Potential smoothness of SA revolver actions?


January 24, 2003, 12:55 AM
A friend of mine really wants to pick up a single action revolver, so we went out gun browsing at the local shops. I tried out a Vaquero, and after being used to triggers on S&W revolvers, the Ruger action felt like it needed a lot of work.

But what I wonder is, for a range only fun revolver, how much can the triggers on these single action guns be improved? Can you get them as nice as a good S&W trigger? Is this a DIY job of polishing and swapping springs, or do you need the special gunsmith mojo?


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January 24, 2003, 01:57 AM
Single action triggers can be tuned to a very high level.
I think Jerry Kunhausen's book on gunsmithing the Colt Single actions is out now. This will have everything necesary about trigger work.

Unless you have the tools and skills, I wouldn't go much farther than polishing parts, and replacing or tuning springs.

Jim March
January 24, 2003, 04:01 AM
Ruger SA hop-up parts and tips:


January 24, 2003, 09:25 AM
If its a Ruger, unhook one of the legs of the trigger spring. Dry fire a lot. Dry fire more.

January 24, 2003, 11:11 AM
I took that a bit further and stripped down the whole gun. The trigger return spring is responsible for quite a lot of weight in the pull. I simply bent both legs upward to a point just below the cross-pin on which they rest. This left enough tension to return the trigger, and no hammer push-off was evident. My rough guesstimate is that it reduced the pull about twice that of just unhooking a single leg.

January 24, 2003, 08:15 PM
Bob Munden can make a new Colt SAA cycle so smoothly it's almost heavenly. The trigger can break under 1.5 lbs. Of course you're gonna pay and if you're not personal friends with him, you're gonna wait.

I've handled old model Blackhawks that the trigger break was as good as any 1911 I've ever handled. My father-in-law has four three screw flat-top Blackhawks and a couple of them are as good as most S&Ws or 1911s.

For the new models, trigger work can clean them up good enough for most but I think that many of the top Ruger trigger tuners would probably recommend the old model Blackhawks for the pickiest shooters.

January 26, 2003, 07:39 AM
http://www.realguns.com. Look thru the "Articles" archive and there's a whole article on said subject (actually a series of 3 or 4)

Tom C.
January 28, 2003, 10:27 AM
It is no trick to get a Ruger MNBH nicely smoothed up. Perhaps a little more difficult than an OMBH due to the presence of the transfer bar, but it isn't hard. Spring kits help, but careful stoning of the engagement surfaces by someone who knows a little can work wonders. The CAS shooters have beautifully smooth single action revolvers of all kinds. The Ruger is generally the most durable.

Jim K
January 28, 2003, 09:45 PM
The quick and dirty answer is no. S&W and Colt DA/SA revolvers have no half-cock and the SA pull can be made quite light. S&W SA trigger pulls run 2 3/4 - 3 pounds on an average. SA revolvers of the traditional type have to have a pull heavy enough that the trigger/sear will miss the half-cock and safety notches or the sear edge will be battered severely. The new Rugers and the Colt Cowboy have no such problem and the pull can be lightened considerably.

FWIW, I doubt that the pull on a traditional SAA can be made as light as 1.5 pounds for the reasons stated above.


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