially locked.
This produces a "catch" or "hard spot" in the trigger pull and will damage both the bolt and the cylinder lock notches.
This often appears as metal "pulled out" of the lock notches, with rounded off and burred notches.

BOLT DROP TIMING.
Continue to cock the hammer, LIGHTLY laying your right index finger on the cylinder just enough to prevent "free wheeling".
Watch for the bolt to drop back onto the cylinder. WHERE the bolt drops is CRITICAL.
The bolt MUST drop onto the leade or ramp in front of the actual cylinder notch.
If the bolt drops too soon, (in front of the notch ramp), it will mar the finish of the cylinder.
The bolt should drop into “about” the middle of the ramp.
If the bolt drops late, (farther toward the actual locking notch) the revolver may display "cylinder throw-by".
In this condition, during double action shooting the cylinder may rotate PAST the locking notch, and fire in an unlocked condition.
It's the nature of the Colt action, that a hesitant or jerky trigger pull by the user can induce throw-by in even a properly tuned Colt.
The Colt trigger should be pulled with a smooth, even pull, with no sudden jerks at the beginning.

CYLINDER LOCKUP.
Continue to pull the hammer back and both watch and listen for the bolt to drop into the cylinder lock notch.
The bolt must drop into the actual lock notch before or just as the hammer reaches full cock.
The most common Colt mis-time situation is the hammer cocks before the bolt drops into the lock notch. (Hammer is cocked, but cylinder isn't locked).
In this condition, with the hammer fully cocked, you can push the cylinder slightly, and you will hear the "CLICK" as the bolt drops into lock.
In my experience, most Colt's leave the factory with the bolt dropping a little late into the leade, but usually wear in to correct timing.
If the bolt drops onto the cylinder early, no real problem, but there will be extra finish wear.
If the bolt drops late (closer to the lock notch) the cylinder may "throw by" or rotate TOO far in double action and this can cause off-center primer hits and firing while unlocked.

Each of these checks should be done on EACH chamber. All of these checks are better done individually. In other words, do the bolt retraction check on all six chambers, then do the bolt drop test, and so on.

A properly tuned Colt will:
Have a smoothly functioning bolt with no sticky or hesitant movement.

Unlock before the cylinder begins to turn.

The bolt will drop onto the middle of the ramp.

The bolt will drop into the lock notch just before or as the hammer reaches full cock.

Have a smooth trigger pull, which does "stack" or get heavier as the trigger is pulled.
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Old October 3, 2018, 09:15 AM   #6
Mike Irwin
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IIRC, the traditional design of the Colt's lockwork makes the cylinder wobble a LOT more than an S&W when the hammer is down and the trigger is at rest.

Tight lockup would happen with the trigger fully back, and was, IIRC (again) completed by the hand, which essentially wedged the cylinder against the cylinder stop.

That's why, if the hand becomes worn in a Colt, it will go out of time a LOT faster than with a Smith.
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Old October 3, 2018, 05:19 PM   #7
gwpercle
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I have one made in 1910 . If your's dates to 1908 or after it was made for standard velocity 158 gr lead bullet 38 special ammunition.

I shoot mine with 148 grain Lead HB Target Wadcutter ammo .
If you do a google search on the term " Colt Police Positive 38 Special Production Information " you can find the section that will list the serial numbers and year of production.
I would not shoot any +P ammo , ammo loaded with jacketed bullets or jacketed hollow points. Use only standard velocity lead , nothing heavier than 158 grains....the 148 gr. Hollow Base Target Wadcutter loads are gentle on the old ones.
Gary

Last edited by gwpercle; October 3, 2018 at 05:27 PM.
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Old October 3, 2018, 10:31 PM   #8
Driftwood Johnson
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Quote:
The original design of the colt new model which this is designed after didn't even have a cylinder stop so I don't believe it's to important anyways. Based on all that I have said would you guys think it's safe to shoot? Thank you for answering.
Howdy

I believe you are over generalizing a bit with that statement. The 19th Century Colt Model 1877 Lightning and Thunderer and the Model 1878 double action revolvers used the hand and cylinder ratchet teeth to keep the cylinder in battery. The same with the Model 1902 Philippine Model and the Navy Model of 1889. Interesting because all the Colt Cap & Ball revolvers as well as the Single Action Army used a conventional bolt and slots on the cylinder to lock up the cylinder. Everything Colt made after the New Army and Navy Model of 1892 used a conventional bolt and locking slots on the cylinder.

Enough about that. The word Positive in the name of Colt revolvers referred to the 'positive lock' mechanism, patented in 1905, that insured the firing pin could not strike a primer unless the hammer had been drawn back to full cock.

Anyway, I have several Police Positive Special revolvers, made between 1922 and 1952. Except for the little 22 Police Positive Target made in made in 1936 at the far right of this photo.






I won't go out on a limb and say a revolver I have not examined personally is safe to shoot. However I will say that with the two I have in hand right now, there is a tiny bit of rotational play to the cylinders with the hammer down. A really tiny amount. However once the trigger is pulled, the play disappears completely as the hand pushes against the ratchet teeth on the cylinder.
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Old October 8, 2018, 09:07 AM   #9
PaleRider88
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Ok so I did as you instructed and it checked out. I fired 12 speer plastic bullets and everything works fine except on double action i had 2 out of 6 shots in double action mode not fire but did when struck again in single action the hammer when back further and they ignited. So can I stiffen up the main spring or something to make it hit harder?
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Old October 9, 2018, 06:48 AM   #10
Mike Irwin
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Don't be so quick to blame the gun. It could be that the primers weren't set far enough into the case.

The first strike of the hammer pushed the primers deeper into the primer pocket, essentially fully seating them, and the second strike fired them.
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