colt vs. smith and wesson - timing

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by 38 special, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    I noticed something about the older colts. even when they are a little out of time,when the hammer is down they still lock up tight. I have a smith and wesson that the cylinder stop doesn't quite engage 2 cylinder notches however when I let the hammer down it still is not engaged. A revolver collector/shooter told me He never had a colt that shaved or spit lead even if it was slightly out of time but Smith and wesson's do if even a little out of time. Anyone else notice this?
  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    The only thing that holds the cylinder of either the Colt or the S&W revolvers from rotation is the bolt. The bolt must fully engage the cutouts in the cylinder at the monent the trigger sets off the cartridge or cylinder will be loose and may rotate slightly. It makes no difference if the name on the frame is COLT or S&W.... the bolt MUST engage its cutouts fully in the cylinder at the time of firing of the gun. Any gun that does not do this is a candidate for spitting lead if the cylinder rotates at all during the firing of a cartridge.

    If you have a gun where the bolt does not fully engage when the trigger is pulled then something is wrong. Don't shoot it, get it fixed. Spiting lead hurts and can cut flesh .... maybe not yours but that of the shooter, who you may not even know, that is shooting beside you at the range. Lawyers hurt .... FIX the gun.

    LDBennett
  3. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

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    I have several Colt revolvers. My Official Police guns used to be out of time and they would do just what you describe. What you are describing is what I believe is called the Colt "Bank Vault" lockup which locks up the cylinder tight when the gun is fired unlike S&W that always have at least the slightest play when the gun is fired. This gives Colt more accuracy (depending somewhat on the shooter of course) and durability.
    When the trigger is pulled on a colt, the arm/paw continues upward after rotating the cylinder when the trigger is pulled and the hammer drops bracing the cylinder and in doing so will move even an untimed gun's cylinder into the bolt notch and brace it.
    This incidintally keeps the gun from shaving lead because the chamber is where it should be when the gun is fired.
    On a S&W however the gun is fired and the chamber is slightly off from the force cone and lead is shaved off the bullet and the fragment escapes out of the gap between the cylinder and force cone
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2009
  4. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

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    .38 special, I have a Colt Diamondback in .38 that is slightly out of time. When I slowly cock it single action the cylinder does not quite lock up, but if I pull the trigger it does lock up. It will lock up when firing DA, or if I SA cock it quickly.

    One of these days this Diamondback will go back to Colt, but for now it sits in the safe.
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The hand mechanisms are different. The S&W hand comes up beside the ratchet; wear can result in failure to lock up when the cylinder is deliberately held back. (Cylinder momentum will cause lockup in normal operation.)

    The Colt double pawl hand, as Doug says, forces the cylinder into a tight lockup. But the Colt can also have a problem. That hand has a lot of force, and it can CAUSE damage to itself, the ratchet, the bolt, the cylinder notch and the frame window if the gun is cocked hard. That, and even ordinary wear can result in the cylinder being forced too far around so the hand actually forces it out of time. So it is sort of six of one and half dozen of the other.

    Some perfectionists demand perfect lockup and insist that not only would they never own an imperfect gun but that any gun that is not in perfect timing will blow up and destroy at least three counties. They sometimes use what can only be described as extreme measures to "prove" that any gun but theirs is out of time. Unless your gun really is out of time, those folks are best ignored for their own good.

    Jim
  6. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR New Member

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    Wow, now I heard 2 counties but they must be using hotter ammo out by you.:D:D:D:D:D:D. Your explanation of the 2 is perfect, it needs to be put onto a little card and handed out to the colt perfectionist so they quite yammering. I always found myself liking the smith system better. Not knocking the colts, but I always found them to be on the touchy side.
  7. fleetwood1976

    fleetwood1976 Active Member

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    Jim, I got a police positive in 32 np that is doing the same thing. it locks up tight right when the trigger is pulled and even on double action. it is a $200 gun max. when you pull back the hammer it lacks an 8th of an inch from locking up, but when you pull the trigger it perfectly alligns. should I get it timed? I don't want to cause undue wear, it might void the waranty.
  8. oldman45

    oldman45 New Member

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    Does it matter at all?

    Both guns are made by quality manufacturers. S&W is outselling Colts and Glock. As far as I know, Colt is no longer actively seeking revolver buyers and is mainly in the production of semi autoloaders.

    I would take either gun and not be concerned about if it will work when needed.
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    AFAIK, Colt is no longer manufacturing any double action revolvers, only their SAA, which can also have timing problems but is not under discussion here.

    If Fleetwood is still posting here, 1/8" is way out of time, even if the gun does lock up on trigger pull. 1/4 or even 1/2 that might be acceptable, but 1/8"? No way.

    Jim
  10. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    If you are a person who wants everything to be perfect in your side arm with no lose cylinders or thumb latches etc. You will be better served with a large knife.

    RC
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