Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III: part 2

This is the second part of my restoration of a Colt Trooper MkIII revolver, see part 1 here.

I did some more investigating on how the MkIII Troopers were built. The trigger, hammer and other parts were made from sintered metal, then case hardened. This means that you cannot hand fit any parts, once worn out, you would simply replace them. This design was intended to prevent the wear and subsequent maintenance experienced by owners of the Colt Python.

The owner of this gun had already replaced the trigger on this gun with a new or NOS one.The original one had a crack in the pivot hole.

The first step in any restoration (after the evaluation) is dis-assembly. 
Colt revolvers are famous for being overly complicated. This one wasn't too bad. Also if you know your Colt revolvers you may not recognize these parts, they are quite a bit different from the classic colts like the Python, Police Positive and Detective Special.

for comparison, here are the internals of a 1973 vintage Colt Detective Special
The cylinder was 1st on the list of parts to work over, since it has the worst of the pitting.

I discovered the pitting is just too deep. While attempting to remove the pits, I removed too much metal (in my opinion) from the cylinder stop notch. There is another notch that is so badly pitted that I think it will affect the lock-up and may render the gun unsafe to shoot. I think we should look for another cylinder.

This brings up the question: How much money should the owner put into this gun? After searching Gunbroker, I can safely say that spending $200-$300 on parts would be a safe investment, these guns sell for $600+ in good condition and $800-$1200 in very good condition. 

Making some headway, I was able to get most of the pits out of the trigger steps
I almost have the front of the frame/crane done, when sanding these two parts, you need to have them assembled to ensure both parts remain flush to each other
 Progress on both sides of the frame. Here you can see the side plate is getting smooth, again although the Colt rampart logo had to be sacrificed. Maybe we can have a laser engraver re-engrave it?
This is painstaking as I have to be careful of the rivet pins in the side of the frame.
Good News.....I was able to secure this vent rib barrel from a Mk V Trooper on ebay for just $45 including shipping....The bore is perfect and the finish is about 90%, no pits or scratches.

Now I just have to find a cylinder
Another score! I found a local guy who had a stash of factory replacement NOS parts for a Trooper Mk III, including all the internal parts & springs, a mint (new) hammer and trigger, mint condition cylinder latch, a new side plate with new screws!
I started on the ejector rod & rear sight, believe it or not they were pitted too!
 I measured out the part that would stick out of the cylinder, taped up the part that wouldn't and chucked it into my drill, so I could sand it with 100 grit emory cloth in an expedient fashion
After I had 90% of the pits removed, I stepped up to higher grit paper and then the buffer
The rear sight is made of a cast or sintered metal, not very hard. 

I was able to file out most of the pits, then sanded with 220 grit paper. The front part was sand blasted to give it a non-glare sight plane and to hide the small remaining pits

Unless I find a new or better looking sight, this will have to do.

I mounted the side plate, I noticed that I will need to do some filing and sanding to get a flush fit. 
EUREKA! we were lucky enough to find a reasonably priced cylinder on ebay. I now have all the parts to begin the restoration in earnest. Stay tuned for part 3


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Featured Gun: Ranger 101.2 Shotgun

I started doing these gun stories last year, basically telling the history behind guns that I either owned or came into contact with and found their history interesting.

here is a recap of the other featured guns:
The Story of the Colt Lightning Rifle 
Ruger's 1st Double Action Revolvers
The Ruger Bearcat
The Dan Wesson Revolver 
The H&R Sportsman 999 Revolver 
The Ruger Vaquerito

The Ranger name was used by Sears and Roebuck for a long time as their trademark, "value" priced shotguns and rifles. In later years Winchester used the name as well.

This bolt action 20 gauge shotgun is a Sears Ranger model 101.2 (sounds like the name of a country music station....."listen to Ranger 101.2 FM this afternoon for your chance to win a tickets to see Toby Keith......")

Virtually all of the Sears brand labeled guns, were made by another manufacturers. This one was made by Savage/Stevens (same as the Savage model 238).

The specs:
  • Sears Ranger 101.2/Savage 238
  • 20 Gauge
  • Blued finish
  • Bolt action
  • 26" full choke barrel, brass bead sight
  • Box magazine, 2-round
  • Bolt mounted safety
 I believe the wood stock is something other than walnut.The length of pull is currently 13 1/4", which is about average, my cheek hits the comb right where my sight plane is along the top of the barrel.
These guns were made by Savage from 1936 through 1945, although I bet few if any were actually made from 1942-1945 due to resources being diverted for the war effort. My sources tell me some 40,000 of these guns were produced, I don't know how many of those were brand labeled for Sears or if those production numbers were tallied separately.

Most likely this gun was made prior to World War II, and the steel parts (trigger guard, butt plate) support that theory.

Like many shotguns and rimfire rifles of the era this gun was not serialized, which makes the determination the actual date of manufacture difficult, if not impossible.
Here is a Sears ad from 1938 showing the Ranger bolt action shotguns

These are very good handling and very stout guns, but unfortunately they are not very popular and their value reflects that. Searching the online auction houses showed several of the guns selling for under $100. 
This gun came along with 4 others in an estate type sale, we estimated its value at $50, due to its condition and the fact that it was missing the magazine.
We were lucky in that Numrich Arms (Gun Parts Corp.) makes (or at least sells) a very good quality reproduction 2 round magazine. We placed our order and were very happy with the price and quality of the piece.

Here are pictures of the gun when we got it. Note the steel butt plate and trigger guard

The Safety works by pulling out and then turning it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Virtual Guns

Now that computer generated graphics are common place, the geeks who know their way around the software are making pictures of fake guns that look real. These would be "artists" are also using Photoshop to combine two or more guns into a new one.

This 1st gun is actually a good Photoshop job, it had a lot of people convinced that Glock was actually producing a 1911
Versions of the "Suicide Special" have been making their way around the internet for awhile now.

How about an AR Revolver Rifle.....

This one failed, the creator removed three of the chambers in the cylinder, but they forgot to remove the corresponding cylinder obvious lack of gun knowledge..
Here is the original

How about a 454 Magnum with a 37 mm flare/grenade launcher barrel? They combined the frame of a Ruger, the barrel of a S&W 500 Magnum and the trigger guard of a Beretta 92 pistol. 
The grip cap and lanyard are a nice touch. I like it!

A snub-nose, blued version too...not sure what you would put the in 2" flare launcher.

This gun shoots a magnum pistol cartridge from its top barrel as well as a rifle/shotgun cartridge from its lower barrel. I suppose they think they created the idea.....there was a real revolver that had a shotgun barrel mounted underneath the normal barrel, it was called a LeMat.

This one is called the Cerberus, named after the mythical 3-headed dog that guarded the gate to Hades (I never understood why would you need to keep people out of Hades??).
It has 3 barrels and 3 cylinders.....extra long cylinders.... It comes from a video game called Final Fantasy

This one was featured in my Strange Revolvers post, The Good Samaritan is the gun owned by comic book hero Hellboy. Not sure how the exposed chambers are supposed to work.....Artistic License I guess....

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