Author Topic: 2nd Generation Colt  (Read 1901 times)

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Offline blackknight

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2nd Generation Colt
« on: October 13, 2004, 05:57:36 pm »
Our black powder club recently added pistol shooting to our monthly matches.  Since I have a Colt 2nd generation 1860 that needed some repairs I decided to see how it would work out.  Haven't shot it since the mid '80s when the wedge buckled at the spring cut out, as they were known to do.  Colt wouldn't stand behind it so it has languished in the gun safe till last week.  I ordered a new wedge assembly and installed it, which tightened up the cylinder end play so the caps would fire.  The next problem is the lug that retains the rammer rod opens up the dove tail letting the lug become loose.  I have tried epoxy and lock tite but that hasn't worked.  Perhaps solder might.  I considered securing the barrel in a shallow pan of water with a rag to keep the temperature of the front sight below the melting point of solder, and solder the lug dove tail.  Any thoughts from the guys who have had this problem?

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2nd Generation Colt
« on: October 13, 2004, 05:57:36 pm »
 

Offline nohorse

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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2004, 06:21:58 pm »
I had the same problem on a new signature series navy. Went out to shoot it and within 3 rounds the lug fell off.  I reinserted it and took a ball peen hammer and a punch and peened the edges of the slot to hold it in place.  Works great. If you are careful you can do it without causing unsightly damage. Make sure you use a fine point punch. I ground the point of mine down on a grinder.  If you need to you can dress things up a little with a swiss file and touch it up with a little cold blue.
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Offline filmokentucky

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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2004, 06:32:59 pm »
I'm not sure what you mean about the wedge or the rammer lug. I've never had a problem with my '60 Armies and they've had hundreds of rounds through them- all of them full loads.
  If you mean the lug at the front bottom of the barrel that the loading lever latches into, and that has worked loose, you could try setting it in position and then using a punch to upset the edges of the dovetail and lock it in place. However, this will mark up the metal. Soldering would work, but the damage to the finish would almost certainly be even worse.
  I am at a loss to explain what would cause this situation to arise, unless the dovetail was milled slightly oversized at the factory. The lugs on my Armies are all very tight- it would take some work to knock them loose. I'm surprised that Colt wouldn't support their product as they usually are very good in this respect.
  All in all, it might be best to approach this the way an old timer would have back in 1868 or so. Instead of being concerned with the value or collectability of the piece, I think I might just get it shooting again and have myself some fun. Good luck and I hope this is of some help.
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Offline Cowpox

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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2004, 06:34:50 pm »
Hello Blackknight, I am presuming you are talking about the lug under the barrel, that the spring loaded latch on the end of the loading lever locks into. There are two tricks that will tighten a loose dovetail slot. I would suggest you use both in this case. First, remove the lug from the slot, then use a center punch to make a dimple or two in the bottom of the slot. Then use a flat end punch to put some "set" in the slot, by tapping the outside edges down slightly. use a brass drift to tap the lug back into the slot, and it should fit, and hold very well. cowpox
I rode with him,---------I got no complaints. ---------Cowpox

Offline nohorse

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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2004, 06:38:59 pm »
Cowpox: That's exactly what I was talking about!
GG-father: 6th Ala Inf
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Offline Cowpox

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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2004, 06:43:20 pm »
OK BlackKnight, If you understand what I was trying to tell you about using punches to tighten the slot, give it a try, and let us know how it worked out. cowpox
I rode with him,---------I got no complaints. ---------Cowpox

Offline Cowpox

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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2004, 06:48:03 pm »
Opps. Sorry Nohorse, I thought I was replying to BlackKnight. I should have said, If you understand what Nohorse and I were trying to tell you. cowpox
I rode with him,---------I got no complaints. ---------Cowpox

Offline Cowpox

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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2004, 06:50:07 pm »
Hello Blackknight, I am presuming you are talking about the lug under the barrel, that the spring loaded latch on the end of the loading lever locks into. There are two tricks that will tighten a loose dovetail slot. I would suggest you use both in this case. First, remove the lug from the slot, then use a center punch to make a dimple or two in the bottom of the slot. Then use a flat end punch to put some "set" in the slot, by tapping the outside edges down slightly. use a brass drift to tap the lug back into the slot, and it should fit, and hold very well. cowpox
I rode with him,---------I got no complaints. ---------Cowpox

Offline blackknight

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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2004, 08:27:06 am »
Thanks for the input on peening the lug and dove tail, but I have a feeling that won't be enough to overcome the inertia of the loading lever on the lug.  I have peened the dove tail back to the original shape several times, work hardening it in the process, and I feel it will soon  break off.  The dove tail opens up the same way each time; the back iip bends down, there is very little deformation on the front lip.  There is a factory stake on the back lip, on the side of the loading lever, so they were aware of the weakness.  I bought this pistol from Midsouth shortly after an article appeared in the American Rifleman about the authenticity of this replica.  Got a flier listing them at a really good discount and later it came out that Colt had farmed out the production and there were problems Colt didn't want to address.  Have a nice factory letter from them disowning their gun and recommending a couple good gunsmiths I could pay to repair the gun.  Not much product support there.  I may sent the barrel assembly to Lee Shaver in MO and have him install a higher front sight and see if he can permantly attach the lug to the barrel.  Any thoughts on where to get a higher front sight?  I have scoured the archives and don't want to use a cut down penny.  This 1860 is a fun gun to shoot but most of my time at the range has been trying to fix it.

Offline filmokentucky

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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2004, 09:55:47 am »
You say it's a second generation Army, so I'm assuming you have an "F"
series or "black box" Colt and not a Signature Series piece. I can't figure out what would cause this situation to keep developing. It is possible for a gun to leave the factory with a part that is out of tolerance (and many Signature Series guns did) but once a repair is effected, the problem should not recur. It sounds like the problem is recoil related-and if it was a Walker I could see that as being possible. But a '60 Army just doesn't have enough recoil energy to loosen the lug.
  If you are sending the barrel to a gunsmith, you might want to consider sending the whole gun and asking him to sort the problem out by firing the gun. Maybe he can discover the cause. I for one would be very interested in what would make this happen.
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Offline Cowpox

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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2004, 01:31:30 pm »
OK blackknight, I have two Italian made 1860s. One by Pietta, and one Uberti. The only time I ever came close to uncomfortable recoil in either of them, was with full loads of Hodgden 777. Sure didn't bend anything though. What were you using for fuel in yours? It almost sounds like you have a metallurgy problem. I would take the advise Filmokentucky gave you, and send the whole works to a good smithy to be checked out. Like him, I would be interested in what is going on with it. Of coarse it's your dollar we're spending. Might be cheaper to turn your Colt into a knickknack, and order a Pietta from Cabela's. About $180, in their 2004 shooters catalog. I sure would not shoot it until it was checked out. Cabela's aren't selling replacement eyes. cowpox
I rode with him,---------I got no complaints. ---------Cowpox

Offline Cowpox

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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2004, 05:48:50 pm »
Hello again Blackknight, About your question an a higher replacement front sight. I have five italian made Colt style revolvers.  The two 1860s I mentioned before, plus a 1851 sheriffs model and a 1851 Yank, and an 1862 police. They all shot high. I used advice I found on this forum, and "regulated" the hammers by deepening the notch with a Dremel tool. Just a little at a time, then shooting them until they shot to point of aim at twenty five yards. I ran out of room on the Police, so that one still shoots about 5 inches high, but thats close enough to suit me. My friend, who went to gunsmith school, uses reshaped brass shotgun beads to get a higher front sight on his. Just thought I'd give you two ideas. cowpox
I rode with him,---------I got no complaints. ---------Cowpox

Offline blackknight

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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2004, 07:47:50 pm »
My 1860 came in a foam lined black box so may be the F series (it is back languishing in the gun safe).  I bought it sometime in the '80s and only fired it a few times with Pyrodex pistol then as I had some on hand.  Used a mild charge with a round ball and Crisco over the balls.

This time, after installing a new wedge I have used a charge of 25 grains of 2f and 25 grains of 3f with the greased wad under the ball.  That works much better than filling the ends of the cylinder with grease.  I tried it once with some beeswax, sheep tallow, and lanolin mix and it created the old mess, as was to be expected.  The barrel also fouled more than with the greased wad.  Used Remington number 10 caps and had about a 50% failure rate with them, so pinched some RWS number 11 caps and they fired every time and stayed on the nipples until fired.  All my shots have been with the round ball.

The pistol is accurate, I shot several pig silhouette targets at 100 yards, holding just above center of the animal.  Shot several chicken targets at 50 yards and all of my misses would go over the target and would have been hits if I had held low enough.  At 25 yards with the chicken less hold under was required.

Our club just shoots the chicken target at 25 yards and 50 yards, though since pistols are new it may evolve into more.  At our last match a shooter was able to hit the pig about 1 out of 4 shots with a Thompson Center Patriot.

Does anyone sell aftermarket front sights?  Shooting high seems to be a problem when shooting at a small target, but then they were designed more as a mounted weapon shooting at a tall, large target.  Probably didn't shoot at tin cans much with ball and powder being high priced items.

Anyway I had hoped to shoot the pistol at the match this week end, which may be our last match for the year and it won't be ready for that unless I put a hose clamp over the lug and screw it down real tight.

Thanks for the suggestions.  I enjoy reading this board.  Regards,  Bob

Offline blackknight

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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2004, 07:52:10 pm »
I had a little free time this afternoon, after our family lunch out, and so decided to take another look at the lug dove tail.  Used a good light and a 10 power loupe and with that I could see daylight under the lug after the lock tite was scraped off.  I used a dove tail file to clean out the edges of the groove until  the lug sat flat on the bottom.  There was a factory stake behind the back edge that threw up a ridge of metal that had never been preened down to make much of an angle, so when the loading lever tried to move from inertia the lug just climbed the shallow angle and popped loose.  What I was preening pown was the edge of the dovetail.

I used a spoon shaped lead sinker to support the barrel and peened the rear edge until a good angle was formed, drove the lug in to it to shape the dove tail, then tinned the lug and dove tail.  Kept the barrel sight side cool with a wet rag soaking in a fruit cake lid, and tapped the lug in while the solder was molten.  It cleaned up well and seems to be very solid, it won't move with moderate taps from the mallet.  Will shoot it in the match this week end and see how it holds up, I called the match director and he said revolvers were OK but didn't fair well against the single shots for accuracy.  

Might try the conical bullet for the 50 yard shots if they have enough accuracy and work with different powder loads to see if that will help the point of aim.  Probably need a harder hold as well, but need to find some mail order sources for wads, bullets and such.  I cast balls but don't want to put money in a mould if the gun doesn't like them.

Thanks again for the input from the board.  Regards,  Bob

Offline filmokentucky

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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2004, 08:20:19 pm »
It can be difficult to seat conicals straight and velocity will fall off dramatically. You'll definitely need to develop a different sight picture. I gave up on conicals years ago as I found balls easier to deal with and more accurate, as well as flatter shooting.
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Offline Cowpox

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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2004, 09:13:48 pm »
blackknight, glad to hear you may have solved your loose lug problem. You may as well experiment with conical bullets. Most of us have. However, filmokentucky is correct on his assessment of conicals in cap and ball revolvers. There may be a revolver out there that shoots them well, but I haven't seen one yet. In my experiment with them, accuracy went down, but in close they seem to have greater energy than the round ball. At least they seem to make the steel targets do tricks that they don't do with round balls. I don't know if anyone makes an after market replacement sight blade or not. All of the ones I have seen have been home made and handy. As far as your other component needs, Thunder Ridge seems to have everything a guy needs. Their email address is , www.cap-n-ball.com/thunder. You can pretty much cure your miss fire problem by ordering a set of Tresco nipples from them. I replaced the nipples on all my italian replicas, and they are no longer fussy about brands of caps. In fact, I use those Remingtons all the time, because, they run a buck a hundred cheaper around here(West central Minn.), than the other brands. With the Tresco nipples, they go first time, every time.cowpox
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Offline filmokentucky

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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2004, 09:51:01 pm »
Ditto on the Remington caps. I've never found any better. By the way, I meant to mention that you have a "black box or f series" Colt. If you look at the end of the box, it should have a label and the model number F-something-I don't have my boxes to hand at the moment. This more of interest to collectors than to shooters other than it means it is a step up from a Signature Series in terms of fit and finish. I think, with this problem solved, you'll find it to be a reliable and accurate revolver.
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Offline blackknight

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« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2004, 12:14:09 pm »
Shot the match yesterday and placed 2nd in big bore rifle silhouette and 1st in pistol, shooting the newly resurrected Colt.  Fired 15 shots and the lug showed no signs of moving.  The gun shot every time with only one hitch, a cap fell off, it was probably tangled with a cap fragment from a previous shot as I forgot to raise the pistol when cocking the hammer a few times.  I had time to leave the firing line, walk back to my bench, recap the nipple, return to the line and fire the shot within the time limit as the time is set for loading single shots.  Was glad no fire got in the unprimed nipple, the Colt is well designed there.

The first relay was the 25 yard chickens and I shot them like you see on TV, four rapid pop/clang and a miss.  Success sometimes brings on bad behavior.  Not much hold under was required.  The next targets were the same size chickens at 40 yards where I knew the hold under was going to be much greater.  I didn't do as well there but good enough for 1st.  Need to shoot on paper to see what the sight picture looks like.

Like you folks I prefer to shoot the round ball, I was looking for a load that would give a good sight picture.  I will work on lowering the powder charge and adding fillers to put the ball near the cylinder end.  Have any of you worked with cork wads?  I used to use them for adjusting the OAL of the powder column on black powder cartridges and they worked well, in fact they improved the accuracy by moving the bullet out a little before the gas worked on it at the end of the barrel.  Perhaps cutting the wads from thicker felt would do the same and be safer (we know the felt wad really works).

I will check out changing the nipples.  Uberti built the gun for Colt but as I remember they used American size and pitch hardware, does anyone know for sure what the proper size would be?  I ordered a set from Dixie years ago but they were too long and I didn't even try to screw them in.  At that time guys were making shims to place under the nipple to get a better strike.  Also what is the proper size punch to make the wads, I have the felt suppliers web site and will soon order some different thickness hard felt. Thanks again.  Regards,  Bob

Offline Flint

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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2004, 01:16:48 pm »
Try getting a new lever latch lug from VTIgunparts.com as well as a wedge (get a couple wedges).  I now, actually use the wedge from an 1972 open top (and the screw, which is different and necessary). The open top wedge is solid, no spring, and is hard as a file.

It's possible your latch lug (barrel stud) is small and a new one could give you a new start.

Barrel stud (1860/61) is part # 040009, $6.00
Wedge (opentop) is part# 900004, $14.00
Wedge screw (opentop) is pn# 900033, $3.00
Wedge (1851/60/61) pn#000004, $12.00
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Offline filmokentucky

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« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2004, 01:58:36 pm »
Instead of using wads or fillers, some folks seat the ball as far as they can and then using a smaller diameter ball over the seated ball, they ram again, seating the ball firmly down on the powder. The smaller ball then rolls out into your hand and you're in business. The longer jump into the barrel doesn't seem to hurt accuracy--or so they say.
  This tale about Uberti building the guns pops up every few months or so.
Never happened. What did happen is that the raw forgings were bought from Uberti and finished here in the states to Colt specs. These guns are Colts, not Ubertis, and that is why there are no Italian proofs on them. The
level of fit and finish on the Colts, especially the "C" series guns, is way above the Italian guns. For the full story, you might want to pick up a copy of Dennis Adler's "Colt Blackpowder  Reproductions & Replicas." It's worth it just for the photographs.
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Offline Flint

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« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2004, 05:47:03 pm »
Colts they may have been, but the parts by Uberti fit them, as the 2nd gen parts were made by Uberti, and finished for Colt in the USA by Iver Johnson.  That is the reason Uberti changed from metric to ansi threads.  Older Ubertis previous to the 2nd gen Colts had metric nipples.  They are now #12-28.

The 3rd gen Colts are not as well made because the parts came from assorted Italian makers and were finished and assembled (badly) by Colt's Black Powder, a vendor in Brooklyn NY.
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