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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1913 PPS (#742xx), been around the family for some time. Bluing is worn and there is some minor rust/pitting - nothing too bad, actually lends a little character.
It is pretty accurate and fun to shoot w/standard pressure loads. (Just fired some 158 RNL and 147 wadcutters with results as good as I am usually able to shoot - I'm not very good.)
Anyway, I'm told these guns are "finicky" and tough to work on. There is an occasional timing issue that I'd like to have addressed. I'd also like to consider some type of re-finish. Problem is money is tight and I wasn't looking to spend more than the gun is worth just to get it to the point where it's an average shooter. Has anyone undertaken a similar project who can let me know how they feel about the results or offer some tips? Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Jim
 

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Getting an acceptable finish is pretty much beyond the home do-it-your-self'er, unless you go with one of the spray on and bake coatings.

These offer reasonable finishes, with good durability and appearance.

As for working on the older Colt's, this is strictly a matter of your level of gunsmithing skills.

I will warn you that the Colt's are NOTHING like any other revolver ever made.
They have intricate actions, with TINY working surfaces, and the action is NOT logical.

These have somewhat of an reputation as a "watchmaker's" gun, but with care and a full understanding of the design, you can do some of the work yourself.

A good start, is to buy a copy of Jerry Kuhnhausen's book, "The Colt Double Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual, Volume One".

This covers all the older Colt DA revolvers like the Police Positives, Detective Special, Official Police, and Python series guns.

The book costs about $30.00, and covers EVERYTHING about how to disassemble, reassemble, check out, troubleshoot, re-time and refit the action, fit new parts, and do major and minor pistolsmithing on the Colt's.

The book was written as a training aid to trainee gunsmiths, and both shows and explains everything thoroughly.

You can buy a copy from Brownell's, MidwayUSA, and most online and local book sellers can order it for you.

With this book, you can first decide if you feel comfortable in tackling it, and second it'll SHOW you how to repair the gun the "right" FACTORY way.

[This message has been edited by dfariswheel (edited 04-21-2005).]
 

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Welcome to the Forum,Jim. get the book that dfaris wheel mentioned,and a Colt,is NOT the place to "learn" gunsmithing! That said,you mentioned "Occassional" timing issue(s). Once you get the book,you will learn the correct way to disasseble/assembly your PPS. It may well just need a good cleaning,and/or it may be a weak bolt or main spring;both easy "repairs,with no "fitting".

I had one of these early PPS,and they have a narrower butt frame than the post 1926's or so. I always recommend getting a "grip adapter",such as a Tyler T for these PPS;makes shooting easier on the hand!. Glad that you are firing "sensible" ammo out of the 92 year old! Good Luck, Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #4
dfariswheel- I will check out the book. Thanks. But I must say I am nervous about working on it myself even before I look at the book.

Lonewolf, the "occasional" timing issue is that when pulling the trigger DA or cocking the hammer for SA the hammer will start coming back and the cylinder will start to rotate and them lock up. It feels like I could forcibly pull the trigger and pull through it but I have not. If I am thumbing the hammer I can just ease it down, if I'm pulling the trigger I let off and then rotate the unlocked cylinder either back to the previous stop or forward to the next and it will fire ok when I re-try it. Happens "every several" turns.
 

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This is a classic sign of a Colt action that has rather serious problems.

Either there is a problem with the hand that advances the cylinder, OR there is a problem with the bolt that locks the cylinder in position.

Probably, either the hand is jamming against the cylinder ratchet, or the bolt is failing to unlock the cylinder and the cylinder is attempting to rotate while in a locked condition.

In this case, my best advice is to either retire it before you do further damage attempting to shoot an already damaged gun, OR send it to Pittsburgh Handgun Headquarters in Pittsburgh for a pro repair.

Since money is short, I'd retire it until you can better afford the money to have it repaired correctly.

One strong word of advice. DO NOT TRUST any local gunsmith's, no matter WHAT they say about being qualified to repair the old Colt's.
99% of the time you'll spend money only to have the action further botched up.

Few gunsmith's today understand the old Colt's, and usually wind up making things worse.

There are VERY few people really qualified to work on the Colt's, and Pittsburgh is the best price-wise for a gun of your vintage.
 

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I have and have seen some very nice finishes from DURA COAT. Theyt have a ome version for around $25 US and on their website is a listing of authorized shops for application.
I re-finished an old H&R 999 that looked like it had been stored in the bottom of a Well. The smith polished her down removed some pits, filling others and applied a new finish in a Satin Dura Coat. Gun looks really nice for $50.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Robin Martin, Tha nks for the info on Dura Coat. Do you have contact info or do they have a website? For right now, I will save my pennies until I can afford the reliability work it needs. (I'm convinced thaqt that is my deep seated problem with this gun, that it does not function 100%.) While I am waiting I am having good results on the finish with very fine steel wool and Breakfree. It won't bring back cluing or remove the minor pitting but it's cleaning up the blemishes and surface rust pretty well. If i can get it running at 100%, I may even skip the re-finish altogether 'cause it actually looks kinda cool!
 

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I would never use dura coat or other modern wonder finish on such a gun. Another source to consider is Fords Custom as they can repair an restore the Colt blue on your police positive. I just sent them three vintage Colt revolvers to restore. They will even fire blue the screws and the top of the hammers just like in the old days. www.fordsguns.com Also, they are very reasonably priced and eager to please the customer. There is an 8-12 week wait, but it is well worth it.
 
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