S&W hammer doesnt cock in DA


March 24, 2012, 08:12 PM
Occasionally my new 'N' frame S&W doesn't cock the hammer when I'm shooting quickly in double action.

It seems like the trigger is short stroking - the cylinder turns, but the hammer doesn't cock.

I only have about 300 rounds through the gun. Nothing looks worn, but I can't reproduce this malfunction with any of my other S&W revolvers.

Whats up?

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March 24, 2012, 08:17 PM
It sounds like the strain screw is adjusted too light or maybe it has been improperly modified ( filed down) by the previous owner. Pull the grips off and see if it is completely tightened down.

March 24, 2012, 08:22 PM
You're either not letting go of the trigger fully to allow the action to reset or the internals are gummed up and are not traveling forward fast enough or consistently enough to reset.

If you haven't done so in a number of years I'd remove the grips and flush the innards with my favourite cleaner, Ed's Red. I suggest the ER mix because it contains a little light oil which, after you drain out the excess and the solvents dry away, will maintain a light protective film and lubrication. You'll still want to add a drop of oil to the main spring link pivots and hammer pin but the rest will be adequitely lubed with the ATF that's in the ER mix. Other solvents would certainly work but none or few others have the oil in the mix to provide lubrication and rust prevention like the ER recipe.

If it still does this then an inspection under the side cover to inspect for broken parts, bits jamming the works or some other sort of wear or other issue is called for. If you're not comfy doing that then it's time for a gunsmith.

March 24, 2012, 08:23 PM
The strain screw being not fully tightened would actually allow the trigger to reset even more easily than if it's tight. So while it's a good idea to check it I can't see it being the cause of the trigger not fully reseting.

March 24, 2012, 08:24 PM
I am the original owner. I have never removed the side plate, or tampered with any internals.

If I shoot slowly, and let the trigger come totally forward, it wont do this. The problem may well be my fault; but with this particular gun its hard to tell if the trigger is fully reset, because I can't "feel" it like I can with my 25 and 29 - neither can I get them to replicate this.

March 24, 2012, 08:34 PM
About the only thing it can be is the double-action fly hanging up in the hammer.

I'd take the grips off, cock it, and hose it out with Rem-Oil or WD-40 right down the hammer slot in the frame from the top and bottom.

Blow it out with an air hose, cycle the action SA & DA several times, and hose it with Rem-Oil or WD-40 again.

Hosing is good!
(If you don't want to take the side plate off and see what is actually going on there.)


March 24, 2012, 08:55 PM
OK, I will give that a try when I get home - hose it down with lube, and blow it out with my air compressor.

March 24, 2012, 10:31 PM
Re-lube if you use WD40. It is not an efficient firearm lube.

March 25, 2012, 04:05 AM
Even as the original owner time may have gummed up the original oil put in at the factory. So a good flush isn't a bad idea at all.

I've never used Rem-Oil. Is it partially a solvent as well as oil? This aspect of cleaning AND lubricating is why I suggested making up some Ed's Red and flushing out the guts.

Rem-Oil or Ed's or whatever, you'll still want to take off the grips to provide access for draining and to squirt the stuff up inside. The opening under the grips provides easier access to a lot more of the action for squirting the stuff inside and letting it drain out.

March 25, 2012, 08:36 AM
On return of the trigger, the S&W trigger makes 3 clicks. If you pull after the first click, nothing moves. If you pull after the second, you get what you describe: trigger proceeds rearward, cylinder turns, hammer stays down. Pull after the third click--all's well.

So, you're either short-stroking the trigger, or the trigger is unusually easy to short-stroke. I can't tell you how to know which of those two it is.


I had that problem with a new S&W revolver (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=635090) I bought recently, and returned it for service. They replaced the strain-screw for the mainspring, firing pin AND sear! But now it works like a charm.


March 25, 2012, 12:08 PM
I'd bet on short-stroking.
Make sure you let the trigger go FULLY forward after each shot.

March 25, 2012, 02:39 PM
I agree with this. But it would not hurt to give the internals a cleaning and check that the strain screw is tight. Most of the time either one of these suggestions should resolve the problem.
Good luck,

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