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Old 06-25-2010, 02:22 AM
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Default REVOLVER "TURN" RING

New to revolvers. Why do all/most exhibit a "turn" ring around the cylinder? Looks like something must be dragging when the cylinder rotates. I'd of thought that by now, some one would have engineered the mechanics so that didn't happen. Am I missing something?
Thanks for help
Ernie
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:23 AM
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It's the cylinder catch located on the bottom of the frame above the trigger. The only way to prevent it is to not rotate the cylinder which is what most collectors do.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:51 AM
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The cylinder stop bolt rises and catches the notch. Back when they had skilled craftsmen assembling the revolvers they would adjust the bolts so that they timed properly and would cause minimal wear on the cylinder finish. But as years passed and cost cutting took over they didn't bother and the bolts simply ride over the cylinder in constant contact causing the wear pattern called a turn line.

Many of my revolvers from the 1950s have minimal turn lines, just a tiny dash leading into the bolt notch. On the other hand, my Model 25-2 made in 1980 has an actual groove worn in the surface of the cylinder from constant contact of the bolt.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:07 AM
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I have a beautiful 1st generation Colt Single Action restored by Doug Turnbull with the action tuned by Hamilton Bowen. I have turned it several times and there is no turn ring. It has an action that is butter smooth. It seems that the proper care in timing as Saxon said is the reason. I also have a pre war HD that has quite a bit of holster wear on it but very little turn line.

Tom
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:44 AM
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As Saxon stated with careful hand fitting of the cylinder stop bolt one could minimize the drag on the cylinder. I have a few pre WWII revolvers where the line starts just prior to the lead for the cylinder notch.

At today's L&O rates one would have to double the price of a revolver if one wanted all the parts hand fitted. Few people would be willing to pay for such craftmanship.

Last edited by TSQUARED; 06-25-2010 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:42 AM
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It's true that the action pulls the bolt down when the cylinder is turned by it, but if the cylinder has been opened the action has left the bolt up and it will mar the cylinder when it is closed again until the action can get the timing straightened out again (unless you are very careful to line up the bolt to hit the notch when you close the cylinder).

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Old 06-25-2010, 11:52 AM
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According to Roy Jinks the turn line is an indication the revolver is working properly. The cylinder stop is designed to ride on the cylinder and the line is not an indication of a poorly timed revolver. I am sure a gun could be tuned to drop the bolt at the last possible second but would probably lead to lockup problems if fired in rapid double action. As Roy has often mentioned S&W was in the business of selling guns not pleasing collectors, reliability was their goal not pleasing fussy collectors.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsguy View Post
As Roy has often mentioned S&W was in the business of selling guns not pleasing collectors, reliability was their goal not pleasing fussy collectors.
"Fussy" collectors? LOL!
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:59 AM
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You know, if you take that pristine, untouched, never opened or cocked, better then NIB S&W and carefully encase it in a block of acrylic, it will never be touched by human hands or develop any of the marks that honest use will cause......
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:06 PM
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"Fussy" collectors? LOL!
Roy tends to get exasperated by us at times with good reason!
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:48 PM
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Collectors are not fussy, usually.
Anal, yes. Fussy, no.

FYI-
S&W terminology:
"Cylinder Stop" = the little half round thingy in the bottom of the frame that clicks into the notches on the cylinder, and/or makes the turn ring.

"Bolt" = the thingy that helps you open the gun when you push the thumb latch. Open the cyl, and you can see the end of it in the center of the recoil shield.

Colt terms differ, as I recall, but who would expect Colt to know anything?
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:52 PM
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I'm not an engineer. Any metal part that engages another to lock them together is a bolt to me.

Sorry if that's incorrect terminology but... let me check now... yup, too old to change or care.
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:43 PM
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I think it is important to realize that the cylinder stop has to engage the face of the cylinder some distance before the notch in the cylinder. Not only does it have to engage before the notch, but it needs a decent amount of spring tension forcing it against the cylinder. That arrangement will necessarily cause some kind of turn ring.

If this were not the case, and the revolver is cycled very quickly (as in fast double-action shooting), the cylinder will "throw by" because the stop did not have time to fully engage the notch, or the spring was too weak to force it into the notch. That might cause the gun not to fire and to skip over a perfectly good cartridge. Or worse, the gun might fire, but with the cylinder slightly misaligned with the forcing cone!

Even if the stop engages with the notch enough to stop the cylinder, you still want the stop to engage deeply enough into the notch if you are doing fast, double action shooting. Otherwise, the quickly rotating cylinder will slam against the partially engaged stop, and the edges of the cylinder notch will eventually be peened.

I would much rather have a slight turn line and a gun that works perfectly, than a gun with peened cylinder notches or a gun that can't be trusted to fire quickly.

Colt revolvers tend to drop the stop pretty late in the process. And sure enough, you get less of a turn ring, but it is not difficult to get them to "throw by" with a very fast DA trigger pull.

If the turn line really bugs you but you still want to shoot the gun, you can avoid some of the ring by not rotating the cylinder by hand after closing it. Rotating by hand drags the stop against the cylinder until it finds a notch. Instead, align the cylinder so that the stop falls into the notch as you close it. Or close the cylinder and then, without manually rotating the cylinder, cock the hammer, which will lower the stop away from the cylinder face until it drops onto the cylinder in the normal place. However, you will still eventually get something of a ring just before the notch, since the mechanism must drop the stop before the notch if the action is cycled.

I suppose you could also partially draw back the hammer to retract the stop, then manually rotate the cylinder into alignment with the forcing cone, and then complete the cocking of the hammer with the stop cycling and then dropping directly into the notch. That would completely eliminate a turn line, but you would still get assorted wear marks in other places from shooting the gun.

Frankly, I like to see normal looking turn lines. That's honest wear for a shooting gun. If I didn't want a turn line, I wouldn't shoot the gun in the first place.

Last edited by SmithSwede; 06-25-2010 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
Back when they had skilled craftsmen assembling the revolvers they would adjust the bolts so that they timed properly and would cause minimal wear on the cylinder finish. But as years passed and cost cutting took over they didn't bother and the bolts simply ride over the cylinder in constant contact causing the wear pattern called a turn line.
This may be possible, but doubtful. EVERY Registered Magnum I have seen that has been used (and I have seen quite a few) always had a much more pronounced "turn line" than other S&Ws of almost any vintage.

I agree with the other poster and his quotation of Roy Jinks - a turn line is evidence of a properly functioning revolver.

Turn lines do not cause me any concern whatsoever, nor does any other "honest use," such as black rings on the face of the cylinder.

What is a BIG problem is bunged screws, drag lines around screw holes, evidence of over polishing or over cleaning, rough edges on a side plate from improper removal or reinstallation, etc.

Do not worry about turn lines. It means things are working well!
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsguy View Post
According to Roy Jinks the turn line is an indication the revolver is working properly. The cylinder stop is designed to ride on the cylinder and the line is not an indication of a poorly timed revolver. I am sure a gun could be tuned to drop the bolt at the last possible second but would probably lead to lockup problems if fired in rapid double action. As Roy has often mentioned S&W was in the business of selling guns not pleasing collectors, reliability was their goal not pleasing fussy collectors.
Listen to the above post - it is dead spot-on.

~ But my question is why do my SAA clones have a complete turn ring?
A single-action revolver should not have a complete ring on its cylinder.
Starting with the hammer down and bolt in notch you start cocking the hammer and the bolt withdraws completely down into the frame and the cylinder starts turning. Then, after the cylinder has turned about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way, the bolt comes back up to make contact with the cyl. again. Pretty much like a DA revolver does. But...the only time you can turn a single-action's cylinder by hand is when it's at half-cock. And the bolt is always completely withdrawn at half-cock.

The only possibility I can think of is that the previous owner lowered the hammer down after falling short of bringing the hammer to full-cock and then turned the cyl. by hand backward to let the bolt drop into the notch.
But if this is the case, then he did it often...because there is a complete line around the whole cylinder!
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
I'm not an engineer. Any metal part that engages another to lock them together is a bolt to me.

Sorry if that's incorrect terminology but... let me check now... yup, too old to change or care.
You can call a rose a 'potato', and it shall still smell as sweet, but it might be hard for us to converse and understand each other.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
According to Roy Jinks the turn line is an indication the revolver is working properly. The cylinder stop is designed to ride on the cylinder and the line is not an indication of a poorly timed revolver.
Quote:
Many of my revolvers from the 1950s have minimal turn lines, just a tiny dash leading into the bolt notch. On the other hand, my Model 25-2 made in 1980 has an actual groove worn in the surface of the cylinder from constant contact of the bolt.
Well, there you have it. Yes, in a perfect world every seed planted would sprout, none of our kids would have cavities, and the cylinder stop wouldn't drag on the cylinder as it turns. But the reality is...well, you know. As far as any practical impact on the function of your revolver, forget it. You're better off spending your 'mind time' on which load should be your carry-load, or whether or not you should get a good trigger job.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:47 PM
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Well, there you have it. Yes, in a perfect world...the cylinder stop wouldn't drag on the cylinder as it turns.
No, no, no...you're a little off on that. We want the cylinder stop to drag on the cylinder. We just don't want to see the line.... ~
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:44 AM
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This discussion has been very helpful to me. My other two revolvers are stainless so the ring is not very visible. Just purchased an older Model 36 that is blued and noticed the cylinder ring which made me wonder if there was an issue.
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Old 05-29-2012, 03:06 PM
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Welcome aboard Carolina! As you cruise this forum you will note that many, many things of little consequence are discussed at great length here! Heck, there was one thread about squashing a bug that went on for three pages! I hope you enjoy the mayhem that ensues! BTW, there ain't no better place on the intertubes than this here place.

Also, this is Post 2000 for me. Thanks, Lee, for puttin' up with my BS!
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeziks View Post
~ But my question is why do my SAA clones have a complete
The only possibility I can think of is that the previous owner lowered the hammer down after falling short of bringing the hammer to full-cock and then turned the cyl. by hand backward to let the bolt drop into the notch.
But if this is the case, then he did it often...because there is a complete line around the whole cylinder!
Bingo, you hit the nail on the head. It's also why brand new unfired SAA Colts or clones have lines all around the cylinder. Clerks are famous for it and customers are the 2nd most prolific perpetraters.

It aslo happens after removing/replacing the cylinder for the same reason, not fully cycling the hammer to full cock before returning it to the at-rest position.

I have Colts I've fired for years with no turn line except in the cylinder notch approach cut.
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:58 PM
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The only revolvers I have with minimal or no turn lines are my Smith & Wessons!
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erk View Post
New to revolvers. Why do all/most exhibit a "turn" ring around the cylinder? Looks like something must be dragging when the cylinder rotates. I'd of thought that by now, some one would have engineered the mechanics so that didn't happen. Am I missing something?
Thanks for help
Ernie

There are several aspects to the cylinder ring issue:

#1. POLISHING THE CYLINDER BOLT: For all SA and DA revolvers - the single most important preventative action you can take and the 1st thing I do on any revolver of mine, new or used is pull the cylinder (or open it, in the case of DAs) and polish the cylinder bolt! They all come with file marks just waiting to carve out a line and groove in your cylinder finish!! This is especially true on stainless which is relatively soft and therefore similar to aluminum when it is machined in that it has a tendency to gall like those little cuts or chisel marks from a sharp edged Cyl stop.

With a VERY FINE abrasive wheel in your dremel tool, polish out the file marks and then with a felt buffing wheel and white rouge (for stainless steel) put a mirror finish on it. Don't forget to mask off the frame and breech face all around the bolt with duct tape because the dremel will slip off the bolt. And don't over do it unless it needs reshaping anyway to better fit your cylinder notches. If you do nothing else, this is the single most important thing you can do to avoid that ugly cylinder ring!
And it has delayed the bolt from even wearing all the way thru the bluing on a new gun for years of shooting on some of mine.

#2. NEW MODEL RUGER SAs: Mostly you have to rely on #1. I have blue Ruger SAs with barely a noticeable line not even thru the bluing after hundreds of Cowboy Shooting matches. The Ruger bolt, by engineering design, rises up far too soon to hit in the approach ramp to the cylinder notch. Before closing the loading gate on new models, make sure to turn the cylinder by hand so the notch is aligned above the bolt to minimize the bolt rubbing on the cylinder surface.

#3. COLTS, RUGER 3 screws and Similar: First priority: proper handling of these old design SAs is the secret. Then rely on #1 above for insurance especially for Rugers; again by design the bolt comes up too soon! Most do not realize that once you cock the hammer of a properly timed SA, you MUST COMPLETE THE CYCLE!! Never drop the hammer from safety notch or half cock; always cycle all the way thru the full cock position and then let the hammer down. If you don't, you get the same effect of the new model Rugers above: the cylinder has not been moved thru its full cycle which allows the bolt to pop up on the cylinder surface. Also, bolt springs on these older design SAs are always too strong! Use an after market lighter spring. Just don't go too light or under hard and fast cocking, you can slam the cylinder notch right past the bolt with potentially ugly results when the trigger is pulled. I have Colt's that I've shot for years with no ring on the cylinder at all; only a shiny spot in the approach ramp to the cylinder notch.
UPDATE: Last month I tuned up a newly purchased, brand new out of the box Colt SAA. I was amazed to discover that the cylinder bolt had a mirror polish on it from the factory. I also noticed the hammer spring was tapered and of lighter weight. The factory confirmed the new spring is now standard issue. I don't know about the polished bolt yet but at least one smithy at Colt got the idea!

#4. DA REVOLVERS: Rely on #1 above! Like Ruger SAs, even with perfectly timed actions, by design, the bolt on DAs is raised early in the cylinder cycle. Eventually you may get a line on DAs and Ruger SAs, but it should never be completely around the cylinder; only 1/2 way to the next cylinder notch. A simple habit when you close the cylinder, with your left hand grasp it around the bottom of the frame with thumb and forefinger in opposing flutes positioning them at 3 and 9 o'clock when closing the cylinder will prevent scribing and becomes so natural after a while, one doesn't even have to think about. Works on five shot cylinders as well by positioning two flutes at 4 and 8 o'clock. Once closing the cylinder in alignment becomes a habit which is like after the 2nd time you do it for most of us, it's no "effort" what so ever; or about as much effort as remembering to breath. This WILL mitigate a full cylinder ring and at least limit it to an interrupted ring.




ONE MORE LITTLE TIDBIT TO PREVENT CYLINDER SCRATCHES:

Misc. circumference scratches that appear on single action cylinders can be caused while removing and replacing the cylinder for cleaning. A simple technique can easily avoid them. Cut a strip of paper about 8" long and the width of the cylinder. Insert it around the cylinder before removing the cylinder pin. Once you pull the pin, you can lift the cylinder out of the frame window by the paper and not have to worry about making contact with the edges of the frame. This is especially helpful when reinstalling the cylinder into the frame as you rotate it past the hand and align it with the cylinder pin as you push the pin back in.

As you can tell from other posts, not all care about this issue and are quick to tell you. The cylinder line scribed by the cylinder stop is about the most obvious sign of wear. Not just a sign of shooting but also of cycling, opening for checking or loading and unloading.
These actions will not completely prevent the cylinder ring but has mitigated the ring on my guns. Now you can handle and shoot 'like new' or old revolvers with a clear conscience that you won't cause any more perceivable wear!
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Last edited by Hondo44; 05-30-2012 at 01:38 AM.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:43 PM
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Hard to follow a Hondo44 post but...

If there is no turn line on the cylinder then there is no cylinder stop and if there is no cylinder stop then you don't have the wonderful sound and feel of the two clicks of a slowly staged S&W double action pull.
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