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How much Cylinder gap do You Want in a SAA


Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129

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I like to first make sure that there is a minimum of cylinder end play before setting the Gap ...

What say you 5,6,7 Thousands of an inch or some other number ??

I like new SAA to be on the tight side so I can Square the barrel breach face while setting the gap ...

 

Jabez Cowboy 

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I am not sure what the correct gap should be....Have you tried shooting them yet to see if they actually do need to have the gap opened. I did that with my OMV's when I had gotten them and one for sure needed to be opened the other was better. That said I did have them opened up. Hope my non answer helped in some way.

 

 

Hochbauer

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For BP with Rugers - My target has been 0.008" gap with cylinder shoved forward to take up slack.  With good lube, that will usually let you run at least 6 stages before cylinder starts dragging.

 

(For smokeless Rugers, more like 0.004")

 

Good luck, GJ

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The Rugers I have owned were the worst offenders.

In addition, the back of the barrel was not square to the bore.
Had my gunsmith square 'em up & open 'em to .006

My Colts, USFAs, and Ubertis never had to have anything done to them to shoot black powder.

--Dawg

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You want MORE in a Ruger or Remington than you want in a Colt or proper Colt-type base pin gun.  My Colt 2nd Gen percussion guns run right @ 0.002"  My 3rd Gen suppository shooters have about 0.003-4".  Using real BP I can easily get thru a 3-day match without bothering to clean.  

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My thoughts.

4 to 6 thousands if shooting smokeless powder

7 to 10 thousands if shooting black.

Many Rugers have to be opened up before they will make it through a 6 stage match.

When I used to shoot long range pistol silhouettes with a Dan Wesson I would set the cylinder gap a 3 thousands.

J.M.

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3 hours ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

I like to first make sure that there is a minimum of cylinder end play before setting the Gap ...

What say you 5,6,7 Thousands of an inch or some other number ??

I like new SAA to be on the tight side so I can Square the barrel breach face while setting the gap ...

 

Jabez Cowboy 

Smokeless or BP?

My Freedom Arms .454 Casull just barely takes a .003 feeler gauge.

My Ruger OMV 44'S run .005-.006 and have no issues with BP.

OLG 

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I have used .0065 For years But I got to wondering ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

What others were doing ...

My guns will run 10 stages in a day,if need be ...And in .38 WCF...

In .45 Colt they will run 6 to 7 stages With-out a spray-down of balistol...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Hi J Cowboy :)

 

Over the years I worked on CAS Single Action guns, I came to like .005 Head Space, with .001 End Shake and .006 Barrel to Cylinder Gap.  That seems to work in everything.  Ruger have been notorious for not liking BP.  The problem I saw most often was too much End Shake allowing the gun Gas to foul the Cylinder Pin and what little bushing there is.

 

I also liked to set up Cap Guns with .008 total.  Good reliable ignition.  Cap Guns are more prone to fouling than are Suppository shooters.  

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I have 7 sets of Uberti cartridge guns in 44-40 or 45 Colt and 3 Pietta '51's. I have never changed the cylinder gap on any of them,and they will all go at least one 5 stage match without binding up. Use enough lube.

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Howdy

 

I like to go with Jerry Kunhausen's recommendation in his book The Colt Single Action Revolvers, A shop Manual, Volumes 1 & 2.

 

He states .006 for jacketed bullets, .008 for lead.

 

Personally I do not believe the gap should be larger for Black Powder. More of a gap will simply let more fouling blast out of the gap onto the surface of the cylinder and cause the cylinder to bind more quickly.

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Just checked a 44-40 older Uberti SAA clone that was set up for black powder by Dakota Slim out of RUCAS in Washington state a number of years ago.  I just took it out of the safe and measured the gap, as I have not shot any matches for some time.  The gap is .008 and as I remember I would shoot a day long match (5 or 6 stages) and not need to do anything to it and it functioned fine.  Never shot it more than that as on a 2 day match I would disassemble and clean it at the end of the day.  Only ever shot black, no substitutes. 

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We have probably 11 sets of cowboy revolvers. All of them have been used for BP and subs. None of them has any more gap than what came from the factory. My way of thinkin is if you increase your gap you are allowing more fouling to exit between the front of the cylinder and back of the barrel thereby increasing the amount of fouling that is deposited on the cylinder pin and bushing.

kR

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There is another "Old Wives Tale," you "need" .008 to .010 to shoot BP.  Horsefeathers.  Those who have commented that wide open Barrel to cylinder gap just increases fouling with BP and Subs are quite correct.  There is also a currently practicing Smithy who champions a gap of .003.

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On 12/27/2020 at 8:07 PM, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Smokeless or BP?

My Freedom Arms .454 Casull just barely takes a .003 feeler gauge.

My Ruger OMV 44'S run .005-.006 and have no issues with BP.

OLG 

I've had FA 97 that would not make two stages without resistance to  bp residue. And, enough resistance to hamper duelist cadence.

Bob Baker, pres FA, taught me how to make a "wiper system" on those guns to help cleanly make it thru at least two stages.  I have a little trouble sometimes making six stages shooting Clay's. I have just learned to drop cylinders and wipe face/hub and back of barrel.  

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Well, individual guns need the gap that they need.  Rugers are different in the barrel-to-cylinder gap required than are most of the SAA clones.  The lube strategy being used with BP loads varies a lot from shooter to shooter.

 

So, declaring that there is exactly one right answer, or that other answers are horse feathers, is not well supported by lots of shooters' practical experience. 

 

Adjust your guns to what you need, how often you want to have to clean off the cylinder face, and what lube you are wanting to use.

 

Good luck, GJ

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3 hours ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

There is another "Old Wives Tale," you "need" .008 to .010 to shoot BP.  Horsefeathers.  Those who have commented that wide open Barrel to cylinder gap just increases fouling with BP and Subs are quite correct.  There is also a currently practicing Smithy who champions a gap of .003.

 

  True .  .  .  true  (thanks CM!). The biggest difference is whether the revolver involves a gas ring/bushing or not. The open top cap gun doesn't have such a device and fortunately so! They are what I call "self cleaning" .  .  .  meaning, the cylinder "kisses" the barrel each time the action is cycled. This allows a very tight barrel /cyl clearance (endshake) of  .0025" - .003". This forces the fouling down the barrel instead of escaping out a large barrel /cyl opening! It also leads to a rather clean revolver after a shooting session/match!!

  For revolvers that do have these devices, I pretty much leave them "as is" unless they are obviously out of spec (Remington's, SAA copies). The bushing/ ring holds the cylinder "at bay" to allow fouling /lead to build-up and go where it goes .  .  .  ultimately causing a binding situation.  I guess this is the one feature open top cap guns have over the ”modern" guns, you can hold to tight tolerances which all but guarantee a "bang every time"!!!

 

Mike

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22 hours ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

.006093854756362

As measured with a genuine cloth tape measure .....

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45 Dragoon: by open tops you must mean cap and ball, because 1872 Opentops certainly DO have a gas ring. It is was makes them work so well with BP, Imho. I have 5 of them, 2-45 Colt, 2-44/40 and 1-44 Special, and I can shoot 5 stages one day and 5 the next and never clean anything. My 1851's don't have any trouble finishing a 5 stage match either, but then I smear soft lube all over the front of the balls, no wads. Makes a mess but they sure don't get any hard carbon build-up. As for a revolver binding up when shooting Clays, I don't know what to say, I thought that fad smokeless powder burned clean!

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3 hours ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

45 Dragoon: by open tops you must mean cap and ball, because 1872 Opentops certainly DO have a gas ring. It is was makes them work so well with BP, Imho. I have 5 of them, 2-45 Colt, 2-44/40 and 1-44 Special, and I can shoot 5 stages one day and 5 the next and never clean anything. My 1851's don't have any trouble finishing a 5 stage match either, but then I smear soft lube all over the front of the balls, no wads. Makes a mess but they sure don't get any hard carbon build-up. As for a revolver binding up when shooting Clays, I don't know what to say, I thought that fad smokeless powder burned clean!

 

  Yessir, I was specifically speaking of C&B revolvers, the '72 OT's have the gas ring but they still have a short arbor (they're Uberti products) and the "gas ring" does absolutely nothing as far as the short arbor goes .  .  . whether you have 2 or 200 of them, if you "drive" the wedge in, you WILL lock up the cylinder and therefore, you have an inferior revolver/revolvers!! Lol!!! I always set these up as C&B revolvers and reduce the length of the "gas ring" accordingly so it can do its job but the arbor length correction works as it should.  

 

 As for an update, I just measured my latest ROA with a Kirst Conversion and with an action stop, bolt block and perfect timing  (it is a 3 screw for crying out loud!) , the gap is .0025" !! It is truly a Beastie !!!! Indestructible!!!!

 

Mike

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Guess I better not "drive" the wedge in. But I tend not to abuse my guns anyway, so not much chance of that. A little finesse goes a long way.

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1 hour ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

Guess I better not "drive" the wedge in. But I tend not to abuse my guns anyway, so not much chance of that. A little finesse goes a long way.

 

 

  Of course!! Don't "drive" the wedge in (as per Colt's instructions), just "tap it in" so you won't "abuse"  the revolver!! Lol. The whole point to correcting the arbor is so that you CAN drive the wedge in and NOT lock up the cylinder !! (Hint, the only way you'll  ever have the SAME revolver each time you assemble it, is with a correct length arbor!) Believe me, you can shoot REAL ammo in them instead of  CAS loads  .  .  .    not knocking SASS but come on .  .  .  really?!!

 

I understand you know a lot more about these things than I do sir. I love learning,  let 'er rip!! 

 

Mike

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<_< Ah don't know bout that ,,, My SASS loads are 2cc of Goex 3F under a 220 or 240 gr. RNFP in Star-line .44 special Brass .... In my Uberti 1871 Open-tops

Named "Buck" and "Boom"....

Or 37.7 gr. by weight of Goex 3F under a 250 Gr. RNFP bullet In my Uberti Cattlemen  in .45 Colt B)

 

Jabez Cowboy

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17 minutes ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

<_< Ah don't know bout that ,,, My SASS loads are 2cc of Goex 3F under a 220 or 240 gr. RNFP in Star-line .44 special Brass .... In my Uberti 1871 Open-tops

Named "Buck" and "Boom"....

Or 37.7 gr. by weight of Goex 3F under a 250 Gr. RNFP bullet In my Uberti Cattlemen  in .45 Colt B)

 

Jabez Cowboy

 

 Of course, yours are the only open top revolvers made correct (other than the originals) and they work perfect. I get it .  .  .  see um all the time .  .  .   I mean I fix um all the time .  .  .  lol!!

 

Mike

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I have been Smithing Guns since 1973 ,,,, You do the Math...

But While My Open-tops didn't need smithing As they came properly timed , and with 1 3/4 pound trigger pulls and with arbours done right ...

My response was mostly in reply to the Light Load statement, not everyone under loads for CAS .

 

And I sure weren't picking on you , but if you have a burr under your saddle I suggest your pull it out ...

Happy Year Year to You 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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1 hour ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

I have been Smithing Guns since 1973 ,,,, You do the Math...

But While My Open-tops didn't need smithing As they came properly timed , and with 1 3/4 pound trigger pulls and with arbours done right ...

My response was mostly in reply to the Light Load statement, not everyone under loads for CAS .

 

And I sure weren't picking on you , but if you have a burr under your saddle I suggest your pull it out ...

Happy Year Year to You 

 

Jabez Cowboy

  

.You are right !! I realized after I had posted that you were talking about loads so .  .  . I apologize (no burrs under my saddle (nor under my bonnet!!!) but ! .  .  .   since you bring it up, what handguns have you found that didn't need " smithing" (tuning)?!! The arbors are short no matter what !!!!

 

Mike

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Both my Navy Gripped Open-Tops in .44 spl. came Done Right One is a Cimarron the other the other Plane Uberti ...

One of my 1851 Navy's Was spot on , the other I fixed by squaring up the breach face . and taking .0015 of the Barrel Lug allowing the arbour to fully seat ...

There is more than one way to fix the Short Arbour Problem ....

I have a Pietta 1861 6 shot .Pocket Model that is hopeless the arbour is short by .02, the Largest  Cyilinder  mouth measures .3678 and the barrel measures .385 so you can drop a ball down the barrel .... And once it is sized to fit a cylinder even worse ....

As to what comes to the shop, they all need correcting ,,,, but that is why they bring them here...

I the last 5 years I would guess that 25% of Uberti's  are  serviceable from the factory , and about 15 - 20 % of the 2017 and newer Pietta's are also serviceable ...

Pietta has made some serious improvements in there guns in the past 10-12 years ....

As an aside I had two pairs of Remmie 1858s one pair of Uberti's and one pair of Pietta's I still have the first Pair as they are so much better made than the Piettas ...

 

Jabez Cowboy 

 

 

 

 

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