Single Action vs. Double Action


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mikemyers
May 29, 2014, 01:21 AM
The purpose of this thread is not to ask the difference between Single and Double Action (http://www.diffen.com/difference/Single_Action_vs_Double_Action). It's to ask which to use, given the choice, for target practice.

On the one hand, I've always been told that single action allows more accurate target shooting, which I fully believe. On the other hand, I just watched this very interesting video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z2mfpLs_mQ

In the video, it is suggested that shooting single-action on a double action revolver isn't doing anything to help develop good trigger control.

What I'm asking here, is while I enjoy SA targets more than what I can accomplish with DA, is it better to simply ignore that, and shoot DA all the time?

(My own compromise might be to do both for dry firing, and SA at the range.)

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RON in PA
May 29, 2014, 05:29 AM
In the days when people shot one-handed bullseye target with revolvers SA was the usual method. Nowadays most shooting is two-handed and DA is the way to go. Over time you will develop excellent accuracy, concentrate on the front sight and your trigger pull should be one continuous motion with no hesitation.

SleazyRider
May 29, 2014, 05:56 AM
In the days when people shot one-handed bullseye target with revolvers SA was the usual method. Nowadays most shooting is two-handed and DA is the way to go. Over time you will develop excellent accuracy, concentrate on the front sight and your trigger pull should be one continuous motion with no hesitation.
That is an interesting point you make, Ron, because I am from that day, and learned to shoot just as you described: single-action and one-handed. Although most of my target shooting now is done two-handed, on the two occasions when I've actually had to use a pistol defensively, it has been one-handed. (My other hand was restraining a dog.) It must be true what's been said about reverting back to one's training, because I instinctively thumb-cock my double-action revolver.

Myself, I think that double-action shooting teaches one to pull the trigger straight back without side movement, and makes a person a better single-action shooter.

Steve C
May 29, 2014, 07:10 AM
In the days when people shot one-handed bullseye target with revolvers

What do you mean "In the days..."? Bullseye is still a well participated in sport though few use a revolver any more.

Frankly it really doesn't matter which you use for target shooting as the point of target shooting is to have some fun. Mostly it depends upon what you want to accomplish, small groups and long range or big targets with large scoring rings and fast shooting.

The principals of handgun accuracy is really the same whether you are shooting SA or DA in that you have to align the sights on the target and hold them there while you squeeze the trigger for a short pull SA or a longer pull DA until the trigger surprises you when it releases and the gun fires. If you have a single action gun be it a 1911 or a SA revolver that pretty much dictates you are going to shoot SA.

Some people only see a handgun as a means of self defense to be used for shooting other people. Others see their guns primarily as sport equipment that only coincidentally can be used for self defense if needed.

If you are in the first category then practicing DA mostly shooting large human size targets at relatively close range is probably all the practice you need. If you are in the later category then practice shooting for score on targets set at the range they where designed for is the best way to see if you are really improving. If you are a handgun hunter single action shooting with a heavy magnum at long range is more in line with the skill needs for that activity. If you have a mixture of different handguns then mix it up.

F-111 John
May 29, 2014, 07:34 AM
It depends on what your ultimate goal is. If you wish to improve your defensive shooting accuracy, then normally you would practice double action.

If you wish to make very small groups on paper, then normally you would shoot single action.

So when you are at the range, what are you trying to accomplish? Practicing your defensive shooting, or have fun?

StrawHat
May 29, 2014, 07:48 AM
When I shot PPC, it was esay to spot the new guys, they were shooting SA. I know I did. It took a while but when I started to shoot DA (and practice with live fire and dry firing) my scores went up and I advanced through the stages. I still practice DA shooting.

Lucky Derby
May 29, 2014, 08:14 AM
What Steve C said.

MrBorland
May 29, 2014, 09:22 AM
In the video, it is suggested that shooting single-action on a double action revolver isn't doing anything to help develop good trigger control.

Theirs is a big oversimplification. It still takes plenty of trigger control to get a good SA shot off. Ask anyone who shoots bullseye with a 1911 or a precision rifle.

IMO, it's more accurate to say that DA does require good trigger control that can only be attained by DA practice, so those shooting SA most or all of the time aren't developing their DA skills.

What I'm asking here, is while I enjoy SA targets more than what I can accomplish with DA, is it better to simply ignore that, and shoot DA all the time?

One can be plenty accurate in DA. A good smooth action helps, as does shooting 2-handed. I shoot DA nearly exclusively, but if I were shooting formal bullseye competition (i.e. 1-handed) with a revolver, I'd likely shoot the 50 yard slow fire SA, and the rest DA.

Bottom line, IMO, both SA and DA are useful, and the well-rounded wheelgunner will be proficient with both. I personally think it's easier to transition from good DA form to good SA form than the reverse, and the former takes more practice, so a good wheelgunner will likely spend most of their time shooting DA.

ATLDave
May 29, 2014, 11:06 AM
Decide whether you want to get better at DA shooting. If you do, make yourself do it exclusively until you're decent at it. Otherwise, the temptation to revert to SA during your range sessions (and the tidy little groups you'll be able to produce) will keep you from progressing. Just make learning to shoot DA a project.

If you don't care about being able to shoot well DA, then just keep right on shooting SA.

wlewisiii
May 29, 2014, 11:36 AM
One of the things that my DAO modified Model 10 has done is force me to only shoot double action and that's reviled all kinds of bad habits that I'm slowly weeding out and getting better as a result. Single action, for me, hides a multitude of sins.

MrBorland
May 29, 2014, 12:31 PM
Decide whether you want to get better at DA shooting. If you do, make yourself do it exclusively until you're decent at it.

One of the things that my DAO modified Model 10 has done is force me to only shoot double action

Both are good points. Rendering a revolver Double Action Only by removing the hammer spur and SA notch forces one to shoot DA. Combined with a commitment to master the DA trigger, you'll improve your overall revolver shooting tremendously. Below's a good read on the subject.

http://www.grantcunningham.com/blog_files/the_case_for_dao.html

RealGun
May 29, 2014, 12:39 PM
When I shot PPC, it was esay to spot the new guys, they were shooting SA. I know I did. It took a while but when I started to shoot DA (and practice with live fire and dry firing) my scores went up and I advanced through the stages. I still practice DA shooting.

When I once used my Kahr 4" T40 to shoot a bullseye match, the director immediately suggested I use my 1911 instead. That was indoors at 20 yards max. That is a DAO versus SA issue, with both trigger actions outstanding examples. I purposely used that gun, only competing with my own prior scores, but it was interesting to hear what I thought was a common feeling about the two types of trigger actions.

I shot DAO in my semi-auto carry guns for the first 8 years of carrying. Meanwhile, I owned a full sized steel 1911 that made me look like a better shot.

RealGun
May 29, 2014, 12:41 PM
Aren't those who "stage" their DA trigger pull just doing a faux SA?

Comrade Mike
May 29, 2014, 01:01 PM
Why can't we shoot both?

199025

murf
May 29, 2014, 01:11 PM
realgun,

holding a ten pound da trigger at the let-off point is a bit different than pressing a three pound sa trigger. one should learn, and be proficient with, both methods.

murf

Jim Watson
May 29, 2014, 01:14 PM
Agree with F111, it depends on what the OP means by "target practice."
MY "target practice" is mostly practice for target competition. These days that is IDPA, so I will be shooting double action except when testing ammunition for accuracy and velocity.
I also learned to shoot PPC double action at all ranges and positions.

And the defensive revolver should certainly be shot double action.
I know of some cases like Sleazy's when the habit of single action shooting took over in a stressful situation. Two resulted in holes in rug and furniture when ladies who had been considerately provided by their husbands with double action revolvers suited to their dim little brains and dainty little hands found out for themselves that pulling the hammer back made the trigger way easier to pull. When they armed themselves against perceived threats, they cocked their revolvers much too soon. Attempting to ease the hammer down after the threat had passed by one led to a hole in the floor. A startle reaction put a hole in a water bed for the other, fortunately in the rail above the mattress.

But if I were shooting NRA or IHMSA, it would be single action all the way.

Yes, Realgun, there is, or was, a school of staged double action shooting. I think it was Paul Weston who advocated it in opposition to the Ed McGivern system of a smooth rolling pull and reset.
You could even buy grips with a hump on the filler at the off side rear of the trigger guard to be contacted by the tip of the trigger finger and give you a stop point for the last stage.
Some of those alleged DAO PPC shooters have rubber trigger stops. They can sweep the trigger back to the stop, refine the sight picture, and squeeze off the shot against the slight added resistance of the rubber.

9mmepiphany
May 29, 2014, 02:40 PM
Aren't those who "stage" their DA trigger pull just doing a faux SA?
Yes, they are and they aren't doing themselves any favors...I should know, I did it for quite a while when shooting PPC.

DA trigger control practice...pressing the trigger smoothly to the rear without stopping or slowing down...will improve your SA trigger control; the reverse isn't true.

SA and staging a DA trigger at the letoff point, caters to the mind's desire to press off the shot when the sights look perfect...and usually result in shots going low and left

Skribs
May 29, 2014, 02:42 PM
It depends on what your ultimate goal is. If you wish to improve your defensive shooting accuracy, then normally you would practice double action.

If you wish to make very small groups on paper, then normally you would shoot single action.

So when you are at the range, what are you trying to accomplish? Practicing your defensive shooting, or have fun?

You beat me to it, and probably worded it better. Personally, both are fun, but you will probably be more accurate single action, but it would be more practical to train in double action because that's what you're likely to use in self defense.

Cooldill
May 29, 2014, 02:52 PM
Well if it's a single action revolver, that's all you can practice with LOL.

As for SA/DA revolvers... I usually shoot in double-action mode. That's mainly because I use revolvers for defense, not just target guns, and I wan't to practise as I play. Also I have a S&W 642 which is DAO, and I found that by learning it's trigger pull it helped me shoot my other revolver much better in DA. Now I practice that way most often.

MrBorland
May 29, 2014, 02:56 PM
Personally, both are fun, but you will probably be more accurate single action,

One gets good at what they practice. Practice DA shooting enough, and there's no reason your DA accuracy can't generally be the equal of your SA accuracy, all else being equal. Most, however, either don't shoot as much DA as they need to to achieve this kind of DA proficiency or they don't believe (or know) DA can be very accurate.

FWIW, I agree with 9mmE, and I'm of the "no staging" school of thought. It largely amounts to timing the shot, which is a futile errand.

When I've caught myself staging, it was because I wasn't mentally committed to a complete DA pull from the beginning of the pull. You can abort the shot if everything doesn't look right, but commit to a smooth, steady and complete DA pull when you begin the pull, not after you've stopped to stage. If the sights are aligned when you started the pull, and your DA pull is smooth, they should still be aligned when the shot breaks.

9mmepiphany
May 29, 2014, 03:08 PM
If the sights are aligned when you started the pull, and your DA pull is smooth, they should still be aligned when the shot breaks.
This is what we refer to when we say that much (most) of shooting a handgun is a mental game...sometimes it is just an Act of Faith ;)

4v50 Gary
May 29, 2014, 03:48 PM
I love DA revolver sooting. I practiced regularly just to master that longer trigger pull.

Here's an exercise that helps: Put a coin on the barrel (if the barrel has a flat rib on top) of a revolver loaded with snap caps. Aim at a target and squeeze. You should be able to maintain your hold on the target and have the coin fall off.

mavracer
May 29, 2014, 04:03 PM
If you want to shoot DA learn to shoot DA as MrBorland has said and can demonstrate there's no reason you can't be as good DA as you can SA or at least nearly so.

RainDodger
May 29, 2014, 04:42 PM
During my firearms "formative" years, I thought single action was the only way to shoot. Then I was properly trained to shoot double-action as a federal agent (we had to carry revolvers back then :) )

Now when I shoot any revolver that is double-action capable, that's the only way I shoot. You can be very, very accurate shooting double-action with practice. Time and practice is the way....

BCRider
May 29, 2014, 04:45 PM
I shoot a lot in speed related matches so the lion's share of my DA/SA revolver shooting is in DA mode. I probably cock for SA with those guns less than 1% of the time.

There is no doubt at all that the control needed to hold the sight picture and produce a smooth and accurate result with the DA trigger has made me a better shooter with ANY handgun.

The odd result is that since I shoot in SA mode so little I find I can match or do better even at long range slow bullseye shooting in DA mode.

I'm one of the folks that believes that staging the trigger is a good way to mess up a shooter's accuracy. I've seen this a few times where folks deliberately stage the trigger then snatch the trigger at the last to get the break where they want it. The resulting loss of control often results in a miss where they would have gotten a hit if they simply held the sight picture and pulled smoothly through with a nice build and follow through.

The fallout of shooting primarily in DA with my DA/SA revolvers is that when shooting the first shot in DA mode with my CZ semis I typically get my first shot into the center or onto the steel target.

So yeah, I'm a huge fan of the speed and results from shooting CORRECTLY in DA mode.

9mmepiphany
May 29, 2014, 06:13 PM
I've seen this a few times where folks deliberately stage the trigger then snatch the trigger at the last to get the break where they want it. The resulting loss of control often results in a miss where they would have gotten a hit if they simply held the sight picture and pulled smoothly through with a nice build and follow through.
I had this happen with a client last week.

He was working out his new CZ custom shop pistol and I had him doing some presentations. His first shots, during the pushout, were falling to the left. when I switched from watching his grip acquisition...I changed his draw stroke... to his trigger finger, I saw that he had the trigger coming smoothly backwards until just before the break, where he stopped it, just before he snatched it to the rear.

I had to physically stop the forward motion of his hands to force him to not save trigger travel for when his hands reach the end of their extension.

I have found that having clients fire the first shots DA, during the push out drill, will often cure a trigger slapping problem when they are shooting SA

35 Whelen
May 29, 2014, 11:47 PM
In the video, it is suggested that shooting single-action on a double action revolver isn't doing anything to help develop good trigger control.



Remember, all the guy needed was two things: A video camera and an opinion.

35W

MCgunner
May 30, 2014, 12:13 AM
Serious defensive practice with DA guns in DA mode. I'll plink in SA or DA. I love my single actions and shoot 'em a lot along with my cap and ball stuff. I do have a single action NAA .22 mag that I make a point to put in serious defensive practice with.

My single actions, other than the NAAs, are for outdoor uses, hunting or hiking.

mikemyers
May 30, 2014, 01:46 AM
A lot of things in all these responses that I never even considered yet....

To answer the question of what I want, I've been shooting since around 1980 or so, on and off, and my only goal right now is to put holes into a nice grouping at 15 yards with a handgun, so I can go home at least feeling satisfied, and hopefully feeling happy about the performance. At 15 yards, the best I'm doing lately, is 3 inch diameter groupings for 50 shots, fired SA. Up until a few weeks ago, that was 4 1/2" groupings, before I started following Jerry Miculek's video "Grip & Technique" and dry firing every day for 15 minutes.

I'm just doing this for fun. It's a challenge, and quite often VERY frustrating. The gun I'm using is an S&W N-frame 357 Magnum Highway Patrolman, which weighs about as much as I do, and has a trigger pull that feels like about 30 pounds. :-)

I suspect that if I switch, and start shooting (and dry firing) DA instead of SA, I'll eventually be better at both, not to mention having much stronger hands. After years of shooting SA though, another part of me says to stick with SA until I get better, and then try to catch up shooting DA.

(I'm surprised at what I've been reading here - I thought anyone and everyone who wanted to shoot good groups automatically did SA shooting. Apparently I was wrong.)

murf
May 30, 2014, 02:20 AM
you are not wrong. most of these guys are competition shooters. they have to combine speed with accuracy. in that case, double-action is, by far, the best way to shoot.

for you: if you want to shoot nice tight groups, shoot single-action and take your time.

learn the sa trigger squeeze first. get real good at it. if you want to do da later, fine. these two trigger pull methods are different enough, i suggest you concentrate on one at a time.

i've been shooting a hiway patrolman on and off for 36 years. once you get used to the weight and find the correct set of grips to correctly fit your hand, you will find no handgun more accurate. i still do not shoot as well as the gun.

luck,

murf

ljnowell
May 30, 2014, 04:02 AM
I shoot bullseye with a m19 s&w or a 686 depending on my mood. I, like nearly everyone in my league, shoot DA. It's hard to shoot 5 rounds in ten seconds one handed cocking the gun for single action. Much better of to learn DA upfront.

murf
May 30, 2014, 05:05 AM
ljnowell,

do you shoot da in slow fire?

murf

MrBorland
May 30, 2014, 07:48 AM
my only goal right now is to put holes into a nice grouping at 15 yards with a handgun, so I can go home at least feeling satisfied, and hopefully feeling happy about the performance. At 15 yards, the best I'm doing lately, is 3 inch diameter groupings for 50 shots, fired SA. Up until a few weeks ago, that was 4 1/2" groupings, before I started following Jerry Miculek's video "Grip & Technique" and dry firing every day for 15 minutes.

I'm just doing this for fun. It's a challenge, and quite often VERY frustrating. The gun I'm using is an S&W N-frame 357 Magnum Highway Patrolman, which weighs about as much as I do, and has a trigger pull that feels like about 30 pounds. :-)

A double action trigger's gonna feel heavy if you're used to shooting single action. With practice, that DA trigger won't feel as heavy. Smooth is more important than weight, though. If it's not smooth, and/or it's too heavy, find a good gunsmith who can do a good action job on it.

As far as groupings with a DA trigger, it's always been my opinion that a good wheelgunner can shoot honest and consistent 3" 5-shot groups at 25 yards in both single and double action with a service sized revolver. This is certainly do-able with quality practice. Some good instruction helps, too.

Shooting 50 shots into a single hole is gonna open the group up, and a 3" 50-shot group at 15 yards is actually pretty good. Maybe get yourself some actual 25 yard targets (e.g. NRA B-8), and start keeping track of your 10-shot double action 25 yard scores.

RealGun
May 30, 2014, 08:39 AM
I shoot bullseye with a m19 s&w or a 686 depending on my mood. I, like nearly everyone in my league, shoot DA. It's hard to shoot 5 rounds in ten seconds one handed cocking the gun for single action. Much better of to learn DA upfront.

That's not the bullseye I know. That's rapid fire.

Walkalong
May 30, 2014, 08:40 AM
a 3" 50-shot group at 15 yards is actually pretty good.Yep, it's hard to hold perfectly 50 times in a row, and the load isn't going to be perfect either. Sometimes those two add up to a wide shot, and some times they negate each other.

I can concentrate for six shots every once in a while and shoot a great group at 15 yards, but if I had to do fifty in a row, I would lose concentration and probably be lucky to keep it at three inches.

460Kodiak
May 30, 2014, 10:08 AM
I shoot double action for self defense practice. I shoot single action when taking longer, slower shots as in range fun, or practicing to kill food.

No reason not to do both.

When dry fire practicing at home, I do it double action since that promotes learning proper trigger control.

mikemyers
May 30, 2014, 10:57 PM
.........Shooting 50 shots into a single hole is gonna open the group up, and a 3" 50-shot group at 15 yards is actually pretty good. Maybe get yourself some actual 25 yard targets (e.g. NRA B-8), and start keeping track of your 10-shot double action 25 yard scores.


As for the targets, I print my own targets with a one-inch grid, replace a target when the holes are too clustered, and feed all the data for each bullet hole into a spreadsheet that evening, so I know the "CEP" for all 50 shots. For me, to put 50 shots int a 3" circle is a challenge I hope to eventually accomplish. I thought many people here could do it easily.


Maybe I'm just way too inexperienced, but doing all these things properly at the same time still seems almost impossible. Placing the sight picture beneath the target, then concentrating ONLY on keeping the sight picture the way it should be, while trying to pull the trigger straight back without thinking about it, sounds like juggling five bowling pins while also trying to read a newspaper.

I gave up tonight, and eliminated the target - instead I started dry firing at a blank wall, no target, just trying to keep the correct sight picture while getting my trigger finger to pull smoothly without my thinking about it. That made things easier - and I'm not supposed to be paying attention to the target anyway, so I don't think I'm hurting myself.

Longhorn 76
May 31, 2014, 08:32 AM
Staging the trigger in da works better for me with Colt revolvers.

9mmepiphany
May 31, 2014, 02:38 PM
It's a control issue, try just continuing to press the trigger to the rear without stop; you might be surprised at the results...or not ;)

40-82
May 31, 2014, 07:39 PM
After nearly forty years of shooting double action I have found myself using it in hunting situations for close tense shots when I'm afraid that the extra motion of cocking the gun will alert the game. Sometimes after practicing double action almost exclusively for awhile, I'll decide to see what the gun will really do and try a few groups single action only to find that my double action groups were better. Sometimes I have to remind myself to keep my hand in the single action game because those skills are perishable.

For someone just learning the basics of accurate target shooting it may be best to concentrate on shooting single action. It may take a little time to develop the specific muscle control necessary to do well double action, but until double action control is achieved you'll never fully realize the capability of that style revolver.

oldcelt
June 1, 2014, 09:52 PM
When target shooting I shoot s.a. for defensive practice, sometimes first shot s.a. and follow up is all d.a. I do this now because of habit developed over time and because it works for me.

mikemyers
June 1, 2014, 11:08 PM
For better or worse, I'm still practicing dry firing every day, but now several times a day. Thanks to the discussion here, I decided I would spend half my time at SA and half at DA.

The discussion and books all seem to suggest you make one smooth pull with DA, until the gun fires. With my gun (S&W 357 Highway Patrolman), it's not very smooth - there are "clicks" and some parts of the pull are lighter than others. I'm not sure if all guns are like this, or just mine..... but it's durn near impossible for me to make a single, continuous, smooth pull.

I'm doing the best I can anyway, and amazingly, the more I do it, the "better" I get. A week or two ago, my finger got too tired to continue past a certain number of shots. I'm better at that now. I'm sure I'm smoother as well, but "smooth" isn't a good description for how it feels to me so far. As for the "sight picture", it's better than a week ago, but it's a fight to maintain the right sight picture as my finger is struggling to pull smoothly.

WestKentucky
June 2, 2014, 12:33 AM
It's all in timing for me. I am not rock steady when in shooting position and I have learned how I move in a bit of a figure 8 if I try to hold steady without muscling through my shot and rushing it. I have my timing down to where my shot finds home very well when shooting SA. DA I shoot a sideways figure 8 about 3 inches across at 15 yards. My dad on the other hand is the opposite. He pulls hard and fast straight back and is used to the heavy trigger. When he goes SA he shoots a 6" circle at 15 yds and a 3" shooting DA. He says he knows the feel of his trigger and judges shot off of it, that the nonexistent stroke when shooting SA doesn't give him time to feel the shot. With that said we both call our own shots both rifle and revolver very well, to the point I knew I flinched zeroing my wife's .243 on first shot ever. Adjusted the scope for where it felt like it should have hit and 2 shots later it was time for a 5 shot confirmation group. We still had 12 shells in the box with a zeroed rifle. My point here is that you learn what feels right and what works best for you. Get good with it and it becomes instinct no matter what "it" is. You will eventually start calling your shots before looking at the target closely too. Want to make it really fun, drop an Easter egg from a string in front of your berm. Wait til dark, and light the egg from the side so you have no background telling where your shot hit. You figure out your misses really quickly.

sigsmoker
June 2, 2014, 02:01 AM
I guess I am the odd one but I shoot my DA revolvers 99% of the time in SA anyway simply because of a lighter trigger pull. I think I got in this habit because many years ago I had a Ruger Service Six .357 and shot it thousands of times. The DA trigger pull was significantly heavier than the SA trigger pull. My shots would be all over the place using DA but I got good using SA. Currently I have a S&W 629 which is much nicer in DA but I still prefer my SA routine for accuracy.

MrBorland
June 2, 2014, 08:18 AM
With my gun (S&W 357 Highway Patrolman), it's not very smooth - there are "clicks" and some parts of the pull are lighter than others. I'm not sure if all guns are like this, or just mine..... but it's durn near impossible for me to make a single, continuous, smooth pull.

Your revolver may have excessive endshake*, simply needs a good internal cleaning and lubing, and/or it really needs a good action job. Either way, a rough action is as bad as an inherently inaccurate gun. Both are aggravating, but more importantly, neither is going to help you improve.


* easily fixable with Power Custom endshake shims (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/392482/power-custom-endshake-bearings-s-and-w-k-l-n-frame-002-package-of-10)

chriske
June 3, 2014, 09:17 AM
All my S&W revolvers are shot in DA only.
I don't get better results when I shoot them in SA mode. Worse, mostly.
Anyway, "good" day or " can't hit a thing" day, my DA shot groups are more predictable and conistent than my SA ones.
And, as mentioned before, "staging" te trigger does not work. At all. Ever.

mikemyers
June 3, 2014, 10:17 AM
Your revolver may have excessive endshake*, simply needs a good internal cleaning and lubing, and/or it really needs a good action job.......

Thanks - if you mean, does the cylinder have a lot of play front/back, I don't think so. On the other hand, I don't think it has EVER had a good internal cleaning, as neither I, nor the person I bought it from, know how to do more than the typical after-shooting cleaning.


It doesn't feel "rough" when i fire DA, but if I'm trying to do this slowly and smoothly, I can feel all these things happening inside the gun, and it's almost as if the action wants to "stick" at some places during the movement....

MrBorland
June 3, 2014, 10:42 AM
A vintage Highway Patrolman ought to have a pretty good action, and a good thorough internal cleaning & lubing might (or might not) do wonders for it. It's really not that tough. There's a Sticky at the top of this forum on the disassembly/reassembly of a S&W, and I pasted the link below (one thing I'd do differently, though, is loosen the mainspring tension screw before removing the sideplate).

You can go as far as you like with the disassembly. Some just open the sideplate, and spray the beejeebers out of the innards with solvent, then drop lube in. If it's never been cleaned, it'd be ideal to disassemble, clean each part individually, clean the naked frame, & lube as you reassemble. And don't be stingy with the lube; I use TW25B liberally. One top wheelgunner I know literally packs the inside with TW25B, though I think that's overkill.

Also check that your ejector rod is straight and tight. It locks up at the front, so if it's bent, it can bind the action as you describe. Just open the cylinder, give it a spin, and watch the end of the rod for any wobble. Don't overtighten the rod, lest you strip threads, but a small drop of blue Loctite on the threads ought to keep it put.


http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=397027

Old Fuff
June 3, 2014, 01:46 PM
Unless the revolver's owner is experienced, and has the right tools (especially screwdrivers) it is not wise for them to "pop the sideplate," as a mistake could cause serious damage to what now is a very desirable and valuable revolver.

These are two possible alternatives that shouldn't get anyone into trouble.

1. Take the gun to an experienced S&W gunsmith and have them examine it. Then follow their suggestions. Or return it to Smith & Wesson's service department if a qualified 'smith isn't locally available.

2. Remove the stocks and place the revolver is a container and cover it with Marvel Mystery Oil (available at automobile service stores or most big-box marts). Let it soak for a few hours and then use an air hose to blow out the excess (or lay it on a thick layer of old newspapers and let it drain). Wipe off the exterior with paper towels and use dry patches to wipe out the bore and chambers. Examine the gun frequently and wipe off any oil that continues to drain. Dispose of the used newspapers and towels that are oil soaked because they can be a fire hazard. Pour the oil back into the original container because it can be used over and over.

This may seem like a lot of work and bother but it usually works and there is no chance that anything will be damaged.

9mmepiphany
June 3, 2014, 02:22 PM
It doesn't feel "rough" when i fire DA, but if I'm trying to do this slowly and smoothly, I can feel all these things happening inside the gun, and it's almost as if the action wants to "stick" at some places during the movement....
This got me curious enough to drag out my old M27-2 and M58 (no dash) to feel the triggers...I haven't had them out in years and really should sell them to let someone else enjoy them.

Pulling the trigger as slowly as I could, both with and without tension on the hammer, I couldn't feel what you are describing. The trigger just slide smoothly to letoff. I don't even feel the bolt coming up as much as hear it.

So I pulled out a recently acquired JM625-8 and tried that trigger. Smooth rolling all the way to release.

As MrBorland suggested, check to see if your ejector rod is loose or bent. While you have the cylinder open, give it a spin and see if it is spinning freely...it should spin around a number of times before slowing to a stop

MrBorland
June 3, 2014, 03:51 PM
Unless the revolver's owner is experienced, and has the right tools (especially screwdrivers) it is not wise for them to "pop the sideplate," as a mistake could cause serious damage to what now is a very desirable and valuable revolver.

Sure, hollow ground screwdrivers are a must, but the link to the stickie provides very straightforward instructions for the curious sort. Follow them to the letter, and one ought not have issues. Otherwise, I agree, find a trustworthy gunsmith. Sending it back to S&W would be my last option.


This got me curious enough to drag out my old M27-2 and M58 (no dash) to feel the triggers...I haven't had them out in years and really should sell them to let someone else enjoy them.

You're killing me. :( My Grail Gun list is very short, but a vintage 3 1/2" M27 is on it. :o

Pulling the trigger as slowly as I could, both with and without tension on the hammer, I couldn't feel what you are describing. The trigger just slide smoothly to letoff. I don't even feel the bolt coming up as much as hear it.

It's like a stick being pulled across a picket fence. Sounds like you've got some good ones. Not all are so nice, of course. I have a 1951 5-screw K38 Target Masterpiece that's a little bumpy, so not even the old ones are categorically perfect. It's a rare factory trigger that can't be improved upon, IMO. ;)

BCRider
June 3, 2014, 04:20 PM
Mike, that stickiness in the DA trigger pull suggests that you've got some old dried out crusty lube in the gun or that it simply hasn't been shot a lot over it's life. Generally a correctly clean and lubricated S&W action will smoothen up nicely from all the parts wearing together. But grit or lumps if dried up lube can make the parts all stick.

If you don't feel confident enough to pop the side cover after watching the usual videos then a good first step would be a good flushing of the action with something like brake cleaner, Gun Scrubber or, my favourite, Ed's Red. This involves removing the grips so you have a clear shot then spraying the cleaner VERY liberally into the action then working the action to clear and dissolve any crud.

If using the degreasing cleaner like brake cleaner or Gun Scrubber you'll want to mix follow the cleaning with a hose down with a spray gun oil. If you squirt the oil into the action while it's still well soaked with the cleaner then the two will mix and the excess oil SHOULD drain out and when the solvent dries you'll be left with a light coating of oil over all the parts. Or if you have compressed air a few good shots up past the main spring and down through the cocked hammer opening will also clear out the excess oil.

I prefer the Ed's Red since it automatically drains most of itself out along with the gunk then dries to a light film of ATF oil to protect and lubricate. A simple ketchup or similar squirt bottle does a great job of holding enough to flush out the action.

Wear Nitrile gloves for all of this since all these solvents are hard on your skin and to some extent leech through and into the blood stream. Not a good thing at all. And you need to work the action in DA while soaked down and dripping to work the stuff clean. And if using the compressed air to blast out excess oil then wear an old shirt and eye protection. The stuff will come out EVERYWHERE! ! ! ! :D

There is not doubt that your gun has SOMETHING inside the action. All my S&W's have triggers that feel like a fresh caught fish on a wet cleaning board. And for those that haven't done such a think THAT IS SLICK! ! ! ! :D

If the cylinder is stiff on the ejector and it's not at all bent then a good long soak in the Ed's Red is called for. In fact at that point making up enough that you can simply soak the whole pistol in the mix sitting in a suitable sized close fitting rectangular food saver is the way to go. In this case soak for 20 minutes then lift out and drain well, work the action, spin the cylinder, run the ejector. When it all stops dripping fast then dunk it and soak again for 20 minutes. Repeat this same dunk, drain, operate cycle a few times. Finally allow to drain fully and let it dry out.

If it's still less than silky smooth you'll need to make a judgement call on whether or not it's due to some grit that's trapped inside or if you feel it's simply the machining marks rubbing and catching. If it's machining marks the trigger should smoothen up over a few hundred trigger pulls. If it doesn't I'm going for the idea that there's some foreign junk stuck inside and you'll need to pop the side cover and/or detail strip the ejector and crane. It's your call if you take this on or if you take it to a smith.

Tony_the_tiger
June 3, 2014, 04:39 PM
I just take the grips off, wash it in the sink with dish soap and hot water, then wash it out with purified water... Then put some frug lube in there. And wipe off with some more frog lube :)

Old Fuff
June 3, 2014, 05:53 PM
…but the link to the stickie provides very straightforward instructions for the curious sort.

Very likely, but neither of us know anything about a “curious sort” who is reading the instructions.

I have seen a number of tragic examples when the message didn’t get across. One was a near-new pre-war .38 Military and Police where failing all else the owner tried to pry the sideplate off, and didn’t notice he hadn’t removed the bug screw. :banghead:

“Bug screw" = the 4th sideplate screw up by the hammer on pre-war and early post-war S&W revolvers.

9mmepiphany
June 3, 2014, 09:26 PM
You're killing me. My Grail Gun list is very short, but a vintage 3 1/2" M27 is on it.
Not to worry, mine has the 8.375" tube. My Grail Gun, at that time, was the 5"...Skeeter style...I had always intended to switch barrels

I was my first S&W revolver...it had been someone's Pig Gun. I traded a 4" .38 Colt Diamondback for it.

The Cake-Davis shop did work on the trigger and installed a trigger shoe on the narrow trigger (narrow hammer too & Magna grips)...I think the SA is < 2lbs; but it always bust magnum caps

mikemyers
June 4, 2014, 12:26 AM
Mike, that stickiness in the DA trigger pull suggests that you've got some old dried out crusty lube in the gun or that it simply hasn't been shot a lot over it's life..........


Maybe I should start a new thread to ask for help, rather than posting here, but the responses up above were VERY helpful

First, I might be able to set up a dial gage to measure this better, but I propped the gun up on a table, with the cylinder out, and watched the ejector rod as I spun the cylinder. The cylinder does spin freely, BUT the end of the ejector rod was wobbling around. I turned the cylinder until the ejector rod was all the way towards me, then turned the cylinder 180 degrees. I could then put a .013 feeler gage into the open space.

Second, I read about tightening the ejector rod, if it is loose, but it sure doesn't feel loose.......

Last, a friend of mine bought the gun new in the 1980's, and it sat unused for probably 20 or 25 years. I don't doubt that it has old yucky grease and stuff inside it.... but having watched several videos on how to disassemble the gun, I'm not sure I want to do that on my own. I might be brave enough to take the side plates off and look inside.....

......or, for those of you who know these things, might all this simply be due to the bent ejector rod? Maybe I need to search once again for a gunsmith in Miami. Last time i tried, I got nowhere.

Thanks!!!!

F-111 John
June 4, 2014, 07:47 AM
An 80s Smith won't have a built-in key lock, so try this:

Open the cylinder. Hold the cylinder release button back, and while holding it back, pull the trigger. Does the trigger feel change significantly?

If feels much smoother, then the cylinder is suspect. If the trigger pull still has the issues you described, the cylinder and ejector rod are not the problem.

mikemyers
June 4, 2014, 09:13 AM
Doing it as you suggested does feel smoother. Neither way feels "smooth as butter".

I no longer really notice this as much as I used to, unless I'm pulling the trigger very slowly. Pulling it more quickly feels better than I remember from a few weeks ago.

Are there any disadvantages to removing the grips, and pouring in some Hoppe's, or ???, and then dry-firing the gun a lot of times? I guess if I can remove the side plate, I can do this more effectively.

MrBorland
June 4, 2014, 10:38 AM
I turned the cylinder until the ejector rod was all the way towards me, then turned the cylinder 180 degrees. I could then put a .013 feeler gage into the open space.

If I understand your measuring method, you're actually measuring twice the actual runout from it's center position. If so, that puts your runout at about 0.0065". IIRC, runout shouldn't exceed 0.006", so yours isn't too bad; at least it's not likely to be bad enough to cause the majority of the action's roughness. Sounds like you already confirmed that.

An easy test is to slowly cycle the action with the cylinder closed and watch closely where the yoke meets the front of the frame. If the ejector rod is bent enough to be affecting the action, you might see a small gap opening between the yoke and frame as the bent ejector rod pushes against the plunger.

Are there any disadvantages to removing the grips, and pouring in some Hoppe's, or ???, and then dry-firing the gun a lot of times? I guess if I can remove the side plate, I can do this more effectively.

Others have differing opinions on how to clean built-up internal crud, but I'm not a proponent of methods that simply involve getting solvent inside an intact gun. Yes, you may loosen crud up, yes, you may actually get some of that crud out of the gun, and yes, you might feel a temporary improvement; but some (or much) of the crud remains and gets dispersed into other areas, some of which are critical mating surfaces, so it's not doing your gun much good in the long run.

In addition, some of the solvent will stay in there, and solvent's not only a poor lube, it does a fair job of neutralizing any lube it does meet. It's my personal opinion, then, that a revolver that truly needs an internal cleaning, needs a proper, effective, and complete internal cleaning, which includes, at a minimum, (proper) removal of the sideplate.

9mmepiphany
June 4, 2014, 02:16 PM
It's my personal opinion, then, that a revolver that truly needs an internal cleaning, needs a proper, effective, and complete internal cleaning, which includes, at a minimum, (proper) removal of the sideplate.
That is my opinion also. If you have any reluctance at all to completely disassembling the action, I'd take it to a knowledgeable smith.

I still remember the traumatic experience of the first time I removed the rebound slide in a room with wall-to-wall carpeting; to say nothing of trying to get the spring back in...it was only much later that I discovered that gunsmiths made a special tool for this

BCRider
June 4, 2014, 02:23 PM
I tend to agree with MrBorland on the results from simply sloshing cleaning solvent into the action and hoping. But then I've worked on delicate and complex mechanical and electronic stuff all my life. And they even work when I'm done.... :D So I'm not above pulling the side cover off so I can get into the works and make sure it's all good and clean.

On using solvent to loosen and dissolve old crud away. Time is your friend. You want to keep the solvent liquid for long enough that it can dissolve the stuff. So really a full on dunk into a container of solvent the put the lid on and let it sit over night is the best option if you're uncomfortable with removing the side cover. The good news is that this isn't all that hard or expensive to do.

I make up my own slightly modified version of the Ed's Red mixture that I've found works very nicely. It's equal parts ATF (that's "automatic transmission fluid" and not "alcohol, tobacco and firearms" :D ), low odor paint thinner and lacquer thinner. The first is easily found at any auto parts store and the other two can be found in any paint department. A quart of each will keep you in cheap cleaning solvent for more than a year easily. The solvent is effective for a long time until it becomes really crudded up so it's not that expensive over the long haul.

Find a rectangular food saver that will allow you to fit your whole gun and still put the lid on. Make up a batch of the cleaner using about 1/4 to 1/3 of each to arrive at around a pint or a little more of the mixed cleaner. Put that into the container and add the gun with the grips removed. Cover then "burp" the lid and you're ready to start. Holding the lid on give the container a few tips and shakes to slosh the cleaner over the gun. Repeat about every 20 minutes to half hour after the initial shake up to get the cleaner on the gun. Give it another tip and shake as you walk by for the day. At the end of this the old dried up crud SHOULD have been flushed out.

It also doesn't hurt to put on some nitrile gloves and lift the gun out and operate all the areas. Like dry fire it a half dozen times and open the cylinder and run the ejector a few times then put it back into the bath and cover it again. Give it a good tip and shake and let it sit again for a while.

By the end of a full day of such a soaking it should be clear of any old dried out oils.

The final smoothness will only come from a smith going in and working some tune up magic or from you running the gun in dry fire exercises or actual shooting. The Smiths didn't come from the factory with the buttery smooth trigger they are known for. It took some use for the internals to all burnish themselves smooth.

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 07:43 PM
.......It's my personal opinion, then, that a revolver that truly needs an internal cleaning, needs a proper, effective, and complete internal cleaning, which includes, at a minimum, (proper) removal of the sideplate.


I was at Sebastian Ammo in Fellsmere, Florida, and Will, the owner showed me a S&W gun he had just cleaned and lubed. It felt smooth as butter. After a discussion, I brought my gun back to him the next day, where he disassembled it in front of me, pointing out what he was doing. One by one, he removed the sideplates and all the parts but for one, which he felt he needed to remove later when the gun didn't work as smoothly as it should. All parts were cleaned, and he used ScotchBrite to polish them before re-assembly.

The end result is the gun works quite smoothly now - much better than before, but now it has a new "issue". Pulling the trigger is very smooth. Firing double-action is quite good as well. The problem is when you cock the trigger, and release it slowly, gradually letting the hammer return - you can feel one spot where things seem to "catch". At first the gun hung-up there, and the hammer action got bound up - the slightest pressure fixed it, but something was "catching". Will took it apart again, but everything looks good. Maybe this was part of the original problem, but I don't know enough to say for sure.....

I should add that right now, with the gun fully assembled, if I pull the trigger all the way, the hammer closes fully, as it should, with no binding, but as I release pressure from the trigger, very slowly, it moves half-way forward, then "catches" on something, and only when I release almost all the pressure on the trigger, does it suddenly free up and move forward all the way.

I will attach three photos that might help point out what is wrong. The small part to the right of the hammer in the first photo (middle of the red circle) is the part that Will at first didn't want to remove because it's tricky to get the spring back in, and that's the part that I think is binding somehow....:

http://www.sgrid.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3309&d=1404942543

http://www.sgrid.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3310&d=1404942544

http://www.sgrid.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3311&d=1404942544

David E
July 9, 2014, 09:01 PM
Are you releasing the trigger while the hammer is still back?

If so, why?

And if so, it's a total non-issue.

And anyone that thinks that spring is "too tricky" will NEVER lay hands on my gun.

(Altho that would explain the situation. Will mucked it up)

9mmepiphany
July 9, 2014, 09:52 PM
The problem is when you cock the trigger, and release it slowly, gradually letting the hammer return - you can feel one spot where things seem to "catch".
It sounds like you are talking about short stroking the trigger.

The trigger wasn't designed to be operated in that fashion.

Malamute
July 9, 2014, 09:59 PM
I should add that right now, with the gun fully assembled, if I pull the trigger all the way, the hammer closes fully, as it should, with no binding, but as I release pressure from the trigger, very slowly, it moves half-way forward, then "catches" on something, and only when I release almost all the pressure on the trigger, does it suddenly free up and move forward all the way.

I will attach three photos that might help point out what is wrong. The small part to the right of the hammer in the first photo (middle of the red circle) is the part that Will at first didn't want to remove because it's tricky to get the spring back in, and that's the part that I think is binding somehow....:


The first part sounds like the rebound spring is weak or has been shortened.


I'm guessing what you mean in the second part is the sear (pivoting bar/arm in the front of the hammer), which operates the hammer in the first part of the DA trigger pull, then transitions to the sear on the hammer. The sear has a spring under it, and should move freely. It can be cleaned up and flushed out without taking it out of the hammer. I wouldn't think it would cause the trigger to hang up on return unless its really sticky or gummy.

Not having the main spring at full or near full tension (screw in the front of the grip frame) can cause the action to act funny also. It's tempting to want to use it for a quicky action job and lighten the DA pull, but its best and most reliable when tensioned well. It can back out if not tensioned well. Some 'smiths will adjust the tension of the spring by torqueing or bending the spring to lighten the pull. This allows the screw to be snugged up.

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 10:05 PM
Are you releasing the trigger while the hammer is still back?

If so, why?

And if so, it's a total non-issue.

And anyone that thinks that spring is "too tricky" will NEVER lay hands on my gun.

(Altho that would explain the situation. Will mucked it up)


The spring isn't tricky at all. The goal wasn't to lighten anything up, just to get rid of what I thought was due to old grease or something.... what Will did was to clean the gun, rub many of the parts with Scotchbrite, lube things, and re-assemble.

Why am I trying all those things? Because to me, it feels like something is binding - before, I thought it was dirt. Now I don't know...... It shoots fine, both single-action and double-action, so maybe it's a non-issue, but none of the other guns I've tried have that "bind" (or whatever I should call it...).

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 10:19 PM
.......... Not having the main spring at full or near full tension (screw in the front of the grip frame) can cause the action to act funny also. It's tempting to want to use it for a quicky action job and lighten the DA pull, but its best and most reliable when tensioned well. It can back out if not tensioned well. Some 'smiths will adjust the tension of the spring by torqueing or bending the spring to lighten the pull. This allows the screw to be snugged up.


Hmm, Will wanted to replace the main spring, and he had several new bags of Wilson Combat #178 "Custom-Tune&Spring Kit, S&W K, L, N Frame Revolvers", but the man spring in the kit was shorter than the spring in the gun, and the three coil springs that came with it were all much longer than what was in the gun. Will looked it up on the wilsoncombat website, and the part number was correct, and he had more than one kit, all of which looked identical, so if the part number was wrong, they were all mis-labeled. I've already got a call in to Wilsoncombat asking about this. The coil springs that came with this kit were marked #12, #13, and #14.


You mentioned to have the "main spring at full or near full tension". I guess I should take a photo of this, and post it. Maybe that's the problem? I guess that might explain what is happening.

Malamute
July 9, 2014, 10:28 PM
You could only tell by checking the screw in the front of the grip frame with a screwdriver. Its the one that bears against the main spring and tensions it.

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 10:39 PM
You could only tell by checking the screw in the front of the grip frame with a screwdriver. Its the one that bears against the main spring and tensions it.


Actually, I did read that, stopped everything, took the grips off, and took a photo. Sorry for not saying what I was doing, but I thought the photo would say more than anything I could write....

http://www.sgrid.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3312&d=1404956096

I left the image 1000 or so pixels high, so hopefully it isn't too big for the forum. I've got zero experience at this sort of thing, but do hope to learn. Sorry if I seem to be muddling my way through it, but it's the best I currently know how to do.

.........and looking at the very bottom of the photo, I get the feeling that the spring should be curved a LOT more, with all that space at the bottom for the spring to be pushed out even further. Just a dumb guess...... I guess I need to find other photos like this on the internet....

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 10:52 PM
I found this image on a different forum. If this photo shows the right amount of curvature for the main spring, then I need to adjust mine a lot tighter.

Will set it to what he thought was right, but I'm getting the feeling he needed to make it a lot tighter....

http://home.tulsaconnect.com/toug/cpf/sw48.JPG

Credits for the photo should go to _CY_ at "okshooters.com".

Malamute
July 9, 2014, 10:57 PM
It should essentially be bottomed out, not used to try to adjust the action feel.

From the picture, it looks like it isn't bottomed out. In my experience, you can mess with them a little bit, but a half turn out from snugged firmly is about all I'd trust. Best is snugged up tight for best reliability.

I think if you run the screw in all the way, the quirky feel to the trigger return will go away.

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 11:21 PM
There was never any intent to make the trigger feel lighter. My only goal was to make it feel smoother.

I did what you said, and while the trigger does feel better, I know that there is still a momentary bind as the trigger is released. Maybe I can show this with a video - will try.

If I deliberately do things "wrong", as follows, the bind is very noticeable.


pull the trigger all the way, so the hammer falls.
release the trigger very, very slowly, gradually removing pressure
when the trigger is half way forward, I can completely remove my trigger finger, and the trigger just stays there - it doesn't go all the way forward.


I would never shoot the gun this way, but I'm sure something needs attention. I will try to do a video of this.....

Malamute
July 9, 2014, 11:41 PM
So, you ran the main spring tension screw in snugly?

So long as you are letting the hammer all the way forward before releasing the trigger, the trigger should go back without hesitation. If you let the trigger go before the hammer is fully forward, it can bind up.

It sounds like the rebound spring is weak. They are sometimes clipped or ground shorter in an action job, but they have to be balanced with the main (hammer) spring to function properly. I have a pile of them, but am not sure what the stock color is for an N or I'd send you one. A gunsmith gave them to me that used to do a lot of action jobs. Your local guy may have some also.

For curiosity sake, you can tinker with the main spring tension screw, starting from all the way in, then back it out in 1/4 turn increments and see if it ends up in a sweet spot where everything works together correctly. If its been altered in any way, it may hit a sweet spot where the main spring balances out the altered rebound spring. It would be safe to shoot, but the main spring screw can come loose when not snugged down. It would answer the question about if the rebound spring was altered.

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 11:45 PM
Got the video, and uploaded it to my server, but without re-learning how to edit videos, it's still a high-res MP4 file, short, but still 32 megs in size. Here's the link:

http://www.sgrid.com/2013/MVI_1110.MP4

Once it loads, it plays smoothly. I probably need to take the side plate off the gun, and film this from the other side, showing the parts moving......

Malamute
July 9, 2014, 11:46 PM
I just edited my post before yours,....

Will try the vid.


Edit: vid isn't loading. I'm on a dsl connection on an old rural phone system, it may not work for me.

mikemyers
July 9, 2014, 11:52 PM
Malamute, if you play the video, you'll see exactly what I'm trying to describe. Will wanted to put in a different rebound spring, but the ones in the kit from Wilson were much longer than mine - not to mention the main spring was shorter than mine, and had a different shape. Very strange. I already have a call in to Wilsoncombat, as Will had several spring kits, but they were all the same, and none of them matched mine. Either they sent Sebastian Ammo the wrong parts in the kits, or ???? Doesn't make any sense.

The gun is MUCH better than before Will started on it, and it's much, much smoother than before.

I will be back in Fellsmere in a month, and can go back to Will, having bought whatever parts it might need, but I feel like a blind person trying to describe something I can't see.


Oops, just read your response. I will see if I have an old Youtube account that nobody goes to, and try to post it there. That will make it smaller.

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 12:03 AM
This should play better - it's now on Youtube....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUAStADurRA&feature=youtu.be

Malamute
July 10, 2014, 12:36 AM
Yes, that looks like a weak rebound spring.

If you tinker with the main spring screw tension, you may find a sweet spot that it works in. I'd guess someone shortened or replaced the rebound spring in tuning the trigger pull, and likely used the main spring tension screw as part of the work. I'd go through the sweet spot and see how much turning of the screw until its good, then bad again, then set it back towards the heavier tension end of the sweet spot a little so its in that good spot. It should work, but in the long run, the main spring screw may back out after some use. You could use a touch of locktite blue or nail polish to lock the main spring tension screw once you find the good spot if you don't want to mess with it any more.

Getting a standard or close to it rebound spring may get it so you can put full tension on the main spring, or you can use a spring kit like your guy there has. If it isn't a self protection gun you may be happy with it with the screw not fully tensioned if the trigger pull suits you. Your call on that.

Malamute
July 10, 2014, 12:55 AM
I just looked up the rebound springs, they use the same ones in different size Smiths. If anyone knows the color codes on them, I can see what I have, I'd send you one in the mail if you'd like, or you can go with the spring kit your local guy has.

This is the Wolff page for Smith revolver springs. I used one of their main springs for a while, but liked the factory spring better. My main concern is reliability under all conditions. A good pull can still be achieved with stock springs of the internals are hand polished inside. I work them to 600 or 1200 grit wet or dry paper in glass.

http://www.gunsprings.com/index.cfm?page=items&cID=3&mID=58

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 02:03 AM
The shop in Fellsmere had three of the Wilsoncombat kits:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/365183/wilson-combat-custom-tune-spring-kit-s-and-w-k-l-n-frame

The kit came with three springs, that were longer than what came out of the gun. Supposedly they were 12, 13, and 14 pound springs. However, the main spring that came in the kit was much shorter than the original, had a strange shape, and didn't look like it was made for my gun. We decided it wouldn't work, and it's still in Fellsmere. The original main spring stayed in the gun.

I just checked - the 12 pound rebound spring is now in the gun. The 12 and 14 pound springs are still in the package, and my original spring (which Will tried to shorten thinking that would fix the binding problem) is in my parts bag. I won't put it back into the gun because it's been cut.

As to the main spring, when the screw at the bottom of the frame was loosened up all the way, the gun bound up worst, as if two parts were hitting each other when they shouldn't. Tightening up the main spring screw helped, and as instructed up above, tightening the screw all the way seems to make the gun work the best - but the video shows what is still wrong.

For whatever it's worth, if I slide open the cylinder, and hold the release lever in the open position, it makes no change in whatever is binding.

For my purposes, target shooting, the gun works better now than ever before. It certainly does not have a light trigger pull - in my very inexperienced opinion.

You guys know far more than I do, but my gut feeling is that two surfaces are touching in a way that they shouldn't, and something inside the mechanism is binding. I've been searching all over for an animation of how all these parts work together, but every link I find is a dead end.

Malamute
July 10, 2014, 02:19 AM
I think he was going the wrong direction, you don't need a weaker rebound spring, but a stronger one to balance the main spring. From Wolfs site, they say the factory rebound spring is an 18 lb, and their kits have 2 lb increments going down. The ones in the link I posted showed them in 12-14 and 16 lbs.

What you described is what I expected. The reason the trigger is hanging up is that the rebound spring isn't balanced out with the main spring.

When the main spring tension screw is backed out, it changes the angle and length of the spring and it doesn't work well at all. Using it to "adjust" the action is a two edged sword. It can be done within limits, but too much and things go way wrong as to function, as you discovered.

I'd start with the heaviest rebound spring you have, and mess with the mainspring tension screw from all the way in, to backing it out 1/4 turn at a time, and seeing if it gets decent (trigger doesn't hang up at all in return) at some point, then keep going past that point to see what the good zone is. I'd keep it in the heavier end of that zone for best functional reliability.

Does your factory rebound spring have a color? Smith color codes springs for different weights/applications.

Some people use a rebound spring tool, I've not had much trouble just using a small screwdriver to get it started, then pushed the last bit into place once started.

David E
July 10, 2014, 02:20 AM
I think your problem is Will the "gunsmith."

ljnowell
July 10, 2014, 02:21 AM
Single action is definitely not always most accurate. I shoot bullseye with S&W revolvers and I shoot double action in slow, timed, and rapid fire. None of the top shooters in my league shoot single action.

ljnowell
July 10, 2014, 02:24 AM
I think he was going the wrong direction, you don't need a weaker rebound spring, but a stronger one to balance the main spring. From Wolfs site, they say the factory rebound spring is an 18 lb, and their kits have 2 lb increments going down. The ones in the link I posted showed them in 12-14 and 16 lbs.



What you described is what I expected. The reason the trigger is hanging up is that the rebound spring isn't balanced out with the main spring.



When the main spring tension screw is backed out, it changes the angle and length of the spring and it doesn't work well at all. Using it to "adjust" the action is a two edged sword. It can be done within limits, but too much and things go way wrong as to function, as you discovered.



I'd start with the heaviest rebound spring you have, and mess with the mainspring tension screw from all the way in, to backing it out 1/4 turn at a time, and seeing if it gets decent (trigger doesn't hang up at all in return) at some point, then keep going past that point to see what the good zone is. I'd keep it in the heavier end of that zone for best functional reliability.



Does your factory rebound spring have a color? Smith color codes springs for different weights/applications.



Some people use a rebound spring tool, I've not had much trouble just using a small screwdriver to get it started, then pushed the last bit into place once started.


I would NEVER attempt to use the strain screw to tube a trigger. You can use a lightened mainspring or even modify the mainspring(which is what I do) and then use lighter rebound springs. You can get a very decent trigger without doing much else. I also polish a few things but I don't usually go crazy with that because it's not needed to shoot great scores.

Malamute
July 10, 2014, 02:36 AM
Thanks for weighing in with your experience.

Did you read the rest of the posts? I don't know if you're ragging on me, if so, please read more.

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 02:37 AM
...... What you described is what I expected. The reason the trigger is hanging up is that the rebound spring isn't balanced out with the main spring........... I'd start with the heaviest rebound spring you have, ........ Does your factory rebound spring have a color? Smith color codes springs for different weights/applications........


The heaviest spring I have is the one from Wilsoncombat marked 14, meaning it's supposedly a 14 pound spring.

None of these springs, nor the one that came out of the gun, has any color - they all just look like bare steel.

I guess this will be the plan for tomorrow - not tonight. I'm way too tired. Everything you say makes sense, and I have no way of knowing that the "original spring" really was the "original spring" as I bought the gun from a friend who doesn't think he changed anything, but this was ages ago when he used it.

My intuition says that this isn't the problem, that somewhere, somehow, two parts are binding when they shouldn't, but maybe the problem all along has been the spring, and the 12 pound spring now in the gun is a lot less than the 18 pound spring that you say is the stock configuration.....

Hunter2011
July 10, 2014, 02:42 AM
Sorry if this seems like a hi-jack. I have not read the whole thread word for word, but a question came up in my mind.
What attract people to SA revolvers? Is one reason perhaps that they ''might'' be more accurate than DA revolvers? Or can it be the looks? Or is it nostalgia?
Are a DA revolver in SA mode not just as accurate as a SA revolver?

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 02:46 AM
I think your problem is Will the "gunsmith."


No, my problem is very much NOT with Will. He never said he was a gunsmith; he runs the gunshop in Fellsmere, and had just rebuilt an older S&W revolver that worked beautifully.

I brought him a gun with problems, and he made it better, but not perfect. He is still trying to find out what was wrong.

Then too, he had three brand new spring kits for my gun, from Wilsoncombat, and all three had a main spring that was nothing like the mainspring in my gun. He checked their website, and according to Wilsoncombat, that was supposed to be for my gun.... I will call Wilson again tomorrow - maybe I can reach someone.


Will was willing (no pun intended) to do what I wanted very much - work on the gun in front of me, so I'd learn what was involved. The only gunsmith I found in Miami so far refused to do that.

Thanks to Will, I'm reasonably confident (but still very concerned that I might be in over my head) that I can disassemble everything, and re-assemble it.

Also, the gun is MUCH better now than it was before he worked on it. The binding, or whatever it is, is annoying, but it was so "gritty" before that shooting double-action would have been impossible for me.

MrBorland
July 10, 2014, 08:47 AM
The problem is when you cock the trigger, and release it slowly, gradually letting the hammer return - you can feel one spot where things seem to "catch". At first the gun hung-up there, and the hammer action got bound up - the slightest pressure fixed it, but something was "catching". Will took it apart again, but everything looks good. Maybe this was part of the original problem, but I don't know enough to say for sure.....

I should add that right now, with the gun fully assembled, if I pull the trigger all the way, the hammer closes fully, as it should, with no binding, but as I release pressure from the trigger, very slowly, it moves half-way forward, then "catches" on something, and only when I release almost all the pressure on the trigger, does it suddenly free up and move forward all the way.

I will attach three photos that might help point out what is wrong. The small part to the right of the hammer in the first photo (middle of the red circle) is the part that Will at first didn't want to remove because it's tricky to get the spring back in, and that's the part that I think is binding somehow....:

STOP!! Sounds like you're forcing the hammer into a faux half-cock, which can damage delicate mating surfaces.

When lowering the hammer on an unloaded gun, the trigger must be fully to the rear, or fully forward (on a loaded gun, it needs to be fully forward, with the finger off the trigger). The tolerances in the action are pretty tight, and in some (but not all) guns, releasing the trigger while lowering the hammer can bind the action in a half-cock the gun wasn't designed for.

Check out the series of pics below. I made them specifically to explain the faux half-cock. Study pics 1-4 for normal function, then pics 4 & 5 to see how you can jam the action into a half-cock. Pic 4 shows how the action can half-cock with the trigger fully forward if the sear's too long, but you can also jam the action this way with a proper-length sear by letting the trigger out while lowering the hammer if the tolerances of your particular gun are "just so".

Being able to get your gun into half-cock doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your gun (yet). Some guns can do it, some can't. But as you can see, the gun wasn't designed for it, and you can damage it by doing it.

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/HammerStart.jpg

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/HammerLowering.jpg

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/Halfcock.jpg


EDIT added: If you do jam the gun in a half-cock, don't release the half-cock by simply pulling the hammer or trigger individually. Yes, it will release the jam, but this is where it's most likely you'll damage your gun. Instead, un-jam the same way you jammed it, gently pull back both the hammer and trigger simultaneously. The movement should feel smooth. Once done, allow the trigger to fully release forward, then lower the hammer.

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 10:08 AM
Sounds like you're forcing the hammer into a faux half-cock, which can damage delicate mating surfaces.

When lowering the hammer on an unloaded gun, the trigger must be fully to the rear, or fully forward (on a loaded gun, it needs to be fully forward, with the finger off the trigger). The tolerances in the action are pretty tight, and in some (but not all) guns, releasing the trigger while lowering the hammer can bind the action in a half-cock the gun wasn't designed for.

Check out the series of pics below. I made them specifically to explain the faux half-cock. Study pics 1-4 for normal function, then pics 4 & 5 to see how you can jam the action into a half-cock. Pic 4 shows how the action can half-cock with the trigger fully forward if the sear's too long, but you can also jam the action this way with a proper-length sear by letting the trigger out while lowering the hammer if the tolerances of your particular gun are "just so".

Being able to get your gun into half-cock doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your gun (yet). Some guns can do it, some can't. But as you can see, the gun wasn't designed for it, and you can damage it by doing it.


EDIT added: If you do jam the gun in a half-cock, don't release the half-cock by simply pulling the hammer or trigger individually. Yes, it will release the jam, but this is where it's most likely you'll damage your gun. Instead, un-jam the same way you jammed it, gently pull back both the hammer and trigger simultaneously. The movement should feel smooth. Once done, allow the trigger to fully release forward, then lower the hammer.

Thanks - I will take the side plate off, and try to see what is going on so I learn to understand it. I've never heard of faux half-cock before. The more I learn, the more I find out I have yet to learn.



If you watch the video of what I'm doing now, I don't think it's what you refer to as faux half-cock. That doesn't mean Will or I didn't do that unintentionally, while we were trying to figure out what is wrong. It should be clear in the video that I pull the trigger all the way, the gun "fires", and I simply release the trigger slowly - there is a specific spot where something "binds".

There's also the possibility that this is what's been wrong all along, that ages ago someone didn't do this, "which can damage delicate mating surfaces". My totally uneducated gut feeling is that what you wrote here describes what I'm feeling, and there is some kind of mechanical interference between parts.




After cleaning the gun, we dry-fired the gun many times, both single action, and double action, and something felt wrong - the trigger didn't want to return all the way forward. Will tightened up the screw against the main spring, and it got much better, but this "bind" was still felt. Last night I tightened that screw all the way, so the main spring now looks like the photos I've seen. The bind happens after "shooting", hammer fully forward, while releasing the trigger. If you release the trigger normally, you barely notice the issue. If you release the trigger as slowly as you can, it gets "stuck" while moving forward.

Last week, back at the gunshop, my totally uneducated guess as to where the problem was coming from, was the area inside my red circle over the photo, and the same parts you've shown in your very last photo, at the bottom right. I'll try the new springs, but suspect the problem all along has been that one or more of these parts got damaged, long before I got the gun.......

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 10:58 AM
A question that I'd like to ask - maybe it makes no sense at all when it comes to guns, but here goes... (this assumes that the problem is not caused by a soft spring, but instead by parts that are binding, rather then moving freely.)

A lifetime ago, I used to do mechanical design. I also used to work on motorcycles, and later on, small brass model locomotives. Many times, especially with the locomotives, there was a mechanism that was supposed to run smoothly, but it had a bind somewhere, preventing it from performing smoothly. My "solution" was to disconnect any motors, gears, springs, and any parts that weren't needed, and jut to work the mechanism looking for the parts that were causing the bind. I would start removing parts, one at a time, seeing if this "fixed" things. It was usually fairly easy to find the problem, and knowing where the problem was coming from I knew what parts to repair, adjust, or replace.

Is it possible to do this with my revolver? Can I remove all the springs, the cylinder, and one by one, the other gun parts, until I find which specific parts might be causing the bind, if in fact that is the problem?

Those of you who work on guns probably would just look at all the parts for signs of anything wearing strangely - if there's an obvious problem, I might even find it, but I still need to learn what all the parts are, what they do, and so on......


.........and if all this turns out to be so far over my head that I'm not capable of doing anything about it, maybe I need to give up, and find an experienced gunsmith.

MrBorland
July 10, 2014, 11:04 AM
Mike - Yes, I initially just read your 1st update, and fired off a quick reply trying to avert some damage from a half-cock.

I just watched your video, and agree it's not likely a half-cock issue. It could be a return spring issue, but opening the sideplate and watching closely as you cycle the action will be informative. Could be the springs are fine but the DA sear's simply a little long (see #4 in my pic above), and you'll see the interference if you watch closely enough.

Also look closely at where the rebound slide re-engages the hammer as it slides forward. It's close to 2 right angles sliding over each other, so if that interaction isn't smooth, that could help impede things, too. Also look at how the front of the trigger is riding over the cylinder stop on the trigger's return. Could be another area of interference.

Be sure to take the majority of the mainspring tension off by backing the tension screw out before removing the sideplate, and definitely before cycling the action with the sideplate off, otherwise you can bend (or break) the hammer stud. With little mainspring tension, the trigger will likely come forward with no difficulty, but you still ought to see if there's any mechanical binding that doesn't look right.

BTW, here's a link to some revolver animation, in case that helps.

http://www.genitron.com/Basics/Interactive-Revolver

Can I remove all the springs, the cylinder, and one by one, the other gun parts, until I find which specific parts might be causing the bind, if in fact that is the problem?

Yes, you can, and it's often quite helpful.

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 12:18 PM
........and you'll see the interference if you watch closely enough...........Also look closely at where the rebound slide re-engages the hammer as it slides forward. It's close to 2 right angles sliding over each other, so if that interaction isn't smooth, that could help impede things, too. Also look at how the front of the trigger is riding over the cylinder stop on the trigger's return. Could be another area of interference.


When I get the sideplate off, I will try to check each of those, once I learn which part is which. Your animation is great - wish they had a "slow motion mode"! I tried to find animations for the past several days, but none of them were still working.




Be sure to take the majority of the mainspring tension off by backing the tension screw out before removing the sideplate, and definitely before cycling the action with the sideplate off, otherwise you can bend (or break) the hammer stud. With little mainspring tension, the trigger will likely come forward with no difficulty, but you still ought to see if there's any mechanical binding that doesn't look right.


Thanks for posting this!!! I was going to follow the steps here (https://www.okshooters.com/showthread.php?98175-S-amp-W-Revolver-Detailed-Disassembly-Deep-Clean-and-Reassembly ), and he didn't mention those things.

Malamute
July 10, 2014, 05:11 PM
Some factory rebound springs are in the mail. Let us know how it all turns out.

mikemyers
July 10, 2014, 06:15 PM
Some factory rebound springs are in the mail. Let us know how it all turns out.


Thanks! I just got back from the range. The gun shot fine, and since I wasn't "trying to notice" the problem, it didn't exist. Actually, I did better with the gun today, after the cleaning and all, than I've ever done before with it. I can shoot 3" groups at 15 yards, but before I get too old to shoot, I'd like to get that down to two inch groups.

There's a gun show in Miami in about four weeks - maybe I can find an old, beat-up S&W revolver for a low price (due to condition) and I'll have a gun I can practice with, learning how to take it apart, clean it, and all the rest, with minimal risk. If nothing else, I'll get to know all the parts a lot better. I'm sitting here now, never having even taken a sideplate off a gun yet!

.........anyway, here's the last target out of the four that I shot at today. The grid is 1" squares, with a 3" bull. :

http://sgrid.com/2013/IMG_1112s.jpg

ljnowell
July 11, 2014, 12:45 AM
Thanks for weighing in with your experience.



Did you read the rest of the posts? I don't know if you're ragging on me, if so, please read more.


I read through them, I'm sorry if it made it look like I was ragging on you, it was not my intention. Your advice has been very sound. One of my pet peeves is when people brag about the "awesome trigger job" they did on their S&W then I inspect it to find the strain screw backed out halfway, lol.

ljnowell
July 11, 2014, 12:51 AM
ljnowell,

do you shoot da in slow fire?

murf


Sorry, just noticed your question. Yes I do shoot my slow fire double action also. On the National Match course with either of my comp guns I shoot low 280s out of 300. I'm still improving though.

Also I do my own trigger work and both of mine are far from stock.

RealGun
July 11, 2014, 09:57 AM
Sorry if this seems like a hi-jack. I have not read the whole thread word for word, but a question came up in my mind.
What attract people to SA revolvers? Is one reason perhaps that they ''might'' be more accurate than DA revolvers? Or can it be the looks? Or is it nostalgia?
Are a DA revolver in SA mode not just as accurate as a SA revolver?

I can answer that but it may not be what you had in mind. I don't prefer SA but out of respect near reverence for a design that old I wanted to try representatives. I started with a New Vaquero 45 Colt 5.5", then a .41 Magnum NMBH. Now I await a Ruger Single Seven, .327 Federal Magnum.

I wasn't so sure about the grip shape, since the double actions have left traditional appearance behind and developed various fits and ways of handling recoil and concealed carry. However, so far my SAs have not been purposed for CCW. To my surprise and satisfaction, the guns shoot well and comfortably with the grip shape provided, allowing that I replaced them with something sexier and more personal, yet maintaining the shape and dimensions.

Maybe that will get us off the gunsmithing and troubleshooting and back to more about the comparative actions.

Onward Allusion
July 11, 2014, 10:08 AM
In the video, it is suggested that shooting single-action on a double action revolver isn't doing anything to help develop good trigger control.

This is soooooooo true! I used to shoot all DA revolvers AND semis in single action mode. I shot like crap. About 6 years ago I started shooting DAO handguns. Over the course of about a year, my shooting improved by leaps. SA on a revolver will only give you the impression that it is more accurate because it greatly lessens the need for trigger control. If you want to be a good shooter, learn to master the DA trigger.

MartinS
July 11, 2014, 11:43 AM
Odd that there is any part of the S&W lockwork that a gunsmith is reluctant to disassemble. Not odd that a persistent quest for problems will find some.

mikemyers
July 11, 2014, 12:06 PM
Odd that there is any part of the S&W lockwork that a gunsmith is reluctant to disassemble. Not odd that a persistent quest for problems will find some.


Just a bit of explanation here.... In the above discussion, maybe I didn't make it clear - Will is not a gunsmith, but the owner of the gun shop. He had just cleaned up an old S&W revolver that he took in on trade, and showed it to me. I thought all I needed to do was clean out the inside of my gun, which I was reluctant to do, never having removed a sideplate before.

The gun in question had a "problem" all along, but my hope was that a good cleaning would take care of it. It helped, a lot, but now that it's so free and smooth, I can more easily notice things.



I think you're right - "a persistent quest for problems will find some".... but for all my life, I thought this was a good habit. I do it with everything, computers, cameras, motorcycles.... anything and everything. Why wait until something actually breaks or fails, when you can maybe fix things long ahead of time, and maybe prevent more damage? If your car starts running hotter than it used to, do you check it out then, or wait until something fails? I dunno..... it's just the way I do things. With guns, I can afford to be this way, as it's just my hobby. If I needed to wear a gun as part of my job, it would have been sent off to a proper gunsmith long ago....

mikemyers
July 11, 2014, 12:11 PM
.........I wasn't so sure about the grip shape, since the double actions have left traditional appearance behind and developed various fits and ways of handling recoil and concealed carry. However, so far my SAs have not been purposed for CCW. To my surprise and satisfaction, the guns shoot well and comfortably with the grip shape provided, allowing that I replaced them with something sexier and more personal, yet maintaining the shape and dimensions.

Maybe that will get us off the gunsmithing and troubleshooting and back to more about the comparative actions.


For someone who just wants to learn how to shoot better, and whose objective is simply to shoot tighter groups (no regard for speed), is it better to practice in SA mode or DA mode?

I've always thought shooting DA was for speed, but to get the best accuracy, given the choice, one should shoot SA. Your advice?

RealGun
July 11, 2014, 12:22 PM
For someone who just wants to learn how to shoot better, and whose objective is simply to shoot tighter groups (no regard for speed), is it better to practice in SA mode or DA mode?

I've always thought shooting DA was for speed, but to get the best accuracy, given the choice, one should shoot SA. Your advice?

If you are asking me, I am not good enough to be a shooting instructor. However, I would only attempt DA with guns that have a good, smooth DA trigger action. Many do not, it would seem. Very serviceable SA triggers don't seem very difficult to come by, but it is a treasure to have one that is particularly sweet.

My first handguns were DAO semis, except the initial 1911. The FNH and Kahr triggers were superb as far as DA goes. Once through a few years with my compact Kimber, I went right into revolvers and found it difficult to do much with the DA triggers. The best ones seem to be the Smiths, with the rest generally too stagey. We're still working at moving guns through my gunsmith.

CraigC
July 11, 2014, 12:25 PM
This is soooooooo true! I used to shoot all DA revolvers AND semis in single action mode. I shot like crap. About 6 years ago I started shooting DAO handguns. Over the course of about a year, my shooting improved by leaps. SA on a revolver will only give you the impression that it is more accurate because it greatly lessens the need for trigger control. If you want to be a good shooter, learn to master the DA trigger.
There's nothing magical about the DA trigger. If you're shooting SA and can't shoot well, the problem is likely you. Either can be done well with practice and proper technique. However, to imply that somehow shooting SA is less accurate than DA shooting is ridiculous.

Nor is DA shooting somehow more noble than SA shooting.

Onward Allusion
July 11, 2014, 12:50 PM
It's not the trigger but the muscles in the hand and the trigger finger. SA doesn't properly exercise those muscles.

Anyone who ONLY shoots revolvers or semis in SINGLE ACTION will suck when they have to shoot in double action mode. This is regardless of whether it's a semi or revolver. How many times have you heard of people who say such and such a trigger is crap because it is so heavy? These are the same people who can't fire the first shot from a traditional DA semi to save their lives. <<<---this is HYPERBOLE BTW!

It's not about being noble and able to shoot DA. It's about having the muscle control to shoot DA. SA requires less hand muscle control. You don't exercise a muscle, you lose the ability to control that muscle well.

You want to know how I learned to shoot better? I bought a S&W Sigma with the supposedly horrible trigger that almost everyone in forums claim suck. Hell, I when I shot 3 times a week, I was doing 1" to 2" groups with that supposedly horrible gun from about 10 yards - OFF HAND.

CraigC
July 11, 2014, 01:05 PM
Anyone who ONLY shoots revolvers or semis in SINGLE ACTION will suck when they have to shoot in double action mode.
Obviously, they are two distinct skills.

murf
July 11, 2014, 01:17 PM
mikemyers,

suggest you get the book "fast and fancy revolver shooting" by ed mcgivern. mr. mcgivern explains, in great detail, how to shoot a double-action revolver.

murf

9mmepiphany
July 11, 2014, 01:56 PM
Anyone who ONLY shoots revolvers or semis in SINGLE ACTION will suck when they have to shoot in double action mode.
Obviously, they are two distinct skills.
Actually they aren't.

A shooter should use exactly the same technique when managing either trigger press. The only difference is the distance that the trigger travels between contact with the trigger face and the release of the hammer.

Practicing good DA trigger technique will make you better at managing a SA trigger, the reverse isn't always as true

CraigC
July 11, 2014, 02:21 PM
They are distinct and I don't think that practice with either translates to the other. A strong DA shooter, who does little to no SA shooting, is going to have a hard time with a 2lb SA trigger. Although, probably not as difficult as an SA shooter going to a DA.

vba
July 11, 2014, 02:38 PM
I used to own a few double action revolvers and sold them all. I found myself always preferring to fire them single action. That is why I now have only SA revolvers. It is also why I like the 1911 as well.

Malamute
July 11, 2014, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by ljnowell


I read through them, I'm sorry if it made it look like I was ragging on you, it was not my intention. Your advice has been very sound. One of my pet peeves is when people brag about the "awesome trigger job" they did on their S&W then I inspect it to find the strain screw backed out halfway, lol.



Thanks for responding, I wasn't sure. I was suggesting tinkering with the mainspring tension screw as a means of helping diagnose if it was a spring problem or a mechanical problem.

I agree with you, I've seen some "action jobs" that were just the tension screw backed out. It isn't a good way to try to improve the action, and can back out, causing embarrassment when the gun doesn't fire reliably. Work with the springs generally needs to be balanced out between the main spring and rebound spring. I've tended towards maximum reliability after messing around with various spring work and experiencing compromised reliability.

9mmepiphany
July 11, 2014, 05:45 PM
They are distinct and I don't think that practice with either translates to the other. A strong DA shooter, who does little to no SA shooting, is going to have a hard time with a 2lb SA trigger. Although, probably not as difficult as an SA shooter going to a DA.
I guess our experiences just differ or it might just that we teach differently.

I've often used the DA trigger stroke, on a DA/SA pistol, to cure a shooter of their tendency to anticipate the break of the SA trigger.

I have to admit that when shooting at a higher rate...over 3 shots/sec...the technique will tend to differ quite a bit as the DA shooter is constantly working their trigger between shots, while the SA shooter is waiting for the sights to return onto target

mikemyers
July 11, 2014, 06:12 PM
Murf, thanks for the book info. It's now in my cart at Amazon, and I should have it next week.



It's not the trigger but the muscles in the hand and the trigger finger. SA doesn't properly exercise those muscles. ........ Anyone who ONLY shoots revolvers or semis in SINGLE ACTION will suck when they have to shoot in double action mode .......... It's not about being noble and able to shoot DA. It's about having the muscle control to shoot DA. SA requires less hand muscle control. You don't exercise a muscle, you lose the ability to control that muscle well.

........I was doing 1" to 2" groups with that supposedly horrible gun from about 10 yards - OFF HAND.


I understand what you've written. I've only shot this gun DA in dry-firing, but four weeks ago when I started, my finger wasn't strong enough to pull the trigger when I used the outermost "ball" of my trigger finger - I had to use the joint in that finger to get enough leverage to pull the trigger. Now I can use the ball of the finger..... but the idea of the front sight not moving when I pull the trigger back is well beyond my current ability.


1" to 2" groups at 10 yards - of all the people I've been next to at the various ranges I go to, I have never seen anyone that good. Congratulations!!

MrBorland
July 11, 2014, 06:42 PM
Murf, thanks for the book info. It's now in my cart at Amazon, and I should have it next week.

It's a good reference, and a book any well-read wheelgunner ought to have, but beware - it's written the wordy Victorian prose of the time and it can be tough to get through. If someone were to edit it in modern prose it'd be a lot more accessible...about a third it's original size. :p

Now I can use the ball of the finger..... but the idea of the front sight not moving when I pull the trigger back is well beyond my current ability.

There's nothing magic or "more correct" about using the ball of your finger. Whether it's with the ball of your finger or your 1st joint, if you're smoothly stroke the DA trigger all the way through the break while not moving the front sight, you're doing it right. FWIW, my finger placement is somewhere between the 1st joint and the ball because that's where it lies when I get my grip right. Works for me (see below).

10 yards, DA, supported (bottom) and standing, unsupported (top)
http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/May2012Postal686.jpg

25 yards, DA, unsupported:
http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/SW617B-16Freestyle.jpg

Onward Allusion
July 11, 2014, 07:27 PM
1" to 2" groups at 10 yards - of all the people I've been next to at the various ranges I go to, I have never seen anyone that good. Congratulations!!

I need to caveat that to say I was going to the range 3+ times a week (which gave me high levels of lead due to it being indoors with crappy ventilation). That was about 3 years ago now. These days I shoot about 3" to 4" from that distance.

I think there are some guys here that do the same at 25 yards!

mikemyers
July 11, 2014, 08:13 PM
.......... if you're smoothly stroke the DA trigger all the way through the break while not moving the front sight, you're doing it right. ..........


Speechless.....

I have never, not even once, at any range, seen anyone do what you can do - unless they were using a rifle, and even then, un-supported? Amazing. Not even the "experts" I used to watch on TV shows could do it.

Unless you've already done so, it would be good if YOU could write a book on what it took to be able to shoot that well. The books I read mostly talk about how to get "better".

.....back to the real world. "smoothly stroke the DA trigger all the way through the break while not moving the front sight" sounds as likely for me as doing a "hole in one" in Golf. I assume it's "me", not the gun, so maybe from now on, I start practicing only DA.

MrBorland
July 11, 2014, 11:41 PM
MM -

I generally do ok when I shoot groups, but I should say those targets aren't my norm, of course. For the record, I'm generally good for about 2" - 2 1/2" @ 25 yards. Statistically, there'll be some real winners and some stinkers. Some in the former group get uploaded, while those in the latter group don't teach me anything, so I don't pay them much attention.

I posted those targets to emphasize there's no one correct trigger finger placement, but also to show that one doesn't have to be satisfied with the accuracy they see at their local range, or even by experts.

No matter the group size, it is about getting better, though. Practicing the fundamentals hard, being honest but patient with yourself, and avoiding negative self-limiting mental chatter will pay big dividends. That's pretty much what I'd be able to put in a book. ;)

mikemyers
July 12, 2014, 12:30 AM
........Practicing the fundamentals hard, being honest but patient with yourself, and avoiding negative self-limiting mental chatter ..........


There's the line that can go right under the short, catchy title you give to your book! :-)

MartinS
July 12, 2014, 12:40 AM
I think we're lucky to have you at this fire. With your attitude I think you will get to know your guns pretty well.

SDGlock23
July 12, 2014, 07:35 AM
I don't have any double actions any longer, but mostl always shot them single action. However, it is good to practice "staging" the trigger on a double action, helps you to shoot DA much better.

RealGun
July 12, 2014, 09:03 AM
it is good to practice "staging" the trigger on a double action

I have read varying opinions on that. I grew accustomed to the Kahr trigger, which was sort of like rolling a ball. Involvement with revolvers and financing trigger jobs lead to quite a variety of trigger pull characteristics. The guns with stagy triggers seemed to require the greatest control, but it was like simulating single action. It doesn't make sense, except as a workaround to a bad trigger. JMHO

mikemyers
July 12, 2014, 11:23 AM
I think we're lucky to have you at this fire. With your attitude I think you will get to know your guns pretty well.


It's a pretty good fireside chat!!!! This is a great place to learn new things, that you didn't even know to ask about before. Thanks!

BCRider
July 12, 2014, 03:17 PM
On staging the DA trigger....

I've found that many folks that do that tend to snap the last bit when they see the sights line up. And that snapping pulls the gun off target. I've actually seen big improvements in accuracy and group size reduction when "stagers" converted and tried "one smooth full pull" instead. In most cases where the stager didn't also have a bit of a flinch the results were dramatic and immediate. I have also seen far more write ups that say that the proper DA operation is "one full smooth pull".

This doesn't mean that a shooter can't become good at staging the trigger. But on the whole I would suggest that for most folks it hurts more than it helps. I would also suggest that if the shot means that much that instead of staging the trigger the shooter should just cock the hammer and shoot in SA. It'll be more stable and just as fast.

BCRider
July 12, 2014, 03:25 PM
.....back to the real world. "smoothly stroke the DA trigger all the way through the break while not moving the front sight" sounds as likely for me as doing a "hole in one" in Golf. I assume it's "me", not the gun, so maybe from now on, I start practicing only DA.

In light of what came up in your other thread about how difficult it is for you to pull the stock trigger I don't doubt that this would be tough. I'm guessing that some of this is age or medical issues and some due to apparently having somewhat small hands. But as I suggested a Wolff spring kit will do wonders.

What MrBorland wrote about the one smooth pull is spot on. Get that spring kit installed and while the side cover is off detail clean and lubricate the action with a very good quality oil used SPARINGLY. You don't want to drown it, just make the parts look lightly wet. Then dry fire or do the pencil thing or balance a dime on the front sight blade and alter how you dry fire until you can click the hammer at least 4 times without losing the dime. Or a .38 casing mouth down on the rib behind the front sight if that's a little easier. Start head down at first and when it's easy to keep the casing in place for a half dozen dry fires then turn it so it's mouth down and try again. Not so easy NOW, eh? :D When you can dry fire with it like that 4 to 6 times and not lose the casing you WILL notice your groups get smaller.

9mmepiphany
July 12, 2014, 04:03 PM
However, it is good to practice "staging" the trigger on a double action, helps you to shoot DA much better.
That was a popular instruction at one time, but it presupposed that the shooter had a certain level of skill in pressing off a SA shot...because what you were really doing was trying to get a SA release with a DA trigger stroke.

Staging a trigger at reasonable handgun distances...inside 50 yards...is a losing proposition for a couple of reasons:
1. takes longer to learn
2. sets up an anticipation jerk of the trigger

It is much better to learn a smooth continuous trigger stroke from the beginning

mikemyers
July 12, 2014, 04:39 PM
...What MrBorland wrote about the one smooth pull is spot on....


I think I'm back to where I was when I first entered this thread, but at least now I understand the most probable reason. Part of it is me, but....

Pretend you go to Publix for food shopping every day of the year, and use a shopping cart. One day you get one of those damaged carts, that every so often wants to pull one way or another. No matter how good you are, that cart will never go in a straight line, and you'll be fighting it constantly.

I've got four S&W Revolvers. Two are large-frame, a '44 with 6" barrel, and a '44 with 10 5/8" barrel. Both have "strong" trigger pull, but with both of them, the trigger moves back in one smooth, easy motion. The only roughness is due to my very tired trigger finger. I also have a 357 Model 19-3 with a 2.5" barrel. The trigger feels perfect for me, and moves back like a knife cutting through butter. With any of these, I can see myself doing what you've all suggested.

On the other hand - with my Highway Patrolman - it feels like that broken shopping cart. It feels like a knife cutting through lumps of clay, sometimes moving easily, and then suddenly getting all stiff again. When I created this thread, I blamed all this on old grease, but I guess I was wrong.

I've got two choices - take it to a gunsmith, if I can find one I trust, or take off the side plate and see if I can find out what is binding.

murf
July 12, 2014, 05:11 PM
or send it back to smith and wesson.

murf

David E
July 12, 2014, 05:48 PM
Your 28 is messed up. Probably a very easy fix (cleaning it) that you can do yourself.....IF you're willing to take off the side plate.

mikemyers
July 12, 2014, 06:17 PM
Your 28 is messed up. Probably a very easy fix (cleaning it) that you can do yourself.....IF you're willing to take off the side plate.


Ha! It took me about an hour to do what Will did in under five minutes, but the gun is mostly apart now. I think I found the source of the roughness, but what do I know.... but this sure does "feel" like what I feel when the gun is together:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6A14sNZ59o&feature=youtu.be

I guess all these parts need to come off next, but unless that spring is somehow causing the problem, I don't see how anything I can do would prevent this from happening. I am almost sure that the way the trigger hangs up when trying to close in this video, is exactly what I experienced when it hung up while I was shooting. Do I need to replace these parts with new ones?



Addendum - added later - based only on looking at and watching the parts, my very un-educated guess is that the cylinder stop is worn out, and the small hole in it that fits over the pin that it rotates on, is now too large, allowing the cylinder stop to be too close to the trigger, so that it binds with it every time the trigger is pulled. If I can sort of force the cylinder stop to move away from the trigger, the parts seem to work much better. Not sure if this makes sense or not, but that's what it looks like to me.

MrBorland
July 12, 2014, 07:02 PM
Very interesting. Looks like one of the hang-ups I suggested it could be - the trigger having a hard time re-engaging the cylinder stop bolt.

The trigger nose that re-engages really looks like a sharp angle to me, and might explain why it's having such a tough time. Look at the same part of the trigger in the link below (also a good tutorial for disassembly) - it's a much gentler angle. You can also see it in the aftermarket trigger below.


http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=397027


http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/880x660/Primary/296/296896.jpg
http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/880x660/Primary/296/296896.jpg


p.s. the hole in the cylinder stop bolt is supposed to be elongated.

mikemyers
July 12, 2014, 07:18 PM
.......The trigger nose that re-engages really looks like a sharp angle to me, and might explain why it's having such a tough time. Look at the same part of the trigger in the link below (also a good tutorial for disassembly) - it's a much gentler angle. .........the hole in the cylinder stop bolt is supposed to be elongated.


Everything you say makes sense, and yes, when I took the close up photo shown below, you're right about that hole as well. Gee, compared to the part in your photo, what I've got looks just plain crude!!!

http://www.sgrid.com/2013/IMG_1127a.jpg

BCRider
July 12, 2014, 07:38 PM
OK, now hold on a sec. The video you showed has both parts working just fine. The issue is that the guy in the video is missing the rest of the parts.

Mind you depending on how he's pushing the trigger back to the forward position there is some signs of a catch. Something that some light stoning to polish the engagement surface for a smoother rubbing would fix. But in terms of stock parts what I'm seeing isn't at all unusual.

On the other hand if you can find and afford to get some smith that has a known name for building up PPC revolvers to give your HP a going over you will positively DROOL at what you get back. I've shot a buddy's ex PPC match gun that was given a full on job by one of our best Canadian PPC smiths (Murry Charleton if anyone cares) and there simply ain't enough O's in SMOOOOOOOOTH to describe how it feels. So there ARE some options. But do get a price on slicking up the gun before you send it off. Otherwise Kraft Dinner might end up being a staple for a month or so.... But it WOULD be worth it :D

ljnowell
July 12, 2014, 08:51 PM
I need to caveat that to say I was going to the range 3+ times a week (which gave me high levels of lead due to it being indoors with crappy ventilation). That was about 3 years ago now. These days I shoot about 3" to 4" from that distance.

I think there are some guys here that do the same at 25 yards!


Yep. I'm a 280+ bullseye shooter, much more than a 2" group at 25 and my night is shot!

MrBorland
July 12, 2014, 09:47 PM
BCRider makes a good point - you'd feel some resistance as the trigger re-engages the stop bolt even if you ran the same test on a well-tuned revolver. Still, that angle looks unnecessarily sharp to me, and may (or may not) contribute to the return hang-up.

I recall you mentioned the entire action feels bad - release and pull. Did I misunderstand? If I didn't, and since it got a good internal cleaning & lubing, there's likely multiple things that could use some stoning, in which case a good action job by a good 'smith is your best bet.

mikemyers
July 12, 2014, 10:29 PM
My opinion, as someone completely new to this:


Yes, the action feels bad pulling (something seems to bind) and binds even more so when releasing the trigger
As I took the gun apart, I kept trying to pull the trigger and release it, to see if i could determine which parts were binding.
The bind in releasing the trigger you see in my video is exactly what it did when the gun was all together. Sounds the same, feels the same, and looks the same.
I don't know what is causing the bind when pulling the trigger, but I suspect it is the interface between these same two parts. Something is binding up.


I have been looking for good photos that show how the trigger fits into the stop, but I haven't found anything with enough detail yet. The best photos I have found so far seem to show the "squared off" projection at the front of the trigger as being rounded off at least at the top corner. That is the same sharp corner that is binding up when releasing the trigger.



BCRider, I filmed the video with my right hand, while controlling the gun with my left hand. I agree with you that the parts look like they are working as intended, but if you look closely, you'll see that they are "stuck" until I force the trigger forward. If I'm wrong about this, and the coil spring is supposed to have enough force to overcome this, I can re-assemble the gun with the stock spring, and see if it magically works for me, even though it didn't work for Will.

Thank you Malamute - the springs you sent me just arrived!

mikemyers
July 12, 2014, 10:58 PM
Very interesting. Looks like one of the hang-ups I suggested it could be - the trigger having a hard time re-engaging the cylinder stop bolt.

In the photo you posted, that top right corner is rounded off. On my gun, it's a very sharp edge. Your thoughts?

http://www.sgrid.com/2013/compare.jpg

MrBorland
July 12, 2014, 11:27 PM
Yes, that's the angle I felt was pretty sharp.

Old Fuff
July 12, 2014, 11:30 PM
I get a feeling that you are considering altering some internal parts without having a sure diagnose of what is causing the problem. Too often this can lead to a ruined part (which doesn’t take a whole lot to accomplish), and these days finding a correct replacement can be both difficult and expensive. For that reason I’m going to make some suggestions:

1. Begin by going to www.brownells.com Then purchase a copy of a book: The Smith & Wesson Revolver – A Shop Manual; by Jerry Kuhnhausen. This little paperback is well illustrated, fully explains how to troubleshoot and service S&W pre-MIM revolvers, and much of the material came from the company who used it to train they’re own employees and police department/military armorers. At the present time you are suffering from a serious lack of knowledge, and I think you know it. This book will go a long way to correct this.

2. While you are at Brownells, order a copy of their print catalog. It contains most if not all of the specialized tools (such as correct screwdriver bits, and pin punches with cupped points to fit round-headed pins, plus a whole lot more). Beyond that you will find parts (if still available) and supplies.

After reading the manual and discovering what you need, you will have a source to obtain them from, and be a whole less likely to do something you’ll later wish you hadn’t.

mikemyers
July 13, 2014, 12:40 AM
.......At the present time you are suffering from a serious lack of knowledge.......

I absolutely agree. Never dig a hole so deep that you can no longer crawl out of it.

I started to re-assemble the gun after that last post I made. It will be very sparingly lubricated, and if I can get the return spring (the stock one) back in place, the gun should be re-assembled by tomorrow.

I very much appreciate all the feedback - I learned a lot more than I knew before. I guess I either try once again to find a reputable gunsmith in the Miami area, or consider sending the gun to S&W for repairs, or simply continue to shoot it in SA mode.

Malamute
July 13, 2014, 02:18 AM
Wait til you get the factory rebound spring in and try it before making any decisions. I'm guessing the hesitation of the trigger returning will go away.

The elongated hole in the cylinder locking bolt is OK, its part of how it works and overrides the trigger when it resets. Cycle the action slowly with the side plate off and watch it. I wouldn't worry about the other edge until you see how it does with the new rebound spring. It may be helped by cleaning it up, or it may work alright.

There are some fairly simple and safe slicking up you can do. Some things shouldn't be messed with, like the sear in the hammer (the lever part), you can mess up the trigger pull where it transitions very quickly. The rebound slide, the sides of some of the internals, they are relatively safe to polish a little. Be careful not to polish off the color case hardening on the sides of the trigger and hammer where they show, it wont look as good, and if its outside the frame where it can be seen, it isn't really helping anyway.

It doesn't take much polishing to make a difference, though your gun may be fine once the real glitch is sorted out.

Getting the rebound slide and spring back in place can be troublesome, but if you use a small flat blade screwdriver to get it started over the pin (pushing the spring into slide enough to start it), then sort of shoehorn it the rest of the way, it isn't too bad.

mikemyers
July 13, 2014, 10:46 AM
Wait til you get the factory rebound spring in and try it before making any decisions. I'm guessing the hesitation of the trigger returning will go away.......


Malamute, three of the four springs you sent me are .032" diameter wire, 1.17" long. The fourth spring is the same wire, but only 1.12" long. They all have 17 coils. Thanks again for sending!! I will pick one of the three that are the same, 1.17" length, and put that one back into my gun.

My original spring, now cut off, is .032" diameter wire, but now only 1.1" long. I think that one gets thrown away.

The three springs in the Wilsoncombat package are a puzzle - they are all 0.29" diameter wire, with the following lengths:
12# spring 1.27" long 18 coils (This is the spring that I just took out of the gun.)
13# spring 1/13" long 17 coils
14# spring 1.21" long 17 coils
Since I think this package was mislabeled, I'm just going to give it back to Will.


One last question.... way up above, I was told not to cycle the gun to check the motion of things until the side plate is back in place. Apparently this relates to the need to take all the spring pressure off the main spring until all the parts in the mechanism are supported on both sides. My understanding is that otherwise, one of the pivot pins for the trigger can get bent.

Is it acceptable to just snug up the tensioning screw on the main spring, just a bit, and then try cycling the gun, to watch what is going on?

Malamute
July 13, 2014, 11:42 AM
Yes, it should be OK to cycle it with very light main spring tension. Try it after getting the rebound slide in also (just trigger, locking bolt and rebound slide, without the hammer in yet). If you wanted to break that sharp edge off the upper side of the front of the trigger, it wouldnt hurt, though I think the trigger reset will probably work alright. Doing one thing at a time helps figure out exactly what helped.

Old Fuff
July 13, 2014, 12:47 PM
I started to re-assemble the gun after that last post I made. It will be very sparingly lubricated, and if I can get the return spring (the stock one) back in place, the gun should be re-assembled by tomorrow.

Back to Brownells again... They have an inexpensive tool that makes this otherwise (sometimes) difficult job quick and easy. You seem to have the cart in front of the horse. If the revolver remains disassembled for a few days the world won't come to an end.

Also be sure that the screwdriver you're using is an exact fit for the sideplate screws, and you get those screws back into the same holes they came out of. Otherwise you may have more trouble then you have now.

mikemyers
July 13, 2014, 06:18 PM
......You seem to have the cart in front of the horse. If the revolver remains disassembled for a few days the world won't come to an end......

Also be sure that the screwdriver you're using is an exact fit for the sideplate screws, and you get those screws back into the same holes they came out of. Otherwise you may have more trouble then you have now.


Thanks again for the suggestions. Regarding re-assembly, I have two work areas set up. One is for taking the gun apart, and the other is for where to put the parts. Everything is lined up, in order, on the second work area, so all the parts will go back into the original location, even the two screws that appear identical, and which all the web pages but for one say it doesn't matter where each of those will go. I used to do this for motorcycles, and model railroad locomotives, and it's the only way I know of to force me to put everything back where it belongs.


About the spring tool - As per your suggestion, after a long internet chat with Roman R. at Brownells, I just ordered one of these:
http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/handgun-tools/slide-tools/rebound-slide-tool-sku080666000-774-2973.aspx


Brownells is a VERY helpful place. Roman read through this whole chat, asked me several questions, and I now have on order the S&W book (out of stock right now), their catalog, the removal tool, and a spring kit:
http://www.brownells.com/handgun-parts/action-parts/spring-kits/k-l-n-reduced-power-kit-sku080665201-740-2948.aspx
I'll try the spring kit, but only after assembling the gun first with the stock spring that Malamute sent me.

Old Fuff
July 14, 2014, 02:12 AM
Brownells is a VERY helpful place. Roman read through this whole chat, asked me several questions, and I now have on order the S&W book (out of stock right now), their catalog, the removal tool, and a spring kit:

I'll try the spring kit, but only after assembling the gun first with the stock spring that Malamute sent me

You are right. Brownells is a very helpful place, and more so because they only hire experienced, knowledgeable folks to answer the phone. Most are specialist gunsmiths in their own right.

Concerning the S&W Shop Manual. Since they are "out of stock," try"

www.amazon.com (may have both new and used copies).

Heritage-VPS Gun Publications (Google up a web site). I haven't tried them but I understand they have videos too.

mikemyers
July 14, 2014, 11:41 AM
Late last night I went searching, and yes, Amazon has them, for prices ranging from $45 to $65. It's also available on a DVD.

I did a little more searching and found Midway has them for $28.
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/314178/the-s-and-w-revolver-a-shop-manual-book-by-jerry-kuhnhausen

I ordered the book from Midway, and will cancel my backorder.


By the way, here's a tiny part of my discussion with Roman:


"Visitor:I had no problem removing the old spring, prying up, and using my hands to catch it if it tried to escape. :-)
Visitor:.....but having the proper tool for removal and re-assembly sounds like a very good idea for the future.
Roman R.:High five for the mechanically inclined!
Visitor::-)
Roman R.:It's handy (I've got one) but it's an awful lot like a bushing wrench for a 1911. Can use it if you've got it, but not dependent on it.



Having watched Will struggle when removing and re-installing these parts, along with your suggestion, made it seem worth while, even though Roman was sort of suggesting I didn't really need it.

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 11:47 AM
Get it. Getting that rebound spring back in without launching it is tough enough with the right tool.

mikemyers
July 14, 2014, 12:04 PM
Yep! It's already on order, along with the spring kit and catalog. Anything else that I should be ordering? I can still probably add things to the order if I call them, but Roman didn't think I needed anything else. I've probably got a couple of hours still if there's anything else that you guys think might be handy?

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 12:12 PM
Proper screwdriver:
http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/general-gunsmith-tools/screwdrivers-sets/magna-tip-bit-sets/s-w-revolver-combo-prod406.aspx

Everyone's got their favorite lube, but if you don't have any yet, here's my current favorite:
http://www.brownells.com/gun-cleaning-chemicals/solvents-degreasers/degreasers/tw25b-grease-1-1-2-oz-tube-sku100003336-24410-51339.aspx?sku=100003336

mikemyers
July 14, 2014, 12:33 PM
Proper screwdriver:
http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/general-gunsmith-tools/screwdrivers-sets/magna-tip-bit-sets/s-w-revolver-combo-prod406.aspx......


Thanks - I just got off the phone with Brownells, to cancel the back-ordered book.
I've been using my 30 year old Chapman screw driver kit, but I added the tools you suggested to my order.

Old Fuff
July 14, 2014, 01:10 PM
Roman R.:It's handy (I've got one) but it's an awful lot like a bushing wrench for a 1911. Can use it if you've got it, but not dependent on it.

It's like a lot of specialized tools, jigs and fixtures used for working on S&W revolvers (as well as other guns, the 1911 pistol platform in particular). If you are experienced and nimble you can get along without most of them, or find your own way to a work-around. But if this isn't what you are you may find yourself turning the air blue as you try to find (whatever) that is somewhere on the floor or elsewhere. Then you have to take the time to order a replacement, pay for it - plus shipping - and wait for it to arrive.

One of the advantages of the previously mentioned manual is that it sometimes points out ways of doing things that will help to avoid this, and these "tricks" are seldom or ever mentioned by advisors on the Internet.

mikemyers
July 14, 2014, 01:34 PM
That's one of the real issues. If you're experienced, you can probably do most things, and know what not to do, but how do you get to be experienced without ever trying?

I suspect that several people here, especially you, could take this gun apart in your sleep, and have no more problems working on it than a kid putting a wheel back on his bicycle (back when kids knew which way to turn a wrench, at least).

I used to do a lot of mechanical things. A "friend" gave me a motorcycle wheel trueing stand, a wheel with a bent rim, along with a new rim and spokes, and told me to fix it. Eventually I learned how, and he started bringing me wheels to fix all the time. For a kid in college, it was a nice bit of income, as most people couldn't or didn't have the patience to do it.

Back to guns - how is anyone in this forum ever going to learn how to "do" things, without actually trying to "do" them? Just reading about it is only a start.

So, if you have the time and patience to type it all in here, and the desire to do so, how did you guys get to where you are now? Did you take classes? Did you just do it on your own, and eventually learn by experience what (and what not) to do?

I've always felt that if it was going to cost $XX to fix something once, but for the same $XX I could buy a tool to allow me to do it on my own, that was the better option much of the time. I almost always found someone who knew, to teach me how to do it properly. When I lived in Michigan, it was easy to find those people. Nowadays, I wonder if they still even exist - especially in Florida. Nobody seems to fix things nowadays, they just replace them.


OK, back to reality. I expect to read the entire manual, even if I don't understand much of it. Eventually it will probably all make sense. I also need to thank you guys, as working with the pieces now spread across my workbench, I have a FAR better idea of what goes on inside the gun than I ever had before. Animations are good, but actually seeing the pieces move around is much, much, more meaningful.

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 01:53 PM
how did you guys get to where you are now?

By doing exactly what you're doing - reading a lot, asking questions, getting the right tools & references, opening a gun up and carefully watching how it works, taking it apart piece by piece. And before I modified or smoothed any part, I made darned sure that's what I really needed to be doing. And even then, I go slow, test often and step away when I need a break.

mikemyers
July 14, 2014, 02:42 PM
One by one, I've been looking over all the parts, especially those that might bind or interfere with another part. This one might explain why the gun feels so "rough" - your thoughts?

http://www.sgrid.com/2013/IMG_1174.JPG

I assume the entire bottom surface shown in the photo should be equally smooth and shiny, while this part is apparently touching in one place, which explains all the wear.

I will try to find a way to take a photo of the mating surface in the gun; not sure how well it will come out.

Old Fuff
July 14, 2014, 03:28 PM
One technique (that nobody tells you) is to coat the parts is various places with an easy-to-remove-later dye called "Dykem." After reassembling the parts and cycling the action a few times the gun is disassembled again and note taken about where the dye has been rubbed off. This can be an enlightening experience, especially if you were about to polish something where it would have done absolutely no good. It can also tell you where parts are interfacing, as they should, or where they are not.

Actually some would tell you to polish the bottom of the rebound slide, but if you go through the case-hardened surface you will quickly be in trouble. On the other hand where you don't see a burnish mark the slide isn't touching the frame and causing any friction.

In this situation you can reassemble the trigger, rebound slide and spring (for this purpose a lighter one is fine) and then pull the trigger back and forth while feeling for unwanted resistance.

Still another alternative is to use lapping compound (available from Brownells) and lap both the rebound slide and frame. Assemble as above, but first coat the bottom of the rebound slide with lapping compound. The simply pull the trigger to lap the associated parts. Be sure to check the progress often and clean out all traces of lapping compound when you’re done.

At this point I wouldn’t be in a hurry to do anything but observing.

mikemyers
July 14, 2014, 07:56 PM
.........In this situation you can reassemble the trigger, rebound slide and spring (for this purpose a lighter one is fine) and then pull the trigger back and forth while feeling for unwanted resistance.......

As suggested earlier re-assembly of the gun is waiting for the spring tool from Brownells.


At this point I wouldn’t be in a hurry to do anything but observing.

More observing, but I don't know enough to realize if any of this is abnormal:

http://www.sgrid.com/2014/IMG_1181.JPG
Sideplate, hasn't been touched since removal.


http://www.sgrid.com/2014/IMG_1185.JPG
Shrapnel on the frame, where the rebound slide might be hitting it?


http://www.sgrid.com/2014/IMG_1190.JPG
After cleaning - if I push on it, it actually does feel smoother! Not sure if this will matter.


I probably need to coat everything with a bit of oil - the humidity here is so high that the parts, sitting exposed like this, look like they are developing some rust.

mikemyers
July 14, 2014, 09:03 PM
Dykem in use......

Have any of you bought a machine like this, and used this technique to improve the trigger pull?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ6Hb89lVXw


If I ever found a good gunsmith in Miami, is this the way he'd probably be improving the trigger?

MrBorland
July 14, 2014, 10:53 PM
First of all, the video suggests the quality of the (double) action is dictated solely by the interaction of the sears. That's a huge oversimplification, IMO. Look inside the gun as the action cycles, and you'll see a myriad of mating surfaces that have to be smooth & square to each other. You could likely ignore the sear surfaces altogether, focus on these surfaces, and still get a pretty nice action.

Secondly, unless I missed something, he only uses the jig to polish the single action sear on the trigger. These mating surfaces are tiny and knife-edged, which is why a jig is a good idea if you're going to touch a SA sear surface. The SA triggers on S&W revolvers are generally very good, though, so I wouldn't even touch the SA sear surfaces if it were me.

I'm not saying that jig's not useful - maybe it's a standard piece of equipment on pro gunsmiths tables - but I personally don't think it's needed to do a decent home action job.

Old Fuff
July 15, 2014, 12:22 AM
Unfortunately the video shows more then is explained.

I’ll start by saying that if the manual was available you’d know that all adjustment to the single-action trigger pull should be made to the trigger only, and not the full-cock notch on the hammer. There is no faster way to ruin a hammer then to fool with this notch, and Mr. Borland is absolutely right when he says that it shouldn’t be touched, and it is seldom necessary anyway.

Yes, most professional gunsmiths use jigs and fixtures to insure their work will be right, but most of what was shown has to do with smoothing the double – not single-action. Mr. Borland is incorrect when he underestimates the importance of fitting the double-action sear that is located in the front of the hammer. Since 1905 Smith & Wesson has had a unique double-action system that was more advanced then any other revolver of this kind, and recently Ruger copied it in their new-from-the-ground-up LCR revolver, that subsequently got rave reviews for its double-action trigger pull.

When the sideplate has been removed, cycle the hammer through a double-action stroke and carefully watch what happens.

As the trigger starts moving backwards a ledge at the top/rear come up and pushes on the bottom of the sear. This causes the hammer to also rotate backwards. About ¾ through the stroke the ledge has rotated far enough forward so that it no longer is against the sear (and at this point the hammer should fall, but it doesn’t). Instead, if the sear has been correctly fitted, a smaller ledge lower on the trigger picks up the hammer and causes it to continue on backwards until the second ledge rotates out of engagement and at this point the hammer is released and falls.

If all of this is going to happen with perfect smoothness some very critical fitting is necessary, especially between the sear and trigger.

At this point I will back off. Exactly how all of this is done is usually closely held by the ‘smiths who earn a living doing it.

In the meantime, don’t let the revolver, and/or parts rust. Spray everything down with corrosion resistant oil, and later remove it if you want with a bath in mineral sprites.

mikemyers
July 15, 2014, 10:33 AM
Will do.

When my friend Art bought the gun in the 1980's, he only used it for a very short time, then put it away. I got it from him, and didn't start shooting it on a regular basis until a few months ago. This thread got started, because the trigger pull was very erratic, which made it difficult to pull the trigger smoothly. The suggestions here were to clean it, but being very nervous about opening up the gun, I hesitated. Fast forward to my trip to Fellsmere, where I met Will at Sebastian Ammo - I was there to buy ammo. We all got to talking about guns, then my gun, and Will showed me a gun he had re-worked. With me thinking all my gun needed was a good cleaning, we agreed I would bring it back a few days later, and he'd clean it.

That's how all this started, and Will took the gun apart, sprayed it, wiped away a small bit of surface rust in a few places, and tried to install the Wilsoncombat performance spring kit. We didn't think the mainspring in the kit was right, so we gave up on that. Will put in the original 18# return spring, and the trigger got "stuck" while being released. Will cut a coil off the 18# spring, but nothing changed. Eventually Will noticed that by tightening up the screw that tightens the main spring, the gun got better.

He put the gun together finally with the Wilson 12# spring, and while the gun was had a smoother trigger pull than when I brought it in, the trigger still got "stuck" on something as it was returning. Before Will did any of this, I only had enough strength to pull the trigger in DA mode by using the joint in my trigger finger. After Will worked on the gun, I could pull the trigger using the fleshy part of my finger. I am now guessing that this is because of the 12# return spring, rather than the 18# spring.

Before Will worked on the gun, I never noticed the trigger getting "stuck" while it was returning (but I never knew to even look for this back then). After Will worked on the gun, I'm very aware of it.

When the spring tool arrives from Brownells, I will re-assemble the gun using the stock 18# spring that Malamute sent me. Brownells is also sending me a spring kit, which maybe I'll get to try later. I don't know what, if anything, I can do after that, other than send it to S&W or find a gunsmith I trust.



If Dykem is available at a local shop, I'll buy some. If not, I'll order it. I'd like to see what part of the trigger gets "worn" as the trigger pushes against the cylinder stop. (You guys can't see this, as you're not here. I don't know how to show it in a photo, or in a video. I think the cylinder stop moves freely, but unless I remove the cylinder stop, I can't see the surface that the trigger slides over. What I can see, is that as the trigger is moving forwards, it meets the cylinder stop, and as the cylinder stop is pushed forward, the trigger returns. If this is supposed to be a smooth movement, it isn't - it feels rough to me. Finally, JUST before the trigger moves up over the notch in the cylinder stop, the trigger gets stuck. It takes more and more pressure, and then it suddenly moves over the edge, and all the pieces go back to their normal position. Bottom line, what I can "see" happening with the side plate off, and what I "feel" as I'm doing this, seems to me to be exactly what I felt when the gun was assembled, and the trigger was getting "stuck" before moving forward. (On my trigger, that sharp surface that is rubbing along the cylinder stop, is very different from the nicely smoothed surfaces I see in all the photos I look at online of other similar revolvers.)

It sure does seem to me that the trigger should move forward, contact the cylinder stop, which will be pushed forward so the trigger can smoothly move upwards until it passes the notch, at which point the cylinder stop spring will push it rearwards.


Anyway, I guess I'm pretty much done for a week until the parts arrive. I've never removed a cylinder stop, and Will was reluctant to do it, although he finally did it anyway. Is this something I should be taking off??


I got a response from Wilsoncombat about their spring kit - I'll copy their email here, as others might be puzzled by how different the Wilsoncombat kit mainspring looks:

Anthony (Wilson Combat Support)
Jul 14 20:36
Mike,
I just heard back from the spring vendor and the springs we are getting are correct and we measured ours to prints. Even though they are a different shape (and shorter) when out of the package than a stock spring they will work fine in your Smith that is how they are designed to be somewhat lighter and smoother in operation than the stock spring.
Sincerely,
Anthony
Online Technical Support
1-800-955-4856
Fax: 1-870-545-3310
www.wilsoncombat.com

MrBorland
July 15, 2014, 10:39 AM
As usual, Old Fuff makes a good point - the S&W DA trigger pull is actually a 2-stage setup, and smooth mating surfaces and especially a smooth transition from the trigger nose to the cam is important (check out my earlier pic (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=9540267&postcount=89) for the labeling). No argument here.

However, I'll point out that ol' Larry didn't address this transition. He just put a little shine on the DA sear and leading edge of the trigger nose, and suggested that's enough to smooth & lighten up an action. Maybe it was enough in this particular case, but it's likely most revolvers would also require attention to the many other interactions involved in the pull (and release) to get a smooth action, which is what my point was.

Old Fuff
July 15, 2014, 01:27 PM
Unfortunately the video shows more then is explained.

Which is the reason I went into such detail to point out how the system works. This is something the video didn't do, and exclusively focusing on the sear would be a mistake, although an incorrectly fitted sear is a common cause of double-action issues. As a general rule-of-thumb a professional action job usually includes a new sear, and again that's something you seldom see mentioned on the Internet.

That said, it's not my intention to write a complete manual and post it on this thread. What I have posted is mainly to keep mikemyers from doing something he'd regret later. :uhoh:

mikemyers
July 15, 2014, 03:39 PM
I think one issue is now identified, and hopefully fixed.

I slid what little is left of my fingernail along both the cylinder lock, and the projection on the trigger that hits the cylinder lock as it moves forwards. Both had an annoying "burr" that I couldn't see, but could easily feel. Since my camera "sees" better than my fingers, i eventually managed to get a good photo of each:

http://www.sgrid.com/2014/rough.jpg

I understand what you guys are saying about not doing anything to the gun parts unless I'm sure it is the right thing to do - but there is no way that "burr" or whatever it is, should be there. I called Will at the gunshop, and he has a replacement cylinder-lock in stock, so I can always replace that if need be.

I rubbed the sharp edge (with the "burr") at end of the projection from the trigger against a fine stone for about ten seconds, then cleaned it with scotch-brite. I can't see any visible changes, but the "burr" was just about gone. I thought ten seconds more, and it would be better, but I left it as-is for now.

As for the cylinder-stop, since I'm not sure about removing it (maybe I can learn later), and I didn't want to change anything, I simply rubbed the end of a good sharp screwdriver over it for 30 seconds or so. After doing this, it passed the "finger test". (When I look at it in the photo above, to me it looks like a "notch" that was catching the trigger, preventing it from smoothly sliding over that last bit of travel.)

I put the trigger back in the gun, and it was about 90% better. There was just the smallest hint of it "locking up" against the cylinder lock. Not wanting to do more to any of the parts, I just sat there, moving the trigger back and forth for five minutes. At that point it was almost perfect. So, I did this for another 5 minutes, and now it's quite smooth - no binding.

Unless you guys tell me otherwise, I think this part of the repair is done. All I need to do (hopefully) is re-assemble the gun using the stock springs. I can always try lighter springs later.



If it wasn't for me following all the advice here about waiting for the spring tool before re-assembly, one of two things would now be true. Either the gun would be all assembled again, and I'd be ready to go to the range tomorrow, or I'd be searching all over my carpet for a missing spring.... :-)


(Considering how long this discussion has gotten, I hope you're all not too annoyed at me.... and I *very* much appreciate all the help!!!! )

Malamute
July 16, 2014, 02:16 PM
Sounds like you're well on the way to getting it working well.

Regarding the spring tool, I have no doubt they make it easier to install the spring/rebound slide, but I've never used one (or seen one) and never launched a spring or had much trouble installing rebound slides. Push the spring into the slide enough to get it caught on the stud, then readjust the screwdriver to get it squared up and all the way on. Sometimes it goes smoothly right off without the second step, but it goes either way.

Don't be shy about the cylinder lock bolt. Go slow and watch how the spring functions. Older guns had a screw that held the spring in. Pushing the spring down with a small screw driver may help free it up. The spring can move sideway a little and let the bolt come free if done carefully.

The lock bolt looks fairly rough, as do many other parts. If it were me, I'd carefully polish them, it doesn't take much to get improvement. The burr is a problem though.

If you are careful and good with your hands, you can hand polish parts. I use 320, then 400, then 600 wet or dry paper on a piece of glass, and a Brownells small triangular ceramic file. If you vary the angle slightly each time you work the part, you can see the way the work is going, not as clearly as with dykem, but it shows a different polish mark when changing direction. Its one way I keep the work flat and where I need it.

The ceramic files get loaded up with metal. Use a touch of dish soap and warm water and rub it off, they clean up nicely.

mikemyers
July 16, 2014, 02:51 PM
Thanks.... I don't even have a tracking number yet for the tool I ordered from Brownells. Since you sent me four springs, the worst that can happen is the spring goes airborne and gets eaten up by my room, but with the pointed tool suggested in the following post from BCRider in a different thread, this doesn't seem likely, and even if the spring got lost, I'd have three more.

.......The rebound block spring does have a tendency to want to leap away when replacing it. I found that a simple 1/4 inch wide thin screwdriver if ground so it's got a "V" point on the nose makes a great tool for putting the spring and block back into place. Grind the tip so the point of the V is in the middle and the angle between the sides is fairly open at around 120 to 130 degrees. You want the point to center in the spring but not hold firmly when you push the block back down over the spring retention pin.......

If I'm going to try this, I might as well start with a Phillips screwdriver, with two of the blades ground off.


I also noticed I had a small pin inside my rebound spring when Will first took apart my gun. I assumed that was a normal part of the revolver - but I notice it doesn't appear in any of the photos and disassembly/re-assembly articles I've been looking at - I tried searching for information, and the only thing I found was an old post by "Old Fuff" dated back in 2003. I guess I can leave it out for now, and put it back in once I figure out which set of springs is going to stay in the gun...


Old Fuff
October 23, 2003, 07:11 PM
.....the purpose of that pin inside the rebound slide is to act as a trigger stop, but they are seldom adjusted close enough too do any good. I think they were used more in "N" frame guns then anywhere else. Post-war "KT" (Target) frames had a built-in stop in the frame. However these were often removed from target-grade combat guns (models 15, 19, etc.).If the pin is carefully fitted it makes an effective trigger stop, and eliminates any backlash after the trigger releases the hammer. On double-action-only guns it can shorten the trigger's travel and prevent the back of trigger from pinching the trigger finger against the trigger guard.If it works like it's supposed to I'd leave it in. If it doesn't and you remove it nothing consequential will happen.

MrBorland
July 16, 2014, 03:03 PM
You could work with everything inside a shoebox, or even a clear ziplock bag, so if the rebound spring does launch, you won't lose it.

Yep - that pin sticking out of the rebound slide is a trigger stop. It might be fitted well enough to do something, but it might not. You can put it in or leave it out for now.

mikemyers
July 16, 2014, 03:33 PM
Wow.... I don't know how to ever thank you guys enough for all your help, and for even putting up with someone as ignorant about this as me.

Gun is all assembled with stock rebound spring, and everything is smooth as melted butter. It felt "lumpy" as I pulled the trigger back (hard to describe), but one additional half turn of the screw that tensions the main spring, and it felt great. I tightened it another half-turn, just in case, and right now the gun feels as good as any revolverI've ever tried!

The Phillips screwdriver worked flawlessly, as the spring never had a chance to go flying, but even if it had escaped, I had everything surrounded by enough fingers that it couldn't go far. The spring went in far enough for the slide to pull down most of the way over the pin, and with a small flatblade screwdriver, I was able to push it in just that little bit further so the slide went back in place.

With the cylinder lock interface smoothed up so the "burr" was gone, there is no longer any trace of anything getting stuck. The gun feels as good as ever in SA mode, and for the first time ever, it feels like the other S&W revolvers I've used in DA - I can't tell the difference between the way this gun feels now, and the two "Pro Shop" S&W guns I checked out at Will's shop, other than that they have a lighter pull in DA mode (....that's my ability - I suspect that many of you would instantly feel the difference, knowing what to check for).

Very happy right now!!

Thank you all!!

Old Fuff
July 16, 2014, 07:33 PM
Boy...! It's going to take more then "a book" to get you straightened out. :neener:

This time the lesson concerns the mainspring screw. It should always be screwed all of the way in and tight. It was never met to be used to adjust mainspring tension. With the sideplate assembled and screwed down tight, back out the mainspring screw and notice that the mainspring (which was bowed) is getting straighter. As it does the hammer's cocking stroke (in either single or double-action) will start to feel very different, and if the spring gets too straight you can't move the hammer at all.

At best you'll get light hits, and at worst a broken mainspring. Also if the screw isn't tight it can work itself loose, with consequences you likely don't want to think about. If you believe that the spring tension is too much (unlikely in a general purpose revolver) a thinner/lighter spring is the correct answer.

mikemyers
July 16, 2014, 07:51 PM
Now you've got me somewhat confusabobbled.....

In Jerry Miculek's video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9gn7zE5b3g) he is using the mainspring tension to set the strength he wants (he measures the trigger pull with a gauge, and then modifies the length of that screw to provide the desired trigger pull - at least I think that's what he is saying.

I'll remove the grips, and tighten the screw down all the way...

It's not going to be a general purpose revolver, it's only going to be used for making holes in paper, hopefully with the holes being close to each other so none of them get lonely.... :-)

mikemyers
July 16, 2014, 07:58 PM
Follow-up.... it took just a bit over 1/4 turn to bottom out the screw. The trigger pull feels identical to before I did this.

Is the reason you want that screw to be all the way in, to prevent it from backing out, or is the spring tension of the main spring designed to be correct when that screw is fully tightened? ....or both.

MrBorland
July 16, 2014, 08:09 PM
I don't know if there are better reasons based on design, but that strain screw won't stay put (even with Loktite) unless you've got it screwed all the way in. Save yourself some future headache, and keep it screwed down. And don't cheat, and file it down, either (something else the interweb night tempt you to so). ;)

As with a number of revolver-related issues, just 'cuz Jerry does it doesn't make it the only way, the best way, or even right.

Old Fuff
July 16, 2014, 08:32 PM
Well I tried to explain what can happen if the screw is able to get loosened too far. When your shop manual arrives you should be able to learn more.

Jerry Miculek can feel the slightest change that may occur in one of his revolvers, and quickly corrects whatever may need correcting. Not everyone else has trigger fingers that are trained to the same level. By the way he offers his own mainspring/rebound spring kit for competition revolvers only. (See at Brownells).

The main reason for the fully tightened screw is that if it isn't tight it will move itself without notice.

Incidentally, Smith and Wesson is no longer supplying mainspring strain screws for square-butt N frames, something that a whole lot of folks with shortened screws have discovered to their sorrow. :uhoh:

mikemyers
July 16, 2014, 08:39 PM
.........As with a number of revolver-related issues, just 'cuz Jerry does it doesn't make it the only way, the best way, or even right.


Just like with anything else, it's really difficult finding out who to listen to, whether it's in conversation, written words, or YouTube. The more you know about something, the more you find fault with what others say. Then too, the people who REALLY know things the best, aren't always the same person who wants to type all that stuff into a web forum.

I go to lots of forums, and even run/ran my own. Most of the verbiage is pretty meaningless, but thanks to several of you, THR is a goldmine of excellent advice and information.


Me? I'm just learning - I know FAR more about photography than the things I take the photos of. Since I don't know what to look for, things sometimes jump out at me when I see them enlarged as if I was using a microscope!



Maybe I can pass on a suggestion to others. Years ago, when I was doing a lot of mechanical work on model railroad equipment, I bought a couple of these "trays" from my local hobby shop. They're plastic, and have curved edges at the bottom of each compartment, to make it effortless to slide out a tiny part (such as screws, or whatever). Here's a photo I took:
http://www.sgrid.com/2014/IMG_1211.JPG
This is 30 years old, so the same people may no longer be selling them, but the stick-on label says "Ernst Mfg. Inc., #159 Deluxe Hobby Storage Tray". They were/are in Sandy, Oregon.

It's a great way to keep bits and pieces all organized, especially for people who may have more than one gun disassembled at a time.

MrBorland
July 16, 2014, 09:07 PM
Well, I'll pre-empt the following by giving you kudos for asking questions and doing some research...

...that said, in addition to being a bona fide top notch competitive shooter, Jerry's developed himself over the years as his own brand, and as a guy how has to make a living shooting, he's not above marketing that brand with little internet exhibitions and little vignettes on how to shoot.

I include his shooting tips as "marketing" because they're generally very basic and perfunctory. He's not in the business of making you a better shooter or a revolver tuner - he's in the business of earning a living. Compare his internet tips with some of the really excellent and highly detailed books by Brian Enos, Ben Steoger, Mike Seeklander, and others, and you'll see what I mean. It seems to work well for him and his brand, because when Jerry says or does it, it's gospel.

None of this should be construed as trying to take anything from his extraordinary skill, and I have the utmost respect for him as a revolver shooter. But I've learned almost nothing about revolvers (shooting or tuning) from him (and yes, I've got all his DVDs), which is ok because I and many other competitive revolver shooters understand that, unlike us, he's actually gotta make a living with his revolver. <rant off>

Cool organization rack, BTW. Clean work area, too. ;)

mikemyers
July 16, 2014, 09:20 PM
Understood - I've got a lot of catching up to do, and apparently a lot of reading to do as well.... starting with the S&W book which gets delivered tomorrow, not today... :-(


Here's the simple tool I made to prod the spring back into the slide. It started out as a 0.2" diameter Phillips screwdriver, and I ground off the "top" and "bottom" blade, leaving only the side blades to rest against the spring. The tip protrudes into the spring, so it's trapped, and the tool is forced to be right in the middle of the spring because of where the blades hit the spring, they force the blade into that position.

Any credit for this should go to BCRider, not me, as his idea is what got me thinking about a way to make it even better.

http://www.sgrid.com/2014/spring-tool.jpg


It's extremely easy to use, and the spring never even hinted that it was looking to go airborne!!

Old Fuff
July 16, 2014, 10:39 PM
See post #175

Now look at the rebound slide and notice it has a slot in it at the back. When the slide is in its assembled position a stud (pin) fits inside that slot. When fully assembled the spring is supposed to be trapped in front of the stud.

Most reassembly tools are designed so they can push the spring far enough inside the slide so that the slot in the tool will allow the slide to be dropped into a fully assembled position with the spring depressed enough to be in front of the stud and then the tool withdrawn. I've used any number of modified screwdrivers too, and yes - they will work. But I believe you will find the one from Brownells is easier and a bit quicker, especially with full strength springs.

I complement you on your photography (and am a bit jealous too :D) but remember the enlarged images also make tool marks and imperfections look worse then they really are. Also never reach for a stone or other polishing tool before you use Dykem (or a wide felt-tip pen) to check exactly what and where one part is actually touching another. Otherwise you can make something worse rather then better even if both are smoother. If they aren't in contact the way they should be (and they're can be a number of reasons for this) you aren't accomplishing anything.

mikemyers
July 17, 2014, 12:03 AM
If I was going to make my own tool to do this job, I know what I'd do - make a tool that has two small notches in either side to catch the spring, and a large notch in the middle, to go over the pin. I don't know how I would ever make such a device though.....

I tried to find good photos of how to use the Brownells tool. All I found was this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0nUJePqV_U

My gut feeling is that this guy is using the tool incorrectly - it looks to me like the tool should be held sideways, so the notch in the tool presses against the left side of the spring, and there is all that "open area" allowing the spring to be pushed beyond the pin.

If the guy in the video is doing what I think he's doing, it would be durn near impossible! IMHO.

mikemyers
July 17, 2014, 12:50 AM
I've got another question, something I was unaware of until tonight. While looking around for other things I wanted to read about, I found this link:

http://books.google.com/books?id=eBxEBgJBG0MC&pg=PA52&lpg=PA52&dq=how+to+use+brownells+tool+to+compress+a+rebound+slide+spring&source=bl&ots=VivoihM4M_&sig=c0PPkVA7q0dcSGjAILzy91QNZi0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_z7HU_WzB4SMyASp5oHgBA&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=how%20to%20use%20brownells%20tool%20to%20compress%20a%20rebound%20slide%20spring&f=false

.......verrrrrry long URL. The Gun Digest Book of Smith & Wesson. Anyway, on the bottom of page #54, there is a warning under "Cylinder Cleaning" to those who shoot mostly 44 Special in a 44 Magnum, or as I'm doing now, 38 Special in a gun made for 357. "Powder Residue and Bullet Shavings" builds up on the front of the cylinder, that may make it difficult, or impossible, to extract the casings of a more powerful round, if you ever decide to try some more powerful rounds (as I thought I might do soon). Should I be purchasing a "Chamber Cleaning Reamer"?

(When I go to the range, I normally load only three 38 Special bullets, and leave three cylinders empty. I thought I might load four rounds, three of 38 Special and one of 357 Magnum, randomly mixed, and see how well I'm still controlling the gun.)

303load
July 17, 2014, 01:10 AM
The purpose of this thread is not to ask the difference between Single and Double Action (http://www.diffen.com/difference/Single_Action_vs_Double_Action). It's to ask which to use, given the choice, for target practice.

On the one hand, I've always been told that single action allows more accurate target shooting, which I fully believe. On the other hand, I just watched this very interesting video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z2mfpLs_mQ

In the video, it is suggested that shooting single-action on a double action revolver isn't doing anything to help develop good trigger control.

What I'm asking here, is while I enjoy SA targets more than what I can accomplish with DA, is it better to simply ignore that, and shoot DA all the time?

(My own compromise might be to do both for dry firing, and SA at the range.)

I shoot both. DA Improves everything across the board whether a semi or revolver. Jmo

Malamute
July 17, 2014, 01:54 AM
They make slightly larger chamber brushes to help clean chambers. Its more of an issue with revolver chambers when shooting shorter cases. Bore brushes don't fit chambers that well, at least when it comes to cleaning out the carbon ring from shooting 38 spls much. I've used the next size larger bore brushes for chambers also.

I've used (carefully!) a small pocket knife blade to help clean the carbon ring out when regular cleaning wasn't really getting it all. I do it at a very shallow angle and very gently, right on the carbon. I've not had a problem doing it, but its sort of a last resort for stubborn crud buildup. The 357 is one caliber I dont like leaving not perfectly clean, as they are carry guns, left loaded with magnum loads. After shooting 38's, I'm not happy until the chambers are spotlessly clean and zero carbon ring from 38's.

I don't shoot spls in the 44, just lighter loads in magnum cases. If I had as many 357 cases as I do 38's, I wouldn't use spl cases either, but buckets of spl cases are hard to ignore. Most were free or nearly so.

MrBorland
July 17, 2014, 10:49 AM
No need for a chamber reamer or other heroics (e.g. chucking up a brass brush in a drill). Just keep your cylinder (face and chambers) clean with regular and sensible cleanings, and you'll have no trouble switching between .38spls .357mags.

mikemyers
July 18, 2014, 12:13 PM
Two interesting bits of information, as a follow-up on this discussion.


I had a long talk with the fellow I bought this gun from. I thought he bought it new, just like other guns he had purchased. It turns out this was already a used gun, so even though he hadn't shot it all that much, it likely had a LOT of use before he ever got it.

Also, my copy of "The S&W Revolver, A Shop Manual, by Jerry Kuhnhausen" arrived last night. Very impressive, and a little scary. I think I'll learn more about the way the gun works from (trying to) read and understand it, but 99% of it is way over my head. I looked up the information on the problem that we finally fixed, and while I didn't find this listed as one of the issues to be corrected, on page 87, figure 137 shows the cylinder stop, with a note referring to the surface that I had "fixed" that reads says it needs to be polished. Had I removed the cylinder stop, and polished the very rough surface that I was dealing with, I think the problem would have been solved, and maybe would last a lot longer than my "fix", which removed the "notch/burr", but didn't polish anything....



A question for you guys - you mentioned that it's very important not to damage parts because replacement parts might be impossible to find. Am I wrong in wanting to buy the second "cylinder stop" from the shop, just to have it around as a spare for the future? ......and as a related question, the instructions from Jerry are to custom fit and polish this part - apparently you don't just buy a new one and drop it in place. So, you don't just buy a new part like this cylinder stop and install it - it has to be custom fitted and polished?

9mmepiphany
July 18, 2014, 05:09 PM
Pretty much the only parts that will just "drop in" are the MIM parts on the newer guns...at least that is what Randy at Apex Tactical says.

The original parts on older guns were never meant to just drop in without hand fitting

Malamute
July 18, 2014, 06:14 PM
I keep some spare parts around, but have never had to replace a cylinder stop. I don't recall hearing of them needing replacing, though I'm sure they do at some point. My K-22 has well over 200k rounds through it and has never needed any parts other than when the thumb piece nut fell off and got lost. The heavier cylinder of the N frame 357's have more rotational momentum, they may wear stops, but I haven't replaced any on any of the 44's I've had.

Check with Brownells for parts, they usually have a lot of Smith factory parts. Get their catalog. Its much simpler to find things in the catalog than on their web site. As great as Brownells is, "user friendly*" isn't what comes to mind when trying to find things on their web site, at least when I've looked. The catalog is well organized and indexed.

* I've searched Brownells web site for parts I KNEW they carried, but they didn't show on the web site. The catalog showed them, and the person answering the phone said they stock them, but they didn't appear on the web site with any amount of simple or creative searching, even with a Brownells part number.

mikemyers
July 19, 2014, 01:11 AM
......Check with Brownells for parts.....Get their catalog. ......

I have a catalog on the way, along with the spring tool and a few other things; It's coming by USPS, so maybe it will arrive next week.



I'm puzzled by something in Jerry Kuhnhausen's book on S&W - right up front on page #6 he says "DON'T dry fire any revolver without snap caps".

Just about everyone I've spoken with about this, and I think every article I've read, says that for a centerfire revolver, dry-firing on empty cylinders is fine.

Is Jerry just being overly cautious, so nobody accidentally dry-fires a '22 with nothing in the gun? .....or is Jerry aware of problems we will eventually have, or is Jerry's advice based on older guns, and no longer applies?

I went looking on the S&W website, and here's their answer to "Can I dry fire my S&W handgun?"


Q: Can I dry fire my Smith & Wesson?
A: Yes, except for the .22 caliber pistols which includes models 22A, 22S, 422, 2206, 2214, 2213 and 41. .22 caliber revolvers such as models 17, 43, 63, 317 and 617 also should not be dry fired.
Q: Why can't I dry fire my .22 pistol or revolver?
A: Dry firing a S&W .22 pistol or revolver will cause damage to the firing pin.

Malamute
July 19, 2014, 01:28 AM
I've never broken a part dry firing a Smith, but have slowed down dramatically in dry firing them. The recoil shield can get burred a bit with the hammer mounted firing pins, but doesn't seem to cause any real problems, or hasn't in my guns. I'm just more wary of dry firing without snap caps after breaking 3 transfer bars in Ruger single actions. I used to believe the common saying about them being indestructible, but experience has shown otherwise. Gunsmiths I've talked to have said they've replaced a number of transfer bars in Rugers, and the cowboy action shooters are aware of it as well. For some reason people get upset when the subject comes up though, sort of like insulting their mother.

Slight ramble,...but I think snap caps are relatively inexpensive insurance to keep your gun in good shape. They can be made from empty cases, decapped and the primer pocket filled with silicone caulk, or a section of O-ring that fits, cut to length and glued in. Regular empties with fired primers get peened down quickly and don't do much good after relatively few hits. I need to make some and get back in the dry fire habit.

Many of my guns are mountain carry guns, as well as personal protection guns. I'd prefer to limit the potential, however small, of breaking something like a firing pin and having one of those embarrassing moments when you hear "click" instead of Bang.

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 12:08 AM
My Wheeler Trigger Pull Scale arrived.

In SA mode, trigger pull is about 4.5 pounds.
In DA mode, trigger pull goes off the scale, MUCH more than the 8 pounds maximum. I suspect that it will be around 18 pounds, as the slide return spring is named an "18 pound spring".


I'm trying to find a gunsmith in the Miami area, who can take a look at the gun, and make it feel smoother. Of all the calls I've made so far today, I get the feeling that everyone I talk to assumes I want to make the trigger pull lighter. That's not true though - what I told them, is that I'd like to keep everything "stock", and simply make it smoother.

(The gun feels FAR, FAR better than when I entered this thread, and I understand it MUCH better than ever before, but what I've learned first from you guys, and now even more so from Jerry Kuhnhausen's book, is that I don't know enough to do much more. The more I read, the more complex everything seems.)


None of the people I've spoken to on the phone have agreed to let me watch them do whatever it is they're going to do. I haven't given up on that, but maybe it's not going to happen.

One of the nearby gunsmiths said I could show him the gun assembled, but he wouldn't be able to look inside the gun right then, and when I offered to bring the gun to him disassembled, he said that would also be fine, but that he obviously couldn't feel the action. Which would be best - bringing the gun in fully assembled, or with the side plate off and various parts in plastic zip bags?

If anyone here knows of a good gunsmith in South Florida, who would work on it as I watched (and maybe charge me a bit more?), that would still be my preference.

Malamute
July 24, 2014, 01:30 AM
I would doubt that the actual pull weight is 18 lbs, the trigger pull weight isn't directly related in pull weight to the rebound slide spring weight. You have a mechanical advantage with the trigger as a lever. 10-12 lb is about average DA pull I believe. I've not used a gauge, but all mine have stock springs, and aren't hard to shoot well DA. As you mentioned, a slick action is more important that the weight, though lighter is easier to pull.

Dry fire in DA over a couple weeks will help develop the muscles used to pull the trigger. Nothing else will really stand in for it. One thing I used to do, was simply pull it DA until I couldn't, just sheer numbers of reps. Doing that several times a day over a week or two will develop the muscles and make increasingly large numbers of pulls possible.

Mr Borland had a vid up once of him squeezing through the DA pull on his 686 with a nickel stood on edge on the barrel rib, it stayed in place as he pulled through a number of times DA. Part of that is slick action, part is well developed hands. He may have lighter springs, but a smooth pull is possible with stock springs, it just takes a little more work to make it happen.

BCRider
July 24, 2014, 01:54 AM
None of the people I've spoken to on the phone have agreed to let me watch them do whatever it is they're going to do. I haven't given up on that, but maybe it's not going to happen.


EXTREMELY unlikely to happen. First off they don't want to give away their secrets. And frankly they aren't there to run a school. Then there's the basic liability and insurance issues of having a non employee in the shop while work is being performed.

You may as well stop asking. You're just going to turn them against doing any work for you.

9mmepiphany
July 24, 2014, 03:05 AM
If anyone here knows of a good gunsmith in South Florida, who would work on it as I watched (and maybe charge me a bit more?), that would still be my preference.
How many hundreds or thousands of dollars are you willing to pay to watch?

For what you want to do, the smith would likely have to move you ahead of a number of jobs ahead of yours...I don't think I'd trust a pistolsmith who wasn't backed up on jobs...so the question would be what incentive you'd be willing to offer to convince him to allow you to jump the line.

The other question would be, would you want to do business with a person with such questionable ethics?

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 03:31 AM
.......For what you want to do, the smith would likely have to move you ahead of a number of jobs ahead of yours.........


That wasn't my goal - I'm in no hurry. I suggested he could pick a time when I could bring it to him, and I could stand off in the background and watch him work. Liability may make this impossible.

The place I used to go to in Michigan was out in the countryside, and the fellow worked out of his home. I never asked him, but I think had I done so, he'd have said sure! This is 35 years ago though.

My whole life I've tried to learn how to do things on my own, be it motorcycles, sports cars, model trains, and now computers.... anything I really care about. I learned how to do anything and everything on my bikes, and for the past several years, I build my own computers from parts. I'm slow to learn, but eventually, things somehow always work out. For the past week or so, I keep reading Jerry's book on the S&W, and keep learning more about it..... but book learning is never really like actually doing....

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 03:44 AM
I would doubt that the actual pull weight is 18 lbs, the trigger pull weight isn't directly related in pull weight to the rebound slide spring weight.......


The stock spring is 18#. The lighter springs seem to vary from 12 to 15 pounds, at least in name.

Coil springs are normally rated by so much force for a given amount of travel. For a normal spring, the force will grow linearly, until the spring bottoms out. By looking over my spring collection, and comparing it with the stock springs you sent me, I can see that the manufacturers vary both the length of the spring, and the diameter wire that is used.

Any thoughts on what that number really does represent? For a 12, or an 18 pound spring, how did it get that rating? Could it be the force it exerts on the slide, when it is in the gun and compressed? You're right about my finger on the trigger having a mechanical advantage.... I was thinking that an 18# spring meant you'd need to pull the trigger with a force of 18 pounds to fire the gun..... just a guess.

9mmepiphany
July 24, 2014, 03:46 AM
That wasn't my goal - I'm in no hurry. I suggested he could pick a time when I could bring it to him, and I could stand off in the background and watch him work.
I don't think you understand how gunsmiths commonly work.

You drop off your gun and that holds your place in their queue...but their queue isn't linear. They work on guns in the order they came in, but might skip around as they wait for parts for the gun they are working on. They also might work on several guns at the same time which require the same machine work or chemical treatment. This is more common in a one-person shop than in a specialty shop.

I don't think it is practical for him to plan ahead to schedule a time for you to bring in a gun. I guess if you could be there on 15 mins notice, he could call when he wanted to do something to it...but you'd still have to leave your gun with him.

When I had a lot of revolver work done, 6-8 weeks was a common time estimate for action work. When you logged in the gun, it went into a plastic bin and took its place at the end of a line of identical bins. When it got to the head of the line, a gunsmith would pull the bin, look at the ticket and decide if he wanted to work on it that day

RealGun
July 24, 2014, 10:07 AM
The old mechanic's sign was something like "we charge double if you bring your own parts. We charge triple if you watch."

MrBorland
July 24, 2014, 10:11 AM
I would doubt that the actual pull weight is 18 lbs, the trigger pull weight isn't directly related in pull weight to the rebound slide spring weight. You have a mechanical advantage with the trigger as a lever. 10-12 lb is about average DA pull I believe...As you mentioned, a slick action is more important that the weight, though lighter is easier to pull.

+1. The trigger pull isn't likely 18lbs, and stock guns, IME, generally run in the 10-12 lb range.

Mr Borland had a vid up once of him squeezing through the DA pull on his 686 with a nickel stood on edge on the barrel rib, it stayed in place as he pulled through a number of times DA. Part of that is slick action, part is well developed hands. He may have lighter springs, but a smooth pull is possible with stock springs, it just takes a little more work to make it happen.

In Part 1, I used a bone-stock 3" Model 65:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nES4A0rd1ak
Though it's got the factory DA pull weight, it's got the smoothest factory action I've ever felt. A firm (and high) grip is good, but fine motor control rules. Fortunately, both can be worked through effective dry fire.

In Part 2, I used my tuned match gun:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmy5mkjpUNI
The radically-bobbed hammer doesn't jar the muzzle, so I'm able to pull off the Full Monty. The DA pull is set to about 7 1/2lbs.



The gun feels FAR, FAR better than when I entered this thread, and I understand it MUCH better than ever before, but what I've learned first from you guys, and now even more so from Jerry Kuhnhausen's book, is that I don't know enough to do much more. The more I read, the more complex everything seems.


Things can get complicated very quickly when you're trying to diagnose and fix an ailment, for which I'd recommend a gunsmith. By it's nature, the Kuhnhausen manual gets into that kind of nitty gritty.

But the smoothing of an action that's otherwise in good shape is something that can certainly be done at home if you've got the right tools and disposition, which it sounds like you do.

Another option is to check out the local competition (IDPA/USPSA/bullseye) scene. In each area, it seems, there's someone who does really good tuning work, but isn't technically a gunsmith. As a rule, they don't advertise, and it's word-of-mouth only. If you ask around, you might find such a guy in your area.

BSA1
July 24, 2014, 10:34 AM
The old mechanic's sign was something like "we charge double if you bring your own parts. We charge triple if you watch."

One on the tools gunsmiths used to use on S&W revolvers to realign the front sight so the gun would shoot to p.o.a. was a lead babbit. The smith would whack the gun smartly with the babbit to move the barrel.

It was recommended that the gunsmith do this procedure in the back room out of sight to the gun owner. Gun owners would get upset when they saw their gun getting beat on.

Of course the trick of the trade is knowing where to whack on the gun.

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 11:06 AM
+1. The trigger pull isn't likely 18lbs, and stock guns, IME, generally run in the 10-12 lb range.....


I ordered one of these, so I can measure DA pull:
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/117244/rcbs-trigger-pull-gage-military-0-to-25-lb-8-oz-increments?cm_vc=ProductFinding




.....Another option is to check out the local competition (IDPA/USPSA/bullseye) scene. In each area, it seems, there's someone who does really good tuning work, but isn't technically a gunsmith. As a rule, they don't advertise, and it's word-of-mouth only. If you ask around, you might find such a guy in your area.

Excellent idea..... I will try to do so.

9mmepiphany
July 24, 2014, 03:42 PM
One on the tools gunsmiths used to use on S&W revolvers to realign the front sight so the gun would shoot to p.o.a. was a lead babbit. The smith would whack the gun smartly with the babbit to move the barrel.

It was recommended that the gunsmith do this procedure in the back room out of sight to the gun owner. Gun owners would get upset when they saw their gun getting beat on.

Of course the trick of the trade is knowing where to whack on the gun.
They get even more upset when you insert a Q-tip between the frame and crane, close it,and give the crane a wack with the babbit.

I almost went through the roof, the first time I saw that on one of my S&W

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 05:14 PM
They get even more upset when you insert a Q-tip between the frame and crane, close it,and give the crane a wack with the babbit......


I think it's difficult to select a good gunsmith who really is good. Anyone can make a professional looking website, so that's no longer a good way to choose. "Reviews" may or may not be real, so that's not automatically a good way to select. Recommendations in a discussion forum, where multiple users feel someone is quite good is maybe the best. At any rate, if you see the fellow whacking away on your gun, how are you to know if this is the proper thing to do? First impressions would be "On NO!!"

Phone calls - maybe that's a good way, depending on how your questions are answered. I called "Somarriba" in Miami, but they are overloaded, and it might take a month to get my gun back. If they're that busy, I suspect they're likely to be good.

I called "Miami Gunsmith & Refinishing Services", and spoke to the owner, Robert. He sounded good, and the turn-around might be days, not weeks, but he seemed more focused on making the trigger pull lighter, which wasn't the reason I called. On the positive side, he got good recommendations on a different forum, which is a good start. I may stop there tomorrow, and let him take a quick look at the gun, and at least get his initial reaction. (We discussed whether I should show it to him assembled, so he could dry-fire it, or apart, so he could look inside, but would not be able to dry-fire.)

That left two more choices from my first hunt, and neither has responded yet to the message I left.



Can I suggest that THR create a forum where people can leave their thoughts on various gunsmiths that they've used, which might help others make a better choice?

9mmepiphany
July 24, 2014, 05:37 PM
Try Walt Sherman; 5846 Tea Rose Trail; Tallahassee, FL 32311; 850-878-9563...if he is still alive.

He specialized in Python actions, but he might know someone who he'd trust to work on a S&W (they are much easier to work on)

You're lucky it is a S&W. There are only about 3 men still alive that I'd let work on my Pythons

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 06:38 PM
.....There are only about 3 men still alive that I'd let work on my Pythons


Thanks, I will call Walt, and see if he can recommend someone in the Miami area.

Regarding what you wrote about Pythons - for many years, I wanted so much to buy one, having missed out 30 years ago when it was right in front of me in the showcase at the local gun store.... but the more I read now, it's like you said - and when all the experts are gone or retired, what then? I guess the gun would just be an "antique", and not used......

Old Fuff
July 24, 2014, 08:17 PM
If you are talking to a retail gun shop gunsmith (or for that matter anyone else) ask him if he has a range rod. :evil:

A range rod is a gauge used to check concentricity between a chamber and the bore. It looks like a cleaning rod with a big plug on the end. If he says, "no" or "never heard of such a thing" go somewhere else. If you don't know what it is, look it up in your new manual. ;)

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 09:00 PM
.....A range rod is a gauge used to check concentricity between a chamber and the bore. It looks like a cleaning rod with a big plug on the end. If he says, "no" or "never heard of such a thing" go somewhere else. If you don't know what it is, look it up in your new manual. ;)


Something else I never knew existed before today... :-)

http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/handgun-tools/alignment-tools/range-rods/revolver-range-rods-prod655.aspx

Shown on page #91, Book 2.

It's affordable, but I'm not sure what I would do if i thought I had a problem - but as a test to see if the gunsmith was someone I wanted to use, I like your idea.

Malamute
July 24, 2014, 09:09 PM
With the Smiths that have the firing pin mounted in the hammer, you can cock the empty gun and look through the firing pin hole in the frame from each side of the hammer and see the exact alignment of the chamber throat with the barrel. Point it at a light source. You can see minor discrepancies that a range rod wont pick up. Do it for each of the chambers and you can see how consistent the gun is overall. Once in a while you'll see one or two chambers out a bit, but not enough to spit lead. That will often show as lead buildup on the side of the forcing cone, It takes being pretty far out of alignment for it to show with a range rod.

Old Fuff
July 24, 2014, 10:08 PM
I think that if you check with Smith & Wesson you will find that they don't check bore/chamber concentricity by eyeball. But you might explain your method to them. I mean, what do they know?

Then they're is the alternative way favored by some where you have the light at the back and look down the bore...

Anyway, any trained, experienced S&W armorer or gunsmith will know what a range rod is, and will usually have one - or more for different calibers.

Malamute
July 24, 2014, 10:24 PM
I'm not an armorer or gunsmith, and don't check large numbers of guns. Looking through the firing pin hole is simple, free, and works. Its allowed me to pass on buying several guns that weren't consistently aligned. Its probably all the average user and part time gun tinkerer needs to do a basic check. That's all I need of it, and it does that well.

I have looked at guns that had range rods used on them and passed, and could still see some misalignment. It was probably "in spec", but was noticeable when looking. Most Smiths are very well centered and consistently aligned with all chambers.

It is possible to use a light reflected off the firing pin from the side on frame mounted firing pin revolvers to see chamber alignment. The hammer has to be fully down and the pin extended through the frame, it it does work. Again, its probably not practical to check large numbers of guns, but its simple, free, and works.

mikemyers
July 24, 2014, 11:33 PM
I think both of you are correct. If you look at the link I posted up above, for 357 Midway has two Range Rods, one for general use, and one for much tighter tolerances for competition. My impression (based on other types of things) is that if you know what to look for, and know how to look, the human eye can detect things quite well for many applications, but you'll reach a point where the eye can't tell, and the more precision range rod would still be able to find the error.

I didn't know anything about this until tonight, but I guess if I was buying a used handgun tomorrow, I'd look for this, to see if it was obviously out of spec. On the other hand, if I sent my gun in to S&W, or had a gunsmith work on it, I think I'd expect him to use tools like this to verify that all is well.

Actually I think any technician at S&W would go through a lot of checks like this, to make sure the gun was totally within ALL specifications.

-------------------------------------------------------

I can't stop thinking about the trigger job video I watched earlier:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4GtXq2XXOI
At some point, I'd like to buy a set of stones, and do the "easy" things that Terry Gardner (if I spelled that right???) did in the video. The video is half an hour long, and at least half of it seems to be "common sense" type things that one can do. He points out things to never do, and some of the more complicated things he does, I think I would avoid.

Old Fuff is right - but if I don't polish my cylinder stop, so I don't do anything wrong, I would like someone else to do it. It feels night-and-day better, but side by side with one of my other revolvers, it is definitely not as smooth.

Old Fuff
July 25, 2014, 01:19 AM
Actually I think any technician at S&W would go through a lot of checks like this, to make sure the gun was totally within ALL specifications.

And you would be right. First they want to be sure your diagnose is right, and second, they want to catch all of the problems.

And yes, they do have jigs, fixtures and gages used if necessary in inspections, that you won't find in other shops. To perhaps a lesser degree the same can be said about 'smiths that specialize in S&W revolver work. If they didn't do a lot of it the tooling cost would be prohibitive.

Old Fuff is right -

Of course he is... :neener: :D

but if I don't polish my cylinder stop, so I don't do anything wrong, I would like someone else to do it. It feels night-and-day better, but side by side with one of my other revolvers, it is definitely not as smooth.

Big hint: Before you pick up that stone it just might be a good idea to use some Dykem (or a wide-tip felt pen in a pinch) to determine exactly where the trigger and cylinder stop (particularly the latter) are touching. You can polish until you are blue in your face, but it won't do a bit of good if the parts aren't touching where you propose to polish in the first place. :scrutiny:

mikemyers
July 25, 2014, 04:52 PM
......Before you pick up that stone it just might be a good idea to use some Dykem to determine exactly where the trigger and cylinder stop (particularly the latter) are touching. You can polish until you are blue in your face, but it won't do a bit of good if the parts aren't touching where you propose to polish in the first place. :scrutiny:


Today's a confusing day, and while I *know* I tried to order some Dykem several weeks ago from Midway, I never received it, and they can't find it on their previous orders, so apparently it got dropped during my rather long conversations with them. I should have already had it, but since I don't, it's now on order (again?).


Second point of confusion, is I was all set to go to a local gunsmith to get his opinion, right after visiting Florida Gun Range this morning. I went there with my Highway Patrolman (which I'm not satisfied yet with how the trigger feels) and my 19-3 which feels as good as any gun I've ever tried. The guy I signed in with at the range is one of the people there who I consider very knowledgeable, and I asked them if they had a gunsmith at the range. He gave me a card for a local gunsmith they recommend, and in talking to him, I asked his opinion of my gun. After looking it over and dry-firing it, he told me it doesn't need anything - it's just the way it should be! He thought it was very good, and suggested I not do anything to change it. He didn't even think the trigger pull was excessive. I showed him my 19-3, which to me feels absolutely perfect, and he said that guns are not the same, and I shouldn't expect one S&W to feel like another. (Maybe I'm just too stubborn, but I do expect that a good gunsmith can get my Highway Patrolman just as good, if not better, than my 19-3.)



That leaves me with two likely scenarios; either my Highway Patrolman is more than "good enough", and I shouldn't worry about the things I think I feel/hear, or I'm being a lot more sensitive to this than he is, and a good gunsmith would eliminate the roughness that I'm aware of.

......for whatever reason(s), I did better at the range with that gun today, than I've ever shot before with this gun. That was unexpected, but made me feel pretty good about all this work.

Gun Master
July 25, 2014, 06:25 PM
Oppppps! I thought this was an autoloader thread.

I don't like DAO in wheelie or semi - but that is a whole another discussion!

Old Fuff
July 25, 2014, 06:55 PM
Before you pick up that stone it just might be a good idea to use some Dykem (or a wide-tip felt pen in a pinch) to determine exactly where the trigger and cylinder stop (particularly the latter) are touching. You can polish until you are blue in your face, but it won't do a bit of good if the parts aren't touching where you propose to polish in the first place.

I understand about the Dykem. You may or may not have a store in your area that supplies machine shops. Look in the yellow pages and/or use a search engine and the key words: layout dye (and then include your ZIP code).

Or the alternative: Go to any office supplies store or department in a big-box store, and buy a wide-tip felt-tip pen - of the kind used to write big signs on poster board. Color doesn't matter so long as it contrasts with the parts so that you can clearly see it. Use the pen to coat those areas of the parts you propose to polish. In this particular instance reassemble the cylinder stop & spring, trigger and rebound slide and spring. Cycle the trigger a few times and then disassemble again and look at the parts you previously coated to see if the ink/dye has been rubbed off and if so precisely where. A magnifying glass often helps (as do your close-up photographs). So long as you only use your eyeballs you won't get into trouble.

When it comes to double-action revolvers and trigger pulls, each one is a law onto itself. However they're is no reason that an K, L or N-frame can't have equal pulls. The little J-frame is another matter. But understand that a lot of things besides the lockwork can come into play. As a single example, a .38/.357 N-frame cylinder is larger and heavier then one in a K-frame, and one of the things the trigger has too do is (working through the hand and cylinder ratchet) rotate the cylinder. Bigger/heavier vs. smaller/lighter may be harder to rotate. But this is an issue - like most issues - that can be overcome.

MrBorland
July 25, 2014, 07:18 PM
Maybe I'm just too stubborn, but I do expect that a good gunsmith can get my Highway Patrolman just as good, if not better, than my 19-3.

You're a trigger snob. Unfortunately, it's a rare gunsmith who is as well. You're doomed, and I feel your pain. I'm a (recovering?) trigger snob, too. 'Tis a lonely road. :( ;)

mikemyers
July 25, 2014, 08:22 PM
Well, the Dykem will be here by the end of next week, so I'll wait and try it. I guess what you're saying is that I can put it on lots of parts and surfaces, and see (photograph) what they look like after cycling the gun what, a dozen times or so?

I also bought a pack of 'snap caps', mostly because of Jerry's comments in the S&W book.

At some point, I'll either try to do the polishing myself, or find someone I trust who will just "do" the whole thing, but most of the time today, the gun was shooting better than I've ever done before. I think my advice for myself is to forget working on the gun, and spend all that time dry-firing instead.


.....You're doomed.....

It's something I've been stuck with my whole life. I expect my computer to crash, my motorcycles to have some kind of failure, and the guns to find any way they can to complicate life for me. It's like I have a hair trigger somewhere in my brain, and any sound that suddenly is "different", or anything mechanical that feels just slightly different, or a computer that suddenly seems to take more time than earlier, is just a warning about something about to go 'boom'. Even racing r/c cars, if you're sensitive to that kind of thing, you know something is about to go wrong before it actually does. Sometimes it's good, as it's a lot easier and cheaper to fix something before the 'boom'! :-)

When I brought my gun to Will for cleaning, I tried to point out what I thought was 'wrong', but he never got my message, or noticed what I was trying to explain - he felt "we" needed to clean the gun, and put in lighter springs. Heck, that's what the last gunsmith told me on the phone yesterday! .....but in Jerry's book, he goes through a very complete list of things to check over before you even think of opening up the gun. I wish more others followed that advice.

While I'm in this kind of mood, I wonder how many people out there, who think nothing of working on their S&W, have ever seen, let alone bought, Jerry's book? Maybe that's human nature - would explain why a cruise ship captain could drive his perfectly good ship right into a rock. :-(

Old Fuff
July 25, 2014, 09:05 PM
Well, the Dykem will be here by the end of next week, so I'll wait and try it. I guess what you're saying is that I can put it on lots of parts and surfaces, and see (photograph) what they look like after cycling the gun what, a dozen times or so?

Well if you are going to take off a week (which in my opinion is a good idea) use the time to poke around in the book you already have.

I knew one highly respected 'smith that did start out by going to a complete disassembly and coating the inside of the frame, the moving parts, and inside of the sideplate with Dykem. The purpose was to see whatever he saw to get an idea of what was needed. But this didn't mean he grabbed a stone (or something else abrasive) and started polishing metal. Again for example when he found rub marks on the side of the hammer nose (firing pin) he corrected the problem with a thin, washer called a "hammer bearing" (you can find it in your manual) that moved the hammer over and centered it where it was supposed to be. He also checked to be sure the hammer and trigger studs (the pins on which those two parts rotate) were straight, because if they weren't the hammer or trigger (whichever or both) would be tilted and this would affect how they interacted at contact points. I could go on and on....

But normally he would only coat a surface he was planning to work on or suspected something was wrong, rather then paint everything in sight. When he was done he might use a second coat - after cleaning off the first - to confirm he'd accomplished what he intended.

What all this did was prevent wasting time and effort where it wasn't needed and would accomplish nothing worthwhile. What I hope you are noticing is that those who do this kind of work to make a living don't always follow what you read on the Internet. In and of itself with nothing more, polish the parts and change the springs is not a good way to go.

Gun Master
July 25, 2014, 09:13 PM
I'm having problems with the above mentioned.

Any good names and addresses available ?

mikemyers
July 25, 2014, 09:58 PM
I'm having problems with the above mentioned.
Any good names ..... available ?


Old Fuff? :-) Maybe you send things to him, along with a check for a one week vacation in Hawaii, and he'll do the work for you..... <grin>

mikemyers
July 25, 2014, 10:15 PM
.........What I hope you are noticing is that those who do this kind of work to make a living don't always follow what you read on the Internet........


Actually, to be honest, what I've been noticing is the reverse - that many people posting on the internet don't follow what actual gunsmiths do, and certainly don't follow Jerry's instructions in his book on the S&W (maybe because they don't really understand the reason for doing those things).

In my opinion, which doesn't count for much, there's more useful information in this one thread than what I've learned from 100 or so posts elsewhere on the internet, and I think those people posting that stuff should read what's been posted here.

I think it's like many things in my life - the more you learn about something, the more you find out that you either didn't know or misunderstood --- and the more you think many of the other people you used to listen to don't really know what they're talking about.

===========================================

I like your advice about reading Jerry's book - I'm not exactly reading through the whole book from the beginning, but looking into things that I thought I understood a little, and mostly finding out I was still in "kindergarten" level. Maybe I've now made it into the second grade....


From you guys, and the book, and the videos, I think I might do what you suggested above, but only one or two parts at a time. For example, concentrate only on the slide and the cylinder stop. Next, I know I have radial marks on the gun, caused by the trigger going back and forth. I will post that photo, and maybe your advice about the shim will minimize that.

Old Fuff
July 25, 2014, 11:37 PM
Actually, to be honest, what I've been noticing is the reverse - that many people posting on the internet don't follow what actual gunsmiths do

What I hope you are noticing is that those who do this kind of work to make a living don't always follow what you read on the Internet.

I think we said the same thing, but in reverse order. Or maybe I'm getting old and confused. :confused: :D

Old Fuff
July 25, 2014, 11:54 PM
Local Competent Honest Gunsmiths. I'm having problems with the above mentioned.

This is a problem all over, as older ones retire and younger ones don't see the kind of money they'd like to make.

What in particular is your problem with what make and model of firearm? Also understand that the best are well backordered and you may face a long wait. If you don't want to post details on a public forum use THR's personal message option.

Any good names and addresses available ?

Maybe, but none of them would like me to connect their name to what was previously a confidential technique.

mikemyers
July 26, 2014, 12:20 AM
More and more reading of Jerry Kuhnhausen's book on the S&W revolver. I've now got several questions. My first thought was to type them in right here, but if this was my forum system, I'd recommend starting a new thread.

I'll start posting them here, but if you guys feel it's better to do so in a new thread, I'll create one if nobody beats me to it.

mikemyers
July 26, 2014, 12:26 AM
Re-assembly and testing of S&W revolvers...

In Jerry Kuhnhausen's "The S&W Revolver" book, on page 54, in reference to re-installing the Main Spring, he writes "Tension the hammer screw until the hammer cocks normally." No place that I have found yet where it says to tighten it (the strain screw??) more than that, let alone bottom it out.

mikemyers
July 26, 2014, 12:30 AM
Re-assembly and testing of S&W revolvers...

The instructions given to me by everyone in this thread, is that you need to keep track of where every part came from, and put it back in the same place, including the three side plate screws. However, every other place on the internet where people talk about this, they say two screws are the same, and one has a different head.

The opinions in this thread match what Jerry wrote: "The flat headed screw goes to the rear for grip clearance. Keep the yoke screw in place; it has been fit to the yoke slot."

mikemyers
July 26, 2014, 12:34 AM
Re-assembly and testing of S&W revolvers...

On page 59, Jerry writes, in BOLD font: "Pushing on the back of the hammer with moderate thumb pressure must not disengage the single action sear. Do not fail to make this check."

It's scary, to me, that I'm finding things in this book that have been emphasized as very important, that I get the feeling people just are not aware of. (Or, maybe everyone already knows this stuff, and it's just me who isn't aware of that much yet.....)

9mmepiphany
July 26, 2014, 01:58 AM
"Tension the hammer screw until the hammer cocks normally." No place that I have found yet where it says to tighten it (the strain screw??) more than that, let alone bottom it out.
Let me ask this question.

Does it say not to bottom it out?
Have you considered that normal and bottomed out are the same?

While Jerry has a well known reputation, it isn't the final word in working on S&W revolvers. I think we can safety take the word of revolversmiths like Ron Power, Frank Glenn, Bill Davis and Randy Lee at their face value that the screw should be bottomed out

It's scary, to me, that I'm finding things in this book that have been emphasized as very important, that I get the feeling people just are not aware of. (Or, maybe everyone already knows this stuff, and it's just me who isn't aware of that much yet.....)
I wouldn't make such a broad statement as everyone else already knows, but everyone I know who shoots a revolver seriously knows. It is certainly something I check when I pick up a freshly tuned revolver

mikemyers
July 29, 2014, 06:43 PM
......Does it say not to bottom it out?
Have you considered that normal and bottomed out are the same?.....


No, it does not say not to bottom it out. It only says what I quoted up above. Have I considered that? Sure. I satisfy both what it says in the book, and the people posting here, by leaving it bottomed out.

Until ten minutes ago, I couldn't post any useful feedback here, as I had no way to measure how stiff or soft my trigger pull was/is.

My new RCBS "high-range trigger tension scale" arrived an hour ago, and I can now measure trigger pull. I used it for five "rounds" of all six cylinders, and the measurements ranged from a low of 10 pounds to a high of 16 pounds. Most of the time, the scale read 10 or 11 pounds. This is with a stock mainspring, and a standard return spring (which has a nominal rating of 18 pounds). (Before anyone asks, I kept a list, for each cylinder, and the pattern of when it's soft or stiff seems to be completely random....)



As to what, if anything, to do about it, the choices include:

do nothing, and leave it as-is
replace the return spring with a lighter one
replace the main spring with a lighter one from Wolff
use my just-arrived bottle of Dykem to find out what may be binding
go back to looking for a gunsmith, to polish parts as needed
shoot this gun SA mostly, and eventually I'll learn enough to work on it myself.

9mmepiphany
July 29, 2014, 10:22 PM
From the factory, that is on the low end. I usually expect an out of the box DA to run 12-14lbs

mikemyers
July 29, 2014, 11:48 PM
I didn't know that. Thanks!

I would feel better if the variation was between 12 and 14. But, here's the list of readings I wrote down.....

10 12 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 15 10 12 12 16 15 11 12 12 12 12 10 14 13 11

I was careful to do this pretty much the same way over and over, although the first 12 shots were with the gun pointing down. The rest were with the gun pointing out in front of me. I know the reading of 15 and 16 weren't "fake", as it was much harder to pull the measuring scale. That bothers me - it shouldn't suddenly get so tight like that. I've noticed it dry-firing, but until today, never had a way to measure it.

StrawHat
July 30, 2014, 10:56 AM
I didn't know that. Thanks!

I would feel better if the variation was between 12 and 14. But, here's the list of readings I wrote down.....

10 12 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 15 10 12 12 16 15 11 12 12 12 12 10 14 13 11

I was careful to do this pretty much the same way over and over, although the first 12 shots were with the gun pointing down. The rest were with the gun pointing out in front of me. I know the reading of 15 and 16 weren't "fake", as it was much harder to pull the measuring scale. That bothers me - it shouldn't suddenly get so tight like that. I've noticed it dry-firing, but until today, never had a way to measure it.
If a revolver is not clean, the offending bits of crud can increase the drag on the trigger. Places to check, under the extractor star, face of the cylinder and the back of the cylinder come to mind as areas that can cause the drag. Internally, any of the moving parts can pick up "bits" and cause drag. I would notice it in competition during the day. Sometimes I would be able to do a quick clean up and other times I would have to deal with it on the line. It is something to pay attention to and understand.

David E
July 30, 2014, 11:32 AM
I used it for five "rounds" of all six cylinders........I kept a list, for each cylinder....


For the sake of clarity and correctness....

YOUR REVOLVER ONLY HAS ONE CYLINDER!

The CHAMBERS are the holes machined into the cylinder to accept ammunition.

I suggest numbering the CHAMBERS to see if the harder pull(s) happen on the same CHAMBERS or not.

To emphasize a previous point, an oft overlooked culprit in situations like this is unburnt powder under the extractor.

mikemyers
July 30, 2014, 04:27 PM
Oops, me bad! I was so involved in what I meant, I didn't catch the way I was writing it.

No single chamber (not cylinder!!!) is causing the problem, as it seems to be random, but I will clean the gun, and then re-measure. In my mind, I was only thinking of what's going on under the side plate, but you are completely correct, there are more parts to consider.

David E
July 31, 2014, 01:11 PM
I wonder if your gauge is in the same spot each time. That can affect the pull/reading, also.

mikemyers
August 4, 2014, 07:52 PM
I wonder if your gauge is in the same spot each time. That can affect the pull/reading, also.


I tried very hard to use the same spot on the trigger each time, and I'm sure they are within 1/8" of each other.

If I want to get good at shooting DA, I think a better trigger pull is one of the things I need to look into.

I went to the range this morning with my Model 29 (with 2X scope), and 44 Special ammo, and the Model 28 with 38 Special ammo. One benefit from taking the larger gun - 50 rounds of shooting 44 ammo completely cured any intimidation problems I might have had before with the smaller gun. Of the six targets I shot at, all the holes were in the 6" bull, four targets had groups of 3", and two had 3 1/2". I left the range in a good mood. If anyone cares to look, not sure why anyone would, but the target is copied here: http://www.sgrid.com/2014/IMG_1327.JPG

For whatever it's worth, the scope on the model 29 accurately showed me the grouping I was about to get. I don't think I'll ever improve my accuracy until I learn how to hold the gun more steadily.

I was having so much fun shooting the larger gun SA, that I ran out of bullets before I remembered I wanted to also try it in DA. The trigger pull on that gun is smooth as can be.... and i got to wondering how well I could shoot it DA.

I'm still dry-firing every day I'm home for at least 20 minutes. I think from what many of you have been saying, dry-fire SA practice won't do very much to help get better at DA, but dry-fire DA practice should help both DA and SA. I think from now on, I concentrate on DA.

mikemyers
August 7, 2014, 10:14 PM
One technique ..... is to coat the parts is various places with an easy-to-remove-later dye called "Dykem." After reassembling the parts and cycling the action a few times the gun is disassembled again and note taken about where the dye has been rubbed off. This can be an enlightening experience, especially if you were about to polish something where it would have done absolutely no good. It can also tell you where parts are interfacing, as they should, or where they are not........


Just wondering - now that I have the Dykem, do I need to order the "Dykem Remover and Prep" or can I just use alcohol or something?

Old Fuff
August 7, 2014, 11:34 PM
Dykem Remover and Prep is a product to move money from your pocket to theirs. Any other number of easily obtained solvents found in paint or drug stores for far less cost will work fine.

Examples are denatured isopropyl alcohol, fingernail polish remover, acetone, etc.

If the part is coated with oil, wipe it dry. Usually the container of Dykem will have a small brush attached to the inside of the cap. Apply a thin coat and let it dry, which is almost in an instant. Put the sideplate back in place, but don't worry about the screws because thumb pressure should keep it is place. Two or three double-actions cycles should be enough.

Since you suspect the trigger/cylinder stop interface, assemble the cylinder stop (with spring), trigger, and rebound slide (and spring). While you cycle the trigger see if you feel any roughness or hitches. You only need to put the Dykem on those surfaces where they are likely to (or suppose to) contact each other. When finished, examine the parts that were coated with a magnifying glass. Where you can still see dye they're was no meaningful contact.

mikemyers
August 8, 2014, 12:40 AM
Thanks for the update. My plan was to check several surfaces (excluding anything that I now know not to touch!) that have one part sliding over another, and photograph all of them. The surface between the trigger and the cylinder stop I am 99.9% sure is anything but smooth - I know how much better it got, just from running a sharp screwdriver over it a few times, where I felt/noticed/saw a "notch". I think that will make a fascinating photograph.

I will also check the slide (easy to do, and I'm curious what it will look like), and probably both sides of the hammer, where I suspect it is rubbing on one of the sides as it moves backwards. I did buy a stone, but I have no plans to use it on anything until after I get feedback here.


I think one thing I will do somewhere on THR, is post something explaining how I take these photos. I've got all sorts of high-tech photo gear, but all the photos I've posted here were taken with a pocket Canon point-and-shoot camera. I used my computer to make the photos look as useful as possible, but anyone on THR can get similar photos if they have the patience. Doing the photos is 10000 times easier for me, than working on the gun ---- but the gun gets easier to work on, as I get more familiar with the explanations I read here.


My "to (not) do" list now includes the following things you've passed on:


Coat all the surfaces with Dykem, and don't bother polishing anyplace where nothing was touching.
Don't polish anything any more than necessary, as the hardened outer layer of the metal may be VERY thin.
Don't touch any surface unless you know for a fact that it is a "safe" surface to work on.
Put Dykem on, inspect, polish a little (not too much) and repeat process.
Gun needs to be spotless inside before doing anything - any debris needs to be cleaned out, even if it's so small it's difficult to see.
While considering what to do, follow the advice from Jerry in the S&W Manual, not some randon YouTube video.
Do all this in a spotless area, with lots of light, and do not be in a hurry.



If I drop out of this discussion for a while, it's because I do volunteer work at an overseas hospital in India. I'm getting close to where I have to put away all my toys for a while, and prepare for my trip.

BCRider
August 8, 2014, 01:42 AM
I've never got around to buying any Dykem. Some years back I discovered that good ol' permanent felt markers do just fine as Dykem substitutes.

Things can often get complicated enough all on their own. No need to bypass simple solutions just to add on to life's complexity.... :D

If the hammer is rubbing on the side then as long as the spots that rub are not burrs on the metal then leave them. They'll self burnish in time. Only stone away any burrs that stick up.

Here's a picture showing a block I made for the rebound block area of the frame on one gun I got which felt overly gritty. Once I got the side cover off it became pretty obvious that this gun had been shot VERY little or not at all. There was not even any of the usual use wear we should see from even a few hundred rounds being shot or an equivalent amount of dry firing. Rather than go through that I opted to make up the aluminium lapping block you see. If you look close you can see the very slight silvering of the machine mark crests. That's all I wanted to do. And the difference was highly noticeable in the trigger smoothness after the gun was put back together. That was the ONLY stone or other abrasive work I felt the gun needed. Other than this lapping I put in a Wolff spring kit.

The odd looking bit up in the top right corner is a close up inset of the lapped area showing how I only crested the peaks off the machining marks. The idea is to get the parts to rub evenly, Not to remove metal that leads to excess play. By just barely cutting off the peaks the block slides over each new crest evenly in line. It's sort of like rollers on a floor to catch and carry a big crate. And the valleys between the crests is a good place for oil to collect as a reservoir for this part.

I now know that there's a few other things I could do. But some 1000 to 1500 rounds later it's smoothened itself up.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y252/BCRider/Gun%20pictures/Model_10_lapping.jpg (http://s7.photobucket.com/user/BCRider/media/Gun%20pictures/Model_10_lapping.jpg.html)

mikemyers
August 8, 2014, 10:22 AM
I.......Here's a picture showing a block I made for the rebound block area of the frame on one gun I got which felt overly gritty......


I'm confused. I have seen people in the videos use a 1/4" square lapping stone to do that part of the gun, but you're suggesting using this aluminum block you made? I assume you would use it with some kind of polishing compound? If you're using an aluminum block against a steel surface, wouldn't the aluminum wear, rather than the steel? I think I'm missing something.

Speaking of lapping stones, does any lightweight oil work well for this, or is it better to use a specific type of oil? The lightest, thinnest oil I've got is "sewing machine oil".

mikemyers
August 12, 2014, 02:00 PM
Small update to this thread. I went shooting at the Fellsmere, Florida range a few days ago. I didn't get to trying the Model 28, but instead concentrated on the Model 29 Silhouette gun (ran out of time before I could get to the 357).

I am very surprised. I have always assumed that shooting SA would be more accurate than DA, but after firing about 75 rounds, neither was more accurate than the other. This is at 15 yards, and after shooting the first targets in SA, I expected everything to get much worse DA - but that didn't happen!


The other thing I noticed was that the center of the grouping using SA was about an inch higher than when shooting DA. I think this might have to do with my "thinking" so much about pressing smoothly on the trigger, and keeping the sight where it should be, that I don't have time for any bad habits to interrupt. Shooting SA even though I try not to know, but I'm sure I still do know when the gun is going to fire. Shooting DA this is no longer the case.

Malamute
August 12, 2014, 03:05 PM
Shooting SA even though I try not to know, but I'm sure I still do know when the gun is going to fire.

I was taught to let the trigger break be a surprise, pull so slowly you don't know it's going to go, the "surprise break". Shooting DA doesn't allow that so much for me, but its still quite possible to shoot DA very well when one is paying attention to all the basics.

Sounds like you're getting the hang of the DA shooting. :D

mikemyers
August 12, 2014, 06:13 PM
.......pull so slowly you don't know it's going to go, the "surprise break".........


Maybe it will sound quite silly, but it's as if my mind is so busy keeping the sight picture the way it's supposed to be, what with the gun wanting to wobble all over (yeah, not the gun, my hands), I'm so busy with that, that I am not thinking about when the gun will fire.

In SA, the gun wobbles because of me, and the inability to hold the gun absolutely still. In DA, I'm sure that's also a factor, but the gun also reacts to my pressing harder and harder on the trigger, and the sight picture starts to change, and the goal is to continually keep the sight picture correct.

If the sights are where they ought to be, the bullet will go right into the X. :-)

9mmepiphany
August 12, 2014, 09:57 PM
Shooting DA doesn't allow that so much for me, but its still quite possible to shoot DA very well when one is paying attention to all the basics.
Using the correct technique in DA facilitates a surprise break, you just don't have to pull as slowly...and it happens over a longer trigger travel.

That is why top tier PPC shooters all converted to shooting the 50 yard stage DA, from SA

murf
August 12, 2014, 11:57 PM
you will squeeze harder on the ten pound da trigger than on the three pound sa trigger. the firmer grip of the da pull reduces muzzle rise relative to the sa pull and, therefore, prints lower on the target.

i would just make a note of it and not worry about it.

murf

mikemyers
August 14, 2014, 02:54 PM
Hi, a wee bit of feedback, and one question....

Went to the outdoor range in Fellsmere, Florida this morning, and wanted to try ideas from the book I bought, "The Perfect Pistol Shot" by Albert H League III.

Feedback from today:


Shooting DA with the 357 again created noticeably tighter groups than shooting SA.

My groups DA are lower than my groups SA (but thanks to the explanation above, I now understand why).

As described in the book, I changed my grip so neither thumb touches the gun - I can't say the grouping got better, but it certainly didn't get worse.

I also tried following the advice in the book about using only the left arm to support the weight of the right arm and the gun, along with lightening my grip with the right hand so all it really was doing was pressing on the trigger. When trying it with dry-fire last night, it was great - but not so good today.

When I used up my 38 Special ammo, I changed to 44 Special in my Model 29 Silhouette gun. Left arm wasn't strong enough to hold the weight, so I had to use both arms somewhat. Firing DA, my grouping was as good as I've ever done, under 3". To me, it looked like one big ragged hole. It wasn't quite that nice close-up, but it's good enough that I feel like packing away all my other guns. :-)


The Model 29, with that 10 5/8" barrel is so long and heavy, it feels very stable, and the results look good. Maybe with a LOT more practice, I'll be able to shoot the Model 28 with similar results. :-/

More seriously, I'm sure that what is limiting my group size is "me", and the only way I can think of to "see" what is going on, is to mount the Crimson Trace laser sight I bought a while back, and watch how much the red dot bounces around.



My only question - I have never, even once, been able to "watch the front sight" as I fire, to see what it did as the gun fires. I can almost do this with the 44, but anything else is too fast for me to watch. Any suggestions?

MrBorland
August 14, 2014, 04:17 PM
Good to hear you're enjoying DA shooting and doing well. Couple o' comments:

As described in the book, I changed my grip so neither thumb touches the gun - I can't say the grouping got better, but it certainly didn't get worse.

I'm a fan of the thumbs-off grip, but it's hard to imagine implementing it unless you're also using a thumbs-forward grip. Discussion of that (in the context of revolver shooting) is a red-hot topic, but if you're shooting magnum rounds I don't recommend it. I'd just hold your thumbs as they normally are, but be aware of any excess pressure you might be putting on the frame with them.

I also tried following the advice in the book about using only the left arm to support the weight of the right arm and the gun, along with lightening my grip with the right hand so all it really was doing was pressing on the trigger. When trying it with dry-fire last night, it was great - but not so good today.

I'm not a fan of asymmetrical and/or non-neutral grips and stances, and this sounds like one of those. I'd go for equal support with both arms, neither pushing or pulling, and a firm grip with both hands, getting the strong hand as high as possible.

More seriously, I'm sure that what is limiting my group size is "me", and the only way I can think of to "see" what is going on, is to mount the Crimson Trace laser sight I bought a while back, and watch how much the red dot bounces around.
.
.
.
My only question - I have never, even once, been able to "watch the front sight" as I fire, to see what it did as the gun fires. I can almost do this with the 44, but anything else is too fast for me to watch. Any suggestions?

The front sight tells you everything you need to know, and IMO, you can do more harm in the long run when you practice getting your eyes off the front sight to watch a laser dot.

I agree what's limiting your group size is you, but the same can be said for everyone. You're doing great, but be patient with yourself and keep practicing.

As far as advice for calling your shots, I'd say "be curious". Forget about shooting a tight group; that's where your mind is, and not on the front sight. When we're genuinely curious about something, we just observe without value, judgement or demand. That's where learning happens. Just shoot into the berm or the backstop while simply watching to see what the front sight is doing. Later, you can put the target back up, but once again, shoot with curiosity, and you'll soon start to see a "polaroid" of the sight picture when the shot broke. Takes a lot of practice, though, so again, be patient with yourself and keep practicing.

BCRider
August 14, 2014, 05:00 PM
I'm confused. I have seen people in the videos use a 1/4" square lapping stone to do that part of the gun, but you're suggesting using this aluminum block you made? I assume you would use it with some kind of polishing compound? If you're using an aluminum block against a steel surface, wouldn't the aluminum wear, rather than the steel? I think I'm missing something.

Speaking of lapping stones, does any lightweight oil work well for this, or is it better to use a specific type of oil? The lightest, thinnest oil I've got is "sewing machine oil".

Sorry Mike, I missed your post.

I didn't elaborate on the block because I guess I assumed that folks would know that lapping involves an abrasive paste. But yeah, I apply some fine lapping compound, which is silicon carbide grit in a grease base, to the aluminium. The pressure of the lapping operation embeds the grit into the softer aluminium and the block becomes an abrasive tool. For this to work the cutting block MUST be softer than the material being shaped or it won't work.

I used this block because I wanted to flatten not only the open area but the spots on either side of the pin so the rebound block is traveling on a truly flat area. Some folks poke the end of a small stone into that spot and rub the area so it looks the same. But because the stone is so small and it can't reach around the pin the resulting crests on the machine marks won't be fully even or in line with each other. So the lapping block is actually a better way to do this work and in this case. At leas unless one were to diamond cut a stone to do just this job.

Pretty much any thin body oil will work with oil stones. If the oil is too thick on larger surfaces it tends to float the stone so it feels like you're not cutting. And it's true that you're not. With small parts thick or thin oils work just as well since the pressure pushes the oil out of the way.

The oils job is strictly to float away the particles of metal that would otherwise clog the stone. It's not there to lubricate the metal.

That help?

mikemyers
August 14, 2014, 10:31 PM
......I assumed that folks would know that lapping involves an abrasive paste.......

Shows you how little of this stuff I know. Now that you mention it, I remember more about lapping, but my brain was focused on the tool you made replacing the stone, and when I put 2+2 together, I got 5. Now it all makes perfect sense, and it sounds like a wonderful little device that someone could start selling. When might you open your mail order service, for hundreds, or thousands of them?? :-)

mikemyers
August 14, 2014, 10:53 PM
Good to hear you're enjoying DA shooting and doing well......

I'm enjoying DA far more than SA, even on my 28, which feels like the trigger is getting smoother every time I shoot it (but it's far from being like my other guns.

I'm a fan of the thumbs-off grip, but it's hard to imagine implementing it unless you're also using a thumbs-forward grip. Discussion of that (in the context of revolver shooting) is a red-hot topic, but if you're shooting magnum rounds I don't recommend it. I'd just hold your thumbs as they normally are, but be aware of any excess pressure you might be putting on the frame with them.

I'll have to check out those discussions, if I can find them, but what the book said made perfect sense - all the thumbs can do is move the gun out of alignment. I keep the thumbs pointing forwards, but not touching the gun. I'm not sure what else to do with them.....



I'm not a fan of asymmetrical and/or non-neutral grips and stances, and this sounds like one of those. I'd go for equal support with both arms, neither pushing or pulling, and a firm grip with both hands, getting the strong hand as high as possible.


That makes more sense to me - but when dry-firing, using the left arm to support the weight seemed to work splendidly! Not so much though when I tried it with a loaded gun..... His reasoning is that if all the shooting hand has to do is press on the trigger, it will do so more smoothly than if those muscles are also holding the gun up. What you suggest is what I've been trying to do until today....




.......Forget about shooting a tight group.........Just shoot into the berm or the backstop while simply watching to see what the front sight is doing..........and you'll soon start to see a "polaroid" of the sight picture when the shot broke. Takes a lot of practice, though, so again, be patient with yourself and keep practicing.


Sometimes I wonder if my eyes are fast enough to actually notice this, but it sounds like a fascinating thing to try. Today, the 44 stayed right where it was, but the 28 moved around like an insect trying to escape, as the trigger was pulled backwards, and I was constantly correcting the sights.

MrBorland
August 15, 2014, 03:40 PM
Sometimes I wonder if my eyes are fast enough to actually notice this,

Again, you're jumping to the conclusion there's something wrong with you. If you have normal vision (even if corrected with glasses), there's likely nothing wrong with your eyes. You actually see with your brain, via your eyes. And your subconscious thought is much faster than your conscious thought. You may actually be seeing the sight picture as the shot goes off but either aren't tapping into it and/or you're demanding too much precision too soon in your calling.

Right now, you really only need to "see" well enough to call it "good" or "bad". Imagine flipping through a book looking for a name or phrase: Without even thinking about it, you quickly assign a "yes" or "no" to each snap picture you pick up.

Can you currently tell (without looking at the target) if you just shot a "bad" shot? If so, you're already on your way to calling your shots. Once you start consistently calling them "good", you can start refining it to calling "very good".

It takes practice and patience, though. If you post next week saying you've been working on it diligently, can't do it, and something must be wrong, I'm just gonna roll my eyes. If you say the same thing next year, I might agree.

mikemyers
August 15, 2014, 05:47 PM
.....Can you currently tell (without looking at the target) if you just shot a "bad" shot? If so, you're already on your way to calling your shots. ........


I've always thought my eye-hand coordination was slow, which is why I am pathetically bad at many things, as something is all over and done with before I can react. So yeah, my first thought was that maybe it's my eyes, BUT the line i quoted above is very interesting - and YES, I very often CAN tell when I think I did well, and not. So, you want me to re-enforce that, and that's the key. I think I mis-understood what you were suggesting I do, as in being able to see anything even a split second after the BANG, such as the sight rising up, which I can't right now. I'll start concentrating on what you suggested with each shot. Seeing and remembering the sight picture at the instant the gun goes BANG sounds reasonable.

For what it's worth, I spent several hours thinking through why trying to follow Albert H League III's advice about using only the left arm to support the gun not only didn't work for me, it made me much worse. I thought I had it all sorted out in my car, and just tried my test. I picked up the Model 28 with my right hand, as if to shoot it single handed. The front sight moved around quite a bit. I then picked the gun up with my left hand - it moved far more, as my left arm is even worse about supporting all this weight. When I picked it up using two hands, the sight still moved around, but nowhere even close to as much. My conclusion - unless I take Popeye pills for my arms, or get a lighter gun, this technique wouldn't work for me. Besides, I like your idea of support from both sides of one's body.

MrBorland
August 15, 2014, 07:14 PM
YES, I very often CAN tell when I think I did well, and not. So, you want me to re-enforce that, and that's the key.

+100

I think I mis-understood what you were suggesting I do, as in being able to see anything even a split second after the BANG, such as the sight rising up, which I can't right now.

I've been thinking more about this and realize my previous post might be confusing, so I wanted to follow up some:

I might've mentioned I started working on my rifle skills this year (I'm shooting my first High Power rifle match tomorrow :D), and I've gotten to the point where I can tell where, almost exactly, the shot went into at 200 yards while standing unsupported. It took practice, but I now see a clear "polaroid" when the shot breaks. The thing is, I've never been able to call shots this well with a revolver. The best I could do was "very good", "ok", "not great", and...well...you get the picture. :rolleyes:

So what gives? Why can I call the shot with a rifle much more precisely than I ever could with a DA revolver? I think the answer is "shutter speed". The DA trigger's got a long travel, so my mental "shutter" is open for a long time. Lots goes on during that travel, including the instant the shot breaks. So...take a picture of moving object with a long shutter and what do you get? A fuzzy picture. In contrast, the rifle trigger's got very little travel and it's got a clean break; my "shutter's" open very briefly, so the mental polaroid is sharp.

Anyhoo...that you're able to tell a good shot from a bad just by watching the front sight is very good news. Kudos. All you need is a little refinement. But (and I'd be interested in 9mmE's take on this), I'm not sure it's feasible to get such a crisp "polaroid" shooting DA, nor do I think you need to, even to shoot excellent DA groups.

I then picked the gun up with my left hand - it moved far more, as my left arm is even worse about supporting all this weight

Yeah, that was kind of my issue - you'd be unnecessarily overloading one arm. A smooth DA stroke is certainly do-able while your strong arm helps support the gun and your strong hand applies a firm grip.

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