Colt SAA - Need some help - Pistolsmith

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Old 06-01-2009, 08:02 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Missouri
Posts: 70
Colt SAA - Need some help

I just purchased a LNIB 1978 Colt SAA in .357 Magnum with 4.75" barrel. It is incredibly beautiful and I like it very much. I just have one question because I was kinda shocked that in lockup there is some cylinder movement that can take place if one tries to move the cylinder end-to-end or on its rotational axis.

I have read numerous threads about end-to-end cylinder play, but have not found any thread about the side-to-side or "rotational axis" play.

With either the hammer down or the hammer at full cock, should there be any cylinder movement on its rotational axis? The bolt seems to be fully engaged in the recess on the cylinder, but there is slight movement. Is this normal?

1. With the trigger pulled (and held) and forcibly holding the hammer to its most rearward travel, there is no movement it is rock solid.

2. With the trigger pulled (and held) and the hammer allowed a slight forward movement as it would be moving to strike a cartridge, there is slight movement. Best I can tell about 0.004" travel.

3. Without the trigger pulled and the hammer all the way forward as it would be when striking a cartridge, there is slight movement. Again, best I can tell about 0.004" travel.

To see how other revolvers compared, I went to the local gun shop and handled a couple revolvers from other manufacturers along with Colt.

First was a Taurus Gaucho, now I know most people don't think much of these but this one must have been made/assembled/whatever by someone who cared. This gun's action is just down right nice, smooth as glass and very crisp. Anyway, back to the point, the lockup on this revolver was "vault" tight. With the hammer cocked or not, whether the trigger was pulled or not, it was tight, no wiggle at all.

Second was a USFA. Again, this gun was tight and the action smooth and crisp.

Third were several Colt Python's. Each of them had the exact same cylinder play on the rotational axis as my SAA. And just like my SAA they were vault tight when the trigger was pulled and the hammer held back. Now I know that the Python's are DA and have an all-together different action than my SAA but I know that the Python's are noted for their tight cylinder lock up as well.

So after seeing the Gaucho and the USFA I am genuinely concerned that there should not be any play in the cylinder on its rotational axis.

I am placing an order for the J.K. Colt SAA book. However, until it arrives I would like to know what all of you have to say. Help me out here. Am I being overly cautious?
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:13 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Issaquah, WA
Posts: 3,831
Re: Colt SAA - Need some help

Shouldn't be any end play or side to side play. Gives you an idea of the Colt quality control when you start playng with the today's better replicas like USFA and Cimarron. Neither conditon is easy to fix on 3 gen Colts.

I'd suggest just shooting it as is. Have done so with mine for a long time, finally retired them (sold them at a decent profit) and started using much, much better put together Colt clones.

One thing t check on a like new gun...did soemone replace the bolt/trigger spring or do a "cowboy" action job on the gun? If so go back to a new original bolt spring...often times that will tighten a gun right up with similar issues as you have mentioned.


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