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Tips on buying a used percussion revolver

It is never easy to buy a used gun as you can never exactly know how much care was taken for the beauty you chose to buy. Here are some hints what to check before buying.

It is never easy to buy a used gun as you can never exactly know how much care was taken for the beauty you chose to buy. Here are some hints what to check before buying. This ideas will also help you to find the right load and bullet size for your gun.


1. Remove the cylinder to check the bore. Clean the bore if it is left dirty, and remove all the oil as well with a dry patch. You will never see the little damages if you look through the shiny oily bore.

2. Put a white paper 4-5 cm from the the breech, and examine the rifling carefully. Look for bubbles and damages all the way through the bore. If you have some light scratches it does not mean that the gun won't fire straight. Take extra care for the most important part of the bore: the end near the muzzle.


3. Check the muzzle crown. It has to be intact and symmetric. If you have any damage here, the gases will leave the bore asymmetrically behind the bullet, and they will push the ball to the sides.


4. Some thoughts about the rifling: the smoother your grooves and lands are, the less fouling will build up during shooting. A clean bore equals an accurate bore. This is why all our match grade barrels are broach rifled carefully with maximum precision.


5. Check the mechanics: start with the half cock, than put the hammer in full cock. Try to pull the hammer back more. If it still has significant travel, your hammer was already modified sometimes in the past.


6. Check the cylinder stop mechanism. The cylinder stop should raise 2-3 mm before the notch on the cylinder. Be careful. If it is to accurate, your cylinder can roll over if you cock the gun fast. So it is better if it raises before the notch.


7. Check the gap between the breech and the cylinder. It must be the same size at every chamber.


8. Check the chambers of the cylinder. Check if there are any damage on the front. If any of the chambers are damaged, gases will escape here, and the gas pressure will be different than with the other chambers so the ball will hit somewhere else.


9. Remove the nipples, and load an oversized ball into each chamber. The bullets must be in level with the face of the cylinder not deeper. Use a brass rod to push them out from the back direction. Measure each bullet's sized diameter. It should be the same with every chamber. If it is different it will mean different gas pressure also.


10. Put some bullet lube on an oversized roundball and push it through the bore. Be careful to use a soft rod – wood or brass – so you don't harm the muzzle or the rifling. Measure the biggest diameter of the ball. The biggest diameter of the ball must not be smaller than the diameter of the balls removed from the chambers of the cylinder. A good ball fills the grooves completely.


11. Check if the chambers are in line with the bore: put the hammer in half cock and use a small light from the direction of the muzzle. Look for asymmetric shines where the bore meets the cylinder. Don't worry if you see a very light reflection on one of the side. The forcing can heal this problem up until a certain level without loosing accuracy.

12. Take the gun apart and examine each part. Check the threads on the nipple, and in the chamber as well. It is not fun if the nipple is blown out because of faulty threads.

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