Re-timing Revolvers

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Re-timing Revolvers

Post by msredneck on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:21 pm

Had an interesting conversation with a friend today. We were discussing the frequency with which it would become necessary to re-time a revolver.

His take was about every 1500 rds....I took issue with it based many upon the fact that most revolvers I've had have way more than that through them without any issues.

So my question is

1. What are the symptoms that you see from a revolver...telling you its time to go see the smith? Lead blowback while firing? I guess that's telling you that the cylinder is not properly lining up with the forcing cone?

2. How many rounds does this typically take? For example...I would imagine an ICORE shooter would have to be real good friends with a gunsmith if this needed to be done every 1500 rds...As I'd imagine 500 rds a month would be pretty average for usage

For the sake of discussion...we'll say S&W revolvers

What say ya'll?

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by BeauBeaux on Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:26 pm

Make sure gun is unloaded to test.

Make a dowel rod just small enough to fit down the bore a few inches longer than the barrel.

Cock the hammer tilt the weapon so barrel is pointed up, insert dowel. If it falls throught the cyl good. now check all cyl's on the revolver the same way.

If it hits a bit of the cyl on the way down, that particular one is out of time.

Factory new can be slightly out of time on one or more.

Most people never notice a slight out of time because of the forcing cone on the barrel. They always wonder why out of 5 or 6 shots [depending on revolver] one is a flyer even at close ranges. Out of time on that particular cyl.

To answer your question, there is no set number of rounds for this. If it tests good, shoot it, clean it, enjoy it.

Older Smiths and Colts [police trades years ago] are still in time today after sometimes thousands of rounds.

Flipping the cyl shut [like on tv] is a sure way to get one out of time in a hurry.

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by RIVERBILLY on Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:10 pm

VERY inter resting thinking

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by Cliff Cargill on Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:26 am

I'll ask Bob Jones.

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by Doug Bowser on Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:55 am

From what I understand timing is the locking of the cylinder bolt into the recesses in the cylinder. When the hammer is drawn back the cylinder lock should engage the cylinder recesses before the hammer is all the way to the rear. To check cylinder alignment, use a field rod bought at Brownell's. This alignes the cylinder to the bore. The crane has to be bent to do this in some revolvers. The major reason for misalignment is slapping the cylinder itno the frame, like a private eye in a B grade movie. This action bends the crane and causes the misalignment.

To check for timing, unload the revolver , lightly hold the cylinder between the index finger and the thumb, cock the revolver slowly and when the hammer is all the way to the rear, rotate the cylinder slightly and see if the cylinder lock is in the notch on the cylinder. If it is not, you will hear a slight click.Try this on all chambers.

The S&W revolvers made before 1980 are hard to get out of time. My K38 model 14 has been fired tens of thousands of times and it is still in time. I have fired that revolver 80,000+ times with lead bullets and it is in time as well as it is VERY accurate. The use of jacketed bullets in a revolver wears the throat excessively and can cause a frame cut to appear on the frame above the cylinder gap. This is especially true of hot loads. I have a 1904 mfg S&W Hand Ejector and it is in perfect time.

To correct the timing on a S&W revolver, replace the hand. This is the part that turns the cylinder. It is necessary to fit the hand to the cylinder.

On a Colt older style revolver, the hand (pawl) is relatively soft and can be lengthened by Striking it on an anvil with the pein end of a ball-pein hammer. Just lay the hand on the anvil flat wise and lightly tap the hand below the notch in the hand. This works well when the timing is very close to being OK,.otherwise, replace the hand.

One of my objections to Colt's revolvers is, they get out of time easier than S&W. Yes, even the Python.

The hand or Pawl, is made softer than the star or extractor assembly. It is cheaper to replace a hand than the extractor.

The newer Colt's revolvers (Lawman Series etc.) must have the hand replaced to re-time the cylinder

Doug

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by SubGunFan on Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:56 pm

First, I agree..... DO NOT flip the cylinder closed.

I have never had to re-time any of my S&W revolvers. Some have been fired over 5000rds.

I also agree that magnum loads do wear more than medium & light loads. Not sure about the "lead vs jacketed" bullets. I think it is more the LOAD than type bullet.

.

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by DBChaffin on Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:00 pm

I'm no revolver expert, but...

I had the pleasure of shooting the Alabama State USPSA/IPSC match this weekend with a friend from Tennessee, Sam Keen. Sam started shooting a revolver a number of years ago with a goal of becoming proficient. He worked hard, practiced a lot, and is now one of 15 USPSA shooters in the country to have obtained a Grandmaster classification with a revolver. Of the 15, he is currently 10th in classification percentage. (Yes, Jerry Miculek is #1, and our own Johnny Brister from the MS Delta happens to currently be #2, but I digress).

I asked Sam about this thread as well as the S&W 625 .45ACP that he was shooting at the match. Some of you might not believe this, but I don't doubt him. He told me he has a little over 300,000 rounds through the very revolver he was shooting at the match, and that he put that number through it in 4-5 years. During that period, he broke the star, or the piece that actually ejects the brass from the cylinder as I understood him, and the firing pin broke rendering the gun inoperable until replaced. That's it. It's never had the timing adjusted or corrected, and he says it will still shoot about 2.5" at 25 yards if he does his part. About 90% of the rounds down range were lead bullets, which probably plays a part in the fact it still has some rifling left in the bore.

I also talked to a few revolver shooters at the local Magnolia USPSA match today, and none of them have had to have timing adjusted. One had the trigger pivot pin shear off recently and others had some equally strange issues along the way, but timing doesn't seem to be an issue in this crowd.

One of my objections to Colt's revolvers is, they get out of time easier than S&W. Yes, even the Python.
I agree with Mr. Bowser, as it is my understanding this is one of the major reasons you don't see Colt revolvers in USPSA competition very often. They can't take the abuse and do need to be tuned up much more often than Smiths. Another factor is the reverse cylinder latch which requires pulling rather than pushing, which is slightly more difficult when reloading quickly.

Granted the above information is from a small sampling, but USPSA shooters are pretty good at finding something's weaknesses and putting a lifetime (or lifetimes) worth of wear on equipment in a relatively short period of time compared to most shooters.

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by Rbelote on Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:52 am

DBChaffin wrote:I'm no revolver expert, but...

I had the pleasure of shooting the Alabama State USPSA/IPSC match this weekend with a friend from Tennessee, Sam Keen. Sam started shooting a revolver a number of years ago with a goal of becoming proficient. He worked hard, practiced a lot, and is now one of 15 USPSA shooters in the country to have obtained a Grandmaster classification with a revolver. Of the 15, he is currently 10th in classification percentage. (Yes, Jerry Miculek is #1, and our own Johnny Brister from the MS Delta happens to currently be #2, but I digress).

I asked Sam about this thread as well as the S&W 625 .45ACP that he was shooting at the match. Some of you might not believe this, but I don't doubt him. He told me he has a little over 300,000 rounds through the very revolver he was shooting at the match, and that he put that number through it in 4-5 years. During that period, he broke the star, or the piece that actually ejects the brass from the cylinder as I understood him, and the firing pin broke rendering the gun inoperable until replaced. That's it. It's never had the timing adjusted or corrected, and he says it will still shoot about 2.5" at 25 yards if he does his part. About 90% of the rounds down range were lead bullets, which probably plays a part in the fact it still has some rifling left in the bore.

I also talked to a few revolver shooters at the local Magnolia USPSA match today, and none of them have had to have timing adjusted. One had the trigger pivot pin shear off recently and others had some equally strange issues along the way, but timing doesn't seem to be an issue in this crowd.

One of my objections to Colt's revolvers is, they get out of time easier than S&W. Yes, even the Python.
I agree with Mr. Bowser, as it is my understanding this is one of the major reasons you don't see Colt revolvers in USPSA competition very often. They can't take the abuse and do need to be tuned up much more often than Smiths. Another factor is the reverse cylinder latch which requires pulling rather than pushing, which is slightly more difficult when reloading quickly.

Granted the above information is from a small sampling, but USPSA shooters are pretty good at finding something's weaknesses and putting a lifetime (or lifetimes) worth of wear on equipment in a relatively short period of time compared to most shooters.

I believe that he put that many rounds down the bore, but man its hard to believe that he hasnt changed the barrel.

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by DBChaffin on Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:22 am

Sorry to drift your thread slightly, 'Neck, but yeah, that is a lot on one barrel. It is of course affected by many factors though.

George Smith of Evolution Gun Works has posted on another forum that he has seen a .38 Super USPSA Open gun barrel worn out in just 7K rounds with Accurate No. 7. Apparently it is an abrasive powder, and that would have been at the old power factor so it was likely a 115 gr. jacketed bullet at 1550+ fps.

George also posted that Doug Koenig had over 105K through his first .45, largely with lead, and although the rifling was worn in the throat area immediately in front of the chamber, it would still shoot under 3" at 50 yards.

I believe Jack Barnes, former Springfield Armory sponsored shooter, has an old .45 that has over 200K on it that still shoots fine. He also mentioned some of the rifling was worn in the throat. One common thread is the use of lead rather than jacketed, as well as the comparatively large bore and low pressure of the .45ACP.

I've been told I should expect between 80-100K barrel life in my .40S&W Limited guns shooting jacketed bullets with fast powder. My highest round gun has about 45-50K on it now and it still shoots pretty well. Groups are marginally larger than when it was new, but then again I am shooting different bullets now so I can't say for sure it is due to barrel wear. Either way, the barrel clearly has life left for its intended purpose (IPSC/USPSA matches).

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by Xd357 on Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:14 pm

How do you fixs something that's not broken? If it not out of time how do you re-time it?

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Re: Re-timing Revolvers

Post by Doug Bowser on Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:13 pm

You can hardly wear a pistol barrel out with lead bullets.

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