In February of this year, I won on auction, this .500 revolver. May be of interest to you all.
When seller said,” It’s going to take patience, time, and a lot of work to make this into a fine big revolver,” boy was that ever an understatement. The revolver saw an awful lot of abuse in its life time. When I said I have resurrected a lot worse, that was before I tackled this project. I never saw one so badly rusted, and with so many broken and worn out parts. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bring these old revolvers back to life. I will give you a quick rundown of what was done.
First thing was taking it apart. About half of the screws required drilling out. Talk about rusted fast. I never knew screws had so many bad names. It was so badly rusted and pitted, there was no way I would ever get the surfaces smooth without destroying the features and edges. So I opted to just remove the rust. The inside was so bad, it was a wonder it worked at all. Took lots of scrubbing with brass brushes and phosphoric acid. After about a week it was clean.
The cylinder arbor was trashed beyond hope. Made new one from O-1 tool steel. Added a drag spring to it. Had to add a .016 shim between front of cylinder and barrel assembly to achieve some barrel/cylinder gap. Now that the cylinder fit true and without any looseness, the next thing was a correctly fitting hinge screw. Made this, and 11 other screws, from 4140 HT.
The frame latch posts had been hammered on and deformed. ( to tighten latch, I suppose) Refitted latching surfaces to attain proper fit and geometry. This meant making a new latch, and latch spring. Made latch from O-1, and heat treated to 52 Rockwell. Spring from 1075, heat treated and drawn blue. ( 600 degrees) Fitted frame to latch with smooth action and no clearance. So far, so good.
Upon cleaning scale and rust from hammer, I discovered the pivot hole was broken out and spread on the rear. That explains why the hammer wouldn’t retract. About 90% of the full cock notch was broken off. I pressed the hammer pivot hole back together and brazed with Certainium 27 B. ( a very tough and strong hard facing alloy applied with torch. Must be shaped with diamond files or burrs)
Built up the full cock notch using the same method. Now the hammer retracts as the trigger moves forward. The small link that connects to the hammer spring was broken out also. Put it back together and brazed with high temperature silver solder.
The front guard screw hole had been stripped out. The hole was redrilled for a larger screw, which was also stripped. Cause being interference with trigger return spring. The top end of the screw was peened over to hold the guard in place, almost. The interference left a crack in the “V” of the spring. Made new spring from 1075, heat treated and drawn blue. To make the new screw do its job, I made it an 8-32 with a wasp waist so it wouldn’t bind the spring. The screw head is the same diameter as the original.
The cylinder stop on the top of the trigger was mostly worn away. Built up with Certainium 27 B, reshaped and polished. Flat side is timed to line up bore with chambers. Cylinder advancing hand was worn very badly on business end. Built up with Certainium 27 B,
reshaped and polished to lock up with no movement.
All 12 screws were made with crowned heads and crowned ends. All from 4140 HT.
I didn’t want to disturb the initials carved in the right grip panel, so I defined the checkering ever so slightly. The cracks in the grips are reinforced with Elmers glue worked into them. Replaced chip missing from right grip.
I blackened the steel and then buffed with 0000 steel wool to brighten the edges to appear as worn through time.
The cartridges are made from .500 S&W brass, turned and shortened. The bullet is made with a Lee custom mold to replicate the original Tranter 340 grain blunt nose. I had some difficulty figuring the weight in the nose, so I made a wild guess. It came out weighing 322 grains. Case holds 22 grains fffg black. Almost done with my loading dies for it. Finished the sizing die today. Will finish the seating die in a day or two. Made the crimper two weeks ago.
Well, there you have it. Very enjoyable on this end. When I work on these old revolvers, I can almost feel the presence of the person who made the revolver, and maybe understand him a little more. He was a real craftsman. Revolver now functions at 100%, and almost smooth as new.
Keep these oldies coming. Perhaps I will live long enough to do a few more.