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Old 05-14-2017, 10:08 AM
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Default Ratchet Peening to correct carry up

I have seen references to peening ratchet teeth to correct slight SA Carry Up timing issues, but I have not been able to find a description in depth of the technique.

My background is in the collecting of vintage SxS Shotguns, and when I hear "Peening" my reaction is that some Hack has been at work.

The reason I ask is that I have been given an old M1917, that other than an old Nickel Refinish, and a SA carry up issue on three cylinders is in good shape. I just want to shoot it and feel safe about doing so. I also don't mind learning a little about Revolver tinkering on it as it has little value. The fitting of an oversized hand may be beyond my talents.

I will try to describe the carry up problem. When cocked very slowly three adjoining cylinders don't lock, if I pull the trigger with snap caps, the cylinder "snaps" into lock before the hammer falls completely.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by bulletslap; 05-14-2017 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:15 AM
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Any time you do anything on the ratchets you are potentially opening a can of worms. They can be worked on, but best done by someone who knows revolvers inside and out. It's very easy to cause more problems than you fix.

Having said that -

I have peened them on occasion to get one or 2 chambers to act like the rest of them, with some degree of success. My method is to use a flat bottom steel punch and lean it slightly toward the direction you want the metal to go. Use light taps and check progress often. You will only get a couple thou. at most, maybe just barely enough to lock up before the hammer falls. You will most likely need a wider hand even with that.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:06 PM
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Decades ago, a friend that had a Colt Trooper MKIII that had a slight timing issue. He brought it to a large well known LGS in the area, and the "Gunsmith" peened the ratchet to "Correct" the problem. Needless to say, it worked for about 20 rounds of firing, than went out of time again. The LGS wound up apologizing for the "Rube Goldberg" repair and sent the pistol back to Colt for a complete racket replacement. I don't know what the cost was to the LGS was, but it took 6 months for my friend to get his Colt back.
IMHO: don't fool with the ratchet, but fix the root of the problem, which will probably be the hand.
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:40 PM
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In my limited experience, peening the ratchet might be done after a new or oversized hand has been fitted and carry up/lock up of the cylinder is still not consistent on all holes.
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:43 PM
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Proper repair is a new hand with the ratchet filed for every cylinder - there are no shortcuts to a proper fix.
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Old 05-14-2017, 02:18 PM
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I am not a gunsmith. To advance their timing I have replaced the hands on a few short action S&Ws with over size hands. None required fitting. The "fitting" that might be necessary is widening the hand slot through the recoil shield. You'd file the side that the hand does not bear against. None of the over size hands I installed advanced the timing as much I wanted so refiling the ratchet for an oversize hand that is too tight is not something I'd worry about. I doubt you can find an oversize hand that fat. I'm even more skeptical that you could find any over size hand for for a long action S&W.

For the few here who do not know S&W changed their revolvers from long action to short action about 1948. Model 1917s do not have a hammer block safety. After WW I the hands changed to one with a cam that moved a hammer block safety out of the way. Hands were changed again during WW II when the modern hammer block safety was introduced.

Member Hondo44 has posted that he has had success peening hands and made it sound easy. Hopefully he'll provide some instruction.

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Old 05-14-2017, 05:21 PM
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You can get oversized hands from Brownells that are guaranteed to need filing on the frame and filing on the nose of the hand to make it skinnier. These are made by Power Custom (Ron Power). Very high quality. These are for the post WWII versions.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:16 PM
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Peening can be successfully done if the person doing the peening knows what they are doing and has experience. In the example told by Colonel, the smith only peened the edge of the ratchet, which quickly wore off, leaving the gun with the same condition it had before. The idea behind peening is to move metal to the area worn off (or wrongly removed). Unfortunately, making the metal cooperate and move the way you want and the amount you want, to the location you want, isn't easily done on something as small as the ratchet on a gun. It also requires a lot of trial and error to obtain the needed amount. It is not something a novice should attempt to do.

In the situation described by Bulletslap, there are a few ways to fix the gun:

1) Install an oversized hand and fit it to the three ratchets that aren't locking up, then file the remaining three ratchets to proper lockup.
2) Peen the 3 undersized ratchets to lock up with the existing hand.
3) Replace the ratchet and possibly the hand.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolguy View Post
You can get oversized hands from Brownells that are guaranteed to need filing on the frame and filing on the nose of the hand to make it skinnier. These are made by Power Custom (Ron Power). Very high quality. These are for the post WWII versions.
The over size hands I installed were S&W factory parts.

Even if you could file the hardened hands files are too coarse and would remove too much metal. During factory assembly of new revolvers files held in special fixtures are used on the softer ratchet teeth. Very fine hard Arkansas knife sharpening stones work for thinning hands.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:26 PM
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I just looked at the oversized hands at Brownell's and other vendors that sell the Power Custom Oversized hands. I noticed in the review sections a couple of references to using them in M1917s and Brazilian M1937s, and they are relatively inexpensive at around d twenty bucks.

I have the Kuhnhausen Shop Manual somewhere, I plan to locate it and read up on fitting the Hand.

I just got the parts out of my ultrasonic cleaner, and examined them with a magnifying glass and I see no obvious problems with wear. Temper that with I also don't really no what to look for .


Thank you all for your help, and you advice.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken158 View Post
Proper repair is a new hand with the ratchet filed for every cylinder - there are no shortcuts to a proper fix.
+1 Heed the words.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:32 PM
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Your attention is respectfully invited here.

Parts Interchangeability between N-frame Generations

A modern N-frame hand can be fitted to your 1917 to solve your carry-up issue. If it is one of the Brazilian Model 1937's, a modern hand will not work because of the side plate mounted hammer block.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:13 AM
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Luckily my problem revolver is a M1917 without a hammer block.

That information about the Brazilians is good to know, I would have just assumed they were a later version of the M1917.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:09 AM
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Tom S's post hits the mark IMO

When the amt of mat'l needed to make the chamber come up and lock correctly is absolute minimum, peening the ratchet tooth can be employed.
It works fine if done correctly,,it's an abysmal failure if not done correctly.
The ratchet teeth are soft, the metal can be displaced or moved with the correct shaped punch and educated hammer taps.
Most would be amazed at what can be done with steel and a hammer & punches as far as reshaping and moving that metal around.

The entire outboard surface of the problem ratchet tooth must be moved over to give the side of the hand a fully supported surface to ride on.
If just the top of the ratchet tooth is mushroomed over like a rivet, that thin flashing of mat'rl will quickly be sheared away by the hand as it moves up the side of the tooth.

It takes some talent and experience like most things. It's not the only way to fix the condition but it's an option as they like to say today.
Again it's only for very small adjustments and the work should not 'show' when completed.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:35 PM
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I have decided to order an oversized hand and learn to fit it on this old Revolver.

I have read through the Kuhnhausen manual and gone through his bench checks.

I have found two things that concern me, and I need advice.

Reading a manual no matter how thorough it is and how carefully you read it in no way compares to hands on experience !

This first thing that concerns me is there was a short piece of all thread rod that was inside the rebound slide to add tension on the rebound spring I suppose. Also the rebound spring seems too short and only has 12 coils. So I am going to order a new rebound sling spring.

The second thing, and this may be my fault is I can't figure out how the hand is tensioned forward against the ratchet teeth. Would it be tensioned by the hand lever spring ?

It was under tension when it was in the frame, but after I removed it and the the trigger assembly, and the removed the hand, it is no longer under tension. Did I lose something ? Or is it held under tension by some other means ?
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:38 PM
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:40 PM
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Rebound slide and spring with all thread rod

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Old 05-20-2017, 12:46 PM
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Rebound slide
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:30 PM
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The rod inside the rebound spring is a trigger stop. The factory installed some of those in N frames but they were smooth. They were factory installed in target sighted N frames during the 1970s and 80s and probably earlier. A lot of them were tossed out by owners who did not know what they were so it is hard to say how many revolvers got them.

The hand spring is a wire V spring inside the trigger. One leg of it has to be held up with something like a small fat head screw driver while the hand is installed.

Edit to correct myself.
That piece cut off a bolt appears to be to large in diameter to slip inside the rebound spring. Apparently it is there to make up for over shortening the rebound spring.

I like Wolff's rebound spring pack that includes a variety of springs. While their 13 pound spring will not move the rebound slide back fast enough to keep up with Jerry Miculek it's the one I use most often. If I recall correctly the pack includes spring weights of 12 pounds through 15 pounds. A lighter rebound spring makes a big difference in the double action pull.

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Old 05-20-2017, 02:54 PM
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Thank you K22fan, now I start the search for the hand spring, maybe it is in the parts cleaner. I am not off to a good start.
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Old 05-21-2017, 09:58 AM
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I have not lost anything, after studying the drawings in the Kuhausen manual I learned that early models don't have a wire hand spring. The hand is tensioned by a lever and a coil spring that runs vertically through the the body of the trigger.
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:10 PM
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When you can successfully carry up with a loaded "smart" cocking of the hammer you don't need to correct anything! Slowly cocking a revolver is not a correct test of anything. Put some correctly weighted rounds (or test rounds) in the cylinder and properly pull the hammer back in a "smart" manner. If it locks up you're good.
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Old 05-21-2017, 09:25 PM
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H Richard, does pulling a hammer back smartly mean sorta fast? Larry
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:42 AM
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Load the cylinder with dummy rounds. (A real case with a real bullet in it. NO powder or primer.
Then do your SA test. Sometimes the cylinder lock-up is so close that the added "drag" on the recoil shield will add enough "delay" in the cylinder rotation to allow the cyl. stop to drop in properly to the cylinder notch.
Or just cock SA with a finger tip touching the cylinder.
Or as mentioned above pull the hammer back just a bit faster than slow.
Get back to us, please.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:43 AM
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Wut H Richard said.
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Old 05-22-2017, 01:11 AM
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If you pull the DA straight through fast or thumb cock quickly momentum will spin a S&W cylinder into lock up if there is no drag on it. That if can not always be realized. Lead fouling or unburt powder in the flash gap or under the extractor can add drag as can not fully seating tight fitting cartridges, especially .22 LR cartridges.

More importantly, the cylinder is not spun into lock up by momentum if you hesitate to acquire a better aim just before DA let off. With some practice firing that way can be just as accurate as firing SA. The technique was used by most PPC competitors and many Bullseye competitors. For best results the hand has to push the cylinder all the way into lock up. Full carry up is of more value to me than excellent condition bluing.
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Old 05-22-2017, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
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Full carry up is of more value to me than excellent condition bluing.
+1
Between appearance and mechanics, I'll take mechanics anytime.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:16 AM
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K22fan has the correct way to check timing. I was told by a gunsmith yrs ago to put a little drag on the cylinder with a finger as you cock the hammer or pull the trigger slowly.

I shoot an 8 week double action only league each year and practice all year shooting DA when ever I shoot. Pulling the trigger back slowly till the cyl stop engages then realigning the sights and pulling a little more till it fires.

Been at gun shows and have checked the timing in a gun and would tell the table holder the timing was off. They would get a little mad and pull the hammer back fast 6 times like I was wrong. Now I just set it back down and thank them. Larry
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:22 PM
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I have already ordered a Power Customer hand, rebound spring set, and Barrette and hand window files.

So I am committed

In the mean time I tried it with dummy rounds in moon clips and riding the cylinder with a finger with the same result.

D/A carries up fine, Slow S/A Cocking 3 of 6 don't lock, Normal S/A Cockng carries up fine.
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Old 05-22-2017, 11:22 PM
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As others have mentioned, ratchets are filed . . .
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Old 05-23-2017, 08:18 AM
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That is why I ordered the recommended 4 " Barrette file.
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:02 AM
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"....D/A carries up fine, Slow S/A Cocking 3 of 6 don't lock, Normal S/A Cockng carries up fine...."

Check the SA sear point/edge on the hammer very closely. From this description it sounds to me that perhaps the SA sear engagement points were altered a little.

In D/A, the hammer (and thus the hand) don't move as far in motion as they do in S/A.
But you have complete all 6 chambers locking up properly in D/A with it's very slight less overall motion.

In S/A where the hammer moves back further in motion than in D/A (and the hand then runs up higher along side the ratchet teeth),,you have 3 out of 6 chambers not locking up.. When It's Slow Danced Into S/A hammer cocked position.

I'm thinking that the S/A 'cocked' position is a tiny bit forward of where it should be. When slow cocking the action S/A and stopping as soon as the hammer and trigger engage (cock),,the hand has not traveled as far as it should to rotate the cylinder over (at least on 3 of the 6.)

Fast cocking in S/A (normal cocking motion) gives enough rotational momentum or spin to the cylinder to roll it into place and lock.

Just my thoughts when reading the different comments.
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:57 PM
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THE ISSUE IS CARRY UP:

Frankly, based on your assessment and comments, I believe Pat Sweeney's "Gunsmithing Pistols & Revolvers", 2nd Ed.(2004), pp.219-220 is the most sensible, a perfectly good solution, AND what I would do, what I have done many times, what S&W factory trained smiths have done in similar situations, and also what members on this forum have done successfully after reading this, which is:

Peening the ratchet tooth (or teeth) to correct timing/cyl ‘carry up’ is so simple, but you're the only one to decide if you can manage it.

Replacing and fitting a new hand may fix your problem and may not, but the hand is not likely needed or at fault. It’s the harder part.

The flat surfaces of the teeth facing you when looking at the rear face of the cyl are where to peen. The tooth at about 3 o'clock is the next to be engaged by the hand (when cyl is closed) to advance the chamber at the right of the one at 12 o’clock, into firing position. The cylinder turns counterclockwise so the hand will engage the 'bottom side' of that tooth. The flat surface facing you is where to peen, on the edge right above the bottom side of the tooth. No need to take the gun apart at all. I lay the gun on a padded surface on its right side, muzzle pointing to the left (I’m right handed) with cyl propped open with a rolled up shop cloth.

If you're worried about force to the yoke and frame, I'm afraid that you're envisioning TOO HARD of a tap. Just a very light peen with a small hammer and punch is all that's needed. The ratchet teeth are not hardened! This takes finesse, not force.

And by laying the gun on a padded surface without restraint as I described, it's allowed to move when the punch is tapped with the hammer mitigating any force to the yoke and frame.


You may not even see the metal deform and it can be enough to solve the problem. One light tap with a small light hammer and flat face punch then close the cylinder and try it. If the cylinder doesn't ‘carry up’ or even if it does C/U but still has too much 'looseness' when fully cocked, give the tooth another tap. You can do all six teeth, or just others where there's looseness with the chamber in firing position when the hammer is cocked.

Rough handling/constant double action rapid fire can accelerate the teeth wear but it did not happen overnight, and now you have another 10 years of shooting before it'll need anything more, depending of course on how much you shoot the gun. If you peen too much and the cylinder carries up too far that puts cocking the hammer in a bind or the bolt 'jumps' out of the cyl notch, not a problem, peen the surface that the hand contacts and push it back.

Also for side-to-side cylinder play, make sure the edges of the cylinder notches are not burred out or the cyl bolt can pop out of the notch. Gentle peening of the notch edges can fix that as well. “Tight lock up” is fine, but can be over emphasized. Recognize the cyl needs some play for the bullet to align the chamber to the forcing cone.

If you got have a new part and are comfortable fitting it, that's fine. But I would not spend money on new parts, because one can easily handle doing the following very minor repair.

The hand is made of harder steel than the teeth since it has six times the contacts of each tooth, and C/U is a typical result after many rounds of shooting. That's why I would not install a new hand, it already has the advantage.

Your hand spring (formerly located in the trigger) is probably in your cleaning medium. Look for a short coil spring with two legs sticking out of it. Or look in the vicinity of the route that the trigger traveled between where you pulled the hand and your cleaning container.
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S&WCA #819

Last edited by Hondo44; 05-24-2017 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:03 PM
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Hondo44, thank you for your detailed reply, I need to think things over before I proceed on this project.

The parts and files will be arriving next week so that gives me time to think it over.

Thanks again !
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:04 PM
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I did it !

Successfully even !

Other than a slight clean up of the hand window in the frame I thinned the oversized power custom hand to fit, and had to file four of the ratchet teeth, two seem just right.

Thinning the hand on stones was the part that took the most time.

In addition I replaced the cylinder index pins, one of which was missing already and the remaining one fell out when I added a end shake washer, also I replace the rebound spring with a new 13 pound one.

Thanks for all the great advice !

Last edited by bulletslap; 06-04-2017 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 06-04-2017, 07:06 PM
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Nice job restoring that fine old revolver
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Old 06-04-2017, 07:22 PM
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A few observations:

It is amazing that a currently made hand can be slightly reconfigured to fit a 100 revolver

It was not quick or easy

Maybe I got lucky

If you try to do it, take your time, buy the books mentioned earlier in the thread, take advice from experienced people

Take time to watch and understand how the parts work together

Buy the recommended tools
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