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I have had Jerry's shop manuals for a while. I have used them to take down my New Service and various other DA colts I have owned over the years. Strangely I never used his SAA manual to take down my 3rd gen .45. But I get my family .44WCF and all of a sudden it is a great idea to me to take it apart and make sure its in working order.

Didn't read the part at the end about not disassembling 1st gen SAAs unless absolutely necessary.....ie removing everything but the ejector/barrel/ejector rod.....

Anyway, after momentary panic, I start putting the gun back together per his instructions. Get it back together, try the hammer and bolt moves but the trigger doesn't and there are no clicks.....

Come to find out I had put the trigger spring in upside down. Simple fix and thankfully the gun is now back in operating order....But man my grandfather's favorite saying came back to me at that moment:

"He's so dumb he couldn't pour piss out of a boot with instructions on the heel.".......
 

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Well there's "dumb"; and there's "hard-headed", not necessarily the same thing atall. I recall being told as a youngster by an uncle, he thought the only way I could be anymore "hard-headed" was to get older. (I took it as a compliment :D)

I can't believe all the great old gunsmiths started out with full blown knowledge of a firearm's inner workings. I expect they all started just the same, by the method; "open it up and let's see how it works". With the exception of old N R A books, about the only two ways to learn were at the knee of an accomplished smith; or by trial and error.
I see you chose "trial & error" with an assist by Kuhnhausen. :D
This forum has contributions by some very knowledgeable gunsmiths. I bet most will tell you they started as youngsters exploring just how things worked from the inside.
 

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I have to agree with "Kingcobb" about the books by Jery Kuhnhousen, they are indespensible!!! The one person that is a member of this Forum, Mr. Jim Martin, is the one that wrote the instructions for Jerry's book on the Colt SAA revolver. Jim learned his knowledge from a Real Old West gunsmith. Jim knows the action and what must be done on each part to give you a revolver that is better than when it was built by Colt from it's inception. If you follow the book when working on the SAA revolver.......remember it is the knowledge from Jim Martin that gave this to us.
 

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Kingcobb said:
The dumb part wasn't in taking it apart....
Nothing dumb about taking any SAA apart. Could be one built in 1873 or one built last week. The dumb part was taking one apart that didn't need taking apart. Probably time to send a gun off to Jim Martin and the education that will follow through the resulting phone calls.
 

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There is no real skill needed to disassemble then re-assemble a Colt SAA; it's a gun with a deceptively simple looking action. The skill is needed when one or more of those deceptively simple looking parts needs to be replaced. Each part needs to be correctly hand fitted to act in the proper sequence with each of the other parts; that's where master's touch comes into play.

Best regards,
 

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I agree that the SAA has a "simple" action until I got to the timing part and then I learned that it wasn't quite as simple as I thought. I have had a couple of conversations with Jim Martin and I agree with Yahoody in that Jim is not only knowledgeable, but he can provide some great conversation. Talk about a guy that has been there and done that!
 

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Jim Martin just finished working on two of my SAA in 44 special, one a 1st generation and one a 2nd generation. We had many conversations and I loved all the history and detail we discussed, a wealth of knowledge and a true gentleman.
 

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Someone once said that a "Single action Colt is about as complicated as a monkey wrench." Well, that dude was correct. Few moving parts and not difficult to take apart or reassemble. When I was 12 I got an 1849 Colt pocket from my father which has the same parts as the Model P. I think I had it apart that day,..........and back together too! No shop manual or other instruction. Anyone who owns any type of single action, Colt or copy, is going to have take the thing apart sooner, or later, if it is shot. So, get a pair,........... and, Oh yeah, a proper fitting screw driver, and proceed. You probably won't break it and you won't end up with any extra parts either.
 

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I have not been on the Forum much lately due to work, but it will only get worse for me until after Christmas. But I wanted to inject this to this thread. The Colt SAA revolver is simple, but complicated. Just taking one apart is easy, but there is an "order" to take it apart and the same revers order in reassembling them. Kuhnhousen's book goes thru this order and it is important to do it that way. As "Yahoody" stated in his post above; "The dumb part was taking one apart that didn't need taking apart". Yes, they do need to be taken apart sometime to clean the action parts; especially if you shoot a lot of black powder. The black powder does get into the action and if left will continue to absorb mositure from the air and will cause havok to the parts you don't see. Jim Martin told me a story one time about an actor (I think it was Johnny Mack Brown, but not postive) that his daughter wanted his revolver checked out and cleaned. Jim told me the black powder inside the action had ruined most of those parts. Outside the SAA revolver was beautiful.

We all had to learn at some point on what to do for maintaining the SAA revolver. Learning from the folks here is one of the best ways, but you must study the operation of the action and learn there is an exact order on how you tune the action. If a Bolt leg breaks, you must begin from the beginning at the 1st Safety cock all the way to the final full cock before it can be made correct whe replacing that Bolt. Just replacing the bad part alone can & will goof up the entire action. Knowledge comes from books and other gunsmiths, you can't learn it in 1 day. I have been working on most of mine, but I still need some tutoring from Jim Martin or even send to him for tuning. The most important part is knowing when you CAN do the reapair and when you CAN'T do the repair. I have ruined some new parts myself in my learning process, but each time I get better and will never be a good one!
 

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I am not much of a gunsmith, so when I do have to work on some of my guns, I get out my how to books. If I lived closer to Jim Martin, I would like to learn from him. It sure would be interesting and he explains the workings while paying attention to those details that help in the final outcome. I do not want to become a gunsmith, but rather just be more proficient at it.
 

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I rebuilt my first Harley Davidson Hummer motor before I found a how to book. I took it back apart, and checked and I did put everything back together the way it was supposed to be. It was a fun and neat little bike. I sold it to a young guy, that rode the heck out of it.

About to turn 94 & no longer doing much with guns, I'm beginning to think It'd be good reading to get kuhnhausen's books to learn what I been doing wrong since the 1930s ------>
 

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There must also be NO distractions when working on a Colt SAA. I recently dis-assembled my Pops Colt which was made in late 1904. It functions flawlessly and is accurate enough for me hittin what I point at! I load 44-40's for it too!
 

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I have not been on the Forum much lately due to work, but it will only get worse for me until after Christmas. But I wanted to inject this to this thread. The Colt SAA revolver is simple, but complicated. Just taking one apart is easy, but there is an "order" to take it apart and the same revers order in reassembling them. Kuhnhousen's book goes thru this order and it is important to do it that way. As "Yahoody" stated in his post above; "The dumb part was taking one apart that didn't need taking apart". Yes, they do need to be taken apart sometime to clean the action parts; especially if you shoot a lot of black powder. The black powder does get into the action and if left will continue to absorb mositure from the air and will cause havok to the parts you don't see. Jim Martin told me a story one time about an actor (I think it was Johnny Mack Brown, but not postive) that his daughter wanted his revolver checked out and cleaned. Jim told me the black powder inside the action had ruined most of those parts. Outside the SAA revolver was beautiful.

We all had to learn at some point on what to do for maintaining the SAA revolver. Learning from the folks here is one of the best ways, but you must study the operation of the action and learn there is an exact order on how you tune the action. If a Bolt leg breaks, you must begin from the beginning at the 1st Safety cock all the way to the final full cock before it can be made correct whe replacing that Bolt. Just replacing the bad part alone can & will goof up the entire action. Knowledge comes from books and other gunsmiths, you can't learn it in 1 day. I have been working on most of mine, but I still need some tutoring from Jim Martin or even send to him for tuning. The most important part is knowing when you CAN do the reapair and when you CAN'T do the repair. I have ruined some new parts myself in my learning process, but each time I get better and will never be a good one!
The most important aspect of knowledge is to have a clear understanding of what you don't know.
 

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...The Colt SAA revolver is simple, but complicated. Just taking one apart is easy, but there is an "order" to take it apart and the same revers order in reassembling them. ...
That's one of the amazing and vexing things about them: Pay attention, follow the "order," and the action comes out and goes back in fairly easily; but it's the way all those little shapes, edges, and surfaces interact that is mystifying and is the difference between a sticky and unreliable trigger pull to one that is consistently smooth and a pleasure to shoot. Gunsmiths like Jim Martin are magicians in this regard, kind of like the legendary dwarfs who live in the mountains and make magical armaments, except taller. Don't know if he's any better looking because I haven't met him in person.
 

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I have to agree with "Kingcobb" about the books by Jery Kuhnhousen, they are indespensible!!! The one person that is a member of this Forum, Mr. Jim Martin, is the one that wrote the instructions for Jerry's book on the Colt SAA revolver. Jim learned his knowledge from a Real Old West gunsmith. Jim knows the action and what must be done on each part to give you a revolver that is better than when it was built by Colt from it's inception. If you follow the book when working on the SAA revolver.......remember it is the knowledge from Jim Martin that gave this to us.
I will never accept that modern tinkering is better then the Colt inception. From the Walker on up, the Government set the standards for operation, lock time, accuracy and a host of other factors most of us seldom even think about. All the light spring, super polished, slicked up weak actions would be considered unsafe by the government inspectors of the 1870's and 80's. The dozens of blown top straps that came from frames so affected that I've had to repair over the years attest to that. Jerry's book doesn't advise these alterations either, it is done by individuals seeking to provide new products or services, untested as they may be. Some work and some lead to disasters.

jp
 

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About to turn 94 & no longer doing much with guns, I'm beginning to think It'd be good reading to get kuhnhausen's books to learn what I been doing wrong since the 1930s ------>
Bob:I doubt very seriously you've been doing anything wrong all these yrs. There are very few "CRAFTSMEN" left in todays gun business & your definentlly one of them.I always learn something from your posts & especially like the old history stories u come up with.Part of my Granpa's family came from your part of the country,in fact Al Jennings was my Granpa's cousin.He told me one time that Jennings introduced him to Wyatt Earp @ a boxing match in Vernon Ca. back around 1920.
 

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There must also be NO distractions when working on a Colt SAA. I recently dis-assembled my Pops Colt which was made in late 1904. It functions flawlessly and is accurate enough for me hittin what I point at! I load 44-40's for it too!
Ah, how sweet it is!

JP
 

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That's one of the amazing and vexing things about them: Pay attention, follow the "order," and the action comes out and goes back in fairly easily; but it's the way all those little shapes, edges, and surfaces interact that is mystifying and is the difference between a sticky and unreliable trigger pull to one that is consistently smooth and a pleasure to shoot. Gunsmiths like Jim Martin are magicians in this regard, kind of like the legendary dwarfs who live in the mountains and make magical armaments, except taller. Don't know if he's any better looking because I haven't met him in person.
If an SA mystifies you, try a Colt 1877 double action - better yet, don't, you'll lose many a nights sleep!

JP
 
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