Cowboy Smithin’ Part III – Cylinders
By: Captain Eagle, aka Dave Sample
It is time for another issue and another task on our Cowboy Smithin’ six-shooter series. We have looked at some of the things that we do to these sixgun cylinders, and there is one last task that can help a great deal when loading and unloading your hog leg. As a rule, honing the chambers can help most of these old timers. As you know, I like to chamfer the chamber entry way, but after that we use a hone from Brownells and add some special oil to it, it makes the inside of the chambers as smooth as this old gunfighter’s head! These hones are not too expensive, and if you order the special oil when you purchase the hone, you will have a lifetime supply for you and your saddle pals. I always tape up the cylinder with some 2-inch masking tape to keep it from being scratched, and then I use the rubber conveyor belt inserts in my smithin’ vice. I clamp the cylinder in the vice, and then get out the variable speed, portable electric drill and install the hone in the chuck. First, I dunk the hone in the oil, and then run the hone in and out of each chamber to get the inside oiled up. Then, with an up and down movement, I get the drill up to full speed while moving the hone in and out of the chambers. I use about a slow 15 count on each chamber, and when I am done, I flush out the chambers with any kind of cleaner I have on hand. Next, I take the tape off. Remember to keep the chambers oiled with lightweight, non-invasive gun oil. I like the spray cans of Rem-Oil. Well, good job cowboy! Those cartridges should go in great now, just as if they were greased! They will also come out a lot easier, too.
Now for the question asked by our good friend and cowboy shooter, Chucky: Why do cartridges sometimes show a dent in the primer, but don’t go “bang” like they should, sounding like a baseball hitting a bat? This question has come up on several occasions and like most gun-related problems, there is usually more than one reason. For example, if the hammer is not all the way back and set in the full-cock notch and is released, the tiny hole that the firing pin has to go through in the frame will not line up with the center of the primer. This causes the firing pin to strike at a glancing blow, therefore not having the force needed to give that primer a sharp rap. Another problem could be a bad action job that has left the mainspring without enough force to ignite the primer. The mainspring has to be heavy enough to do the job, which is why I use new Wolff Springs throughout the whole gun. The old leather washer trick is a very dumb one and seldom works for very long. A third reason could be that some WD40 has gotten near the ammo and has deadened the primers. This stuff has no business being used around any kind of ammunition. It is very invasive and spells sudden death to primers.
That’s all for this issue. Remember to drink upstream from the herd, and never ask a barber if you need a haircut. I’ll be seeing you down the trail.