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Correcting an arbor fit issue on my 1851 Colt Navy.

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OK. SO here's the situation. I have an 1851 Colt Navy and when I was going through the Dark Arts thread on tuning C&B pistols, and while I learned where I can correct a bolt fitment issue, I didn't see the eventual link to correcting an arbor fit issue. Attached is a pic of a slightly off arbor that I have. It seats just fine when the cylinder is in play, however according to the PDF, that arbor fit is in need of some work.

Now, according to what I THINK should happen here, I would need to figure out some kind of shim inside the hole the arbor goes into, however considering the amount of times I am generally mistaken during the day, I thought perhaps someone could help me figure this out.

Considering Uberti pistols have arbor fit issues according to the article, but were unaddressed in an as-yet-to-be-written article, could any of you guys give me some recommendations regarding how to correct this?


I have a four part article in the SASS Chronicle on how to fix Uberti open top problems.  It describes in detail how to fix arbors.  Part one was in the May edition, stay tuned for the next three months.  The article you were referring to dealt with Pietta issues.  Piettas almost always have correctly fitted arbors, so they weren't dealth with in that article.

Check for the book, Gunsmithing Black Powder Firearms (I think that's the title) by Sam Fadala.  He has two books, one is specific to pistols and handguns, again I'm going from bad memory here.  It has a chapter on fitting arbors.  I used this method.   Remove the arbor, weld up material on the end, turn it round again in a lathe, reinstall the arbor, then slide the barrel on to check fit.  It should be too long to seat the barrel against the frame.  Then file the end, a few strokes at a time, checking fit, until the bottom of the barrel shroud, where the locating pins are, just touches the frame.  I put a slight bevel on the edge of the arbor because the bottom of the arbor hole in the barrel is concave, to give a good solid fit.  I had a local machine shop do the welding and turning for about $20.
   I've done this to an ASM 1861 Navy .36, that went from shooting a 2.0 inch group, slightly high, to shooting one ragged hole at POA at 15 yards.   Also did it to an 1860 Army and saw about 50% inprovement in accuracy.
   Get both Fadala books, they have lots of great info and better diagrams than I can describe here.
   I hadn't though about shimming from the rear end, I guess that would work except that it would move the wedge slot, but most of those seem to have plenty of slop.   Tuning the wedge is another topic that is critical to open top performance.


I was actually talking about shimming in the barrel's arbor hole, LOL. Sorry about the confusion.

Did you mean this book?

Or this one?

Black Powder Hobby Gunsmithing.   All I could remember was the picture of a pistol on the front.   My copy is buried somewhere in our attic.


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