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CA 38 spl hammer doesn't cock in DA mode

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by ngkline, Jan 25, 2011.

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  1. ngkline

    ngkline Member

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    I'm a relatively new handgun owner and my first was a Charter Arms 38 Spl Undercover that I bought about a year ago. I believe it to be one of the older models. It shot fine for awhile, but now misfires regularly when shooting in DA mode. Sometimes it works fine and other times the hammer won't cock as the cylinder rotates. Any ideas as to what the problem might be and what it would take/cost to fix?
    Thanks
     
  2. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Welcome to THR!

    I'm not familiar with the inner workings of a Charter Arms, but assuming they generally work like S&Ws, it sounds like the trigger sear isn't re-engaging the DA sear on the hammer. When is does this, is the trigger coming all the way forward? If not, the rebound spring may not be pushing the trigger all the way forward, or maybe some dirt is preventing a full reset.

    If the trigger comes all the way forward when the hammer fails to rise, the DA sear on the hammer isn't springing back to it's reset position after trigger moves to it's fully reset position. Could be the spring, or, again, maybe some dirt in the sear/hammer assembly.

    I don't think either of these would be expensive to diagnose and fix.

    Could also be a burr somewhere keeping the trigger and/or sear from resetting, but if it's intermittent and just started, I doubt that's your trouble.

    BTW, check out this revolver animation, and watch carefully how the trigger & hammer reset. It'll help to understand all the greek above.
     
  3. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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  4. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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  5. ngkline

    ngkline Member

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    Thanks for the info and quick reply. I can now understand what's going on inside. Is it safe for a reasonably mechanically inclined person to try taking a revolver apart or would I be opening a bag of worms?
    Thanks again.
     
  6. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    Gunsmiths just loooovve reasonably mechanically inclined persons who take guns apart. :D
     
  7. ngkline

    ngkline Member

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    So I guess that would be a "Yes" to the bag of worms? :)
     
  8. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Having worked on some Charter revolvers I would give you this warning - DO NOT remove the cylinder release. It comes apart easily but requires at least three hands to reassemble correctly. You can remove the action parts (trigger, hammer, transfer bar, pawl) by removing a couple of screws and lifting them out of the top or bottom of the frame.
     
  9. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Having worked on some Charter revolvers I would give you this warning - DO NOT remove the cylinder release. It comes apart easily but requires at least three hands to reassemble correctly. You can remove the action parts (trigger, hammer, transfer bar, pawl) by removing a couple of screws and lifting them out of the top or bottom of the frame. Charters are more similar to Rugers than S&Ws. No sideplate. The man who designed it used to work for Ruger. Great design, not so great execution by Charter.
     
  10. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    I got thinking about this some more. Any chance the start of the misfires coincided with you shooting faster, i.e. practicing double-taps, etc? If so, it could partly (or even mostly) be a user-issue.

    While the trigger has to come fully forward for the trigger & hammer sears to re-engage, the rebound return spring on factory guns is robust enough that many (probably most) revolver shooters unknowingly let the rebound spring (via the trigger) push their finger forward. This can easily become a bad habit because there's generally no negative consequence - until, for whatever reason, the trigger return is lightened or sluggish, in which case, the shooter starts short-stroking the trigger (typically during rapid fire) and experiencing exactly what you are.
     
  11. ngkline

    ngkline Member

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    No, this happens under very slow trigger pull even with my daughter shooting for the first time. The rebound spring seems healthy.
    I spoke to a local gunsmith who said he'd first try putting it in a vibrating cleaning bath?? to try to dislodge any crud/debris that may be in there. Does that sound reasonable?
     
  12. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Unless you are fairly knowledgeable about the insides of revolvers (and it doesn't sound like you are), my first suggestion would be to get a can of gun cleaner (I like G96 Gun Treatment) and spray it all inside the gun (remove plastic or wood grips first). Let the gun drain and see what happens. If it is OK, lubricate the gun with a few drops of oil in front of the hammer and some ahead of the trigger.

    For really stubborn crud, you can use G96 Crud Buster or the equivalent, but it has the drawback that it removes all oil and grease, so you need to completely re-lube the gun.

    If cleaning doesn't work, maybe we can help diagnose the problem further.

    Jim
     
  13. ngkline

    ngkline Member

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    Thanks for all your replies. I'll get some cleaner and give it a shot and let you know how it pans out.
     
  14. ngkline

    ngkline Member

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    OK, I finally got back to the range, and after having doused it with G96 Gun Treatment per Jim's suggestion and oiling it up good I fired 50 rounds thru it with no problem.
    Thanks for all your input.

    BTW, I took my wife shooting for the first time and out of a Kahr PM9, a Taurus PT-22 and the CA 38 Spl, she kept picking up the old 38. She said it just felt "right".
     
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Jim...Hot tip of the week.

    If you have an Advance Auto in your neighborhood, try their house brand carburetor cleaner. It emulsifies the crud and flushes it away without sucking the oil out of the pores of the steel. Blow dry with compressed air...or wipe and let it drip dry for an hour and add oil as needed. It also removes cast bullet lube and carbon residue without leaving a crayon-like cack behind. Great stuff, and it's cheap to boot. Cheap is good.
     
  16. moxie

    moxie Member

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    If the problem recurs, try calling or e-mailing Charter Arms' service department. Contact info on their website.

    Definitely do a good clean job with carb cleaner as noted above. There's obviously some dried up gunk in there.
     
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