Why is everyone trying to put lighter springs in their Single Action? (and review)


July 12, 2010, 03:03 PM
Now I understand in CAS you want to be able to shoot fast, but for the average shooter, I think lighter hammer springs are silly.

So after scouring the net I chose the Ruger Vaquero over the Uberti Cattleman based on reviews. My friend got the Uberti so I am able to compare them side by side.

Some background info on me: as a former Bullseye pistol shooter, I can shoot pretty decently, and I like a gun that shoots accurately and handles well.

Here is the Ruger New Vaquero in .357 next to an airsoft replica.


Out of the box I was immediately impressed by the Ruger's slick action and light hammer compared to the Uberti. The Uberti's hammer spring is quite a bit stiffer.

After playing with both guns for a few days before going to the range, I liked the slick action and the lighter hammer spring on the Ruger. The Ruger's bluing is dull compared to the slick deep blue of the uberti, and the case color hideous in comparison, but I thought that the once the finish is worn off, I'll appreciate the finer internals of the Ruger.

Going to the range changed my views on both guns quite a bit.

Unlike many accounts I have read, both guns were dead on at 15 yards. The SAA styled frame on the Ruger points naturally, and the gun grouped real well.

Compared to my Rock River 1911 a premium target pistol the Ruger's trigger creeps quite a bit. It's locktime is also extremely long also, making the gun unforgiving to shoot, however for 500 dollars, the pistol shoots extremely well, until I shot the Uberti.

The Uberti has a heavier trigger pull, with some notches in the travel, but the very last bit of travel is crisp. Also the fuller grips, along with the heavier hammer spring make the gun more user friendly. The locktime with the heavy hammer was noticably faster, and the gun hit like a laser compared to the ruger. The sights were small, however the V shaped notch helps with fast target acquisition, and the narrow rear notch made the alignment more apparent than the more standard square notch on the ruger. The ruger's rear notch is actually a bit wide, and the glossy surface on both pistols makes the V notch and narrow front sight easier to align than the wide square notch on the ruger. I do like the wider front sight for target shooting however.

Compared to my Rock river, the single actions were a bit more difficult for me to shoot. I can clover leaf with the 1911 at 15 yards, where I was getting about 2 inch groups with the uberti and 2-3 inch groups with the ruger one handed.

Overall: for shooting at the range and as a bullseye shooter I prefer the Uberti by a small margin. The trigger reach is correct (it is very short on the ruger) the narrow trigger promotes consistant alignment, the fuller grips are easier to hold, the trigger is crisper, and the faster locktime make the gun much more forgiving.

Here is a video of me shooting the plates at 15 yards with the Uberti. I could nail 6 plates every time with the Uberti, but only 2 out of 3 times with the Ruger.

Back to my rant. Where can I get a heavier hammer spring for the Ruger? I can only find lighter hammer springs.

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July 12, 2010, 03:52 PM
I think lighter hammer springs are silly.Think what you want.

I put lighter hammer springs in my Colts and one Uberti because the factory springs are so strong they are hard to cock, and jar the sights off target when the hammer smacks into the frame going 700 MPH!

Too light is just as harmful to accuracy because of slower lock time.
The trick is to find a spring somewhere in the middle.


July 12, 2010, 04:53 PM
Dry fire that Ruger about a thousand times and the pull will lighten a bit and the creep will smooth out a lot. Mine did. It's tedious, but it can easily be done in a couple of hours, allowing plenty of time to rest between strings of snaps. Remove the cylinder (but reinserted the base pin) to save wear on the parts that touch.

July 12, 2010, 04:58 PM
RC, I agree about the balance part, however I feel that the stock spring in my Ruger is on the light side for my tastes, where I don't mind the heavier spring on the Uberti as you can see from the video.

Kernel, I've probably dryfired it over 1000 times by now with snap caps. It's slick, but the creep is still there. Not a major issue though, I just feel the Uberti trigger is crisper.

I bought the wolff spring kit for the ruger. It only made the locktime longer, but lightened the trigger pull with the lighter trigger spring.

July 12, 2010, 05:09 PM
dryfired it over 1000 times by now with snap caps
Oh. That explains the drag ring. Drive on.

July 12, 2010, 09:05 PM
Because most guns are oversprung from the factory to overcome the inherent roughness in the action. When the action is smooth (either through professional or DIY tuning), you don't need heavy springs. Smoother actions allow for faster hammers and thus to attain the same locktime, you don't need as heavy a spring. I've installed lighter springs in all my two dozen single actions. Lots of folks make claims of slower locktime, low reliability, etc. but I have not found any of it to be based in reality. I use CCI primers almost exclusively and NEVER have any issues with light strikes.

Seems to be some sort of silly macho issue with this as well. :rolleyes:

July 13, 2010, 08:17 AM
Yes, but if we're just talking about single action revos here the lock time on these guns is really slow and putting a lighter spring under the hammer will make it even slower. I always sprung them lighter when tuning the action and reducing the trigger's pull weight and creep until another smith suggested going to a heavier mainspring to speed up the lock time and I believe it is beneficial overall. The effect on the trigger's pull weight is barely noticeable when this is done and the sights have less time to wander off target while the hammer is dropping. When shooting at targets out past 200 meters it can make a difference.

Jim K
July 13, 2010, 03:54 PM
The basic SA revolver was designed in a day when primers were often insensitive and needed a real "kick" to get going, and were successors of percussion guns that had to keep the cap from blowing back the hammer and jamming the gun.

There is still a need for a certain hammer momentum to fire the primer and not allow primer blowout (piercing) but the heavy hammer and spring and slow lock time of the traditional SA is not really needed today. But it is (note the word) "traditional." Which is why it is unlikely to change from the factory. The modern idea of a single action revolver is based on the guns of a snapshot in time called the "cowboy era" and that is the SA we are stuck with.

Could someone design a modern SA revolver without the drawbacks of the "traditional" gun? Sure. S&W once made the K-38 in an SA version. But I am not holding my breath waiting for them to show up at CAS or SASS events, and why should they? There was no real reason for them in the first place, as almost any DA revolver can be fired SA.


Red Cent
July 13, 2010, 03:55 PM
It is what makes the world go around. Silly? Naaaaw. Real light hammer spring in bullseye shooting=dumb. Heavy hammer spring in cowboy=stupid.

My three screws are one washer enabled to set off a Federal primer. The mainsprings in my 1873s are hourglassed to really make for a soft hammer. That hammer has to be overcome by the bolt worked by the lever. Again, strong hammer spring in a cowboy 1873=stupid.

Then again some remove one of the trigger return spring on a Vaquero. Or an aluminum lifter in an 1873, or Whisper Springs insted of the minture crowbars used in a factory 1873.

Reasons, not silly:evil:

PS: I can master follow through better than I can master a 6# trigger.

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