Pistol Smith Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pretty sure I paid way too much for this gun because I'm an idiot and didn't research it, I just saw the horse and snatched it up. I thought they were way more rare and expensive than they are, turns out. Looks like for a few hundred more I could have gotten one in near mint condition. Oh well, if I did I would be hesitant to actually shoot it.
It has a lot of wear in the finish, it definitely rode around in a holster quite a bit. The rifling looks a little shallow (I have no idea what new rifling in a Colt looks like), there is a little less than a millimeter of endshake and a millimeter or two of side to side play in the cylinder, and to top it all off the extractor rod is slightly bent, it sticks a little. Not to mention carbon is like, burned into the end of the cylinder from being shot quite a bit. But, I want to shoot it myself, so cosmetic flaws don't bother me. I'm just worried about the movement in the cylinder and the extractor rod. My questions are-
Can Colt fix it if I send it in?
Will it cost a fortune?
Or should I just sell it back to the pawn shop at a loss?
If anyone is interested I can take more/closer pictures later


1,805 Posts
Colt no longer offer any work at all for DA revolvers other then the new stainless Cobra model just released last year.

End shake....
First measure what it has.
Get an automotive feeler gage set at a hardware or auto store. These are a set of fold out shims in various thicknesses used to gage gaps. These are cheap.
First use a brass brush to clean the front face of the cylinder and rear of the barrel of fouling.

Push the closed cylinder to the rear and hold it there while you gage the gape between the front of the cylinder and the rear of the barrel.
(Note that this is also the actual barrel-cylinder gap. It should be between 0.004" and 0.008" with 0.005" being about perfect).
Push the cylinder forward and hold it there as you gage the gap again.
Subtract the one measurement from the other and that's how much end shake is present.
Factor specs call for NO MORE then 0.003".
If more, the gun needs repair or it will batter itself to death.
Note that this holds only for Colt. Other brands have other specs.

To repair excess end shake is unfortunately a problem. It requires a special device used by Colt to stretch the collar on the front of the cylinder.
Only Colt and a very few other pistolsmiths ever had the hydraulic device.
Unlike other brands you CANNOT repair excess end shake in a Colt revolver with washers like you can with S&W and others.

Cylinder "looseness".....
Later Colts like the Mark III series are very different from older Colt's like the Python and Detective Special types.
In the later Colt's and all other brands like S&W, Ruger, Dan Wesson etc, the cylinder does not lock up tightly when the trigger is pulled.
The action is deliberately designed to allow the cylinder some rotational movement when the trigger is pulled.
This is to allow the bullet passing between the chamber and the barrel to force the chamber into alignment with the barrel.
Older Colt's like the Python had the old Colt "Bank Vault" lock up where the cylinder was forced into tight lock up when the trigger was pulled.

In these types of more modern actions there is no spec for HOW loose the cylinder can be, within reason.
The only test is: Is the gun accurate, does it spit bullet metal out of the barrel-cylinder gap?
If it's accurate and not spitting bullet metal...... it's good.

The ejector rod.........
These can be straightened or simply replaced. Replacement requires a rod specifically for the 2 inch lawman version. Longer barrel Mark III series require a longer rod.
Check with Glenn before buying, he may have some, or he can simply straighten it.

If you want to try straightening the rod.............
Put 3 EMPTY cases in the chambers to support the ejector and grip the ejector rod head with a pair of padded pliers.
Put the rod on a bench block and tap gently with a small hammer to straighten it.
Replace it by snugging down tightly enough to stay put, but not to the point you strip the threads of the rod or ejector.
Here's a schematic of the Mark III type:


Frank Glenn-Glenn Custom Complete Gunsmithing Service Glendale AZ

Frank Glenn gets top reviews on the Colt Forum for pricing, turnaround, and quality of work, especially since he's one of the very few who still works on Colt revolvers and does it to factory standards and specs.

Don't dry fire a later Colt like the Mark III series without snap caps in the chambers. The firing pin "can" break and replacement is a pistolsmith job ONLY. Trying to drive the pin and bushing out with a punch often damages the frame. Replacement requires special support dies and pusher rods in a press device.
Use snap caps and it's not a problem.

The good.......
The Mark III series Colt's were specifically designed for unlimited use with full power Magnum ammo and are flat out tanks.
Master gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen thought the Mark III and later series Colt's were the strongest medium frame DA revolvers ever built, including the S&W 686 and Ruger GP-100.
This was due to Colt's high quality forged and heat treated frames and cylinders.

2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I really appreciate your reply dfaris, but I chickened out and sold it back to the pawnshop, lol. Between the specialized equipment required to address issues like endshake and the lack of replacement parts on the market I decided it wasn't worth it.
Not to mention I only had to eat about 120 bucks to sell it back- the owner knew something was wrong with it the moment I walked through the door, but he still offed me much more than I expected.
The real kicker was what I mentioned earlier though, the fact that I can get one with a near perfect finish that's only been fired a little bit or even not at all, assuming the seller descriptions are honest, for only 100-200 more. I'd be stupid to not just buy a better one! Considering how much that thing had been fired I'm sure that, tank or not, it was only a matter of time before something failed, maybe even catastrophically.
But thanks to you, when I buy another one eventually, I'll know more about what to look for! Thanks again!
1 - 3 of 3 Posts