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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally found out (thanks to several members here) that I have an 1860 Army revolver. However it is need of some repairs that I think are probably minor. I am assuming there is a broken spring inside since the hammer just flops back and forth and I would like someone to give it a good look to make sure there is no danger in firing it. The last time anyone knows of it being fired was sometime in the late 60's or early 70's.

I am not a big firearms collector or anything and I have never had a firearm repaired. All the other guns I own are low end hunting type riffles so nothing of this rarity or value. So my questions is how do I find a reputable gun smith that will both do a good job and that I dont have to worry about them "misplacing" it. I live in Delaware but the gun is currently in Seattle so if anyone knows of a reputable place in either of those areas please let me know.

Also would Colt repair this? Just think it might be cool if the original manufacturer would repair it.
 

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You might see who all can be recommended for Single Action Army repair work, and, contact some of them to see if they would consider working on your m1860.

Afterall, the mechanisms are about the same, so, it would all be familiar enough to any SAA Gunsmith.

As many Cowboy Action Shooters use modern made m1860s, they also would likely have recommendations for Gunsmiths who work on the reproduction or 2nd generation m1860s, and, of course, they would be pretty much identical to yours innards-wise and otherwise, so any Able 'smith who works on those, ought to be able to work on yours also, and or probably already has worked on 'original' m1860s at times.
 

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Chris, I doubt that your pistol is worth enough to warrant sending to a gunsmith, given their hourly rates. Buy a copy of one of David Chicoine's books, a couple of decent screwdrivers and a few Uberti spares and you can do it yourself. The mechanism is extremely simple. You will then have a working pistol, a super reference book and the start of you tool kit. All of the "experts" had to start somewhere. :D

Rio
 

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I suggest that you contact coltparts.com. I have had good luck with them in the past. You can try to fix it yourself if you have any experience with firearms. However, if you have never worked on guns before, I would not advise it - no matter how many books you get on the subject! You can easily do more damage to the gun than what you would spend on a 'smith.
Incidentally, forget taking you Army to a regular gunsmith....most of them are not experienced with antique firearms. Just one point-the metal in cap and ball colts is far different than that used in modern firearms (including repros). For one thing, it is quite a bit more brittle.
If you live anywhere east of Chicago, why not contact Dixon's Muzzle loading Shop for a referral. They are in Pa. and they do have a website.
 

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According to Rio, it's a simple parts change. The dif. between a "parts changer" and someone who can set one up from scratch is like having a gun that "works" and one that works the way it's designed to. One will last, one wont. If the main spring gets replaced and it needs a new hand and a new bolt, which one do you fit first ?

Dragoon
 

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In a gun of this quality it IS a simple parts change. This is not a shooter and you could probably drop a full set of Uberti innards into this pistol with very little modification and it would work suitably enough. Given the above book and screwdrivers my wife could probably do the job.

Steg, any "gunsmith" who cannot replace the parts in a Colt single action revolver should be in another trade.

Rio
 

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Rio, thank you for proving my point. (make sure your wife knows the correct sequence before she does any "smithing" to yours.)

Sorry Chris, Rio has deemed it as a non-shooter. You'll just have to hang it on a wall .

He's really good as having not seen it apart, what the bore looks like . . . . . you said it locks up tight . . . . the chambers condition . . . . the rest of the "innards". I see a frame, a full barrel assy, a cylinder . . . . . but I can't tell you (without really seeing it) if it could be a shooter. Seems like it would be best for me to shut up and leave this one to an expert.


Dragoon


P.S. Steg, you should know that any simpleton could fix up a gun with "innards" such as these have. Shame on you !!!
( I know more than a couple of gunsmiths that would rather NOT fool with these old guns . . . . .don't know why !!)
 

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For both Rio and Dragoon:
There are two things that no American male will admit that he is less than an expert on: Automobile repair and firearms.
How many "Bubbafied" cap and ball revolvers have you seen? I have seen enough of them that I would not recommend anything less than a professional to work on them.
Yes, it is easy to hang parts in cap and ball pistols. But what happens when you clamp down too hard with pliers, or put the frame in a vise without cushioning it...or for that matter, when the wrong size screwdriver is used....or it slips? How many buggered screws have you seen in these pistols.
If a person knows so little about an heirloom firearm that he has to come on to this site to have it identified, it is unlikely that he has the basic skills or knowledge to replace parts on the weapon.
You guys are making judgments from your personal vast experience with firearms, not from someone who lacks basic knowledge or skills.
 

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Steg , that was a "tongue in cheek" to you in my post . Apparently the American S.A.'s are so simple to work on ANYBODY can do it !!!!

I've been working on Black powder arms for 32 yrs. Funny you should mention cars as I was basically raised in a garage !!!! That's why I became a "gun guy", not many more things more mechanical than cars and guns !!!!!

I've seen (and fixed) a LOT of bubbafied guns AND cars !!!!! I just got finished explaining how the hammer cam and bolt react when one de-cocks from half cock (before bolt drop) and after bolt drop ( in the S.A.A. board pg.2 now).

45 Dragoon
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No worries here. I plan on getting it repaired (in the future) by a professional. I want it as close to original as possible and I know my limitations. If this were my 1980's 30-06 hunting riffle I would consider working on it. Worse case scenario I buy a new rifle. Hard to replace a family heirloom that is from the civil war.
 

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Guess all of us cap and ball shooters are going to have to send our pistols away to be repaired next time a hand spring or bolt fails. No problem, will give me time to fix my car. ;)

Rio
 

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Times change, people change, I guess is the reason for the extravaganza here about replacing a mainspring of a SAA. I was fixing my SAAs when I was 16 back in the 1930s - when you could find a pretty good one for $5. Most serious fix I did was repairing the broken trigger when another kid tried fanning the hammer.
 

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rhmc24,
I agree. My whole point here was to point out, there's folks that are ok with replacing parts, and then there's folks that "fix" or tune the parts that come in the gun or the parts being installed. To replace the broken (whatever) only to do it again in the future is one thing. Doing the things that will make your parts last soooo much longer (poss. the life of the gun) is what I'm after.
The idea that someone would actually charge a customer to spend time- hand fitting, re shaping, re surfacing , increasing/ decreasing spring tension and ultimately handing back a gun that will last the customer a lifetime - is amazing to me!!! Suggesting that the working parts of Colts and Colts style S.A."s is such a simple thing (to do correctly is anything but) - is a slap in the face to Gunsmiths everywhere !! All I'm saying is be polite to the business. I've ALWAYS done my own 'smithing and ALWAYS done my own auto/truck repairs (from oil changes to engine rebuilds/ swaps ) but I DON'T vilify anyone for being in either business!!
Maybe I read more into any comments above but it just hit me the wrong way and I'm one that will speak my piece. Nuff said.
 

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Gun fixing related to car fixing has a lot in common about DIY or turning it over to a professional. At 16 in the 1930s I repaired my SAA trigger rather than buy a new one from Stoegers for 60 cents. That took two lawn mowings to earn or could buy 4 gallons of gas for my '25 Studebaker. Later, 1946, as an airplane mechanic in Africa, only two flights a week, most work was spent fixing our half wore out vehicles, again make-do fixes when it took a long time to get parts. Cars, shop equipment & staff house maintenance made stars of us with ingenious talent. In both situations DIY was it -- no professional was available. Didn't realize it at the time but it was good experience & training.
 

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Dragoon, there was never any intention on my part to vilify anyone in the gunsmithing business and it was not me that said modern day gunsmiths don't know anything about antiques. My first impression when looking at this pistol was that it's a junker (no offence, Chris). It looks as though Bubba has already been at it. It may have a lot of sentimental value to Chris but its monetary value is very low and in my opinion it's not worth spending any great some of money on. Putting the parts in that pistol to get it into a working condition i.e. where it cocks and locks, and everything turns as it should, is a relatively simple job. If I lived close enough I'd do it for free. But talking about hand fitting, re-shaping etc. on a pistol in this condition just seems OTT. Sorry if anything I said rubbed you the wrong way - it was not my intention and I wholeheartedly apologise. This is a great forum and I don't want to be the one who causes any upsets; if anyone else is or was offended by my comments, then you also have my apologies.

Rio
 

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rhmc24 - thanks much and I agree !! I learned from having to DIY (cars and guns) or do without !! It's a great teacher !!!! (it helps to be a fast learner !!) WOW Studies - love um. Didn't mech. on airplanes but worked at Lockheed for 6 yrs. (holy cow, that was 24 yrs ago !!)


Rio - I accept your apology and I too apologize to you and to all for too quickly jumping to conclusions. I made some assumptions I shouldn't have and I agree that this is a great forum. I'm also glad that we have good folks across the pond that can weigh in on our common interests. Thank you Rio. (I do think it's HOT though that your wife can fix a gun !!! lol Wish mine could !!!!!)

Chris, I'd do it for parts cost (obviously save the old parts) ( shipping to me is cheaper than to the U.K. !!) sorry Rio.

Dragoon
 

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Chris, I'd do it for parts cost (obviously save the old parts) ( shipping to me is cheaper than to the U.K. !!) sorry Rio.

Dragoon
And a lot safer - UK customs get kinda jumpy when the x-ray shows up like a gun!

Chris, take him up on his offer - you might get a fright at the "professional" charges.

Hell, I just read that again and it sounds like I'm running you down, Dragoon. ;) Maybe I should quit now before the hole gets any deeper!!

Rio
 
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