Fitting new sideplate on OMT?
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Thread: Fitting new sideplate on OMT?

  1. #1
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    Fitting new sideplate on OMT?

    Hello All,

    I want to fit a replacement sideplate on my pistol, due to the current one having someone's name and SS# electric penciled on it. [yuck].

    I wouldn't mind having mine refinished, if the pencil would be removed, but the rampant Colt wouldn't be affected. But, I am not sure this is possible, without spending hundreds, at least.

    Found a replacement sideplate to install, but need some advice on fitting it.

    It goes on snug, but seems to need to be 'planed' down on the inside about .001-.002" to be flush with the outside- at least on the front edge by the trigger. However, it also won't allow the cylinder to pivot out of the frame- so that little corner needs to be dressed as well.

    Am I on the right track to just use something like 100 grit, and then progress up to 400 grit, on the inside, until it is slightly 'thinner' and smooth?

    Or, is there some other trick to fit a different plate to the pistol?

    Also, I think it would assemble/disassemble easier if I used 220 grit or 300 grit on the inside edges of the plate where it mates up [at least, on the front edge- the rear parts seem to fit flush].

    My thought is a pass or two, try the fit, and then repeat- until it goes in snugly, but easily- so that it pops out with a lite to moderate tap on the frame.

    Any suggestions are appreciated!

    thanks,
    Jackson likes this.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bczrx View Post
    Hello All,

    I want to fit a replacement sideplate on my pistol, due to the current one having someone's name and SS# electric penciled on it. [yuck].

    I wouldn't mind having mine refinished, if the pencil would be removed, but the rampant Colt wouldn't be affected. But, I am not sure this is possible, without spending hundreds, at least.

    Found a replacement sideplate to install, but need some advice on fitting it.

    It goes on snug, but seems to need to be 'planed' down on the inside about .001-.002" to be flush with the outside- at least on the front edge by the trigger. However, it also won't allow the cylinder to pivot out of the frame- so that little corner needs to be dressed as well.

    Am I on the right track to just use something like 100 grit, and then progress up to 400 grit, on the inside, until it is slightly 'thinner' and smooth?

    Or, is there some other trick to fit a different plate to the pistol?

    Also, I think it would assemble/disassemble easier if I used 220 grit or 300 grit on the inside edges of the plate where it mates up [at least, on the front edge- the rear parts seem to fit flush].

    My thought is a pass or two, try the fit, and then repeat- until it goes in snugly, but easily- so that it pops out with a lite to moderate tap on the frame.

    Any suggestions are appreciated!

    thanks,
    I noticed that after a while, you have no replies. I have never fitted a new sideplate such as yours, but it sounds as if you are on the right track. I would first address the final fitting of of the plate periphery, if it is binding in some places now. You can paint a very thin coat of white oil paint on the peripheral edges, and then push the plate into place in that frame. Remove and look for worn spots. Take off a trace of steel where those contact spots are indicated, but never remove steel near the plate outer surface. It is a trial and error process that demands patience and thinking through of the possible consequences.

    If the inside of the plate is flat, consider using a new (flat) carborundum knife sharpener (about 1" x 1/4" x 4") to plane off specific areas of the backside. Your idea of using fine wet/dry paper is also good if glued to planed flat sticks of wood (buy wood trim of desired shape/size at a hardware store). You seem to know where the inside of the sideplate is "tagging bottom", so taper your cuts towards those contact areas. After seating the sideplate, make sure that it is getting to bottom by gently tapping it down with a piece of wood. Also during each trial fitting, be sure to install and tighten all of the sideplate screws. You can use the white paint trick on these lower seating surfaces of the frame to see what is touching the sideplate (look for white spots on plate bottom).

    Good luck!
    Last edited by victorio1sw; 10-22-2019 at 01:09 AM.
    Jackson and bczrx like this.

  3. #3
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    The probable reason the side plate seems too high, is because Colt bolted the plates on the frame and polished them as a unit.
    This was to insure the plate was a perfect fit and didn't seat too high or too low.

    Altering the inside to lower the plate may or may not work to your satisfaction., depending on how critical you are.

    In my experience, trying to fit a used side plate to a different frame never really works out. These were installed by Master fitters hand fitting before polishing, and on these older premium models they did a great job.
    Attempting to install a used plate invariably leaves gaps and miss-fits between the frame and plate.
    Attempting the lower the plate into the frame almost always results in on side lower and one side higher with a "step" up or down in areas.
    In my opinion the only time a plate replacement should be done is in a case of a badly damage original and the gun just can't function with it.
    Then it's a manner of keeping a gun working with no regard for appearance.

    In a case of having to install a plate, you just have to do the best you can and hope it doesn't look too bad.

    You could send it to a top gun refinisher service and have the plate and frame polished as a unit to remove the electro-pencil markings and have the Colt pony restored by hand engraving.
    This of course will cost a bit of money and the finish will no longer be original.
    However it would look significantly better then a replacement side plate that will lower the value far more then a refinish.

    Were this my revolver, I'd just live with the markings and keep it as original. This kind of defacement is cringe worthy, but at least the gun itself is in original factory fitted condition.
    bczrx and Collects like this.

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  5. #4
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    i read his post but dfariswheel is much better at explaing things then I am. I've never tried to re-fit a side plate either so I passed an a comment.
    saemetric likes this.
    Ken
    "I like Colts and will die that way"

  6. #5
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    Since you have the original side plate you might try taking a few measurements with a good micrometer.

    Make sure the measurements are taken in the same locations on both plates. Hopefully this will tell you if the

    new plate is a little thicker than the original. Dfariswheel is correct that the plate was polished with the frame.

    As long as you have a replacement plate give it a try. I have never attempted what you want to do. When I fit

    metal parts I use wet/dry paper, India stones, sharpening stones, Dykem blue, white lead paste, and the list goes on.

    Good luck and go slow. Sam
    bczrx likes this.


 

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