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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I read some people cut the bolt front ledge so that the bolt goes deeper into the cylinder notches... Now, I am thinking that if that ledge is there, it's for a reason... What is it? I suspect it should not be done, correct or ok?

My issue is that my bolt starts retracting pretty late. The hammer is past the safety notch when the bolt starts to move. The bolt tines are not touching the hammer cam until pretty late. I tried to reduce bolt height by filing the top, respecting the 10deg angle and notches bottom profile. It hasn't been quite enough to make a significant improvement. This has forced me to file the top of the hand way too short to allow the cylinder to rotate when cocking the hammer. I wasted two hands that way. Note that my hammer cam looks all right and is the correct .187". The bolt is new. I have a third new hand ready and now I'm totally broke and stressed out. I'm not in the US and can't ship my gun to anyone there; no Colt gunsmiths around me.

What should I do? Thanks.

PS: Yes, I have the K book.

Gil.
 

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That ledge is there to act as a stop so the bolt does not protrude out of the frame window too much when the cylinder is out of the gun.
If the ledge wasn't there and you would bring the hammer to full cock, the bolt would come up too far out of the frame and the cam cannot get up under the bolt to retract it when the hammer falls. You would have to push down on the bolt head to 'reset' the bolt.

What I would do is take a break from working on the gun first, re-read the book, think it over twice and then start to work on the parts after you've determined what is wrong.

It looks like the cam is sitting too low? Is the trigger too short?
 

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Are you using correct generation Colt parts? Match the hand's Generation to the cylinder's Generation. Third gen hands do not always work with 1st and 2nd gen cylinders.
1. Try a new sear spring and make sure the screw is down tight. If you do not have a sear spring to try, check the old one and see if it has split at the screw hole.
2. If you have a different COLT bolt with an unaltered good leg, try it.
3. If you have another COLT hammer, try it..
4. Rotate the cam
5. Oversize cam.

You say the bolt leg is not reaching the cam? That sounds like a bolt problem and "messing" with the hammer cam is a last resort. The sear spring may not be putting enough pressure on the bolt.

Hope this helps to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I specifically ordered first generation parts. See the videos in my SAA timing thread. The trigger is new, and long. I've been at it for months...

Gil

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Taking some metal off that ledge WILL cause the bolt to rise higher in the frame, which will lower the bolt legs, causing the cam to start manipulating the bolt earlier in the cocking cycle (which, from your description, is something you need it to do). But, you'll then need to dress the bolt head down to maintain its original amount of protrusion through the frame. That's one way to do it. All of this is a delicate balance. Alter one part, to affect another, and you may find that you've negatively affected something else in the gun. It is best to read up and think about everything very thoroughly before you begin.

In my younger years, I didn't think things through thoroughly (unintentional alliteration) enough when working on a single action that had the same problem. I took way too much metal off that ledge in an effort to get the bolt to start falling the moment the cam started moving. I didn't want any delay and was certain that would fix my problem. All looked great until I realized that the bolt was now completely disengaged from the cylinder when the first hammer notch (safety notch) was engaged (isn't supposed to be). I hadn't considered that possibility before I began filing metal off of that ledge. Fortunately it was a cheap Uberti, and I could source a new bolt for it fairly inexpensively. But it is very easy to focus on only how altering one part can positively affect an outcome you're seeking without noticing how it can also negatively affect the way the gun functions in another area. And sometimes what looks to be intuitive isn't.

I've been following your posts on that revolver, and I can tell that you're intelligent and have an ability to intuit mechanical things. But there are some "best practices" when working on these that aren't at all obvious. You learned that when you ruined two hands. I'm sure it looked like shortening that first tooth on the hand would allow the bolt to retract before the hand started trying to rotate the cylinder. So you shortened the hand, only to learn that it was now too short to do its job. That sounds like something I also might have done as a young man.

So now you've realized that there are many ways to skin a cat, and you appear to be zeroing in on the real culprit. But I learned on cheap replicas, and I didn't have the book. You have a real Colt that you don't want to mess up. And you also have the book, so I really think you can get this up and running if you read the book carefully and understand it thoroughly, and weigh every outcome before you start altering parts again.

I wish you the best of luck on this.
 

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I've had cylinders try to rotate slightly before the bolt drops clear and the bolt either hangs on the cylinder notch or it tries to leave a drag line right behind the cylinder notch as the bolt is dragging on the cylinder. If it's not too severe of a problem I've just reduced the offending edge of the top of the bolt slightly with a bevel that allows the cylinder to clear the bolt. I'm not a gunsmith and don't pretend to be one but I've found it to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You guys describe what is going on exactly. Thanks OD#3. I will read up more, but that book is very confusing. It is more of a reference book, not a how-to book. For that it is poorly designed, though it does have all the information you might ever need.

I am wondering if the bolt might not be what I ordered, which was a 1st gen. Bolt from Peacemaker Specialists, made by Smith Enterprises. They seem very professional, so I am assuming it is correct. Yet, the tines are not that close to the hammer cam. I would assume the bolt head is too tall, allowing for some fitting.

The difficulty here, just like the hand, will be avoiding filing the bolt too much. I don't think it needs too much, but that hand needed to be awfully short to let the cylinder turn.

I will read up on the bolt fitting procedure tonight before going any further. I really hope to take my gun to the range on the 24th... Without having to turn the cylinder by hand between each shot! I loaded about 25 rounds of .38-40 before my press broke as I was using it to resize bullets. I need a real sizer...

Gil

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Gil,
This may be late in the game but are you 100% sure that you have a Colt hammer?
You might compare it to the pictures in the book with measurements of all the critical dimensions.
 

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When one files off the bolt ledge, the bolt can pop up too far into the cylinder notch and hit the metal with such force that, with time, that bolt can penetrate the metal into a cylinder. I have seen that on a couple older Colts.
 

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When one files off the bolt ledge, the bolt can pop up too far into the cylinder notch and hit the metal with such force that, with time, that bolt can penetrate the metal into a cylinder. I have seen that on a couple older Colts.
That's why it is imperative that one dress the bolt head afterwards to maintain its original protrusion depth. Also, because the bolt head is pivoting in an arc on its way up, the angle at which the bolt head contacts the cylinder is changed slightly when one alters that ledge. So in addition to dressing down bolt head height, the shape must be altered as well with more material being removed from the front of the top of the bolt head than the rear.
 
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