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Army/Navy Colt clones cylinders binding.

sockssocks Member Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
I have a .44 Army and a .36 Navy, both Pietta and, after relatively
few shots (less than 100 each) the caps are binding up against the
recoil shield and pulling back the hammer no longer turns the cylinder--I have to give the cylinder an assist with one hand while
pulling the hammer back with the other. I take very good care of my
guns, keep them spotless, so I know it's not a fouling issue.
What the heck have I done wrong? And can anyone think of a remedy?


  • OdawgpOdawgp Member Posts: 5,380 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    have the nipples backed out of their holes?

    Is there a space of such that when you disassembled to clean?
    And upon reassembly it the got put in front of the cylinder?
    when it should have been put in the back.

    I don't have one, so I am just throwing out ideas here
  • rgergergerge Member Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    This sounds really bad, but I had the same problem with my '51 navy and I just took the nipples off and gently ground them down on a belt sander, just a touch. Mine were too long and the caps were sitting high on the nipple. I also have a .44 Rem that the nipples were too fat and the caps weren't sitting straight, I just shopped around a found thinner ones. Especially with a used gun, you have no idea what Bubba and Clem did to it. Keep a spare set of nipples with you too, can't hurt, although I lug about 45 pounds of gun parts with me every time I go to the range. Good luck!!!![B)]
  • Wolf.Wolf. Member Posts: 2,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You say it is not a fouling issue. There is crap deposited where you think it is impossible for it to be. Remove the cylinder, do a simple general dismantle, removing the backstrap and wood grip prior to a one-hour soak in hot, soapy water.

    Remove the barrel and cylinder:
    ---Check out the cylinder pin very carefully. Make sure it has no significant burrs. Buff off any burrs on the pin with fine sandpaper or a fine stone.
    ---Do you have heavy scoring on the cylinder? The Colt black powder models make three clicks when pulled back to full cock. The first click should retract the bolt completely into the frame to allow the cylinder to spin. If it doesn't then there's at least part of the problem.
    ---Is the hand in proper position when the gun is cocked? With the hammer all the way down in the "fired" position, the hammer should be retracted all the way into its slot behind the recoil shield part of the frame. On half-cock (first click; you can spin the cylinder) the hand should be partially extended. You can see it, but it should still be completely within the recoil shield ring of the frame. If it extends beyond that, then you have some issues to be resolved.
    ---Look at the face of the hammer (where it strikes the caps). Is it deformed and with peened edges stick out? If so, put the the gun's hammer in a vise and gently peen the steel back into place with a small ballpeen hammer.
    ---Now for the nipples. These will have a metric thread, which I think is 6mm X 0.75 pitch, so if you replace them, make sure you know the thread you have before you buy. If replacements won't go in easy, don't force them. I've never seen nipples that were too long, but I won't discount their existance! Many times also, the problem you are having is due to a lousy fit of the percussion caps onto the nipples. The nipples are too fat for the No. 11 caps and the cap won't seat all the way onto the nipple, so they protrude back too far, causing the problem you described. Get a piece of hard wood and whittle you a strong little stick that fits in your hand and tapers down to about one-and-a-half the diameter of a pencil and with a flat, 45degree-cut end on it. Make sure it's strong. Buff this tool gently with fine sandpaper, rub shoe polish and candle wax into it to strengthen it a bit. Use this to push the percussion caps down onto the nipple. Wear safety glasses and keep the gun pointed down, please, when you do this. I've never never never had one go off and neither has anyone I know, but safety first. You can fix the "fat" nipples by chucking them up into a drill press and holding a piece of very fine sandpaper, backed up with a piece of wood, against the nipple. Be very careful doing this, because it does not take much before the nipple is too skinny to hold the cap properly. Trial and error here; hopefully you have a gentle hand and don't overdo it. By the way, you should still keep the stick you whittled handy to press-fit the nipples after you put them on.
  • sockssocks Member Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Wolf, you are the MAN. Thanks for all the time you gave to your response. I'll give each of your tips a whirl. (Thank goodness I
    own a drill press!)
    I've been thinking all along that I'd tapped the wedge back into
    place too hard and somehow 'stretched' the metal?
    You mention a 1 hour soaking--is this the cylinder only or are
    you saying soak the entire frame?
    Thanks again, Wolf. (And to the other responders, too.)
  • firstharmonicfirstharmonic Member Posts: 1,016 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If the above suggestions don't pan out, you may have touched on the problem in your last post. If you're sure that the caps are binding on the shield, use the above suggestions. Question - do the revolvers bind when unloaded/uncapped? Because a very common cause of this trouble is that wedge you spoke of.

    There's a screw above the wedge - on the left side of the barrel assembly - that does double duty; it acts as a retainer for the wedge spring to keep the wedge from falling off when the pistol is being disassembled and it acts as a stop adjustment for the wedge itself. If the wedge is driven in too deep when holding the barrel assembly to the cylinder pin, the action can bind. This is corrected by backing out that machine screw 1/2 turn at a time and trying the pistol's action until it no longer binds.

    If both pistols work fine when unloaded and properly lubricated and you are certain that the caps are the culprit, then just file the above info away for future reference. But it struck me as odd that both revolvers are having the same trouble at the same time. Especially when you said " after relatively
    few shots (less than 100 each) the caps are binding" which implies that this did not happen at first. Good luck with solving this.
  • sockssocks Member Posts: 189 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks alot 'firstharmonic' (I like that name.) I'll sure give
    your suggestion a try, too. To answer your question; both guns
    are fine, until the caps are put on. I'll fiddle with that damn
    screw-hope it works! I love the guns and it makes me crazy that
    I'm unable to use them.
  • firstharmonicfirstharmonic Member Posts: 1,016 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If both guns are fine until capped then those wedges are probably not your problem. Sounds like undersize caps or slightly oversize nipples. Have you changed cap brands? There are slight variations between sizes among the different makers. Because if they worked at first but not later, well, something changed. Mechanical failure in both pistols at about the same time cannot be ruled out but it would surely be quite a coincidence. Hang in there; you'll get it solved.
  • Wolf.Wolf. Member Posts: 2,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It really does sound like the nipples need to be fine-tuned as I said previously, by chucking them up and gently applying fine sandpaper wrapped around a small wood block to them.

    I've never tried the European (German?) percussion caps, however I have heard that they fit better than the American made ones, but I don't know. I understand the European caps are significantly more expensive than the US caps, so to me there's no reason to use them if I can tune my guns' nipples to use the US caps. I think the "stock" or "OEM" nipples work just fine. Another trick you want to use is to get a piece of spring wire (piano wire) and mount a good section into a piece of hard wood and use that to drift out the nipples between shots to keep them clear of fouling. This is a "nipple pick". You can usually find short lengths of piano wire at Ace Hardware or any good hardware store. Bring along a nipple and make sure what you buy is not too thick or too thin. It should be about slightly larger than half the size of the hole in the nipple.

    I have never purchased the expensive "super" nipples, either. They probably do hold the nipples perfectly right out of the box, but there are other issues that I don't like:
    ---They cost about $7.00 each and I think that's $42.00 beter spent on something else!
    ---They are made of stainless steel and I worry that they may bind up in the threads of the cylinder, causing a real mess! Stainless steel has the reputation of galling under high heat and pressure, especially threaded stainless. Who needs it?
  • ken44-40ken44-40 Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Socks, If the binding starts after you've fired a couple cylinders full; it is more than likely lack of lube on the arbor. That and a too tight wedge will lock a cylinder tight. The arbor should be liberally lubed with bore butter or some similar BP type semi solid lube. All the little grooves in the arbor should be filled with it. The ratchet channel in the recoil sheild should also have some in it to prevent the exploding caps from depositing hard fouling there that also helps lock up the cylinder. The wedge should only be put in far enough for the nub on the end to pop through the barrel slot. There should be enough clearance for the cylinder to turn freely without scraping the back of the barrel. I've gotten new C&Bs before where the top of the barrel scraped the cylinder & the bottom of the barrel didnt - Turned out it wasnt cut square. It only took one cylinder full to lock the cylinder up. Nipples don't grow with use so if the caps didnt scrap the recoil sheild when you first started out - that should be the problem now.

    BTW - I use Treso nipples on all the C&Bs that I shoot (over 20 at last count). I have never had a problem with them binding in the cylinder - of course, they're not SS but an alloy of some kind. I lube them with balistol when I install them. Additionally, stock nipples have flash holes way bigger than necessary (somewhere in the .025 dia or larger arena). Aftermarket nipples - whether Treso of Thunder Ridge stainless have a flash hole of around .019 which keeps the hot gasses from coming back through the nipple. Smaller flash holes lessen the fouling and cap jams.

    Ken (Who shoots Frontiersman in SASS)44-40
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