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Colt 1894 Repair

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Picked up a nice condition Colt 1894 .38 for a good price due to a problem with the cylinder bolt spring. Got it home and found the spring was not moving the bolt up high enough when the hammer was in the down position. Anyone else make this repair and any advise? I found a site that has the springs for sale.

I find the internal mechanism fascinating.

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Find a good gunsmith to replace the part and go through the gun before you shoot it. Congratulations on a good purchase. Loading the .38 long Colt is not that difficult. It is not the same as 38 special.
 

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Those actions are clockwork. The parts are individually hand-fitted with a close eye on tolerance stacking, and the Colt smiths who could do that kind of work are long dead. Colt won’t repair them. The big-name smiths won’t repair them. You might find some local yokel that will tell you he’ll fix it, but it will depend on if the problem will be fixed with a parts swap (luck of the draw if it will fit) or needs one of those original watchmakers.

The only place I know of that can still work on these in the way Colt worked on them is Cylinder and Slide.

If you have a military version that was brought up to M1903 specs, you can shoot .38 special through it, weaksauce versions of course. I handload a very light .38 special for my M1903, but I just don’t shoot it much any more because of parts availability and difficulty to repair.
 

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Guess I am a yokel because I have worked on a few old revolvers for a friend with good results. That said, your gun's cylinder has some marks that give me pause.
There are still a few good gunsmiths that will work on old revolvers, just difficult to find and usually expensive. Might check with some local gun clubs or ranges. They can sometimes point you in the right direction when a specialist is needed.
Springs are usually the easiest of parts to fit into an old gun for a DIYer.
Might try a complete disassembly and cleaning before buying parts. Dirt and debris can build up and create issues similar to what you describe. If a part is binding because of debris, it could be more than the spring is meant to overcome. Even seen a couple of "safe queens" that were full of dust and debris. Many times on old, used guns, a good cleaning is all that is required to restore full function and safety.
Again, yours appears to have marks indicating more is going on than the problem you describe. Perhaps it was used to hammer nails into fence posts by a real life cowboy.
Good luck, sir.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Guess I am a yokel because I have worked on a few old revolvers for a friend with good results. That said, your gun's cylinder has some marks that give me pause.
There are still a few good gunsmiths that will work on old revolvers, just difficult to find and usually expensive. Might check with some local gun clubs or ranges. They can sometimes point you in the right direction when a specialist is needed.
Springs are usually the easiest of parts to fit into an old gun for a DIYer.
Might try a complete disassembly and cleaning before buying parts. Dirt and debris can build up and create issues similar to what you describe. If a part is binding because of debris, it could be more than the spring is meant to overcome. Even seen a couple of "safe queens" that were full of dust and debris. Many times on old, used guns, a good cleaning is all that is required to restore full function and safety.
Again, yours appears to have marks indicating more is going on than the problem you describe. Perhaps it was used to hammer nails into fence posts by a real life cowboy.
Good luck, sir.
The bolt spring is definitely broken so I’ll start there. Everything else seems to be in working order. The nicks and dents are only cosmetic with the overall finish being vg+ considering it’s 120+ year age. Cylinder locks up tight when the hammer is released so it should be a good shooter. I’ve done work on several Walther P38s, Oberndorf Mausers as well as original Mannlicher Schoenauer set triggers among others so I’m not intimidated by a challenge.
 

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OP hope you are able to get that fixed up and running. If that pistol were in my safe, it sounds like something I might take on. Years ago my late father had an 1850's era Parker 10 gauge caplock shotgun with a dead left hammer. The left mainspring had broken. I found some spring steel stock at Brownell's large enough to work with, and spent 5 weeks methodically reproducing the original spring, working on it an hour here, a half hour there, heating, bending and filing and using my mic and calipers to match the dimensions as nearly exact as possible to the original. After studying heat treating methods for days, I tempered the spring. It ended up working like a charm, and that 167 or so year old shotgun was back in business. Good luck.

 

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As previously stated, older Colts can be problematic to be repaired.

I owned an nice condition commercial Colt New Service, circa 1920, in 45 Colt, that soon after I acquired went seriously out of time. So much so that cylinder play in battery was too excessive for firing safely.

After a search for gunsmith that would even take on the project revealed almost a 9 month wait, and no guarantee of success, I traded it away to a collector who was more into display than firing.

Good luck with your efforts. Hope you're more successful than I was.

I really do miss the New Service, she was a serious looker.

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