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1877 Lightning Repair

2378 Views 47 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Shrek73
I have a friend's 1877 Lightning for repair. It came to me hollow and I have acquired all of the parts and have learned how to put it back together -as I have found out to get the parts to fit, many times.

My problem is now to get the parts to function together!

Problem 1: It seems that the cylinder stop doesn't return properly. It works freely without the other parts installed. I am hesitant to take any metal from the nose as I hate to buy more parts. It appears to ride up when the trigger stud impacts it, but I am not sure if the nose should be flat along the trigger body or just touch the stud. And it doesn't return when the trigger is returned forward (It doesn't return on its own...)

Problem 2: The sear doesn't move freely and I am not sure what needs stoned or whether I was when I agreed to take this project on...

I haven't put on the hammer spring in play yet, so I am not sure what effect that would have on my existing problems. One more thing, I am not a gunsmith. I have worked on muzzleloaders and other guns, but not double action pistols. Thanks for any advice you wish to share.
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Probably the most important step in rebuilding a 1877 is using quality reproduction parts. I have never had any luck with Dixie Gun Work parts, they require way to much fitting and heat treatment and the springs aren't very good. There are quality parts out, but they are a little more expensive, but make your rebuild much more easier since they don't require the heat treatment.

Fitting the cylinder stop takes time, what shape is the trigger stud in?

Wisner's sells the cylinder stop and some small parts.

Jack First has a good sear.

And Poppets has the best springs.

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You need to be careful with removing metal from the sear arm. If you remove too much metal, the stud will not reach the sear arm and release properly. Which sear are you using?
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You need to heat treat the Dixie sear once you have it fitted. The edge which contacts the hammer will not hold up without it being hardened.
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The cylinder stop arm should have a slight bend to it. When you pull the trigger the stud lifts the cylinder stop up which allows the cylinder to rotate. At a certain point the cylinder stop arm needs to slide off the trigger stud, which let's it lock the cylinder in place.

I also find attaching the trigger guard and mainspring is necessary when fitting the sear and cylinder stop. It puts a little tension on the trigger and pulls it to the rear slightly.
More bend than what I have in it? When the trigger is pulled, the stop is forced up by the stud and when the stud "sloped" area get to the stop, the stop springs to the left. That is where I think that the cylinder stop spring should push the cylinder stop forward to reengage the cylinder. I hate putting Prussian blue inside it. I'll have it everywhere!
Its hard to see on phone how much bend you have.
Sorry, I was traveling and only had my phone to look at photos. The arm of the cylinder stop is a spring and puts tension on the side of the trigger. When you pull the trigger or cock the hammer the trigger stud pushes up the cylinder stop up and during the travel rearward the stud should slip back under the cylinder stop arm resetting it and locking the cylinder in place. It looks like you bended your cylinder stop arm to go around the arm of the sear, I put a gradual bow in my cylinder stops. I will try to take photos of the internals in one of mine today and post them.

I have heard many people say the action will work without the trigger guard and mainspring, but I found the mainspring puts tension on the hammer and "creeps" the trigger rearward which can effect the correct length of the sear arm.
The nose of the sear seems to have gone well. I am still having interference with the sear and cylinder stop as the spring does not return them to the intended position. The first pic is the trigger forward and the second is with the trigger pulled to the rear. Where/how should I look for interference?
Just saw larger versions of these photos, and I see a couple things. The hole for the trigger screw is worn or someone used a smaller screw. Compare the fit of that screw with the sear screw. Your cylinder stop arm needs to rest on the trigger stud. From the photos it looks like it is not coming all the way forward. The cylinder stops need to be fitted and make sure they are not rubbing on the frame or the trigger.

The first thing I do to fit a cylinder stop is put it in the frame by itself and make sure it moves freely. Once you add tension (springs) it makes it hard to figure out the problem. You may have to remove metal on the top arm of the cylinder stop to make sure it goes through the hole without rubbing. After I get it moving freely I add the trigger and hand and make sure it moves freely. The width of the pin or the part that goes through the frame hole and the cylinder stop rotates on is also important to fit. Most are too wide and will rub on the side of the trigger. You need to remove just enough material so that it doesn't drag on the trigger. After that add the hammer, sear spring and sear. By the time you are done you should be an expert on taking it apart and reassembling.
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I use Blue Dykem only on the cylinder stop. You will need to work the cylinder stop so to rubs off in the areas of high friction.

I took photos of the internal workings this morning and will post them later today.
Here are some photos of the Jack First/ Wisner's parts compared to the Dixie parts. The Jack First / Wisner's parts are on the left. They are closer to the original parts, heat treated and require less fitting. The Jack First sear is practically a drop in part, unless someone Bubba upped the trigger stud.
Brown Handle Door Fixture Wood
Wood Rectangle Household hardware Font Hardwood
Rectangle Wood Font Material property Varnish
Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Flooring
Wood Flooring Wood stain Hardwood Toy
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Here is my 1880 2 1/2" .38 LC.
Revolver Trigger Air gun Wood Gun barrel

The arm of the cylinder stop must rest on the trigger stud while uncocked. Once you pull the trigger it should start to lift the cylinder stop. If arm is too short it will jam up because the cylinder will want to rotate before it is freed. Once I put the trigger guard and mainspring back on the slack in the photo goes away.

Wood Tool Wood stain Hardwood Blade

I have an extra trigger guard and cut out the side so I can see the action move when I am fitting the parts.

Wood Hardwood Wood stain Gun accessory Metal

At half cock the cylinder stop arm still on the trigger stud and the top of the cylinder stop is inside the frame.

Wood Air gun Gun accessory Hardwood Wood stain

When going to full cock the cylinder stop arm slips off the stud and engages the notch in the cylinder, locking it in place.

Wood Hardwood Wood stain Blade Tool

Here is the trigger stud and sear arm at full cock on a functional gun.

Tool Household hardware Wood Bicycle part Hardwood

You will need to fit the back side of the cylinder stop arm and smooth it over so it will slide over the trigger stud and release when it's suppose to. You need to also work the action with empty shells in the cylinder. You may get to point where you think it works, but need to know if the cylinder stop is going back enough to clear the shells.
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Both of those sears are square ended. Somewhere, I saw that it was sloped from the top to the tip. I did that as the end rammed into the trigger stud and stopped the action. Once I sloped the end, it moves below the stud and disengages so that the trigger can go forward. I the animation Poureverte has provided (thank you very much), the sear doesn't appear to contact the stud. Also, Shrek's Jack First sear appears shorter than the Dixie casting. Should I have shortened the sear rather than sloped it?
I'll put some blue on the stop to see if it is rubbing. Thank you both again.
The Jack First sear is longer on the bottom and angled up but the correct length for an intact trigger stud. The dixie sear has a longer arm which accommodates for gunsmiths not familiar with 1877's altering the action.

The trigger stud is what trips the sear. When the trigger stud touches the sear arm to release the hammer it pushes the sear arm down. A flat edge on the sear arm would prevent it.
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Sorry for dropping the ball on this. I finally got the correct screw from Jack First. I tried to get it from Shark Arms and had no success - I ordered the trigger screw and first received the trigger spring screw, then the hammer screw then the phone nor emails were not answered and I gave up. Sort of left a bad taste in my mouth and hunting season got in the way.
I'll get back on it this week. Promise!
I believe Shark arms is about out of parts. They contacted me years ago when they came across boxes of 1877 parts. I helped them identify what they had, the value and the made me a nice deal on some parts for helping them.

Jack First is a good source of parts. There shipping is pricey so I always order alot of parts at one time to make it worth the cost.

The best deal on springs is at Poppert's. He sells a Colt Lightning Spring Kit, which has the trigger, sear, hand, ejector and strut springs. Its a good idea to replace all the internal springs.

I also get parts from Wisner's. They supply some parts to Jack's First such as cylinder stop and trigger roll and trigger stud. Sometimes it cheaper to go thru them. He makes parts once a year and it make take him some time to make new parts after they run out of stock.

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