Monday, March 2, 2015

Removing a Barrel from a Revolver

I had two project revolvers that needed their barrels swapped out. Both are Colts, one medium size frame (Colt Trooper MkIII) and one large frame (Colt New Service). 
I have no gunsmiths nearby that had the proper tools and/or experience to perform the swap for me.

The old way to remove barrels was to clamp the barrel into a vice and use a hammer handle of stick of wood to spin the frame. 

I didn't care for this method and decided it look into more "civilized" options.

I looked into buying an action wrench and the necessary plastic or aluminum inserts
I found a couple on Brownell's website:

The MGW Action Wrench with Python inserts 

The Python is a similar frame size to the Trooper, but I couldn't guarantee it would fit, plus it was $148 + shipping...I don't know when, if ever I will need this tool & inserts again.

Brownell's also had this one, but it only listed inserts for S&W frames

 I knew that I could probably devise my own set-up, I searched the interwebs and came up with this drawing:

I though this was a little but much, 1.5" thick steel? I was thinking more like 1/4"...

So I had my buddy build me a couple of 1/4" steel plates with a bolt welded to it so I could attach a cheater bar:

 I'll build my own "inserts" using pieces of pine trim. I chose pine rather than oak or another hard wood, because it will be easier to work with and will conform to the contours of the frame and spread the load rather than cause pressure points. In addition I had this stuff on hand, which saves money.....which is the reason we are making this rig in the first place.

I traced the outline of the plate and the positions of the bolt holes.

 I then placed the Trooper on the wood to see how it will line up.

I traced the guns profile
I did the same with the barrel
I then began cutting wood away to make a depression to fit the gun
Here they are almost completed. I decided to take the extra step of using epoxy resin to fill in any gaps or low spots
I wrapped the Trooper in cellophane to make sure no epoxy would get where it shouldn'tI spread the epoxy onto the insert and laid the gun inside and then added some weight to keep it in place   
Here is the long as it works who cares what it looks like, am I right?Clamped into my shop viseRemember: Lefty Loosey!

 And we have successful separation!


  1. That barrel removal info was great! I also have a Colt Trooper that I have been pondering doing a barrel swap (4" to 6"). Now that you got the barrel off, any thoughts on getting a new one on?

    1. I do, I have already secured a 6" vent rib barrel from a Mk V Trooper, stay tuned for the next blog post!

  2. Oh man, just saw your picture of the vent rib barrel over on SGN - looks great! Would love to know the whole process. Not many folks know how to remove and install a revolver barrel. Awesome work.