Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Colt New Service Project: part 2

I wanted to provide an update to this project (it is long overdue...), see part one here

While searching for parts I learned a lot about the history of this model, these Colts have quite a following and their values have been increasing.

One of the reasons these guns have such a loyal following is their wide spread use, they have been employed around the globe from Tripoli to Bangkok and continue to be. Even though they have not been produced since 1946, the gun still serves (maybe I should have named this the "Old Service project"?).

Being built on a large frame, made of forged steel, the New Service is also pretty stout. 
When Timothy Mullin wrote the book on these revolvers he subtitled it "A Particularly Strong, Heavy Weapon"
 The cover art is reminiscent of the famous scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark in which Dr. Jones put down a sword wielding sheik with his S&W M1917 revolver (the S&W equivalent of the Colt New Service)
 Here is a comparison shot of the New Service next to my S&W N-frame 629 44 Mag. The two guns are nearly identical in size.
The owner of the Colt New Service decided that he wanted the gun restored. He was able to locate a good condition original barrel in .38 WCF (.38-40). The barrel is the original 71/2" length.


 OK so now that the decision has been made to restore the gun, we need to accomplish the following:
  • dis-assembly
  • Inspect internal parts
  • swap out the barrels
  • polish exterior surfaces
  • nitre blue screws, trigger & hammer, polish hammer sides
  • re-blue gun
  • lube & reassemble gun
I will not be using the original method of bluing the gun. This gun was made in 1913 and was probably charcoal blued. I will blue the frame and barrel using method called "Hot Salts" or "caustic" bluing.
I have seen many refinished New Service revolvers as well as some "survivors" and I am hoping I can do this old Colt justice.

I was lucky enough to find an ejector rod at the gun show for just $5. The guy wasn't sure what it was for, but I thought it looked right, so I took a chance.
The owner then bought an ejector rod from Numrich Arms (Gun Parts Corp.).
Turns out the one I bought is for a smaller framed Colt, perhaps a Police Positive, Agent or Detective Special?
Here are the two side by side:


 The ejector rod is number 21 in the parts diagram below
Because the rod was sheared off at the crane I needed to find a way to unscrew it without damaging anything.
I found that the .44 Magnum case fits in the chamber, so I used them to brace the star extractor and put them into my vice.
 With the vice holding the star extractor, I could then unscrew the rod.
Brownells makes a tool for this, which I may end up buying one (I still need to re-assemble this mess).


 That was not the end of it though. Unlike modern revolvers, this one uses a bushing to hold the ejector rod and spring in the crane.
Here is what a bushing looks like out of the gun
Here is the spanner tool, unfortunately the one listed at Brownells does not fit a New Service model (or at least it doesn't list the New Service as one of the guns it fits).
I may have to make one......

While I try to find a solution for the ejector rod, I turn my attention to the rest of the gun. Be careful when removing the side plate. 
something cool to think about..... it appears I may be the first person in one hundred years to see the inside of this gun!
 Another cool thing, this design from the late 19th century was used on many Colt revolvers, including this 1973 vintage Detective Special
I also removed the lanyard loop

The gun is now stripped.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where we will swap out the barrel and begin the process of restoring a smooth finish to the steel.








References

Brownells
HL ebooks