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51 Navy Brass Frame Alteration

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Springfeld, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Springfeld

    Springfeld Member

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    So I researched a lot about the brass frame stretch problems as I had purchased an 1851 brass 36 navy. I was curious if what I had tried could help benefit anyone else. That you have a good gun smith and are safe with the alteration.

    If someone had already thought of this and posted this I'm sorry! I had not seen it. Pic 1 shows the steel washer, as does Pic 2, and Pic 3 is to show that the arbor is straight and accepts the Barrel.
     

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    maint1517 likes this.
  2. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    Hi!

    It would be helpful to know what brand of replica it is, how old it is (date code on the right side of the frame if it is not a kit gun), and what size loads were put through it. A lot is dependent upon the arbor/arbor recess fit. Brassers an not as amenable to large powder charges as the steel framed guns are. You may do well with your fix with smaller powder charges. Let us know how it goes.

    Jim
     
  3. Springfeld

    Springfeld Member

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    "expat_alaska, post: 10927286,

    Sorry!
    It was a Pietta 1851 Navy 36 kit. I purchased in 2017. Shot maybe 100 rounds before modification. All the Pietta markings have been sanded down. Before the washer it could shoot 15 grains and it would bind a bit into the brass. I mostly did it to allow it to turn more freely and not bind on medium charges. I have shot 18 rounds with 135 Conicals and 15 grains Schuetzen and had no binding and the washer showed no damage.



    Also, the brass had to be milled down and the excess space is taken up by the washer (1/32 thick) slight filling on the Arbor as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  4. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    Thanks for the response, sir!

    The only Pietta brasser I have is a 2016 [CP] Griswold & Gunnison which is never shot, just to be admired. I have 6 other Pietta 1851 Navy .36 type steel pistols to shoot, but my eyes are so bad these days I just fondle them using reading glasses. Yeah, it is getting that bad.

    Pietta_Griswold_Gunnison.jpg

    I am sorry you defarbed it. It would be worth a picture or two if you would do so.

    My pistols will be sold as Pietta replicas when I go away, and I do not want them to be confused with genuine ACW guns. That is a completely different genre.

    Jim
     
  5. denster

    denster Member

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    Interesting fix let us know if it works. You can accomplish a lot with brassers by just changing the barrel cylinder gap to about .002 by removing a bit from the barrel lug where it meets the frame. Not only keeps the cylinder from building as much velocity rearward when fired but cuts down a lot on fouling and the gun runs longer. Yes that .005 to .010 of extra gap allows the cylinder to pick up considerable velocity before it slams into the recoil shield. Remember that when one of these open tops is fired the cylinder goes all the way forward and contacts the rear of the barrel then when the charge explodes the ball goes out and the cylinder is driven rearward into the recoil shield.
     
  6. maint1517

    maint1517 member

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    Very nice fix. Can you post a picture of the fully assembled revolver?
     
  7. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Gunsmith & THR member "rifle" installed a different "washer fix" to avoid battering a brass Colt frame and enlarging the cylinder gap.
    But mentioned the need to slightly modify the nipples to prevent the possibility of chainfire as a result.
    He also details the parts needed for doing the mod. and how to install it.

    Everything below was posted by rifle:--->>> https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/the-venerable-colt-1851.234664/#post-2860022

    [​IMG]
    "Fuzzy but gets the idea across. The thin steel backplate can be seen around the frames recoil ring. So with the recoil shield thin steel backplate installed a person can buy a cheaper Colt and make it last as long as a steel framed as long as it isn't overloaded or the wedge installed incorrectly and the arbor is pulled loose.

    A brass framed revolver can be made to last almost indefinitely if used juduciously and not over loaded. By over loaded I mean the same loads that would be an over load for a steel framed revolver. A brass framed revolver can handle the same manufacturer recommended loads as the equivilent revolver in steel framed. The revolver has to have a small modification to it to increase it's longevity.
    The modification is to acquire a "thin rimmed bushing" from an auto store or tractor repair store or a good hardware store. The size to get that usually fits with less filing is 7/8ths by 1 3/8ths in 14 gauge. This thin steel bushing can be made to closely fit around the recoil shields "ring of brass" that the cylinder recoils into on it's rearward travel when the gun is fired. That ring the Colts have is to insure the capped nipples don't contact the recoil shield(frame behind the cylinder) and cause chain fire. If that thin ring is bolstered or protected by the bushing then the gun doesn't acquire the peens in the ring that dent(six dents in the ring where the cylinder area between the nipples contact the ring when the gun fires and the cylinder recoils) and give the gun the overly large cylinder gap the brass framed revolvers are known to acquire easily. The thin steel bushing is installed around the frames recoil "ring" to protect it. The steel bushing doesn't deform and thus protects the frames ring from deforming. The bushing has a large hole in it like a large thin washer. It's installed on the recoil shield of the gun around the recoil ring by soldering it in place. The procedure for fitting and soldering the steel bushing "backplate" takes maybe an hour. Just the bushing and a small file and a means to solder( 60/40 acid core solder works really easy and does a good job but low temp silver solder is good too) is all you need. With that thin steel backplate installed(the size mentioned above is actually a couple of .001's thicker than the standard ring on the brass framers(Ubertis and San Marcos) so until the gun breaks in(takes a long time) the brass recoil ring is never contacted by the cylinder recoiling into it since the cylinder recoils into the steel backplate made and soldered on the frame. The only thing to be sure to do if you install the thin steel backplate around the frames recoil ring of brass is to shorten the nipples some. The capped nipples can't contact the new thin steel backplate or they can cause chain fire. There is usually enough hammer nose to reach the shortened nipples. Shorten and reshape the nipples cones by putting them in a drill and filing them. Shortening the nipples can be easily facilitated by simply rebating the shoulder or "seat" more that the nipples seat down onto."
     

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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  8. Springfeld

    Springfeld Member

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    arcticap, post: 10927527

    Thank for the Reply!
    I have read that post but the only thing that set me off from that was having to alter the nipples. I do believe this is a very good alteration as well. I was just wanting to keep my cylinders swapable with other revolvers. Also I'm not good with soldering :( .


    "maint1517, post: 10927519,

    Yeah!
    When I get the loading lever cut down and fix to size. I swap out the colt style for a 1858 style latch.


    expat_alaska, post: 10927348,

    Your Welcome!
    I wasn't going so much for an authentic, basically something practical to practice shoot with plus i just don't like the modern markings. Also the brass was very rough cast when received in the kit so during sanding and smoothing you sort remove them. I like the Confederate round barrel look.


    denster, post: 10927430,

    I will, thanks for the Info.
     
  9. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Springfield, about how many rounds have you put through it (since the mod) and what does the ratchet look like? I would be "watchful" of any ratchet material moving/peening. That would start changing the timing characteristics for cyl carry up (rotation).
    Normally the cylinder contacts the "recoil ring" which, as rifle noted, keeps the capped nips from crushing before their turn but also keeps the ratchet from contacting the recess cut. Wouldn't be a problem anyway with any brass/ratchet contact (self clearancing) but now that you've introduced steel as the surface and the ratchet taking recoil, things may change.
    How about a steel recoil ring?

    Mike
     
  10. denster

    denster Member

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    Springfield. Just curious. How did you secure that so that it doesn't rotate and interfere with the hand?
     
  11. Springfeld

    Springfeld Member

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    45 Dragoon, post: 10928338

    Howdy,
    I've only shot 18 rounds since adding the steel washer. The ratchet doesn't show any wear after the few rounds. I tried to recess the washer where the rear of the cylinder hits the recoil ring and the ratchet touches the steel washer at about the same clearance. That way neither are applying more pressure than the other, also the cylinder and forcing cone have no more than .004 clearance with the wedge pushed all the way in.


    denster, post: 10928402,

    Hello,
    The arbor pin had been drilled and the arbor removed. The washer was filed and smoothed so it would set in the recess in the frame very snuggle. I set my clearance by the thickness of the washer so when the arbor was inserted (screwed in) it would go hand tight to about 3 o'clock (the pin hole on the arbor compared to the pin hole on the frame). Using a brass piece I held the washer so it would not rotate covering the hand channel. With a flat piece of steel being placed in the wedge hole on the arbor tighten the arbor where both pin holes aligned at 12 o'clock (Insert new pin). If one was worried about the washer rotating one could drill a hole maybe .015 through the washer and into the brass and add a small steel pin preventing it from rotating. I assume as long as the arbor is not loose the washer should not rotate due to the arbor holding it in place.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  12. Springfeld

    Springfeld Member

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    Sorry,

    Also I forgot to add that the arbor decreases in diameter and has a lip at the back where the threads start. That lip holds the washer against the brass frame (recess). The washer also is of soft metal so it won't damage the ratchet as bad.
     
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