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Old July 11, 2014, 11:06 AM   #101
mikemyers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinS View Post
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....
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:11 AM   #102
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.........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?
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:22 AM   #103
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:25 AM   #104
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:50 AM   #105
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:05 PM   #106
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:17 PM   #107
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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.

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Old July 11, 2014, 12:56 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC
Quote:
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
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:21 PM   #109
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 01:38 PM   #110
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 03:19 PM   #111
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 04:45 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
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
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Old July 11, 2014, 05:12 PM   #113
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Murf, thanks for the book info. It's now in my cart at Amazon, and I should have it next week.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Onward Allusion View Post
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!!
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Old July 11, 2014, 05:42 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by mikemyers
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemyers
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)


25 yards, DA, unsupported:
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Old July 11, 2014, 06:27 PM   #115
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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!
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Old July 11, 2014, 07:13 PM   #116
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.......... 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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 10:41 PM   #117
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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.
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:30 PM   #118
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........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! :-)
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Old July 11, 2014, 11:40 PM   #119
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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.
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Old July 12, 2014, 06:35 AM   #120
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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.
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Old July 12, 2014, 08:03 AM   #121
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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
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Old July 12, 2014, 10:23 AM   #122
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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!
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Old July 12, 2014, 02:17 PM   #123
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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.
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Old July 12, 2014, 02:25 PM   #124
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.....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? 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.
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Old July 12, 2014, 03:03 PM   #125
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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
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