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Author Topic: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker  (Read 4309 times)

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Offline Boondock

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Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« on: April 17, 2015, 07:54:38 PM »
A little backstory to set the scene.  During my childhood, my parents and grandparents shared a split level home, so I grew up in a 3 generation household - most children should be so lucky!.  My grandfather is a WW2 Navy Vet, having served on both the USS Antietam (CV-36) and the USS Joseph P Kennedy, Jr (DD-850).  After his service concluded, he became a Police officer, and eventually joined the Police reserve of our hometown in Massachusetts before retirement. 

He's been an avid gun collector his entire life, and I spent my most formative years in awe of his vast collection.  If it hurled lead, he owned one - blunderbusses, multiple original pepperboxes, both his father's and grandfather's percussion double barrel shotguns, 2 and 3 band Enfields, BP revolvers, and all flavor of modern guns from .25 autos to a sub-100 serial Desert Eagle .50 cal. He also had a great deal of artifacts from his own grandfather's service for the CSA.

It was no uncommon occurrence to spend the day with him in the basement as he cast lead or did his reloads, and even a bit of .22 plinking when the ladies had the good presence of mind to leave the house and let the boys play with their toys!  As the years ticked by, he began selling off most of his collection, including many key pieces to his lecherous daughter, my aunt, who has been fleecing him financially for the past 15 years.

Last fall, at 84 years of age, he had a slip/fall accident that broke two of his vertebrae. His recovery has had it's ups and downs, but he's been doing much better as of late.  However, he is now starting to show the early signs of dementia and issues with short term memory.  At this point, it is a forgone conclusion that despite his continuing and positive recovery, he will not be able to return to his home nor his collection, requiring full time care in an assisted living facility.

In order to preserve what little remains of his collection and ensure it is rightfully revered as family heirlooms rather than being siphoned off and sold by the evil b*tch daughter, I recently purchased from him a repro 1847 Walker, and a percussion rifle that will become the topic of another thread.  Although he offered to give them to me for free, I insisted on purchasing them to defray his mounting medical expenses.  His pension and Medicare only go so far, after all.

(more to come shortly, including pictures!)
Audentes Fortuna Juviat

Offline Boondock

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 08:41:29 PM »
The pistol is a Replica Arms 1847 Walker, which I believe was manufactured by ASM if my limited research is correct.  The date code "XIX" makes it a 1963 production.  When I took ownership, she was speckled with light rust, the action and cylinder were completely seized, and the loading lever/plunger and screws for each are MIA.



Once home, I cleaned her, gently carding off the specks of rust with Hoppes oil and 0000# steel wool.  The wedge was a thumb tight fit and came free easily, after God only knows how many years in storage. A complete disassembly revealed that there were in fact two trigger/bolt springs sandwiched together, one broken.

That was only the beginning of the issues I have discovered on this pistol, and as she sits now, I believe it would require far more skill than I can muster to set things straight, if that is even possible.  I am wondering if I may have a wall-hanger on my hands.  While that may devalue the piece in the monetary sense, it will always be an heirloom treasure to me... But it would be really nice to make her go BOOOOOM once again...

The Good:

* It was Gramp's, and now she's mine!

* Rust was easily removed without harming the case hardening or bluing.

* Bore is in excellent shape, but the rifling looks very light.

The Bad:

* Peening of the hammer slots on each chamber of the cylinder. As if it was dry-fired without nipples repeatedly.


* Every nipple is a different height and seems to point towards a different star in the sky.  Upon removal, there is no consistency between them at all. OAL, height from shoulder to top, how the shoulders of the nipple were ground at bizarre angles... Terrible.  Candidates for complete replacement if I can find the right thread.

* With the 2nd (broken) trigger/bolt spring removed, the bolt barely rises enough to engage a cylinder slot.  Looks like bolt's very worn down and a candidate for replacement. Here's a photo at full cock.


* Timing is horrendous, with the cylinder inconsistently over rotating or falling sort of battery with the barrel.  Some of this is due to the buggered bolt, but not all.

* Muzzle looks hand filed and not quite square, and no crowning present.

The Ugly:

* The cylinder seems to be out of alignment to some degree.  Only 3 of the chambers offer no resistance when cocking the hammer.  One chamber drags slightly, and two chambers full-on seize and require manual advancement to unbind.  No feeler gauges, but the cylinder gap is pronounced on the left.


* Due to the binding chambers, the breech of the barrel shows excessive wear, as does the face of the cylinder. Looking at the breech of the barrel, it seems like the cylinder is binding against the barrel's 5 o'clock position, if that makes sense.


* The ring on the recoil shield is maybe the thickness of 2x 20lb pieces of paper, and shows excessive wear.  Almost nonexistent ring on the right side of the revolver.


* Non existant forcing cone.


*Updated with more photos*
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 09:55:06 AM by Boondock »
Audentes Fortuna Juviat

Offline bigblue

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 08:43:18 PM »
cool. I live in the south and a part of the south that still does things the "old" way. here guns are handed down. I have a rifle my grandfather owned (I know of 4 people he shot with it) and a pistol he gave my grandmother (she shot at grandpa with it. hell hath no fury and all). firearms from family are highly prized and revered. i look forward to hearing of your walker.

Offline G Dog

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 09:33:29 PM »
A1 post there Boondock.  Well done.

Hey, bigblue, here in the Pacific NW we pass our guns down too. Lineal descent style. That's how it's supposed to be, coast to coast, you bet. 
You are at war now; the liberty of your enemies is not an important concern.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 10:07:36 PM »
Excellent, BD! And great back-story as well.               
I believe that Walker can be brought back to life with a little elbow grease. Nothing you mentioned is outside the scope of some of the garbage buckets I ended up with. I'm sure we can can talk you through what needs doing...or help you find someone who can, if that's your wish. I would love to see you share this story over on our sister forum, Colt Country as well:

http://blackpowdersmoke.com/colt/index.php

If you do sign up, I'll see you get approved immediately.
Back to your Walker: Nothing there that can't be handled from a home shop. Good luck in getting your heirloom up and shooting again!
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline Boondock

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 10:47:04 PM »
I've already begun looking for replacement parts, but since I was recently laid off, it may not happen any time soon unless I choose to part out or trade an ASM 1858 brasser project for some proper 'smith work or parts.

I scoped out VTI Gunparts for the ASM-manufactured loading lever/plunger/screws.  Assuming they actually have them in stock (gotta call to find out), that will only set me back about $50 plus shipping.  That would complete the Walker cosmeticlly for display purposes.

A new bolt and bolt/trigger spring from any manufacturer would likely compete the action with little modification, is well within my comfort zone, and shouldn't cost more than $50.  I also think I would be able to take care of the muzzle, crowning, and forcing cone issues myself without much headache.  I could easily take care of the peening damage to the nipple recesses caused by the hammer.  Finding replacement nipples would be of lowest priority until the major stuff was rectified.    However, issues with the recoil shield ring and alignment issues with the cylinder (possibly bent arbor or poorly machined cylinder face?) are a more than I am willing to tackle myself in the near future.

CK, I'll consider joining and sharing over on Colt Country after I have a bit more progress to report - I loose enough time on the boards here as it is!  In the meantime, feel free to crosslink from there to this thread if you think anybody would appreciate it.

And truth be told, I am technically a "Colt Virgin" until tomorrow morning when I break in a Pietta '51 brasser that was purchased the same day I took home the Walker and rifle from my Grandfather.  Yeah, I done been bit by the bug alright!    {L*
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 10:51:11 PM by Boondock »
Audentes Fortuna Juviat

Offline G Dog

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 10:58:11 PM »
Boondock is good with a camera too.  I saved a set of his photos of that Rem. 5.5 taken a good while back. Still look at em and they have been desk top background here more than once, good ones. 

Have a good outing bud and get back to us.  As you know we most always love a photo of a dirty gun. 
You are at war now; the liberty of your enemies is not an important concern.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 11:00:19 PM »
We'd love to have ya over there. Don't even need to own a Colt...simply appreciate them. That goes for anyone else from here, as well.
Sucks about the "laid-off", BD. Never a good thing. Still, we can help you out. I just think it would be a darn shame  to end up with a wall-hanger when it could be a shooter.
You get in a bind, pm me. I'd be happy to take a look at it. It would also help to have some nice close-up pix of what's wrong and what needs fixin'. Post them up and let's see what we are talking about.
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline G Dog

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 11:19:47 PM »
That would help the rest of us too. Internal work is important, not to hard, interesting and damn useful.  I know just enough to need to know more. This is a pitch for some further lock work discussion and not meant to imply that BD's Walker will even need any.
You are at war now; the liberty of your enemies is not an important concern.

Offline Boondock

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 11:39:35 PM »
I appreciate all the kind words and offers of support, fellas!  Sure ain't getting any from the little lady!  She and her family are (un)fairly anti-gun, but I managed to sway her from an outright prohibition by agreeing to get her a diamond bauble for every gun I purchase.  By rote that makes my addiction twice as expensive!

Thankfully the heirlooms are exempt from that clause, but she doesn't know about the '51 Colt or the NAA yet... and it'll stay that way a good while!   )L$ (?^ ->i

I've already taken some photos of the issues described above, but need to edit and annotate them, and beat my Photobucket account into submission.  For some strange reason, it gives the same image link regardless of which image is selected. 
Audentes Fortuna Juviat

Offline G Dog

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2015, 12:10:28 AM »
Talking modern weapons to anti gunners is hopeless but emphasizing the historical antique reproduction aspect of C&B can sometimes get them listening.

Photo Bucket is tough goin sometimes.
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Offline Gunslinger9378

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2015, 01:52:09 PM »
Welcome Boondock,
            I am an almost Fanatical Devotee of the Remington Revolver, and have three Sheriff's Models! (The ones with the five and one half inch barrels!)  I carry one in a shoulder holster on a daily basis, and have developed a load that will punch a .457
ball out of the short tune at a chronographed 945.45 fps.  (And from a black powder handgun, that aint Hay!)
            My very first cap & Ball revolver was a Colt type copy of the 1860 Army.  It was the,"Handgun From Hell," as far as I was concerned, and I have been highly predjudiced against Colt Open Top Frame designs, ever since. To the extent that I will not give a Colt Style Revolver houseroom!  This is mainly because I am a Shooter First & Foremaos, and I value above all else, RELIABILITY!  When you carry a Percussion Revolver for Self-Defense, YOU HAVE TO HAVE RELIABILITY!!!!!!!
            The Colt Style Open Frame revolver is only reliable when a lot of complicated "Doctoring," is performed upon the weapon.  All one has to do with the, "Out Of The Box Remington,' is a little polishing of the lockwork, take out the trigger Over-Travel, and be very specific about the way you load and clean the weapon, and they can be as reliable as any modern revolver, or Self Loading Semi-Auto Pistol.  I have left cylinders loaded for over nine months, taken 'em out shooting, and gotten Six Loud Healthy Booms from each and every one!  The only thing I do take care about, is to wear Ear Plugs AND Ear Muffs when I shoot my PDL! Darned gun sounds like the Crack of Doom when that load goes off!  I'd hate to have to shoot a Home Invader indoors! (Probably wouldm't be able to hear for a week afterwards!) Oh, PDL stands for,"Personal Defense Load by the way!
            So, A Very Sincere and Warm          (D@        from This Arizona Westerner! Iffen yore down this "Neck 'o the Woods, Give me a holler a few days afore you load the Buckboard, and we'll mebbe get the chance to bust a few caps together! So iffen you DO come Visit, strap a hogleg on as soon as you cross the Border into the Pistoleero's Paradise, where all full, or visiting residents, may carry a Sidearm in plain sight, OR Concealed, WITHOUT A PERMIT NEEDED!
                                                                                     Johnnie Roper,Alias:Gunslinger9378.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 01:56:11 PM by Gunslinger9378 »
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Offline DD4lifeusmc

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2015, 05:22:49 PM »
you really need a thread pitch gauge for the nipples.
My catalog shows they may be   10 x 24 pitch.
My wholesaler may still have some in stock.

Seems like almost every manufacturer uses different nipples for the Walker than they do for any of their other revolvers.

But your alignment issues is the big culprit.  My two guesses, either the cylinder itself is badly machined, or the whole frame is tweaked.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 05:27:30 PM by DD4lifeusmc »
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Offline Boondock

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2015, 10:06:19 AM »
Added more photos to the first post to illustrate this poor Walker's issues further.

G Dawg - in light of my upbringing, and my interest in the history of it all, it's made my wife more accepting of my pursuits.  She won't be coming with me to the range any time soon, but she at least allowed me to instruct her in safe handling and identifying a loaded revolver since they'll be in our home.  The longest journeys begin with the smallest steps, right?

Johnnie - thanks for the kind welcome, good sir!  Wish I had that invite last summer when I spent two weeks in Phoenix for work.  I was there for those massive thunderstorms that flooded all roads in/out of the city.  And experienced my first stand storms while there.  Ran out of my hotel room and got a first class exfoliant treatment. Who needs a spa?  ->i

DD4 - several of my friends are machinists by trade, so I will see if I can impose on them the use of some thread gauges in the near future.  They may also be able to determine if the cylinder face is machined square to the arbor hole, and dress it up for me if necessary.
Audentes Fortuna Juviat

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Bought my Grandfather's 1847 Walker
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2015, 11:18:57 AM »
BD...appears you do have your work cut out for you, but if you have machinist friends (a good thing to have!) I'm sure you will prevail. First thing is to determine whether the arbor is straight or not. If not, you have the option of straightening the bent one or simply replacing it, which might be a tad much for a beginner but any good machinist should be able to drill out the staking pin and install a new one. Once you've passed that hurdle, simply true everything up and you should be well on your way to having a nice shooter.
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"