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1,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For everyone that is not A1A, finding the most useful posts is not always the easiest thing. :)

It'd be nice to have a single thread the listed a good set of useful posts for people to start from. Plus it will help prevent the forgetful from missing something that they "should already know."

So if you have particular favorites please post them here! Good heuristics: anything you've mailed to a friend, or bookmarked in your browser.

I'll cheat by just listing out a tiny subset of very useful dfariswheel posts:

Must read

Great post on Colt D/E/I frame revolver timing checks:
Further timing checks for MKIII's and related actions:

Great posting on how to identify the period of different python grips:


Dealing with leading:

Minimal screwdriver set for colt work:

Who to have work on Colts:

High density storage (JudgeColt):


Has my gun been reblued:

Colt will restamp some parts:

How to deal with rust:

Touching up a stainless finish:

Removing nickel plate:

Plum-colored parts are not necessarily from reblue:

How to store guns long term:


Fixing loose front sight insert:

Putting dots on front sights:

Where to buy colt parts:

Neat trick for dealing with a too loose latch pin hole:

Recommended schools that teach gunsmithing:

Not a good idea to mess w/ MKIII, KC and similar actions:


222 Posts
If you can find them, I'd probably add some threads on shooting issues, what loads for different vintage guns and black powder vs. modern frame issues. Threads on valuations might be useful too.

Premium Member
2,316 Posts
Sticky ???

Not sure where, but it's kind of like a Table of Contents or general overall reference.

Maybe be added to occasionally, similar to Wikipedia model ...


1,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
More dfariswheel posts


fixing endshake:
with a bunch of follow up:

Barrel stuff:

removing / changing barrel:
replacing trooper barrel:

barrel threads, python / trooper:

fixing leading, and what not to do:
getting rid of bore rust:

chopping python barrels shorter:


ultrasonic cleaners: (The basics) (Includes discussion of solvents)

fixing stainless finish:

long term storage:

on the sintered action of KC or MKIII:

on kc action being better than MKIII:

on misfires:

6,983 Posts
It'd be nice to have a single thread the listed a good set of useful posts for people to start from. Plus it will help prevent the forgetful from missing something that they "should already know."
Good idea . We'll give it a try and post it here as this forum gets more attention .


Senior Member
787 Posts
Wonderful idea,it would be a whole lot easier to look up valuable information.Why didn't i think of that?

Actually, it would be great if A1A would add as much knowledge to this thread as possible.Or transfer previous threads with knowledgeable information here.

222 Posts
A "Colt Historical" section could be a nice addition to the list. There are threads now and then on identifying old guns or how barrel markings should read or what calibers were produced when and other such material.

Under "Finishing" I'd probably add threads dealing with engraving and grips including sources for real ivory, carved grips and the like.

895 Posts
I'd suggest that newbies use the search function and put "dfariswheel" in the advanced search option. :)

I've learned ALOT of stuff about Colt's innards, assembly, disassembly, tuning, technical info., etc., from reading almost all of his posts.

He is an ABSOLUTE wealth of information on Colt firearms.

ETA: I wish he lived close by because I would FORCE him to teach me how to work on Colt revolvers!! :D

ETA: D.R.E.'s posts where he shows how he adjusts the timing, etc., and provides pictures, are great posts also.

895 Posts
Capstan and I recently asked dfariswheel the following two questions and he gave DETAILED answers:

(1) Dfariswheel was kind enough to list the things you might do if you want to improve the smoothness and feel of the old Colt actions. (This is ABSOLUTELY priceless information IMHO.)

(2) Then, dfariswheel was kind enough to explain the basic tools/stones he uses when performing action jobs - more great information.

This information is priceless, great and IMPORTANT!

(I hope you don't mind me making this part of a sticky dfariswheel?)

Also, I copied his advice and put it inside my Jerry K. book for reference. (I advise all of you who are "ordinary Joe's", like myself, to do the same.)

This type of detailed, important information don't come around too often. :)

Thanks again dfariswheel!!

Note: To those of you who do not know - dfariswheel is a retired gunsmith who specialized in Colts. There ain't many of them left and I just feel this information should be part of a sticky for everyone to see from now on. I hope no one minds?

What often makes the old Colt action feel like it has a lighter trigger even in single action is when the action is smooth.

When gunsmiths say "polish" we really mean "smooth". Many people hear "polish" and think "like a mirror".
Polishing to a mirror shine does nothing, and may ruin parts. What you want is areas smooth enough that nothing catches.
You don't even need to remove all machine marks, just level them until there's no catching.

Here's just some areas you can address for a smoother, lighter feeling action.

Polish the top of the rebound lever where the mainspring touches.

Lightly round and polish the bottom front of the rebound that fits under the hand. The area to look at is the pointed flat part that presses against the hand.

Make sure the safety rebound area of the rebound is smooth. DON'T remove ANY metal, this is the rebound safety.

Make sure the rebound area that fits the slot in the rear of the frame is free and smooth operating, but not loose or with any excess side play.
The pin should be snug but let the rebound pivot smoothly.

On the hand lightly round the edges all around, especially on the front side.

Smooth the front of the hand where it slides on the frame.

Round and smooth the top outside of the hand where it's beveled.

Make sure the hand has the correct slight bend. Careful, not much is needed and they break.

Smooth the inside of the slot on the back of the hand.

Smooth the inside flats of the hand where it slides on the frame, and lightly bevel the top inside edge of the top hand area JUST slightly.

Smooth the outside of the hand where it slides on the side plate.

Make sure the rebound safety area of the hammer is smooth. Again NO metal removal, this is the safety.

Make sure the bottom inside edges of the skirt area of the hammer are rounded so it won't catch on the safety lever assembly. This is the concave area at the bottom rear of the hammer.

Make sure the dished area just under the front face of the hammer is smooth. This is the area the safety lever slides up. No metal removal.

Polish the front and back of the double action strut. Keep the bottom edge "sharp" as-is.

Polish the sides of the strut lightly.

Make sure the top of the hammer cocking shelf is smooth. No metal removal and stay away from the single action notch.

Lightly break the sides of the hammer single action sear to prevent catching on the frame or side plate.

Smooth the top of the trigger shelf. No metal removal and stay away from the trigger sear.

Smooth the underside of the trigger cocking shelf. No metal removal.

Make sure the safety lever assembly isn't catching on the trigger, and make sure the lug for the safety assembly isn't rubbing or catching on the frame.

Make sure the safety lever connector lugs aren't catching on the frame, trigger or the hammer.

Make sure the side face of the locking bolt that contacts the rebound "triangle" is smooth. Remove ANY metal and the bolt will usually be ruined.
DON'T polish the bottom. If it's rough or nicked, have it replaced.

Make sure the side face of the rebound triangle is smooth. Remove any metal and it's ruined. Stay away from the top edge of the triangle.

Round off slightly the bottom front edge of the mainspring where it slides on the rebound.
Don't polish the spring anywhere else, this can set up stress risers and the spring will break.
If the spring is scratched from removal with serrated jaw pliers, buy a new spring.

Make sure the inside area of the side plate where the hand rubs is smooth.

There's more, but this is a good start.
Most "polishing" and de-burring is done with very fine stones. In my case ceramic stones that you can buy from Brownell's. These maintain their flat surfaces and sharp edges much better than even the hard Arkansas stones, and usually cost less.

I also used rubber abrasive "bullets" and wheel with a flex shaft.
You can use the dreaded Dremel tool, but the key is FINE abrasives not grinding stones or coarse abrasives.
Always keep in mind, the idea is to "knock the top off" of machine marks, not leave a mirror bright surface.

Here's some of the types of stones I've used.

I used the Cratex larger bullets and some wheels, usually the larger sizes. The fine and medium are about right, the coarse is for removing a lot of metal.

Since the rubber Cratex tips give the right level of smoothness, I early on stopped using felt tips and polishing media.
The felt tips and polishing media are more for a higher polish and a waste of time for the correct smoothing of parts.
Since you're deliberately not trying for a mirror polish, I eventually stopped using the felt heads.

Another good source of tools are Knifemaker's supply houses:
I used his advice on an old Cobra is now "smooth as silk". THANK YOU dfariswheel!!

146 Posts
If I read the post on bolt operation correctly my Trooper III (1975) that has a faint turn line needs to be sent to Colt for timing issue. Is that correct?

895 Posts
Another Dfariswheel classic on how he cleans guns. (Good stuff IMHO.)

Flanman asked about this subject.

Rods NOT to buy:
Screw-together jointed rods.
The brass and aluminum will allow grit to embed and this will damage the muzzle and bore.
Screw together rods always have a bit of a step where they join and this can really damage the muzzle.

The best rods are either one piece uncoated stainless steel or the new carbon fiber.
The coated rods coating never stays on and scrapes off.
Many Match shooters are now using carbon fiber because they're either perfectly straight, or they're broken.

For all rifle and pistol rods, buy a cone-shaped brass muzzle guide, unless it's a rod that will be used ONLY to clean from the chamber.

For pistol rods buy one piece stainless steel. Unless you have a barrel over 6" you only need two rods. One for .22 and one up to .45, and if you want you can get by with only one for everything. I prefer one for .22 and one for every thing else due to the small diameter of the .22.

For shotguns, you usually only need one rod that will fit everything. You can get by with aluminum on shotguns because the muzzle isn't as critical as with rifled arms, and you can almost always clean from the chamber end.
You can also use jointed shotgun rods for the same reason.

The chamber brush kit is good, since modern shotguns tend to build up not only carbon fouling, but plastic too. Moisture can infiltrate under the fouling and rust the chamber.
Old type paper shot shells had a wax on them and the wax melted and coated the chamber. This actually protected them, and people weren't prepared for the chamber rust problem of plastic, which burns off any wax or oil.
The chamber cleaner brush is soaked with solvent, pushed into the chamber and the rod handle is used to rotate the brush.
This scrubs the fouling out and leaves a clean, smooth chamber.

For rifles, you really need to buy rods for each specific rifle, unless you have a number that are the same general caliber and length.
As example, if you have an M1 Garand or an M1A you should buy a stainless "Service Rifle" rod. These are rods that are the correct length to clean these rifles from the muzzle and not contact the open bolt.
If you have a very short carbine type rifle and another rifle with a longer barrel, it's easier to have a rod for each length just because the longer rod in a short barrel is awkward to use.
You don't have to have 10 rifle rods stacked up, but try to have the right rod for the rifle. If you can get by with a rod for a number of rifles and it works well, that's fine.

I do NOT recommend any kind of "pull through" cleaners.
Bore snakes are for fast field partial cleaning and don't get a bore really clean.
The problem with the bore snake is that people wash them and use them far too long.
The material gets weak, and sooner or later it'll break off in the bore.
The smaller the caliber, the more likely this will happen.
If you break one off in the bore, there is no good way to extract one.
One person on the forums a year or two ago broke one off in an AR-15 , tried to pull it back out and broke the other end off.
Last I heard, he still hadn't been able to get it out.
The manufactures will tell you they don't have a good extraction method to recommend.

The Otis is a nice kit, but as good and high quality as it is, it too can and will break off in the bore.
Nothing cleans as good as a rod and patches, and rods don't leave things jammed in the bore unless you mis-use it.

Rod tips are a matter of preference and the type firearm to be cleaned.
I use both loop jags and button tip jags, all made of brass.
I don't recommend plastic jags. They strip the threads and break.

I've pretty much stopped pushing rods through bores. When you push, the rod flexes and bumps the bore. This may not do any harm, but after I saw rifling impressions on a rod, I started pulling the rod whenever possible.
When I can clean from the chamber, I still use a loop tip and pull the patch or brush.
The only down side is you have to be careful not to pull a bunch of dirty solvent into the action.

Some pointers:
The purpose of a patch is to carry clean solvent into the bore, and dirty solvent out.
"Pumping" a patch up and down the barrel does nothing. It doesn't "polish" the bore and it doesn't scrub off fouling.
I put patches through the bore and out the end on one smooth pass then pitch them.

Buy brushes in bulk from Brownell's or Midway. Solvents eat the brush and they don't last long no matter what you use.
To make them last longer, rinse them off with cheap paint thinner or alcohol to remove the solvent.
When a brush feels like it's not as tight in the bore, pitch it.

Solvents need time to work. A solvent works by a chemical reaction with copper and carbon fouling and that requires enough time to work.
READ THE BOTTLE LABEL for how long your solvent can be safely left in the bore.
Hoppe's Number 9 can be left in for weeks.

I use Hoppe's in this method for a rifle.
I run a brush soaked with solvent through about 10 to 15 times.
I run two soaked patches through, then let soak for 30 minutes or so.
I soak a clean patch and run it through in one smooth pass. When it comes out the end I look for blue or green stains, which indicate copper fouling is still present.
If I see signs of fouling, I let it soak another 30 minutes and check again.
I continue this until I don't see any stains. Then I dry the bore and put in a very thin coat of CLP Breakfree.
A day or two later, I wipe the barrel dry and run another solvent soaked patch and let it soak for 30 minutes. This is to insure I got all the fouling, including any that works it's way out of the rifling corners later.

If I have a bolt rifle and it's been fired more than 20 rounds or so, I brush the bore, run two wet patches, then I use a Brownell's chamber plug to plug the chamber. Then I fill the barrel with solvent and let soak 24 hours.
I then discard the fouled solvent and dry.
This only works on rifles that don't have a gas port in the barrel, or one like the M1 that has the port near the muzzle.

Since pistols don't normally get copper fouling build up like rifles do, these can usually be cleaned in an hour or so.
I do have a Kahr Arms pistol that gets thick layers of copper fouling in the polygonal bore, so for it I either use JB Bore Paste, or I put the barrel in a tall, thin container and fill with solvent. I let it soak at least 24 hours and if it's been shot a lot, I may dump the solvent, refill and soak longer.

A good "tool" to have for cleaning is a small plastic solvent transfer bulb or pipette.
Use this to apply solvent to patches and brushes and this prevents contaminating the bottle of solvent.
You can buy pipettes from lab supply houses, or from Brownell's.
You can put a patch or brush into the bore, then apply the solvent with the bulb.

So, since there is no really good "universal" cleaning kit, most of us build our own kits, using a tackle box.
Buy whatever one-piece stainless or carbon fiber rods you actually need. You don't need a rod for each gun, but if you have an accuracy rifle you may want a rod just for it.
Buy brass muzzle guides for any you have to clean from the muzzle.

You may want to look at chamber guides for rifles that are cleaned from the chamber. These keep solvent and dirt out of the action.

Buy jags of whatever type you like for each caliber. Some will do for more than one, as example 9mm and .38/.357.

Buy plenty of bronze brushes for each caliber.

Buy a good solvent of whatever you like, and buy it in the largest size you can get. Transfer it into smaller jars to prevent major spills.

Buy some pipettes.

Buy any extras for specific firearms.
As example JB Bore Paste for badly fouled bores, Slip 2000 Carbon Remover for carbon fouled gas pistons or muzzle brakes, a lead-removal cloth to clean carbon and leading off stainless steel revolvers (NO use on blued), if you have a revolver buy a Lewis Lead Remover kit from Brownell's even if you only shoot jacketed bullets. The Lewis kit also removes carbon and copper buildup off the forcing cone.

This sounds like a lot and sounds very complicated. It's not because you buy all this over the years as you need it.

895 Posts
The follow-up answer is quoted below: (I couldn't get it all in on the above post because it exceeded the allowable characters in one post.)

I have or have had rifles that have to be cleaned from the muzzle.
Years ago I pushed the patch or brush down than pulled it back out.

Nowadays, I use a loop tip. I put the rod down the bore, making sure to use a brass muzzle guide.
I then put the loop patch holder or brush on the rod at the chamber, pull it into the chamber and put a shot of solvent in with the pipette.
I don't screw the patch holder or brush on tight, I leave a few threads loose so it will rotate in the bore.

I pull it out the muzzle, wipe the rod off, and do it again as needed.
This takes a little longer, but I'm not spraying dirty solvent off the brush into the action.

Another option on tips are the Dewey "Parker Hale" type rod tips. With these, you wrap a patch around the jag and the "teeth" hold it in place.
A lot of bench rest shooters like these. Some of them use these tips with paper towel instead of patches, because you really don't want patches to be too tight a fit in the bore.
Remember, the patch is just to carry solvent into and out of the bore, not try to polish it.

These types of tips are made by other makers too, but make sure you pay attention. Some of them are made to fit male threaded rods and you'll need an adapter to use then on a standard female rod.

On all rifles, I keep the muzzle down so solvent will run out the muzzle, not into the action, and I keep a semi-auto turned so the gas port is on top to prevent solvent from running down into the gas system.

Some friends have accused me of being anal-retentive, or spending too much time cleaning my guns. However, my guns have never rusted or degraded and some old guns I've shot a lot still look new.
(The Dewey Parker Hale jags are good, they are a bit smaller and hold the proper sized patch, rather than sometimes having to go with a smaller sized patch for the caliber you are cleaning IMHO.)
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