Author Topic: Colt issued Dragoon  (Read 5634 times)

Offline Big Rivy

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Colt issued Dragoon
« on: September 20, 2010, 09:39:28 AM »
Greetings all: After a couple of years of looking for the right deal I have finally purchased my first percussion revolver. It is a Colt 3rd Model Dragoon, as new unfired in the original black box with all the paperwork. I have lurked around several black powder sites for a long time and this is my first post on one. I looked for a long time to find a Colt issued gun because I had heard that they were fit and finished a little better than the Italian imports. Well when I got the gun it looked real good in the box. The wood in the grip was a little plain but the color case hardening was beautiful. The action felt really stiff but I figured that it was just old packing grease, well it wasn't. Before I dive into the specifics I'd like to say that I really like this firearm and would buy it again in a heartbeat. I have studied Colt revolvers in books and on the net for awhile and have read about how the actions work and slickin' up the triggers and all that, so I wasn't afraid to take it apart. This thing was fitted horribly. The stiff action was the bolt trying to fit in the cylinder stops, which it couldn't seeing that it was a full .015" too wide. All the hand fitted stuff looked like it was fitted with a chisel and hammer and for grinding they just rubbed it on an old concrete block they had lying around. Needless to say at that time I was a bit underwhelmed with my purchase. There was also a lot of rust between the arbor and the cylinder. I should have taken pictures but I'm past it now. I'm in the machine shop business but have never gunsmithed anything before. I measured all the cylinder stops, one was a little tight, and I was able to narrow the bolt to fit the slots so it will lock properly when it indexes. I did alot of reading on several sights about what you can "stone" and what to leave alone. I bought gunsmithing screwdrivers and highly recommend them for anyone working on guns. Did not have stones for Stoning. Fine emory cloth on a known flat surface followed by polishing with 1000 grit sandpaper seems to have worked wonders for the action. The hand is another story, I did not shorten it, but the leading edge had a terrible burr on it that was really tearing up the ramps behind the carry up lugs on the cylinder. Smoothed that the best I could. I have run into another problem I hope you guys can help me with. The darn nipples are way too big for a #10 or #11 percussion cap! I saw posted on another site that some Colts came with exact reproduction nipples, meaning that they are for the now defunct #12 caps? Additionally, after driving all the sporting goods store guys nuts trying to find some #12s and making my own nipple wrench, two of the nipples are not drilled all the way through! I have heard of the Treso nipples but can't find any. The thread pitch on the nipples is 1/4 by 28. I've heard that the Italian guns are metric and won't interchange. I'd really appreciate it if any of you guys have a nipple replacement suggestion. I could make a fixture and try to turn them down in my lathe but I'm short on time and two of the nipples that are drilled all the way through have very poorly centered holes in them which would make them very thin on one side. I really want to shoot this thing! I bought powder,balls,wads etc. in anticipation of trying it out. I've got the action working decent after several hours but still can't make smoke and fire! Any suggestions on where to get the correct nipple wrench would also be appreciated. It looks like most of the aftermarket is directed towards Italian made Navies and their needs. I hope that my Colt was the exception rather than the rule as I would like to get a couple more but I don't want to have to 'smith all of them. I will say that the Uberti Walker at Cabelas was looking mighty tempting. The action felt fantastic right out of the box, with a much easier hammer pull. Anyway thanks for your time.

Offline Rock Island

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 12:09:26 PM »
Welcome to the forum.  Wow, that's a lot of problems for one revolver, and one with the Colt name on it at that.  In over 50 revolver purchases I have never had any problems beyond a tight fitting wedge, or a tool mark or two left unfinished.   I do not own any Colt BP reproductions, only ones made by several different Italian company's, I do own some more modern Colt products and have never encountered such poor workmanship in any of them.  Absolutely no excuse for it, Pietta, Uberti, ASM, and others manage to produce revolvers that work right out of the box for considerably less than what Colt charged, many Italian revolvers have had problems in the past, but Colt has always been held to a higher standard.  You might have contacted Colt about this, explained the many problems, they may well have made good on the gun for you no matter that you are the original purchaser or not.  I am glad to hear that you got it squared away, I hope it serves you well.  :)
If it shoots then I have it, am about to get it, want it, or plotting to get it

Offline Big Rivy

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2010, 05:42:20 AM »
Thanks for the reply. I forgot to mention that the muzzle end of the barrel is not crowned or blued and you can still see the saw marks in it from when they cut it off. Maybe it started as a Walker barrel, who knows. Also the forcing cone is not machined parallel to the cylinder face. With the cylinder pushed all the way forward it touches at the bottom near the arbor but has a significant gap at the top. Not sure how to fix that. I thought about trying to contact the Colt custom shop to see it they had any parts left but I doubt they would to be willing to work on it for free. If I have to pay I might as well try to find someone who specializes in old colts. I think that it's been so many years since the custom shop has messed with these that a specialized gunsmith who is used to making old beat up guns work might be my best bet. I like the concept of this forum. There are a lot of black powder enthusiasts out there. I'd like to see the word get out better on this site and bring those people over here.
I, like you, have heard that the Colts were really nice pieces but in all the forums that I have been to I haven't really seen too many people talk about them. And most of the people who shoot always refer to their import guns. I'm guessing that most of the Colt issued guns are sitting unfired in collections somewhere. If very few are ever used the fit and finish quality might not become an issue, and the quality may just be assumed. I am determined to make this gun shoot like it should, it may just take a little time. )%,

Offline Rock Island

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 12:29:49 PM »
With what Colt charged for these revolvers I do more than assume the internal quality matches the outer, I would demand it in no uncertain terms.  These revolvers were marketed to both shooters, and collectors, there is no excuse for poor workmanship on them, they were never intended to be wallhangers.  I would expect this sort of thing from some of the more fly by night Italian no name manufacturers, and even Pietta had somewhat of a reputation for producing crap some years back, but Colt is expected to be at the top of the line when it comes to a functional weapon.  The problems you describe should have never gotten past a factory inspection, contact them and explain the many problems you have had with their product, all they can do is say they will not make good on it.  I hope they make good on it for you, it's  *)- unbelievable that a high end American gunmaker would allow such shoddy workmanship to ever leave the facility, it should be seen as an embarrassment to the company that they should be eager to make right before you tell the world about it.
If it shoots then I have it, am about to get it, want it, or plotting to get it

Offline Big Rivy

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 07:09:23 AM »
 )%, The Colt of today is not the Colt of yesterday. They have spun off into two companies. One is the tactical/Military group and the other is the one that still makes the SAA and 1911's. I have not tried to contact them. I did look up their website again and found out that you have to call them or write a letter. They are not set up to take email inquiries. In searching for Treso nipples I contacted the Starr Trading Company. They were real nice to deal with. They did not have the nipples I was looking for but he said maybe a month and he would be re supplied by the manufacturer. We had a nice discussion about my gun. He was very surprised by my description of the poor fit and finish. He said that he personally owns about 50 second generation Colts and they are all beautiful in their fit and finish. I didn't say it but I wonder if he has really taken a good look at all of them. I don't think he shoots them. A collector may never look at some of the things that stood out on mine. Things such as a poorly fitted hand or bolt may not show up unless you start cycling the action a bunch of times. A collector may not pay any attention at all about the angle of the forcing cone etc, especially if they want to keep it as a new, unturned, unfired piece. He did say that every few years he knocks them apart to re oil and inspect them to make sure that they are aging okay. He also took a wild guess that maybe mine was some sort of prototype gun and asked me for the serial number. My opinion is that mine is just a regular one that was built with poor attention to detail. Like I said earlier I still very much like it and I think I got a fair deal on it. So the hrs I spent getting the action to work just makes it more mine. I'm probably going to jump over to one of the other parts of this website like the old coots part and ask them what they think as there seems to be more shooters over there. I'll keep checking over here too.

Offline Smokey

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 07:45:03 PM »
Quote
I hope they make good on it for you, it's  censored  unbelievable that a high end American gunmaker would allow such shoddy workmanship to ever leave the facility, it should be seen as an embarrassment to the company that they should be eager to make right before you tell the world about it.
You would think that most business would have such a business philosophy, but that kind of thought is becoming a rarity in the business world today. Seems like many have forgotten the impact of word of mouth, hence, now, the stroke of the keyboard. There is some cause for a little understanding with the low profit margin Italian manufacturers, but there is absolutely no excuse for a high end gun maker to turn out anything less than perfection, and if they do, they should make it right.  
Reminds me of my favorite peeve, Microsoft  kicking out new operating systems without EVER perfecting a single one.  When you buy their overpriced Windows operating systems, you also have to buy antivirus and antispyware software to protect the vulnerabilities of Windows. I wish Bill Gates had all of the money he has made of of his shoddy products  )$/ converted into small change and stuck up his   *)-.              ^?}
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 03:30:39 AM by Smokey »
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Offline Fingers McGee

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 09:24:41 PM »
I've got about a half dozen 2nd Generation Colt Dragoons, C series and F series.  All of them have a decent action out of the box.  No grinding, sticking, clunkiness, failure to index or lock up properly.  Knock-on-wood, I might be lucky to have not gotten a bad one; it happens.

Here's a little history about the F series guns, espcially the Dragoons.  Towards the end of the production of the F series guns, the factory was moved from Middlesex, NJ to Little Rock, Arkansas.  I've heard tell that the workmanship on the last batch of guns produced was no where near up to par.  If your Dragoon has a serial number above 31000 or 32000, you might have one of these.

FM

« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 04:52:27 PM by Fingers McGee »
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Offline M2HB

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 04:54:59 AM »
It seems like Big Rivy found the worst of the worst in Colt products.  I have several Colts and I have had a few issues over the years, but never that many on one handgun.  In fact, I haven't had that many issues in all the Colt handguns that I have ever owned, combined.

Offline Stillwater

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2016, 09:43:38 AM »
His third generation series Colt  Dragoon sounds like it is one of the Signature series Colts, and thus, isn't a real Colt at all.

If the Box is "black" and says "The authentic Colt Blackpowder series," on the end of the box sticker, it is a Signature series Colt.

The "signature series Colts" are the so-called third generation Colt firearms. However, Colt will not letter them, or work on them.

Bill

Offline Fingers McGee

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Re: Colt issued Dragoon
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2016, 09:28:10 PM »
His third generation series Colt  Dragoon sounds like it is one of the Signature series Colts, and thus, isn't a real Colt at all.

If the Box is "black" and says "The authentic Colt Blackpowder series," on the end of the box sticker, it is a Signature series Colt.

The "signature series Colts" are the so-called third generation Colt firearms. However, Colt will not letter them, or work on them.

Bill

Bill,   He said it was a 3rd Model Dragoon; not a 3rd Generation. 

F series 2nd Generation Colts came in the black box with gold label.  Signature Series - or as some call them 3rd Generation Colts came in a gray box with black lettering and a white outer shipping box. 
Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee; SASS 28654-L-TG, NCOWS 3280; Alter Ego of Diabolical Ken, rangemaster and stage writer extraordinaire.  Founding member of Central Ozarks Western Shooters and member of Southern Missouri Rangers, Double M Cowboys, Owl Creek Raiders and the Ozark Posse