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Need gunsmithing advice for a '51 Navy that won't cock on the first pull back

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Background: I am am experienced Italian C&B revolver tinkerer because I've probably owned ~ 40 of them (new & used) and have had to troubleshoot most of them. A friend handed me a brass framed Pietta '51 Navy 44 and said the cylinder wouldn't turn unless he held the muzzle down while cocking it. So I told him I would fix it since not long ago I had sold it to him. Yup, the hand spring was cracked/broken. So I knocked it apart, removed the broken spring and remnant, replaced the handspring with a short piece of thin bobby pin and staked the spring back in place. Upon reassembly I notice that while cocking the gun the cylinder rotated and comes into battery just fine but the hammer would fail to catch the sear and drop back into the safety notch. When pulled back a second time it cocks properly. This is consistent. So, when I remove the cylinder and cock it the hammer snicks back and holds fine (no double cocking needed). The question: What's going on? Is the hand spring I installed too long? Too strong? I thought I matched the dimensions of the original but it was my usual eyeballing guestimate that hasn't failed me after about 6 or 7 handspring replacements.


Without seeing it I believe you have the right of it.  The spring is keeping the hammer from being able to move back far enough for the cocking notch to engage the trigger. Could be the angle, the thickness or the length, but once again without seeing it I would say the it is the hand spring.  It only does it with the cylinder in place because the hand is engaging the ratchet and that limits the hammer.


Thank you Mako,
Tomorrow I will shorten the spring a bit to just beyond the bend of the tip (leaving the bend intact). If not fixed by that I will tweak the spring to lower the push on the hand. Whever works will be another new learning experience. I still have my first C&B (1861 Uberti Navy, still crisp as ever) that I got back in '68 and have been playing with capguns ever since (especially after getting into CAS back in '92).


No problem!  I now actually have one set of my '60s with a coil hand spring like a Ruger after I broke a spring.  Those Italian guns (the percussions) have steel springs of dubious genetics... I had a gunsmith over in Hearne, TX (can't remember his name) who was doing "warranty" work for Uberti  tell me the Cartridge gun springs were better even though they looked the same to me.  Perhaps Abilene will remember that guys name and may know what Cimarron was doing for broken Spring repairs.

The coil spring is the way to go, but you have to use a relatively stable drill press.  you just have to take your frame, put it in a vice and drill through to the slot the hand rides in.  Get the springs (for Rugers) from Brownells.

I was always impressed with you...You are one of the few people I know that has more Cap Guns than me, but I am still 1 short of 14 if you allow me to count my conversion revolvers and Open Tops.


Mako, that was Lonnie Amman. He's still doing stuff for them, but trying to retire.  They would always just use Uberti parts.

Hellgate, I'll  give you the bad news.  My sources tell me that Pietta was working on a retractable firing pin SAA safety when Uberti beat them to the punch.  That was embarrassing so they decided to beat Uberti with a cap gun safety.  There is no firing pin, so this is known as the "double cock safety."  I understand that with practice you can do the double-cock thing while shaking the spent cap out and it doesn't slow you down too much. 

Oh wait, I was looking at last week's calendar.

But seriously, how easy does the cylinder spin on half-cock?  That usually tells you if the tension is in the right range.


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