1968 Charter Arms Undercover :: Cylinder Release is Binding

This is a discussion on 1968 Charter Arms Undercover :: Cylinder Release is Binding within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; The cylinder release on my 1968 Charter Arms Undercover (.38 Special) is binding. I am a novice gun owner, but an aerospace engineer with a ...

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Thread: 1968 Charter Arms Undercover :: Cylinder Release is Binding

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    Question 1968 Charter Arms Undercover :: Cylinder Release is Binding

    The cylinder release on my 1968 Charter Arms Undercover (.38 Special) is binding. I am a novice gun owner, but an aerospace engineer with a notable amount of experience working with finely tuned machines and following technical directions and documentation. Since disassembling and doing a thorough cleaning didnít help right away, I purchased some new semiautomatic pistols (Kel-Tec PF-9 and S&W Shield 40). Now that I am practiced and carrying my semiautomatic replacements, I still want to fix the revolver. With the cylinder removed, and using some small tools, I can mimic a seated cylinder. The release functions without an issue. With the cylinder opened, the plunger works without issue. If I swing the cylinder into place and manually pull on the front of the plunger to mimic what the cylinder release does, the plunger sticks. If I jiggle it around a little, I can get it to open though. Pressing the cylinder release in the appropriate fashion also has a similar affect. It looks to me like something has gotten bent, even if it is ever so slightly. I canít tell what it is. The pistol received no obvious trauma. The pistol isnít a great pistol, but it was my first; my father gave it to me. I am not going to sell it. If anything, Iíll just preserve it and put it in its 1968 original box, and keep it in the safe. With that being said, if I could fix it, it would be nice to have yet another functioning weapon available. Any advice? Thank you. I apologize if "plunger" or any other descriptor isn't the appropriate technical name. I don't have my manual with me at the moment.

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    Has the pistol ever had the cylinder "slapped" into place, like they do in the movies?
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    Member Array pawned79's Avatar
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    Even though the pistol is old, it literally stayed in its box, unfired, until I received it in 1999. I have, on numerous occasions, slung the cylinder into battery using only the flick of my firing wrist. This was a general practice for me during tactical speed loading. Do you believe that performing that action repeatedly is traumatic enough to bend the swing out arm? I have never struck the cylinder with my off-hand similarly to slapping an AR-15 bolt release after seating a fresh magazine, nor has the weapon ever been dropped. I did fire about half a box of +P through it before a more experienced friend advised me against it, given the age of the weapon. The pistol continued to operate without issue for many hundreds of rounds after that though.

    My friend, the one previously mentioned, has a relatively new S&W revolver of the same style, and the orifice in the frame, rear of the cylinder, where the cylinder’s axle enters the frame, has a stainless steel grommet. My 1968 revolver has no grommet; the steel frame seems to be cast with the orifice, perhaps drilled after casting. In my revolver, there is some wear and tear in that area. I’ve made a note of it.

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    Yes, I meant the flick of the wrist style, when I said "slapping"

    That is a pretty quick way to bend the ejector rod, or knock the cylinder out of time, on a revolver. Not sure about actually bending the swing arm, but it's possible.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
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    Member Array pawned79's Avatar
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    Ah, so I am to blame. Fair enough. Now, would this be something worth restoring now in 2012, or something to just preserve and shelf until I will it to my children fifty-six years from now with a nice big note that says, “I think I broke something. Sorry. Good luck finding replacement parts in 2068 now that it is a hundred years old.” I still have all the original packaging and inserts for this weapon. If there are only a few components that need replacing, like just the ejector rod, I might be able to do that, if I could buy them. Alternatively, I could go down to the local used gun store and purchase another Charter Arms Undercover, and use it as a parts gun. Am I being to sentimental about this?

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    Well, it could be something else, I am just offering that as a likely cause. A good gunsmith would be able to tell you what exactly the problem is.

    But, that is often a cause of issues where the cylinder doesn't swing freely out.

    And only you can say whether or not you are being too sentimental about it. I personally don't sell guns, some members on here trade them about as often as I change socks it seems. But, if it has meaning to you, and seems worth the time and effort, than it is. But only you can make that call.

    Buying a spare for parts might now be a bad idea. Or Numrich often has parts for older guns that are harder to find elsewhere.

    http://www.gunpartscorp.com/catalog/...spx?catid=9232
    Last edited by buckeye .45; October 4th, 2012 at 10:26 PM. Reason: Link added
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    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    Holy crap, look at that! Wow, thanks, buckeye. Thank you very much. That is am amazing catalog of parts. I am going to take it down to a local gunsmith and discuss it with them. It may not be the most unique or the best around, but it is mine, and a functional gun is always better than the alternative.

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    There is a screw that presses the stud in the middle of the cylinder to move it forward to release it. Check to see that that small screw, visible when the cylinder is open, isn't partially moved too far in or out.

    I have heard flipping the cylinder closed called the "Sam Spade" or "Humphrey Bogart" flip. It will cause a lot of problems on any revolver, but especially the old school Charters.
    Try not to screw up so bad they name the screw up after you. (Station 15 saying)

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    Superhouse, yes, part 15 from the link above: the cylinder latch release screw! That was my initial guess as to what the problem was, since a new S&W J-Frame has a stainless steel grommet used with that component. I thought the cylinder latch release screw was catching on the casted metal frame, but that simply isn't the problem.

    I disassembled, cleaned, oiled, reassembled and adjusted that entire cylinder latch mechanism. Finding the cylinder latch plunger spring in the carpet of the dining room is not my favorite activity. :-(

    If I operate it without the cylinder in battery, using a small dowel as a substitute for the ejector rod, it operates without issue.

    While the cylinder is open, and I pull forward on the ejector rod head, the ejector rod also moves freely without issue.

    If I spin the cylinder, the rod is not noticeably bent either; I did this last night. That doesn’t mean it isn’t bent enough to be an issue, just that I couldn’t see it with the eye. It also doesn’t mean that crane isn’t bent enough to misalign just enough to be a problem.

    It is only when the cylinder is seated in battery that the release action gets sticky. If I pull forward on the ejector rod head while the cylinder is in battery, it is sticky. If I press forward on the cylinder latch while the cylinder is in battery, it is sticky. Not gritty. Not gummy. It feels like a momentary, ridged resistance. Most of the time it is very brief, but every once in a while it is so difficult to get open, that I have to stop everything and fiddle with it in a variety of ways just to get it to open.

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    New Member Array doodlebug's Avatar
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    Hey, did you ever find a solution to the problem you were having with the cylinder latch? I am having the exact same problem with mine.

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