How sweet can a S&W Mod 10 be?


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Lovesbeer99
January 23, 2011, 10:28 AM
I have a model 10-8. It's a police or secuity trade in and well used but very accurate. The action is horrible but I've always liked the gun and just made do. Yesterday I was at the range and a nice patron allowed me to shoot his worked 686. The action was as smooth as silk, just like a Python.

Can I get my model 10 worked the same way?

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Shear_stress
January 23, 2011, 11:16 AM
Can I get my model 10 worked the same way?

Sure, it has the same lockwork as the 686. The bigger question is why your Model 10's action is "horrible". Can you be more specific? Model 10s generally have pretty smooth actions.

Old Fuff
January 23, 2011, 11:24 AM
It may just require a good cleaning and relubrication.

As a rule of thumb, the older "long action" Military & Police revolvers (1905 - 1946) had the best double-action trigger pulls, but later ones can often be improved. However there is a relationship between light trigger pulls and reliability. Inexpert polishing and reduced tension springs, are not a good answer - although this way is often recommended.

In other words, use care in what you do. ;)

MrBorland
January 23, 2011, 11:52 AM
Model 10s generally have pretty smooth actions.

IME, few factory guns have triggers that can't be improved. Even the trigger on my stock vintage 5-screw K-38 can't hold a candle to those on my tuned guns.

Can I get my model 10 worked the same way?

Very likely, but as Old Fuff cautions, use due caution. The trigger on the 686 you shot, for instance, may have been tuned very light for competition - good for competitive shooters who reload, but likely bad for defense guns and/or for those who don't reload. Good revolver 'smiths do nice work, and can tune your action appropriate for your use. They'll generally look the gun over as well and can get out-of-spec things corrected if need be.

Here's some good reading on revolver triggers:

http://www.grantcunningham.com/good_trigger.html
http://www.grantcunningham.com/blog_files/action_performance.html

Shear_stress
January 23, 2011, 12:32 PM
IME, few factory guns have triggers that can't be improved. Even the trigger on my stock vintage 5-screw K-38 can't hold a candle to those on my tuned guns.

This is true, but the factory trigger shouldn't be "horrible". We should rule out the possibility that there's something wrong with the gun (or even that the action is simply filthy) before suggesting the OP modify it.

Guillermo
January 23, 2011, 12:39 PM
shear stress is right to point out that it sounds like there is something amiss with it.

even a later model 10 should have a good, if a bit heavy, trigger pull much like the 686

22-rimfire
January 23, 2011, 12:46 PM
Clean it as best you can. Shoot it. Then buy a 686. :D

Model 10's are fine revolvers and it does sound like there is something causing the problem. But I know you want a 686 too; that is why I suggested it.

Lovesbeer99
January 23, 2011, 12:47 PM
I might clean it, but I won't modify it. I playing with the option of sending it to clark custom, or some other good smith to get it converted to a PPC style gun or maybe just a cool custom of some sort.

Other then Clark, Cunningham, Bowen who else might I consider?

9mm+
January 23, 2011, 01:39 PM
I own two Model 10's and love, love, love these pistols. The action on both are very smooth in DA (trigger pull weight is significant, though) and very light and crisp in SA. The sights leave a lot to be desired, but once you're used to them, the 10's are very accurate. I can get very tight groups in SA, almost as tight as my Ruger MkIII with red dot.

MrBorland
January 23, 2011, 02:09 PM
I playing with the option of sending it to clark custom, or some other good smith to get it converted to a PPC style gun or maybe just a cool custom of some sort.

Other then Clark, Cunningham, Bowen who else might I consider?

For this type of work, Mark Hartshorne (http://www.pinnacle-guns.com/), Richard Fletcher (http://www.fletchercustompistols.com/), Frank Glenn (http://www.glenncustom.com/), Alan Tanaka (http://www.americanpistol.com/guild_member.php?mbrid=66), and Jim Stroh (http://www.americanpistol.com/guild_member.php?mbrid=63) come to mind.

But I know you want a 686 too; that is why I suggested it.

I do loves me some 686. Here's mine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmy5mkjpUNI), all tuned up. The Model 10 is no slouch, though, and shouldn't be sold short. Here's what a master can do with his:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgvCGcD-FAg&feature=related

BCRider
January 23, 2011, 02:23 PM
Well I did exactly what Old Fuff warned about and it came out just fine.... but I ONLY use my guns for range and competition. We don't have the option up here for defensive use or carry. If I were using it for defensive use I would clean the works out and lightly oil it and call it all good. At most have a good revolver tuner deal with the areas inside that are most likely to cause some roughness but leave the stock springs alone.

It's very infrequent but my use of the Wolff spring kit has resulted in maybe one out of 500 rounds being a light strike. And there is a balance in tensions between the trigger return spring and the mainspring that needs to be maintained. A smith or home tinkerer that knows their stuff can shift this balance somewhat and still keep the gun reliable enough for target or competition shooting but it often requires that things remain nice and clean for this shift to not run into troubles.

Besides all four of my S&W's had the normal standard heavy but smooth trigger pull when I got them. So it's far more likely that your own is suffering from some grit or dried old lube or pocket lint that is in the action. Or perhaps there may even be a few hints of rust that should be lightly polished away with care and consideration.

Normal cleanings and lube can be done through the openings. But as a one time deal it sounds like you want to open it up for a proper and thorough cleaning and evaluation of the inside condition. Whether a smith or you does this is up to your faith in your abilities.

rayman
January 23, 2011, 03:29 PM
Saw the funniest thing at the range this week. An 8 year old girl was with her grandpa shooting for the 1st time. They had an older pencil-barrel model 10 wearing a tyler T-grip. After 5 minutes of instruction, she shot all 6 rounds into the 10-ring at 7 yards. A couple of minutes later 2 gentlemen in their 20's show up, one with a glock & the other with an XD. They loaded their magazines and fired at their targets from the 7 yard line too. Both FAILED to get a single round into the 10-ring. The grandpa said to his grand daughter "their guns must be bent". I tried my best to suppress a chuckle...

451 Detonics
January 23, 2011, 05:21 PM
I might clean it, but I won't modify it. I playing with the option of sending it to clark custom, or some other good smith to get it converted to a PPC style gun or maybe just a cool custom of some sort.

Other then Clark, Cunningham, Bowen who else might I consider?

Glenn Customs...my 686 is the smoothest and most accurate revolver I have ever owned...

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z271/reloader1959/glenn50yardscopy.jpg

evan price
January 23, 2011, 11:24 PM
I find that with old S&Ws, a thorough cleaning works wonders. A recent purchase, a 10-6 heavy barrel, prooved to have so much dried grease and dirt in the action that the rebound block was heavily scored on the underside where it rubs on the frame. It took me quite a bit of time with a diamond stone to polish it smooth again, but after a complete strip and clean and some fresh oil, that trigger is smooth as silk.

Jenrick
January 24, 2011, 12:04 AM
If you feel comfortable, pop off the side plate and take a look at what you've got. Disassembling the lock work isn't terribly difficult, the only piece that's really a pain to get back in is the rebound slide and spring. Brownells sells a tool that takes all the trouble out. A reduced power rebound slide spring, and some time with a fine grit stone (or paper on glass) to smooth it out can do wonders. Else just clean it out and look for anything obviously broken or binding.

I recommend the S&W Shop Manual, it has lots of good info even if you never attempt half the stuff listed in there.

-Jenrick

madcratebuilder
January 24, 2011, 04:50 AM
If you feel comfortable, pop off the side plate and take a look at what you've got. Disassembling the lock work isn't terribly difficult, the only piece that's really a pain to get back in is the rebound slide and spring. Brownells sells a tool that takes all the trouble out. A reduced power rebound slide spring, and some time with a fine grit stone (or paper on glass) to smooth it out can do wonders. Else just clean it out and look for anything obviously broken or binding.

I recommend the S&W Shop Manual, it has lots of good info even if you never attempt half the stuff listed in there.

-Jenrick
+1

A reduced power trigger return spring well lighten the DA pull and not effect ignition reliability. Buy a Jerry Kuhnhausen S&W shop manual and read it until you understand it.

A good cleaning and lubrication well do wonders on an old Smith.

Stainz
January 24, 2011, 06:42 AM
One thing to remember - S&W err's to the high side on spring strengths, They want to be sure you can pop anyone's primers, thus the strong hammer leaf spring. They want to be sure your trigger returns, thus the stronger rebound coil spring. When you quiz your gunsmith, any mention of 'recurving' your hammer spring - or 'clipping a coil' off your rebound spring should be an indicator to find another gunsmith. New Wolff springs, reduced or standard, which are still less effort than OEM, are dependable and repeatable, and not much $-wise ($12-$16 per set.).

Of course, any spring change should follow up a good cleaning of the innards. My new 2" 10-11, bought new from a Waco, TX 'closeout' seller for $280 9/03, after a cleaning/lubricating and dry-fire 1,000 times regimine/treatment, was deemed fine. Several years later, I swapped the OEM springs for a Wolff standard effort leaf and a middle value (14#) rebound spring. The result was a smooth and lighter trigger - that still pops all primers. An ANIB 4" 64-8 bought going on three years ago got the same treatment - great plinker. I love the 10/64 platform - simple & reliable shooting and great triggers - a return to basics in shooting. Your 10-8 should be better.

Stainz

451 Detonics
January 24, 2011, 08:24 AM
I have always felt changing to lighter springs is just a crutch for poor gunsmithing. An excellent trigger pull can be had by careful handfitting of the parts with full power springs retained. The Colt Python was the last US revolver to have such fitting done at the factory and the cost of the work resulted in the Python being phased out.

Old Fuff
January 24, 2011, 10:52 AM
A reduced power trigger return spring well lighten the DA pull and not effect ignition reliability.

Smith & Wesson revolvers don't have a trigger return spring. :what:

No, what they have is a rebound slide spring, and the difference is important.

Besides returning the trigger to its forward position after it's been pulled, the rebound slide (with enclosed spring) also rebounds the hammer, retracting it and the firing pin back behind the breech face. Then it also resets the cylinder stop. Because of all this, company engineers have calibrated the spring's tension against the strength of the mainspring.

They also want to be sure that things will work if there are problems - either within the gun itself, or outside environmental ones.

One last thing: The smaller the frame size, the more likely you will have trouble of one kind or another.

A weakened spring may slow the forward travel of the trigger, causing the user to start pulling backwards for the next shot too soon, and this will jam the lockwork. It can also hang up and stop the forward travel of the rebound slide at the point when it comes in contact with the hammer's foot. Last but not least, if it lacks the "push" to reset the cylinder stop everything that moves in the whole revolver will freeze.

So does this mean that one can't use a reduced tension spring? No not really, and most of the time you will probably get away with it. But in doing so you have set up a situation where the original reliability has been compromised to some degree in exchange for what shouldn't be a more then 1 pound reduction in the trigger pull. Of course you can do more then that, but with each additional reduction you are paying for it is loss of certain reliability - expecially if other factors are working against you.

Revolvers that serve as weapons are sometimes called "street guns," and the best gunsmiths that do action work are VERY CAREFUL about what they do with spring tensions - often not changing them at all. Big-boy toys are another matter, but the same basics apply.

BCRider
January 24, 2011, 03:10 PM
Point taken on the name of the spring Old Fuff. But consider that MOST folks upon opening up the gun just for an inspection and cleaning would see this as the "trigger return spring". So while it may not fully describe what that spring does or how it is labeled in a schematic diagram it's a small but honest mistake.

Your mention of the concern over the rebound slide spring's power not providing a snappy return is also a very good point for anyone playing around inside one of these guns.

On my first go around with a Wolff kit in my Model 19 I found this out when I tried to lighten up the rebound slide even more than the lightest spring in the kit by making up a spring of my own. I ran into just what you're saying and upon further examining realized that the main and rebound springs play a delicate balancing game through the action with each other where there is definetly a minimum force needed in the rebound slide to overcome the main spring tension and ensure a proper reset of all the lockwork. I played around and set my guns up for as light a rebound spring force as I could which still provides a nice snappy return. This lowers the trigger pull in a very satisfying manner.

But as you very correctly say it does make it so that the proper operation is walking on a tightrope of balance where any gumming up or other source of friction will produce a gun that fails. But since my guns are purely range and competition toys I can dance that tightrope without a life threatening cost. And recognising how little it would take to make them fail I keep them fastidiously clean and properly lubed so the lockwork never binds up due to dust, grit, excess fouling or even pocket lint. All of which a defense gun may well see in the course of it's day to day exposure.

Stainz
January 24, 2011, 05:28 PM
The falacy of some generalizations - such as 'spring changes being a crutch for poor gunsmithing' - needs to be addressed. None other than S&W's Master Revolver Guru - and 'Bang Inc.' owner - Jerry Miculek - would disagree. He prefers a lighter hammer spring, while maintaining enough rebound spring effort to insure a fast trigger recovery to 'keep up' with his trigger squeezes. We mere mortals can get by with less rebound speed.

About the excellent Colt Python being dropped due to manufacturing cost... have you seen any other DA-capable new Colt revolvers lately? As to a 'fine' production gun - consider any Performance Center Shop productions from S&W. Want even finer results? Have S&W complete one of their excellent trigger jobs on your S&W. Such attention to detail is still available today... like yesteryear, for a price. I have never met - or heard of - anyone who wasn't pleased with S&W's custom work. It seems to me the charge was ~$165 inc overnite s/h both ways - but check with S&W (They have an 800#.). A viable, if slightly costly, alternative for the OP's 10. The total cost,, even for a new revolver plus action job, will likely be lower than a fair condition Python, too.

Now - semantics. The 'cylinder stop' has two meanings, for example. It is the component that secures the position of the cylinder, as Old Fuff explained. It is also the now cast-in-place ridge on the cylinder release side of the frame which prevents the rearward movement of the swung out cylinder during the extraction stroke. Without it, the best result your cylinder could hope for would be that you caught it in your hand - else, it hits the deck! I knew the earlier post meant rebound slide... but, I suppose accuracy helps.

Stainz

Old Fuff
January 24, 2011, 05:43 PM
BCRider:

My remark about the rebound slide's spring was not met to be a dig at you, but rather to point out to others that mess with their guns; and may not realize that the spring does indeed do more then simply push the trigger forward. Most of those that recommend going to a lighter spring(s) somehow fail to point out the negatives. :banghead:

I also tried to make the point that my concerns over "street guns" - which seem to be the ones most likely to be tampered with, does not extend to big-boy toys, although I know of several instances where a light hammer fall resulted in a hang-fire during a fast string of double-action fire, and when the next round was fired both went off and ruined the gun.

Hopefully these discussions will lead to some "truth in advertising," about the good and bad factors involved in do-it-yourself revolver action tuning. ;)

joed
January 24, 2011, 05:54 PM
I might clean it, but I won't modify it. I playing with the option of sending it to clark custom, or some other good smith to get it converted to a PPC style gun or maybe just a cool custom of some sort.

Other then Clark, Cunningham, Bowen who else might I consider?

Get someone local and just get the action done and whatever else it needs. I've had the actions done on a few of my S&W revolvers. A reputable gun smith can do exactly what you want.

What I do is stress to them that the gun is a carry piece and I want it to fire every time. The good smiths won't put lighter springs in the action something that causes problems.

MrBorland
January 24, 2011, 06:08 PM
Jerry Miculek - would disagree. He prefers a lighter hammer spring, while maintaining enough rebound spring effort to insure a fast trigger recovery to 'keep up' with his trigger squeezes. We mere mortals can get by with less rebound speed.

AFAIK, JM uses pretty stock spring tensions. He's got enough power in his trigger finger to rip impressive splits with stock poundage.

As Old Fuff indicated, though, the rebound spring is responsible for a number of important things, but many wheelgunners unknowingly use it to push their trigger finger forward. Short-stroking doesn't have to happen when the rebound spring is lightened. Rather, it's an indicator that the shooter has developed the bad habit of riding the trigger during the return. Who knows - maybe that's why JM prefers a stock rebound spring? :evil:

I know of several instances where a light hammer fall resulted in a hang-fire during a fast string of double-action fire, and when the next round was fired both went off and ruined the gun.

Huh? :eek: Not trying to be a wise guy, but I've never heard of that, nor heard that referenced to, even among IDPA/USPSA revo chits, who routinely use uber-light Federal-only ammo to shoot uber-fast splits.

It's always been my understanding (and, albeit limited, experience) a primer lights off or it doesn't, and the action has the oompf to light a primer off or it doesn't. The only hangfires I've heard of (never seen one myself) were from old surplus ammo.

Old Fuff
January 24, 2011, 06:48 PM
It's always been my understanding (and, albeit limited, experience) a primer lights off or it doesn't, and the action has the oompf to light a primer off or it doesn't. The only hangfires I've heard of (never seen one myself) were from old surplus ammo.

The incidents I mentioned weren't recent, and admitedly primers are more sensative then they used to be. That said, an open-top PPC gun just doesn't cut it... :eek:

I also have an unproven theory that it can happen when a reloaded cartridge has a primer that isn't fully seated, and a lightened hammer fall makes a soften hit.

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