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Fix for falling load lever?


July Smith
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I typically shoot Frontiersman with a pair of 36cal Uberti 1851s.  Last few monthlies I had a few stages were the load levers fell binding the cylinder and killing my times.  I load on the gun and suspect over the last few years the latches are a little more worn than when I first started.  I have tried tying the levers up with thin strips of leather, but this causes issues when it comes to reloading and re-holstering.  I've tried refiling the latch parts but I still get at least one drop per match.  I am tempted to find some small pipe clamps to wrap around the barrel and load lever but suspect I'll have the same issue that I had with the leather strips.  Any other Frontiersman have a better fix for this problem?

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7 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Could you load off the gun and just take the lever off?  I'm curious, cause I'll be shooting my 1851s for the first time in the BP match at the SE Regional.  Hopefully I won't have that issue.

Yes, but loading off the gun is a PITA and takes me much more time.  I know guys with Rugers and Remingtons that can load off the gun efficiently, but for me driving out the wedge and reinstalling it takes too long.

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Here is an out of the box thought.  remove the loading lever screw and replace it with a removable pin.  This may require drilling the holes in the frame as well as the hole in the loading lever.  To load it, put the lever in place and put the pin in the hole.  When done loading, pull the pin and drop the loading lever back in your cart.

 

Or, instead of a removable pin, perhaps you can find a screw with a knurled head allowing you to quickly and easily remove it for shooting.

 

Just a thought.  Not sure if this would qualify as an "unauthorized modification".

 

 

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I had that problem once and found that the levers weren’t latching completely. They had acquired a slight bend with repeated use thru the years. Full disclosure - I had been using a cheater bar as these are sheriff models with that too-short lever. I straightened them but am now loading off the gun. It doesn’t take me any longer to do it that way. 
 

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If you want to see what a stronger latch spring would do, drop a small steel ball down the latch mounting hole under the spring.   That will increase spring pressure temporarily, to see if that helps out.  Make sure it's small as the spring or slightly smaller (so it won't get stuck at the bottom).

 

If adventurous, you could also (cold) peen the latching bar to stretch it 10 to 20 thousandths.

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Use a larger granulation of powder. 2f instead of 3f or 1f instead of 2f.  My Walkers will drop the lever with a full load of 3f but not with the same load of 2f.

kR

PS you could even go with Schuetzen Harzer which is reenactor powder and more coarse than 1f.

Edited by Kid Rich
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I had a friend who had this problem with his walkers, which have a much weaker latching system.  He worked in a lab that had a machine for magnetizing steel.  He used it to make the levers strongly magnetic, and no more falling loading levers.  I thought that was a neat trick. 
 

In your case, I would inspect the latching surfaces (the lug on the bottom of the barrel and the latch piece in the end of the lever) and replace them if they show any wear. 

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I had the loading lever latch fall off during a match, now I carry a pipe cleaner with me.  The wire is thin enough to get a good tight twist and the cover prevents metal to metal contact.  It’s only a temporary fix, but it saved my bacon and I even gave one to another shooter who was having the same issue as you. 

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CONSIDER:  Attacking the "Latch" and the barrel Stud with sharp tools is only going to open the distance the latch has to travel, making the problem worse.

 

SUGGEST:  Replace the latch, inspect and replace the barrel stud if needed.  Also, determine if the loading arm is indeed straight.

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6 hours ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

CONSIDER:  Attacking the "Latch" and the barrel Stud with sharp tools is only going to open the distance the latch has to travel, making the problem worse. 

 

SUGGEST:  Replace the latch, inspect and replace the barrel stud if needed.  Also, determine if the loading arm is indeed straight.

This. 

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On 10/14/2021 at 11:51 AM, Crazy Gun Barney, SASS #2428 said:

Or, instead of a removable pin, perhaps you can find a screw with a knurled head allowing you to quickly and easily remove it for shooting.

 

Just a thought.  Not sure if this would qualify as an "unauthorized modification".

 

It would....HOWEVER!
A set screw (requiring a hex wrench) is an approved modification for Walkers (
REF: SHB p.36)

 

Walkermods (wire).jpg

 

This method has also been approved:

 

Walker mod (wire).jpg

Edited by PaleWolf Brunelle, #2495L
add reference
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