Field Strip 101: Cap and Ball Revolvers


By Darryl Choy

Originally Published 3/2003 Photos added 4/2015

The available instructions are: “Tap out the wedge and remove barrel from receiver.” However there is a lot more. The basic rule to remember is: DO NOT REMOVE OR LOOSEN THE WEDGE SCREW.

Without proper instructions, just about everybody violated this rule, including myself. Sam Colt designed this screw to keep the wedge from being lost or separated from the barrel unit during disassembly. Here’s the proper procedure:

Please the Revolver in half cock

1. Place the Revolver in half cock

foobar baz

2. Tap the Wedge out until the wedge spring rests on the screw



3. Turn the cylinder until a wall between two chambers is under the plunger.



4. Activate the lever so the plunger presses against the cylinder, slowly separating the barrel unit from the receiver.



5 Remove the cylinder.


To reassemble, tap the wedge in flush to the right side. The wedge spring is not intended to lock on the right side.  If you tap in the wedge too far, the cylinder will drag or not turn at all. Virtually none of the current owners manual have this information. Now you know. Go shoot that revolver! DC


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