Author Topic: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs  (Read 467 times)

Offline GeezerD

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Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« on: October 15, 2021, 10:11:19 AM »
Most shooters of Italian made cowboy revolvers have experienced spring failure. Usually it is the hand spring or the trigger/bolt spring.

The reason that most springs break is they are too brittle. A spring must be hardened and then drawn back or tempered.  In order for a spring to be properly tempered it must be held at the proper temperature for a long enough time to attain spring temper.

An old blacksmith told me an easy way to do this is to - put the spring in a metal bowl and then add just enough motor oil to cover the spring and set the oil on fire then allow it to burn itself out. The oil burns at a temperature { 650F -700F as I remember } for long enough to properly temper a spring.

I have been doing this for years with any Italian replacement spring I buy and have not had a problem since.
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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2021, 10:33:16 AM »
That deserves a big DIY Thank you.   Good knowledge to pass on.

Will give that a try on the next new spring, I have to replace.
Black River Smith

Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2021, 03:19:46 PM »
This is a simple method used by quite a few folks, but the problem arises that the tempering temperature and length of time held there, will vary depending on type of oil used and amount of oil used.
A LOT of muzzleloader Smith's use this method with good results!

However,
If one uses "too little" oil, the temperature is too low for the steel when the oil starts to burn.
"Too much" and the part might heat too hot.
"wrong oil" and we'll, your temperature is off.... It depends on the flashpoint temp of that oil....
If you wait until the oil burn off, that changes things

And of course "it depends" ™ on the steel used.

When making springs , consistency is important!
One of the more constant ways for tempering is to use the lead pot. And since we all cast lead bullets (don't we?) Everyone "should" have a lead pot and a lead thermometer....

Soaking the the springs in the molten lead is very consistent, if one knows the melting point of their alloy, and uses the thermometer to keep the temp there....

Of course, this is from the guy who keeps breaking springs, so, take it that into account....

Yhs
Prof spring breaker
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Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2021, 06:40:59 PM »
I heartily agree with the Professor! Heat treatment of steel is a science and to get predictable results one must know what steel is being used. Although I’ve made a fair number of springs to include flat, V and coil types I haven’t broken very many. Being both lazy and poorly educated I generally use steel meant for springs and try to hit the numbers of time and temperature. What the old timers did with limited equipment was threw pasted on knowledge and trial and error. Impressive but not an easy learning curve.
Little powder much lead shoots far kills dead.
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Offline Niederlander

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2021, 06:53:40 PM »
The best method I've found is to replace them with Colt springs whenever possible.
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #5 on: Today at 03:21:04 PM »

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2021, 08:26:17 PM »

 :)  Well Now   ;)

Nah.  None of the above.  Yup, there it is.  Worrying about Italian, Colt, or USFA flat hand springs is/was a waste of time.  As a practicing Gunplumer, I needed instant, lasting results.  Ergo, I just removed the failure prone hand springs completely, drilled the frame and installed Ruger style Coil Spring and Plunger.  Forever fix for the Hand Spring.  Although, I did the exact same method explained by GeezerD.

I also found Colt, Uberti and USFA Trigger/Bolt springs to be prone to fail.  The choices were tune them (they are way over-sprung) or . . . replace them.  I found the Trigger/Bolt springs from Pietta SAs to be most excellent.  Used the Pietta springs in all of my Single Action work.  My only lament, the PIETTA SA Trigger/Bolt springs won't work in Pietta Cap Guns.  Trigger side is too short.  Bummer.  Just have to tune the OEM Cap Gun T/B springs.

Of course, now that I am permanently unemployed (retirement is wonderful) I no longer have to be concerned (snicker snicker).  Just make my personal guns run you betcha.

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Offline Pettifogger

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2021, 11:29:09 PM »
Uberti and Pietta switched to coil springs and plungers for their hands years ago.  If I had an old one I would follow Coffinmakers advice.  A simple and permanent fix.

Offline GeezerD

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2021, 12:40:15 PM »
I would love to use the coil spring and plunger except all but one of my revolvers are Remington type clones. Has anybody found a way to use the ruger style hand spring in the Remington style revolvers.

I agree that using a lead pot would be more precise but I don't have one. I haven't cast any bullets in over 25 years.

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Offline Pettifogger

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2021, 12:48:35 PM »
Yes I have done them but they may not be legal for SASS so I quit.  Drill a hole through the backstrap and then tap the first .150" or so of the hole.  Drop in the plunger, then the spring and then hold it in with a set screw.  You should have noted you are shooting Remingtons as "most Italian cowboy revolvers" leaves Remington as a tiny  minority of "most Italian cowboy revolvers."

Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2021, 04:11:49 PM »

I agree that using a lead pot would be more precise but I don't have one. I haven't cast any bullets in over 25 years.

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In that case, make sure you use some kind oif food grade oil, becasue old crankcase oil really stinks up the house  :o :o :o
 ;)
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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #10 on: Today at 03:21:04 PM »

Offline GeezerD

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2021, 06:45:53 AM »
Prof - I usually use 30w non-detergent motor oil because I have a lot of it and burn it off outdoors. The process seems to work well for taking the brittleness out of the Italian replacement springs - either Colt or Remington style.
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Offline 45 Dragoon

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2021, 08:18:20 AM »
I 2nd CM's spring and plunger conversion ! Best setup ever -  been doing that almost from the "get go"!

As for the Remington, I've been " Rugerizing " them for years. GA and AL state championships won with them!!  The Remington converted to coil springs (hand, bolt and trigger) are about as close to a 19th century Ruger as you can get!

As for the hand setup, it is a little "involved" but it works beautifully!!  Since my pics don't work well here I'll try to explain. (One of you tech savvy folks might be able to post a pic of it from my Instagram feed).
  Anyway, you have to make the mounting end into a "clevis" meaning you remove the material from in-between the sides of the hand. This is where the 2 coil torsion spring will reside. The mounting screw will keep the spring in place.  One thing you'll need to do is add a "stop"  made of threaded rod for the mounting screw to tighten against. This will keep the mounting screw from going too far and allowing the outside leg of the "clevis" from escaping.  I use .025" music wire for this spring and only 2 coils will fit. Of course you'll fashion a skinny loop to ride where the original flat spring rode  and obviously the working end is pushing against the backside of the hand. 
  It sounds more difficult than it is and after a couple it's really simple.
- I use a cutoff wheel to eat away the center section to make the clevis
- the threaded rod is the same thread (sorry I don't have the size handy)  for all makes of the Remington's. If you have an extra mounting screw you could use part of it of course. Use red L.T. on it.

Until I came up with this setup, there wasn't much sense in the bolt and trigger coils. The hand spring seemed to be more the "problem child". As mentioned the frame drilling won't be allowed for cowboy shooting.   This, like the coil and plunger fix, is a permanent fix.

Mike
 
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2021, 08:33:08 AM »

 :)  HA !!  ;)

WELL, Remingtons are like the Measles.  I don't like Remingtons and avoid them whenever possible.

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Offline GeezerD

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Re: Increasing the life of Italian revolver hand springs
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2021, 08:47:20 AM »
Remingtons can be a little tempremental but, I have been married to the same redhead for 49 years so what could a Remington possibly do to cause me grief. ------ GeezerD

 

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