Author Topic: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem  (Read 862 times)

Offline Dave Fox

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Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« on: May 12, 2021, 06:53:36 PM »
Number of years ago, after reading a laudatory review in "American Rifleman" (it was one of the most accurate .38s they'd ever tested), I bought a Uberti 1871 open top Navy .38. It's a beautiful piece, well finished and tight. Too tight. Assembled, the cylinder rotates freely although there's no discernible gap between the cylinder face and barrel face. Black powder utterly ties it up. 777 isn't much better. Bullseye allows me to rotate the cylinder after the first shot with manual help. How do I assemble this pistol leaving a tad of a gap? I've tried slipping a Bubba feeler guage (a piece of Dr. Pepper can) in while assembling but that didn't work.

Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2021, 07:13:07 PM »
It’s a Uberti, the arbor is short. The fix has been covered many times here.
Little powder much lead shoots far kills dead.
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Offline Abilene

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2021, 07:48:57 PM »
Try not pushing in the wedge as far.  If this means that the dished out portion on top of the wedge is not far in enough for the wedge screw head to turn in it, then back the wedge screw out a turn or two first.  This is the "quick and dirty" way, and it has worked for me in the past.  If the arbor is too short and you fix it by adding length or by dropping a small washer down the arbor hole in the barrel, you may also end up with the wedge not going in far enough and again, back out the wedge screw first.  The proper way would be to "fit" (shave) the wedge after fixing the arbor length, but quick and dirty works. 

If after all that, there is still insufficient gap, then you might need to take a bit off the back of the barrel.

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2021, 12:06:19 AM »
Professor Marvel posted links to Pettifogger's mods which include how to correct the arbor fit in this thread.

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Offline Dave Fox

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2021, 06:55:44 AM »
I thank you for your prompt, thoughtful response, Friend Shootwell. Most helpful. Before I posted I scrolled-down several layers of prior topics without finding the references I also presumed were there.

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #5 on: Today at 04:33:26 AM »

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2021, 08:55:22 AM »

 :)  Sir Fox   ;)

Several suggestions have surfaced (thank you Abilene) and all work to different degrees.  Backing the wedge out sorta works but gives you a "different" gun every time you clean and reassemble it.

Without machine tools, quick and dirty includes dropping a #10 Stainless Split washer down the Hole in the barrel lug, pushing the gun back together and refitting the wedge.  Just don't forget the washer when you clean and reassemble.  You can also source a Brass flat washer to fit as well.  The Brass flat washer can also be epoxied to the end of the Arbor or at the Bottom of the barrel bore.  Be diligent to apply releasing agent to the parts NOT to become PERMANENT.

The absolute LAST resort is to remove any material from the breach end of the barrel.  Unless just adding an 11 degree forcing cone.

I, as a Gunsmith, have always viewed Uberti Open Top pattern guns as expensive "KITS" with "Some Assembly Required."

Stay Safe Out There

Offline Oldgold

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2021, 09:59:11 AM »
@Dave Fox.
Do a search for “Arbor”

First 8 addresses your problem.
https://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?action=search2

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 05:31:16 PM »
Dave Fox,

I guess I have a really silly question for you.  If you read a great report about the Uberti 1851 Richards Mason Conversion revolver (I did go and read the report before posting this) why or what prompted you to go buy a totally different Uberti model revolver, the 1872 Open Top?  You do realize that they are two totally different forms/patterns/designs of a Colt open topped revolver.  Please note the term designed differently.

I don't deny that all / most, Uberti / others, Colt percussions and conversions, with a framed mounted arbor, will have length issues as mentioned.  But still, why buy a totally different designed one after reading a full article about one that prompted you to go buy something?  The cylinder / arbor / barrel joints are totally different between the two models.

Yes, I have both.  The 1851 Navy cylinder in 38Colt will allow more rounds of BP to be fired (5 shots), compared to the 1872 Open Top'd Navy gripped model (mine is 44 Colt /Russian caliber) (2-3 before binding some), that is a given in these revolvers.  Never have shot smokeless in these.

Still just Curious for your decision on model....

PS  Your title and text just do not match and causes confusion.
Black River Smith

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 05:54:13 PM »

 :)  Black River   ;)

Let us not be too hasty here.  Yes the Richards/Mason is slightly different than the Open Top.  Both are built on the 1851 Basic Frame.  Barrel attachment is only slightly different.  Very Slightly.  The Uberti R/M Barrel assembly will swap right over to an Open Top.

How rapidly any two Open Top pattern guns foul out with BP is strictly a result of the individual set up.  As with Original Colt sample examples, Uberti as well, no two are exactly alike.  AS IN:  I shoot a pair of Uberti 1851 R/M 38Spl that, with minor attention, will run an entire match.  I have a pair of Open Tops that include 38Spl, 44 Colt and 45 Schofield, all run on the same frames.  With minimal attention, they will run an entire match.  I have a pair of 1851 Percussion guns, when running R&D conversion cylinders, will not run a full stage (yet) they also will not run a full stage without fouling the percussion cylinder (yet).  And last but not least, a Pair of Capt. Schaeffer replicas, with R&D cylinders and percussion cylinders, that run a full match with either with no problems.

And, let us not forget, often, those folks who are new to the game, become confused with the nomenclature attached to certain offerings.  So let us not beat him up too bad.  Not his fault.

People can be Hazardous to Yer Health

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 07:29:06 PM »
Sorry, but I think my question is a fair and honest one.  You do not read a report on a Mercedes and then go and buy a Ford - Focus and say they are not operating the same??????  Why did he not just go to the dealer and say I want the Uberti 1851 Richard Mason Conversion as listed in the article?   Simple enough question.

The 1872 Open Top cylinder collar or ring was identified as having binding issues when I bought mine in 2001, even though the designs in originals were meant to fix things.  The 1851 Designed arbor with deep enough grease grooves and grease will operate nicely.

So Coffinmaker, what was your fix for getting your 1872 Open Top to run a full match without Ballistol after every stage?  He could use that info in-addition to, the arbor fix, since he has an 1872 Open Top, also.  The OP is having issue with 'smokeless' in his OT.  That is odd.  That goes past the arbor fix.

PS -- I have a 44Spec Cim Richards 2nd Model or Transition Model that fires 44 Spec 'smokeless' just fine absolutely no issues.
Black River Smith

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #10 on: Today at 04:33:26 AM »

Offline Abilene

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2021, 10:08:50 PM »
IMO the OP simply misspoke when he said '51 (once, in the title only).  His OT is commonly called a Navy OT due to the Navy grips.  He never once used the word conversion.  I agree with Coffinmaker that the OT's and Conversions all have pretty much the same issues and that there is often a fair amount of differences between all of them from the factory.  They can bind by various mechanisms including the front of the gas ring against the lower portion of the barrel as well as cylinder face against barrel.  If one OT and one conversion have the same cylinder to barrel gap as each other and only one binds, then it is not the design but how it is set up / tuned / assembled compared to the other one.  IMO.  There's an awful lot of people shooting BP in OT's with no problem.

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2021, 07:33:46 AM »
Agree with Abilene and Coffinmaker,
 To me, the one attribute the open top platform has is that it is "self cleaning". With the cylinder kissing the barrel with each cycle, it clears off any build up. To keep any " build up" to a minimum, the use of a close barrel/cyl clearance (.0025" - .003") forces most of the fouling down the barrel .  .  .  where it's supposed to go. 
  As for the '71/'72 Open Top copies, I set them up the same way as "regular" open tops. I just treat the bushing /spacer on the cylinder as nothing but a gas ring (fouling management). That way, you still have the "self cleaning" aspect with a .002" - .0025" endshake/ no gap.

Mike
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2021, 08:13:17 AM »

 :)  Black River   ;)

Since we're being so focused on simple little mistakes, would you be interested in knowing, the 1871/72 Open Top DOES NOT have a "Cylinder Collar" nor "Ring."  Sheesh.

Oh, forgot, BR:  Once properly set up, the Open Top will run just fine with either BP or Smokeless.  The OP's gun is binding because of uneven Barrel to Cylinder gap.  If the Barrel to Cylinder gap is left uncorrected, it will bind with anything, any time the wedge pushed in too far.

And just so you can understand where I'm coming from, 20+ years a CAS Gunsmith and a heavy specialty with Open Top pattern guns gives me a pretty sound basis to work from.  NOT the single Sample Example in one's possession, one might consider to be representative of the model.

Or is it just to unthinkable to walk into your LGS and see something you just happen to like better??  Get over it sport.

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2021, 03:00:58 PM »
Dave,
My question to you still stands, as a matter of interest.

All others,
Dave is a firearms person in my opinion.  From his posts he owns 'Originals' - S&W's; Rem Roller's; Sharp's & Spencer's.  He knows his firearms maybe just not replicas.  No offense to you  Dave.

Coffinmaker,
I know your background.  I have been on this board since 2005 and I do respect your helpful hints.  You are right the term used by McDowell was cylinder 'extension' not a ring.  But I knew what I referring too.

Dave,
I mentioned my problems with my 1872 OT earlier, that it bond up after 2 -3 BP rounds.  Well maybe all the comments posted are the correct fix for this issue in yours and my revolvers.  I thought my barrel fit was correct.  I went and rechecked the barrel to frame fit and my arbor recess 'is too deep'.  I have now inserted 6 - 0.008" pieces of brass shim material.  This brought the barrel right to the front of the frame.  The cylinder 'extension' fits against the barrel with no gapping and the barrel mouth to cylinder gap is a tight 0.006" and a loose 0.005" when seating the wedge.  May want to try this fix, also.  I cannot fire mine immediately to check for affects.
Black River Smith

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2021, 05:17:43 PM »
 :)  Black River  ;)

Oops.  An Apology.  I thought you were referring to a "Ring" as exhibited by Richards or Richards/Mason at the back of the cylinder.  Hence my "flip" comment.  I now realize you were referring to the "Gas Ring" at the front of an Open Top cylinder.

That "Cylinder Extension" or "Gas Ring" actually served two purposes.  First, it established "End Shake" control, needed in Central Fire cartridge and rim Fire cartridge guns.  Second, It kept most of the "Gun Gas" away from the Arbor.  Helped the guns run longer with BP Cartridges.

Again though . . . . Barrel to Arbor fit is crucial in ALL of the Open Top pattern guns.  In Cap Guns it establishes Barrel to Cylinder gap (no "end shake) in Cap Guns and in the Open Top pattern cartridge guns, it controls End Shake AND Barrel to Cylinder gap.

Stay Safe Out There

PS:  I forgot to mention, if the Barrel to Arbor fit is not correct, an Open Top pattern gun with the Cylinder Extension/Gas ring can Bind the gun up even if the barrel doesn't drag on the Cylinder face.  You need .001/.002 End Shake.  Barrel to Cylinder gap is optimum at .005/.006

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2021, 07:50:50 PM »
Coffinmaker,

Thanks for the additional info.  So, I went back with the magnifier headset and the feeler gauge.  I now can see and feel a 0.0015" gap at the cylinder extension and the barrel.  A 0.002 will not go.  Also, with empty cases in cylinders and at full cock the gap between casing base and recoil shield is 0.005" to 0.006".  I am considering those 'a good to go' level using your new info.  Will still have to shoot BP to be certain.

Again thanks for that additional significant info.
Black River Smith

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2021, 09:02:49 PM »
BRS, don't believe your measurements. If you drive the wedge in enough, you will lock it up.
  If your measurements were correct, it would still give you the same problems probably. Mainly because that gap measurement is so close and the cylinder won't clean itself .  .  .  because it's a "gap" ( doesn't close).

Fix the short arbor first, then you can seat the wedge tight and get true measurements (and then decide if you'd rather have a bigger gap or a close "self cleaning" clearance.

Mike
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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2021, 01:03:48 PM »
45 Dragoon thanks for the suggestions and comments.

Just to note those values I posted in last and second last postings were after I fixed the deep arbor recess depth.  Here was my text in reply 13 were I stated my fix...."I thought my barrel fit was correct.  I went and rechecked the barrel to frame fit and my arbor recess 'is too deep'.  I have now inserted 6 - 0.008" pieces of brass shim material.  This brought the barrel right to the front of the frame.  The cylinder 'extension' fits against the barrel with no gapping and the barrel mouth to cylinder gap is a tight 0.006" and a loose 0.005" when seating the wedge.  May want to try this fix, also.  I cannot fire mine immediately to check for affects."

I do appreciate any help and thankful for it.
Black River Smith

Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2021, 04:34:28 PM »
Thanks for the recap!  I do  remember (now!)  reading that. So it will be a gap or no-gap  (I vote "no-gap) ;D

Mike
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Uberti '51 Navy .38 problem
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2021, 09:02:37 AM »

GAP -  ;D

 

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