Edward Janis, Proprietor

John 3:16

 
 
Dedicated to keeping your Colts running like Thoroughbreds!
 
  • The Locked Up Colt
• Preventable Damage
• How to tell if your Colt is in proper tune and time
• “To clean or not to clean”
• Cleaning the Peacemaker
• The Care and Feeding of your Ivory Grips
• “Don’t Ask Me How I Know This”

• The Hammer

First Things First

This essay is for those who are trying to do things right with their New or “old for that matter” Colt Peacemaker.
We will start with the proper loading sequence first. Most know this, but for new members of our fraternity here goes.

1. The first thing is to make sure your Colt is unloaded and safe.

2. Cock the hammer to the second click, which is the loading notch. If your Colt is timed properly the cylinder should turn freely. If it doesn’t turn freely your pistol is unsafe to shoot and should not be shot until it’s repaired by a qualified gunsmith.
Once the hammer is in the loading notch position, open the loading gate on the right hand side of the recoil shield. This will expose the cylinder chambers.


3. With 5 rounds set aside, not 6… Load one chamber only. Then skip one chamber then load the next four chambers in a row.


4. After you load the last bullet, close the loading gate. Then cock the hammer ALL the way back, Hold the hammer with your thumb and pull the trigger easing the hammer down slowly. The hammer will now be down on an empty chamber and the colt will be safe to carry.


5. I know someone will always say they have another way, but believe me this is THE ONLY WAY to carry a Colt Peacemaker safely and correctly.


6. If you ever find yourself being attacked by a band of hostile Indians or become involved in an extended gun battle and you feel the need to load all 6 chambers, REMEMBER, to carry a Colt Single Action safely all the Pistoleros of the past and present do so with the hammer down on an empty chamber. Many a good horse was shot when their rider fell carrying a Colt with the hammer down on a live round.

 

 

 

The Locked Up Colt


There’s a condition that can occur with some stock Colt SAA’s that I call the “Locked Up” condition. This is where the hammer is ¾’s of the way down but not all the way and will not cock back or go forward to the frame. This situation is most common in 2nd and 3rd generation Colt’s. It’s actually caused by improper tuning during the assembly processes at the factory. It seems to occur on about 70% of the post war Peacemakers I work on. It’s one of the issues we address when performing our Gunslinger Deluxe Action Jobs. But for now let’s assume you have a stock Peacemaker and find yourself with this problem. The reason your Colt is locked up, is that your finger ever so slightly let off on the trigger while you were lowering the hammer from the full cock position after loading or unloading your Colt. The way to avoid this condition is to simply make sure you hold the trigger ALL the way back with your trigger finger until the hammer is ALL the way forward against the frame.
If you have done things incorrectly and find yourself in this “Locked Up” condition, here’s how to correct it. First you will notice that the hammer will no longer go forward or backwards.

To “Unlock” your Colt, first gently pull the hammer back until it stops.It will only go back a very small amount before you feel it stop. Hold the hammer back against this stopped position, then pull the trigger again and hold it Fully to the rear. This will let you release the hammer and lower it down ALL the way to the frame. Your Colt is now “Unlocked” and should function normally again. If your Colt does not respond to this solution it may be broken or damaged and should be examined by a qualified gunsmith before further operation.

 

 

 

Preventable Damage

 

Now that we know how to safely carry our Colt, let’s talk about how to keep from causing damage to our prized Peacemaker while we enjoy shooting it.

1. The fastest way to cause major damage to our new six gun is to pull the trigger of our Colt while the hammer is in the first safety notch, or in the second loading notch.
Let me explain
The first notch or click we hear when we cock the hammer back is called the safety notch. This name is misleading as this position in NOT very safe at all. A small blow to the hammer spur will quickly break the delicate hammer notch off, and can set off a live round if there’s one under the hammer, so be aware this position is NOT used as a safety, but if we pull the trigger from this same safety position it will also do the same thing, the result will be a broken hammer and an unsafe weapon, or maybe worse!


2. The second click we hear while cocking the hammer is the loading notch. We will have our Colt in this position a lot as this is the position we will use every time we load, unload or check our cylinder chambers during normal operation. The loading notch is no stronger than the safety notch we just spoke of, and can break off just as easily. By pulling the trigger in this position it will result in an expensive repair and an unsafe weapon that can discharge causing injury or death. So be careful not to pull the trigger in either of these two positions.


3. Next, we’ve all seen cylinders with that ugly ring scratched around the outside! Most think this is caused by a Colt that’s not in proper tune & time. In reality 90% of the time this ugly scar is the result of improper handling by an owner who isn’t aware of the correct handling etiquette.


4. To eliminate scarring your Colt with that damaging drag line on the cylinder is really very easy, here’s how. Whenever you have your hammer cocked back for any reason, whether in the safety notch or loading notch before you lower it down always, and I repeat ALWAYS cock the hammer fully to the rear or full cock position and while holding it with your thumb pull the trigger and let it down from the full cock position all the way forward to the frame. This way, while you are cocking the hammer all the way back the bolt will properly index and come up from the frame and contact the cylinder in the little approach cut-out next to the lock notch on the cylinder, instead of popping up on the cylinder halfway in between the notches and dragging an ugly line all the way to the next notch when you turn your cylinder to rotate it into battery. If your Peacemaker is properly timed, following these easy steps will allow you to shoot many thousands of rounds without ever scarring your cylinder with an ugly drag line.
5. If when you cycle your Colt normally you find that your pistol is so far out of time that your bolt is popping up outside of the cylinder approach and causing a drag line on your cylinder don’t operate it until you can have a qualified gunsmith repair the problem.
By following these easy steps you can now shoot your prized Colt without worry that you will be carrying your Colt in an unsafe condition or causing expensive damage to your new Peacemaker.

Remember only point your pistol at what you want to shoot.

Happy Shooting!!!

 

 

1.) First, make sure your Colt is unloaded and in a safe condition.

 

2.) Check your pistol with the hammer down fully against the frame. The cylinder should be locked up tight with the locking bolt. (see photo A) Next, when you look at the right side of the gun, check the space between the rear of the cylinder and the frame. The firing pin should protrude from the frame approximately 50% across the gap between the frame and the cylinder. A little more or less will not matter as long as the firing pin is long enough to ignite the primer. (see photo B)

photo A

photo B

 


3.) Now cock the hammer back to the first click or notch. This is called the safety notch, (even though your Colt should never be considered safe in this position, and should never be carried as such). When the hammer is in this position the cylinder should still be locked tightly by the bolt. The firing pin should not be visible protruding across the gap between the frame and cylinder when viewed from the right side of the gun like it was earlier in the hammer down position. (see photo C)

photo C

 

4.) Then cock the hammer back to the 2nd click, or loading notch. (Beware, if you have a broken hammer notch on your Colt it may appear to function normally. When you apply light pressure to the trigger while the hammer is in the safety notch or loading notch, the hammer may fall and strike a loaded round in the chamber and unintentionally cause the gun to fire which can lead to accidental injury or death. If you have this condition, do not operate your Colt. Seek the services of a qualified gunsmith for repairs.) In the loading notch position, when you open the loading gate the cylinder will now rotate to load or unload your pistol.

If your Colt is in proper tune and time the cylinder chambers will line up with the middle of the loading shute. (see photo D) If not, the cylinder chamber will not line up with the shute and you will have to manually rotate the cylinder with your hand to move the chamber to the center for loading or unloading. Also in this half-cock position when you look at the space between the bottom of the cylinder and the frame from the right side of the pistol you should be able to see that the head of the bolt is not sticking up, and is flush or slightly below the surface of the frame. (see photo E)

photo D

photo E

 

5.) As you continue to slowly cock the hammer, if you look again at the right side of your Colt and watch the space between the bottom of the cylinder and the frame you should see the bolt pop up in the little cut-out that’s called the "approach". For proper timing, the bolt head should hit the cylinder in the "approach" right next to the lock notch. (see photo F) Not on the long edge of the notch, straddling the notch and approach. If the bolt dwell is too short, the bolt will rise too early and hit outside of the approach and scratch a line in the finish. If the dwell is too long, the bolt will rise on the corner of the lock notch and peen the corner down until the cylinder will not stay in the locked position because the notch corner will be too low to hold the bolt head.

photo F

 

6.) Lastly as you again slowly finish the cocking arc, you should watch the trigger and hear a click that signals that the bolt is dropping into the cylinder lock notch at exactly the same instant the trigger snaps forward into the full cock notch of the hammer. These two movements will not happen together if your trigger is too short due to wear, or an improperly done trigger job. Another cause of this miss-timing is a worn full-cock notch on your hammer, or again a poorly done trigger job. The last test of a properly timed Peacemaker is after your hammer is at full cock, there should be little or no over-travel in your hammer. The hammer will stop its rearward travel at the same time as the trigger reaches the full cock notch.

 

Now, if your favorite Peacemaker passes these tests, or the one you want to purchase passes them, you can be fairly certain you have a well timed Colt in your hand. The fact is that when your Colt is running right it lasts longer, parts don’t break as readily and the gun becomes a very reliable tool. However, a poorly tuned gun works against itself, losing reliability, causing more and harder wear, parts breakage and unreliability.

 

So if your gun doesn’t pass these tests then it is self destructing and doing it faster the more you shoot it, so it’s a good idea to arrange to send it in and have us take a look at it and tune it up if necessary.

 

Finally, if you enjoy shooting your Colt a lot, I highly recommend our “Gunslinger Action Job” done to your Peacemaker. With this enhancement we remove all friction, blueprint all parts, and then hand fit each and every part perfectly. This allows your Colt to lock-up tightly while still feeling like it’s running on greased ball bearings. The trigger is then adjusted to the weight you prefer with all creep removed. Your Peacemaker will easily be able to shoot hundreds of rounds a day if you choose, with nothing more than cleaning and lubrication. We call this “Total Reliability” you will truly enjoy this enhancement.

 

See the “Smithing Services" page for more information and prices.

 

 

“To clean or not to clean”

The first thing to realize about your Colt Peacemaker is that it can be shot many hundreds of rounds without needing to be cleaned. Probably the most critical area to address is the blue and case outside finish. Nickel guns are more resistant to surface rust and corrosion. Nickel finishes will turn dull and cloudy from perspiration over time, but can easily be brought back to a shiny like new look with a light application of a fine metal polish like Simichrome, or Flitz and a soft cloth. Make sure that if you have Fire Blue screws or other parts on your Nickel Colt that you remove them before you start your polish job or you will remove that nice Fire Blue along with the cloudy finish on the rest of your Colt. Also be advised: some historical or collector Colts with a Nickel finish may be worth more money if left alone, preserving the natural discoloration on an aging Colt surface. Shiny finishes are not always desirable on Nickel plated Colts with provenance or collectability.

Back to blue and case color Peacemakers. If you had to shoot your Colt several days in a row without cleaning the inside, just make sure you wipe all external surfaces with a light film of a good gun oil or CLP (Cleaner, Lube & Protectant) so the finish is protected. The important areas to address are the places that need to be lubricated before each shooting session. These include the back of the cylinder where the ratchet touches the frame. (see photo A)

Photo A

Then inside of the cylinder where it rotates on the base pin, be it a pressed in spacer (3rd Gen only) or the slide out bushing. Remove the cylinder to accomplish this.
(see photos B & C)

Photo B

Photo C

I also like to keep my ejector lubed by lightly oiling the rod & spring through the slot in the bottom of the ejector housing. (see photo D) This will help keep the carbon from attaching to the parts and creating a bind on the critical areas.

Photo D

 

The other important thing to keep in mind is that shooting lead bullets will deposit lead at the back of the bore in the forcing cone. This will not usually affect accuracy if kept within moderate amounts. If you had to shoot your Colt daily without cleaning the bore and you were worried about over leading the bore, just fire a cylinder full of full metal jacketed bullets at the end or beginning of each shooting session and most of the fouling will be removed. Anymore than that and you may have to deal with removing the copper fouling which is even more difficult.

I kind of use a broad rule of thumb, that if I shoot more than 100 rounds at a time then I try to clean the gun. I always clean it no matter how many rounds I’ve shot if I’m going to store the Colt for an extended period of time.

 

Cleaning the Peacemaker

First, make sure your pistol is unloaded and in a safe condition. Next put your hammer in the half cock position, open the loading gate and place the gun on your bench with the muzzle facing up. With the base pin latch unit pressed to one side, or removed altogether, gently slide the base pin out. If it requires more force than you can provide with your fingers, use our new “Base Pin Puller” (found on our accessories page). Once the base pin is removed, carefully “Slide” the cylinder out being careful not to let the sides of the cylinder touch the frame. The frame is very rough on the inside and will quickly make fine scratch lines on the bluing of the cylinder that will degrade the finish on your Colt. (see photo E)

Photo E

That is why we always point the muzzle up when removing the cylinder. If you do it with the muzzle horizontal, when you remove the base pin the cylinder will immediately drop onto the rough surface of the bottom of the frame window and when you remove it by sliding it out you will scratch the side of the cylinder.

Once the cylinder is out, you can clean the chambers with a bronze brush of the correct size and “Bore Tech” bore solvent or other similar product. I sometimes use a jag with a tight fitting cloth patch soaked in bore cleaner. On some Peacemakers that have been shot a lot you will see what looks like areas on the front corners of the cylinder right where the chambers are, places where it looks like the blue has come off. They will appear gray color and are on the front end of the cylinder. (Photo F coming soon . . .) This discoloration is really just lead deposits that seem to have wrapped around the corner and extend on to the outside of the cylinder.

These deposits are difficult to remove without actually rubbing through the blue finish. They can also appear on a Nickel cylinder, and look just like the Nickel has come off. Years ago I came across a product called “Neverdull” made by Eagle One; it is chemically impregnated cotton wadding. To remove the lead deposits on a Blue or Nickel cylinder, simply take a small piece of the wadding and gently rub it on these areas and you will be surprised how quickly the lead will dissolve. Remember on blue guns rub gently. Once your cylinder is clean wipe off the Neverdull, oil it and set it aside. Next the bore, I like to remove the ejector housing and place the pistol barrel horizontally in a padded vise so I don’t have to hold the gun, but I’ve done it both ways. (see photo G)

Photo G

 

Again use a bronze brush or tight fitting patch with Bore Tech or other similar bore cleaner and get as much lead out as you have the patience for. I don’t use any special lead removing devices as I know a small amount of lead won’t be detrimental to accuracy. Once the bore is done, the only part left is the inside of the frame window. Here I use cloth rags and a stiff nylon brush. Start with the brush and Bore Tech carbon remover. The Bore Tech products are nice to use because they remove the carbon deposits as good as or better than any other products I’ve used. Bore Tech products don’t smell, are biodegradable, and safe on your skin. Brush the area around the back of the barrel, the lower front corner of the frame window and finally the upper rear corner. These are the places that seem to accumulate the most fouling. When you think it’s cleaned to your satisfaction use the cloth wetted with carbon remover and get the rest of it. The bore and carbon cleaners will not protect the finish so be sure to wipe all surfaces with a light film of oil. The last part to address is the ejector assembly. Unscrew and remove the assembly, separate the parts wiping everything down, oil the parts and reassemble. Make sure to check all the screws for tightness, as they tend to shoot loose on most Peacemakers. The trick here is to torque all screws tightly without deforming the heads. I have found over the years that this is best done with driver heads that are custom ground to the exact shape and size of the Peacemaker screws. This is the reason our Peacemaker Screw Drivers are the only screwdrivers you will find on my work bench. Take note, they are a lot cheaper than a new set of screws. Now you can oil the places I outlined at the beginning of this article and replace the cylinder using the same technique I used to disassemble only in reverse order.

For previous clients who have had our “Gunslinger Deluxe Action Jobs” there are two more steps to check before installing your cylinder. First due to the custom modifications I preformed on your Colt to achieve ultimate reliability and maximum tightness, you may need to manually depress the head of the bolt that sticks up from the bottom of the frame in order to re-engage it with the hammer so that it will drop down when the hammer is in the half cock position.(see photo H)

Photo H

The other part to check is to manually press the hand back into its slot if it comes out too far when the cylinder is removed. (see photo I)

Photo I

Now enjoy your Peacemaker.

 

 

 

 

 

The Care and Feeding of your Ivory Grips

As Ivory is a natural material and not synthetic, it needs moisture to stay hydrated. That’s why your grips can shrink when exposed to a very dry climate or the dehumidifier inside your gun safe. I have found that this hydration loss can be stabilized somewhat by replacing the natural water with oil. When the Ivory is fresh, like after we fit them to your Colt, we can start the stabilization process by rubbing white mineral oil or other similar oil like honing oils for knife sharpening or even baby oil on the outside surfaces of the grips when we put them away in the safe. And by all means either disconnect the dehumidifier in your safe or cover your grips with a plastic sandwich bag and wrap a rubber band around the top. This way the drying effects of the dehumidifier won’t suck the moisture out of your beautiful new Ivory grips.

At first you can oil your grips every week or so. Then check them to see if the oil has been absorbed or not. If it has and they seem dry to the touch, you can oil them again. Continue this process as often as needed until the Ivory does not absorb the oil anymore. At first they may need oil once a week and then once a month for awhile then only a couple times a year. This will help your Ivory grips stay full size, and fit your Colt snuggly as well as help your grips to start the beautiful coloring process we enjoy so much. One other feature that may concern you are the “crack lines” or bark lines as we call them. These lines are a normal part of the stocks and not a structural problem with the material. If you like the bark lines make sure you request them when you place your order.

If you prefer “clear” ivory (with no lines) please request clear ivory. One last note all ivory can show small crack lines in the center nerve area of even clear ivory. These small lines can start to occur as soon as the stocks are fitted, or sometimes start long after the grips start the yellowing process.      

       

Either way don’t worry about the lines, as they are just part of the beautiful aging process that is so desirable with top quality elephant ivory. With a little care and feeding your Ivory stocks should fit nicely and add that unmistakable character to your favorite Peacemaker for years to come.

 

 

 

 

This series of short essays is provided courtesy of yours truly to save you heart- ache, embarrassment and in the end cash.

 

 

Never put a Colt you just fitted with one piece
genuine Elephant Ivory stocks into your gun safe
that is equipped with a dehumidification system.

 

Sometime on the far side of 20 years ago I decided that since I was in the Peacemaker business, and that my 2 consecutive serial numbered nickel plated 3rd generation 45’s were still wearing the Colt black plastic eagle grips, I could just barely afford to splurge. Splurge to me means one piece Elephant Ivory stocks, designed to produce the desired “Doc Holiday” effect. So after scratching together enough dinero over a period of time I now owned my 2 dream guns with beutiful ivory stocks. Next comes the good part. I did not want to be irresponsible and leave these 2 beauties out all the time to just fondle and drool over. I was a good boy and put them away in my nice humedically controlled gun safe.

Days turned into weeks before I was able to free up enough time to go out and shoot again. It was then that I found the error in my ways. Pulling out my 2 beautiful Colts I suddenly detected a distinct rattle. Looking more closely I found what can only be described as 2 shriveled up pieces of Ivory rattling around on the grip frames of my beautiful Peacemakers. It would’ve been bad enough to have learned this lesson on one set of elegant Ivory stocks, but two sets just about put me in the poor house.

 

 

Never use Hoppee’s #9 to soak
your Nickel Colt Parts

 

Along about 3o years ago I decided one evening after a hard day of shooting that I didn’t have the energy to sit and scrub my heavily fowled Nickel Colt. The short cut I decided to take was simply to take the dirtiest parts and drop them into a 30 Cal. Ammo can I had partially filled with good old Hoppee’s #9 nitro solvent. Having used this tried and true solvent ever since I watched my Dad clean his shotgun after a day in the field hunting pheasants, I decided if it’s good enough for him, it surely good enough for me. Since I’ve always thought if a little is good, a lot must be better. I plunked those nice Colt nickel parts into the can to sit overnight and ease my cleaning burden. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized I was in trouble. Pulling out those formally nickel plated parts I found that they were now rainbow colored and that a total refinish was the only way to repair the mistake of my laziness.

 

 

 

Never shoot anyone else’s hand loads in your Colt,
and never shoot your hand loads
in anyone else’s Colt.

 

Along about 20 years ago I spent a lot of ammo learning how to shoot these Colts. Or in other words a lot of time shooting a lot of ammo. It was not uncommon for me to fill a 50 Cal. Ammo can with 45 Colt shells and come back 2 days later and have to start reloading again. This activity was always more enjoyable when in the company of my shooting buddy. On one such occasion after several hours of shooting the dueling-tree mano-e-mano, and several more shooting our long range plates that were set out at 50 to 200 yards, we finally ate some lunch and settled back in our lawn chairs. With our ammo cans beside us and a coke on the other side we engaged in what we referred to as “Call shot” that’s where one of us would describe the shot he was about to try and if he made it the other had to repeat the same shot. If the first guy missed his desired shot then the other one of us would try come up with what he thought was a hard to repeat shot and so on. You get the idea.

Anyway, even this event led to boredom after awhile, and I suggested to Phil, my buddy, that we switch Colts and see how the other fella’s gun shot. That would have been fine had I had the foresight to ask to shoot his ammo too! I was unable to think this thing all the way through before I loaded up 5 and proceeded to unload my buddies 1st generation 45 Colt. I noticed a decidedly different report on the third shot. Stopping to examine the situation I unloaded the other 2 rounds and I could feel a sickening drag in the action. After close examination and removal of his beautiful 1st generation 45 Colt cylinder, my stomach suddenly sank as I saw a slight ballooning in one of his chambers. Of all the thousands and thousands of 45 Colt rounds I’ve loaded in over 30 plus years of doing this, the only round I ever somehow over-charged ended up ruining my shooting buddy’s expensive 1st generation cylinder.
If only I had asked to shoot "his" ammo too!

 

 

How to apply a nice even coating of rust
on your brand new peacemaker.

 

Now after reading that title I’m sure you’re thinking: "I’m not that dumb". Well I have to admit it's not beyond my scope of accomplishment to successfully execute that task. Was it easy yes? Was it fast yes, did it require an extensive refinish? You guessed it, yes again. Now we all try to avoid the obvious pitfalls that occur in dealing with expensive firearms. It goes without saying, it’s those not so obvious pitfalls that sometimes sneak up on us.

We know that the beautiful lustrous blue and subtle rainbow of blues, pinks and straw browns are one of the most enduring features of these lovely single action revolvers. And most know that there is very little corrosion resistance in either of those frontier era finishes.

That is precisely why we have been continually engrained with keeping these fine Colts coated with a thin film of oil at all times. Now here is where the catch comes. It all turns to rust without you even seeing it happen; Inside the “Dreaded” Gun Rug. This is the exact place you confidently placed your prized Colt to protect it. Well, little did I know that the ultra soft "imitation sheepskin" acts just like a Zippo wick, transferring any outside moisture right to that delicate blue finish. Slick as a whistle in about 4 or 5 days (give or take a few) I had a nice uniformly applied rust coating trying to eat into my new single action. Now to add insult to injury even after I applied mouth to mouth by carefully refinishing that beauty, the value had just been cut in half.

 

 

The Hammer

If there is one part in a Colt that could be considered the “heart” of your pistols action it is the hammer. Not only do we have to manipulate it every time we shoot, load, or unload our piece, it along with the trigger controls the timing and function more than any other part. That is why so much attention is paid to the exact size and location of all 3 notches as well as the hammer cam. If any of the notches are worn, broken, or modified your Colt may be out of time as well as unsafe to shoot. This condition can render your pistol useless as well as dangerous. Shooting is not advised without first undergoing repairs by a qualified gunsmith.

The hammer and trigger on your Colt not only determine the trigger pull weight and creep, it controls the cylinder timing, bolt timing, the hand timing, as well as the ease of loading and unloading.

Fixing or replacing broken hammers

Replacing a broken hammer is not an overly difficult job if one is available. But here in lies the catch. Colt does not see the need to manufacture hammers for any 1st or 2nd generation pistols and only offers replacement hammers for current 3rd generation Peacemakers. This situation leaves thousands of single action army owners up the paverbal creek without a paddle.

What are your options you ask?

1) While it may be possible to use a current production hammer in a late 2nd generation pistol, the early 2nd generation Colts and all 1st generation Colts will not function properly with a modern hammer, due to the fact that the notches are in a different location. Besides it is never advisable to try to cross-generation critical parts like the hammer.
2) That leaves trying to find a proper vintage replacement. From my more than 25 years of experience, it’s like finding hens teeth. Yes, you see hammers for 1st and 2nd gen Colts for sale quite often, but Beware 95% are not usable without a complete rebuilt. Most of the hammers I see for sale are poorly described or are passed off by sellers who say they “seem” like they are useable. But upon close examination they more likely than not have broken notches (that is why they are not in a gun) or have been modified by trying to file in a new notch where one was broken. Remember these are guns we are talking about. Your life or the lives of others may depend on what someone says “looks” ok!
3) That leaves the last and most difficult option, hammer rebuilding. This process is an age old option and is not without its drawbacks. The most common ailment we find on vintage Colts is a broken half-cock notch. Second is the full cock notch that either has been filed on or stoned by a well-meaning gunsmith or owner to try to lighten the trigger pull, and is now too short or won’t hold the trigger. The 3rd most common ailment is a worn or deformed hammer cam. This will cause the bolt timing to go south and scratch a deep gouge line on the cylinder.
4) Repairing a hammer properly addresses all the above problems while restoring proper timing also. But “Beware” a “quick fix” of welding a small dab of weld on a hammer to restore a broken notch can lead to a “quick failure” too. When a “small” weld is accomplished on a vintage part the weakest point of the weld is at the junction between the parent material and the new material, or the joint between the two. This joint will be too close to the stressed area and will likely fail at that spot again. The only way to completely avoid this situation is to grind out all the area around the notches and place that joint far away from the stressed area. Remember when you have a broken half cock notch on your Colt it may seem to work ok. The timing will be ok and it will seem to work fine, right up to the point where one time when you are loading your pistol and you accidentally touch the trigger. At which time the hammer will fall from the half cock position and probably land on a live round. The gun will go off and at best will shoot something you didn’t want to shoot. And at worst will kill or injure you or someone close by. It’s just not worth it!

5) In the following photo you can see a typical broken hammer. (see photo A)

Then we grind out all of the notch area. (see photo B)

Then with special welding rods that are made to use on 100 year old steel we completely weld up the notch area. (see photo C)

The next step is to mill both sides of the weld area parallel. (see photo D)

Next comes the difficult job of cutting out all 3 notches and drilling the hole for the hammer cam and the hole for the hand stud to operate out of. This step is done using small Swiss hand files and a “pattern Hammer” from the correct and same vintage as the one we are rebuilding. It’s very important during the notch cutting to periodically check the location and depth of the notches with a proper length trigger and a frame jig. This ensures total compatibility between the hammer and the trigger when they are complete. The notch cutting is done completely by hand with hand file only. No milling or dremel tools are used during this process. Then each notch is hand stoned to remove all file marks and surface hardened to promote longevity. (see photo E and F)

The next step is shaping and installing the hammer cam with a special aero-space adhesive. Finally we carefully remove all the heat and burn marks that were made when it was welded. We do this carefully to preserve the natural patina and color on the part so it will not look like it was repaired or altered on the usable upper part when reinstalled in a vintage Colt. (see photo G)

Now your repaired peacemaker looks correct and works like a factory new action. Do it right the first time and your prized Colt will work correctly for years to come

 

 

 

 

WANTED: GUNSLINGERS


If I have performed a “Gunslinger Action Job” on your Colt Peacemaker, and you would like to have a Certificate of Authenticity, please contact us with the serial number of your Colt and approximate date of service. Upon confirmation of the work performed we will issue you a signed Certificate of Authenticity from Peacemaker Specialists.


Please call for details: 805.238.9100

Click on the image below for a larger sample

 

Make sure you check back at Connoisseur’s corner for more insights into the legend we call the Peacemaker.

 

Back to the top...

 

 

   
Contact Peacemaker Specialists at (805) 238-9100 with your questions about Colt Single Action parts and service