The Firearms Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an off the wall question. Hoping someone that is familiar with metallurgy can answer. I have an old 1880's revolver (Hood Firearms International No. 3 in .32 Rimfire). A classic "Suicide Special". It has 3 small coil springs in it (Cylinder Pin Spring, Cylinder Stop Spring, Trigger Spring). When I obtained this pistol it did not look like anyone had been inside of it for a long time. These springs seem to be original. Springs are the color of brass + they are NOT magnetic. So my questions are:

Q1: Were brass springs ever used in firearms in the 1880's?
Q2: Could the material be something other than brass?

Thanks in advance......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,626 Posts
Brass can't be heat treated like carbon steel can, if you heat high carbon steel and quench it it gets hard, if you temper it back it becomes a spring. If you heat brass it gets softer, that's why we heat brass cases, to anneal them. Brass does work harden, but not enough to become a spring. Best guess is your springs are brass plated to prevent rust. I've seen plenty of brass plated coil springs in ball point pens. :) I've never seen one in a pistol though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, I am working on more than one revolver at the moment & listed the wrong make/model above. It is actually a Dickinson Ranger No. 2. Anyway, here is an image. Sure looks like brass to me & NOT magnetic! Anyway, I have never seen other than steel on any springs before myself. It is possible however. Go online to any of the spring makers sites & can purchase brass springs. Used in areas where there is high corrosion.

So, if it is not brass what might they be?.............
White Font Bicycle part Auto part Gas
 

·
GUNZILLA
Joined
·
8,059 Posts
The sheen the springs have appear to be made from a chrome alloy and electroplated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Did they even do that in the 19th century? Remember this is a Suicide Special. Nobody put much effort into repair or replacement of parts on these pistols...........................
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
407 Posts
Brass does not have the elasticity to be a spring. However a steel spring can be washed in ferric chloride that has metallic copper dissolved in it- producing what is known as copper washed steel- to protect from corrosion. If you have a click in- click out sort of ballpoint pen about half use a spring that is brass COLORED- but is not brass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,426 Posts
Bill got it. It was invented back in the 1820's. Why it's in that gun is a good question. My guess is someone needed a replacement spring, and a telegraph key was a donor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I forgot to mention that the hand spring (The nearly straight spring up by the hammer) is also the same exact spring material. Brass looking & coil stock also, like the other three. Just a slightly larger diameter. Seems unlikely that anyone would have replaced not only all three different size coil springs, but also the larger straight hand spring at the same time with exactly the same spring material. Doesn't it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,637 Posts
Not really. Those coil springs look like they were cut from a longer spring. If you work for a place that uses a lot of brass springs it would be easy to slip a few in your pocket and save a few bucks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,426 Posts
I forgot to mention that the hand spring (The nearly straight spring up by the hammer) is also the same exact spring material. Brass looking & coil stock also, like the other three. Just a slightly larger diameter. Seems unlikely that anyone would have replaced not only all three different size coil springs, but also the larger straight hand spring at the same time with exactly the same spring material. Doesn't it?
That's the puzzlement.
Beryllium Copper has two properties, one that it age hardens as a spring, two it's a good electrical conduit. Simply, a spring that conducts electricity without losing it's tension. Though it was first discovered in the 1820's, it really wasn't a full scale commercial product until the 1920's. Before that, it's expense over a common steel spring for a gun, just wouldn't be practical. Not saying they didn't, but I've never seen a BC spring in a gun before. Colt used Phosphor Brass parts in some guns in the late 1800's, so it is entirely possible.
Have you seen the springs in any other Dickinson pistols that are the same?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No, this is my first Dickinson. Maybe will get my hands on another one, but who knows........ Also what is BC?
Plus, can you tell me specifically which 1800's Colt used such parts? Were they spring? Coil or flat? Maybe I could back into the answer that way if I knew............. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have no vested interest in whether these springs are original or replacement. That is why I asked the question to begin with. Why do you thing the are replacements??????????????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,637 Posts
I have no vested interest in whether these springs are original or replacement. That is why I asked the question to begin with. Why do you thing the are replacements??????????????
Look at them. The ends on some of them are clipped, not flat. That alone tells you they're replacements. Plus AFAIK they didn't use brass springs back then. A gun can go through a lot in 140 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,426 Posts
Correct on the BC. Colt parts in Phosphor brass were not springs, the early Small frame Lightning .22 rifles used it in the firing pin.
No, this is my first Dickinson. Maybe will get my hands on another one, but who knows........ Also what is BC?
Plus, can you tell me specifically which 1800's Colt used such parts? Were they spring? Coil or flat? Maybe I could back into the answer that way if I knew............. Thanks!
I have no idea where my reply to this went. Colt used Phosphor Brass firing pins in the Small Frame Lightning .22 pump rifle, and later models used steel. It was never used as spring material. BC = Beryllium Copper, and to my knowledge, BC springs were only used for electrical, or places where non-ferrous springs were used around explosive elements.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top