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1877 Lightning Repair

2382 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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I just find this thread today, there is some time I have not worked on a 1877 but I think you could find some help by searching my previous messages concerning the 1877 on this forum.
I will also try to help from now if I can... here is a little animation I made showing the cylinder stop and sear actions :
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You told you had this gun "hollow" then acquired the missing parts... could you list the original parts and/or the one you bought ? for example the cylinder, the hammer, the trigger were missing or not ? I think it is important to know which parts were originaly fitted together...
The best option.
Of course it depends on what the owner really wants :
  • have it perfectly repaired whatever the price : send it to the best known professionnal gunsmith (Sal Lanara).
  • have it working again for cheap : send it to an experienced passionnate handyman (like Shrek)
  • trying to learn how to do it yourself, at your own risks : Let's go and share on the Colt forum...
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MarkInTx, I hope that there is a lot of satisfaction coming my way. Right now, I am still at the frustrated, why-did-I-take-this-on position! I think I need to remove just a tad from the front of the sear. I did put some Prussian blue on the cylinder stop and got that crap all over everything! I've cleaned it up and ready to attack it again...
I think you should take some pictures of your work.
Basically, you'll have to follow that order :
1/ sear (SA - 3rd notch)
2/ cyl stop (~ trigger stud)
3/ hand (2nd pawl) + springs
These 3 parts will be adjusted in the mecchanism, there is no absolute dimension or shape to obtain, they just have to do their job.
So, to begin, you put only the sear (with the trigger and the hammer of course) in the frame, and it must be flush with the stud when the hammer is locked at the full cock position.
Then, applying some force on the hammer, you'll press the trigger and it must make the sear rotate just enough to free the hammer.

also, I think, like Shreck already noticed, that your trigger screw is too thin in diameter. if the trigger as some play in the frame (other than its functionnal rotation) it will not work.
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Here is a good document for repairing the lightning (I don't know if you've read it already) :

Colt 1877 Double Action Revolver
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