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Old 01-18-2020, 10:46 PM
TheJobDr TheJobDr is offline
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Default Brass-tipped hammer - Smith and Wesson Army No. 2 Revolver

A family heirloom has been passed down and I'm trying to learn more about it. So far, it appears to be a Smith and Wesson, Army No. 2 Revolver, the serial number is real small and stamped on the frame 57XX, the same number is also stamped on the inside of the grip. The gold colored brass-tipped hammer - is curious to me, in other photos online I haven't noticed any like this and I'm wondering if the hammer is original. I would appreciate any ideas so I can learn more about this. Fifty years ago my grandmother said he was an aid to a General in the Civil War so I'd like to see what I can find out. Thanks, kind regards, Roger
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:07 PM
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I would guess that it’s been repaired at some point. The hammer is hardened steel and brass would be too soft. It was probably dropped at one time and the spur broke off and was braised back on. Nice piece non the less. Let’s see pics of the whole thing
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:13 PM
opoefc opoefc is offline
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That's a repaired hammer. Broken off hammer spurs are common in Model 2s. Your repair was done by a master gunsmiths, however. Original replacement hammers are obtainable from a few parts dealers, however I would leave well enough alone, as it adds an interesting feature to the gun's history. A research of the original owner's Civil War service record my bring forth some interesting information. Ed.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:27 PM
TheJobDr TheJobDr is offline
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Thanks. Our family narrative says he was an aid to General Grant, we have a couple photos and keepsakes that are said to have belong to him as well.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:56 PM
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Default Brass Brazing repair

I amateur weld as part of the antique gun hobby. Because, Like Ed mentioned, hammer spurs are often broken off from dropping the gun sometime in the past. Fixing them is fun with a mig welder and often antique guns are much cheaper that need easy And fun weld repairs.

However, The type of repair performed on your antique Smith is called brazing metal. You can’t weld brass to steel but you can braze it since brass melts at 1700 degrees and the old iron Smith might make it up to 2700 before melting. So basically you are melting the brass onto the broken hammer, using it to fasten the broken parts together. Both electric and gas can be used to braze.
Why anyone would use this technique on an antique hammer repair using brass is beyond me? But it’s not the first time I’ve seen it done. Maybe they like the gold look? Or maybe they ran out of flux core for steel welds? Who knows. I’d leave it since a braze is a strong enough repair. But keep in mind that a dis-similar metal repair is not much different than using glue. So it’s no where near as permanent as a true weld. You could color it to match the hammer but that’s up to you.

Murph

Last edited by BMur; 01-20-2020 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:25 PM
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If this repair was done in the 1800's, brazing may have been the only option. I'm not sure if they could have welded it without destroying the hammer. I know that there were artisans that could have probably welded it, but they may not have been readily available at the time it was broken.

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Old 01-21-2020, 12:00 AM
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Default Weld strength

Don’t get me wrong. Brazing can be extremely strong but it depends upon the application. A good example is sweating copper water pipe together. This is a form of brazing and is very strong. That application however, is not exposed to spring tension or impact like the hammer on a pistol.

In this case you have a pistol hammer that is under main spring tension. You apply significant stress on the braze to pull back the hammer, then the hard “Strike” impact under spring tension when the hammer falls followed immediately by recoil from discharge. So the braze repair “ will “ eventually fail if this gun was shot. A good weld will not.

Blacksmiths in the old west prior to the advent of electricity and gas welding used a “ Hammer Weld”. The best example is seen with Ax and hatchet head manufacture from a single piece of metal heated to glowing just beyond red hot then hammered together into one piece forming an Ax head with a hole for the wood handle.

The same technique could be used to fix a chipped hammer by heating the hammer just beyond red hot with a small piece of repair metal also heated red hot then hammering them together. The blacksmith would have to be extremely skilled since the pieces are very small and would lose heat fast but I suppose it could be done.

Murph
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:48 AM
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Hi,

In addition the stripes look different on the hammer so it’s an other clue.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:28 PM
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Am I correct in thinking that this was a piece of brass that was brazed on, and shaped/checkered to resemble the missing piece? (rather than the original broken steel piece ending up brass plated during the repair)

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Old 01-24-2020, 08:21 PM
mmaher94087 mmaher94087 is offline
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Camster, I think you are correct.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:06 PM
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Default Brass rod

Welders generally use a brass rod ( kinda looks like a straw)with a gas type weld with a torch and melt the brass onto the tempered steel hammer and small replacement piece. So the brass melts onto the red hot steel and bonds the two parts together. The result is what you see on the OPs gun. That melted look to the brass or what some are calling Brass plating is actually an error on the part of the welder. It’s not easy to get it perfect and if you can’t machine a slot so the pieces lock together like pieces of a puzzle? If you don’t cut a slot first? You’re forced to leave a “ Blob” of Brass so the repair is strong enough.

This can also be done with a tig welder using the same brass rod. Or a mig welder using brass flux core wire with similar results. Still makes little sense to me because a real weld is much stronger and if done correctly “ You can’t tell”! It’s invisible to the naked eye. I wish I was that good but I’m getting better. A flat weld is easy but a weld like this is a box weld. Four corners? It’s much more difficult to get all the corners flat and even. That’s probably why this person used a brass repair because you don’t actually melt the metal hammer only the brass rod or flux and it’s easy to shape! Since the OPs hammer has a melted Brass look to it then it was likely done with a small torch.

An example of a fun and easy weld is a cracked frame or trigger guard where the surface is flat or rounded. Those are fun. Also filling deep pitting can be fun to as long as the surface is flat.

Electric welds really are state of the art and as strong as the original metal. Often with antique metal the weld is stronger. Plus you don’t get that melted look at the repair sight.
My personal best weld repair was to a model 2 Colt Dragoon that had a broken arbor pin. Also screw heads that are buggered? Weld the top of the screw, re-shape and cut a new slot. Then polish and color. That’s a fun and very productive weld also.

Murph

Last edited by BMur; 01-24-2020 at 11:51 PM.
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