Python end shake
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    Python end shake

    I am new to the forum, but I am hoping I that I might be able to get some help on a Python Elite that belonged to my father. The firearm was purchased about 2000 and hasn't had too many rounds put through it (maybe a few hundred). The lock up seems perfect and I have no other issues, however after reading on this forum that the cylinder gap should be no more that .008" and the total end shake .003" i decided to get a set of feeler gauges and measure. I find that the gap ends up varying depending on the chamber from .008" to .010" and the resulting end shake from .002" to .004". Any thoughts on why it would be out of spec, and what are my options with this firearm? I hadn't planned to shoot it a lot, but I hate the idea of not being able to shoot it at all. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Pretty big numbers IMHO. I’ve not owned later production Pythons but would not be surprised that QC would fall off
    to that degree. My 1972 B/C gap Measures .0045 with no end shake at all.

    Last edited by sturmgewehr; 02-10-2018 at 10:02 AM.
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    The specs you have read are more than likely from Kuhnhausen's manual, and I'm not sure if I have ever seen any actual Colt specs on this. However, I have seen a lot of Pythons with gaps not ever close to the numbers you see in manuals and on the forum, which tells me that Colt's specs were not nearly as strict as, for example, Kuhnhausen's. The fact that Colt's workers often used a file instead of a facing tool to adjust the gap tells me that they didn't pay as much attention to the gap as a performance oriented gunsmith would.

    The Elite is a later model where the end shake is a bit complicated to adjust, as it requires some skilled lathe work. Adjusting the barrel gap is also a job for a qualified machinist/gunsmith, and I figure the whole job would set you back at least $400. The good news is that the revolver is perfectly safe to fire, it's not like it will blow up in your face or anything like that. All you'll see is a slight loss of accuracy, probably so minute that you won't notice a thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olle View Post
    The specs you have read are more than likely from Kuhnhausen's manual, and I'm not sure if I have ever seen any actual Colt specs on this. However, I have seen a lot of Pythons with gaps not ever close to the numbers you see in manuals and on the forum, which tells me that Colt's specs were not nearly as strict as, for example, Kuhnhausen's. The fact that Colt's workers often used a file instead of a facing tool to adjust the gap tells me that they didn't pay as much attention to the gap as a performance oriented gunsmith would.

    The Elite is a later model where the end shake is a bit complicated to adjust, as it requires some skilled lathe work. Adjusting the barrel gap is also a job for a qualified machinist/gunsmith, and I figure the whole job would set you back at least $400. The good news is that the revolver is perfectly safe to fire, it's not like it will blow up in your face or anything like that. All you'll see is a slight loss of accuracy, probably so minute that you won't notice a thing.
    I believe the shop manual specs are actual factory specs as they were intended at the beginning of production. However, finding a gun adhering to those specs may be about impossible, especially the peak into strike production of the late '70s through '80s.

    I wouldn't worry about the b/c gap. Factory max is .008" but being wider will not hurt anything except a loss of FPS. My 1972 which was in original factory condition has a .008" gap, and the forcing cone face was finished with a file instead of facing reamer. I would prefer a .004" b/c gap, but .008" doesn't affect anything for me. It's not a big enough deal to warrant barrel removal, set-back, and re-cutting of the cone. Absolutely no endshake in this gun.

    I would worry about the endshake. I think the factory spec on that is .003", but my standard is ZERO, especially on later guns with the newer cylinder assembly, as they need professional repaired when endshake is bad enough. Also considering the price of used Pythons, who wants to pay $2K for a gun with endshake that requires a skilled machinist to repair? The earlier style can be shimmed for minor endshake.

    The reason I hate any endshake is because any movement allows front to rear motion of the cylinder which will act like a peen with every shot fired. The hotter the shots, the faster the tolerance will open up. It's just an ongoing problem that only gets worse, not better.
    Last edited by bsmalley23; 02-10-2018 at 08:08 AM.
    6" Python, 357mag, Blue, '75-------------------4" Diamondback, 38spl, Blue, '77
    2.5" Python, 357mag, Blue, '72-----------------2" Detective Special, 38spl, Blue, '68
    2" Cobra, 38spl, Blue, '61

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    I have a 1952 Officer's Special with some .005 endshake. Where does one go about finding a shim referenced above? All I've ever seen/used are for Smith & Wessons. I did see a post on here I believe from a fellow that describes how to make one, but I have neither the machinery or skills to make my own.

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    Check with Ron Powers from Power Custom about endshake shims, I had to have my barrel setback by Cylinder and Slide, but that was after several thousand rounds.

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    Power custom is what I've used for S&W's, but they don't list anything for Colts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzouhunter View Post
    Check with Ron Powers from Power Custom about endshake shims, I had to have my barrel setback by Cylinder and Slide, but that was after several thousand rounds.
    You can't shim the cylinders on the late style Pythons, you have to replace the cylinder bushing. It's not a separate part, so it has to be cut out, and a new one needs to be made. This is not a complicated operation if you are a skilled machinist, but it's still a job that takes some time and precision turning to do (=$$)

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    Most older Colt and S&W revolver specs were for a barrel-cylinder gap of from 0.004" to 0.008" with 0.005" being considered as about perfect.
    In fact, that holds for any revolver of most any brand or type. A barrel-cylinder gap is a barrel-cylinder gap and subject to the same forces.
    These days S&W says that 0.012" is "in spec".
    So, if your Python is at 0.008" it's in spec and good to go, just not as "perfect" as you might want.

    The cylinder end shake is problematic. Factory spec was for a maximum of 0.003".
    When it gets over that the cylinder sliding back and forth when fired literally hammers the gun to death if allowed to remain un-repaired.
    The movement allows the cylinder to become a hammer that will batter the frame both under the barrel and the breech face, the ejector, the cylinder collar, and if bad enough; the rear of the barrel.
    The battering can leave impact peening damage of the ejector on the frame that can require machining to remove and fitting of a new ejector.

    The problem is, Colt no longer services revolvers and Colt was about the only company that had the special hydraulic device used to stretch the cylinder collar.
    These days the repair requires machining off the collar and press fitting a newly made separate collar.

    Due to the high prices of Pythons these days I'd be looking at getting whatever repair was needed to correct the end shake, or just shoot it with only very light .38 Special loads, and not many of them. In other words, I'd basically retire the gun.
    Not getting it repaired is like owning a Ferrari you can't drive.

    I don't know what repair method he uses but Master pistolsmith Frank Glenn can repair the end shake, and if it was my Python I'd be talking to him before I shot it any more.

    Frank Glenn-Glenn Custom Complete Gunsmithing Service Glendale AZ
    bsmalley23 likes this.

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    Well, a tiny amount of endshake is preferred, as this gentleman covered in his post. He explains why:

    I used to be a hardcore fanatic about the wonders of 0 endshake. One theme running throughout our story is that 0 endshake is not the wondrous nirvana state that a gun *user* tends to assume but rather is a very brittle state that takes any existing imperfections the revolver has and multiplies it by a non trivial amount.

    In order to have near 0 endshake, you need a collar that positions the cylinder right against the rear of the frame and prevents all forward motion (or more aggressively: pushing against the rear). At least two problems explode out of this situation. First, if any two contact surfaces are rough, they will be pressed tightly against each other, with obvious consequences. Second, if the cylinder cannot move forward, then as it rotates, if it encounters any resistance it must be forced straight through it. With some play the cylinder can often work around such things. The practical result? For each of the guns where we set endshake to near 0 there was a substantial epilogue of playing "why is the revolver binding and how to fix it?" that took longer, generally, than doing the dramatic surgery of shoving a bushing into the core of the cylinder.”



    Colt V-spring Adventures: Trip report: Frank Glenn gunsmithing lessons

    My personal advice to you, is to simply call Frank, explain what you have, what its doing, and ask him what his recommendation is.



 
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