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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just recieved an Officers Model .38 special, production date 1920. Gun is a shooter as it's been reblued. Now about the safety thing. I checked lock-up and cylinder tightnest, both good. Gun wouldn't chamber .38 S&W, so I used .38 special for test fire. Clicked three rounds DA, three rounds SA. When I went to release the cylinder, it opened without me unlatching it. I unloaded it, closed the cylinder, and it seems like it doesn't want to lock closed. It'll stay closed if I keep pressure on the release latch. Hammer cocked, cylinder stays locked in frame. Shot six more rounds, no problem. Pushed on cylinder without touching release, and it opened. I realize this is a problem, but how big a problem? Thanks for the help.
 

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It sounds like it may just need a new spring behind it. Not difficult to replace, but may be hard to find one small enough to fit.
 

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My first inclination is a problem with a weak or fouled latch spring or perhaps the little latch spring guide is missing due to ham-handed gunsmithing from bygone times. I'm way low in the pecking order here to be advising about mechanical issues with Colt revolvers, being only self-taught. Others should be along shortly to shed more light on this problem which sounds easily surmountable to me.

It's most curious that you stated that the revolver is a .38 Special but that it wouldn't chamber .32 S&W so you test fired it with .38 Special. Is the revolver roll marked as a .38 Special and if so then why try a .32 S&W?

Some photos of the revolver would be neato! I love to see Officer's Model revolvers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My first inclination is a problem with a weak or fouled latch spring or perhaps the little latch spring guide is missing due to ham-handed gunsmithing from bygone times. I'm way low in the pecking order here to be advising about mechanical issues with Colt revolvers, being only self-taught. Others should be along shortly to shed more light on this problem which sounds easily surmountable to me.

It's most curious that you stated that the revolver is a .38 Special but that it wouldn't chamber .32 S&W so you test fired it with .38 Special. Is the revolver roll marked as a .38 Special and if so then why try a .32 S&W?

Some photos of the revolver would be neato! I love to see Officer's Model revolvers.
BMC, I tried .38 S&W not .32 S&W. I've been messing with somekind of .32 caliber all day and have that on the brain. Gun is marked .38. I tried the .38 S&W first because I like the low power for test firing. Along with a good set of welding gloves...lol. As other members here know, I'm camera challenged, but working on it.
 

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Oh, it's so gratifying to see someone else with a tired old brain like me.

Strangely enough I've had some .38 S&W that would chamber and shoot perfectly well in my Smith & Wesson Model 10. Some would just drop in. Some required a gentle nudge, and some wouldn't go at all and all were from the same box of factory loads.
 

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As broknaxel stated, it sounds like a problem with the latch spring. Depending on how "gunsmithing challenged" you are, you can remove the sideplate and check the latch, follower and spring to see if they are operating correctly. Sometimes a little dirt and oil can get gummy and keep the spring from working correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ok, how do I remove sideplate with latch in the way? It doesn't look like it will slip by, and I ain't forcing anything...lol. Don't be too hard on me. I've kinda fell into this revolver thing. Last week I had none, this week I have three, and it's only Wed....
 

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ok, how do I remove sideplate with latch in the way? It doesn't look like it will slip by, and I ain't forcing anything...lol. Don't be too hard on me. I've kinda fell into this revolver thing. Last week I had none, this week I have three, and it's only Wed....
It's kinda tricky...:(helps to have three hands!!! First..DO NOT try to pry the side plate off, remove the grips and tap on the grip frame with a plastic screwdriver handle, wooden dowel, etc...anything that is softer than the gun metal. The side plate will "pop up" so that you an remove it. Keep your finger on the latch as the spring SHOULD push it out. When replacing the sideplate, that is when the third hand comes in handy, you have to hold the latch back while gently fitting the sideplate back in place and pushing it down to fit. Do not hold the latch all the way back, just enough to clear the cylinder...and be sure that the bolt nubbin is upright so that the latch can fit down over it. The sideplate fits the frame perfectly, you cannot put in one side and then push down the other side, you have to fit it straight down into position! Hope this is all clear:confused:
 
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Discussion Starter #9
It's kinda tricky...:(helps to have three hands!!! First..DO NOT try to pry the side plate off, remove the grips and tap on the grip frame with a plastic screwdriver handle, wooden dowel, etc...anything that is softer than the gun metal. The side plate will "pop up" so that you an remove it. Keep your finger on the latch as the spring SHOULD push it out. When replacing the sideplate, that is when the third hand comes in handy, you have to hold the latch back while gently fitting the sideplate back in place and pushing it down to fit. Do not hold the latch all the way back, just enough to clear the cylinder...and be sure that the bolt nubbin is upright so that the latch can fit down over it. The sideplate fits the frame perfectly, you cannot put in one side and then push down the other side, you have to fit it straight down into position! Hope this is all clear:confused:
Actually, it is. Thank you very much. Kinda sounds like my 1903 .32 pocket jigsaw project I finished over the weekend. Know all about those three hands..lol. Thanks again for the info.
 

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You could try holding the cylinder release forward & try to open it. If it won't open it could mean it just needs a new spring. It should have some spring tension on it, not move back & forth freely.

I'd also be very cautious about what ammo I shot. I have a strong aversion to shooting the wrong ammo in a gun. I'm not talking about .38s in a .357, but I believe the .38 S&W is a bit bigger than the .38 Special in diameter. I know it's a low pressure round, but I don't like swaging bullets in the barrel.
Just a thought.
Frank
 

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Frank V is right about .38 S&W. It is a tad bigger in diameter than .38 Special (.3855 to .3865 as opposed to .379 for Special). Also I find the side plate will go on easier if I start the front, near the front screw ever so slightly ahead of the rest and wiggle the cylinder latch onto post as I push the side plate straight down. If you miss, start again, don't force it. Good luck.
 
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