Not the sort of trigger job I expected to be doing


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BCRider
February 1, 2014, 03:19 AM
I had one of my Uberti '58's out today doing some smoky shooting with a buddy that was trying out his new Pietta 1860.

The trigger on my gun was almost thought controlled in that it has become so light that I just need to approach it and the wall of air pushed ahead of my advancing finger is enough to set it off..... well, OK, it's not THAT bad but you get the idea.

Tonight as I was cleaning it I played around and found that with only about another 8 to 10 pounds of push against the HAMMER that I could make the hammer jump off full cock and fall to the half cock notch. And it may not have even been THAT much.

Now these two guns have always had a nice light trigger but it used to be more around 2.5 to 3 lbs pull to set them off. Like even in a fast stage of CAS shooting I could still call the shots. Now? Not a hope.

So it looks like I'll be doing a "reverse" trigger job to heavy up the trigger pull before the gun goes out again. I didn't take it apart far enough to look at the parts as it was late and you know what happens when there's something to do and you stupidly look at it "only for a minute". I would have been up to the wee hours until it was done! ! ! ! :D

Given that it's becoming lighter with use I'm thinking that I'm going to find that the sear or hammer hooks or maybe both are rounding over with wear. And that would seem to indicate a bad hardening job. Or perhaps the previous owner did or had a trigger job done and the work honed away the hardened areas so now it's wearing round? I guess I'll see what's what early next week since I'm away to a cowboy shoot this Sunday and a buddy's 50th tomorrow (today actually as it's now officially the "wee hours").

Anyone found this sort of thing happened with one of their Ubertis?

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BowerR64
February 1, 2014, 05:12 AM
Ive done a few myself here is what i found.

If you take some off the step on the full cock hook it holds up better then if you thin the spot on the trigger. Ive tried both ways and if i left the trigger the stock thickness it holds up alot better then if i thin them both.

The is alot more meat on the hammer then on the top of the trigger.

All i do on the trigger is polish it to take some of the grit away then i shorten the full cock hook and polish it.

I always grease these 2 spots after i clean them also.

Driftwood Johnson
February 1, 2014, 09:39 AM
Howdy

One thing to be careful of: Since you bought the gun used, you do not know what the previous owner may have done. One way to lessen trigger pull is to shorten the full cock step. Unfortunately, what can sometimes happen when that is done is the trigger breaks earlier, and does not move enough to clear the half cock notch as the hammer rotates. It sounds like this may be happening on your gun. The trigger needs to move enough so that the sear will clear the half cock notch as it rotates past. The half cock notch slamming down onto the sear can eventually break off either the half cock notch or the sear. Without knowing what was done to your gun, it is hard to say, however if you remove the hammer spring and manually rotate the hammer down while keeping the trigger fixed at the point of release, that should tell you something. A really good smith will put a slight bevel on the full cock notch so that it kicks the trigger out enough to clear the half cock notch when the hammer rotates.

I have an Uberti 1873 rifle that was doing this and I eventually had to replace the hammer and trigger.

The hardening is very thin on these parts, and it is conceivable that somebody filled through the hardening, and you may indeed find the parts are rounding over.

If so, you might consider replacing the hammer and trigger. I had to replace the hammer and trigger on my rifle because the gun eventually became unsafe. A slight knock to the stock would drop the hammer.

BCRider
February 1, 2014, 02:22 PM
Driftwood, dropping from a bump to the stock or barrel is darn near where this one is getting. And that's a good point about the hammer hook height and possibility of the half cock step hitting the sear.

I have to leave for the rest of the day and I've got the match tomorrow. But I'll update on Monday with what I find.

Bower, in the original post I originally wrote;

Tonight as I was cleaning it I played around and found that with only about another 8 to 10 pounds of push against the trigger that I could make the hammer jump off full cock and fall to the half cock notch. And it may not have even been THAT much.

Sorry, my bad. I intended to say ".... of push against the hammer......" The issue is that the trigger is becoming dangerously light rather than requiring an 8 to 10 lb trigger pull. Sorry for the confusion.

Noz
February 1, 2014, 03:00 PM
I do a lot of "gunsmithing" on my guns but the one thing I will not touch is the hammer/trigger engagement.
Find a gunsmith!

44 Dave
February 1, 2014, 03:10 PM
BCRIDER.
Keep us posted, any luck dirt or trigger spring not doing it's job.
I have a Colt 2nd gen. that was too light, it had been worked over by the original owner to less than 1/2#. It only took a few strokes with a jeweler's file to get it up to 1 1/2#

J-Bar
February 1, 2014, 09:27 PM
I got the trigger pull on my 1851s too light. Caused some embarrassment at a match last year; not all of the unexpected discharges hit the target, but fortunately went downrange at least.

I carefully deepened the hammer notch with a diamond file and then re-hardened it by heating with a propane torch and quenching it in oil. I got the pull back up to about 3 lbs. I will only shoot these guns a few times a year, and not in "important" competitions, so I think my jackleg repair is sufficient. If I were going to use them more, I would do as Noz suggests; buy a new hammer and trigger for each revolver and hand them to a gunsmith...either Dykes Reber at the Muzzleloader Shop in North Little Rock, or Joe Brisco at Cowboy Shooter's Supply.

BCRider
February 3, 2014, 07:08 PM
OK, took the gun apart and the issue was immediately obvious. From the intact look of the trigger and hammer hooks there has not been any stoning or other work done. But the issue is that the sear hook on the hammer is rather rounded so it barely hangs on to the hook of the hammer. And in fact it is not at all self engaging. Retention with the current geometry relies on the return force of the trigger spring.

I took an impression of the holes in the frame and transferred the centers to a block of wood that was drilled to allow me to put the screws, trigger and hammer on the block the same as they sit to each other in the frame. With this setup the engagement is so poor that I can't let go of the trigger while there is any force on the hammer.

So next is to set up my stoning jig to let me hone the end of the trigger to achieve a self holding grip. That should do the trick.

I did check and there's no sign of the trigger sear hitting the half cock.

Here's a picture with a little black line enhancement to show what I found.

44 Dave
February 3, 2014, 07:17 PM
Looks like you will have it perfect with that set up.

BCRider
February 3, 2014, 07:20 PM
After I posted the last shot I got the idea of trying to take a picture through the old 50mm lens I keep around to use as a high quality magnifying glass for sliver surgery and other fine small bits. It came out far better than I thought it would. You can see how the rounded tip is barely holding onto the hammer hook.

The rounded portion of the trigger's sear looks like it MIGHT be wearing a little. It is slightly shiny. But then it's had the hook of the hammer polishing it for some time now. So who knows?

The plan is to use my jig to stone on a slight flat area that is angled to sit flat or slightly into the hook face on the hammer. Either way I'll make it so that the trigger doesn't get pushed out by contact pressure like it does now. Once it is self holding I'll put the gun back together.

45 Dragoon
February 4, 2014, 07:34 AM
BC,
I would not touch the hammer, but the backside of the trigger sear that rides against the hammer. Move the uppermost part of the sear back into the full cock notch (what you're calling hook). Then, if you choose to, keep the highest point of the sear as the engagement but just clean from that point forward (this may not be needed after relieving the back of the sear).
Getting the needed action with the least removal of material is always best. A flat surface with 320 sand paper/cloth is pref. over stones. Better yet, a table top vice with files.
Good luck.

45 Dragoon

J-Bar
February 4, 2014, 12:17 PM
BC,
I would not touch the hammer, but the backside of the trigger sear that rides against the hammer. Move the uppermost part of the sear back into the full cock notch (what you're calling hook). Then, if you choose to, keep the highest point of the sear as the engagement but just clean from that point forward (this may not be needed after relieving the back of the sear).
Getting the needed action with the least removal of material is always best. A flat surface with 320 sand paper/cloth is pref. over stones. Better yet, a table top vice with files.
Good luck.

45 Dragoon
^^^ This.

You might even remove a few thousandths from the hammer at the contact point on the curve, not the sear tip contact, which would effectively deepen the hammer notch.

BCRider: Terrific photos!

BCRider
February 4, 2014, 01:04 PM
I've got a pretty good stoning jig that I made up which for all that it started out a little rough is turning out to be very versatile.

The tip of the trigger's sear is very rounded as you can see. It really does need at least a slight flat stoned into it. I won't remove all the roundness, just put a flat onto the point which fits to the hammer. The flat will almost certainly fix the issue. But if it doesn't I was thinking of removing a little off the back of the lead up to the sear to let it sit a couple of thou deeper onto the hammer.

Working metal and small things like this isn't new to me. I've done delicate metal working of this sort for years on my model aircraft engines. And since getting into firearms a big part of the fun has been exactly this sort of work. Heck, I even tinkered around with repairing some camera shutters on antique cameras back when I got all wired on classic photography to fix some leaf shutters that weren't working any more.

But it's still nice to have the confirmation from you lot to let me know that my plans are not off base.

I'll post a picture or two of the outcome likely a bit later today.

45 Dragoon
February 4, 2014, 04:00 PM
Ok, as long as you know:
1. If you shorten the sear at all, your full cock timing will be sooner. Which means all the rest of the timing will be late , relative to full cock.

2. This is assumeing that it is timed correctly to begin with. The trigger/hammer relationship is where all other timing is measured.
Personally, if you need to remove enough to make a timing difference, I would get a new trigger.




45 Dragoon

BowerR64
February 4, 2014, 06:18 PM
Ok, as long as you know:
1. If you shorten the sear at all, your full cock timing will be sooner. Which means all the rest of the timing will be late , relative to full cock.

2. This is assumeing that it is timed correctly to begin with. The trigger/hammer relationship is where all other timing is measured.
Personally, if you need to remove enough to make a timing difference, I would get a new trigger.




45 Dragoon
Wow i never thought about that.

Great tip

BHP FAN
February 4, 2014, 06:57 PM
this:''I would get a new trigger...''

BCRider
February 4, 2014, 11:47 PM
Well, I couldn't find the stoning jig despite seeing it regularly over the last couple of months. It seems to have gone to the "sock universe" somewhere along the way. So I made up a quickie stoning jig and set the trigger up.

If I removed more than .005 to produce the flat needed I'd be surprised. From an almost purely rounded over tip it now has a roughly .008 to .010 flat line across the top. I also took a few strokes of a diamond file off the rear so it seats just a couple of thou further into the notch of the hammer.

I seem to recall that it had a dead tight lockup before. If I affected it at all then it's resulted in the barely perceptible rotational shake I can feel now. I just checked before typing this reply based on 45Dragoon's post. And when I say "barely perceptible" I mean it. I can feel the slightest clicking but I can't see any actual rotation. And that's good enough for me.

Trigger pull now checks out at a nice crisp 3.4 to 3.6 lbs based on 4 pulls using a fishing scale. And although I set the trigger back to sit a hair deeper there is barely any creep before the hammer drops. It's still what I'd consider an excellent trigger. And with that much trigger pull I now feel like I've got control instead of "shooting by suggestion" like it was before... :D

Picture below is the trigger set up on the jig just prior to using ruler and triangle to set the angle then stoning. Sorry I didn't take another picture through the lens but I just got all enthused and put it back together. But really you'd hardly see the difference in the "after" picture anyway since I already knew that I didn't want to take off more than just the kiss of metal that it needed.

The brown looking tube is a piece of thinwall brass tube from my model airplane building. It was supposed to act as a rolling sleeve so the stone would not cut into the drill rod bar or the brass. Didn't work so I took it off and used a slip of paper over the rear portion to avoid cutting into the rod just like I usually do.

EDIT- I really don't see why I would need to buy a new trigger. Given the situation that it needs to be fitted anyway if things are that interrelated then I'd have to stone it and shape the sear tip of the new trigger anyhow. So what's the difference from what I did to getting a new trigger that needs the same work? Basically it was "broken" before so nothing I did was going to make it worse. And if my tinkering had not worked out then I could have gone ahead and bought a new trigger.

45 Dragoon
February 5, 2014, 01:09 AM
ok, but you asked.

First and foremost,if you are happy with your gun that's what matters.

.005 is a lot to take of the length of a sear, especially if it had correct timing before. I would say the full cock notch engagement would be way early after that.
Your point about cylinder lock up has only to do with bolt fitting, not about timing.

A new trigger would indeed need to be fitted, especially since timing had been established already. New triggers come long just for that reason. When you shortened the sear, even a little, it made earlier full cock engagement a must. I suspect it was in poor time before since you didn't perceive a change. The sear should engage the full cock notch at exactly the same time the bolt engages the locking notch. Those two events should sound like one click. The 3 "clicks" of timing are:1. sear passing the half cock notch, 2. Bolt dropping to contact the cylinder ( on a Colt or Colt copy, about a bolts width before the locking notch) and 3. the simultaneous sear/full cock notch and bolt/locking notch engagements.

When setting up the timing in a new S.A., the first step is establishing the hammer/trigger relationship. Then the hand is fitted to have a chamber at battery when full cock is reached. Then the bolt is fitted for pick up and release (after being fitted for locking notches).

Hope this helps.

45 Dragoon

BCRider
February 5, 2014, 02:11 AM
If the timing is the order of events that occur when the hammer is cocked then I've changed nothing other than the final resting position of the hammer at full cock. Or if the timing is that close that by reaching the full cock that slight little bit earlier then it's not as critical as you suggest because in reality we all cock the hammer back further until it won't move any further. The only difference is that as I ease up on the hammer it lowers slightly past optimum to rest on the sear and the hand retracts slightly. And thus I feel that slight play that wasn't there before.

Is it perfect? I guess not since there was very slightly less play before this. But to describe it as "way early" is a bit of an exaggeration. And even with the added play in the cylinder that I added by this fix it's still one of the tighter lockups in any of the revolvers I've got.

EDIT- I just checked it again and found that if I cock it super slow that the hammer has to move a further 1/32 inch at the top after the bolt is released before it clicks into the full cock point. So by your description it wasn't perfect before. And in fact by shortening the sear I brought the two points closer together even. So at this point if I were to replace anything I think it would be to fit a new hand to go along with the more closely timed bolt release and full cock points. The new hand being a shade longer so it pushes the cylinder a little closer to lockup against the bolt.

The bolt is also coming up a shade early and hitting the cylinder surface instead of snapping directly into the notch. Again a slightly longer hand would move this along a little earlier and reduce or eliminate this. Or am I going to run into issues with the hand trying to move the cylinder too soon by being a hair longer?

45 Dragoon
February 5, 2014, 08:24 AM
Well at least you are more aware of the timing. The only change that should have happened is reaching the full cock notch earlier than before. That means you have to thumb the hammer past full cock for the bolt to engage the locking notch. You don't want the bolt to release right into the notch. If that were the case, you would have throw by (over rotation) when cocked fast.

You are correct that the hand isn't against the ratchet at full cock now, allowing the new found "play" in the cyl lock up. Ideally, the hand shouldn't touch the ratchet at full cock. This is why hands get beat up and why I install a hammer stop in all my S.A.s. While holding the hammer back at full cock, my S.A.s have the same amount of play they do at rest, meaning, there is no contact with the hand thus, no wear / no bashing. That's why I don't pull my hammer back farther than full cock ( I can't !)

A new hand would put you back with pressure against the ratchet at full cock, and rotate the cyl farther in the timing ( poss. causing the throw by condition).

This is why the trigger/ hammer relationship is SO important.

BCRider
February 5, 2014, 11:20 AM
OK, I see what you mean now and the "why" of it.

In this case the play I added reduced the cocked lockup from "vault like" in the same manner that folks describe a Colt to the sort of slight rattle that one finds in most S&W's that are considered as just fine. So I can live with that.

I like your idea of the travel stop. I did find some small burrs on the hand and signs of pressure wear. And since much of the use of this gun is for black powder cowboy action shooting the hammer likely does get pulled back with as much vigor as my ailing 60 year old fingers can manage.... :D So at least some of that marking is likely due to me.

45 Dragoon
February 5, 2014, 12:51 PM
Good deal BC !!

I have a Pietta Remmy that i will be doing all this to and will fig. out the best way for an action stop to be installed. It will def help with the life of the parts.

Let me ask you, if the main spring and action could be tuned like a cartridge gun, would it help you with speed and overall shooting ? I know it would be much better with a much lighter hammer pull. Just curious.

45 Dragoon

BCRider
February 5, 2014, 08:28 PM
It most certainly would help. My BP guns are far slower than my cartridge guns largely due to the heavier cocking force needed.

But before I can begin trimming the main spring I'll need to replace the nipples with some that don't let the cap push the hammer back and then jump down into the guts of the gun. With the full power spring it's not an issue but it appears that it quickly becomes such if the hammer doesn't have enough force on it.

I'm thinking that the brand with the side pressure relief hole might be the way to go. Slix Shot I believe they are called? Baring that I'll likely just go with whichever aftermarket nipples have a good repulation for working well with CCI #11's since that is by far the most easily obtained around here.

45 Dragoon
February 5, 2014, 11:57 PM
Well, i just happen to be working on something that may allow a c.&b. revolver to be tuned as light as a fine tuned cartrige gun!! It's a new nipple design.

45 Dragoon

BCRider
February 6, 2014, 03:47 AM
You'll be my new hero if you manage it! ! ! ! ! :D

45 Dragoon
February 6, 2014, 06:30 AM
Thanks BC, just always like a challenge and have been lookin at this one a long time.
The very light actions of a well tuned S.A.A. style revolver (with traditional actions)should be shared with the c.&b. crowd!!!


45 Dragoon

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