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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sent my 1880 Six Shooter to Jim Martin and he suggested I post a photo of my broken mainspring (possibly the original) because it's not properly ground. Any DIY mainspring DIYers out there are urged to fair the sides and surface properly so as to prevent the ridges that create weak points (I hope I'm explaining this correctly, Jim). And Thanks!

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I believe you Jim. I just don't see any pics of the back of the spring. Maybe I'm missing it?????

I shipped his colt this morning & when I called him that it was on the way I mentioned your posting,the broken spring is in the box along w/a note to take pics of how it was done along w/a note I wrote about the crappy work.
 

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I shipped his colt this morning & when I called him that it was on the way I mentioned your posting,the broken spring is in the box along w/a note to take pics of how it was done along w/a note I wrote about the crappy work.
Thanks, Jim.
If he doesn't, I have one that is really "Bubbafied" that I can shoot and post. It's unbelievable! Looks like someone took an emory wheel to it. Amazingly, the gun still shot. The hammer block is with Jim Cornwall to be re-built and a new cam installed as we speak.
Darrell
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Jim,
I'm posting your message which was "This is why the mainspring should NEVER be ground on the flat side of the spring".
Thanks again for the excellent work.
Will


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Jim and I have had several conversations concerning grinding on the Mainspring. I have all 1st Gen Colts and I like the "heavier" Mainsprings put in by Colt. This mainly was due to the "hard" primers of the early days. When you see the Cowboys in the old movies, you will see them bring the revolver up into the air and lower to horizontal to fire. The revolver was easier to cock when lowering to to the horizontal firing position.

Today, most want a light Hammer pull and Trigger pull. I like the way the Colt designed the 1873 originally. Grinding the Mainspring is almost an "art" to get them correct. ANY grinding marks will leave a spot that can break and the one shown has a lot of them. The Mainsprings today are not near as heavy as original 1st Gen Springs and I love the way they feel......I don't plan on being a "Shootist", so the heavy pull is fine. The best thing is don't grind on a Mainspring; buy a lightweight Spring if you like the feel.

A BIG thanks to Jim Martin for all his teaching to me on the Colt SAA revolver; I always listen to the "The Master"!!!!!!

Oh yea, Jim is the one the told me about whey the old movie Cowboys cocked and fired the correct way too!
 

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To add my own general spring-ology, in my case mostly from working on sidelock percs & flints; if you must weaken a spring never grind or file across the spring - do it lengthwise. Grinding or filing leaves tool marks, tiny scratches, that when crosswise tend to allow the start of a crack, then break. Reducing the the mass of the spring weakens it & sometimes along the sides was as effective as on its wide surface. Of prime importance is to avoid concentrating the removal of metal; carefully spread the removal along the length ----->
 

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As promised up thread, here are some pics of a SAA mainspring that has been really "Joe Billyied". A perfect example of what NOT to do:

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Amazingly, I shot about half a box of shells with this without it breaking. Trigger pull was VERY light.

For those of you who may not know, here is a pic of that same spring along a new style Colt spring. Most people call this the "hour glass" shape:

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I really like the new springs. The pull is about half or less than the standard spring. In this gun (1901 in 41 Colt) I would estimate the pull at about 4-5#. Jim Martin will tell you that to lighten a main spring, sand (only- no filing) on both edges evenly (never on the flats) while holding the spring in your bare hand. If the spring gets too hot to hold, stop and let cool. Further heat may ruin the temper of the spring. I suggest you follow Jim's advise.
 

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Jim wanted me to post a few photos of my 1903 Bisley .44-40 Revolver Mainspring. Jim had to work on the action as it the worst "train wreck" probably ever and it still worked. This Mainspring is original to the revolver and was used by my GG Uncle that went West in the late 1890s. He worked on ranches while there and this was his revolver....he wa a real Cowboy. He returned to South Carolina in the mid-1950s where he passed away a few years later.

Anyway, this is what an origina Colt Mainspring should look like with the top, botton, and side surfaced show NO marks whatever. From the photo of the revolver, you can see that it was used/carried a lot nd the mainspring is still working well. Yes, it is a heavy Spring, but that is the way Colt made them so it would fire any cartridge, old black powder or the new smokeless powder. I love the feel and cocking action of the original!

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Marvin,
I put a new spring (original style) in my Bisley, because one of the ears was broken off. Even with spacers under the screw, the trigger pull is still very stiff (I don't have a guage). Do you find that Bisleys have a harder pull than SAA's? When I get time, I may have to lighten mine.
 

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Marvin,
I put a new spring (original style) in my Bisley, because one of the ears was broken off. Even with spacers under the screw, the trigger pull is still very stiff (I don't have a guage). Do you find that Bisleys have a harder pull than SAA's? When I get time, I may have to lighten mine.
I found that the original Mainprings are definelty stronger in the Bisley Revolvers. Having shot in CAS, most of the guys had very light Mainsprings that once in a while would not fire a round. These were not my "cup of tea" as I feel they were dangerous when used with a very light Trigger pull. I think CAS subsequently did have a rule that a minimum weight was called for on the Trigger Spring, but not sure about the Hammer pull weight. I do have one 1st Gen revolver with a very heavy Mainspring and I have measured the Spring against other 1st Gen Springs and the measurement are the same. Even the curviture of the Spring is the same. I am at a loss unless it may be the hardness of the steel. I don't have access to a Rockwell Hardness Tester anymore.

The Mainspring deals more with the Hammer pull, but does have an effect with the Trigger Sear in contact with the Hammer notch. My one and only 2nd Gen revolver had this problem. The Mainspring pull was fine, but the trigger pull was very heavy. I got my Kuhnhousen's Manual and read what Jim Martin had written on how the Sear and Hammer notch had to be fitted. I followed the instructions and now have about a 5 lb. pull which is fine with me, and I think within Colts tolerance for pull. The Sear has a lot to do with the Trigger pull. I use Colt Bolt/Trigger Springs only. The Wolff Springs are good, but I don't like the light pull weight of them. When I can find Colt Springs, I buy them and keep spares. Springs do break sometime, but Colt Springs seem to be the best. I think I am Old Fashioned and like things old like me, LOL!

With the SAA revolver, you need to go back to the beginning of the cocking action and work forward from there. Otherwise, you may do something that will effect other parts. In order to tune a SAA revolver action, you must check each part in the "train" of movements to find the problem. This is according to Jim martin who wrote these instructions in Kuhnhousen's manual.
 

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Jim wanted me to post a few photos of my 1903 Bisley .44-40 Revolver Mainspring. Jim had to work on the action as it the worst "train wreck" probably ever and it still worked. This Mainspring is original to the revolver and was used by my GG Uncle that went West in the late 1890s. He worked on ranches while there and this was his revolver....he wa a real Cowboy. He returned to South Carolina in the mid-1950s where he passed away a few years later.

Anyway, this is what an origina Colt Mainspring should look like with the top, botton, and side surfaced show NO marks whatever. From the photo of the revolver, you can see that it was used/carried a lot nd the mainspring is still working well. Yes, it is a heavy Spring, but that is the way Colt made them so it would fire any cartridge, old black powder or the new smokeless powder. I love the feel and cocking action of the original!

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I wanted a picture of the main spring I put in the gun that I had reworked not the old one.
 

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Jim, well i guess I goofed again.....I am getting old you know, LOL! Once the sun comes up good, I will get photos of the CORRECT Mainspring you reworked.

The sun was up enough for me to remove the Mainspring and make photos. These are the Reworked Mainspring that Jim put into the Bisley. Notice the difference in the width from the original Mainspring above, and the lack of ANY marks on the steel. This one looks like a factory Mainspring with Jim's work that is so well done.


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