Hammer Bobbing


June 29, 2013, 09:39 PM
Hello all.

My model 637 is my constant companion, end all be all, perfect ccw. I love everything about it and have never owned a small gun that I shot so well. That's probably because I spend a lot of time practicing with it. When I go out shooting, other guns usually come along to entertain the property owners, aka, the in laws. For me, practice drills with the snub is everything I need from the hobby; that and maybe the MKIII with some 2 liters...

When I'm not able to be on the range, I do dry drills, probably 15 to 30 in a day. Today, during some of that dry firing, I had the hammer snag not once but twice on my t-shirt while being drawn. To be honest, I can't remember the last time or if its ever happened in the past. At the time, I was wearing a house t-shirt, 2 sizes too big, not something I would normally wear out but it still got me thinking a solution maybe in order.

So, I was wondering, what would bobbing the hammer entail? Although I hardly ever use it (please spare me the lectures on why I should never SA in a SD situation. I know I shouldnt and wouldn't) I would want to retain my ability to shoot SA. After practicing DA I like to fire off my last 5 rounds in SA from some ridiculous distance, just for poops and laughs. That is enough reason for me to retain the SA. The hammer in the pic below is what I'd like to end up with...


Would this require any springs to be changed? Right now, my trigger is perfect and anything that would alter that is an immediate deal killer.

FWIW, I knew what I was doing before I bought the 637 and had the option of getting any of the Airweight/lite models that are in current production. However, I've never owned a spurred snub nose revolver. Indeed, I've owned the 638, 642, 342 and similar Taurus models but never a spurred snub nose like I'd always admired and wanted. Just thought I'd throw that in there before I'm yelled for not buying a hammer less or bodyguard style.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for reading.

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June 29, 2013, 11:12 PM
The hammer needs to be removed to be bobbed. (yes, amazingly, people actually bob hammers while in the gun. Don't be that guy.) Bobbing the hammer will have no effect on setting off a primer reliably. Lightening the springs can and does. I use a cut off wheel in a Dremel and finish with a sanding drum and fine cut files and sandpaper. A couple of minutes on the buffer and it looks like a factory bobbed hammer. Having a proper action job will help with the trigger pull MUCH more than using light springs. If you want to do your own revolver work I strongly suggest that you buy and read the Kuhnhausen SA&W revolver manual. It will save you lots of money and mistakes. Trust me on this. I would run with the stock springs for a while and then try a lighter one if you cannot have an action job done, just don't go too light on the mainspring. What I have always done and recommended to my customers is to obtain another hammer if it is available and bob it and keep the stock one so if you decide to sell the gun and the buyer wants a full hammer you can reinstall it. A lot of guys won't buy a bobbed gun because they don't think it will be reliable. This is not true. I have been carrying bobbed revolvers for 30 years and have never had one fail to fire. Personally, bobbing a hammer like the one in your photo offers no advantage that I can see. That hammer will still snag just like a factory one will. But it's up to you. If the hammer is cut down even with the frame it will never snag, which on a carry gun is a Very Good Thing.

June 29, 2013, 11:19 PM
Bobbing the hammer seems to me like removing the guns s/a ability. I don't know why one would choose to remove half of the guns ability this way... maybe have the hammer shortened? S/A is still a very important part of any revolver in my opinion, imagine if you had to make a precision shot?

June 29, 2013, 11:26 PM
What about putting your thumb on the hammer spur during the draw? I think you'll find it doesn't slow you down that much.
I'd get a smith to do it; maybe even get a 2nd hammer so you can keep the original hammer "stock".

June 29, 2013, 11:36 PM
Precision shooting in double action can be learned by most people. It just takes practice. I shot USPSA revolver for many years and fast head shots are common at most matches out to 20 yards or so. I very rarely shoot single action any more with a double action revolver. A bobbed hammer can be cocked for single action if you know how to do it but never try to lower a bobbed hammer if cocked. The only real safe way to let the hammer down is to pull the trigger. The single action cocking notch can be removed if desired for true double action only shooting.

June 30, 2013, 12:46 PM
Bill Jordan recommended "de-horning" the hammer on duty/combat guns. Shooting SA is no problem... You just "start" the hammer back with the DA trigger and when enough of it emerges from the frame you thumb it on back.

Very quickly learned. Or, you can "stage" the trigger as noted above. I can still do this reliably even though I've carried an auto for about 20 years.

No problem with reliability... My little Taurus 85 is so modified and it's fully reliable.

Old Fuff
June 30, 2013, 01:50 PM
Shooting SA is no problem... You just "start" the hammer back with the DA trigger and when enough of it emerges from the frame you thumb it on back.

Cocking is the easy part.

But when you want to lower the cocked hammer you have to hold it while pulling the trigger, let the hammer advance a very little bit, and then get your finger off the trigger so that it can move forward as the hammer is lowered or released. Under these circumstances the hammer block (on post 1945 revolvers) will prevent the hammer from going far enough so the firing pin can hit the primer.

However, if something doesn't go right and the trigger is still back when the hammer falls there will likely be a loud BANG!! :eek:

On two occasions I have been... ah... "requested" to remove or block the single-action option on a bobbed Smith & Wesson, when in the hands of a police officer (both cases) a bobbed revolver went off when that wasn't the user's intention... :uhoh:

Fortunately no one was hurt, but the officer's discussion of the incident with someone higher in command, was to say the least - strained. In one case they're was also the matter of an unauthorized hole in a patrol car... :uhoh:

For this reason the Old Fuff has made the practice of removing or blocking the single-action option anytime he bobs a hammer. ;)

So far no unexpected discharges have been reported.

June 30, 2013, 02:06 PM
That gun pic doesn't look like a 637, but bobbing the hammer is really easy. I suggest thinking about the hammer profile you want.

June 30, 2013, 06:51 PM
Looks like my 337PD http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/Saved%20stuff-private/CarryGuns.jpg

June 30, 2013, 09:08 PM
Bobbing a hammer is often a good thing on a carry gun. Leaving a single action notch on a bobbed hammer can be exciting. Every one I have ever bobbed, for anyone, is converted to DA only.

I've tried leaving enough on there so it can be safely lowered, it never works out right and it still seems to snag AND gives you very little purchase if you try to decock it.

Look at the old school humbacked model smiths. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, they do work.

July 5, 2013, 10:16 PM
I have a S&W 337 and had a local revolver specialist smith bob the hammer and put a HiViz front sight on it. Pretty well resolves the snagging issue. I prefer revolvers with internal hammers but I got the 337 in a good trade. I was a police officer back in the days when revolvers were standard police handguns so shooting DA was ingrained in me. We shot our Model 10's one time at fifty yards from the target while in the prone position while in the academy...And then were told to never do that on the street. The state police academy standards required all trainees to do that for initial qualification at the academy...So, SA is no issue for me and I can shoot my revolvers just as well DA as SA...One of the biggest errors I see on public ranges is people shooting small revolvers that they obviously got for self-defense SA using a quasi target shooting stance.

July 5, 2013, 10:51 PM
See Old Fuff's post #7,

It is for this reason and this reason alone that I do not own nor contemplate owning any bobbed hammer revolvers. I would make an exception if I felt sufficient threat for a "Fitz" special (or a "humpback" DAO Smith). A truly specialized close quarters fighting gun from concealed carry.

It would without exception be double action only. And.... from inception to today is controversial among revolver fans for the utility vs. safety factor.

Old Fuff
July 6, 2013, 11:42 AM
I agree that a bobbed hammer is probably unnecessary on any revolver that isn't carried under deep cover (such as a pocket). However converting a revolver to double-action only when it's going to used for defensive purposes can be a good idea.

It eliminates any claim that someone unintentionally shot someone they had covered after they'd cocked the hammer and touched what a sleeze-ball attorney would call a "hair trigger." This may sound far-fetched, but it happened (the lawsuit, not the claim) on a number of occasions, and resulted in many large and small police departments and federal agencies having their revolvers modified to DAO, with, and without bobbing the hammer.

In the case of S&W revolvers this could be done without actually removing the single-action option, but doing so was quicker and less expensive.

Smith & Wesson has offered enclosed hammer revolvers since 1887. Ruger didn't until recently when they introduced the LCR line. Colt never did, although they would bob off hammer spurs on special orders.

While a Fitz Conversion does have some good points, and my personal experience has been positive, I no longer carry one or recommend it for that purpose. These days too many ignorent jury members in a civil or criminal trial would see the cut-away trigger guard as being "dangerous" or "reckless," which they aren't.

July 7, 2013, 07:10 PM
I own a 637 so I known the picture I posted is not the same model. I only posted it to show how I would like I hammer to turn out.

I understand the ramifications of using SA a in SD situation and its something I would never do. However, I prefer to retain a bit of hammer and the SA capabilities.

Thanks for the responses.

Jim K
July 7, 2013, 08:12 PM
Drail wrote: "Bobbing the hammer will have no effect on setting off a primer reliably."

That statement may or may not be true, depending in part on the hammer and how much metal is removed. A K or N-frame hammer can be bobbed with no problem. But a J-frame hammer is already light and getting enough momentum to reliably fire harder primers can be a problem if hammer mass is reduced too much. This is especially true if mainspring tension is also reduced, often done at the same time to obtain a "good" DA trigger pull.

Anyone bobbing a hammer on a small gun with a light hammer and/or reducing mainspring weight, should make sure to test fire with a wide variety of ammo to make sure that reliability is not affected. (One might say that he will use only his special handloads with soft primers, but one does not want to have a revolver made useless if forced to use factory loads.)


July 8, 2013, 10:14 PM

Thanks for the reply. My trigger is near perfect from use, anything that would alter that is a deal breaker.

Jim Watson
July 8, 2013, 10:43 PM
Colt offered screw attached hammer shrouds for snag prevention. The tip of the hammer was exposed a la S&W Bodyguard.

I have not heard of ignition trouble with a bobbed hammer S&W, while my Dad routinely carried and occasionally shot a sawn off, bobbed hammer Colt PPS .32-20 with no misfires.

On the other hand, a friend bobbed the hammer of a Taurus Chief-oid and it went to pot, with frequent misfires on ammo that had shot reliably before. In lieu of a new hammer, he crammed in a stronger mainspring to get it to shoot.

I have an IDPA SSR that I only shoot DA but I still miss the hammer spur deleted by the gunsmith as part of his action job. It is good to be able to roll the cylinder before shooting to check for high primers or other faults like unburnt powder under the star.
When shooting CAS people wondered why I didn't know the "load four, skip one, load one" ritual with a SAA. I did, of course, I just didn't want to be hit by the binding cylinder rotation that plagued some of those experts when they left a high primer or their guns got a bit foul.

July 8, 2013, 11:43 PM
Now that Fuff mentions it, I own a S&W Safety Hammerless,

I consider it an antique and retired from service. I have adopted long ago the "thumb over hammer" draw method. Doesn't interfere or slow me even a bit. I do not however "pocket carry".

The devil is in the details and to this day if I go to the theater in the winter (Shreveport, Louisiana?) wearing a wool overcoat, I would need to fall back on the old "Safety Hammerless" or bob a hammer.

Old Fuff
July 9, 2013, 01:06 AM
I have an IDPA SSR that I only shoot DA but I still miss the hammer spur deleted by the gunsmith as part of his action job.

When converting a revolver to double-action-only it is not necessary to alter the hammer in any way so the "conversion" is reversable. Many service revolvers were left with the hammer spur intact because the spur also positioned a safety strap or other holster based retainer.

Old Fuff
July 9, 2013, 01:11 AM
I would need to fall back on the old "Safety Hammerless"

You might be surprised at the number of people who still do, and in the past that apparently included two U.S. Presidents.

But not the current one. :uhoh:

July 9, 2013, 05:27 PM
Many years ago I bobbed the hammer on a J-frame Model 60, I never did get it to fire reliably double-action even with full power springs. I ended up replacing the hammer.

royal barnes
July 10, 2013, 12:58 PM
I have a Smith Model 60 and a Colt's Agent with bobbed hammers. The Smith has lightened springs and the Colt is stock. I have never had a problem with either one not firing.

Old Fuff
July 10, 2013, 01:13 PM
Sometimes light firing pin/hammer nose strikes are caused by excessive cylinder end-shake, or back & forth movement of the cylinder as opposed to rotational movement when the cylinder is locked. If one is going to use a reduced tension mainspring (especially on an S&W J-frame), correcting any end-shake should be the first order of business before any hammer bobbing or reduced springs are considered. On all too many occasions this is never mentioned by self apointed Internet experts. Also a "professional" action job usually involves a lot more then a bit of polishing here and there and switching springs.

July 10, 2013, 11:33 PM
My only J frame is a 31-1. It does not have a bobbed hammer. I don't think I will be bobbing the hammer spur from that super magnum (hahahahahahahahahaha).
I already have a Taurus 85CH, so my DAO/spurless hammer needs are covered by that one.

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