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Trigger Job

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by ryans63, Sep 2, 2007.

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  1. ryans63

    ryans63 member

    Jun 23, 2006
    What does one actually go when they are doing a trigger job. Its polishing certain parts to my understanding, but what parts, how are they polished etc? When they say "polish" is it the type of polishing you would do with a polishing wheel etc, you are actually polishing the metal? Thanks for any help/info.
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    "Trigger job" refers to a process of polishing or burnishing certain parts while sometimes substituting lighter springs for the factory ones. What is done depends on the particular make and model of the firearm involved. Polishing usually employs some kind of abrasive and/or stones. The intended purpose is to make the trigger pull lighter, and sometimes more crisp.

    I think that amateur jobs have ruined more guns then they've helped. Some revolver lockwork (hammers and triggers in particular) are case hardened, and if one polishes through the hard but thin skin the metal underneath is very soft and wears quickly. Substituting lighter springs will lighten the action, sometimes considerably, but they can have an adverse effect on reliability under less then optimal conditions. On 1911 style pistols an incorrectly done job can compromise the safety lock (manual safety) on a pistol the owner plans to carry with the chamber loaded and the hammer cocked.

    If you decide you want your trigger pull adjusted it is wise to have the work done by a ‘smith that is experienced in doing such jobs on the particular gun you have in mind. Of course this will cost you, but if a home-job goes bad the consequences can be more (sometimes much more) expensive then what it would have cost to have a professional do the work in the first place.

    Also be aware that any work, done by anyone other then the manufacturer’s
    own shop (yes, they sometimes do trigger work on their own products), will likely void your warrantee.

    I’ll admit that others will dispute this rather negative assessment, but I have a rather large collection of ruined parts that were replaced after some owner decided to go to work. On the Internet you always hear about the home jobs that seemed to have been successful, but seldom is there any comment about the ones that didn’t.

    The point I am really trying to make is, if work is to be done, make sure whoever is doing it knows what they are doing.
  3. sig226

    sig226 Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Palm Beach County
    I won't dispute Old Fuff's assessment. Spot on.

    Improving the trigger pull involves actions to parts that are unique to the specific gun. Sometimes, shooting the gun is the best way to smooth the trigger, but aftermarket parts can be installed in most guns to lighten the trigger weight and improve its feel. What works on a revolver does not work on a 1911, and what works on a 1911 does not work in a bolt action rifle.

    Some guns have trigger mechanisms that simply aren't worth the effort to improve. The obvious question: What kind of gun do you want to work on?
  4. PPGMD

    PPGMD Member

    Mar 20, 2007
    That's not to say that you shouldn't do a home made trigger job, you got to start some where. You just shouldn't carry it until you have enough experience to tell if it will last, or if it will compromise safety.
  5. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    "...do with a polishing wheel..." Yep. That's one way. Fine stones are the other way. You polish out any tool marks and/or smooth the mating parts of the sear and hammer. In some cases the sides of the hammer if it's touching the frame.
    You do not remove much, if any, metal so you won't go through any case hardening. Just polish. No files, ever. Too easy to alter the angles.
    Think in terms of two dry metal parts rubbing on each other. The smoother and flatter the two surfaces are, the easier the parts will move across each other. Sometimes, the parts will have too much distance to move as well. That is more difficult to fix and is best left to a smithy.
    Just changing the springs will drop the trigger pull though. You're not trying to compress a spring that's as heavy with just a lever operated by your finger.
  6. koja48

    koja48 member

    Feb 21, 2005
    SE WA State
    I ruined several trigger-groups before I developed "the knack." Nuff said . . .
  7. HankB

    HankB Member

    Mar 29, 2003
    Central Texas
    If you're thinking of having a trigger job done on an S&W revolver, there's a 90-minute DVD by Jerry Miculek called, appropriately enough, "Trigger Job."

    It's an excellent "how to" on tuning an S&W trigger . . . assuming your revolver is in good mechanical shape to begin with; it's not a repair guide.

    The revolver used as an example in the DVD was a K-frame S&W; I applied many of the same principles to a J-frame (S&W 340Sc) and am very pleased with the result.

    (I did NOT use a polishing wheel . . . I used fine stones and, for some pieces, superfine diamond paper on an optical flat to do the polishing. A Dremel with a rubber polishing - NOT grinding! - bit was used to break the corner on the TRAILING edge of the extractor star.)
  8. cdrt

    cdrt Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    The Lone Star State
    Sometimes a trigger job can mean putting parts in the right tolerance or making sure they do what they're supposed to do. I'll explain.

    My .45 Series 70 Colt wad gun had what I would consider a inconsistent trigger pull. Sometimes it would feel heavy and then sometimes light. I had a gunsmith friend check it out. The sear and hammer pins were not parallel, so that the sear was engaging only one side of the hammer hooks. It was only off a few thousanths, but it was enough to make a difference. He carefully matched the sear to the hooks so that all of it engaged properly, so that now, it breaks at three and half pounds every time. My slow fire scores in Bullseye have improved because I can depend on the trigger to break the same every time.

    Newer 1911 series pistols usually don't have this problem, since they are machined with computers and the technology has gotten a whole lot better since 1979 when I bought this pistol.
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