S&W M14 Single Action, sticky trigger return


December 14, 2004, 02:22 PM
this is my first post so help me out if I need it. I have a S&W m14 single action and the trigger will not always return to the ready position. I have to sometimes give it a little push to get it to pop back. When I take the sideplate off or even relieve a little of the pressure on the sideplate it works fine. I know something is rubbing that's not supposed to be, what is it? How can I relieve the pressure? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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Jim K
December 14, 2004, 04:13 PM
Lack of lubrication can be a cause, but I would think if you have had the side plate off you probably oil the insides properly.

One possible cause is a warped sideplate, since you indicate things are OK with the sideplate off. Look inside the sideplate for signs of rubbing. If not too severe, some careful use of 400 grit paper can correct the problem, but do not polish the area where the sideplate abuts the frame; that will make things worse.

Other thoughts are that someone reduced the weight of the trigger return sping under the impression that it would ease the trigger pull (it has almost no effect on the SA Model 14), or that the hammer block safety is bent or rubbing.


December 17, 2004, 05:54 PM
Check the trigger return slide block thingy (the spring itself is inside it) for signs of binding on either the sideplate or the inside of the frame opposite. Backing off the sideplate implicates some "squeeze" on that sliding piece.

If you have that pin inside the trigger return spring (I've seen a few without...), a flare or mushroome in the pin can hang up on the inside of the compressed spring. Backing off the sideplate could let it fudge over a bit and pop loose.

Double-check the underside of the trigger where it gets close to the frame at the back of trigger travel. A burr there or something goofy can make it stick.

Does that model have the adjustable trigger stop? If yes, check that where it meets the trigger for wear groove or anything else goofy.

And then there's the drive pin inside the trigger, along with the bolt. A burr can hang up the pin from pivoting, and several surfaces on the trigger/bolt area can interfere with each other. That also means check to make sure the bolt spring is not kinked--a balky bolt will really mess up trigger return.

Standing Wolf
December 17, 2004, 09:23 PM
Let me add this, please, to the good advice offered above: if the gun were mine, I'd strip it to the frame and soak everything but the stocks in mineral spirits overnight, then scrub it down, lubricate it, reassemble it, and be very surprised if the problem hadn't been taken care of.

That might not solve the problem; in my experience, however, it's the answer at least 95% of the time.

Jim K
December 18, 2004, 09:46 PM
Almost forgot. Another area to check is the hammer block safety. It must be free to move up and down in its channel in the sideplate, else it will keep the trigger from returning.


December 19, 2004, 07:03 AM
I would start by swapping the two sideplate screws, just snug them down gently. Tighten them slowly and see if the problem comes back. Don't torque the snot out of them, just tighten them a little at a time. If it doesn't come back mark the ends with a marker and put them back in. Remove them again and see if they are bottoming out or runing out of threads. If it does come back then start eliminating the causes listed above by the others.

Sideplate screws need to live in the hole they were fitted to, they aren't interchangeable and can cause problems if they are mixed up.

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