I am back on revolver work for a bit now. I know it always sounds odd to people to hear that we have and can hold such things here in the UK however we can and have a thriving revolver community over here however not quite as they used to be…
To legally hold a cartridge firing revolver such as a .357 Mag on a Section 1 FAC you need to satisfy one very important condition, namely the overall length is not less that 24″ and the barrel is not less than 12″ Obviously there are a few more requirements to keep things legal however this is the key one and indeed applies to all Section 1 Firearms with the occasional exception such as some Section 1 shotguns which must not be less than 24″ barrel and 40″ overall length, oh and muzzle loading revolvers however I am straying from the original reason for this article so let’s leave the specifics of our laws to another day.
Remember the universal revolver wrench I made a few days ago, well here it is in use. First image is a Taurus .44 and the second is a Ruger with the barrel firmly clamped in our 25 Ton hydraulic barrel press, I find it so much easier to use this as opposed to the more typical clamp type barrel vices as it means I can do the job without resorting to hand tools if I need to rotate or relocate the barrel.
Here is the wrench in use again, this time on a Taurus .44 which was in for a variety of jobs including re-cut and polish of the forcing cone and a thorough de-leading.
One of the jobs on the list was to remove the UK legal wrist brace (Remember the 12″/24″ law I mentioned above, well to get the revolver to 24″ a wire wrist brace is added. This is a great idea however the brace wire is held in place by a couple of pressure crimps which you can see quite clearly bottom right of the grip frame just to the right of the peg. These seem to relax with time and the whole brace starts to rotate and rattle. The other issue is the brace itself is easily bent out of shape and in theory it is very easy to bend it to a stage where the overall length of the firearm becomes less than 24″ so rendering it unlawful.
The process to resolve this is as follows:
Remove the crane and cylinder, the crane being the part that hinges out and supports the cylinder and it was here that I came across the first issue, the crane simply pulled out when un-latched which meant the plunger behind the third screw had failed. The factory fits a detent plunger and spring which is not great, the easiest solution is fit a longer hardened steel pin radiused at one end and without the spring, problem resolved.
Next remove the grips and finally the barrel. At this stage I remove the wire brace and the frame is placed in a jig on the mill. I drift the peg out and run a 6mm carbide end mill down through the frame so removing the remaining stub of the brace. I then run an 8mm carbide end mill down through the same hole for a depth of 3,0mm which gives a nice counter bore for the new counter weight rod which is 8,0mm diameter reduced to 6,05mm for the final 20,0mm.
Now it is simply a matter of thoroughly cleaning both the end of the counter weight rod and the inside of the grip frame, push the two parts together and Tig weld them together through the hole left by the peg. I do this on both sides and I can safely say the new extension is never going to come off unless you resort to an angle grinder and/or hacksaw.
Finally the barrel is replaced, followed by the cylinder and grips and it is back as it should be. Time taken including a thorough service, de-lead and forcing cone and make the parts is typically around 4.0 to 4.5 hours depending on what else I find.
I can fairly confidently say this is the worst Taurus I have ever worked on when it comes to carbon fouling, the whole thing was covered in burnt on carbon in every conceivable place. It was absolutely awful.
Whilst on the subject of revolvers, this one was ready for some load development for the customer and I suspect I have a good load after a fair amount of testing however it is very difficult to find out just how accurate something is when the front sight falls off on the second shot, in fact it was not until I went to take the third shot that I noticed something was missing. Yup the front sight had fallen off. It had originally been epoxied on and not particularly well by the look of it. I could always scrape the epoxy off and glue it back on again however I much prefer to drill and tap the barrel and screw the front sight base and blade back in place and be confident it will not drop off again at a future point.