Bisley restoration - Hand issue
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  1. #1
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    Bisley restoration - Hand issue

    Hi there,

    I am brand new here and I wouldn't bother you if I wouldn't be at the end of my rope.

    A few months ago I purchased my first Bisley. It had some real bad work done on it by probably the worst gunsmith in Europe (I would explain everything but that would lead us too far away from the problem I still have with it). It is already a lot better now but not yet as it should be. The timing is a bit off and replacing the bolt alone, didn't satisfy my wishes. It needs a new hand because the one that's on it, is worn too far off resulting in the cylinder not rotating far enough before full cock (cocking a bit further than full cock and the bolt is in the slot but that is not how it is supposed to be).

    Colt made no difference in the serial numbers of the SAA and the Bisley. The both just ran along together. I therefore think that the frame, and therefore also the size of the frame is exactly the same as for an SAA, except for the back that is a bit higher to be able to get the Bisley back strap on it.

    But if the frame itself has the same size, wouldn't the hand be the same as for a 1st generation SAA as well then?

    For weeks I have been searching the internet and this here forum in my quest for a straight and reliable answer. Some webpages and even well known gunsmiths say that the hand for a Bisley is larger because of the larger frame. I find that hard to believe. I contacted several Colt parts dealers, both in Europe and in the US with the question if or not a 1st generation hand would fit a Bisley and everywhere I've got the same answer: "We don't have a hand for a Bisley." (even those with 1st generation hands available on their web sites).

    What to think of this?

    I have seen that rhmc24 has a Bisley as well as an SAA (see thread https://www.coltforum.com/forums/sing...rsion-saa.html). As I suspected: they are just the same size, except for the back that has a different hight.

    Did anyone yet compare the two hands, Bisley and SAA 1st generation? I couldn't find that on this forum, therefore this new thread.

    By the way, I am already making a hand myself out of 1041 steel but it would (of course) be a lot easier if I could just go and buy a 1st generation hand and fit it in.
    (my next question will -- be how to fit the hand properly to the cylinder (in a professional way that is)).

    Thanks in advance.

    Here's my gun and the worn off hand:

    hand.JPGgun.JPGloop en frame.JPGgrip.JPG
    Last edited by Belge; 01-18-2018 at 05:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    If you'll contact Brownell's & order the Smith Enterprises 1st gen colt hand that should solve your problem.The part # is 851-000-023 AT listed for $64.99.I use them.
    ponyup, Abwehr and theprofessor like this.

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    PS:Tell whoever it was that told u they were different or didn't have a bisley hand not to give up their day job.
    ponyup, Monsai52, Abwehr and 1 others like this.

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    OK, thanks.
    So, the Bisley hand and the 1st generation ARE the same. That means I can stop fabricating one myself.

    I looked up the hand at Brownells in Europe but... like almost every SAA part at Brownell's Europe, it is to be ordered and waited for untill they feel like ordering it in the US. https://www.brownells-deutschland.de...ObjectID=67710
    Besides, in Europe it seems to be about double the price. I will see where I can buy it elsewhere.

    I also see that the one they sell at Brownell's is oversized. I was hoping to get an original sized.

    If I can't get an original non-oversized one, then how would it be best to get it fit? What are the things to take care of when installing? I don't want to file off the frame so if it is too thick, I would rather anneal the whole hand assembly, file off the side of the hand and then re-harden. That is not my worry. But how to make it fit the ratchets? You can't see what it does once it is installed...

    Thanks for helping me out.

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    PS: that IS their day job

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    Before you do anything, I recommend getting Jerry Kuhnhausen's book on Colt SAA's. The hand is made oversized because each SAA is a little different.
    These parts are not a drop in fit, they have to be handfitted to work properly. That's why they're made oversize.
    You don't file the frame, you work on the hand itself. No need to anneal the hand either. They are heat treated, but not file hard.
    Take a look at your original hand. You can see it has 2 'teeth'. The first teeth turns the cylinder approx. halfway (30 degrees) and the 2nd teeth puts it into battery.

    You want to time the hand so when the first tooth (top one) starts the cylinder, the bolt is out of the lockslot. (Otherwise it'll jam the action and cause damage)
    The 2nd (bottom) tooth takes over when the 1st teeth 'leaves' the ratchet. This has to be filed until the cylinder turns where it should be (in battery) but not that the hand forces against the ratchet.

    Try getting an idea for the action with the old hand first, then make your own (make 2 just in case), try fitting that one, if you have that working you can always opt for a brand new hand. Personally I think 65 bucks for a hand + shipping + import is too expensive.

    Don't bother bringing your gun to a gunsmith.

    Hope this helps. Give me a PM if you need any help. Perferrably, ask Jim Martin. He is an expert on 'em.
    Last edited by Prowbar; 01-19-2018 at 02:37 AM. Reason: spelling
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    From my files a quick & dirty fix you might try while waiting for a new hand -----

    Colt hand fix is usually needed to make it rotate to full battery when slowly cocked. The fix is to raise or lengthen the hand at the second or lower ledge. Carefully clean its surface by fine file strokes. Then take a tin can, an iron food can, not aluminum, cut a strip the width of the step or ledge of the hand, usually less than 1/16" inch. File it on both surfaces to expose the bare metal.

    Bend it over the length of the hand, so it fits flat against the step and down both sides. Tap it into position if necessary. Using low temp silver solder, flow in enough to securely bond the strip to the step surface. Then file away all the strip except the tiny rectangular piece now bonded to the step of the hand..

    It may help to tin both the hand and the strip beforehand to get the best bond.

    This will, in effect, lengthen the final stroke of the hand and bring it to full battery when cocked. Unless extremely worn, it may be necessary to take off a little to adjust it for length.

    It's not gunsmithing but it will work for quite a while and you can easily re-do it if necessary -- and this doesn't damage the original hand. ----->
    Last edited by rhmc24; 01-19-2018 at 04:49 AM.
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    Have you considered stretching the original hand? There are threads in this forum on this subject.

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    Thanks guys.

    update:

    Got 'my hands' on a new style hand here in Belgium. It is about 2 millimeters (appr. 0.08 in) shorter than the original that was in the Bisley. The ledges are 2 millimeters lower on the shaft as well (noticed the difference when I got home with it ).
    Is that a normal thing? The guy said that the new style (3th generation?) would also fit all other Colt SAA.
    But if the new style hand is 2 mm shorter, how is it then possible to fit the 1st generation? Or is the Bisley hand really different from the 1st generation one?
    What I think, is that this guy was wrong and that the new style hand is simply shorter than the 1st generation hands. See how good these gun smiths and parts sellers sometimes are in Europe? Bweueugh! (no offence Prowbar, I said 'sometimes')

    @rhmc24: Awesome trick. It would have been a good idea if I wanted to shoot it right away but that is not necessary. I can wait until an original (or self made) new hand is installed. Much obliged anyways.

    @prowbar: Reading what you wrote, it seems that it doesn't make that lot of a difference for the hand if it is off a few hundreds of a millimeter. As long as the first ledge is not too long to start before the bolt is retracted, followed by the second ledge more or less in a smooth movement and the second ledge is not too long to stop the cylinder just in time for the bolt to get in the notch. I was always thinking I had to get it right to one or two hundreds of a millimeter. Dumb of me, sorry.

    So, I think I will make my own hand, first see that the upper ledge starts the rotation right after the bolt is retracted and then work on the second ledge. After that, I will harden it but not too much so the ratchets stay harder (rule of the least expensive part). Is that the way to do it?

    Oh, another thing: What if I just heat up the old hand and weld some mild on it with the MIG and then file and case harden? Could that be an acceptable way as well? (of course heating up and case hardening with the spring unattached)

    Thanks again for the help. I really appreciate it a lot.
    Last edited by Belge; 01-19-2018 at 06:39 AM.

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    @Phillis1: Stretching is not what I had in mind. I considered it but it doesn't seem right to do because that would change the width of the hand as well and you need the correct width in order to not let it move sideways too much. Thanks for the idea anyways.
    Last edited by Belge; 01-19-2018 at 12:38 PM.


 
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