Restoring 1862 Colt Pocket Navy Revolver - Questions!

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Delvecchio, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. Delvecchio

    Delvecchio New Member

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    Hello -

    I have an 1862 Colt Pocket Navy 5 shot revolver that I'm attempting to get into working order. Serial number, 306769, manufactured in 1868.

    First, I have disassembled everything except for separating the barrel from the cylinder. What's the best way to separate these without risking damage? The whole gun is pretty crudded up and maybe even rusted together.

    [​IMG]

    The barrel is held onto the central extension from the cylinder by the wedge you can see just under the screw at the center. I can get the wedge out, but the barrel doesn't budge.

    [​IMG]

    Second question: The hand and spring assembly is separated from the hammer. I assume that it screws to the hammer through the hole at the bottom right in this picture:

    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture of the hand and spring:

    [​IMG]

    Is that big ugly corroded pit at the base of it the remains of a screw in what used to be a hole? If so I assume that I will need to replace this part.

    I'm a beginner at this, so if you respond don't be afraid to explain things in the most basic terms. Thanks!
     
  2. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

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    That's a pretty expensive gun for a beginner to be tinkering with.
    There is so much that you can do wrong, my only advice is to take it to a very competent gunsmith.
     
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  3. sharps4590

    sharps4590 Well-Known Member

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    I've never taken apart a Colt where the hand was screwed to the hammer. Normally it's just a pin....and the hole in the hand looks pretty wollered out to me. Working on a revolver such as that, one shouldn't have to be assuming anything.
     
  4. Hawg

    Hawg Well-Known Member

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    That hand is beyond repair and the spring is broken. The hand also looks worn down on the tip so it's doubtful the revolver would be in time if it was in good shape. The hand has a pin that fits the hole in the hammer. If you get a new hand it will not be a drop in part, it will have to be fitted for the revolver to be in time. Once the wedge is removed the normal manner to remove the barrel is put the gun on half cock and use the loading lever against the cylinder face to lever it off. I don't think I'd want to try that with it rusted in place. Soak it in Kroil for a few days and tap it with a piece of hardwood and maybe it will loosen up.
     
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  5. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    That's quite a project! That soaking in Kroil is a great idea. A few days soaking for the very least - maybe a few weeks would be better. Looks like there is lots of rust/corrosion, and that Kroil would be a big help in getting thru the rust without doing any harm. I'd be leery about tackling those screws in fear of buggering them or snapping the heads off. That is a real possibility.

    I also agree that your pistol is a fine candidate to visit a GOOD gunsmith (maybe after the Kroil soak?) to have the hand replaced and the pistol gone over in-general. There are lots of 'gunsmiths' - but not too many REAL gunsmiths, and on a pistol like yours I'd find a GOOD one. They're not making anymore originals like the one you have.

    Good luck, and be sure to check back in and let us know how it went!
     
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  6. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Well-Known Member

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    To separate the barrel & frame someone suggests Kroil. I agree & it should be applied all around where it might penetrate the seized joints. It's advertised to penetrate openings as small as one millionth inch. I have found it effective in some cases to heat the item to about 400 degrees F. Kitchen oven or a torch will do. The Idea is expansion can cause microscopic shifts in parts, joints, frozen rust, etc. to allow penetrant to enter. First I'd try heat, allow to cool, Kroil & allow 24 hours at least to penetrate. Colts have the barrel & center pin closely fitted & often don't come apart easily. I have had to use force, shock such as a wooden mallet to get an old Colt in good condition to come apart. To know how much force & how to apply it is where the above advice about finding a good gunsmith becomes significant.
     
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  7. Beretta++

    Beretta++ New Member

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    image.jpeg
    I have the same gun, but was able to get it apart into the main parts -- field stripped. As mentioned previously, after the wedge was pulled out, I used the loading lever to push the barrel off from the cylinder. It didn't budge when I just pulled with my hands, but came off pretty quick using the lever.
     
  8. BorderRider

    BorderRider New Member

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    I would soak that barrel and frame in penetrating oil. Then try using the rammer plunger against the front of cylinder to see if the loading lever can push hard enough to move the barrel. To protect the front of cylinder, place a piece of brass plate between the cylinder face and rammer. If noting moves, then lay the side on the barrel (no wedge or screw) on an anvil surface, but with a piece of 1/16” aluminum plate between the anvil and barrel flat. Place another piece of 1/16” aluminum plate on top of the barrel flat. Squirt on more penetrating oil. Then pound it a few times with a hammer where the wedge and wedge screw would be. Jiggle the barrel, and try the loading lever again. But keep in mind that it is easy to bend the arbor pin (aka cylinder pin). When pounding don’t strike with excessive force, only enough to coerce the penetrating oil to invade deeper into the frozen areas. The arbor pin is tapered at the front where it plugs into the barrel, so once the barrel comes a bit loose it can readily be removed.

    Your hand is missing an integral pin that fits into the hammer hole near the cock notches. You may be able to salvage the hand by welding a new pin into place.

    I also see that the hand spring looks short (broken off). You can buy a hand spring for a Colt SAA, shorten it, and drive into place where the old spring was. Otherwise you may be able to find a new replacement hand assembly.

    If this seems too daunting, then it is recommended to see a gunsmith who specializes in percussion Colts. The few who are truly qualified will likely keep your gun for over a year, so don't expect any quick service.
     
  9. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Well-Known Member

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    Some good advice in the preceding. The loading lever can give a lot of separating force but at risk of damaging the lever. Be sure to remove the wedge. A better application of brute force would be to protect the cylinder & barrel & apply force between -- by a flat sided piece of steel & twist it. This puts compression on the cylinder & barrel & strain on the center pin & its thread into the frame. After Kroil treatment I would apply significant separating force & while applied, strike the top of the barrel near the muzzle to add 'shock' to the separating force.

    Take note that words can't convey all the nuances involved in the procedure & the forces this can apply can do major damage. For example, the terms 'strike' & 'significant force' probably have different meanings to you & me.
     
  10. AR1911

    AR1911 Member

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    There is a product called Evaporust which will entirely remove all the rust without harming the base metal, or any other metal in the assembly. Just buy a gallon and drop it in for a few days. You will be amazed at the transformation.
    Normally I would not recommend it for a firearm, especially a vintage piece. But in this case all finish and patina are long gone, as is the collector value.
    Once the rust is gone, use the Kroil as mentioned above. Once it's all apart, soak all the pieces in Evaporust again to get the spots that were hidden before.
    Once you have all that worked out, Birchwood Casey Plum Brown will give you a nice aged look. You can also use some cold blue over that to darken it to taste
     
  11. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    If I had that piece, it would go into a coffee can of diesel or kerosene for a week before I did anything else.