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Old July 11, 2018, 09:54 AM   #1
DirtyHurlow
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Colt single action machining marks excessive?

I purchased a 3rd gen sheriff's model that had 'never been fired' - which looked to be in good condition until I borescopes it. I am very concerned about some rough marks that appear to be machining marks, but am afraid they may be excessive (they are far beyond what I have seen in my other revolvers (including another SAA). You can see that even with the naked eye (pic from outside the gun at the chamber/cylinder end- the light picks up the blemish) the marks are visible (and go all around the barrel) from the cylinder end. With the borescope (other two images) the marks are very prominent (and only occur around the barrel in this same location). I was concerned enough not to take possession of the gun (it is at my FFL). Normal for 2008 manufacture? Sign of a problem? Cancel the sale? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated,
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Last edited by DirtyHurlow; July 11, 2018 at 10:17 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old July 11, 2018, 10:30 AM   #2
RickB
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Are you planning to shoot the gun, or you want to be able to advertise "no machining marks in bore" when you resell?

A friend and I bought a couple of Colt .38 Supers at the same time, his had what he thought were excessive machine marks in the barrel, while mine had no visible marks.

He returned his gun to Colt and they replaced the barrel.
It looks great on the inside when you shine a light in there, but, does it shoot any better than with the original barrel?

I don't know that I'd make a judgment about the inside of the barrel independent of its accuracy capability.
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Old July 11, 2018, 10:37 AM   #3
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Thavks for the reply RickB.
This will be ‘shooter’ as all my guns are, and I don’t plan to sell (until I die and my kid might). However, if the is a quality problem (and the marks are indeed excessive- and to my novice eye compared to my other guns they seem to be) I don’t want to have paid such a high price for it. Especially if it could worsen over time or degrade accuracy in any way.
Thus, I thought I would appeal for the opinions of those wiser than me.
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Old July 11, 2018, 11:31 AM   #4
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Unlikely that soft lead, or even not-as-soft jacketed bullets are going to have much affect on the condition of the bore, unless you shoot many thousands of rounds.

Is this a three-day inspection deal, where you have to return it to an out-of-state seller?

If you have time, you might call Colt and see if they would warrant the barrel based on appearance alone; they might ask, "Well, how does it shoot?"

I'm pretty sure my buddy never fired his Super before sending it back, and Colt does a lot of warranty work based on a gun's appearance.
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Old July 11, 2018, 11:31 AM   #5
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"tool marks" are part of the manufacturing process. Tool marks caused by slippage, or "chatter" of the cutting head are a flaw. However are they enough of a flaw to affect any function of the gun, or are they just cosmetic??

how important is the cosmetic??

For what Colt charges, you would expect flawless finish, inside and out. But, is it unreasonable to expect flawless finish inside, where it doesn't matter?

Your gun, your call. If you are a potential purchaser, and the gun delivered doesn't meet your approval (for any actual reason, or none), you are free to change your mind, cancel the purchase, or request the seller provide what you ask for, another "unblemished" sample.
It's your money, and if you accept a product (gun or whatever) that you don't want, you have no one else to blame if you aren't happy with it.
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Old July 11, 2018, 11:49 AM   #6
Aguila Blanca
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There are a couple or three ways to make a rifled barrel. These days, a lot of barrel makers seem to use hammer forging. In this process, a steel tube is progressively hammered in around a hardened steel mandrel to form the bore, lands, and grooves. There is no metal cut away, so it's possible to achieve a fairly smooth finish.

The older way is to pull cutters through the barrel, progressively removing material from the grooves. This is the way Colt still does it. It is a machining process, and it's MUCH more difficult with this process to achieve a finish with no machine marks.

The concern isn't so much how well it shoots, but how quickly the rougher surface will accumulate leading or copper deposits. I've never owned or even handled a genuine Colt SAA, but I have owned a couple of Colt 1911s. I can't recall seeing a barrel that looked quite that rough, so I think I would be concerned. The problem is that you can't know how quickly it'll lead up unless/until you shoot it a lot.
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Old July 11, 2018, 08:30 PM   #7
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Howdy

First off, I am always suspicious when somebody says a gun has never been fired. If nothing else, it was fired with proof loads at the factory. Look on the recoil shield to see if there are 'ghost' marks left behind around the firing pin hole from primers and cartridges slamming back in recoil. That is a pretty good indicator of whether or not the gun has been fired.

This 2nd Gen Colt has been fired a lot.






This Smith and Wesson has been fired a lot too. Cartridge heads have left a ghost mark on the blue of the recoil shield. You can also see the beginnings of another mark at the Ten O'Clock postion. This is because as the gun jerks backward in recoil, cartridges that have not been fired yet will also slam into the recoil shield, just not as hard as cartridges that are fired.






I've looked down a lot of barrels, including Colts.

Typically, the hole is first bored all the way through the barrel with a gun drill. This often leaves chatter marks in the bore. Sometimes they are very minor, sometimes they are more noticeable, depending on the feed rate of the drill. Next, reamers are pulled through the hole, cutting the rifling grooves deeper than the bore diameter. (Which is why it is called Bore Diameter.) The reamers remove the chatter marks left behind in the original hole. Since the reamers are pulled through the hole, they often leave minor tool marks running the length of the bore.

With all due respect, it is a little bit difficult for me to see in your photo what you are referring to. It looks to me like some nasty chatter marks located in one location in the bore, near the forcing cone?

If so, they are probably just deeper chatter marks left behind in one location during the boring process. Yes, the quality could be a bit better. I'm looking down the bore of a 1st Gen Colt from 1907 and there are non chatter marks at all. But that was 1907 production.

It all depends on how perfect you want the gun to be, and what the selling price is. You might be amazed how well revolvers with less than perfect bores shoot. I have a S&W Model 65 that I bought used a bunch of years ago with a real nasty divot in the bore up near the front sight. It shoots just fine. I have old guns with pitted bores and they usually put a good spin on the bullet and shoot just fine too.

It depends on the price.

Any idea when it was made? I don't have any 3rd Gen Colts, but the early ones had a reputation for less than perfect finishing. Later they got better. No, sorry I don't have dates other than to tell you 3rd Gen production started in 1976.

Personally, if the price was right, I would not hesitate very much to buy it if that is all that seems wrong.
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Old July 11, 2018, 10:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
First off, I am always suspicious when somebody says a gun has never been fired. If nothing else, it was fired with proof loads at the factory.
In generally accepted usage, the term "unfired" is understood to mean "not fired outside of factory testing."

The terms "new" "as new" and "used" are descriptors of ownership, not physical condition. its not common but not impossible to find a used gun (having had one or more private owner) in unfired (by them) condition.
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Old July 12, 2018, 07:37 AM   #9
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I can't tell 100 % what I'm looking at. Does it seem like a pilot on a forcing cone reamer might be the culprit?

It appears that was done after the bluing.I don't know what that means.But a piloted reamer would also remove blue wherever it cut,too.

I'm not a wheel gun mechanic.I recall reading Ross Seifreds article on the Ruger Lipsey Special Blackhawk.Ross addressed a situation he called,IIRC,"choked throat" Where the barrel shank is screwed into the frame,sometimes the bore ID gets choked down. Its possible. He fire lapped it out of the sample Rugers he had,and said Ruger addressed the problem.

But now consider there is a tool/gauge called a range rod.Its supposed to be a slip fit throught the bore,and its used to check cylinder alignment.

Whether before or after the gun left Colt,someone may have put a range rod through the bore a bit too aggressively,and found a tight throat by getting the range rod stuck. The marks could be range rod marks.

I'm not saying that is what happened.

When I look at the tracks and ask "What happened here?" that is a story that could be what happened.

Its my opinion that my opinion does not matter here. What will my approval or disapproval change?

Only you can decide if that flaw will be in your mind. Will you enjoy the gun?
Only you can answer that.

Last edited by HiBC; July 12, 2018 at 01:27 PM.
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Old July 14, 2018, 11:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
I purchased a 3rd gen sheriff's model that had 'never been fired' - which looked to be in good condition until I borescopes it.
What you are looking at was not a result of the gun being fired, but of tool marks as others explained.

I have a rule of thumb when looking at a revolver I may want to buy regarding the barrel. I look at it from both ends with a light, usually a regular bore light. If there is a minor issue I may pass or I may look for a lower price. If the issue is a bulge in the barrel of significant damage to the naked eye then most likely I walk away unless they lower the price to account for a new barrel.

I also try to look for what can look like damage to the bore but that is actually lead residue. To the naked eye it can look like damage. It's generally a bit duller than the shine of the bore.

I've never used a borescope on a handgun. Rifle and precision rifle yes. It's makes a difference there. But with handguns minor flaws rarely make a long term difference if the barrel is properly cared for. The exception will be barrels intended for matches. Borescopes can show minor flaws as major damage.

Aguila Blanca's point is useful:

Quote:
The concern isn't so much how well it shoots, but how quickly the rougher surface will accumulate leading or copper deposits
In this case if you don't feel right about it...there will always be another good gun down the line.

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Old July 16, 2018, 09:36 PM   #11
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This is not an unusual amount of roughness. It will probably not affect accuracy in any notable way. will the roughness of the scratching collect lead or copper? I don't know, but if it does, it may not be any problem either.

Are you happy with the thing other than those spots? Test for accuracy, scope the thing after a box or so to see if fouling is a problem. If it is only at the ends, shouldn't be too hard to brush it out.
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Old July 17, 2018, 05:22 PM   #12
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You have come smack up against the ugly truth that Colt is a mere shadow of the company they once were. I bought what some call a 4th Gen Single Action Army a couple years ago, with the removable cylinder bushing and a BP frame. I was very disappointed in the fit and finish. It was over polished, the trigger pull was awful, the hammer cock was brutal, and this from a gun that supposedly came from the custom shop. I eventually sold it for a loss.

I can be critical because in years gone by I've owned several 1st Generation Colts and this last one didn't compare.

If you want a quality made single action revolver, in the same class as the 1st Generation Colts, look for an all US made USFA revolver. They cost about as much as the 3rd Generation Colt on the used market but are superior in almost every measure. And yes, I now own several USFA single actions.
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Old July 17, 2018, 05:34 PM   #13
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In my experience, those sort of blemishes in the bore will pickup lead and copper, and you will need to use appropriate solvents for removal.
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Old July 25, 2018, 12:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
You have come smack up against the ugly truth that Colt is a mere shadow of the company they once were. I bought what some call a 4th Gen Single Action Army a couple years ago, with the removable cylinder bushing and a BP frame. I was very disappointed in the fit and finish. It was over polished, the trigger pull was awful, the hammer cock was brutal, and this from a gun that supposedly came from the custom shop. I eventually sold it for a loss.

I can be critical because in years gone by I've owned several 1st Generation Colts and this last one didn't compare.

If you want a quality made single action revolver, in the same class as the 1st Generation Colts, look for an all US made USFA revolver. They cost about as much as the 3rd Generation Colt on the used market but are superior in almost every measure. And yes, I now own several USFA single actions.
^^^ Amen to that!
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